Cocos Islands

From Naval History Archive
Jump to navigationJump to search
Cocos Islands
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
CountryUnited Kingdom
AllegianceBritish Empire
BranchRoyal Navy
Garrison/HQRN Base, Cocos Islands

Cocos Islands was a naval command and base of the British Royal Navy established in 1857.[1] At various times it encompassed a shore base, naval formations and other ships not attached to other formations. It was active until 23 November 1955 when the islands were transferred from the United Kingdom to the Commonwealth of Australia.


In 1609 Captain William Keeling, merchant seaman exploring the East Indies for the East India Company, discovers the Cocos Atoll during one of his voyages from Java to England. In 1805 Scottish hydrographer James Horsburgh working for East India Company charts the islands and calls them the Cocos-Keeling Islands. In 1857 Captain Stephen Grenville Fremantle RN. (1810-1860) commanding the Sixth-Rate 26 gun frigate HMS Juno arrived in the Cocos Islands to annex the islands to Britain. In 1910 a Wireless Station is established to communicate with passing ships. In 1914 the German commerce raider SMS Emden attacks the Cocos Cable Station, but is attacked and sunk by Royal Australian Navy's light cruiser HMAS Sydney. During Word War Two the islands are attacked on two occasions by Japanese Naval Forces in 1942. In 1945 an RAF Bomber base is constructed with a 5997 ft air strip at this peak period 8300 military personnel are stationed on Cocos Islands. In November 1955 when the islands RE transferred from the United Kingdom control to the Commonwealth of Australia.


  1. Lloyd, Christopher (2015). A Short History of the Royal Navy: 1805-1918. Cambridge: Routledge. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-317-39531-7.