Channel Station

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Channel Station
Flag of the Blue Squadron 1801-1864.png
Ensign of the Channel Station's
last commander as Rear-Admiral of the Blue
Active1709-1854
CountryUnited Kingdom
AllegianceBritish Empire
BranchRoyal Navy
TypeNaval Station
Part ofDepartment of Admiralty
Garrison/HQSpithead, England
(1709-1745)
Plymouth Dockyard, England
(1746-1854)
Commanders
FirstAdmiral of the Blue
Sir John Norris.
LastRear-Admiral of the Blue
Armar Lowry Corry.

The Channel Station also known as the Home Station or Spithead Station,[1] was first established in 1709 and was headquartered at Spithead, Portsmouth England as seperate and distinct command. It main naval component was called the Channel Squadron. In 1746 the Department of Admiralty issued orders to centralise all existing naval commands in the English Channel including Spithead to be under the control of Admiral Lord Anson then the Commander-in-Chief, Western Squadron.[2] He then assumed the post of Commander-in-Chief, English Channel,[3] The remaining non operational formations and establishments of the Channel Station were then renamed as the Portsmouth Station under the command of a Port Admiral.

The command was one of the geographical divisions into which the Royal Navy divided its worldwide responsibilities.

History

In 1709 the Royal Navy established a naval station at Spithead the main component formation was called the Channel Squadron the station and subsequently squadron was placed under the command of Sir John Norris.[4] In 1715 Norris was reassigned to command the Baltic Fleet and sent to the Baltic Sea to support a coalition of naval forces from Russia, Denmark and Hanover taking in the Great Northern War.[5] In 1729 Admiral Norris returned to the Spithead Station for a second tenure as CINC. In March 1744 he resigned his post over the Admiralty's attempts to override his authority in setting strategy in response to renewed hostilities against France.[6]

Following Admiral Norris's resignation the station was then commanded by Sir John Balchen until 1746 when the Admiralty issued orders to centralize all existing naval stations and formations in the English Channel including Spithead and those at the Downs, Narrow Seas , Portsmouth , and Plymouth, to be under the control of Admiral Lord Anson then the Commander-in-Chief, Western Squadron.[7] He then assumed the post of Commander-in-Chief, English Channel,[8] The remaining shore components of the Channel Station were then allocated to a new Port Admiral commanding the Portsmouth Station. The channel command then moved its headquarters to Plymouth. The station existed until 1854 when a new Channel Squadron was formed and moved its headquarters back to Portsmouth.

In Command

Commander-in-Chief, English Channel

Notes the station was deactivated from (1815-1830), and again from (1833-1845) and a final time in 1854. A channel command was re-established under a new name the Channel Squadron in 1858.[9]

Components under this command

Naval Formations

# Formation Name Active
1. Channel Squadron 1709 – 1746
2. Downs Squadron 1626 – 1834
3. Narrow Seas Squadron 1412 – 1688
4. Western Squadron 1746 – 1854

Naval Shore Establishments

# Name Active
1. Plymouth Dockyard 1690 – 1823
2. Portsmouth Dockyard 1496 – 1971
3. Deal Dockyard 1672 – 1864
4. Dover Dockyard 1583 – 1945

Footnotes

  1. Clarke, James Stanier; McArthur, John (2010). The Naval Chronicle: Volume 4, July-December 1800: Containing a General and Biographical History of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom with a Variety of Original Papers on Nautical Subjects. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 1.1. ISBN 9781108018432.
  2. Palmer, Michael A. (2005). Command at Sea: Naval Command and Control Since the Sixteenth Century. Harvard, Mass, USA: Harvard University Press. p. 100. ISBN 9780674016811.
  3. Harrison, Simon. "Commander-in-Chief at English Channel". threedecks.org. S. Harrison 2010-2018. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  4. Runyan, Timothy J. (1987). Ships, Seafaring, and Society: Essays in Maritime History. Detroit, Michigan, USA: Wayne State University Press. p. 176. ISBN 0814319912.
  5. Heathcote, T.A. (2002). The British Admirals of the Fleet : 1734-1995 : a biographical dictionary (1. publ. in Great Britain. ed.). Barnsley: Cooper. p. 196. ISBN 0850528356.
  6. "NORRIS, Sir John (c.1671-1749), of Benenden, Kent, and St. Paul's, Covent Garden, London | History of Parliament Online". www.historyofparliamentonline.org. The History of Parliament Trust 1964-2017. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  7. Palmer, Michael A. (2005). Command at Sea: Naval Command and Control Since the Sixteenth Century. Harvard, Mass, USA: Harvard University Press. p. 100. ISBN 9780674016811.
  8. Harrison, Simon. "Commander-in-Chief at English Channel". threedecks.org. S. Harrison 2010-2018. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  9. "The British "Western Squadron," as our ancestors of George II's time termed what we now call the Channel Squadron". Navy and Army Illustrated. 16: 94. 1903.