Battlecruiser Squadron

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Battlecruiser Squadron
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Active1919
Disbanded1941
CountryFlag United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.gif United Kingdom
AllegianceBritish Empire
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
TypeSquadron
Commanders
In CommandRear/Vice-Admiral Commanding, Battlecruiser Squadron

The Battlecruiser Squadron was a formation of Battlecruisers of the Royal Navy, it was formed in 1919 and disbanded in 1941.

It was commanded at different times either the Rear-Admiral Commanding, Battle Cruiser Squadron or Vice-Admiral Commanding, Battle Cruiser Squadron.

History

During the First World War, the Royal Navy had initially maintained three squadrons of battlecruisers, until losses at the Battle of Jutland had reduced the number of available battlecruisers sufficiently to warrant a reduction to two squadrons. Following the War, battlecruiser numbers were again increased to three, with a fourth building.

In late 1919, the Battlecruiser Squadron was formed, consisting of HMS Tiger (1913), flagship of Rear Admiral Sir Roger B. Keyes, KCB, KCVO, CMG, along with HMS Repulse (1916). HMS Tiger was removed from operational service with the commissioning of HMS Hood in May 1920, and relegated to a training role. HMS Hood then became the flagship of the Battlecruiser Squadron on 18 May 1920.

In 1923, HMS Hood and HMS Repulse, along with several smaller ships of the First Light Cruiser Squadron, formed part of the Special Service Squadron, under command of Vice-Admiral Sir Frederick Field. The Squadron departed Devonport on 27 November 1923 and returned on 29 September 1924 after travelling around the world.

During the Inter-War Period HMS Hood was decommissioned for a major overhaul from May 1929 to May 1931. During this period, flagship duties were transferred to Renown, and Tiger was returned to active service, to maintain the three ship strength of the squadron. Following her recommissioning, Hood again became flagship of the squadron, and remained the flagship until her loss on 24 May 1941. Tiger was decommissioned on 30 March 1931 and scrapped shortly after.

During World War Two HMS Hood was lost in action with the German battleship Bismarck at the Battle of Denmark Strait on 24 May 1941. HMS Repulse was sunk by Japanese aircraft off Kuantan, Malaya on 10 December 1941. With the loss of the Hood and later the Repulse, the squadron ceased to exist. HMS Renown survived the war and was scrapped in 1948.

In Command

Rear-Admiral/Vice-Admiral Commanding (1919-41)

Rear-Admiral/Vice-Admiral Commanding, Battlecruiser Squadron
Rank Flag Name Term Flagship
1 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Sir Roger B. Keyes, KCB, KCVO, CMG 8 April 1919 – 31 March 1921 Tiger
Hood
2 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Sir Walter H. Cowan, DSO 31 March 1921 – 15 May 1923 Hood
3 Vice-Admiral Vice Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Sir Frederick L Field 5 May 1923 – 13 October 1924
4 Vice-Admiral Vice Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Cyril T.M. Fuller, CB, CMG, DSO 30 April 1925 – 21 May 1927
5 Vice-Admiral Vice Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Sir Frederic C. Dreyer, CB, CBE 21 May 1927 – 21 May 1929
6 Vice-Admiral Vice Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png A. Dudley P. R. Pound 21 May 1929 – 24 April 1931 Renown
7 Vice-Admiral Vice Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Wilfred Tomkinson, CB, MVO 24 April 1931 – 15 August 1934 Hood
8 Vice-Admiral Vice Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Sir William M. James, CB 15 August 1932 – 14 August 1934
9 Vice-Admiral Vice Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Sir Sidney R. Bailey 14 August 1934 – 22 July 1936
10 Vice-Admiral Vice Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Sir Geoffrey Blake, CB, DSO 22 July 1936 – 3 July 1937
11 Vice-Admiral Vice Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Sir Andrew B. Cunningham, CB, DSO 3 July 1937 – 23 July 1938
12 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Geoffrey Layton, CB, DSO 23 July 1938 – 1 June 1939
13 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png William J. Whitworth, CB, DSO 1 June 1939 – 11 March 1940
14 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Sir James Somerville, KCB, DSO 30 June - 10 August 1940
15 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png William J. Whitworth, CB, DSO 10 August 1940 – 8 May 1941
16 Vice-Admiral Vice Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Lancelot E. Holland, CB 12–24 May 1941

References