Battlecruiser Squadron (United Kingdom)

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Battlecruiser Squadron
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Active 1919–1941
Country United Kingdom
Allegiance British Empire
Branch Royal Navy
Lancelot E. Holland, CB

The Battlecruiser Squadron was a Royal Navy squadron of battlecruisers that saw service from 1919 to the early part of the Second World War.


During the First World War, the Royal Navy had initially maintained three squadrons of battlecruisers, until losses at the Battle of Jutland had reduced the number of available battlecruisers sufficiently to warrant a reduction to two squadrons. Following the War, battlecruiser numbers were again reduced to three, with a fourth building.

In late 1919, the Battlecruiser Squadron was formed, consisting of HMS Tiger, flagship of Rear Admiral Sir Roger B. Keyes, KCB, KCVO, CMG, along with HMS Renown and HMS Repulse. HMS Tiger was removed from operational service with the commissioning of HMS Hood in May 1920, and relegated to a training role. HMS Hood then became the flagship of the Battlecruiser Squadron on 18 May 1920.

Special Service Squadron[edit]

In 1923, HMS Hood and HMS Repulse, along with several smaller ships of the First Light Cruiser Squadron, formed part of the Special Service Squadron, under command of Vice-Admiral Sir Frederick Field.[1] The Squadron departed Devonport on 27 November 1923 and returned on 29 September 1924 after travelling around the world.

Inter-War Period[edit]

Hood was decommissioned for a major overhaul from May 1929 to May 1931. During this period, flagship duties were transferred to Renown, and Tiger was returned to active service, to maintain the three ship strength of the squadron. Following her recomissioning, Hood again became flagship of the squadron, and remained the flagship until her loss on 24 May 1941. Tiger was decommissioned on 30 March 1931 and scrapped shortly after.


HMS Hood was lost in action with the German battleship Bismarck at the Battle of Denmark Strait on 24 May 1941. HMS Repulse was sunk by Japanese aircraft off Singapore on 10 December 1941. With the loss of the Hood and later the Repulse, the squadron ceased to exist. HMS Renown survived the war and was scrapped in 1948.

Commanding officers[edit]

List of Admirals in charge and period in charge[2]
Sir Roger B. Keyes, KCB, KCVO, CMG 1919 - 31 Mar 1921
Sir Walter H. Cowan, DSO 31 Mar 1921 – 15 May 1923
Sir Frederick L Field 15 May 1923 – 30 Apr 1925
Cyril T.M. Fuller, CB, CMG, DSO 30 Apr 1925 – 21 May 1927
Sir Frederic C. Dreyer, CB, CBE 21 May 1927 – 1 May 1929
Wilfred Tomkinson, CB, MVO 1 May 1929 – 15 Aug 1932
Sir William M. James, CB 15 Aug 1932 – 14 Aug 1934
Sir Sidney R. Bailey, CB, CBE, DSO 14 Aug 1934 – 22 Jul 1936
Sir Geoffrey Blake, CB, DSO 22 Jul 1936 – 3 Jul 1937
Sir Andrew B. Cunningham, CB, DSO 3 Jul 1937 – 23 Jul 1938
Geoffrey Layton, CB, DSO 23 Jul 1938 – 1 June 1939
William J. Whitworth, CB, DSO 1 Jun 1939 – 11 Mar 1940
Sir James Somerville, KCB, DSO 30 Jun - 10 Aug 1940
William J. Whitworth, CB, DSO 10 Aug 1940 – 8 May 1941
Lancelot E. Holland, CB 12–24 May 1941


  1. ^ "The "World Cruise" of the Special Service Squadron". HMS Hood Association. Archived from the original on 12 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  2. ^ "Hood's Admirals and Captains". HMS Hood Association. Archived from the original on 5 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 

External links[edit]