Admiral of Patrols

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Office of the Admiral of Patrols
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Ensign of the Royal Navy
Department of the Admiralty
Reports toFirst Sea Lord
NominatorFirst Lord of the Admiralty
AppointerPrime Minister
Subject to formal approval by the Queen-in-Council
Term lengthNot fixed (typically 1–2 years)
Inaugural holderRear-Admiral John de Robeck

The Admiral of Patrols [1] was a former command appointment within the Admiralty during world war one usually held by a junior flag officer the post was established from 1912 to 1916.


In the preceding years before world war the Admiralty were assessing the need to protect the navy's main capital ships in the future event of any war, which would be augmented by the possible implementation a coastal patrol and mine-sweeping initiative. The need for some sort of patrol protection function being established was indicated by Admiral Sir Charles Beresford as early as 1907.

In 1909 Admiral Fisher obtained a small number of vessels for experimentation, Beginning about 1910 the Admiralty acknowledged that this sort of service may likely be in the form of local coastal patrol support for the regular navy at this time there was a lack of patrol capabilities within the Royal Navy.

On May 1, 1912 the post of Admiral of Patrols was created and under its command consisted four destroyer flotillas until 1913. In 1914, the Board of Admiralty sent an order the Admiralty War Staff asking the Chief of the War Staff to re-evaluate the patrols current functional role operating off the Eastern Coast of Great Britain the First Sea Lord envisaged that its current function of patrolling would now be that of coastal defence [2] but would include an additional force the units of the Auxiliary Patrol. After the implementation took place Admiral de Robeck was replaced by a new commander Commodore George A. Ballard.[3] He assumed the duties of Admiral of Patrols on the 1 May 1914 [4] and held the post until it was abolished in 1917.

Commodore/Admiral of Patrols[edit]

Rank Flag Name Term
Commodore/Admiral, of Patrols
1 Rear-Admiral Flag of Rear-Admiral - Royal Navy.svg John de Robeck 8 April 1912 – 1 May 1914 (initially-Cdre, 1.Cls) [5]
2 Commodore 1st Class UK-Navy-OF6-Flag.svg George A, Ballard 1 May 1914 - 1916 (later-R.Adm)[6]

Assistant to Admiral of Patrols[edit]

  • Captain Walter H. Cowan, 1 May 1912 – 7 February 1914 [7]
  • Captain Edward G. Lowther-Crofton, 7 February 1914 – 1 February 1916

Patrol formations under this command[edit]

As of May 1912-1914:[8][9]

# Unit Based at Dates Notes
1 5th Destroyer Flotilla Devonport March 1909-1913 1 cruiser leader - 1 scout cruiser - approx 23 destroyers
2 6th Destroyer Flotilla Portsmouth May 1912-1914 3 scout cruisers - approx 22 destroyers
3 7th Destroyer Flotilla Humber then Devonport May 1912-1914 1 scout cruiser, 21 destroyers - 12 torpedo boats
4 8th Destroyer Flotilla Tyne then Chatham May 1912-1914 1 scout cruiser - 12 destroyers - 13 torpedo boat destroyers
5 9th Destroyer Flotilla Sheerness then Rosyth/Forth then Nore May 1912-1914 1 cruiser leaders - 1-2 scout cruisers - approx 20 - 27 destroyers
6 4th Submarine Flotilla AOP 1914-1918 7 boats
7 5th Submarine Flotilla AOP 1914-1918 6 boats
8 6th Submarine Flotilla AOP 1914-1918 6 boats
9 7th Submarine Flotilla AOP 1914-1918 12 boats
10 8th SubmarineFlotilla AOP 1914-1918 13 boats
11 9th Submarine Flotilla AOP 1914-1918 3 boats
12 Auxiliary Patrol multiple bases 1914-1917 Auxiliary Patrol Areas I - XXIII (Home Waters) and Auxiliary Patrol Area 1, 5, 8, 10 Mediterranean Sea


flotilla vessels 1914[10]
Type Number of units
Sentinel-class cruiser 2
Pathfinder-class cruiser 1
F Class DD 12
Old Destroyers 62
Torpedo boats 24
Other 8
Total 109
flotilla vessels 1915[11]
Type Number of units
Sentinel-class cruiser 2
Pathfinder-class cruiser 1
F Class DD 8
Old Destroyers 45
Torpedo boats 18
Other 14
Total 80

Auxiliary patrol[edit]

The Auxiliary Patrol was a component force under the (ADMP) and composed of a large number of small craft tasked with minesweeping and anti-submarine patrols, initially around the British Isles, but later also in the Mediterranean. The Auxiliary Patrol was the front-line force in the defence of initially the British Isles, but later also the Mediterranean, against German mines and submarines.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Abbatiello, John (May 2, 2006). Anti-Submarine Warfare in World War I: British Naval Aviation and the Defeat of the U-Boats. Routledge. p. 84. ISBN 9781135989545.
  2. ^ Lambert, Nicholas A. (1999). Sir John Fisher's Naval Revolution (1st paperback print. ed.). Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. p. 286. ISBN 9781570034923.
  3. ^ Lambert. Sir John Fisher's Naval Revolution. p. 286.
  4. ^ "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Friday, 1 May 1914. Issue 40512, col B, p. 6.
  5. ^ Archives, The National. "Service Record, Robeck, ADM 196/42,f. 128". The National Archives UK. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Official Appointments and Notices, Military and Naval" (40512). The Times, London, col B, p.6. 1 May 1914.
  7. ^ Archives, The National. "The Discovery Service, Cowan, Walter Henry, Service Records, ADM 196/43/157, f. 249". The National Archives. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  8. ^ Smith, Gordon. "World War 1 Dispositions of Royal Navy ships". Naval, 5 January 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  9. ^ Dunn, Steve (2017). "4: War August to October 1914". Securing the Narrow Sea: The Dover Patrol 1914 - 1918. Barnsley, England: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 9781848322516.
  10. ^ Smith, Gordon. "World War 1 Dispositions of Royal Navy ships". Naval, 5 January 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  11. ^ Smith, Gordon. "World War 1 Dispositions of Royal Navy ships". Naval, 5 January 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2017.


Primary source for this article is by Harley Simon, Lovell Tony, (2017), Admiral of Patrols,,


  • Lambert, Nicholas A. (1999). Sir John Fisher's Naval Revolution. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 1570032777
  • Smith, Gordon. (2015). "World War 1 Dispositions of Royal Navy ships". Naval

External links[edit]