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Cunningham, Sir Andrew Browne (1883-1963)


Photograph of Andrew B. Cunningham at Yalta

National Archives #USA-C-543

Cropped by author

"ABC" Cunningham entered the Royal Navy in 1898 and saw action in the Dardanelles during the First World War as commander of a destroyer. He then participated with distinction in the raid on Zeebruge. An aid to King George V in the early 1930s, he was promoted to rear admiral in 1934 and commanded the Mediterranean destroyer flotilla and then the Mediterranean battle cruiser squadron. Named commander of the Mediterranean fleet in 1939, he carried out the distasteful task of immobilizing the French fleet after the fall of France in June 1940. He was the victor in actions at Calabria, Taranto, and Cape Matapan against the Italians, and carried out the costly evacuation of Crete.

Cunningham was sent to Washington to represent the Royal Navy on the Combined Chiefs of Staff Committee in June 1942. Promoted to admiral of the fleet, he resumed command in the Mediterranean in October 1942 and covered the Torch and Husky landings. With Italy effectively knocked out of the war, Cunningham was recalled to London to replace Dudley Pound as First Sea Lord (British equivalent of Chief of Naval Operations) where he served until his retirement in 1946. He was created 1st Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope on retirement and published his memoirs in 1951.

Cunningham was a superb fighting admiral and inspirational leader under difficult circumstances. He is widely regarded by historians as the greatest British admiral since Nelson.

Service record

1883-1-7     

Born at Dublin, Scotland
1898-5
Midshipman
Graduates from Britannia Royal Naval College
1899

Doris
1900-2

Naval Brigade, Cape Station
1902

Student, Portsmouth and Greenwich
1903
Sublieutenant     
BB Implacable
1903-9

Executive officer, Locust
1904
Lieutenant

1908

Commander, Torpedo Boat 14
1911

Commander, DD Scorpion
1915
Commander

1919

Seafire
1920
Captain

1922

Commander, 6 Destroyer Flotilla
1923

Commander, 1 Destroyer Flotilla
1924

Commander, Port Edgar Destroyer Base
1926

Flag Captain, American and West Indies Station
1928

Imperial Defense College
1930

Commander, BB Rodney
1931

Commodore, Royal Navy Barracks, Chatham
1932-9
Rear admiral
Aide-de-camp to the King
1933-12

Commander, Destroyer Flotilla, Mediterranean Fleet
1936-7
Vice admiral

1937

Commander, Battle Cruiser Squadron, Mediterranean Fleet
1938-10

Deputy chief of the Naval Staff
1939-6
Admiral
Commander, Mediterranean Station
1942-6

British Naval Representative, Combined Chiefs of Staff, Washington
1942-9

Naval commander, Operation TORCH
1943-1
Admiral of the Fleet     
Commander, Allied Naval Forces, Mediterranean
1943-10-4     

First Sea Lord
1946

Retires
1963-6-12

Dies at London

References

Boatner (1996)

Dupuy et.al. (1992)

Royal Navy Museum (accessed 2008-1-18)



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