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Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
CountryFlag of Italy (1861–1946).jpg Italy
AllegianceFlag United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.gif United Kingdom
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Part ofMediterranean Station
FirstCaptain Charles D. Roper
LastActing Commander Cowley Thomas

Taranto was a base of operations of the Royal Navy established during World War One and World War Two.[1] It was part of the Mediterranean Station.


Founded by Spartans in the 8th century BC during the period of Greek colonisation, Taranto was among the most important in Magna Graecia. In 1866, the newly formed Regia Marina of the Kingdom of Italy navy was based in Taranto harbour, because of the imminent declaration of war against Austria (Third Independence War). On 21 June, one day too late to allow Admiral Carlo di Persano to receive Tarentine honorary citizenship, the fleet left for the Adriatic Sea. After the defeat of the Italian fleet at Lissa, Persano was put under trial for incompetence and cowardice, and his easy days in Taranto was indicated as part of his bad behaviour.

During World War I, Taranto was naval base for Regia Marina warships. On 2 August 1916, Leonardo da Vinci, a Conte di Cavour-class battleship, sank after alleged sabotage. During World War II on 11 November 1940, the Italian ships, which were at anchor in Mar Grande and Mar Piccolo, were severely damaged by British naval forces in what became known as the Battle of Taranto. On 9 September 1943 British Forces landed at the port of Taranto part of the Allied invasion (Operation Slapstick), it then became an important staging ground for Allied naval efforts in the Mediterranean until the end of Second World War.

In Command

Senior Naval Officer, Taranto (1918-1919)

  1. Captain Charles D. Roper, 4 December, 1918 – 2 March, 1919.

Principal Naval Transport Officer, Taranto (Aug-Oct. 1917)

  1. Captain John Pratt de Montmorency, (retd), 26 August, 1917 – October, 1917.
Divisional Naval Transport Officer, Taranto (May-Oct. 1917)
  1. Commander Godfrey George Webster, 22 May, 1917 – December, 1918.

Divisional Naval Transport Officer, Taranto (Oct 1917-Dec 1918)

  1. Commander Godfrey George Webster, 22 May, 1917 – December, 1918

Naval Officer-in-Charge, Taranto (1943-1944)

  1. Acting Commander Cowley Thomas, 9 September, 1943 – 9 January, 1944.


  1. Hartley, Simon; Lovell, Tony (16 July 2020). "Taranto - The Dreadnought Project". www.dreadnoughtproject.org. Hartley and Lovell. Retrieved 30 November 2021.