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H.M. Naval Base, Kilindini
HMS Tana
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
CountryFlag of Kenya 1921 to 1963.png Kenya
AllegianceFlag United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.gif United Kingdom
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
TypeNaval Base
Garrison/HQRN Base, Kilindini

Kilindini was a naval base, dockyard and area command of the British Royal Navy. At various times it encompassed a shore base, naval formations and other ships not attached to other formations.


Kilindini, Mombasa, Kenya in WW2.

The history of The Port of Mombasa dates back many centuries from the existence of the Old Port. The Port served dhows from India, Arabian Gulf and Far East. It is located near Fort Jesus at Mombasa Old Town. ​In 1890, Kenya and Uganda became a British Protectorate under the Imperial British East Africa (IBEA).

The colonial government saw a need to create infrastructure inland to open up the area for effective administration, hence the construction of the Kenya- Uganda Railway (1895-1902). Coupled with increased activities at the Port there was need for a more spacious and convenient place to meet the demand and for construction of a rail network. Therefore the Port of Mombasa was relocated to the Kilindini Harbor West of Mombasa Island. The Kilindini harbour was inaugurated in 1896 when work started on the construction of the Uganda Railway. Kilindini Harbour is the main part of the Port of Mombasa, the only international seaport in Kenya and the biggest port in East Africa.

​In 1907 a wharf, the North Lighter Wharf was built with quay length of 168 meters long to handle rail-borne goods and other imports and exports. The north lighter quay had four lighter handling points. n 1913, berth no 9 was constructed to handle then Kenya's leading mineral export (Soda ash). In 1931, no. 5 and the Shimanzi Oil Terminal (SOT) were completed. The SOT was to handle refined oil.

From 1941 to 1942 it served as the headquarters of the East Africa and Zanzibar command then part East Indies Station, then later hq of the East Africa command. During World War II between 1942 and 1944 to cope with the sudden increase in shipping and traffic as a result of British wartime naval requirements in the Indian Ocean due to the British Eastern Fleet temporarily moving there and using it as a fleet base in May, 1942 where it operated from until the Japanese naval threat to Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) had been removed, the Eastern Fleet then moved back to Colombo in 1943.

Facilities included the Naval Base, Kilindini Dockyard, Royal Naval Air Station, Kilindini and a RAF Station, an oil Storage area and jetty's and a BOAC shore station. Kilinidini was connected to the capital Nairobi by a railway line (as seen in the ariel photo above).

Naval HQ

Senior British Naval Officer, Kilindini (1939-1943)

  1. Commander: David Enderby Blunt (retd), 1 September 1939 – 8 February, 1943.[1]

Admiral-Superintendent, Kilindini (1943-1945)

  1. Rear-Admiral Charles Gage Stuart, 8 February, 1943 – 11 January 1944.[2]
  2. Rear-Admiral: Richard Lorne Shelley, 11 January 1944 – January 1945.[3]

Senior British Naval Officer, Kilindini (Feb-Jun 1943)

  1. Commander: David Enderby Blunt (retd), 8 February, 1943 – June 1943.[4]

Additional Notes

The Admiral-Superintendent, Kilindini held the additional joint title of Flag Officer, East Africa.


  1. Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939-1945  --  B". Netherlands: Houterman and Koppes. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  2. Wells, Anne Sharp (2000). The Anglo-American "special relationship" during the Second World War : a selective guide to materials in the British Library. [London]: Eccles Centre for American Studies, The British Library. p. 25. ISBN 0712344268.
  3. Houterman, J.N. "Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939-1945 - S:". Houterman and Kloppes. Retrieved 31 August 2020. On 14 March 1964 Shelley changed his surname to Benyon by deed poll.
  4. Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939-1945  --  B". Netherlands: Houterman and Koppes. Retrieved 15 September 2020.