|HMS Forte (1939-1945)|
|Part of||Plymouth Station|
|First||Captain Valentine E. B. Phillimore|
|Last||Admiral Sir G. Frederick Edward-Collins|
Falmouth is famous for its harbour. Together with Carrick Roads, it forms the third deepest natural harbour in the world, and the deepest in Western Europe. In the late 16th century, under threat from the Spanish Armada, the defences at Pendennis were strengthened by the building of angled ramparts. In the 17th century Falmouth was used as a base of operations of the Navy Royal. The Falmouth Packet Service operated out of Falmouth for over 160 years between 1689 and 1851. Its purpose was to carry mail to and from Britain's growing empire. Being the nearest large harbour to the entrance of the English Channel, two Royal Navy divisions of the Western Squadron were permanently stationed here.
In the 1790s one was under the command of Sir Edward Pellew (later Viscount Exmouth) and the other under the command of Sir John Borlase Warren. Each division consisted of five frigates, with either 32 or 44 guns. Pellew's flagship was HMS Indefatigable and Warren's HMS Révolutionnaire. At the time of the French Revolutionary Wars, battle ships and small vessels were continually arriving with war prizes taken from the French ships and prisoners of war. The privatley owned Falmouth Dockyard was developed from 1858 and was requisitioned by the Admiralty in both World War One and World War Two.
During the Great War it was a minor Royal Navy base. Among the assets based there was the Falmouth Local Defence Flotilla. It appears to have supported Auxiliary Patrol Area XIV. During World War II, 31 people were killed in Falmouth by German bombing. An anti-submarine net was laid from Pendennis to St Mawes, to prevent enemy U-boats entering the harbour.
It was the launching point for the noted commando raid on Saint-Nazaire in 1942. Between 1943 and 1944, Falmouth was a base for American troops preparing for the D-Day invasions. Also in World War II the United States Navy had a large base in Falmouth harbour as well as an army base in the town. Some of the U.S. D-day landings originated from Falmouth harbour and the surrounding rivers and creeks.
- Captain Valentine Egerton Bagot Phillimore, 26 January, 1915 – May, 1916
- Commodore, Second Class R.N.R. John Denison, 30 May, 1916 – 1 May, 1917
- Rear-Admiral John Scott Luard, 1 May, 1917 – 15 August, 1919, (and in command of Auxiliary Patrol Area XIV)
Flag Officer-in-Charge, Falmouth (1942-45)
- Admiral Sir Bertram S. Thesiger, 9 June 1942 – December 1943, (retd).
- Admiral Sir G. Frederick Edward-Collins, 1 March 1944 – April 1945, (retd).
- Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "World War II unit histories & officers: Plymouth Command". www.unithistories.com. Netherlands: Houterman and Koppes. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
- Houterman and Koppes
- Admiralty, British, (Oct 1944) The Navy List. Flag Officers in Commission. H.M.S.O. London. England. p. 2256.
- Admiralty, British, (Apr 1945) The Navy List. Flag Officers in Commission. H.M.S.O. London. England. p. 2345.
- Admiralty, British, (Jul 1945) The Navy List. Flag Officers in Commission. H.M.S.O. London. England. p. 2345.
- Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "World War II unit histories & officers: Mc". www.unithistories.com. Netherlands: Houterman and Koppes. Retrieved 31 May 2021.