Halifax Station

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Halifax Station
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Active1755–1905
CountryUnited Kingdom
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
TypeStation
Part ofRoyal Navy
Commanders
FirstCommodore Distinction: the Hon. Augustus Keppel
LastVice-Admiral of the Blue: Sir Charles Hamilton,

The Halifax Station was a former naval base area command of the British Royal Navy at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada from 1755 to 1905.[1]

The flag officer or senior officer appointed was responsible for Canadian waters but sometimes had wider responsibilities for all North American waters as far as Panama to the Arctic.[1] These commanders were always responsible for the Halifax Station.[1]

History

Town and Harbour of Halifax in Nova Scotia As Appears from George Island in 1777 by James Mason."Toronto Star Photograph Archive, Courtesy of Toronto Public Library".

The Royal Navy was a presence in Nova Scotia waters from almost the first days of British colonization. In the seventeenth century, as control of the territory passed back and forth between France and England, British warships were occasionally sent into the Bay of Fundy to support military actions and strengthen claim's that Britain asserted over the settled French community

Following the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, the Halifax colony became and remained British. Naval vessels continued to visit Annapolis Royal sporadically; it continued as the first capital of Nova Scotia, with a military garrison and governing council. Naval operations also included occasional stops at Canso on the far northeastern coast, established as a military outpost to protect the fishery and maintain a watch over French operations at Louisbourg in Ile Royale (Cape Breton).

In the years leading up to the Seven Years' War in America (1755-63) expeditions against Louisbourg drew the Royal Navy increasingly into Nova Scotia waters. In 1749 Halifax was established and the Royal Navy did not leave. The location for Halifax was specifically chosen because of its huge protected harbour, its deepwater potential, and its relative proximity to Louisbourg; when a careening yard was established in 1757 to repair naval vessels.

To secure its presence and preeminence in western waters, after the 1740s the Royal Navy established a squadron dedicated solely to patrolling and serving British interests in North America and the West Indies. Halifax was the base of operations; increasingly after 1800 the Royal Navy was not seen in Nova Scotia outside the capital. Its presence, impact and influence on the headquarters city, however, were enormous. With the exception of a brief sojourn in Bermuda, the admiral commanding the North American Station resided in Halifax, and the city was a beehive of naval and fleet activity.

Following the change from the Age of Sail to the Age of Steam, Halifax became strategically important as a coaling station — these new behemoths of the sea had to be re-fuelled regularly. The Royal Navy presence permeated community life in Halifax; with ships and personnel stationed in the city for long stretches at a time

By the twentieth century Britain's seapower; needs and interests shifted from North America to Europe and elsewhere, especially in the years after World War One. The British Army left Halifax in 1906, and in the following years the Royal Navy also gradually sailed away from Nova Scotia waters, in time transferring the Halifax Dockyard to Canadian control. In 1910 the Royal Canadian Navy was established.

In Command

Commander-in-Chief, Halifax (1754–1756)

Commodore Augustus Keppel, 1st Viscount Keppel in 1749 painted by Joshua Reynolds. The 1st Commander-in-Chief, Halifax.
  1. Commodore: the Hon. Augustus Keppel, 23 December, 1754 – April, 1755. *[1]
  2. Vice-Admiral of the Blue: the Hon. Edward Boscawen, April 1755 – 19 October, 1755. *[1]
  3. Commodore: Richard Spy, 19 October, 1755 – 27 June, 1756. *[1]
  4. Commodore: Charles Holmes, 27 June, 1756 – 6, November, 1756. *[1]

Senior Officer, Halifax (1756–1757)

  1. Captain: Samuel Marshall, 6 November, 1756 – 4 February, 1757. **[1]
  2. Rear-Admiral of the Blue: Sir Charles Hardy, Kt. 4 February, 1757 – 9 July, 1757. **[1]

Commander-in-Chief, Halifax (1757–1758)

  1. Vice-Admiral of the Blue: Francis Holburne, 9 July, 1757 – 13 November, 1757. *[1]
  2. Commodore Alexander, Lord Coville. 13 November, 1757 – 19 March, 1758. *[1]

Senior Officer Halifax (1758)

  1. Rear-Admiral of the Blue: Sir Charles Hardy, Kt. 19 March, 1758 – 9 May, 1758.[1]

Commander-in-Chief, Halifax (1758–1788)

  1. Admiral of the Blue: the Hon. Edward Boscawen, 9 May, 1758 – 30 September, 1758. *[1]
  2. Rear-Admiral of the Red: Philip Durell, 30 September, 1759 – 30 April, 1759. *[1]
  3. Vice-Admiral of the Blue: Charles Saunders, 30 April, 1759 – 18 October, 1759. *[1]
  4. Commodore Alexander, Lord Coville, 18 October, 1759 – 7 October, 1762. *[1]
  5. Commodore: Richard Spy, 7 October, 1762 – June, 1763. ***[1]
  6. Rear-Admiral of the White: Alexander, Lord Coville, August, 1763 – 22 August, 1766. ****[1]
  7. Vice-Admiral of the Blue: Philip Durell, 22 August, 1766 – 25 August, 1766. (died in office). ****[1]
  8. Captain: Joseph Deane, 30 August, 1766 – 5 July, 1767. ****[1]
  9. Commodore: Samuel Hood, 17 May, 1767 – 10 October, 1770. ****[1]
  10. Commodore: James Gambier, 10 October, 1770 – 12 August, 1771. ****[1]
  11. Rear-Admiral of the Blue: John Montagu, 12 August, 1771 – 30 June, 1774. ****[1]
  12. Vice-Admiral of the Red: Samuel Graves, 30 June, 1774 – 19 July, 1775. ****[1]
  13. Vice-Admiral of the Blue: Molyneux Lord Shuldham, 19 July, 1775 – 12 July, 1776. *[1]
  14. Vice-Admiral of the Red: Richard, Lord Howe, 12 July, 1776 – 3 May, 1778. *[1]
  15. Vice-Admiral of the Blue: the Hon. John Byron, 3 May, 1778 – 11 September, 1778. *[1]
  16. Rear-Admiral of the Red: James Gambier, 12 September, 1778 – 3 April, 1779. *[1]
  17. Commodore: Sir George Collier, 3 April, 1779 – 25 February, 1779. *
  18. Vice-Admiral of the Blue: Mariott Arbuthnot, 25 February, 1779 – 14 September, 1780. *[1]
  19. Admiral of the White: Sir George Brydges Rodney, 14 September, 1780 – 16, November 1780 (claimed power of c-in-c Admiralty upheld claim) *[1]
  20. Vice-Admiral of the Blue: Mariott Arbuthnot, 16, November 1780 – 4 July, 1781. (resigned command) *[1]
  21. Rear-Admiral of the Red: Thomas Graves, 4 July, 1781 – 9 November, 1781. *[1]
  22. Rear-Admiral of the Red: Robert Digby, 9 November, 1781 – 15 August, 1783. *[1]
  23. Commodore Sir Charles Douglas, Bart, 15 August, 1783 – 10 June, 1785. ****[1]
  24. Rear-Admiral of the White: Herbert Sawyer, 10 June, 1785 – 5 August, 1788. ****[1]

Senior Officer. Halifax (1788–1789)

  1. Captain: John Linzie, 5 August, 1788 – 1 August, 1789. **[1]

Commander-in-Chief, Halifax (1789–1792)

  1. Vice-Admiral of the Blue: Sir Richard Hughes, Bart. 1 August, 1789 – 19 April, 1792. ****[1]

Senior Officer. Halifax (1792)

  1. Captain: Richard Fisher, 19 April, 1792 – 12 May, 1792. **[1]

Commander-in-Chief, Halifax (1792–1796)

  1. Commodore: Rupert George. 12 May, 1792 – 24 March, 1794. ****[1]
  2. Vice-Admiral of the White George Murray, 24 March, 1794 – 9 November, 1796. ****[1]

Senior Officer. Halifax (1796–1797)

  1. Captain: Henry Mowat, 9 November, 1796 – 15 April, 1797. **[1]

Commander-in-Chief, Halifax (1797–1800)

  1. Admiral of the Blue: George Vandeput. 15 April, 1797 - 14 March, 1800, (died in office). ****[1]

Senior Officer. Halifax (1800)

  1. Captain: Robert Murray, 14 March, 1800 - 18 August, 1800. **[1]

Commander-in-Chief, Halifax (1800–1801)

  1. Vice-Admiral of the Red: Sir William Parker, Bart. 18 August, 1800 – 17 July, 1801. ****[1]

Senior Officer. Halifax (1801–1802)

  1. Captain: John Erskine Douglas, 17 July, 1801 – 20 July, 1802. **[1]

Commander-in-Chief, Halifax (1802–1811)

  1. Admiral of the Blue: Sir Andrew Mitchell, KB. 20 July, 1802 – 25 February, 1806. (died in office). ****[1]
  2. Commodore: John Poo Beresford, 25 February, 1806 – 22 July, 1806. ****[1]
  3. Vice-Admiral of the White: the Hon. George Cranfield Berkeley, 22 July, 1806 – 27 February, 1808. ****[1]
  4. Admiral of the Blue: Sir John Borlase Warren, 27 February, 1808 – 21 January, 1811. ****[1]
  5. Vice-Admiral of the Blue: Herbert Sawyer, 21 January, 1811 – 27 September, 1812.

Commander-in-Chief, Halifax (1812–1815)

  1. Admiral of the Blue: Sir John Borlase Warren, 27 September, 1812 – 1 April, 1814. ****[1]
  2. Vice-Admiral of the Red: the Hon. Alexander Cochrane, 1 April, 1814 – 23 April, 1815.. ****[1]

Port Admiral Halifax (1812–1815)

  1. Vice-Admiral of the Blue: Herbert Sawyer, 27 September, 1812 – 12 November, 1812. (served as Port Admiral under Warren).[1]
  2. Rear-Admiral of the White: Edward Griffith, 6 August, 1813 – 23 April, 1815. (served as Port Admiral under Warren then Cochrane).[1]

Commander-in-Chief, Halifax (1815–1841)

  1. Rear-Admiral of the White: Edward Griffith, 23 April, 1815 – 11 May, 1817. *[1]
  2. Rear-Admiral of the Blue: Sir David Milne, KCB. 11 May, 1817 – 26 June, 1819. *****[1]
  3. Vice-Admiral of the Blue: Edward Griffith Colpoys, 26 June, 1819 - 3 December, 1821. (changed name to Griffith Colpoys summer 1821). *****[1]
  4. Rear-Admiral of the White: William Charles Fahie, CB. 3 December, 1821 – October, 1824. *****[1]
  5. Rear-Admiral of the White: Willoughby Thomas Lake, October, 1824 – 9/16 July, 1828. ******[1][2]
  6. Rear-Admiral of the Red: Sir Charles Ogle, Bart. 9/16 July, 1828 – 15 May, 1830. ******[1]
  7. Vice-Admiral of the Red: Sir Edward Griffith Colpoys, 15 May, 1830 – 9 November, 1832, (died in office). *******[1]
  8. Vice-Admiral of the Red: Rt. Hon. Sir George Cockburn, 9 November, 1832 – 12 February, 1836.*******[1]
  9. Vice-Admiral of the Red: Sir Peter Halkett, 12 February, 1836 - 10 January, 1837.*******[1]
  10. Admiral of the Blue: Sir Peter Halkett, 10 January, 1837 – 11 February, 1837.*******[1]
  11. Vice-Admiral of the White: the Hon. Sir Charles Paget, 11 February, 1837 – 27 January, 1839, (died in office). ********[1]
  12. Vice-Admiral of the White: Sir Thomas Harvey, KCB. 27 January, 1839 – 28 May, 1841, (died in office). ********[1]
  13. Vice-Admiral of the White: Sir Charles Adam, KCB. 17 August, 1841 – 27 December, 1844. ********[1]
  14. Vice-Admiral of the Red: Sir Francis William Austen, 27 December, 1844 – 12 January, 1848.********[1]
  15. Vice-Admiral of the Red: the Rt. Hon. Thomas, Lord Cochrane, Earl of Dundonald, 12 January, 1848 – 13 January, 1851. ********[1][3]
  16. Vice-Admiral of the Red: Sir George Francis Seymour, KCB. GCH. 13 January, 1851 – 23 November, 1853. ********[1][4]
  17. Rear-Admiral of the Red: Arthur Franshawe, CB. 23 November, 1853 – 25 November, 1856. *********[1]
  18. Vice-Admiral of the White: Sir Houston Stewart, KCB. 25 November, 1856 – 13 January, 1860.*********[1]

Denotes

(*) and jointly Commander-in-Chief, North America. (**) and jointly Senior Officer, North America. (***) and jointly Commander-in-Chief, Coast of America. (****) and jointly Commander-in-Chief, Nova Scotia and St Lawrence. (*****) and jointly Commander-in-Chief, North America and Lakes of Canada. (******) and jointly Commander-in-Chief, North America and Newfoundland. (*******) and jointly Commander-in-Chief, North America, West Indies and Newfoundland. (********) and jointly Commander-in-Chief, North America, Halifax and West Indies. (*********) and jointly Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies.

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 1.40 1.41 1.42 1.43 1.44 1.45 1.46 1.47 1.48 1.49 1.50 1.51 1.52 1.53 1.54 1.55 1.56 1.57 1.58 1.59 1.60 1.61 1.62 1.63 1.64 1.65 1.66 1.67 1.68 1.69 1.70 Naval, Historian. Office of the. (September 1959) Flag Officers and Senior Naval Officers responsible for the Halifax Station. 1755-1959. Royal Canadian Navy. Navy Headquarters, Ottawa. Ontario. pp.4-90.
  2. Graydon, George (1831). A Newly-invented Patent Instrument, Denominated the Celestial Compass: Adapted for Finding the Latitude, Variation of the Compass, Or Hour of the Day, Either at Sea Or on Land, by a Single Observation, Independent of the Horizon; as Also the Local Attraction of a Vessel. London.
  3. The Nautical Magazine and Naval Chronicle... a Journal of Papers on Subjects Connected with Maritime Affairs. London: Simpkin, Marshall & Company. December 1850. p. 692.
  4. United Service Magazine: Promotions Royal Navy. London: Colburn's. January–April 1851. p. 320.CS1 maint: Date format (link)