Channel Fleet (Royal Navy)

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History, 1903-1909

Vice-Admiral The Right Hon. Lord Charles Beresford was appointed Vice-Admiral Commanding, Channel Squadron, on 17 April, 1903.[1] On 6 May he was informed by the Admiralty "that for the future the Channel Squadron shall be known as the Channel Fleet."[2]

On 14 December, 1904, the Admiralty informed the Commander-in-Chief of the Home Fleet, Sir Arthur K. Wilson, that his command would forthwith be styled "The Channel Fleet", and that he would be styled "The Commander in Chief of the Channel Fleet."[3]

Admiral Beresford succeeded Wilson in absentia on 4 March, 1907.[4]

Seconds-in-Command

On 5 June, 1903, Rear-Admiral The Honourable Hedworth Lambton succeeded Rear-Admiral The Honourable Assheton G. Curzon-Howe as Second-in-Command of the Channel Fleet.[5] He was succeeded by Rear-Admiral Francis C. B. Bridgeman on 25 June, 1904.[6]

Rear-Admiral Charles J. Barlow had been Second-in-Command of the Home Fleet before it was renamed at the end of 1904. Vice-Admiral Sir Arthur W. Moore was appointed to succeed Barlow as Second-in-Command on 9 May of that year.[7] Vice-Admiral the Honourable Assheton G. Curzon-Howe succeeded Vice-Admiral Moore on 5 December.[8] Vice-Admiral Sir Reginald N. Custance was appointed Second-in-Command dated 23 February, 1907.[9] Custance was succeeded by Vice-Admiral Sir A. Berkeley Milne on 12 June, 1908.[10][11] Milne remained as Second-in-Command until the Channel Fleet was absorbed into the Home Fleet.

Rear-Admirals in the Channel Fleet

Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Poore, Bart., Rear-Admiral in the Mediterranean Fleet,[12] was transferred to the Channel Fleet with four battleships from the Mediterranean in February, 1905.[13] Rear-Admiral Robert L. Groome succeeded Rear-Admiral Poore on 16 November, 1905.[14] Rear-Admiral George A. Callaghan was appointed in succession to Groome on 16 November, 1906.[15] Rear-Admiral Robert S. Lowry was appointed as Rear-Admiral in the Channel Fleet on 5 April, 1907.[16] Lowry struck his flag on 30 September, 1907, and on 1 October Rear-Admiral Francis J. Foley hoisted his flag in the battleship Illustrious.[17] Rear-Admiral James Startin succeeded Foley on 1 October, 1908, hoisting his flag in London, and transferring it to Hibernia on 28 May 1909.[18][19] Startin left on 9 October, 1909 and went onto half pay the following day.[20]

Destroyers

At the end of August, 1907 the Second and Fourth Destroyer Flotillas and the Home Fleet flotillas under Commodore Bayly ceased to be the responsibility of the Rear-Admiral Commanding Torpedo Boats, Robert A. J. Montgomerie, who with the First and Third Flotillas was transferred to the Channel Fleet.[21] Rear-Admiral Montgomerie consequently became Rear-Admiral (D) in the Channel Fleet. It was decided in November that his appointment would lapse after his term of service was completed,[22] and he struck his flag at sunset on 1 January, 1908.[23] On that day command of the "Western Group" of destroyers, as the Channel Fleet's flotillas were now known,[24] devolved upon Captain Walter H. Cowan.[25] On 5 January, 1909, Cowan was succeeded by Captain Edwyn S. Alexander-Sinclair,[26] in command of what had become the Channel Fleet Destroyer Flotilla.[27]

History, 1914-1915

In the Royal Navy's War Orders from 1912 onwards it was decided that in the event of war with Germany the First Fleet of the Home Fleets would become the Grand Fleet, and the Second and Third Fleets would become the Southern Battle Fleet, known as the Channel Fleet. In August, 1914, under Vice-Admiral Sir Cecil Burney, it was composed of the Fifth Battle Squadron and the Seventh Battle Squadron, with attached light cruisers. The Seventh Battle Squadron was quickly dispersed for other duties, and in November, the Sixth Battle Squadron was formed from the Duncan class battleships of the Third Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet and joined the Channel Fleet. On 20 December, Vice-Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly succeeded Sir Cecil Burney. After the loss of the Formidable to submarine attack on 1 January, 1915, Bayly was relieved by Vice-Admiral The Hon. Sir. Alexander E. Bethell on 17 January. As 1915 wore on battleship divisions of the Fleet were dispersed, primarily to the Mediterranean for the Dardanelles Campaign, until by May only a number of battleships under the command of Vice-Admiral Bethell were left.

Admirals and Vice-Admirals Commanding

Dates of appointment given:

Seconds-in-Command

Dates of appointment given:

The contradiction between Barlow and Bridgeman is noted. Perhaps importantly, Barlow's service record indicates "Home Fleet", crossed out and corrected, perhaps in error, to "Channel Fleet", though his last day matches the successor perfectly.

Composition

November, 1905:[46]

Battle Squadron
Albemarle RAdmRN.png Albion Cæsar VAdmRN.png Cornwallis
Duncan Exmouth AdmRN.png Glory Jupiter
Montagu Prince George Russell Swiftsure
Triumph
Cruisers attached to Battle Squadron
Dido Juno Topaze
Attached Cruisers
Patrol Sapphire RAdmRN.png
Destroyer Flotilla
First Division Second Division Third Division
Flirt Gala Blackwater
Kestrel Greyhound Express
Peterel Mermaid Kennet
Recruit Racehorse Leopard
Thorn Ribble Osprey
Tiger Roebuck Ostrich
Vigilant Teviot Vixen
Wizard Wolf Waveney

June, 1906:[47]

Battle Squadron
Albemarle RAdmRN.png Cæsar VAdmRN.png Canopus Duncan
Exmouth AdmRN.png Glory Goliath Illustrious
Jupiter Montagu Ocean Prince George
Russell Swiftsure Triumph Vengeance
Cruisers attached to Battle Squadron
Dido Juno Topaze
Attached Cruisers
Pathfinder Patrol Sapphire RAdmRN.png Sentinel Tyne
Destroyer Flotillas
First Flotilla Second Flotilla Third Flotilla
Boyne Earnest Arab
Crane Exe Arun
Derwent Lively Cheerful
Doon Ness Express
Fawn Nith Foyle
Flirt Orwell Greyhound
Garry Seal Itchen
Kangaroo Sprightly Liffey
Myrmidon Swale Moy
Peterel Thrasher Ouse
Ribble Ure Racehorse
Waveney Wear Roebuck

Footnotes

  1. The Navy List. (June, 1903). p. 216.
  2. Letter No 743 of 6 May, 1903. The National Archives. ADM 144/16. f. 60.
  3. M.14018. The National Archives. ADM 144/17. f. 225.
  4. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Monday, 4 March, 1907. Issue 38271, col D, p. 10.
  5. Meux Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 774.
  6. Bridgeman Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 167.
  7. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Wednesday, 26 April, 1905. Issue 37691, col B, p. 8.
  8. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Monday, 13 November, 1905. Issue 37863, col B, p. 7.
  9. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Saturday, 2 February, 1907. Issue 38246, col F, p. 11.
  10. Custance Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 275.
  11. Milne Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. p. 893.
  12. "Naval & Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Saturday, 8 October, 1904. Issue 37520, col C, p. 8.
  13. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Tuesday, 17 January, 1905. Issue 37606, col B, p. 9.
  14. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Thursday, 2 November, 1905. Issue 37854, col A, p. 8.
  15. Callaghan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 202.
  16. Lowry Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 800.
  17. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Tuesday, 17 September, 1907. Issue 38440, col A, p. 4.
  18. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Monday, 14 September, 1908. Issue 38751, col E, p. 6.
  19. Startin Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 502.
  20. Startin Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 502.
  21. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Tuesday, 13 August, 1907. Issue 38410, col B, p. 10.
  22. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Monday, 25 November, 1907. Issue 38499, col C, p. 4.
  23. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Thursday, 19 December, 1907. Issue 38520, col B, p. 10.
  24. Friedman. British Destroyers. p. 272.
  25. Cowan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. p. 249.
  26. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Thursday, 3 December, 1908. Issue 38820, col C, p. 7.
  27. Alexander-Sinclair Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. p. 361.
  28. Letter No 743 of 6 May, 1903. The National Archives. ADM 144/16. f. 60.
  29. M.14018. The National Archives. ADM 144/17. f. 225.
  30. Beresford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 90.
  31. Beresford Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/16. f. 471.
  32. Meux Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 774.
  33. Meux Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/19. f. 500.
  34. Bridgeman Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 167.
  35. Bridgeman Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 167.
  36. Barlow Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 31.
  37. Barlow Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 31.
  38. Moore Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 915.
  39. Moore Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 915.
  40. Curzon-Howe Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 275.
  41. Curzon-Howe Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/18. f. 529.
  42. Custance Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 275.
  43. Custance Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/17. f. 535.
  44. Milne Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 893.
  45. Milne Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. p. 893.
  46. The Navy List. (November, 1905). pp. 267, 269.
  47. The Navy List. (June, 1906). pp. 267, 269.

Bibliography

See Also