Cape of Good Hope Station

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Cape of Good Hope Station
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Active(1795-1803)
(1806-1857)
(1903-1919)
CountryUnited Kingdom
AllegianceBritish Empire
BranchRoyal Navy
TypeNaval Station
Part ofDepartment of Admiralty
Garrison/HQCape Town Dockyard
South Africa
(1795-1814)
Cape of Good Hope Dockyard
South Africa
(1814-1913)
Simonstown Dockyard
(1914-1919)

Cape of Good Hope was a major command and naval station of the Royal Navy first established from 1795 to 1803, then again from 1806 to 1857 and for a final time from 1903 until 1919.[1] It was one of the geographical divisions into which the Royal Navy divided its worldwide responsibilities. It was defined so by the Department of Admiralty to identify the area jurisdiction of the Commander-in-Chief, Cape of Good Hope

As a result of a change in area of command this station was combined with the West Coast of Africa Station creating the Cape of Good Hope and West Coast of Africa Station in 1857 until 1903 when it was renamed back to the Cape of Good Hope Station.[2] In 1920 it was renamed the Africa Station.

History

The Admirals House, Simons Town Cape of Good Hope, August 30th 1844 by Lt. Humphrey John Julian RN. At the time of this painting Rear-Admiral of the Blue the Hon. Josceline Percy was Commander-in-Chief, Cape of Good Hope his flag is seen in the foreground.

From 1750 to 1779 the Cape of Good Hope became strategically important due to the increasing competition between France and Great Britain for control of the seas.[3] In 1780 Holland joined the American Revolutionary War[4] in alliance[5] with France and Spain against Great Britain; the British Government were aware of the consequences should the Cape of Good Hope fall and the impact it would have on its trade links with India and put a plan into place to capture the Cape and circumvent its use by the enemy. The first attempt was subject to prolonged delays and the fact that the French were able to reinforce their defences enabled them to successfully defend it from the British attack. From 1781 to 1791 various attempts[6] were made to capture the station: all failed and it remained under the control of France and the French were successful in attacking and disrupting the trade cargo of the East India Company's ships that were travelling between Asian subcontinent and Europe.[7] In 1792 hostilities temporarily ceased and by 1793 the Directors of the East India Company expressed their concern[8] about the cape being retained by the French. The British government and the Admiralty decided to act and successfully retook it in 1795:[9] the first Naval base was established at Table Bay.[10]

In 1802 the British government agreed to restore the Cape to the Dutch control but this was not finalized until 1803 and lasted until 1806[11] when a new British Administration under William Pitt cancelled the agreement between both countries and re-took the cape once more in 1807 [12] which effectively from this point on remained under British control. In 1811 the Royal Navy decided it wanted to move from its current base to a new base at Simon's Town bay; however the initial facilities took approximately three years to complete and were not ready until 1814.[13] From 1815 to 1849 the base was mainly used for re-fitting and repair work on vessels and acted as a port of call for nautical surveyors who were mapping the region. During the 1850s and 1860s improvements were made to the dockyard facilities with some being re-built in order to accommodate larger ships. In 1857 due to a change in area of command it was combined with the West Coast of Africa Station to form the Cape of Good Hope and West Coast of Africa Station. In 1903 the previous station was renamed back to Cape of Good Hope Station until 1919.

In Command

Components under this command

The station encompassed a number of shore establishments and naval formations and other ships not attached to other fleets.

Formations

# Formation Name Active
1. West Africa Squadron 1819-1857
2. Cape Squadron

Naval Shore Establishments

# Name Active
1. Royal Naval Hospital, Cape of Good Hope 1813 – 1957
2. Ascension Dockyard 1814 – 1922
3. Cape Town Dockyard 1795 – 1814
4. Cape of Good Hope Dockyard 1814 – 1939
5. Simonstown Dockyard 1914 – 1919

Footnotes

  1. Hore, Peter (2012). Dreadnought to Daring: 100 Years of Comment, Controversy and Debate in The Naval Review. Barnsley, England.: Seaforth Publishing. pp. 198–199. ISBN 9781848321489.
  2. Hoare. pp. 198-199.
  3. Duigan, Peter; Gann, L. H. (1978). South Africa: War, Revolution, or Peace?. Hoover Press. p. 10. ISBN 9780817969936.
  4. "Dutch and British Coastal Fortifications at the Cape of Good Hope (1665 to 1829)". sahistory.org.za. South African History Online, 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  5. Robbins, Louise E. (2002). Elephant slaves and pampered parrots : exotic animals in eighteenth century Paris ([Online-Ausg.] ed.). Baltimore [u.a.]: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 54. ISBN 9780801867538.
  6. "Dutch and British Coastal Fortifications at the Cape of Good Hope (1665 to 1829)". sahistory.org.za. South African History Online, 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  7. Tucker, Spencer C. (2009). A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East [6 volumes]: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East. ABC-CLIO. p. 1303. ISBN 9781851096725.
  8. Mackay, David (1985). In the Wake of Cook: Exploration, Science & Empire, 1780-1801. Victoria University Press. p. 31. ISBN 9780864730251.
  9. Baines, Edward (1817). History of the Wars of the French Revolution, from the Breaking Point of the War in 1792, to the Restoration of a General Peace in 1815: Comprehending the Civil History of Great Britain and France, During that Period .--. Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown. p. 146.
  10. Robbins, Louise E. (2002). Elephant Slaves and Pampered Parrots: Exotic Animals in Eighteenth-Century Paris. JHU Press. p. 54. ISBN 9780801867538.
  11. Hore, Peter (2012). Dreadnought to Daring: 100 Years of Comment, Controversy and Debate in The Naval Review. [S.l.]: Seaforth Publishing. p. 200. ISBN 9781848321489.
  12. Ward, Peter A. (2013). British naval power in the East, 1794-1805 : the command of Admiral Peter Rainier (1. publ. ed.). Woodbridge: Boydell Press. p. 231. ISBN 9781843838487.
  13. Goosen, C (1973). South Africa's Navy - the first Fifty years. W. J. Flesch & partners. pp. 131–132. ISBN 0 949989 02 9.