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HMS Ferret (1940-1947)‎
HMS Sea Eagle (1947-1970)
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Navy
Part ofWestern Approaches Command (1940-1945)

Londonderry was a naval base and command of the Royal Navy from 1942 to 1970. It was first commanded by the Naval Officer-in-Charge Londonderry and then later the Senior Naval Officer, Northern Ireland.


In April 1941, arrangements were made with the British government to construct four naval bases in Northern Ireland and Scotland, at Londonderry and Lough Erne in Ireland and at Rosneath and Loch Ryan in Scotland. Funds for the construction of these bases were to be provided by both the British and the American governments, in accordance with Lend-Lease agreements reached in March 1941. Londonderry and Rosneath were to provide repair and fueling facilities for destroyers and submarines, ammunition storage, hospitals, and barracks for shore-based personnel; Lough Erne and Loch Ryan were to be used principally as operations centres for seaplane squadrons. With the advent of war, Londonderry immediately became a port of inestimable value as a base for North Atlantic convoy escorts.These escorts consisted principally of destroyers and lesser craft of the United States, Canadian, and British navies.

Ships based at Ferret were under the operational control of Western Approaches Command, located in Plymouth for the early part of the war. The main headquarters for the Western Approaches Command was moved to Liverpool in February 1941. Ferret was then the backup for the Liverpool headquarters, with the other main bases in the area being at Greenock, and later at Belfast. The organisational function of Ferret was to form escort groups of the warships based there, mostly small destroyers, frigates, corvettes and armed trawlers.

Durin g World War Two over twenty thousand allied troops and sailors had passed through Ferret, and the base had been home to over two hundred ships of the Royal Navy, US Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy, as well as ships from the Free French and Free Dutch naval forces and some ships of the Royal Indian Marine. There was a debate over the future of the base, but the Admiralty decided to retain the property but to convert it into a proper school for anti-submarine warfare training. There had been plans to commission the establishment under the name HMS Phoenix, but this was changed in preference to HMS Sea Eagle. Ferret was paid off on 21 July 1947, and HMS Sea Eagle commissioned that same day until 1970.


Londonderry is situated some 4 miles up the River Foyle, on the northern coast of Ireland.Its location also made it the most suitable port for the allocation of supplies to other projects.

In Command

Naval Officer-in-Charge Londonderry (1942-1943, 1944-1945)

  1. Commodore Second Class: R.R. Stewart, 11 March, 1942 – February, 1943.
  2. Captain: E.A.B. Stanley, 24 June, 1944 – July, 1945. (retd).

Commodore (D) Western Approaches (1943-1944)

  1. Commodore Second Class: G.W.G. Simpson, 26 March, 1943 – June, 1944.

Naval Officer-in-Charge Londonderry (1943-1944)

  1. Captain: J.B. Glencross, 22 April, 1943 – 24 June, 1944. (retd).

Senior Naval Officer, Northern Ireland (1947-1970)

  1. Captain Richard G. Onslow: February 1947-November 1948
  2. Captain Anthony F. Pugsley: November 1948-December 1950
  3. Captain Maxwell Richmond: December 1950-January 1952
  4. Captain Donald H. Connell-Fuller: January 1952-January 1954
  5. Captain Auberon C.A.C. Duckworth: January 1954-April 1956
  6. Captain Philip F. Powlett: April 1956-May 1958
  7. Captain Christopher R.L. Argles: May 1958-October 1959
  8. Captain Erroll N. Sinclair: October 1959-November 1961
  9. Captain Dennis H. Mason: November 1961-October 1963
  10. Captain John C. Cartwright: October 1963-October 1965
  11. Captain Donald V.M. Macleod: October 1965-November 1968
  12. Captain Anthony S. Morton: November 1968-1970