The Commander-in-Chief, The Nore, was an operational commander of the Royal Navy. His subordinate units, establishments, and staff were sometimes informally known as the Nore Station or Nore Command. The Nore is a sandbank at the mouth of the Thames Estuary and River Medway.
|Commander-in-Chief, The Nore|
|Type||Command (military formation)|
The origins of the Commander-in-Chief's post can be traced to the first area naval commander, then known as the Commander-in-Chief, Thames from 1695 to 1696.
From 1698 to 1699 the appointment was known as Commander-in-Chief, Medway. In 1707 the post holder was known as Commander-in-Chief, Thames and Medway and between 1711 and 1745 the office was known as the Commander-in-Chief, Thames, Medway and Nore. In 1745 the post for the first time was simply called the Commander-in-Chief, Nore established at Chatham and became responsible for sub-commands at Chatham, London less the Admiralty, Sheerness, Harwich and Humber. A. Cecil Hampshire writes that in 1752 Isaac Townsend, Admiral of the Blue, was appointed as "Commander-in-Chief of HM Ships and Naval Vessels in the Rivers Thames and Medway and at the Buoy of the Nore."
From 1827 the Commander-in-Chief was accommodated in Admiralty House, Sheerness, built as part of the renewal of Sheerness Dockyard. From 1834 to 1899 his appointment was known as the Commander-in-Chief, Sheerness.
After the dissolution of the Home Fleet in 1905, remaining ships at a lesser state of readiness were split between three reserve divisions: Nore Division plus the Devonport Division and the Portsmouth Division. In 1909 the division was brought out of reserve status, and became operational as part of the 3rd and 4th Division of the Home Fleet.
In 1907 the Commander-in-Chief moved to a new Admiralty House alongside the naval barracks (HMS Pembroke) in Chatham, the Sheerness house being given over to the Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet. The Dover Patrol, Harwich Force, and Humber Force operated in the Channel during the First World War, but were responsible to the Admiralty in London; the Nore was effectively a provider of shore support rather than a command with operational responsibilities.
In 1938 an underground Area Combined Headquarters was built close to Admiralty House to accommodate the Commander-in-Chief together with the Air Officer Commanding No. 16 Group RAF, Coastal Command, and their respective staffs; similar headquarters were built close to the other Royal Dockyards. During the Second World War, the Nore assumed great importance: it was used to guard the east coast convoys supplying the ports of North Eastern England.
During the Second World War, the Commander-in-Chief at the Nore, at Chatham, included eight sub commands, each of which usually commanded by a Flag Officer either a Rear Admiral or Vice Admiral. They included Brightlingsea station, Harwich, Humber, London (not including the Admiralty), Lowestoft, Sheerness, Southend and Yarmouth. These sub-commands were then sub-divided into Base areas usually commanded by a Naval Officer in Charge (NOIC) or a Residential Naval Officer (RNO) these included HM Naval Bases at Boston, Burnham-on-Crouch, Felixstowe, Gravesend, Grimsby, Immingham, and Queensborough.
With the onset of the Cold War, the Nore diminished in importance as the navy decreased in size. Between 1952 and 1961 the Commander-in-Chief, The Nore was double-hatted as Commander, Nore Sub-Area, of NATO's Allied Command Channel.
Cecil Hampshire writes that the appointment of Commander-in-Chief finally lapsed as part of the "Way Ahead" economies. The closing ceremony took place on 24 March 1961, when the station's Queen's Colour was formally laid up in the presence of members of the Admiralty Board, several former Commanders-in-Chief, other civilian and military figures, "..and the Commander-in-Chief of the Netherlands Home Station flying his flag in the new Dutch destroyer Limburg who had been invited to attend." The Commander-in-Chief's appointment was finally discontinued on 31 March 1961. Cecil Hampshire writes that from 1 April 1961, the area was divided between the Commander-in-Chief Portsmouth and the Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland, the demarcation line being "roughly at The Wash." For purposes of administration from that date onward, the Admiral Superintendent Chatham also took the title of Flag Officer Medway.
Chatham Dockyard was a Dockyard located on the River Medway in Kent. Established in Chatham in the mid-16th century, the dockyard subsequently expanded into neighbouring Gillingham. At its most extensive, in the early 20th century, two-thirds of the dockyard lay in Gillingham, one-third in Chatham. The senior officer was a Captain-Superintendent, Chatham Dockyard or the Admiral-superintendent Chatham
In the early 20th century the Rear Admiral Commanding, Chatham Sheerness Reserve Division, was established and became responsible eventually to the Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet(s). Post holders included Rear Admirals Walter H. B. Graham, 3 January 1905 – 3 January 1906; Charles H. Adair 3 January 1906 – 3 January 1907; and Frank Finnis 3 January 1907 – 4 January 1909.
The Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham were purpose-built to provide accommodation and training facilities for the men of the reserve fleet who were waiting to be appointed to ships. Designed by Colonel Henry Pilkington, construction of the barracks began in 1897 and completed in December 1902.
Sheerness Dockyard was a Royal Navy Dockyard located on the Sheerness peninsula, at the mouth of the River Medway in Kent. It was opened in the 1660s and closed in 1960.
It was directed by the Admiral-Superintendent, Sheerness.
Sub-areas during First and Second World WarsEdit
At various times during the First and Second World Wars, up to nine sub-areas were established. These were usually administered by either a retired vice or rear admiral, or an active captain, who were appointed as Senior Naval Officers or Flag Officers.
|Sub-Area||Flag Ship or Ships borne in||Flag Officers/Officers commanding||Dates||Ref|
|Brightlingsea||HMS Wallaroo; HMS City of Perth then HMS Nemo||Senior Naval officer, Brighlingsea||1914–1945|||
|Dover||HMS Nemo||Naval Officer-in-Charge, Dover & CO HMS Lynx||1945–1946|||
|Harwich||HMS Badger||Flag Officer-in-Charge, Harwich||1914–1944|
|Humber||HMS Beaver||Flag Officer-in-Charge, Humber||1939 – 1946|||
|London||HMS Yeoman||Flag Officer-in-Charge, London||1938–1946||Rear Admiral Edward Courtney Boyle 1939-42|
Admiral Martin Dunbar-Nasmith 1942-46
|Lowestoft||HMS Minos||Naval Officer-in-Charge, Lowestoft||1914–1918, 1942–1946|
|Southend||HMS Leigh||Commander-in-Charge, Southend||1914–1918, 1942–1946|
|Yarmouth||HMS Watchful||Flag Officer-in-Charge, Yarmouth||1942–1945|||
|HM Naval Base, Immingham||Immingham||1914–1918||chain of command was to the SNO/FO, Humber Station|
|RNTE Shotley||Chatham||1914–1918||Shotley Training Establishment|
|Naval Units||Based at||Date||Notes|
|Reserve Fleet||Chatham||1900–1905||4 protected cruisers|
|Reserve Fleet||Chatham||1906–-1914||13 cruisers from the Aeolus, Arrogant, Astraea, Diadem, Eclipse, Edgar classes.|
|Reserve Fleet||Chatham||1939||inc: 6 cruisers, 15 destroyers, and 5 minesweepers|
|3rd Battle Squadron||Chatham||May 1916–April 1918||ex Grand Fleet|
|2nd Cruiser Squadron||Chatham||1939–1940|
|5th Cruiser Squadron||Chatham||1908–1909|
|7th Cruiser Squadron||Chatham||1912|
|HMS Curacoa (D41)||Chatham||1939||C-class cruiser (light)|
|HMS London (69)||Chatham||1939||County-class cruiser|
|1st Destroyer Flotilla||Harwich||December 1939–June 1940|
|4th Destroyer Flotilla||Humber||August – December 1916|
|5th Destroyer Flotilla||Chatham||1939–1940|
|7th Destroyer Flotilla||Humber/Chatham||August 1914 – November 1918, 1939–1940||WWI part of AOPs|
|8th Destroyer Flotilla||Chatham||1911–1914||1 cruiser leader, 2 scout cruisers and 24 torpedo boat destroyers|
|9th Destroyer Flotilla||Nore||1911–1914||1 cruiser leader, 2 scout cruisers and 27 destroyers|
|16th Destroyer Flotilla||Harwich||June 1940–May 1945|
|18th Destroyer Flotilla||Harwich||June–December, 1940||disbanded|
|19th Destroyer Flotilla||Chatham||September–October, 1939||transferred to Dover Command|
|20th Destroyer Flotilla||Immingham||1914–1918, 1941|
|21st Destroyer Flotilla||Sheerness||July 1940–May 1945||formed the southern force for the escort of east coast convoys|
|22nd Destroyer Flotilla||Harwich||November–December, 1939||inc: renamed 1st Destroyer Flotilla|
|Nore Flotilla||Harwich||1895–1909||43 torpedo boat destroyers|
|Nore Local Flotilla||Harwich||1912–1914||was a Destroyer Flotilla|
|20th Minelaying Destroyer Flotilla||Harwich||1939–1940|
|4th Minesweeper Flotilla||Harwich||September 1939–July 1942|
|5th Minesweeper Flotilla||Harwich||September 1939–April 1941||absorbed into 4MSF|
|6th Minesweeper Flotilla||Harwich||May–September 1940|
|7th Minesweeper Flotilla||Harwich||March 1944–January 1945|
|8th Minesweeper Flotilla||Chatham||1939|
|10th Minesweeper Flotilla||Chatham||April 1945|
|11th Minesweeper Flotilla||Chatham||April 1945|
|15th Minesweeper Flotilla||Chatham||February 1944|
|18th Minesweeper Flotilla||Chatham||May 1943|
|40th Minesweeper Flotilla||Harwich||1945|
|44nd Minesweeper Flotilla||Harwich||August 1944|
|117 Minesweeper Flotilla||Sheerness||1944|
|133 Minesweeper Flotilla||Sheerness||1944|
|140 Minesweeper Flotilla||Sheerness & Harwich||1944||divided between two naval bases|
|163 Minesweeper Flotilla||Lowestoft||1944|
|202 Minesweeper Flotilla||Lowestoft||1944|
|203 Minesweeper Flotilla||Harwich||1944|
|5th Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla||Immingham||1939 – 1941|
|11th Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla||Felixstowe||1944|
|21st Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla||Felixstowe||1944|
|22nd Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla||Felixstowe||1944|
|29th Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla||Felixstowe||1939|
|2nd Submarine Flotilla||Immingham||August 1916 – February 1917||coastal defence C Class|
|3rd Submarine Flotilla||Immingham/Humber/Harwich||September 1916 – 1918, October 1939-May 1940|
|4th Submarine Flotilla||Sherness||August 1916–September 1917||Disbanded|
|5th Submarine Flotilla||Sherness||August 1914–August 1916||renamed 4th Submarine Flotilla|
|6th Submarine Flotilla||Humber||August 1914 – August 1916|
Commander-in-Chief Thames (1695–1696)Edit
- Commodore Stafford Fairborne 1695
- Commodore James Gother 1696
Commander-in-Chief, Medway, (1698–1699)Edit
Commander-in-Chief, Thames and Medway, (1707–1711)Edit
Commander-in-Chief, Thames, Medway and Nore, (1711–1745)Edit
- Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy, 1711–1712 
- Rear-Admiral William Caldwell, 1717
- Vice Admiral Sir Chaloner Ogle 1745 
Commander-in-Chief, Nore, (1745–1747)Edit
Post holders included:
- Vice-Admiral Edward Durnford King 1745–1747
Commander-in-Chief, Medway and at the Nore, (1747–1797)Edit
- Rear-Admiral Henry Osborne (1747–1748) (V.Adm May 1748)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Francis Geary (1757–1758) 
- Commodore William Boys (1760–1761) 
- Commodore William Gordon (1762–1765) 
- Commodore Christopher Hill (1770–1771)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Peter Denis (1771–1775)
- Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon (1775–1776)
- Vice-Admiral Robert Roddam (1778–1783) 
- Vice-Admiral Sir Walter Stirling (1783–1785)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Andrew Hammond (1785–1788) 
- Vice-Admiral Richard Edwards (1788–1792) 
- Vice-Admiral William Locker (1792–1794)
- Rear-Admiral John Dalrymple (1794–1795)
- Vice-Admiral Sir George Collier (January 1795 – April 1795)
- Vice-Admiral Charles Buckner (1795–1797) 
Commander-in-Chief, Nore, (1797–1834)Edit
Post holders included:
- Vice-Admiral Skeffington Lutwidge (1797–1798)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Pasley (1798–1799)
- Vice-Admiral Alexander Graeme (1799–1803)
- Vice-Admiral Lord Keith (1803–1807) (formed part of North Sea Command)
- Vice-Admiral Thomas Wells (1807–1810)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Stanhope (1810–1811)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Williams (1811–1814)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Rowley (1815–1818)
- Vice-Admiral Sir John Gore (1818–1821)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Benjamin Hallowell (1821–1824)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Robert Moorsom (1824)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Blackwood (1827–1830)
- Vice-Admiral Sir John Beresford (1830–1833)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Richard King (1833–1834)
Commander-in-Chief, Sheerness, (1834–1899)Edit
Post holders included:
- Vice-Admiral Charles Elphinstone Fleeming (1834–1837)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Robert Otway (1837–1840)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Digby (1840–1841)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Brace (1841–1844)
- Vice-Admiral Sir John White (1844–1845)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Durnford King (1845–1848)
- Vice-Admiral Sir George Elliot (1848–1851)
- Vice-Admiral Josceline Percy (1851–1854)
- Vice-Admiral William Gordon (1854–1857)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Harvey (1857–1860)
- Vice-Admiral Sir William Hope-Johnstone (1860–1863)
- Vice-Admiral Sir George Lambert (1863–1864)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Talbot (1864–1866)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Baldwin Walker (1866–1869)
- Vice-Admiral Richard Warren (1869–1870)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Elliot (1870–1873)
- Vice-Admiral George Hastings (1873–1876)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Chads (1876–1877)
- Vice-Admiral Sir William King-Hall (1877–1879)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Reginald Macdonald (1879–1882)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Rice (1882–1884)
- Vice-Admiral Sir John Corbett (1884–1885)
- Vice-Admiral The Prince of Leiningen (1885–1887)
- Vice-Admiral Charles Waddilove (1887–1888)
- Vice-Admiral Thomas Lethbridge (1888–1890)
- Vice-Admiral Charles Curme (1890–1892)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Algernon Heneage (1892–1894)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Wells (1894–1896)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Nicholson (1896–1897)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Hotham (1897–1899)
Commander-in-Chief, Nore, (1899–1961)Edit
Post holders included:
- Vice-Admiral Sir Nathaniel Bowden-Smith (1899–1900)
- Vice-Admiral Sir William Kennedy (1900–1901)
- Vice-Admiral Sir Albert Markham (1901–1903)
- Admiral Sir Hugo Pearson (1903–1907)
- Admiral Sir Gerard Noel (1907–1908)
- Admiral Sir Charles Drury (1908–1911)
- Admiral Sir Richard Poore (1911–1915)
- Admiral Sir George Callaghan (1915–1918)
- Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee (1918–1921)
- Admiral Sir Hugh Evan-Thomas (1921–1924)
- Vice Admiral Sir William Goodenough (1924–1927)
- Admiral Sir Edwyn Alexander-Sinclair (1927–1930)
- Admiral Sir Reginald Tyrwhitt (1930–1933)
- Vice Admiral Sir Hugh Tweedie (1933–1935)
- Vice Admiral Sir Edward Evans (1935–1939)
- Admiral Sir Studholme Brownrigg (January 1939 – December 1939)
- Admiral Sir Reginald Plunkett (1939–1941)
- Admiral Sir George Lyon (1941–1943)
- Admiral Sir John Tovey (1943–1946)
- Admiral Sir Harold Burrough (1946–1948)
- Admiral Sir Henry Moore (1948–1950)
- Admiral Sir Cecil Harcourt (1950–1952)
- Admiral Sir Cyril Douglas-Pennant (1952–1953)
- Admiral Sir Geoffrey Oliver (1953–1955)
- Admiral Sir Frederick Parham (1955–1958)
- Admiral Sir Robin Durnford-Slater (1958–1961)
Senior staff officersEdit
Flag Captain, the NoreEdit
Post holders supporting the senior naval officer at the Nore included:
- Captain William G. Luard: July 1860–July 1863
- Captain John Fulford: July 1863–April 1866
- Captain Donald McL. Mackenzie: April 1866–June 1869
- Captain Thomas Miller: June 1869–June 1870
- Captain John C. Wilson: June 1870–January 1872
- Captain George W. Watson: January 1872–January 1875
- Captain Charles T. Curme: January 1875–February 1876
- Captain St. George C. D'Arcy-Irvine: February 1876–September 1877
- Captain Thomas B. Lethbridge: September 1877–January 1879
- Captain Thomas B.M. Sulivan: January 1879–July 1881
- Captain John D’Arcy: July 1881–September 1883
- Captain James A. Poland: September 1883–September 1886
- Captain Frederick C.B. Robinson: September 1886–July 1887
- Captain Arthur C. Curtis: July 1887–July 1890
- Captain Leicester C. Keppel: July 1890–August 1892
- Captain Henry H. Boys: August 1892–October 1894
- Captain William H.C. St.Clair: October 1894–February 1896
- Captain James L. Hammet: February 1896–January 1898
- Captain William F.S. Mann: January 1898–July 1899
- Captain Charles Campbell: July–October 1899
- Captain Henry C. Bigge: October 1899–February 1901
- Captain Archibald Y. Pocklington: February 1901–December 1902
- Captain Arthur Y. Moggridge: January 1907–April 1908
- Captain Clement Greatorex: April–December 1908
- Captain Henry J. L. Clarke: December 1908–August 1911
- Captain Philip H. Colomb: August 1911–January 1915
- Captain Ernest A. Taylor: January 1915–May 1916
- Captain William Bowden-Smith: May–July 1916
- Captain Alexander V. Campbell: July 1916–April 1918
- Captain Cecil M. Staveley: April–October 1918
Chief of Staff, the NoreEdit
Post holders supporting the CINC, Nore included:
- Captain Theobald W.B. Kennedy: October 1918–May 1921
- Captain Wilfred Tomkinson: May 1921–June 1923
- Captain Herbert W.W. Hope: June 1923–December 1924
- Captain the Hon. William S. Leveson-Gower: December 1924–May 1927
- Captain the Hon. E. Barry S. Bingham: May 1927–May 1929
- Captain Douglas B. Le Mottee: May 1929–May 1931
- Captain Reginald V. Holt: May 1931–August 1933
- Captain Hector Boyes: August 1933–November 1934
- Captain Robert B. Ramsay: November 1934-December 1935
- Captain Reginald B. Darke: December 1935–August 1937
- Captain Philip Esmonde Phillips: August 1937–July 1938
- Captain the Hon. George Fraser: July 1938–May 1940
- Rear-Admiral Alfred H. Taylor: May 1940–March 1943
- Commodore George H. Creswell: March–October 1943
- Commodore Robert G.H. Linzee: October 1943–April 1946
- Captain Albert L. Poland: April 1946–July 1948
- Captain Lennox A. K. Boswell: July 1948–May 1949
- Captain Arthur M. Knapp: May 1949–June 1951
- Captain Herbert F.H. Layman: June 1951–January 1953
- Captain Ronald E. Portlock: January 1953–December 1954
- Captain John A. W. Tothill: December 1954–July 1956
- Captain William A.F. Hawkins: July 1956–December 1957
- Captain Roger B.N. Hicks: December 1957–April 1960
- Captain Barry J. Anderson: April 1960–March 1961
Offices under the Chief of StaffEdit
- Deputy Chief of Staff
- Assistant Secretary
- Duty Staff Officer
- Flag Lieutenant-Commander
- Secretary to Chief of Staff
- Staff Officer (Minesweeping)
- Staff Officer A/P & Deputy Staff Officer (Minesweeping)
- Staff Officer (Convoys)
- Staff Officer (Intelligence)
- Staff Officer (LD)
- Staff Officer (Operations)
- Staff Officer (Plans)
- Staff Signal Officer
- Staff Torpedo Officer
- Maintenance Captain
- Area Combined Headquarters Chatham & HMS Wildfire
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At the request of the Naval Officer in Charge, Immingham, parties were landed to assist in the work of preparing demolitions at this port.
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Admiral Sir Geoffrey Oliver, Commander, Nore Sub-Area
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Commander-in-Chief, Thames and Medway.
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Commander-in-Chief, Medway and Nore Edward Vernon.
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