West Africa

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West Africa Command
HMS Eland
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Active1942-1946
CountryFlag of Sierra Leone 1916–1961.png Sierra Leone
AllegianceFlag United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.gif United Kingdom
BranchEnsign of the Royal Navy animated.gif United Kingdom Royal Navy
TypeNaval Command Area
Part ofAdmiralty
Garrison/HQRN Base, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Commanders
FirstVice-Admiral Frank Pegram
LastVice-Admiral Arthur Peters

West Africa was a naval command area of the British Royal Navy was created during the Second World War on 11 March, 1942, it was defined so by the Admiralty to identify the geographical area of jurisdiction of the Flag Officer Commanding, West Africa until 15 September, 1946.

For both strategic reasons and identifying areas of jurisdiction the Royal Navy was distributed around the world, separated into various fleets or squadrons operating from a number of regional stations, also known as commands.[1][2]

History

Between 1819 and 1867 there existed a West Coast of Africa Station sometimes an independent naval command and at other times it was a subordinate command of a much larger naval station. The last office holder of the former station was a flag officer known by the title of Senior Officer on the West Coast of Africa. In 1941, escort forces began to be built up at Freetown.[3] Initially consisting of two corvettes and a few Free French ships.[3]

It would be seventy five years before the Royal Navy reestablished a senior flag rank role in West Africa, when it created a new West Africa Station during the second world war. The naval station was commanded by a Vice-Admiral with the title of Flag Officer, West Africa in March 1942 as part of a Department of Admiralty re-organisation of world wide commands.[3] This was due to the growing importance of Freetown as a major base for convoy escorts.[3]. It existed until 1945 when the command was deactivated.

Naval HQ

Flag Officer Commanding, West Africa (1942-46)

Chief Staff Officer to Flag Officer Commanding, West Africa (1942-45)

  1. Captain J. L. Storey, DSO, 27 November, 1943 – 12 January 1944.[4]
  2. Captain Ronald George Bowes-Lyon, MVO, 12 January 1944 – July, 1945.[5][6]

Flag Captain to Flag Officer Commanding, West Africa (1942-45)

  1. Captain Sir John Meynell Alleyne, 4th Baronet, DSO, DSC, 10 September, 1943 - June, 1944.[7][8]
  2. Captain P. F. M. Dawson, June, 1944 - April, 1945.[9]

Components under this Command

At various times it encompassed naval formations and other ships not attached to other fleets. In addition to shore establishments including, barracks, dockyards, depots, hospitals, refitting and re-supply bases, naval bases or victualling yards. Those components that were part of this station are shown below.

Naval Forces

Distribution of units attached to station included:[3]
Unit Date
1 18th Destroyer Flotilla July 1941- September 1944.[3]
2 55th Escort Group September 1944 - May 1945.[3]
3 56th Escort Group September 1944 - May 1945.[3]
4 57th Escort Group September 1944 - May 1945.[3]
5 58th Escort Group September 1944 - May 1945.[3]
6 59th Escort Group September 1944 - May 1945.[3]
7 60th Escort Group September 1944 - May 1945.[3]

Naval Bases and Ports

Unit From To Ref
Bathurst 1942 1945
Freetown ditto ditto
Lagos ditto ditto
Takoradi ditto ditto

References

  1. Archives, The National. "Royal Navy operations in the Second World War - The National Archives". The National Archives. London, England: The National Archives. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  2. Buchet, C., Higgie, A., & Duffy, M. (2013). APPENDIX 3: The Structure of British Naval Administration. In The British Navy, Economy and Society in the Seven Years War (p. 269). Boydell and Brewer. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt24hfwq.19
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 Watson, Dr Graham. "Royal Navy Organisation in World War 2, 1939-1945:West Africa Command". www.naval-history.net. Gordon Smith, 19 September 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  4. Admiralty, British, (Dec 1943) The Navy List. Flag Officers in Commission. H.M.S.O. London. England. p.2019.
  5. Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "World War II unit histories & officers: Bow". www.unithistories.com. Netherlands: Houterman and Koppes. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  6. Admiralty, British, (Oct 1944) The Navy List. Flag Officers in Commission. H.M.S.O. London. England. p.2261.
  7. Admiralty, British, (Dec 1943) The Navy List. Flag Officers in Commission. H.M.S.O. London. England. p.2019.
  8. Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "World War II unit histories & officers:Allen". www.unithistories.com. Netherlands: Houterman and Koppes. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  9. Admiralty, British, (Apr 1945) The Navy List. Flag Officers in Commission. H.M.S.O. London. England. p.2350.

Sources

  1. Archives, The National. "Royal Navy operations in the Second World War - The National Archives". The National Archives. London, England: The National Archives. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  2. Buchet, C. Higgie, A., & Duffy, M. (2013). APPENDIX 3: The Structure of British Naval Administration. In The British Navy, Economy and Society in the Seven Years War (p. 269). Boydell and Brewer. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt24hfwq.19
  3. Watson, Dr Graham. "Royal Navy Organisation in World War 2, 1939-1945:West Africa Command". www.naval-history.net. Gordon Smith, 19 September 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2018.