Salonika

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Salonika
Naval HQ Salonika‎
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Active1916-1919
CountryFirst National Flag of Greece 1822 to 1978.png Kingdom of Greece
AllegianceFlag United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.gif United Kingdom
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
TypeStation
RoleBritish Salonika Army‎
Transportation & Troop Movements
Garrison/HQRN Base, Salonika

Salonika also known as or Salonica was a naval base, and area command of the British Royal Navy during and after the First World War it provided shore support to the Eastern Mediterranean Squadron then later the British Aegean Squadron during World War One.[1]

History

Salonika Harbour in 1916 image by Stuart Roberts

Salonika known today as Thessaloniki is a port city Central Macedonia, Greece. It was founded in 315 BC by Cassander of Macedon. An important metropolis by the Roman period, Thessaloniki was the second largest and wealthiest city of the Byzantine Empire. It was conquered by the Ottomans in 1430, and remained an important seaport and multi-ethnic metropolis during the nearly five centuries of Turkish rule. It passed from the Ottoman Empire to Greece on 8 November 1912.

In 1915, during World War I, a large Allied expeditionary force established a base at Thessaloniki for operations against pro-German Bulgaria. This culminated in the establishment of the Macedonian Front, also known as the Salonika Front. In October 1915 the first British troops landed at the Greek port of Salonika (now Thessaloniki) from Gallipoli and France. The British Salonika Force (BSF) fought alongside French, Greek, Italian, Russian and Serbian contingents. British and French colonial troops from the Indian subcontinent, Africa, and Indochina also took part. Of a total allied force of around 600,000 men the BSF numbered 220,000 men at its peak strength.[2]

On 30 December 1915 an Austrian air raid on Thessaloniki alarmed many town civilians and killed at least one person, and in response the Allied troops based there arrested the German and Austrian and Bulgarian and Turkish vice-consuls and their families and dependents and put them on a battleship, and billeted troops in their consulate buildings in Thessalonik. War Office reluctance to support the campaign led to a gradual decline in numbers and, until April 1917, the front was relatively quiet. The major effort came in September 1918 as part of all-encompassing allied offensives, which led to the end of hostilities with Bulgaria on 30 September 1918.[3]

During World War II Thessaloniki was heavily bombarded by Fascist Italy (with 232 people dead, 871 wounded and over 800 buildings damaged or destroyed in November 1940 alone), and, the Italians having failed in their invasion of Greece, it fell to the forces of Nazi Germany on 8 April 1941. After the war, Thessaloniki was rebuilt with large-scale development of new infrastructure and industry throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Today, Thessaloniki has become one of the most important trade and business hubs in Southeastern Europe, with its port, the Port of Thessaloniki being one of the largest in the Aegean and facilitating trade throughout the Balkans.

In Command

map showing the location of the Port of Salonika 1915 to 1918

Principal Naval Transport Officer, Salonica (1916-1917)

Principal Naval Transport Officer, Mudros
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Commodore, Second Class Commodore 2nd class command flag RN from 1864.png Maurice Swynfen Fitzmaurice 20 January, 1916 – June, 1916.[1]
2 Commodore, Second Class Commodore 2nd class command flag RN from 1864.png Herbert Algernon Adam June 1916 – 26 January, 1917.[1]

Divisional Naval Transport Officer. Salonica (1917-1919)

Divisional Naval Transport Officer. Salonica
Rank Insig Name Term
1 Captain RN Captain Rank Insignia.png Francis Eaton Travers 26 January, 1917 – 16 January, 1918.[1]
2 Commander RN Commander Rank Insignia.png William Mellor 4 August, 1917 – 29 January, 1918.[1]
3 Commander RN Commander Rank Insignia.png Charles Hay Forbes 19 January, 1918 – 16 April, 1919.

Location

Thessaloniki is located on the Thermaic Gulf, at the northwest corner of the Aegean Sea. It is bounded on the west by the delta of the Axios.

Additional Notes

For the period 19 January to 29 January 1918 there were two Divisional Naval Transport Officers based at Salonica.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony (14 February 2020). "Salonika - The Dreadnought Project". www.dreadnoughtproject.org. England: Harley and Lovell. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  2. Salonika Campaign Society UK
  3. Salonika Campaign Society UK