Channel Squadron (1858-1903)
|Garrison/HQ||Plymouth Dockyard, Gibraltar Dockyard|
Command was usually vested in a Vice-Admiral known as the Senior Officer in Command, Channel Squadron.
Throughout the course of Royal Navy's history there have been different channel squadrons stationed in home waters. During the Tudor period the Navy Royal operated a Channel Squadron initially based at Portsmouth Dockyard but later transferred to Plymouth, it was formed in 1512 and deactivated in 1601. Following on from this the next squadron to be formed in the channel was the the Western Squadron  which was the forerunner of this Channel Squadron that was later known as the Channel Fleet.
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. In 1690 the squadron operated out of Plymouth Dockyard during wartime periods which was for most of the 18th century and early 19th century.
In 1709 the Royal Navy formed another Channel Squadron that was based at Spithead, Hampshire, England under the command of Sir John Norris. It operated on a temporary basis until 1746. In 1854 the Particular Service Squadron was established for operations in the channel. 10 August 1858 the Particular Service Squadron was made a permanent formation and renamed the Channel Squadron.
Between June 1875 and February 1877 and again from November 1893 to November 1895 this squadron was stationed at Gibraltar Dockyard. 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 squadron.
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.
On 17 April 1903 The Right Hon. Lord Charles Beresford was appointed Vice-Admiral Commanding, Channel Squadron. 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." On 14 December 1904 the Channel Fleet was renamed as the Atlantic Fleet and the Home Fleet became the new 'Channel Fleet'.
Senior Officer-in-Command, Channel Squadron
Second-in-Command, Channel Squadron
- Rear-Admiral Henry Chads, 1 October, 1869
- Rear-Admiral Augustus Phillimore, January, 1876 – December 1876
- Rear-Admiral William M. Dowell, 1877
- Rear-Admiral Henry Boys, June, 1878 – June, 1879
- Rear-Admiral The Hon. Henry C. Glyn, 20 June, 1881
- Rear-Admiral Sir Francis W. Sullivan, Bart., 14 August, 1882
- Rear-Admiral John C. Wilson, 1 April, 1883 ]
- Rear-Admiral William H. Whyte, 8 May, 1884 – 7 May, 1885
- 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 C. 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
- Rear-Admiral Sir William A. D. Acland, Bart., 5 June, 1901 – 5 June, 1902
- Rear-Admiral The Hon. Assheton G. Curzon-Howe, 5 June, 1902 – 6 May, 1903
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- Harley & Lovell, 2017
- National Archives records