East Africa

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East Africa Command
HMS Tana
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
CountryFlag of Kenya 1921 to 1963.png British Kenya
AllegianceFlag United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.gif United Kingdom
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
H.M. Naval BaseKilindini, Mombassa, British Kenya
FirstCommodore 2nd Class Charles Gage Stuart
LastRear-Admiral Richard Shelley

East Africa was a naval command area of the Royal Navy established in 1942 following a renaming of an earlier command East Africa and Zanzibar. It was active until July 1945.

The command was controlled and directed by an officer called Flag Officer, East Africa who was headquartered at the Royal Navy base at Kilindini, Mombassa. British Kenya.


The Royal Navy was active in East African waters from as early as the 1850s. Elements of the Royal Navy from the East Indies were involved in suppressing the slave trade in the 1860s. In 1873 the Admiralty established an East Coast of Africa Station as a naval command of the Royal Navy located at Zanzibar. It was a sub-command of the East Indies Station then later Cape of Good Hope Station.

During the First World War, the Commander-in-Chief at the Cape, Admiral King-Hall, expended much effort to destroy the elusive German light cruiser Königsberg. In 1919 the East Coast of Africa Station was deactivated.

During the Second World War an East African command was reformed and was called East Africa and Zanzibar however this was headquartered at the British naval base at Aden, Yemen known as HMS Sheba. It was under the control and direction of the Flag Officer, East Africa and Zanzibar until 2 September, 1942.[1]

On 3 September, 1942 the Flag Officer, East Africa and Zanzibar moved to Kilindini, Mombassa, Kenya. The former East Africa and Zanzibar command was renamed as was his title to Flag Officer, East Africa this command was active until July 1945 when it was abolished.[2]

Naval HQ Kilindini

Flag Officer, East Africa (1942-45)

Commodore, East Africa (1944-45)

Commodore East Africa
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Commodore 2nd Class Commodore 2nd class command flag RN from 1864.png Sir Philip Bowyer-Smyth 25 November 1944 - July 1945.[3]


  1. Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939-1945 - Stuart, Charles Gage". www.unithistories.com. Netherlands: Houterman and Koppes. Retrieved 1 March 2021. Flag Officer East Africa & Zanzibar [HMS Sheba] - Flag Officer East Africa [HMS Tana]
  2. Houterman and Koppes.
  3. https://www.unithistories.com/officers/RN_officersB4.html