Western Fleet (Navy Royal)

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Western Fleet
Animated-Flag-England.gif
Active1294-1406
AllegianceKingdom of England
TypeNaval Fleet
RoleExpeditionary Force, Patrolling, Defence
Size223 ships (1337-1360)
Part ofWestern Admiralty
Garrison/HQSouthampton later Portsmouth, England


The Western Fleet also known as the Western Squadron was a series of temporary naval formations that were raised for particular campaigns and expeditions of the Kingdom of England from the late 13th century until the beginning of the 15th century. The Western Fleet was controlled and directed by the Admiral of the West.

History

The most consuming military and naval conflict of later medieval Europe was the Hundred Years’ War. Beginning in 1337 and continuing until 1453 this struggle involved most of the states of western Europe although the principals were England and France. During the medieval period England did not possess a navy in the modern sense. There was no permanent fleets at this point specifically assigned for continual defensive and offensive operations at sea in service to the realm. Fleets were raised for military service on an ad hoc basis according to the policies and needs of the English Crown. The closest thing medieval England had to a navy in the modern sense were those ships which the monarchy directly owned or held shares in known as the Kings Ships. [1]

These fleets were not permanently maintained and for much of the medieval period (with the exception of the reigns of Edward III and Henry V) were modest in size. The raising and financing of fleets by the Crown was administered by royal officials called commissioners in co-operation with local officials of the maritime counties and ports of England called Wardens of the Coast, they possessed much larger naval forces than the crown such as the Cinque Port Fleet. Additionally Regional Admiralties were created overseen by an admiral to raise fleets in their designated regions.[2]

During the important first phase of the Hundred Years’ War, 1337-1360, the available ships to the crown from the English Fleet numbered 467. The Western Admiralty which was regional admiralty was created to raise fleets in its designated region and was overseen by an admiral. The Western Admiralty controlled the English Channel from Dover to Penzance and the Bristol Channel. Between 1337 and 1360 the Western Fleet was raised from ports only running along the English and Bristol Channels and consisted of 153 naval ships from main ports with a further 70 ships from numerous other smaller ports who raised maybe 1 or occasionally 2 ships. [3]

The home port's from the southwestern coast of England providing the largest number of ships for the Western Fleet were Dartmouth with seventy-one. Bristol provided 29 vessels, Southampton 22, Fowey 14, Exmouth 9, Plymouth supplied 8 and doz–ens of smaller ports added vessels. This survey of the larger southwestern ports provides a count of 153 vessels. These 153 ships of the 467 ships in the English Fleet account for 33% of the total, .[4]

Admiral of the Western Fleet

Vice-Admiral of the Western Fleet

Fleet composition

The Western Fleet 1337-1360.[5]

# Port Ships ref
1. Dartmouth 71 [6]
2. Bristol 29 [7]
3. Southampton 22 [8]
4. Fowey 14 [9]
5. Exmouth 9 [10]
6. Plymouth 8 [11]
6. Other Western Ports 70 [12]
Total Approx. 223 Ships.[13]

Footnote

  1. Alvarez, Sander. (2 July 2014). Original Author: Runyan, Timothy. (1986). "Ships and Fleets in Anglo-French warfare, 1337-1360". American Neptune. p.46. https://deremilitari.org/2014/07/ships-and-fleets-in-anglo-french-warfare-1337-1360/
  2. Archives, The National. "Medieval maritime personnel and ships". The National Archives. Kew, England: National Archives UK. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  3. Alvarez (2014), and Runyan. (1986). p.46.
  4. Alvarez (2014), and Runyan. (1986). p.46.
  5. Alvarez (2014), and Runyan. (1986). p.46.
  6. Alvarez (2014), and Runyan. (1986). p.46.
  7. Alvarez (2014), and Runyan. (1986). p.46.
  8. Alvarez (2014), and Runyan. (1986). p.46.
  9. Alvarez (2014), and Runyan. (1986). p.46.
  10. Alvarez (2014), and Runyan. (1986). p.46.
  11. Alvarez (2014), and Runyan. (1986). p.46.
  12. Alvarez (2014), and Runyan. (1986). p.46.
  13. Alvarez (2014), and Runyan. (1986). p.46.

Bibliography

  1. Archives, The National. "Medieval maritime personnel and ships". The National Archives. Kew, England: National Archives UK. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  2. Alvarez, Sander. (2 July 2014). Original Author: Runyan, Timothy. (1986). "Ships and Fleets in Anglo-French warfare, 1337-1360". American Neptune. p.46. https://deremilitari.org/2014/07/ships-and-fleets-in-anglo-french-warfare-1337-1360/