Commander-in-Chief, Dover

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Dover Command
Active (1914–1919), (1939–1945)
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  Royal Navy
Type Fleet
Garrison/HQ Dover

The Commander in Chief, Dover was an operational commander of the Royal Navy. His subordinate units, establishments, and staff were sometimes informally known as the Dover Command.[1] They were charged with the administration of the RN Naval Base, Dover.


In late July 1914, with war looming, 12 Tribal-class destroyers arrived at Dover to join the near obsolete destroyers already at anchor in the harbour, most of them built in the late 19th century. These destroyers formed the nucleus of the fledgling Dover Patrol,[2] which, from its early beginnings as a modest and poorly equipped command, became one of the most important Royal Navy commands of the First World War. The command was instituted on 12 October 1914 under the command of Rear Admiral Rear Admiral Sir Horace Lambert Alexander Hood.

Following the extra strain thrown on the Admiral of Patrols[3] Rear Admiral George Alexander Ballard and his staff caused by the beginning of mine laying and the evacuation of Antwerp, the Admiralty decided to create a separate command encompassing the patrols from the naval base at Dover, the naval base itself, and the Downs Boarding Flotilla. Command was transferred to Rear-Admiral The Honorable Horace L. A. Hood on 11 October, and he hoisted his flag on 13 October. He was given the title of Rear-Admiral Commanding the Dover Patrol and Senior Naval Officer Commanding, Dover, with the short title "Rear-Admiral, Dover Patrol".[4]

The Dover Patrol operated continuously through the end of the war, with its strength consisting primarily of the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla, the Fifth Submarine Flotilla, the Downs Boarding Flotilla, and at times a collection of monitors. Its primary mission was to monitor barriers and defences at the eastern end of the English Channel to prevent U-boats from gaining access to western areas. It also harassed German fortifications on the coast of occupied Belgium.[4]

During the Second World War, like Rosyth, and Orkneys and Shetlands, this former Great War command was re-established in 1939 to control and protect sea traffic in the Straits of Dover. It was formed by removing the Straits from Nore Command. Its function was to protect the supply lines to France. Its primary role failed disastrously during its supervision of the evacuation from Dunkirk code-named Operation Dynamo.[5] Once the threat of a German invasion subsided in 1941, its continued existence as a separate command from Nore Command was perceived by some quarters as more to do with prestige. The command played a prominent part in the Normandy landings.[6]

Administration of Dover command[edit]

World War One[edit]

Commander-in-Chief, Dover[edit]

Post holders include:

Rear-Admiral and Senior Officer, Dover[edit]

Post holders included:[8]

Admiral-Superintendent, Dover[edit]

Post holders included:[8]

  • Rear-Admiral Cecil F. Dampier, 18 June, 1917 – 1 June, 1918 (and as SO.Dover.)
Senior Naval Officer, Dunkirk[edit]

Post holders included:[9]

District Naval Transport Officer, Dunkirk[edit]

Post holders included:[9]

  • Captain Gerald C. A. Marescaux, – May, 1915
  • Captain William F. Benwell, May, 1915 – 27 August, 1917
  • Captain David M. Hamilton, 27 August, 1917 – 26 March, 1919
Command is deactivated during interwar years. 1919 – August 1939

Sub Area Commands[edit]

Senior Naval Officer Folkestone[edit]
Senior Naval Officer, Ramsgate[edit]

Post holders included:

  • Captain George N. Tomlin, 15 January, 1915 – 28 May, 1917
  • Captain Walter L. Allen, 27 May, 1917 – 25 March, 1919

World War Two[edit]

Commander-in-Chief and Flag Officer-in-Charge, Dover[edit]

Flag Officer, afloat off Dunkirk[edit]
Captain Superintendent, Dover[edit]
  • Captain. F. A. H. Russell, 16 December 1940 – June 1944.[11]
Senior Naval Officer, Dunkirk[edit]
Chief Staff Officer[edit]
  • Captain. A. Day, 31 August 1939 – August 1942.
  • Captain. H.St.L. Nicolson, 27 December–June 1944.
Flag Lieutenant Commander[edit]
  • Lieutenant. R.N. Gibb, 15 June 1941 – 16 August 1942.
  • Lieutenant. W.H.L. Mead, 17 August 1942 – June 1944.
Secretary, Dover Command[edit]
  • Paymaster. Commander R.H.G. Franklin, 31 August 1939 – July 1942.
  • Paymaster. Commander H. Prevett, July 1942 – June 1944.

Sub-Area commands[edit]

Flag Officer, Dungeness Station[edit]
Senior Naval Officer, Selsey Station[edit]
Naval Officer-in-Charge, Ramsgate[edit]

Post holders included:

  • Captain W.R. Phillimore, 1939 -1940.[11]
  • Captain. A.F.W. Howard, 16 September 1940 – June 1944.
Senior Naval Officer-in-Charge, Folkestone[edit]


Notes: Components were not always permanently stationed; they were regularly re-assigned by the Admiralty.

  • Base ship Dover: HMS Lynx

Shore establishments


Squadrons and flotillas

Minesweeper Groups


  1. ^ Redford, Duncan; Grove, Philip D. (2014). The Royal Navy: a history since 1900. I.B.Tauris. p. 141. ISBN 9780857735072. 
  2. ^ Bacon, Admiral Sir Reginald (16 November 2014). "World War 1 at Sea - Contemporary Accounts THE DOVER PATROL 1915-1917 , Volume I, mainly Belgian Coast Operations". Naval History.Net. Retrieved 1 November 2016. 
  3. ^ Dodd, Francis (1917). Admirals of the British Navy: Portraits in Colours with Introductory and Biographical Notes. Library of Alexandria. ISBN 9781465572332. 
  4. ^ a b Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony (30 November 2015). "The Dover Patrol". The Dreadnought Project. Retrieved 1 November 2016. 
  5. ^ Gardner, W. J. R.; Section, Great Britain Admiralty Historical (2000). The Evacuation from Dunkirk: Operation Dynamo, 26 May-4 June 1940. London: Taylor & Francis. p. 57. ISBN 9780714681504. 
  6. ^ Kennedy, Paul (2013). Engineers of Victory: The Problem Solvers who Turned the Tide in the Second World War. Penguin. ISBN 978-1-846-14728-9. 
  7. ^ Tucker, Spencer C. (2014). World War I: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection. ABC-CLIO. p. 188. ISBN 9781851099658. 
  8. ^ a b Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony (1 November 2017). "Dover". The Dreadnought Project. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  9. ^ a b Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony (30 May 2017). "Dunkirk". The Dreadnought Project. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  10. ^ Redford, Duncan (2014). A History of the Royal Navy: World War II. London: I.B.Tauris. p. 30. ISBN 9781780765464. 
  11. ^ a b c Grehan, John; Mace, Martin (2014). The BEF in France 1939-1940: Manning the Front Through to the Dunkirk Evacuation. Barnsley, England: Pen & Sword. p. 110. ISBN 9781783462117. 
  12. ^ "By Telegraph". The Evening Post. LXXXVIII (137). 7 December 1914. Retrieved 1 November 2016 – via Papers Past. 


  • Naval Staff, Training and Staff Duties Division (1924). Naval Staff Monographs (Historical): Fleet Issue. Volume X. Home Waters—Part I. From the Outbreak of War to 27 August 1914. O.U. 5528 (late C.B. 917(H)). Copy at The National Archives. ADM 186/619.
  • Naval Staff, Training and Staff Duties Division (1924). Naval Staff Monographs (Historical): Fleet Issue. Volume XI. Home Waters—Part II. September and October 1914. O.U. 5528 A (late C.B. 917(I)). Copy at The National Archives. ADM 186/620.
  • Sheldon, Jack (2010). The German Army at Ypres 1914 and the Battle for Flanders. Barnsley: Pen & Sword Military. ISBN 978-1-84884-113-0.
  • "". 
  • Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "WWII Unit Histories and Officers". 

External links[edit]