East Coast of Africa Station

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East Coast of Africa Station
HMS London(1873-1884)
HMS St George(1892-1919)
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
CountryFlag of Zanzibar Under British Rule 1896 to 1963.png British Protectorate of Zanzibar
AllegianceFlag United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.gif United Kingdom
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Part ofEast Indies Station (1862-1903)
Cape of Good Hope Station (1903-1919)
Garrison/HQRN Base, Stone Town, Sultanate of Zanzibar (1873-1890)
RN Base, Zanzibar (1890-1919)

The East Coast of Africa Station was a naval command of the Royal Navy established in Zanzibar. It was a sub-command of the East Indies Station then later Cape of Good Hope Station from 1873 to 1918.


Map of East Coast of Africa in 1914 by Conrad Gato from the book The Navy Everywhere (1919)

During the 1850's and 1860's the Royal Navy was operating in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa fighting to suppress the Eastern Slave trade operating out of Zanzibar up to the North Coast of the Arabian Sea.[1] Between 1862 and 1872 the British established an East Africa Squadron [2][3] as part of the East Indies Station. In 1873 treaties were signed between Great Britain and the Sultanates of Muscat and Oman and Zanzibar allowing for a permanent naval presence on the Zanzibar coast.[4] However Britain's real intentions in East Africa was to stop other European naval powers from establishing any similar bases in the region, and the station's purpose was to protect British trade interests passing through the Western Indian Ocean.[5] In the early twentieth century HMNB Zanizibar was primarily used as a coaling station.[6] Prior to World War I British naval operations were gradually scaled down.

The East Coast of Africa Station was re-established in 1914, with bases in the British East Africa Protectorate, subordinate to the East Indies Station.[7] The East Africa Station eventually had three bases; one in Tanganyika, Nyasa Lake and the other at Zanzibar. Its principal role was to protect British commerce from German surface raiders – seen as a priority in 1914–1915.[8] The command existed until 1918, when the Cape of Good Hope Station was assigned East Coast of Africa duties. During the inter-war period the command was scaled down to non-operational status.

In Command

Senior Officer on the Eastern Division (1863-64)

  1. Captain Alan Gardner, October 1863 - April, 1864. [9]

Senior Naval Officer on the East Coast of Africa (1872-98)

  1. Captain George John Malcolm, 4 October 1872 – 24 October 1873.[10]
  2. Captain Charles James Brownrigg, 8 June 1880 – 3 December, 1881.
  3. Captain Rodney Maclaine Lloyd, 1 March 1884 – 14 July 1887.[11]
  4. Captain Albert Baldwin Jenkings, 23 Aug, 1887 – 1 Aug, 1890.[12]
  5. Captain Orford Hill, 18 March, 1891 – 1892.
  6. Captain Charles Campbell, 1892 – 1 March, 1898.[13]

Senior Naval Officer, East Coast of Africa (1914-15)

  1. Captain William Drummond Church, 28 February, 1914 – 6 April, 1915.[14]


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

Shore Establishments From To Ref
Dar es Salaam 1918 1919
Nyasa Lake 1913 1919
Tanganyika 1914 1919
Zanzibar 1873 1918


  1. Howell, Raymond (1987). The Royal Navy and the slave trade. London: Croom Helm. p. 119. ISBN 9780709947707.
  2. Allain, Jean (2012). Slavery in International Law: Of Human Exploitation and Trafficking. Leiden, Netherlands.: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 62. ISBN 978-90-04-18695-8.
  3. Society, the Church Missionary. "The slave trade of east Africa". wikisource.org. The Church Missionary Society, 1869. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  4. "Sudans Twenty Year Refugee Dilemma". The International Journal of African Historical Studies. Africana Publishing Company. 21 (1–2): 184.
  5. Davis, Paul. "The Frere mission to Zanzibar". www.pdavis.nl. P. L. Davis, 2010–2018. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  6. Hazell's Annual. Aylesbury, England: Hazell, Watson & Viney. 1905. p. 74.
  7. Friedman, Norman (2014). Fighting the Great War at Sea: Strategy, Tactic and Technology. Barnsley, England: Seaforth Publishing. p. 121. ISBN 9781848321892.
  8. Watson, Dr Graham. "Royal Navy Organisation and Ship Deployment, Inter-War Years 1914–1918". naval-history.net. Gordon Smith, 27 October 2015. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  9. Chiswell, Matthew,(2003) The Cape Squadron, Admiral Baldwin Walker and the Suppression of the Slave Trade (1861-4).Dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Master of Arts in Historical Studies. University of Cape Town. p.64
  10. Malcom, W. E. (1875). England's East African Policy: Articles on the Relations of England to the Sultan of Zanzibar and on the Negotiations of 1873 : with General Notices Concerning East African Politics and the Supression of the Slave Trade. London: Simpkin, Marshall & Company. p. 27.
  11. The Bermuda Pocket Almanack, Guide and Directory ... Hamilton, Bermuda.: D.M. Lee. 1890. p. 248.
  12. Commons, Great Britain Parliament House of (1888). Parliamentary Papers. London: H.M. Stationery Office. p. 57.
  13. Documents relating to the suppression of the slave trade in Eastern Africa. Brussels, Belgium: Hayez. 1894. p. 275.
  14. The Special Gazette of the East Africa Protectorate, Vol XVII—No 410. Nairobi, February 23rd, 1915. https://gazettes.africa/archive/ke/1915/ke-government-gazette-dated-1915-02-23-no-410.pdf.