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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Channel Fleet
HMSminotaur.jpg
British ironclad HMS Minotaur as Channel Fleet flagship, c. 1875-1887.
Active 1859-1909, 1914-1915
Country  United Kingdom
Branch
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Royal Navy
Type Fleet
Garrison/HQ Torbay, Falmouth and Plymouth.

The Channel Fleet and originally known as the Channel Squadron [1] was the Royal Navy formation of warships that defended the waters of the English Channel from 1859 to 1909 and 1914 to 1915.

History

Throughout the course of Royal Navy's history there had been different squadrons stationed in home waters. One of the earliest known naval formations to be based at Plymouth was called the Western Squadron [2][3][4] which was the forerunner of the Channel Squadron that was later known as the Channel Fleet.[5] In 1650 Captain William Penn, Commander-in-Chief, was charged with guarding the Channel from Beachy Head to Lands End with six ships. This system continued following the Restoration. It was the start of what was to become a Western Squadron.[6] In 1690 the squadron operated out of Plymouth Dockyard during wartime periods which was for most of the 18th century and early 19th century.[7][8] In 1858 The Channel Squadron and sometimes known as the Particular Service Squadron was established.[9] The Channel Squadron only became a permanent formation in 1858.[10]

During the 19th century, as the French developed Cherbourg as a base for steam-powered ships, the Royal Navy developed Portland Harbour as a base for the fleet.[11] The harbour was built between 1849 and 1872 when the Royal Navy created a breakwater made of blocks from local quarries on the Isle of Portland.[12]

With the amelioration of Anglo-French relations, and the rise of German militarism towards 1900, the need for a Channel Formation diminished and the main European naval arena shifted to the North Sea. Admiral Sir Arthur Wilson was officially "Senior Officer in Command of the Channel Squadron" from 1901 to 1903. His subordinate flag officer in that squadron was the Second-in-Command, who commanded a division of battleships. For the period 1858 to 1903 the Channel squadron was often incorrectly referred to as the Channel Fleet.[13]

On 17 April 1903 The Right Hon. Lord Charles Beresford was appointed Vice-Admiral Commanding, Channel Squadron.[14] On 6 May 1903 Admiral Beresford was informed by the Admiralty "that for the future the Channel Squadron shall be known as the Channel Fleet."[15] On 14 December 1904 the Channel Fleet was re-styled the 'Atlantic Fleet' and the Home Fleet became the 'Channel Fleet'.[16]

On 24 March 1909, under a fleet re-organisation, the Channel Fleet became the 2nd Division of the Home Fleet.[17]

Vice-Admiral Commanding Channel Squadron

Post holders have included:[18][19]

Note:Channel Squadron - renamed The Channel Fleet, September, 1901

Second-in-Command Channel Squadron

Post holders included:[20]

  • Rear-Admiral Henry Chads, 1 October 1869.
  • Rear-Admiral William M. Dowell, 1877
  • Rear-Admiral Henry Boys, 1878
  • Rear-Admiral The Hon. Henry C. Glyn, 20 June 1881.
  • Rear-Admiral Sir Francis W. Sullivan, 14 August 1882
  • Rear-Admiral John C. Wilson, 1 April 1883
  • Rear-Admiral William H. Whyte, 13 May 1884
  • Rear-Admiral Algernon C. F. Heneage, 3 July 1885 – 7 August 1886
  • Rear-Admiral The Hon.Edmund R. Fremantle , 9 August 1886
  • Rear-Admiral Charles J. Rowley, 18 August 1887
  • Rear-Admiral St. George Caulfield d′Arcy-Irvine, 1 September 1888
  • Rear-Admiral Richard E. Tracey, 12 September 1889
  • Rear-Admiral Loftus F. Jones, 12 September 1890
  • Rear-Admiral Edward S. Adeane, 15 September 1891
  • Rear-Admiral Edward H. Seymour, 16 September 1892 – 25 April 1894
  • Rear-Admiral Alfred T. Dale, 25 April 1894 – 20 April 1895
  • Rear-Admiral Arthur H. Alington, 1 May 1895
  • Rear-Admiral Armand T. Powlett, 1 May 1896 – 19 May 1897
  • Rear-Admiral John Fellowes, 19 May 1897
  • Rear-Admiral John W. Brackenbury, 1 June 1898
  • Rear-Admiral Arthur D. Fanshawe, 1 June 1899 – 31 May 1900
  • Rear-Admiral Albert B. Jenkings, 1 June 1900 - 5 June 1901
  • Rear-Admiral Sir William A. D. Acland, Bart., 5 June 1901 – September 1901

Commanders-in-Chief Channel Fleet

Note Channel Fleet is re-named Atlantic Fleet 1909-1914

Second-in-Command Channel Fleet

Post holders included:[21]

Rear-Admirals in the Channel Fleet

Post holders included:[22]

  • Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Poore, : February, 1905 - 16 November 1905
  • Rear-Admiral Robert L. Groome: 16 November 1905 - 16 November 1906
  • Rear-Admiral George A. Callaghan: 16 November 1906 - 5, April 1907
  • Rear-Admiral Robert S. Lowry: 5, April, 1907 - 1 October 1907
  • Rear-Admiral Francis J. Foley: 1 October 1907 - 1 October 1908
  • Rear-Admiral James Startin: 1 October 1908 - 9 October 1909

Components

1895

Distribution of the Fleet first included:[23]
Unit Date Notes
1 Battleships 4 September 1895 5 ships: Royal Sovereign, Empress of India, Resolution, and Repulse.
2 Cruisers 4 September 1895 5 ships: Blenheim, Endymion, Bellona, Halcyon, and Speedy.

1901 to 1904

Distribution of the Fleet first included:[24]

Of note:As the Channel Squadron - renamed The Channel Fleet, September, 1901.

Unit Date Notes
1 Battleships September 1901 - 1904 5 ships
2 Cruiser Squadron September 1901 - 1904 10 ships

1905 to 1907

Distribution of the Fleet first included:[25]
Unit Date Notes
1 Battleships January 1905-February 1907 12 ships - increased to 18 by 1907
2 1st Cruiser Squadron January 1905-February 1907 5 ships to 1905 + 2 more ships from 1906
3 Channel Fleet Flotilla January 1905-February 1907 consisting of destroyers and divided into 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Divisions

1907 to 1909

Distribution of the Fleet first included:[26]
Unit Date Notes
1 Battleships March 1907-March 1909 14 ships
2 1st Cruiser Squadron March 1907-March 1909 6 ships
3 Channel Fleet Flotilla March 1907-March 1909 divided into 1st Destroyer Flotilla & 3rd Destroyer Flotilla in March.1909

1914 to 1915

Of note: On 8 August 1914, ships from the pre-war Second and Third Fleets were organised into the Channel Fleet.

Distribution of the Fleet first included:[27]
Unit Date Notes
1 5th Battle Squadron August 1914-March 1915 Transferred from 2nd Fleet
2 8th Battle Squadron August 1914-March 1915 7th and 8th BattSq's (3rd Fleet) merged to form 8th BattSq - dispersed 20/08/14
3 5th Cruiser Squadron August 1914-March 1915
4 6th Cruiser Squadron August 1914-March 1915
5 7th Cruiser Squadron August 1914-March 1915
6 8th Cruiser Squadron August 1914-March 1915
7 9th Cruiser Squadron August 1914-March 1915
8 10th Cruiser Squadron August 1914-March 1915
9 11th Cruiser Squadron August 1914-March 1915
10 12th Cruiser Squadron August 1914-March 1915

In literature

The Channel Fleet features in several historical novels about the Royal Navy, notably Hornblower and the Hotspur by C. S. Forester, in which Forester's fictional hero becomes a favourite of the real Channel Fleet commander, Admiral William Cornwallis. The fleet also features in several of the Aubrey-Maturin novels by Patrick O'Brian.

The novel Billy Budd by Herman Melville is set on board ships of the Channel Fleet, in the immediate aftermath of the Spithead and Nore mutinies of 1797.

In the novel The War of the Worlds, the Channel Fleet protects the huge mass of refugee shipping escaping from the Essex coast in the face of the Martian onslaught. The initial heroic fight of HMS Thunder Child and the subsequent general engagement, is detailed in the chapter entitled "The Thunderchild".

References

Footnotes

  1. ^ Archives, The National. "Admiralty: Channel Squadron and Fleet: Correspondence". discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk. National Archives UK, ADM 144, 1859-1910. Retrieved 8 February 2018. 
  2. ^ Weigley, Russell F. (2004). The Age of Battles: The Quest for Decisive Warfare from Breitenfeld to Waterloo. Indiana University Press. p. 331. ISBN 0253217075. 
  3. ^ Ranft, Bryan (1995). The Oxford illustrated history of the Royal Navy. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. p. 144. ISBN 9780198605270. 
  4. ^ "THE ROYAL NAVY AND THE FRENCH WARS: THE LONG-TERM BACKGROUND: by Jeremy Black, University of Exeter" (PDF). napoleonicsociety.com. The Napoleonic Society, 2011. Retrieved 27 December 2017. 
  5. ^ Mackesy, Piers (1964). The War for America: 1775-1783. Lincoln, Nebraska, USA: U of Nebraska Press. p. 192. ISBN 0803281927. 
  6. ^ Saunders, Andrew (1997). Book of Channel defences. London: Batsford [u.a.] p. 32. ISBN 9780713475944. 
  7. ^ Annal, David; Collins, Audrey (2012). Birth, Marriage and Death Records: A Guide for Family Historians. Casemate Publishers. p. 24. ISBN 9781848845725. 
  8. ^ "Royal Navy Dockyards: Plymouth". rmg.co.uk. Royal Museums Greenwich, 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017. 
  9. ^ Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony. "Channel Squadron (Royal Navy) - The Dreadnought Project". www.dreadnoughtproject.org. Harley & Lovell, 26 November 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017. 
  10. ^ William Loney RN: Channel Fleet
  11. ^ Channel Fleet The Heritage Coast
  12. ^ Portland Harbour Authority: History Archived December 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ Davis, Peter. "The Times newspaper on the Channel Squadron, 1858-1862". www.pdavis.nl. Peter Davis. Retrieved 27 December 2017. 
  14. ^ Harley & Lovell, 2017
  15. ^ Harley & Lovell, 2017
  16. ^ National Archives records
  17. ^ HMS Bulwark Archived August 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ Mackie, Colin. "Royal Navy Senior Appointments from 1865" (PDF). gulabin.com. Colin Mackie, December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017. 
  19. ^ Whitaker's Almanacks 1900 - 1909
  20. ^ Harley & Lovell, 2017
  21. ^ Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony. "Channel Fleet (Royal Navy) - The Dreadnought Project". www.dreadnoughtproject.org. Harley and Lovell, 7 February 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2018. 
  22. ^ Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony. "Channel Fleet (Royal Navy) - The Dreadnought Project". www.dreadnoughtproject.org. Harley and Lovell, 7 February 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2018. 
  23. ^ "CHANNEL SQUADRON. (Hansard, 4 September 1895)". hansard.millbanksystems.com. Hansard, HC Deb 04 September 1895 vol 36 cc1688-9. Retrieved 24 February 2018. 
  24. ^ Watson, Dr Graham. "Royal Navy Organisation and Ship Deployments 1900-1914". www.naval-history.net. Gordon Smith, 8 August 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2018. 
  25. ^ Watson, 2015.
  26. ^ Watson, 2015.
  27. ^ Watson, Dr Graham. "Royal Navy Organisation and Ship Deployment, Inter-War Years      1914-1918". www.naval-history.net. Gordon Smith, 27 October 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2018. 

Sources

  • Annal, David; Collins, Audrey (2012). Birth, Marriage and Death Records: A Guide for Family Historians. Casemate Publishers. ISBN 9781848845725.
  • Archives, The National. (1859-1910) "Admiralty: Channel Squadron and Fleet: Correspondence". discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk. National Archives UK. ADM 144.
  • Black, Jeremy, (2011) "THE ROYAL NAVY AND THE FRENCH WARS: THE LONG-TERM BACKGROUND: University of Exeter" (PDF). napoleonicsociety.com. The Napoleonic Society.
  • Davis, Peter. "The Times newspaper on the Channel Squadron, 1858-1862". www.pdavis.nl. Peter Davis.
  • Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony. (2018) "Channel Fleet (Royal Navy) - The Dreadnought Project". www.dreadnoughtproject.org. Harley and Lovell.
  • Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony. (2017) "Channel Squadron (Royal Navy) - The Dreadnought Project". www.dreadnoughtproject.org. Harley & Lovell.
  • Loney, William. RN. "Channel Squadron, the Naval Intelligence column of the Times newspaper refer to the activities of the Squadron in the period 1858-1862". www.pdavis.nl/Channel.php. William Loney.
  • Mackesy, Piers (1964). The War for America: 1775-1783. Lincoln, Nebraska, USA: U of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0803281927.
  • Mackie, Colin. (2017) "Royal Navy Senior Appointments from 1865" (PDF). gulabin.com. Colin Mackie.
  • Ranft, Bryan (1995). The Oxford illustrated history of the Royal Navy. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198605270.
  • Royal Museums Greenwich. "Royal Navy Dockyards: Plymouth". (2017). rmg.co.uk. Royal Museums Greenwich.
  • Saunders, Andrew (1997). Book of Channel defences. London: Batsford [u.a.] ISBN 9780713475944.
  • Watson, Dr Graham. (2015) "Royal Navy Organisation and Ship Deployments 1900-1914". www.naval-history.net. Gordon Smith.
  • Watson, Dr Graham. (2015) "Royal Navy Organisation and Ship Deployment, Inter-War Years 1914-1918". www.naval-history.net. Gordon Smith.
  • Whitaker's Almanacks (1900 - 1909).
  • Weigley, Russell F. (2004). The Age of Battles: The Quest for Decisive Warfare from Breitenfeld to Waterloo. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253217075.

Further reading

  • Rodger, N.A.M. (1979). The Admiralty. Lavenham, England: T. Dalton. ISBN 9780900963940. 
This page was last edited on 26 August 2018, at 06:31
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