Atlantic Fleet (Royal Navy)

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The Atlantic Fleet was a fleet of the Royal Navy from 1905 to 1912, when it was absorbed into the Home Fleets, and from 1919 to 1932, when it was renamed the Home Fleet.

Institution and Background

On 6 December, 1904, the First Lord of the Admiralty, the Earl of Selborne, publicly announced a redistribution of the Royal Navy's fleets. The Channel Fleet was renamed the Atlantic Fleet and was to be permanently based on Gibraltar. The Flag Officer in command was given the status and title of a Commander in Chief.[1] Lord Charles Beresford, Vice-Admiral Commanding the Channel Fleet, was informed on 14 December that: "These changes are to come in force forthwith."[2]

The Atlantic Fleet's task was to cruise between its base at Gibraltar and the base at Berehaven in Ireland, with the ability to reinforce either the Channel Fleet or the Mediterranean. To this end it was decreed in early 1905 that the Atlantic Fleet would hold combined manœuvres twice a year with the Mediterranean Fleet, at the end of April and the beginning of August, and once a year with the Channel Fleet in February.

Its geographical sphere of operations was loosely defined as west to the Azores, north to Cape Finisterre, east to Sicily and south to the Canary Islands. In time of peace, Gibraltar came under the direct command of the Commander-in-Chief of the Atlantic Fleet, but is was decided that in the event of war the key strategic port would pass to the control of the Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet.

From 11 July, 1905 the Fleet, composed mainly of battleships paid a visit to the French port of Brest to foster goodwill, and spent a week there as guests of the French Navy.

Further Changes

In 1906 the fleets were reorganised again to an extent, with reserve elements of the home forces united into the Home Fleet - the active force being provided by two battleships each from the three ocean-going fleets (Channel, Atlantic and Mediterranean), with the rest of its fighting ability relying on the Nucleus-crew System instituted by Fisher.

In July, 1907 the Atlantic Fleet, under Vice-Admiral The Hon. Sir Assheton G. Curzon-Howe was dispatched to the City of Quebec to celebrate the Canadian Province's Tercentenary.

Interestingly, the appointment of Captain Herbert W. Savory, Vice-Admiral Curzon-Howe's Flag Captain, as Chief of the Staff was refused.[3]

In March, 1909 the Channel Fleet was absorbed into the Home Fleet, giving Britain her front-line naval force to face the Imperial German Navy. The Atlantic Fleet, while retaining its independent status, was now assigned to act as a fully-manned and trained adjunct to the Home Fleet in the time of war, and to reflect this its main base of operations was moved to Dover. When Prince Louis of Battenberg was succeeded in command of the fleet by Sir John Jellicoe on 20 December, 1910, the officer in command lost the status of Commander-in-Chief.[4]

On 1 May, 1912 the fleets were again reorganised to completely unify the home command. The Battle Squadron, Atlantic Fleet became the Third Battle Squadron of the First Fleet and the fleet went out of existence until the name was given to the fleet in home waters in 1919, after the dispersal of the Grand Fleet.

Composition

December, 1904

On 17 July, 1905 Prince George was replaced by H.M.S. New Zealand.

1907

1910

At the time of manœuvres on 4 July, 1910.

1912

Commanders of the Atlantic Fleet

The Fleet was generally under command of the "Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet" except for a period in 1910-1912, where the position was dubbed "Vice-Admiral Commanding, Atlantic Fleet".

Seconds-in-Command, Atlantic Fleet

Destroyer Flotilla Commanders

Chiefs of Staff

Captains of the Fleet

Footnotes

  1. Published as a Command Paper: Navy: Distribution and Mobilization of the Fleet. Cd. 2335. p. 2.
  2. Permanent Secretary to the Board of Admiralty to Vice-Admiral Commanding the Channel Fleet. Letter M.14018 of 14 December, 1904. The National Archives. ADM 144/16. f. 208.
  3. Savory Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 1154.
  4. "Naval Commands Afloat" (News). The Times. Tuesday, 3 January, 1911. Issue 39472, col A, p. 5.
  5. Curzon-Howe Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/18. f. 529.
  6. Curzon-Howe Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/18. f. 529.
  7. Milford Haven Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/86. f. 207.
  8. Jellicoe Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 693.
  9. Jellicoe Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 693.
  10. Burney Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 84/180.
  11. "End of Grand Fleet" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Thursday, 3 April, 1919. Issue 42065, col D, p. 13.
  12. Madden Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/87. f. 124.
  13. Madden Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/87. f. 124.
  14. "Flag Command Changes" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Wednesday, 21 December, 1921. Issue 42909, col D, p. 14.
  15. de Robeck Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 285.
  16. "Navy Command Changes" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Thursday, 13 March, 1924. Issue 43599, col D, p. 14.
  17. Oliver Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 187.
  18. Oliver Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 187.
  19. "Atlantic Fleet Command" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Saturday, 12 March, 1927. Issue 44528, col B, p. 12.
  20. "Atlantic Fleet Command" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Thursday, 1 November, 1928. Issue 45039, col D, p. 11.
  21. Chatfield Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 346.
  22. "Naval, Military, and Air Force" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Wednesday, 9 April, 1930. Issue 45483, col E, p. 10.
  23. Hodges Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 250.
  24. "Naval, Military, and Air Force" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Tuesday, 6 October, 1931. Issue 45946, col D, p. 6.
  25. Kelly Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/89. f. 109.
  26. Kelly Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/89. f. 109.
  27. Bridgeman Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 167.
  28. Bridgeman Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 167.
  29. Milne Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. p. 893.
  30. Milne Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. p. 893.
  31. Egerton Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 396.
  32. Egerton Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 396.
  33. Jellicoe Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 693.
  34. Jellicoe Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 693.
  35. Fisher Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 459.
  36. Fisher Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 459.
  37. Keppel Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 168.
  38. Keppel Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 168.
  39. Cradock Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 89.
  40. Cradock Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 89.
  41. The Navy List. (April, 1920). p. 697.
  42. The Navy List. (January, 1921). p. 753.
  43. Hodges Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 471.
  44. Waistell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 179/344.
  45. Waistell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 179/344.
  46. MacLean Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 390.
  47. MacLean Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 390.
  48. Fuller Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 460.
  49. Fuller Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 460.
  50. Davies Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 413.
  51. Davies Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 413.

Bibliography

See Also