East Indies Station

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East Indies Station
HMS Highflyer (1814-1942)‎
HMS Lanka (1942-1958)
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Active1744–1958
CountryFlag United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.gif United Kingdom
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
TypeStation
Part ofAdmiralty
Station HQBombay, India, (1744-1814)‎
Trincomalee, Ceylon (1814-1942, 1946-47)‎
Colombo, Ceylon (1942-45, 1947-59)

The East Indies Station was a major naval command area of the British Royal Navy created in 1744, the constituent formation of ships operating in this area was known as the East Indies Squadron. Throughout its history it was unified with other major commands. It existed until 1959 when it was permanently deactivated. Command of the station was usually vested an Admiral or a Vice-Admiral who was known at times as the Commander-in-Chief, East Indies or Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Station.

History

The East Indies Station was a major command of the British Royal Navy created in 1744 by the Department of Admiralty, it was under the command of the Commander-in-Chief, East Indies. From 1832 to 1865 the area of responsibility of the station was enlarged to included China creating the East Indies and China Station. That command was abolished, when it next unified with the Cape of Good Hope Station to create the East Indies and Cape of Good Hope Station until 1867 before it was restored to its original naval command area.

In 1913 it was unified again with the Egypt Station to create the East Indies and Egypt Station until 1917 when it was restored to its original naval command area. In 1941 the ships of the China Squadron and East Indies Squadron were merged to form the Eastern Fleet under the control of the Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Fleet. The China Station then ceased as a separate command. The East Indies Station continued to exist as a shore based command with no naval formations allocated to it.

On 22 November, 1944 following a reorganising of naval forces in the Indian and Pacific Oceans the Eastern Fleet was abolished and its forces were redistributed first to form a new British Pacific Fleet to be headquartered in Sydney, Australia, whilst the remaining ships of the former Eastern Fleet were to based in Trincomalee, Ceylon which was then re-designated the East Indies Fleet and the East Indies Station as a distinct command was deactivated.

On 8 March 1946 the East Indies Fleet was abolished. On 9 March 1946 the East Indies Station was reinstated until September 7 1959 when it was abolished.[1]

Area of Responsibility

Map of Major Stations of the Royal Navy from 1939 to 1945 by Dean Morris showing the boundaries of the East Indies Station.

At its greatest extent (1814-1865) this command was bounded in the north by the Indian sub-continent, in the west by the east coast of Africa, to the north west the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, to the south east Australia and New Zealand, and to the north east by the seas around China, Japan and the Philippines. that covered an area of over 30 million square miles. [2]

Station HQ

Commander-in-Chief, East Indies (1744-1832)

Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Station (1867-1913, 1917-1942)

Commander-in-Chief, East Indies (1942-1958)

Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Station (1919-1941)

Second-in-Command, East Indies Station (1942-1944)

  1. Vice-Admiral Arthur John Power, 1 December, 1943 – November, 1944.[3]

Components under this Command

It encompassed Royal Navy Dockyards and bases in East Africa, Middle East, India and Ceylon, and other ships not attached to other fleets. The Commander-in-Chief was usually an Admiral or a Vice-Admiral.

Naval Formations

# Stations Location Dates Notes/Ref
1. East Indies Squadron Colombo, Ceylon
2. Australia Division Sydney, Australia 1848-1859 see: Australia Station
3. Persian Gulf Division Basra, Iraq ? see: Persian Gulf Station
4. Red Sea Division Aden, Colony of Aden ? see: Red Sea Station

Naval Sub Commands

# Stations Location Dates Ref
1. Ceylon Colombo, Ceylon 1934-42, 1945-58
2. East Africa Kilidini, Kenya Colony 1934-42, 1945-58
3. East Africa and Zanzibar Kilidini, Kenya Colony 1942-1945
4. East Coast of Africa Station Zanzibar, East Africa Protectorate 1862–1919
5. Kilindini Kilindini, Mombasa, Kenya Colony 1939-1942
6. Egypt and Red Sea Station Yemen then Egypt 1917-1920
7. Persian Gulf Station Bahrain 1818-1958
8. Red Sea Station Aden then Port Tawfiq 1846-1958
9. Tanganyika Tanganyika, East Africa Protectorate 1918-1919

Naval Establishments

Bases and Dockyards

Including Dockyards, refitting and re-supply bases included.

# Shore Establishment Location Dates Ref
1. Bombay Dockyard Bombay, British India 1670-1949
2. Colombo Naval Base Colombo, Ceylon 1918-1958
3. Cockatoo Island Dockyard Sydney, Australia 1857-1859 after part of Australia Station
4. Garden Island Naval Yard Sydney, Australia 1858-1859 (ditto)
5. Kidderpore Dockyard Calcutta, British India 1780-1949
6. Madras Dockyard Madras, British India 1796-1813
7. Prince of Wales Island Yard Prince of Wales Island, Straits Settlements 1798-1816
8. Trincomalee Dockyard Trincomalee, Ceylon 1795-1956
9. Trincomalee Naval Base Trincomalee, Ceylon 1936-1956

Naval Hospitals

# Shore Establishment Location Dates Ref
1. Royal Naval Hospital, Trincomalee Trincomalee, Ceylon 1819-1958
2. Royal Naval Hospital, Madras Madras, India 1745-1831

References

  1. Archives, The National. (1808-1961). Admiralty: East Indies Station: Correspondence. Kew, Surrey, England. ADM 127.
  2. Day, John, Frederick. (April 2012). British Admiralty Control and Naval Power in the Indian Ocean (1793-1815) (Volume 1 of 2). A a thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Maritime History, University of Exeter. England. p.253.
  3. Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "World War II unit histories & officers". www.unithistories.com. Netherlands: Houterman and Koppes.