Vizagapatam

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Vizagapatam
HMS Amzari
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Active
CountryFlag of British India (1885-1947).png Vizagapatam, British India
AllegianceFlag United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.gif United Kingdom
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
TypeNaval Base & Station
Part ofNaval Headquarters India (1944-1945)
Garrison/HQRN Base, Vizagapatam

Vizagapatam also known as Visakhapatnam was a naval base and area command of the British Royal Navy.[1] At various times it encompassed a shore base, naval formations and other ships not attached to other formations.

History

The ancient Port of Vizag, was mentioned in the holy Indian epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, making it an old and revered city. The Ramayana tells of Lord Rama forming his army of monkey men and mighty animals in the area. The Mahabharata tells of Bheema killing the demon Bakasura in a village just 25 miles from the Port of Visakhapatnam.

Hindu texts report that the region of the Port of Visakhapatnam was part of the Kingdom of Kalinga in the 5th Century BC, and artifacts found in the area suggest that a Buddhist empire existed there. It is said that the bloodiest battle of the era took place there, resulting in King Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism. Many different rulers controlled the area over the following centuries – the Chalukyas, Pallavas, and the Reddy kings.

In the 11th and 12th Centuries, the Chola kings build temples in the Port of Visakhapatnam. In the late 1400s and early 1500s, Mughal Hyderabad Nizam ruled the area. Europeans began to arrive on the Indian sub-continent, the Port of Visakhapatnam was a gateway to India for merchants from France, Holland, and Great Britain for exporting ivory, tobacco, and textiles.

In the 1700s, the Port of Vizagapatam was part of the Northern Circars region that included coastal Andhra and coastal Orissa under French control. Under British rule, Vizagapatam became a district in the Madras Presidency. In 1804, the French and British navies fought the Battle of Vizagapatam just outside the harbor of the Port of Vizagapatam.

In the 18th Century, the tomb of Muslim saint Syed Ali Ishak Madina was constructed in the Port of Vizagapatam. Hindus revere the tomb as much as Muslims, and older residents tell of ships raising and lowering their flags three times in honor of the saint. Many ship owners still make offerings at the shrine after a successful voyage.

The British colonial government recognized a need for a port in east central India as early as the mid-1800s. In 1872, E.S. Thomas submitted a proposal for the port's creation. However, the proposal for construction of a harbor did not come about until 1914 when the Bengal Nagpur Railway proposed and the British Admiralty adopted a construction plan for the Port of Vizagapatam.

Construction of the Port of Vizagapatam began in 1927 and continued until 1933 when the first commercial vessel entered the port. Two old ships were sunk at the harbor's entrance to form breakwaters. The Vizag harbor is protected by Dolphin's Nose Hill to the south and Ross Hill to the north. In 1933, the Bengal-Nagpur Railway administered the Port of Vizagapatam when the port had only three berths and could handle only 300 thousand tons of cargo per year.

Between 1933 and 1964, the Port of Vizagapatam was administered by a variety of national departments. After India won independence in 1947, the Port of Vizagapatam was its biggest district, and it was then divided into three districts: Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, and Visakhapatnam. The natural harbor was deep enough to receive ocean-going vessels until the 1950s.

In Command

Commodore, Bay of Bengal

  1. Commodore Edward Conyngham Denison, 1 September, 1944 - April, 1945.[2]

Chief Staff Officer to Commodore, Bay of Bengal

  1. Commander H. Morland, RIN, 1 September, 1944 - April, 1945.[3]

Naval Officer-in-Charge, Vizagapatam

  1. Captain J. H. Blair, 1 September, 1944 - April, 1945.[4]

Captain Coastal Forces, Eastern Theater

  1. Captain J. Ryland, RIN. 1 September, 1944 - April, 1945.[5]

Reference

  1. Clancy, Patrick; Jewell, Larry (1939–1945). "HyperWar: The Royal Indian Navy (Appendix 4) SHORE ESTABLISHMENTS OF THE R.I.N. DURING THE WAR". www.ibiblio.org. HyperWar Foundation. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  2. Admiralty. British. (April 1945). The Navy List Quarterly. Flag Officers in Commission: Stations. H.M.S.O. London. p.2354.
  3. Admiralty. British. (April 1945). The Navy List Quarterly. Flag Officers in Commission: Stations. H.M.S.O. London. p.2354.
  4. Admiralty. British. (April 1945). The Navy List Quarterly. Flag Officers in Commission: Stations. H.M.S.O. London. p.2355.
  5. Admiralty. British. (April 1945). The Navy List Quarterly. Flag Officers in Commission: Stations. H.M.S.O. London. p.2355.