Largs

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Largs
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Active1940-1946
CountryFlag United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.gif United Kingdom
AllegianceBritish Empire
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
TypeCombined Operations Base
Part ofCombined Operations Command
Garrison/HQLargs, Scotland

Largs was a combined operations base and command of the Royal Navy during and after World War Two from 1940 to 1946.[1] It is located on the Firth of Clyde in North Ayrshire, Scotland, about 33 miles (53 km) from Glasgow.

History

During World War II, the Largs hotels Vanduara and Hollywood were designated shore establishments by the Admiralty called HMS Monck and HMS Warren. HMS Monck became Combined Operations HQ for the allied forces and Valduara was fitted with a 27 line telephone exchange to cope with the communications needed. After Dunkirk, it became apparent that Combined Operations would be the only way of liberating Europe from the Nazis. Conventional thinking at the time was that modern weaponry wouldn't allow for an opposed landing and training had been allowed to lapse. So training units for this type of warfare were set up throughout the Firth of Clyde area.

On 23 June 1943, a conference called Operation Rattle took place at HMS Warren in Hollywood Hotel. It was chaired by Lord Mountbatten, Chief of Combined Operations, and was attended by the most senior of officers from all services, both British and American. At this conference, the general details of a landing in France were established and action towards this goal set in motion. Another decision taken at Rattle was to set up a Combined Operations Staff college at HMS Warren to train the senior officers of all the Allied nations in amphibious warfare. Over 1700 officers passed through the course and went on to take part in the D-Day landings and air operations.

In London at Chelsea, the drafting and payroll departments of Combined Operations were created in August 1943 and called HMS Copra. Unfortunately the threat posed by Germany's V1 missiles on London made it impossible to keep HMS Copra in London and most of it was transferred to Largs and established in The Moorings. It employed around 300 WRNS staff (Wrens) most of whom were billeted at the Skelmorlie Hydro. Combined Operations continued in Largs until the end of 1946 when it was transferred to Rosneath.

Bases and Centers

No 1 Combined Training Centre (HMS Quebec I)

Function A large training centre specialising in the training of Naval and Army personnel in 'minor' landing craft training. A training flotilla of craft was stationed in the area for that purpose. Quebec was the Naval component of the No 1 Combined Training Centre.

Commanding Officer, HMS Quebec I

  1. Commodore 2nd Class Guy Langton Warren, 28 April 1941 - 11 September 1941.[2]

No 4 Combined Training Centre (HMS Warren)

Function Senior Officers training centre for Combined Operations which catered for the training needs of all 3 services.

Rear-Admiral Combined Operational Bases

  1. Rear-Admiral Thomas Hope Troubridge, 13 January May, 1943 - 1 May, 1943.

Rear-Admiral Commanding Combined Operational Bases

  1. Rear-Admiral Henry Edward Horan, 1 May, 1943 - October 1946.

Combined Operations Centre (HMS Quebec II)

Function Combined Ops Centre... mainly administrative.

Commanding Officer, HMS Quebec II

  1. Commodore 2nd Class Guy Langton Warren, 12 September 1941 - 9 December 1941.[3]

Senior Officer Assault Ships & Craft

  1. Commodore 2nd Class Guy Langton Warren, (retd), 10 December 1941 - 23 March 1943.[4]

HQ for Combined Training (HMS Monk)

HMS Monck was also the HQ for Combined Training and included the Flag Officer. At Port Glasgow it was concerned with Carrier training, while also serving as a Royal Navy Barracks and landing craft base.

Rear-Admiral Combined Operations

  1. Rear-Admiral Thomas Baillie-Grohman, (retd), 7 August, 1942 - 31 March, 1943.

Assistant Chief of Combined Operations

  1. Rear-Admiral Charles Saumarez Daniel, (retd), 1 April, 1943 - 6 August, 1943.

Flag Officer Combined Operations

  1. Rear-Admiral Charles Saumarez Daniel, (retd), 7 August, 1943 - December, 1943.

Flag Officer Carrier Training and Administration

Rear-Admiral Unallocated Landing Ships

  1. Rear-Admiral Guy Langton Warren, (retd), 19 August, 1943 - 16 December, 1943.[5]

Flag Officer Unallocated Landing Ships

  1. Rear-Admiral Guy Langton Warren, (retd), 17 December, 1943 - 1 October, 1944.[6]

HQ Tank Landing Craft Training Operations (HMS Dinosaur)

Function HQ for tank landing craft training operations. Training establishment for major landing craft officers and major landing craft gunnery school.

Rear-Admiral Landing Ships and Craft Unallocated

  1. Rear-Admiral Loben Edward Harold Maund, (retd), 1 October, 1944 - July, 1945.[7]

Additional Notes

Rear-Admiral Henry Edward Horan was responsible for commanding Combined Operational Bases Western Approaches and Rosyth Commands from May to August 1943, then responsible for commanding Combined Operational Bases Western Approaches Command (later: Western Area) from August 1943 to October, 1946. The Flag Officer, Carrier Training and Administration was responsible for control and direction of the Combined Training Command at Largs in Scotland from 1943 to 1945.

References

  1. Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "Royal Navy, Western Approaches Command 1939-1945". www.unithistories.com. Netherlands: Houterman and Koppes. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  2. Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939-1945 - W". www.unithistories.com. Netherlands: Houterman and Koppes. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  3. Houterman and Koppes.
  4. Houterman and Koppes.
  5. Houterman and Koppes.
  6. Houterman and Koppes.
  7. Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939-1945  --  M". www.unithistories.com. Netherlands: Houterman and Koppes. Retrieved 20 February 2021.