East Indies Fleet

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East Indies Fleet (EIF)
HMS Lanka
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Active22 November 1944
Disbanded8 March 1946
CountryFlag United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.gif United Kingdom
AllegianceBritish Empire
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy

The East Indies Fleet (EIF) was a major command of the Royal Navy established on 22 November, 1944 following a reorganising of naval forces in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The ships of the Eastern Fleet were redistributed first to form a new British Pacific Fleet to be headquartered in Sydney, Australia, whilst the remaining ships of the former Eastern Fleet were to based in Trincomalee, Ceylon which was then re-designated the East Indies Fleet.[1] On 8 March 1946 the East Indies Fleet was abolished. On 9 March 1946 the fleet was replaced by the reinstated East Indies Squadron that would operate in the naval command area the East Indies Station.

Contents

History

In 1904, the British First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir John Fisher, ordered that in the event of war the three main commands in the Far East, the East Indies Squadron, the China Squadron, and the Australian Squadron, should all come under one command called the Eastern Fleet based in Singapore. The Commander-in-Chief, China Station would then take command. During the First World War, the squadrons retained their distinct identities and 'Eastern Fleet' was used only as a general term.

The three-squadron structure continued until the Second World War and the beginning of hostilities with the Empire of Japan, when the Eastern Fleet was formally constituted on 8 December 1941, amalgamating the constituent ships of the East Indies Squadron the naval force allocated to the East Indies Station and the China Squadron the naval force assigned to the China Station. During the war, it included many ships and personnel from other navies, including those of the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

On 22 November 1944 the ships of the Eastern Fleet were divided into two new fleets the most modern ships were used to form the British Pacific Fleet based at Sydney, Australia whilst the remaining ships came to form the new East Indies Fleet based in Trincomalee, Ceylon at which point the Eastern Fleet ceased to exist. This fleet would operate in the Indian Ocean providing trade protection for convoys and conduct combat operations against the Japanese in Burma and Malaya. It was the maritime component of the joint services South East Asia Command (SEAC).

There were three basic elements in the East Indies Fleet; the battle fleet with its carriers, battleships and supporting warships to tackle any Japanese heavy ships and strike at shore targets; the submarine force to deny Japan the use the sea routes between Singapore and Rangoon; and. often forgotten, a substantial escort force to guard the convoys between Suez and India, and between the Cape and India.[2]

On 8 March 1946 Vice-Admiral Sir Clement Moody hauled down his flag as Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Fleet at Colombo (HMS Lanka). On 9 March, 1946 Vice-Admiral Sir Arthur Francis Eric Palliser raised his flag at HMS Highflyer, Trincomalee as the Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Station.

Fleet HQ Colombo, Ceylon

Based at naval headquarters in Colombo (HMS Lanka) were the following flag officers ashore.[3]

Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Fleet

Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Fleet
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Admiral Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Sir Arthur John Power 22 November 1944 – 15 December 1945 [4]
2 Vice-Admiral Vice Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Sir Clement Moody 15 December 1945 – 8 March 1946 [5]

Deputy to Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Fleet (1944-1946)

Deputy to Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Fleet
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Randolph Stewart Gresham Nicholson 22 November 1944 – 20 September, 1945
2 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png John Maurice Mansfield 20 September, 1945 – 1 November 1946.[6]

Chief of Staff to Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Fleet (1944-1946)

Chief of Staff to Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Fleet
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Malcolm Walter St Leger Searle 22 November 1944 – 1 November 1946.[7]

Flag Officer, Ceylon (1944-1945)

Flag Officer, Ceylon
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Randolph Stewart Gresham Nicholson 22 November 1944 – 20 September, 1945

Flag Officer-in-Charge, Ceylon (1945-1946)

Flag Officer-in-Charge, Ceylon
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png John Maurice Mansfield 20 September, 1945 – 1 November 1946.[8]

Naval HQ Colombo Racecourse

This officer was ashore at Colombo Racecourse (HMS Bherunda).[9]

Flag Officer (Air) East Indies Station

Flag Officer, (Air), East Indies Station
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Clement Moody November 1944 – March 1946.[10]

Naval HQ Kilindini (British Kenya)

This officer was ashore at Kilindini Naval Base, Mombassa (HMS Tana) and also held the additional title of Admiral-Superintendent, Kilindini Dockyard ,(HMS Simba).[11]

Flag Officer, East Africa

Flag Officer, East Africa
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Richard Lorne Shelley 22 November 1944 – July 1945.[12]

Admiral-Superintendent, Kilindini

Admiral-Superintendent, Kilindini
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Richard Lorne Shelley 22 November 1944 – July 1945.[13]
Commodore East Africa
Commodore East Africa
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Commodore 2nd Class Commodore 2nd class command flag RN from 1864.png Philip Weyland Bowyer-Smyth 25 November 1944 – July 1945.[14]

This officer was ashore at Royal Naval Air Station Kilindini, Mombassa (HMS Kipanga).[15]

Commodore, Naval Air Stations, East Africa (1944-1945)
Commodore, Naval Air Stations, East Africa
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Rear-Admiral Commodore 2nd class command flag RN from 1864.png Frank Elliott (retd) 22 November 1944 – 16 February, 1945.

Naval HQ Trincomalee (British Ceylon)

This officer was ashore at Trincomalee Naval Base, (HMS Highflyer).[16]

Commodore-in-Charge, Trincomalee

Commodore-in-Charge, Trincomalee
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Commodore 2nd Class Commodore 2nd class command flag RN from 1864.png Francis Cyril Flynn 15 March, 1945 – July, 1945.

Commodore-Superintendent, Ceylon

This officer was ashore at Trincomalee Dockyard, (HMS Highflyer).[17]

Commodore-Superintendent, Ceylon
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Commodore 2nd Class Commodore 2nd class command flag RN from 1864.png George William Taylor 15 January, 1944 – 8 February, 1946.[18]

Sea Going Commanders

These officers were commanding afloat.[19]

Second-in-Command, East Indies Fleet (1945)

Second-in-Command, East Indies Fleet
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Vice-Admiral Vice Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Sir Harold Thomas Coulthard Walker 4 December, 1944 – 18 November 1945.

Vice-Admiral Commanding, 3rd Battle Squadron (1944-1945)

Vice-Admiral Commanding, 3rd Battle Squadron
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Vice-Admiral Vice Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Sir Harold Thomas Coulthard Walker 4 December, 1944 – 18 November 1945.

Commodore, Escort Carriers (Jan-Feb 1945)

Commodore, Escort Carriers
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Commodore 2nd Class Commodore 2nd class command flag RN from 1864.png Geoffrey Nigel Oliver 1 January, 1945 – 22 February, 1945.

Rear-Admiral Commanding, 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron (Feb-Jul 1945)

Rear-Admiral Commanding, 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Geoffrey Nigel Oliver 22 February, 1945 – July 1945.

Rear-Admiral Commanding, 5th Cruiser Squadron (1945-1946)

Rear-Admiral Commanding, 5th Cruiser Squadron
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Harold T.C. Walker 22 November, 1944 – 4 December, 1944.
2 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Arthur Duncan Read January, 1945 – March, 1945.
3 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Wilfrid Rupert Patterson March, 1945 – April, 1946.[20]

Flag Officer Commanding, Force 61 (Jan-Mar 1945)

Flag Officer Commanding, Force 61
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Arthur Duncan Read January, 1945 – March, 1945.[21]

Flag Officer Commanding, Force W (Jan-Feb 1945)

Flag Officer Commanding, Force W
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral command Flag RN from 1864.png Benjamin Charles Stanley Martin January, 1945 – 24 February, 1945.[22]

Commodore (D) East Indies Fleet (1944-1946)

Commodore (D) East Indies Fleet
Rank Flag Name Term
1 Commodore 2nd Class Commodore 2nd class command flag RN from 1864.png Albert Lawrence Poland 22 November, 1944 – 28 February, 1946.[23]

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 that were either Royal Navy or a supporting Commonwealth Navy. Those components that were part of this station are shown below.

Naval Units and Formations by Date

East Indies Fleet
Formations/Units 5 January 1945[24] 4 May 1945[25] 8 May 1945[26]
3rd Battle Squadron
3
3
2
21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron
0
9
11
Escort Carriers
4
0
0
5th Cruiser Squadron
9
11
10
7th Destroyer Flotilla
4
0
0
10th Destroyer Flotilla
4
2
4
11th Destroyer Flotilla
8
8
8
18th Destroyer Flotilla
8
0
0
24th Destroyer Flotilla
8
0
20
26th Destroyer Flotilla
8
6
6
59th Destroyer Division
4
0
0
2nd Submarine Flotilla
13
22
14
4th Submarine Flotilla
18
7
13
6th Minesweeping Flotilla
4
8
13
7th Minesweeping Flotilla
4
10
13
122nd Motor Minesweeping Flotilla
0
0
8
152nd British Yard Minesweeping Flotilla
0
0
7
160th British Yard Minesweeping Flotilla
0
0
8
East Indies Fleet Escort Force
0
0
12
77th Escort Group
0
0
4
A/S Training Submarines
0
0
6
Corvettes
4
18
17
Cutters
0
0
7
Fighter Direction Ships
0
0
6
Frigates
0
20
11
Fleet Repair Ships
2
2
2
Major Landing Ships
8
11
11
Royal Indian Navy, Mineweepers
7
19
14
Total Ships
120
156
234


Special Naval Units and Formations by Date

Formation/Units Date/s Notes/Ref
Force 61 1944-1945 [27]
Force 62 ditto [28]
Force 65 ditto [29]
Force 68 ditto [30]
Force 69 ditto [31]
Force 70 ditto [32]
Force W ditto [33]
Aden Escort Force ditto [34]
Burma Escort Force ditto [35]
Burma Coast Escort Force ditto [36]
Kilindini Escort Force ditto [37]

Naval Shore Establishments

The East Indies Fleet was supported by various Royal Navy and Royal Indian Navy shore establishments.[38]

Naval Bases and Ports

# Name Date/s Notes/Ref
1. Aden 1944-1946 [39]
2. Akyab 1944-1946 [40]
3. Addu Atoll 1944-1946 [41]
4. Bombay 1944-1946 [42]
5. Colombo 1944-1946 [43]
6. Diego Suarez 1944-1946 [44]
7. Karachi 1944-1946 [45]
8. Kilindini, Mombassa 1944-1946 [46]
9. Mandapam 1944-1946 [47]
9. Mauritius 1944-1946 [48]
10. Rangoon 1944-1946 [49]
11. Trincomalee 1944-1946 [50]
12. Vizagapatam 1944-1946 [51]

Naval Dockyards

# Name Date/s Notes/Ref
1. Bombay Dockyard 1944-1946 [26]
2. Kidderpore Dockyard 1944-1946 [26]
3. Kilindini Dockyard 1944-1946 [26]
4. Trincomalee Dockyard 1944-1946 [26]

Naval Barracks & Marine Camps

# Name Date/s Notes/Ref
1. Royal Naval Barracks, Colombo, Ceylon 1944-1946 [26]
2. Royal Marines Camp, Bombay, India 1944-1946 [26]

Naval Depots & Drafting Pools

# Name Date/s Notes/Ref
1. Royal Naval Depot, Delhi, India 1944-1946 [26]
2. Royal Naval Depot, Kandy, Ceylon 1944-1946 [26]
3. Royal Naval Drafting Pool, Durban, South Africa 1944-1946 [26]

Naval Air Stations & Yards

# Name Date/s Notes/Ref
1. Royal Naval Air Station, Addu Atoll 1944-1946 [26]
2. Royal Naval Air Station, Cochin, India 1944-1946 [26]
3. Royal Naval Air Station, Colombo, Ceylon 1944-1946 [26]
4. Royal Naval Air Station, Colombo Racecourse, Ceylon 1944-1946 [26]
5. Royal Naval Air Station, Coimbatore, Ceylon 1944-1946 [26]
6. Royal Naval Air Station, Katukuranda, Ceylon 1944-1946 [26]
7. Royal Naval Air Station, Kilindini, Kenya 1944-1946 [26]
8. Royal Naval Air Station, Sulur, Ceylon 1944-1946 [26]
9. Royal Naval Air Station, Trincomalee, Ceylon 1944-1946 [26]

References

  1. Hobbs, David. "THE BRITISH PACIFIC FLEET IN 1945 A Commonwealth effort and a remarkable achievement" (PDF). navy.gov.au. Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  2. Watson, Dr Graham (19 September 2015). "Royal Navy Orgnisation in World War 2, 1939-1945: Eastern Fleet/East Indies Fleet". www.naval-history.net. Gordon Smith. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  3. Brown, David (1995). The British Pacific and East Indies fleets : 'the forgotten fleets' 50th anniversary. Liverpool: Brodie Publishing. p. 3. ISBN 9781874447283.
  4. Heathcote, T. A. (2002). British Admirals of the Fleet: 1734–1995. Barnsley, England: Pen and Sword. p. 187. ISBN 9780850528350.
  5. Houterman, J.N. "Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939–1945 – M". www.unithistories.com. Houterman and Kloppes, 2010–2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  6. Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939-1945  -  M". www.unithistories.com. Netherlands: Houterman and Koppes. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  7. "Searle, Rear-Adm. Malcolm Walter St Leger, (23 Dec. 1900–4 May 1994)". WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO (2020). Oxford: A & C Black and Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u175356. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  8. Houterman and Koppes
  9. Brown p.3.
  10. "Moody, Admiral Sir Clement, (31 May 1891–6 July 1960)". WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO (2020). A & C Black and Oxford University Press. 1 December 2007. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u240932. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  11. Brown p.3.
  12. Houterman, J.N. "Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939-1945 - S:". unithistories.com. Houterman and Kloppes. Retrieved 31 August 2020. On 14 March 1964 Shelley changed his surname to Benyon by deed poll.
  13. Houterman, J.N. "Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939-1945 - S:". unithistories.com. Houterman and Kloppes. Retrieved 31 August 2020. On 14 March 1964 Shelley changed his surname to Benyon by deed poll.
  14. Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939-1945  --  B". www.unithistories.com. Netherlands: Houterman and Koppes. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  15. Brown p.3.
  16. Brown p.3.
  17. Brown p.3.
  18. Harley and Lovell (2017).
  19. Brown p.3.
  20. Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "World War II unit histories & officers". www.unithistories.com. Netherlands: Houterman and Koppes. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  21. Madan, N. N. (1954). The Arakan Operations, 1942-1945. Delhi: Combined Inter-services Historical Section, (India and Pakistan). p. 218.
  22. Bose, Romen (2010). The End of the War: Singapore’s Liberation and the Aftermath of the Second World War. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish International Asia Pte Ltd. p. 175. ISBN 978-981-4435-47-5.
  23. Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939-1945  --  P". www.unithistories.com. Netherlands: Houterman and Koppes. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  24. Watson, Dr Graham (19 September 2015). "Royal Navy Orgnisation in World War 2, 1939-1945: Eastern Fleet/East Indies Fleet". www.naval-history.net. Gordon Smith. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  25. Watson
  26. 26.00 26.01 26.02 26.03 26.04 26.05 26.06 26.07 26.08 26.09 26.10 26.11 26.12 26.13 26.14 26.15 26.16 26.17 26.18 Brown, David (1995). The British Pacific and East Indies fleets : 'the forgotten fleets' 50th anniversary. Liverpool: Brodie Publishing. pp. 13–14. ISBN 9781874447283.
  27. Kindell, Don (23 August 2015). "Admiralty War Diaries World War 2: Eastern Fleet/East Indies Fleet". www.naval-history.net. Gordon Smith. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  28. Kindell
  29. Kindell
  30. Kindell
  31. Kindell
  32. Kindell
  33. Kindell
  34. Kindell
  35. Kindell
  36. Kindell
  37. Kindell
  38. Brown, David (1995). The British Pacific and East Indies fleets : 'the forgotten fleets' 50th anniversary. Commonwealth Shore Establishments & Base Ships, East Indies Fleet, British Pacific Fleet & National Establishments. Liverpool: Brodie Publishing. pp. 115–116. ISBN 9781874447283.
  39. Brown. pp. 115–116.
  40. Brown. pp. 115–116.
  41. Brown. pp. 115–116.
  42. Brown. pp. 115–116.
  43. Brown. pp. 115–116.
  44. Brown. pp. 115–116.
  45. Brown. pp. 115–116.
  46. Brown. pp. 115–116.
  47. Brown. pp. 115–116.
  48. Brown. pp. 115–116.
  49. Brown. pp. 115–116.
  50. Brown. pp. 115–116.
  51. Brown. pp. 115–116.