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|Eastern Fleet (1941–44)|
East Indies Fleet (1944–52)
Far East Fleet (1952–71)
HMS Renown in 1944 with other Eastern Fleet ships
|Garrison/HQ||Trincomalee Naval Base, Ceylon|
Singapore Naval Base (postwar)
|Engagements||Loss of Prince of Wales and Repulse|
Indian Ocean raid
Battle of Madagascar
In 1904, the British First Sea Lord, Sir John Fisher, ordered that in the event of war the three main commands in the Far East, the East Indies Squadron, the China Squadron, and the Australian Squadron, should all come under one command called the Eastern Fleet based in Singapore. The Commander-in-Chief on the China Station would then take command. During the First World War, the squadrons retained their distinct identities and 'Eastern Fleet' was used only as a general term. The three-squadron structure continued until the Second World War and the beginning of hostilities with the Empire of Japan, when the Eastern Fleet was formally constituted on 8 December 1941, amalgamating the East Indies Squadron and the China Squadron.
During the war, it included many ships and personnel from other navies, including those of the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. On 22 November 1944 the Eastern Fleet was re-designated East Indies fleet and continued to be based in Trincomalee. Following its re-designation its remaining ships formed the British Pacific Fleet. In December 1945 the British Pacific Fleet was disbanded and its forces were absorbed into the East Indies fleet. In 1952 The East Indies Fleet was renamed the Far East Fleet. After the second world war the East Indies Station continued as a separate command to this one until 1958. In 1971 the Far East Fleet was abolished and its remaining forces returned home, coming under the command of the new, unified, Commander-in-Chief Fleet.
Until the Second World War, the Indian Ocean had been a British "lake". It was ringed by significant British and Commonwealth possessions and much of the strategic supplies needed in peace and war had to pass across it: i.e. Persian oil, Malayan rubber, Indian tea, Australian and New Zealand foodstuffs. Britain also utilised Australian and New Zealand manpower; hence, safe passage for British cargo ships was critical.
At the outbreak of war, Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine used auxiliary cruisers (converted merchant ships) and the "pocket battleship" Admiral Graf Spee to threaten the sea lanes and tie down the Royal Navy. In mid-1940, Italy declared war and their vessels based in Italian East Africa posed a threat to the supply routes through the Red Sea. Worse was to come when the Japanese declared war in December 1941 and, after Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the battleship Prince of Wales and battlecruiser Repulse, and the occupation of Malaya, Singapore and the Dutch East Indies, there was an aggressive threat from the east.
This threat became a reality during the Indian Ocean raid when an overwhelming Japanese naval force operated in the eastern Indian Ocean, sinking an aircraft carrier, other warships and disrupting freight traffic along the Indian east coast. At this stage, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General Sir Alan Brooke wrote:
We were hanging by our eyelids! Australia and India were threatened by the Japanese, we had temporarily lost control of the Indian Ocean, the Germans were threatening Iran and our oil, Auchinleck was in precarious straits in the desert, and the submarine sinkings were heavy.
Until 1941, the main threat to British interests in the region was the presence of German commerce raiders (auxiliary cruisers) and submarines. The fleet had trade protection as its first priority and was required to escort convoys and eliminate the raiders. The Germans had converted merchant ships to act as commerce raiders and allocated supply ships to maintain them. The location and destruction of these German raiders consumed much British naval effort until the last raider – Michel – was sunk in October 1943.
On 10 June 1940, the entry of Italy into the war introduced a new threat to the oil supply routes from the Persian Gulf, which passed through the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. The Italians controlled ports in Italian East Africa and Tianjin, China. The Italian Royal Navy (Regia Marina) presence in the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and the western Pacific Ocean consisted of destroyers, submarines, and a small number of armed merchantmen. The majority of these were based at Massawa in Eritrea as part of the Italian Red Sea Flotilla, including seven destroyers and eight submarines. Damage to British destroyers at this time included Kimberley which was crippled by Italian shore batteries.
The Italian naval forces in East Africa were caught in a vice. To put to sea invited heavy British reaction, while to stay in ports threatened by British and Commonwealth forces became impossible. In 1941, during the East African Campaign, these ports were captured by the British.
Before the fall of Singapore, the Eastern Fleet's naval base at Singapore (HM Naval Base) was part of the British Far East Command. British defence planning in the area was based on two assumptions. The first was that the United States would remain as an effective ally in the western Pacific Ocean, with a fleet based at Manila, which would be available as a forward base for British warships. Secondly, the technical capabilities and aggression of the Imperial Japanese Navy were underestimated. In these circumstances, with the Japanese fleet engaged by the United States Navy (USN), the Admiralty planned to send four obsolescent Revenge-class battleships to Singapore to provide defensive firepower and a British presence. The British assumptions were destroyed on 7 December 1941: the impact of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor denied substantial USN support to the British defence of the "Malay barrier" and made impossible the relief of American garrisons in the Philippines. Furthermore, Japanese capabilities exceeded expectations.
After the fall of France in June 1940, Japanese pressure on the Vichy authorities in French Indochina resulted in the granting of base and transit rights, albeit with significant restrictions. Despite this, in September 1940, the Japanese launched an invasion of that country. The bases thus acquired in Indochina allowed extended Japanese air cover of the invasion forces bound for Malaya and for the Dutch East Indies. In these circumstances, Prince of Wales and Repulse, which were dispatched to intercept the invasion force, were vulnerable to concerted air attacks from the Japanese bases in Indochina and, without their own air cover, they were sunk in December 1941.
After the sinking of Prince of Wales and Repulse, Admiral Sir Geoffrey Layton assumed command of the Eastern Fleet. The fleet withdrew first to Java and, following the Fall of Singapore, to Trincomalee, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). In March 1942, Admiral Sir James Somerville arrived in Ceylon and assumed command from Layton.
When Admiral Somerville inspected the base at Trincomalee, its deficiencies were clear to him. He found the port inadequate, vulnerable to a determined attack, and open to spying. An isolated island base with a safe, deep anchorage in a suitably strategic position was required. Addu Atoll, in the Indian Ocean, met the requirements and it was secretly developed as a fleet anchorage.
The Eastern Fleet was divided into two: Force A and Force B. Force A consisted of the battleship Warspite and two fleet aircraft carriers. Force B was based on the slow Revenge-class battleships of the 3rd Battle Squadron, based at the fleet's new operational base at Kilindini near Mombasa in Kenya and relatively safe from the Japanese fleet. Neither individually nor together could the two Eastern Fleet forces challenge a determined Japanese naval assault.
Following the Japanese capture of the Andaman Islands, the main elements of the Fleet retreated to Addu Atoll in the Maldives. Following Fleet losses from Chuichi Nagumo's Indian Ocean raid in early 1942, the Fleet moved its operational base to Kilindini near Mombasa in Kenya, as their more forward fleet anchorages could not be adequately protected from Japanese attack. The fleet in the Indian Ocean was then gradually reduced to little more than a convoy escort force as other commitments called for the more modern, powerful ships.
In May 1942, the Eastern Fleet supported the invasion of Madagascar, Operation Ironclad. It was aimed at thwarting any attempt by Japanese vessels to use naval bases on the Vichy French controlled territory. During the invasion, vessels of the Eastern Fleet were confronted by vessels of the French Navy and submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
After the departure of the main battle forces during February 1942, the Indian Ocean was left with mostly escort carriers and older battleships as the core of its naval forces. Allied advances in the Mediterranean and northern Europe during 1943 and 1944, however, released naval resources. As a result, more British aircraft carriers entered the area; added to the force were the battlecruiser Renown, the battleships Howe, Queen Elizabeth, Valiant and supporting warships. Preparations were put in hand for a more aggressive stance in the Indian Ocean and for British naval participation in the Pacific theatre. Agreement had been reached, after objections from Admiral Ernest King USN, but new procedures would need to be learnt by naval crews and Fleet Air Arm (FAA) aircrew. To this end, Operation Diplomat, a training exercise, took place in late March, 1944. The objective was for the fleet to rendezvous with a group of tankers (escorted by the Dutch cruiser HNLMS Tromp) and practice refuelling at sea procedures. The ships then rendezvoused with United States Navy Task Force 58.5, the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga and three destroyers.
Admiral King requested that, during April, the Eastern Fleet should engage Japanese forces in their area and hold them there to reduce the opposition to an American seaborne assault on Hollandia (now Jayapura) and Aitape on the north coast of Netherlands New Guinea. An airborne attack by the Eastern Fleet (including Task Force 58.5) on Sabang, off Sumatra was executed (Operation Cockpit). Surprise was achieved: military and oil installations were heavily damaged by the attacks, aggravating Japanese fuel shortages. The American involvement was extended to capitalise on the success with a second attack, this time on Surabaya, eastern Java, on 17 May (Operation Transom). The distances for this operation necessitated replenishment at sea. Again, the defenders were unprepared and significant damage was inflicted on the port and its military and oil infrastructures. Saratoga and her destroyers returned to the Pacific from 18 May after what Admiral Somerville called "a profitable and very happy association of Task Group 58.5 with the Eastern Fleet".
At the end of August 1944, Admiral Somerville was relieved as Commander-in-Chief Eastern Fleet by Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser, former Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet. The Eastern Fleet was greatly augmented by units intended for the Pacific and on 4 January 1945, the carriers Indomitable and Indefatigable carried out an attack on oil refineries at Pangkalan Brandon in Sumatra (Operation Lentil). The final attacks were flown as Force 63 was en-route for Sydney, Australia to become the British Pacific Fleet. Operation Meridian One and Operation Meridian Two were air attacks upon the oil refineries at Pladjoe, north of Palembang, Java and at Soengei Gerong, Sumatra. Although successful, these were not as smooth as earlier attacks. Three crews [ 9 men] of Fleet Air Arm were captured by the Japanese during the Palembang raid. They were taken to Singapore where they were tortured and imprisoned; finally in August 1945 they were executed by the Japanese military authorities four days after the Japanese surrender.
On 15–16 May 1945, the British carried out Operation Dukedom; the 26th Destroyer Flotilla (composed of Saumarez, Venus, Verulam, Vigilant and Virago) sank the Japanese heavy cruiser Haguro in the Malacca Straits using torpedoes.
After the war, the Fleet was once again based at the Naval Base at Singapore. It took part in the Malayan Emergency and the Confrontation with Indonesia in the 1960s. By 1964, the fleet on station included Victorious, Centaur, Bulwark, Kent, Hampshire, 17 destroyers and frigates, about ten minesweepers and five submarines.
The Flag Officer Second-in-Command Far East Fleet, for most of the postwar period a Rear Admiral, was based afloat, and tasked with keeping the fleet "up to the mark operationally". Some also held the appointment of Flag Officer Commanding 5th Cruiser Squadron, probably including Rear Admiral E.G.A. Clifford CB, who was flying his flag in HMS Newcastle on 12 November 1953. Meanwhile, the fleet commander, a Vice Admiral, ran the fleet programme and major items of administration 'including all provision for docking and maintenance' from his base in Singapore.
The Fleet was disbanded in 1971, and on 31 October 1971, the last day of the validity of the Anglo-Malayan Defence Agreement, the last Commander, Far East Fleet, Rear Admiral Anthony Troup, hauled down his flag.
Following initial problems due to Japanese forces striking in the Indian Ocean area in April 1942 most of its main capital ships transferred to the East Coast of Africa command at Kilidini, Mombasa, Kenya. Other forces were spread around other bases in the Western Indian ocean area. By 1943 it had nearly recovered. From October 1943, the fleet was the maritime component of South East Asia Command, including responsibilities other than the SEAC area. The fleet reached full operational strength again by 1944. On 22 November 1944 the British Pacific Fleet was established using the remaining ships of the Eastern Fleet after it was renamed the East Indies Fleet. The East Indies Station remained as a separate command until 1958.
The Eastern Fleet consisted of three basic elements; the battle fleet that included its main components battleships and carriers, battleships and supporting vessels; the submarine force to hinder Japan from using sea lanes between Burma and Singapore; and. often forgotten, and a large supporting escort force responsible for protecting convoy roues between Suez (Red Sea) and India, and between the Cape of Good Hope and India.
|Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Fleet|
|1||Admiral||Sir Tom S.V. Phillips||October - 10 December 1941|
|2||Vice-Admiral||Sir Geoffrey Layton||10 December 1941 - 12 February 1942|
|3||Vice-Admiral||Sir James Somerville||12 February 1942 - 6 April 1942 (promoted to Adm.|
|4||Admiral||Sir James Somerville||6 April 1942 - 22 August 1944|
|5||Admiral||Sir Bruce A. Fraser||22 August 1944 -December 1944 - becomes C-in-C British Pacific Fleet|
|Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Fleet|
|1||Admiral||Sir Arthur J. Power||November 1944 - December 1945 |
|2||Vice-Admiral||Sir Clement Moody||15 December 1945 - 8 March 1946 |
|2||Vice-Admiral||Sir Denis Boyd||March 1946 - January 1948|
|3||Admiral||Sir Denis Boyd||January 1948 - January 1949 |
|4||Vice-Admiral||Sir Patrick Brind||January 1949 - February 1951|
|5||Vice-Admiral||Sir Guy Russell||February 1951 - January 1952|
|Commander-in-Chief, Far East Fleet|
|1||Vice-Admiral||Sir Guy Russell||January 1952 - March 1953|
|2||Vice-Admiral||Sir Charles Lambe||March 1953 - April 1955|
|3||Vice-Admiral||Sir Alan Scott-Moncrieff||April 1955 - October 1957|
|4||Vice-Admiral||Sir Gerald Gladstone||October 1957 - April 1960|
|5||Vice-Admiral||Sir David Luce||April 1960 - November 1962|
|6||Vice-Admiral||Sir Desmond Dreyer||November 1962 - January 1965|
|7||Vice-Admiral||Sir Frank Twiss||January 1965 - June 1967|
|8||Vice-Admiral||Sir William O'Brien||June 1967 -September 1969|
|9||Vice-Admiral||Sir Derek Empson||September 1969 - April 1971|
|10||Vice-Admiral||Sir Anthony Troup||April - November 1971|
|Chief of Staff, Eastern Fleet|
|1||Rear-Admiral||Arthur F. E. Palliser||December 1941 - January 1942|
|2||Commodore||Ralph A. B.Edwards||March 1942 - August 1944|
|Chief of Staff, East Indies Fleet|
|1||Commodore||Edward M. Evans-Lombe||August 1944 - October 1944|
|2||Rear-Admiral||Edward M. Evans-Lombe||October 1944 - March 1946|
|3||Commodore||Stephen H. Carlill||March 1946 - August 1948|
|4||Commodore||Geoffrey F. Burghard||August 1948 - September 1950|
|5||Captain||Ralph L. Fisher||September 1950 - January 1952|
|Flag Officer, Second-in-Command|
|1||Captain||Ralph L. Fisher||January - October 1952|
|2||Commodore||Laurence G. Durlacher||October 1952-September 1954|
|3||Commodore||George A. F. Norfolk||September 1954-October 1956|
|5||Commodore||Christopher H. Hutchinson||October 1956-March 1959|
|6||Rear-Admiral||Ronald E. Portlock||March 1959 - April 1961|
|7||Rear-Admiral||Bryan C. Durant||April 1961 - July 1963|
|8||Rear-Admiral||Francis B. P. Brayne-Nicholls||July 1963 - July 1965|
|9||Rear-Admiral||Dennis H. Mason||July 1965 - December 1967|
|10||Rear-Admiral||Ian D. McLaughlan||December 1967 - February 1970|
|9||Rear-Admiral||John A. Templeton-Cotill||February 1970 - March 1971|
|Vice-Admiral, Commanding 3rd Battle Squadron & Second-in-command, Eastern Fleet|
|1||Vice Admiral||Sir Algernon Willis||26 February 1942 - February 1943|
|2||Rear-Admiral||William G. Tennant||February–October 1943|
|3||Vice-Admiral||Sir Arthur Power||January 1944 - November 1944|
|4||Vice-Admiral||Sir Harold Walker||November 1944 - 1946|
|Rear-Admiral, Commanding, 5th Cruiser Squadron and Second-in-Command, East Indies Fleet/Far East Fleet|
|1||Rear-Admiral||Alexander Madden||1948 – 1950 |
|2||Rear-Admiral||William Andrewes||17 December 1950 – October 1951 |
|3||Rear-Admiral||Eric Clifford CB||circa 1953|
|4||Rear-Admiral||Gerald Gladstone||1953 – 1955 |
|Flag Officer Second-in-Command Far East Fleet|
|1||Rear-Admiral||Laurence Durlacher||1957 – 1958|
|2||Rear-Admiral||Varyl Begg||1958 – 1960|
|3||Rear-Admiral||Michael Le Fanu||1960 – 1961|
|4||Rear-Admiral||John Frewen||1961 – 1962|
|5||Rear-Admiral||Jack Scatchard||1962 – 1964|
|6||Rear-Admiral||Peter Hill-Norton||1964 – 1966|
|7||Rear-Admiral||Charles Mills||1966 – 1967|
|8||Rear-Admiral||Edward Ashmore||1967 – 1968|
|9||Rear-Admiral||Anthony Griffin||1968 – 1969|
|10||Rear-Admiral||Terence Lewin||1969 – 1970|
|11||Rear-Admiral||David Williams||1970 – 1971|
|Rear-Admiral, Eastern Fleet, Aircraft Carriers|
|1||Rear-Admiral||Denis Boyd||18 February 1941 - December 1942 |
|2||Rear-Admiral||Clement Moody||1 December 1943 - August 1944|
|Flag Officer, (Air), East Indies Fleet|
|1||Rear-Admiral||Clement Moody||August 1944 - November 1944|
|2||Rear-Admiral||Reginald H. Portal||November 1944 - March 1946|
|3||Rear-Admiral||Charles H.L. Woodhouse||March - July 1946|
|4||Rear-Admiral||Robin Bridge||July 1946-February 1947|
|5||Vicer-Admiral||George E. Creasy||February 1947 - 1948|
|Flag Officer, Ceylon|
|1||Rear-Admiral||Arthur Read||14 May 1942 - August 1943|
|2||Rear-Admiral||Victor H. Danckwerts||August 1943 - March 1944, (died in office)|
|3||Rear-Admiral||Gresham Nicholson||March 1944 - 1945|
|4||Rear-Admiral||John Mansfield||1945 -10 April 1946|
|Flag Officer, Commanding Red Sea and Canal Area|
|1||Rear-Admiral||Ronald H. C. Hallifax||18 May 1942 – 6 November 1943  (died in office)|
|2||Rear-Admiral||John Waller||6 November – 28 December 1943 |
|3||Commodore||Douglas Young-Jamieson||28 December 1943 – 31 October 1944 |
Note: Under the East Indies Station at the outbreak of World War Two back as a separate command post war,
|Flag Officer Commanding, Royal Indian Navy|
|1||Vice-Admiral||Sir Herbert Fitzherbert||December 1941 -22 March 1943|
|2||Vice-Admiral||John Henry Godfrey||22 March 1943 – 15 March 1946|
|Flag Officer, East Africa|
|1||Rear-Admiral||Peter Reid||April 1942 – October 1942|
|2||Commodore||Charles G. Stuart||October 1942 – September, 1943|
|Commodore (D), Commanding, Eastern Fleet Destroyer Flotillas|
|1||Commodore||S. H. T. Harliss||9 June 1942 - December 1942 |
|2||Commodore||Albert. L. Poland||April 1944 - October 1944 |
|3||Commodore||Stephen H. Carlill||March 1946 - August 1948|
|4||Commodore||Geoffrey F. Burghard||August 1948 - September 1950|
Note: The Commodore, Hong Kong was based at HMS Tamar he was responsible for administrating all naval establishments in Hong Kong including HMNB Hong Kong and exercised operational control over all royal navy ships in that area.
|Senior Officer, Royal Naval Establishments, India|
|1||Rear-Admiral||Oliver Bevir||June 1944 – July, 1945 |
The Senior Naval Officer, Persian Gulf was responsible for administering the Persian Gulf Station a military formation of the Royal Navy. initially located at Basra, in Mandatory Iraq then later Juffair, Bahrain from 1901 to 1972. It was part of the East Indies Station then the Eastern Fleet, then the East Indies Fleet before being place back under the command of East Indies Station.
Notes: From February 1963 the remaining destroyer and frigate squadrons in the Far East Fleet were gradually amalgamated into Escort Squadrons. All were disbanded by the end of December 1966. Those in the Far East Fleet became the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Far East Destroyer Squadrons.
|Naval Units||Based at||Date||Notes|
|Battle Fleet||Trincomalee naval base||9 January 1943 to 4 May 1945|
|Force A||Trincomalee||March 1942 to June 1942|
|Force B||Trincomalee/Kilidini||March 1942 to June 1942|
|1st Aircraft Carrier Squadron||Trincomalee then Singapore Naval Base||October 1945 to October 1947|
|21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron||Trincomalee||March 1945 - December 1945|
|1st Battle Squadron||Trincomalee||March 1942 to 1942|
|3rd Battle Squadron||Trincomalee||January 1942 to December 1945|
|4th Cruiser Squadron||Trincomalee then Singapore Naval Base||December 1947 to July 1954|
|5th Cruiser Squadron||Trincomalee then Singapore Naval Base||January 1942 - May 1960|
|2nd Destroyer Flotilla||Trincomalee||February 1942 to June 1943|
|4th Destroyer Flotilla||Trincomalee||April 1943 to November 1944|
|6th Destroyer Flotilla||Trincomalee||June 1945 -|
|7th Destroyer Flotilla||Trincomalee||January 1942 to April 1945|
|8th Destroyer Flotilla||Singapore||1947 to July 1951||re-designated 8th DSQ|
|11th Destroyer Flotilla||Trincomalee||February 1943 - 1945||transferred from Med Fleet|
|24th Destroyer Flotilla||Trincomalee||January to May 1945|
|26th Destroyer Flotilla||Trincomalee||January 1945|
|1st Destroyer Squadron||Singapore||1950 to April 1960|
|8th Destroyer Squadron||Singapore||July 1951 - May 1963||renamed 24th ESQ|
|1st Far East Destroyer Squadron||Singapore||December 1966 to 1 November 1971|
|2nd Far East Destroyer Squadron||Singapore||December 1966 to 1 November 1971|
|3rd Far East Destroyer Squadron||Singapore||December 1966 to December 1970|
|1st Escort Flotilla||Singapore||1946 to 1954|
|21st Escort Squadron||Singapore||May 1964 to December 1966|
|22nd Escort Squadron||Singapore||May 1963 to June 1964||became 29th Escort Squadron|
|24th Escort Squadron||Singapore||May 1963 to December 1966||renamed from 8th DSQ|
|25th Escort Squadron||Singapore||January 1963 to May 1964||renamed from 6th FSQ|
|26th Escort Squadron||Singapore||May 1963 to December 1966||renamed from 3FSQ|
|29th Escort Squadron||Singapore||June 1964 to December 1966|
|30th Escort Squadron||Singapore||September 1964 to December 1965|
|3rd Frigate Squadron||Singapore||May 1949- 1954, January 1958 to May 1963||renamed 26th ESQ|
|4th Frigate Squadron||Singapore||January 1949 to August 1954|
|4th Frigate Squadron||Singapore||January 1956-December 1960|
|4th Frigate Squadron||Singapore||September 1961 to September 1962|
|5th Frigate Squadron||Singapore||December 1959 to December 1962|
|6th Frigate Squadron||Singapore||December 1960 to September 1961|
|6th Frigate Squadron||Singapore||September 1962 to January 1963||renamed 25th ESQ|
|6th Mine Counter-Measures Squadron||Singapore||1962 to 1971|
|8th Mine Counter-Measures Squadron||Hong Kong||1962 to 1967|
|6th Minesweeper Flotilla||Trincomalee||January 1945 to July 1947||transferred to Singapore|
|6th Minesweeper Flotilla||Singapore||August 1947 to 1951||placed in reserve|
|6th Minesweeper Squadron||Singapore||1951 to June 1954||new formation|
|104th Minesweeper Squadron||Singapore||1960 to 1962|
|120th Minesweeper Squadron||Hong Kong Naval Base||1952 to 1962|
|7th Minesweeper Flotilla||Trincomalee||February 1945|
|2nd Submarine Flotilla||Trincomalee||January 1945|
|4th Submarine Division||Sydney||May to October 1949|
|7th Submarine Division||Singapore||1959|
|4th Submarine Flotilla||Trincomalee||January 1942 to October 1947|
|4th Submarine Flotilla||Singapore||October 1947 to December 1948|
|6th Submarine Flotilla||Trincomalee||February to August 1944|
|2nd Submarine Flotilla||Trincomalee||January 1945|
|4th Submarine Flotilla||Trincomalee then Singapore||January 1942 to October 1947|
|6th Submarine Flotilla||Trincomalee||February to August 1944|
|7th Submarine Squadron||Singapore||1966 to 1971|
|Persian Gulf Division||Juffair Naval Base||January 1942 to January 1954|
|Red Sea Division||Aden Naval Base||February 1942 to January 1954|
|60th Escort Group||Trincomalee||January to May 1945||11 ships|
|Aden-Bombay-Colombo Groups||Aden/Bombay/Colombo||4 February 1944 to January 1945||ABC 30 escorts|
|Aden Escort Forces||Aden||4 February 1944 to January 1945||15 escorts|
|Ceylon Escort Forces||Colombo||9 January 1943 to 4 February 1944||10 escorts|
|Kilidini Escort Forces||Kilidini||4 February 1944 to January 1945||8 escorts|
|Kilidini Escort Forces||Kilidini||January to May 1945||14 ships|
|Royal Indian Navy Escort Forces||Bombay||4 February 1944 to January 1945||8 escorts|
|Single units also in this command|
|River-class frigates||Trincomalee||May to September 1945||20 ships|
|Sloops||Trincomalee||May to September 1945||19 ships|
|Corvettes||Trincomalee||May to September 1945||18 ships|
During World War II, the British Eastern Fleet included, from time to time, a number of warships from the British Dominions of Australia and New Zealand as well as other Allied nations, such as, France (Free French Navy), the Netherlands, and the United States.