Fourteenth Submarine Flotilla (Royal Navy)

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Vulcan's Flotilla, a formation of submarines of the Royal Navy named for their depot ship, was established in February or March, 1917 under the command of Vice-Admiral, Queenstown, charged with operating against enemy submarines off the West Coast of Ireland.[1]

Some time between September and November, 1918, it was re-designated as the Fourteenth Submarine Flotilla.

History

Operating alongside Platypus's Flotilla from Killybegs between March and September 1917, the two formations covered a patrol region ranging from 54 to 57 degrees north, west of 9 degrees West in 1917, managing 13 contacts and three attacks between May and December, 1917.[2] 

March, 1917

Vulcan's Flotilla is named for the first time in the Navy List, formed in this month or the previous one (no February edition of the Navy List was located). It is comprised of the eponymous depot ship, which brought D 3, D 7 and D 8 with her from the Third Submarine Flotilla.

E 32 and E 54 came from the Ninth Submarine Flotilla. H 5 and H 8 came from the Eighth Submarine Flotilla.

Some of the subs are noted, indistinctly, as being "tender to H.M.S. Vivid."[3][4]

Under Vice-Admiral, Queenstown
Depot Ship
Vulcan
Submarines
D 3 D 7 D 8 E 32 E 54
H 5 H 8

April, 1917

Vice-Admiral, Queenstown now has Platypus's Flotilla operating in tandem with Vulcan's, and it has been decided that this new flotilla should have all the "D" class boats. Therefore, D 3, D 7 and D 8 are transferred to Platypus's formation. Vulcan retains her "H" and "E" boats, joined by E 23, E 35 and E 56 from the Ninth Submarine Flotilla and E 48, which appears to be new in service. The flotilla strength is now a depot ship and eight submarines.[5][6]

At Vice-Admiral, Queenstown
Depot /Flagship
Vulcan
Submarines
E 23 E 32 E 35 E 48 E 54 E 56
H 5 H 8

This roster and posting would apply until July.[7]

July, 1917

The ships have not changed, but the flotilla is now operating out of Rathmullen, and is part of the Northern Division of the Coast of Ireland Station. Vulcan is now noted as carrying a Captain (S). Strength is a depot ship and eight submarines.[8]

Part of Coast of Ireland Station's Northern Division, out of Rathmullen
Depot Ship, Captain (S)
Vulcan
Submarines
E 23 E 32 E 35 E 48 E 54 E 56
H 5 H 8

August, 1917

The roster is unchanged, but the base is now Killybegs. Strength is a depot ship and eight submarines.[9]

Part of Coast of Ireland Station's Northern Division, out of Killybegs
Depot Ship, Captain (S)
Vulcan
Submarines
E 23 E 32 E 35 E 48 E 54 E 56
H 5 H 8

September, 1917

The roster is unchanged, but the flotilla moved this month to Berehaven and the patrol lines moved to the approached to the St. George's and English Channels. Strength is a depot ship and eight submarines.[10][11]

Part of Coast of Ireland Station's Northern Division, out of Berehaven
Depot Ship, Captain (S)
Vulcan
Submarines
E 23 E 32 E 35 E 48 E 54 E 56
H 5 H 8

October, 1917

The flotilla has now been transferred to the Southern Division. A ship named Mana has also attached and Result would come in November, but I cannot find out what sort of ships these are and they are listed intermittently. Strength is a depot ship, eight submarines and, sometimes, Mana and Result.[12]

Part of Coast of Ireland Station's Southern Division, out of Berehaven
Depot Ship, Captain (S)
Vulcan
Submarines
E 23 E 32 E 35 E 48 E 54 E 56
H 5 H 8

Excepting Mana and Result, this arrangement would apply until December.[13]

December, 1917

E 35, E 48 have left to provide "detached service" of some kind and E 56 has gone to the Ninth Submarine Flotilla. Ambrose is now the depot ship, but attached to the Southern Division and not directly to the Flotilla, it appears. Strength is a depot ship and five submarines.[14]

Part of Coast of Ireland Station's Southern Division, out of Berehaven
Flaghip, Captain (S)
Vulcan
Submarines, tender to Ambrose
E 23 E 32 E 54
H 5 H 8

January, 1918

In this month, the label "Vulcan's Flotilla" is no longer used, and Ambrose seems to have come in and usurped Captain (S) housing. I think it fair to state that Vulcan's Flotilla has merged into Ambrose's Flotilla from here, though it would fork off again in April.[15]

Subsumed into Ambrose's Flotilla
To be re-instituted in April, 1918

March, 1918

On 15 March, Vulcan took two "H" class submarines with her to Kingstown, where a berth had been dredged for her. This location afforded easier access to the Irish Sea patrol lines.[16]

April, 1918

After three months of subordinate work in Ambrose's Flotilla, Vulcan's Flotilla is again broken out as a separate formation. Vulcan has just a single submarine – H 8, which she prised away from Ambrose – as opposed to ten under Ambrose. Vulcan no longer has a Captain (S) embarked.[17]

Part of Coast of Ireland Station's Southern Division, out of Kingstown
Flotilla Lead Ship
Vulcan
Submarines
H 8

This humble force would remain until June, though it would seem more important when Ambrose and her flotilla suddenly decamped in May to take up "miscellaneous service".[18]

June, 1918

H 11, H 12 and H 14 have joined from who knows where.[19]

Part of Coast of Ireland Station's Southern Division, out of Berehaven (?)
Flotilla Lead Ship
Vulcan
Submarines
  H 8 H 11 H 12 H 14

July, 1918

Vulcan again has a Captain (S) aboard, and H 14 has paid off. Bushnell's Flotilla, an American submarine formation, is noted to be operating in concert.[20]

Part of Coast of Ireland Station's Southern Division, out of Berehaven (?)
Flotilla Flagship, Captain (S)
Vulcan
Submarines
  H 8 H 11 H 12 H 14*

This arrangement would apply until some time between September and November.[21]

November, 1918

The flotilla is referred to as the "Fourteenth Submarine Flotilla" in the Navy List, and given the now alternate designation of "Vulcan's Flotilla". It has moved to the East Coast of England, leaving the Coast of Ireland Station's Southern Division's theatre to Bushnell's Flotilla. H 14 is still paid off. Six more "H" class subs have joined, as well as L 8 and R 1. There is no outward indication that Vulcan has a Captain (S) aboard.

The flotilla is now comprised of a depot ship, a destroyer and twelve submarines.[22]

Part of East Coast Forces, based in Blyth
Depot Ship
Vulcan
Destroyer
Bonetta
Submarines
H 8 H 11 H 12 H 14* H 15 H 23
H 24 H 25 H 26 H 41 L 8 R 1

December, 1918

H 14 and H 15 have been transferred to the Cruiser Forces in the North Atlantic in a paid off condition. L 8 has beensent to join Ambrose's Flotilla at Devonport. The newly-commissioned boats R 2 and R 9 have joined. The flotilla now has a depot ship, a destroyer and eleven submarines.[23]

Part of East Coast Forces, based in Blyth
Depot Ship
Vulcan
Destroyer
Bonetta
Submarines
  H 8 H 11 H 12 H 23
  H 24 H 25 H 26 H 41
R 1 R 2 R 9

January, 1919

The war over, the flotilla is now part of the Grand Fleet. Bonetta has left. H 8, H 11 and H 12 have been dropped and do not seem to appear elsewhere on the Navy List. R 2 has been sent to the Sixth Submarine Flotilla at Portsmouth. The flotilla now has a depot ship and seven submarines.[24]

Part of the Grand Fleet
Depot Ship
Vulcan
Submarines
H 23 H 24 H 25 H 26 H 41
R 1 R 9

February, 1919

Alecto has come from the Eighth Submarine Flotilla in Dover to assist Vulcan, bringing former charges H 28, H 29 and H 30 with her. The new R 11 has also joined. The flotilla now has two depot ships and eleven submarines.[25][26]

Part of the Grand Fleet
Depot Ships
Vulcan Alecto
Submarines
  H 23 H 24 H 25 H 26
  H 28 H 29 H 30 H 41
R 1 R 9 R 11

March, 1919

A post-war reorganization sees the flotilla's vessels, augmented by the R 10, re-designated as the Fourth Submarine Flotilla. The Fourteenth Flotilla is disestablished.[27]

Disestablished
Not to be re-instituted during the Dreadnought Era

Captains (S)

Dates of appointment given:

Footnotes

  1. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 1, Part 1. p. 4.
  2. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 1, Part 1. pp. 5, 6.
  3. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (March, 1917). p.14.
  4. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (January, 1917). p.13.
  5. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (April, 1917). p.14.
  6. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (March, 1917). p.13.
  7. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (May, 1917). p. 14.
  8. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (July, 1917). p. 17.
  9. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (August, 1917). p. 17.
  10. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (September, 1917). p. 17.
  11. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 1, Part 1. p. 6.
  12. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (October, 1917). p. 17.
  13. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (November, 1917). p. 17.
  14. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (December, 1917). pp. 13, 14, 17.
  15. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (January, 1918). p. 17 and Supplements through April.
  16. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 1, Part 1. p. 7.
  17. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (April, 1918). p. 18.
  18. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (May, 1918). p. 19.
  19. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (June, 1918). p. 18.
  20. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (July, 1918). p. 18.
  21. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (August, 1918). p. 18. No Supplement for September or October was found.
  22. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (November, 1918). p. 15.
  23. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (December, 1918). pp. 15, 17, 21.
  24. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (January, 1919). pp. 11, 16.
  25. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 11.
  26. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (January, 1919). p. 13.
  27. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (March, 1919). pp. 12, 16.
  28. Archdale Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/90. f. 187.
  29. Archdale Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/90. f. 187.

Bibliography

See Also


British Submarine Flotillas
First Submarine Flotilla | Second Submarine Flotilla | Third Submarine Flotilla | Fourth Submarine Flotilla
Fifth Submarine Flotilla | Sixth Submarine Flotilla | Seventh Submarine Flotilla | Eighth Submarine Flotilla
Ninth Submarine Flotilla | Tenth Submarine Flotilla | Eleventh Submarine Flotilla | Twelfth Submarine Flotilla
Thirteenth Submarine Flotilla | Fourteenth Submarine Flotilla | Fifteenth Submarine Flotilla | Sixteenth Submarine Flotilla
Ambrose's Flotilla | Mediterranean Fleet's Flotilla | Platypus's Flotilla | Vulcan's Flotilla | Hong Kong Flotilla