3rd Battle Squadron
|3rd Battle Squadron|
The 3rd Battle Squadron was a naval squadron of the British Royal Navy consisting of battleships and other vessels, active from at least 1914 to 1945. The 3rd Battle Squadron was initially part of the Royal Navy's Home Fleet. During the First World War, the Home Fleet was renamed the Grand Fleet. During the Second World War, the squadron covered Atlantic convoys.
First World War
On 5 August 1914, the squadron had eight ships: King Edward VII, Africa, Britannia, Commonwealth, Dominion, Hibernia, Hindustan and Zealandia. The squadron of eight King Edward VII-class pre-dreadnought battleships were nicknamed "the wobbly eight" after their slight tendency to roll under way.
The squadron was initially used as part of the Grand Fleet in support of the cruisers on the Northern Patrol. On 29 April 1916, the 3rd Battle Squadron was moved to Sheerness from Rosyth and came under the Nore Command in the Thames estuary. The move was intended to make more large ships available for coastal defence duties, after the Bombardment of Yarmouth and Lowestoft by German ships on 24 April 1916.
At the time of the Battle of Jutland, the squadron consisted of: Dreadnought (flagship of Vice-Admiral E. E. Bradford), Africa, Commonwealth, Hibernia, Dominion, Hindustan, Zealandia and Britannia, plus the repeating cruiser Diamond. In addition the 3rd Cruiser Squadron, consisting of the armoured cruisers Antrim, Devonshire and Roxburgh, was attached, together with the destroyers Beaver, Druid, Ferret, Hind, Hornet and Sandfly from the 1st Destroyer Flotilla, and Mastiff and Matchless from the 10th Destroyer Flotilla.
Essentially made obsolete by the introduction of the revolutionary battleship Dreadnought, and as battleships the world over began mimicking her design, the 3rd Battle Squadron played no role in the Battle of Jutland. The need for accompanying destroyers for these battleships was later given as the reason the Harwich destroyer squadron was also held back and took no part in the Jutland action.
Following the loss of King Edward VII in January 1916, Africa and Britannia served in the Mediterranean 1916–17. The remaining ships were augmented by Dreadnought until March 1918.
The squadron was disbanded on 20 April 1918.
Second World War
Later in the war, the squadron was based at Halifax, Nova Scotia. Rear Admiral, Third Battle Squadron, was responsible for covering Atlantic convoys. RMS Ascania—an armed merchant cruiser—was part of the squadron during this period. Seaborn—a Fleet Air Arm base was established at RCAF Station Dartmouth in September 1940. Seaborn was to provide a shore base with administrative and maintenance facilities for the Swordfish and Walrus aircraft assigned to ships of the Third Battle Squadron.
In 1942, the Third Battle Squadron, now comprising;
- Vice Admiral W. E. C. Tait;
sailed for the Far East and became part of the Eastern Fleet. The squadron formed part of Force B. Facing the superior striking force of the Japanese Kido Butai carrier striking force during the 1942 Indian Ocean raid, the slow component of the Eastern Fleet—including the battleships of Force B—was withdrawn all the way back to Kilindini in East Africa to avoid their destruction at Japanese hands. Hermes—Force B's sole aircraft carrier—was detached and destroyed near Ceylon.
In 1945, the Squadron consisted of two battleships, Queen Elizabeth and the Free French Richelieu, as well another two escort carriers, four cruisers and six destroyers. Two battleships and escort carriers formed part of the covering force for Operation Dracula, the retaking of Rangoon. Vice-Admiral H.T.C. Walker commanded the squadron at the time.
Commanders were as follows:
- Vice-Admiral Sir Cecil Burney (1912–13)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly (1913–14)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Bradford (1914–16)
- Vice-Admiral Sir John de Robeck (May–November 1916)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Herbert Heath (1916–17)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Dudley de Chair (1917–18)
- Rear-Admiral Sir Douglas Nicholson (April–October 1919)
- Rear-Admiral Hugh Watson (1924–25)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Michael Hodges April (1925–26)
- Rear-Admiral Francis Mitchell (March–May 1926)
- Rear-Admiral Roger Backhouse May (1926–27)
- Vice-Admiral Percival Hall-Thompson (1927–28)
- Rear-Admiral John Casement (1928–29)
- Rear-Admiral Henry Kitson (1929–30)
- Rear-Admiral George Hyde (1930–31)
- Rear-Admiral Lancelot Holland (1939–40)
- Rear-Admiral Stuart Bonham Carter (1940–42)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Algernon Willis (1942–43)
- Vice-Admiral Harold Walker (1944–45)
Post holders included:
- Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher G. F. M. Cradock, 29 August 1911
- Rear-Admiral Cecil F. Thursby, 29 August 1912 – 29 August 1913
- Rear-Admiral Montague E. Browning, 29 August 1913
- Rear-Admiral Sydney R. Fremantle, 27 July 1915 – February, 1916
- Rear-Admiral Cecil F. Dampier, 13 March 1916 – 14 March 1917
- Rear-Admiral Douglas R. L. Nicholson, 13 March 1917 – 21 September 1917
- Rear-Admiral Sir Roger R. C. Backhouse, 5 May 1926 – 5 May 1927
- Rear-Admiral Lancelot E. Holland, 25 August 1939 – 29 December 1939
- Rear-Admiral Stuart S. Bonham-Carter, 1 January 1940 – 30 September 1941
- Dittmar & Colledge
- Chesneau & Kolesnik p. 38.
- Massie p. 559.
- Marder: Jutland and after p. 45.
- Dreadnought Project, Third Battle Squadron, citing Squadrons and Senior Naval Officers in Existence on 11 November 1918. p. 4.
- Convoys SC 31 and HX 126
- "History of Royal Canadian Air Force Station Dartmouth". Shearwater Aviation Museum=. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
- Kindell, Don; Gordon Smith (19 April 2009). "Royal Navy Ships 1942 part 4". British and Other Navies in World War 2 Day-by-Day. naval-history.net. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
- Mason, Geoffrey (2003). "Service histories of Royal Navy warships in World War 2: HMS Revenge". naval-history.net. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
- "Senior Royal Navy appointments" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
- Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony. "Third Battle Squadron (Royal Navy) - The Dreadnought Project". www.dreadnoughtproject.org. Harley and Lovell, 7 November 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
- Chesneau, Roger; Kolesnik, Eugene, eds. (1979). Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships, 1860–1905. New York: Mayflower Books. ISBN 0-8317-0302-4.
- Dittmar, Frederick J; Colledge, J J (1972). British Warships 1914–1919. London: Ian Allan Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7110-0380-4.
- Marder, Arthur J. (1965). Volume II: The War Years to the eve of Jutland: 1914–1916. From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-215144-5.
- Marder, Arthur J. (1978). Volume III: Jutland and after: May 1916 – December 1916. From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-215841-4.
- Massie, Robert K. (2003). Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea. Random House. ISBN 0-345-40878-0.
- Niehorster, Leo; Donald Kindell; Mark E Horan (5 January 2001). "British and Dominion Royal Navies, Channel Force order of battle 3 September 1939". World War II at Orbat.com. Retrieved 14 July 2009.