Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Fleet

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Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Fleet
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Department of Admiralty)
AbbreviationC. in C. E.F.
Reports toFirst Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff
AppointerFirst Lord of the Admiralty
Term lengthnot fixed
usually 1-4 years
PrecursorCommander-in-Chief, China Station
Commander-in-Chief, East Indies
Formation1941
First holderAdmiral Sir Tom Spencer Vaughan Phillips
Final holderAdmiral Sir Bruce A. Fraser
Abolished1944
SuccessionCommander-in-Chief, British Pacific Fleet
Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Fleet

The Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Fleet was a senior British Royal Navy flag officer appointment created during World War Two. The office holder was responsible for the command of of the Eastern Fleet.

History

On 21 October, 1941 Admiral Sir Tom Spencer Vaughan Phillips, then Vice-Chief of Naval Staff at the Admiralty in London was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Fleet, but did not assume command until 3 December, 1941. On 10 December, 1941 Admiral Phillips was killed in action whilst leading Force Z out of Singapore that came under heavy Japanese attack.

Admiral Phillips was replaced Vice-Admiral Sir Geoffrey Layton who was Commander-in-Chief, China Station also headquartered at Singapore Naval Base. Following the fall of Singapore to the Japanese Admiral Layton moved the fleet and his headquarters to Trincomalee Naval Base, Ceylon and the China Station was abolished.

The Eastern fleet was formed out of all the ships of East Indies Squadron and the China Squadron. On 22 November 1944 the Eastern Fleet was divided into two separate naval forces the British Pacific Fleet and East Indies Fleet at which point this office was abolished.

Office Holders

Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Fleet
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Admiral Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Sir Tom Spencer Vaughan Phillips 24 October – 10 December 1941.
2 Vice-Admiral Vice Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Sir Geoffrey Layton 10 December 1941 – 12 February 1942.
3 Vice-Admiral Vice Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Sir James Fownes Somerville 12 February 1942 – 6 April 1942.
4 Admiral Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Sir James Fownes Somerville 6 April 1942 – 22 August 1944.
5 Admiral Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Sir Bruce A. Fraser 22 August 1944 – 22 November 1944.