Western Fleet

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Western Fleet
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Active5 June 1967 – November 1971
CountryUnited Kingdom
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
TypeNaval Fleet
Part ofRoyal Navy
Garrison/HQNorthwood Headquarters, Middlesex
Sir John Bush.
Sir Edward B. Ashmore.

The Western Fleet was a naval formation and command of the British Royal Navy from 1967 to 1971.


In 1967 the historic Home Fleet was renamed the Western Fleet, as a result of the disbandment of the Mediterranean Fleet.[1] This created a fleet with greater responsibilities than either of its two predecessors, as it was responsible for the United Kingdom home waters, the North and South Atlantic, and the Mediterranean. The fleet was responsible for all Royal Navy operations “West of Suez”. One of the fleet commander's subordinates was Flag Officer Flotillas, Western Fleet, which Vice Admiral Andrew Lewis filled in 1968–69.

The headquarters of the Western Fleet was at the Northwood Headquarters in Middlesex. The post of Commander in Chief Western Fleet (abbreviated CINC WF) came with the additional NATO responsibility as Commander in Chief Allied Command Channel. The first Allied Commander-in-Chief Channel was Admiral Sir Arthur Power who was also Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth, appointed in February 1952. In 1966 it was agreed that the same commander, the Royal Navy's Commander-in-Chief, Western Fleet, should direct the NATO Channel and Eastern Atlantic Commands.[2] As a consequence these functions were combined at his Headquarters in Northwood.

The fleet's existence was quite short in comparison to other fleets of the Royal Navy. In 1971 it was abolished along with the Far East Fleet with ships from both former fleets to forming a single naval command within the Royal Navy, commonly known as Fleet Command.

Headquarters, Western Fleet

Commanders in Chief, Western Fleet

Flag Officer Second-in-Command, Western Fleet

  1. Rear-Admiral: – Michael Pollock, June - December 1967.[3]

Flag Officer Flotillas, Western Fleet

Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief, Western Fleet

Captain of the Fleet, Western Fleet

Composition of the Fleet by Year

Note:No squadrons existed in the Western Fleet between 1967 and 1971.[4]

Units allocated to the Western Fleet
Units 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 Notes/Ref
Aircraft Carriers 3 3 4 3 3 [5]
Amphibious Landing Ships 3 3 2 2 2 [6]
Cruisers 5 5 7 0 0 [7]
Destroyers 13 14 7 8 8 [8]
Frigates 34 34 40 44 39 [9]
Submarines ? ? ? ? ? [10]
Totals 60 59 60 57 52 [11]


  1. Royal Navy (Command System) Hansard, 5 June 1967
  2. AMCCHQ Northwood, History of SNMMG1 (formerly MCMFORNORTH), accessed 4 September 2019
  3. Roberts, John (2009). Safeguarding the Nation: The Story of the Modern Royal Navy. Barnsley: Seaforth Publishing. p. 90. ISBN 9781848320437.
  4. Watson, Dr Graham (12 July 2015). "Royal Navy Organisation and Ship Deployment 1947-2013". www.naval-history.net. Gordon Smith. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  5. Watson. 2015.
  6. Watson. 2015.
  7. Watson. 2015.
  8. Watson. 2015.
  9. Watson. 2015.
  10. Watson. 2015.
  11. Watson. 2015.