Western Fleet (United Kingdom)

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Western Fleet
09 HMS Eagle Mediterranean Jan1970.jpg
The aircraft carrier HMS Eagle, Flagship of the Western Fleet
Active 5 June 1967 - 1971
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Type Fleet
Garrison/HQ Northwood Headquarters, Middlesex

The British Western Fleet was a fleet level command in the Royal Navy.

History[edit]

The Western Fleet was formed in 1967 from the historic Home Fleet, as a result of the disbandment of the Mediterranean Fleet.[1] This created a fleet with greater responsibilities than either of its two predecessors, as it was responsible for the United Kingdom home waters, the North and South Atlantic, and the Mediterranean. The fleet was responsible for all Royal Navy operations “West of Suez”. One of the fleet commander's subordinates was Flag Officer Flotillas, Western Fleet, which Vice Admiral Andrew Lewis filled in 1968-69.[2]

The headquarters of the Western Fleet was at the Northwood Headquarters in Middlesex. The post of Commander in Chief Western Fleet (abbreviated CINC WF) came with the additional NATO responsibility as Commander in Chief Allied Channel Command. The first Allied Commander-in-Chief Channel was Admiral Sir Arthur Power who was also Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth, appointed in February 1952. In 1966 it was agreed that the same commander, the Royal Navy's Commander-in-Chief, Western Fleet, should direct the NATO Channel and Eastern Atlantic Commands.[3] As a consequence these functions were combined at his Headquarters in Northwood.

The fleet's existence was quite short in comparison to other fleets of the Royal Navy, and was amalgamated at the end of 1971 with the Far East Fleet to form a single fleet command within the Royal Navy, commonly known as Fleet Command or FLEET.

Commanders in Chief[edit]

Commanders-in-Chief included:[4]

The fleet's last commander, Admiral Sir Edward Ashmore, became the first Commander-in-Chief Fleet of the new combined Fleet Command.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Royal Navy (Command System) Hansard, 5 June 1967
  2. ^ HMS Hampshire (D06), HMS Hampshire 1967-1969 (cruise book), accessed January 2009
  3. ^ AMCCHQ Northwood, History of SNMMG1 (formerly MCMFORNORTH), accessed 29 May 2008
  4. ^ Whitaker's Almanacks 1967 - 1971