China Station

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China Station
HMS Tamar (1897-1939)
HMS Terror(1939-1940)
HMS Sultan (1940-1941)
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
CountryUnited Kingdom
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
TypeNaval Station
Part ofDepartment of Admiralty
Garrison/HQHong Kong (1865-1939)
Singapore (1939-1941)
FirstRear-Admiral George St.V. King
LastAdmiral Sir Tom S.V. Phillips:

The China Station was major naval command area of the Royal Navy and how it divided its worldwide responsibilities.[1] It was created in 1865 and deactivated in 1941. It was commanded by the Commander-in-Chief, China Station.


For both strategic reasons and identifying areas of jurisdiction the Royal Navy was distributed around the world, separated into various fleets or squadrons operating from a number of regional stations, also known as commands. From 1831 to 1865, the East Indies Station and the China Station were a single command known as the East Indies and China Station. The China Station, established in 1865. The station had its main bases at Singapore, Hong Kong and Wei-Hai-Wei with other smaller bases at Penang and Rangoon.

Area of Operations

Map of major naval command areas of the Royal Navy from 1939 to 1945 showing the boundaries of the China Station.

Initially its area operations at one time extended from India to Australasia and as far East as Pitcairn Island; its northern limits were the Bering Sea, then due to a reorganisation of its area of responsibility included the coasts of China and its navigable rivers, the western part of the Pacific Ocean, and the waters around the Dutch East Indies.

Naval HQ

Commander-in-Chief, China Station

Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief, China Station

Second-in-Command, China Station


At various times it encompassed naval formations and other ships not attached to other fleets. In addition to shore establishments including, barracks, dockyards, depots, hospitals, refitting and re-supply bases, naval bases or victualling yards. Those components that were part of this station are shown below.

Bases and Ports

Unit From To Ref
Auckland 1939 1941
Hong Kong 1842 1941
Penang 1939 1941
Rangoon 1939 1941
Shanghai 1939 1941
Singapore 1939 1941
Yangtse 1914 1940
West River 1914 1940
Wei-Hai-Wei 1898 1940

Naval Formations

Unit From To Ref
China Squadron 1831 1940

The China Squadron was a naval formation of constituent ships assigned to the East Indies and China Station that was established in 1831. In 1865 the East Indies and China Station was divided into two independent naval commands, this squadron then became the main formation of the China Station until 1941 when it was abolished.

Naval Establishments

Unit From To Ref
Hong Kong Naval Yard 1859 1941
Kowloon Naval Yard 1858 1941
Wei Hai Wei Dockyard 1898 1930
Royal Naval Hospital, Wanchai 1873 1941
Royal Naval Hospital, Yokohama 1876 1923

Naval Reserves and Volunteers

Unit From To Ref
Hong Kong Naval Volunteer Force 1933 1941
Straits Settlements Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve 1922 1941


  1. Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony (18 December 2019). "China Station - The Dreadnought Project". Harley and Lovell. Retrieved 29 January 2020.