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HMS Sambur
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
CountryUnited Kingdom
AllegianceBritish Empire
BranchRoyal Navy
Garrison/HQRN Base, Port Louis, Mauritius

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


Port Louis Mauritius circa. 1840

Isle de France, which consisted of Mauritius and some other islands had been under French rule since 1715. Port Louis was founded by the French in 1736 as a port of call for ships coming around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of the African continent. The naval Battle of Port Louis was a minor naval engagement of the French Revolutionary Wars, fought on 11 December 1799 at the mouth of the Tombeau River near Port Louis on the French Indian Ocean island of Île de France, later known as Mauritius between the Royal Navy and French Navy resulting in a British victory.

However, during the Napoleonic Wars, despite the French naval victory in the Battle of Grand Port on 20–27 August 1810, Mauritius was captured on 3 December 1810 by the British under Commodore Josias Rowley. British possession of the island was confirmed five years later by the Treaty of Paris. The British occupied the island from 1815 during the Napoleonic Wars. From 1849 until 1923, the indentured labor system first established in Port Louis by the British was operated out of the Aapravasi Ghat immigration depot. Until the Suez Canal was opened in 1869, Port Louis was on the critical path for trade vessels moving between Europe, Africa, and India. After opening of the canal, shipping activity in Port Louis decreased.

From 1870 until the beginning of the First World War in 1914 Mauritius was used as a major Royal Naval Coaling Station. [1] In World War Two (WWII) the island of Mauritius, which had been a part of the British Empire since 1810, became an important base for the Royal Navy's Eastern Fleet later renamed East Indies Fleet in the Indian Ocean: first as a Royal Navy Air Station principally for hunting Japanese and German submarines, and also as a centre of communications. Following the second world war an independence campaign gained momentum after 1961, when the British agreed to permit additional self-government and eventual independence 1968. Port Louis is the capital and main port for the island nation of Mauritius. About 500 nautical miles east of the island of Madagascar in the western Indian Ocean, Port Louis lies between its protected natural deep-water harbor and mountains encircling the city.

In Command

Senior Naval Officer, Mauritius

  1. Captain Fairfax Moresby, 1821 - 23 September 1823.[2]

Naval Officer-in-Charge, Mauritius

  1. Commander K. S. Lyle, (retd), 3 September, 1939 - February, 1941.[3]


  1. Gray, Steven. (March 2014). Black Diamonds: Coal, the Royal Navy, and British Imperial Coaling Stations, circa 1870−1914, a Thesis submitted for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in History. University of Warwick. Warwick, England. pp.15-20.
  2. Howell, Raymond (1987). The Royal Navy and the slave trade. London: St. Martin's Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0312008543.
  3. Admiralty, Great Britain. (February 1941) The Navy List. Bi Monthly. H.M.S.O. London. p.1093