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HMS Stag(1942-1945)
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
ActiveNovember, 1916
DisbandedSeptember, 1945
CountryFlag of Russia 1914 to 1917.png Russian Empire (1914-1917)‎
Flag of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic 1918to 1937.png Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1918-1937)
AllegianceFlag United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.gif United Kingdom
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
In CommandResident Naval Officer and in Command Naval Depot, Port Said (1916-1936)
Naval Officer in Charge, Port Said (1936-1945)
FirstActing Captain Ernest E. A. Betts
LastActing Captain Eustace H. Wace

Murmansk was a naval base and area command of the Royal Navy during World War One. It also served as headquarters of the British North Russia Squadron from 1917 to 1919.


The PQ 13 Convoy enroute to Murmansk during WW2 painting by Gordon Frickers.

Murmansk was the last city founded in the Russian Empire. In 1915, World War I needs led to the construction of the railroad from Petrozavodsk to an ice-free location on the Murman Coast in the Russian Arctic, to which Russia's allies shipped military supplies. The terminus became known as the Murman station and soon boasted a port, a naval base, and an adjacent settlement with a population that quickly grew in size and soon surpassed the nearby towns of Alexandrovsk and Kola.

On June 29 [O.S. July 12], 1916, Russian Transport Minister Alexander Trepov petitioned to grant urban status to the railway settlement. On July 6 [O.S. July 19], 1916, the petition was approved and the town was named Romanov-on-Murman, after the imperial Russian dynasty of Romanovs.[2] On September 21 [O.S. October 4], 1916, the official ceremony was performed, and the date is now considered the official date of the city's foundation. After the February Revolution of 1917, on April 3 [O.S. April 16], 1917, the town was given its present name. In the winter of 1917 the British North Russia Squadron under Rear Admiral Thomas Kemp was established at Murmansk, additionally he was also in charge of all naval establishments at Murmansk. From 1918 to 1920, during the Russian Civil War, the town was occupied by the Western powers, who had been allied in World War I, and by the White Army forces.

During World War II, Murmansk was the key link with the Western world for Russia, since the harbor did not freeze in the winter. War supplies could be landed there and then shipped via the Karelian railway into Russia. It took a dedicated effort on the part of the U.S. and British navies and merchant marines to keep the convoys of war supplies going to Russia as the Germans used submarines, surface warships such as the Tirpitz, airplanes and short batteries based in Norway to try and stop the Murmansk convoys. There was also the the fierce Arctic weather. This made the Murmansk convoys, especially in the early years of the war, extremely hazardous duty. Escorting the convoys to Russia was the responsibility of the Home Fleet.

In Command

Location map of Murmansk

Rear-Admiral-in-Charge, Murmansk (1917-1918)

Divisional Naval Transport Officer, Murmansk (1918-1919)

Divisional Naval Transport Officer, Murmansk
Rank Insig Name Term Notes/Ref
1 Captain RN Captain Rank Insignia.png James Olden Hatcher 12 August, 1918 – 11 April, 1919 [1]


The Russian port city of Murmansk is situated far to the North on the coast of the Barents Sea. The city is 108 kilometres (67 mi) from the border with Norway and 182 kilometres (113 mi) from the Finnish border.


  1. Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony (23 August 2018). "Archangel - The Dreadnought Project". Harley and Lovell. Retrieved 18 October 2018.