Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth

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Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth
HMS Impregnable, flagship of the Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth, circa 1900
Active1743–1845, 1896-1969
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Navy
Garrison/HQMount Wise, Plymouth

The Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth, was a senior commander of the Royal Navy for hundreds of years. Plymouth Command was a name given to the units, establishments, and staff operating under the admiral's command. Between 1845 and 1896, this office was renamed Commander-in-Chief, Devonport. The Commanders-in-Chief were based in what is now Hamoaze House, Devonport, Plymouth, from 1809 to 1934 and then at Admiralty House, Mount Wise, Devonport, from 1934 until 1996.[1]


Hamoaze House, formerly Admiralty House, on Mount Wise (centre)

The post dates back to around 1743.[2] It extended along the South Coast from Exmouth in East Devon to Penzance in Cornwall.[3] In 1845, this office was renamed as Commander-in-Chief, Devonport, until 1896, when it was altered back to its original name. In 1941, during World War II, elements of Plymouth Command were transferred to Western Approaches Command which was established at Derby House in Liverpool.[4] Meanwhile, Plymouth Command occupied a new combined Headquarters, known as the Maritime Headquarters, at Mount Wise.[5] The post of Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth, was merged with that of Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth, in 1969, to form Naval Home Command.[6] Between 1952 and 1969, the Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth, double-hatted as Plymouth Sub-Area Channel Command (PLYMCHAN) commander in NATO's Allied Command Channel, and from 1969 to 1994, he double-hatted as Naval Base Commander Devonport, NATO Commander Central Sub-Area (CENTLANT) and Commander Plymouth Sub-Area Channel (PLYMCHAN).[7]

After 1969, Admiralty House and the Maritime Headquarters became the home of the Flag Officer, Plymouth, until that post was also disbanded in 1996. At around the same time the nearby RN Dockyard and barracks were reconstituted as HM Naval Base Devonport and placed under the command of a Commodore.[5]

Office holders[edit]

Commanders-in-Chief and Flag Officers have included:[8][9][10]
NoN = died in post

Office is renamed Commander-in-Chief, Devonport

Post 1969 period[edit]

On 30 December 1970, Vice-Admiral J R McKaig CBE was appointed as Port Admiral, Her Majesty's Naval Base, Devonport, and Flag Officer, Plymouth. On 5 September 1971, all Flag Officers of the Royal Navy holding positions of Admiral Superintendents at Royal Dockyards were restyled as Port Admirals.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mount Wise, Plymouth Heritage Statement" (PDF). Plymouth City Council. November 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Other Data". Naval Biographical Database. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Nore, Dover, Portsmouth and Plymouth Commands, January 1942". Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Plymouth Maritime Headquarters - Mount Wise (1)". Subterranea Britannica. 13 December 2004. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Plymouth Maritime Headquarters - Mount Wise (2)". Subterranea Britannica. 13 December 2004. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  6. ^ "Port Admirals (Commanders-in-Chief) Portsmouth (1714–1931)". History in Portsmouth. Archived from the original on 27 June 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  7. ^ Sokolsky, Joel J. (2021). Seapower in the Nuclear Age: The United States Navy and NATO 1949-80. Taylor and Francis. p. 37. ISBN 978-1000263091.
  8. ^ Whitaker's Almanacks 1869–1969
  9. ^ "Principal Royal Navy Commanders-in-Chief 1830–1899". Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  10. ^ Mackie, Colin. "Royal Navy Senior Appointments" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 March 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  11. ^ "Dockyard Timeline: 1971 – Admiral Superintendents become Port Admirals". Portsmouth Royal Dockyard Historical Trust. Retrieved 19 December 2017.