Mercantile Movements Division (Royal Navy)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mercantile Movements Division
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Agency overview
Formed1917-1920
Preceding agency
Superseding agency
JurisdictionUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
HeadquartersAdmiralty, London
Agency executive
  • Director of Mercantile Movements
Parent agencyAdmiralty Naval Staff

The Mercantile Movements Division [1] originally known as the Convoy Section [2] was a former Directorate of the British Admiralty, Naval Staff that coordinated, organised and plotted all Merchant Navy convoys, routing and schedules from 1917 until 1920.

History[edit]

Responsibility for the convoy system was administered by the Admiralty as early as 1914.[3] A specific Convoy Section [4] of the Naval Staff was originally established 25 June 1917 as part of the Anti-Submarine Division with the appointment of an Organizing Manager of Convoys the Convoy Section coordinated with the Ministry of Shipping [5] who was responsible for Merchant Shipping and the Naval Intelligence Division to organise all convoy, routings and schedules.[6] Although planning of routes for all convoys including there escorting vessels was usually supervised by the Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff [7] as he was responsible for trade protection and anti-submarine operations.

In September 1917 the Admiralty dually became responsible for the control of the ships of the British Merchant Navy together with the movements of the British Fleet. It established the Mercantile Movements Division under the control of a Director of Mercantile Movements [8] to administer this arrangement. However, in the case of convoys a different system had to be devised, This was owing to the difficulty of transmitting information and the problems it caused unless complete control over any convoy when it was finally at sea had to come under jurisdiction of the Admiralty [9] when this was agreed to the movements of convoys for the majority of there journey would then be directed by the Mercantile Movements Division and convoys were usually “plotted” from day to day.

In order to avert as many problems as possible certain alternative measures were adopted, for example convoys when travelling at night without lights had to be diverted of one another.[10] In order to achieve this use of wireless telegraphy was employed to transmit course changes to convoys, particularly if they came within close 'proximity' of each other. They were also directed to avoid certain areas where it was known German U-boat's were operating. Other measures put in place involved altering agreed destination of some ships as they approached home waters.[11]

As convoys approached from the North East Atlantic and U.K. home waters, usually being the Celtic, Irish, North Sea's and English Channel, they would then be within the strategic responsibility of the Commanders-in-Chief, of the Coast of Ireland, Devonport, Portsmouth,[12] and the Commander of the Dover Patrol,[13] at that point they were taken in charge by one or other of them. Port staff would keep a record of all movements of ships passing through or working within in each Command, this enabled area Commander-in-Chief to action operational requirements where they deemed necessary. During the interwar years the division was disbanded as a distinct entity and its previous functions were amalgamated within the Tactical Division.[14] In 1939 at the beginning of World War Two the Trade Division assumed overall responsibility for planning, control and protection of all British merchant shipping from the Tactical Division until 1945.

Directors duties[edit]

Heads of section/division[edit]

Included:

Organising Manager of Convoys[edit]

  • Mr. H. W. Eldon Manisty, 25 June 1917 - 10 September 1917 [15]

Directors of Mercantile Movements[edit]

  • Captain Frederic A. Whitehead, 10 September 1917 – 19 January 1919 [16]
  • Captain Bertram H. Smith, 19 January 1919 – 30 September 1919 [17]

Structure of Division[edit]

As of 1917[18]
Note Each inbound port served a certain area of trade, and vessels engaged in that trade met at the port of assembly for convoy to the United Kingdom or to France.

Timeline[edit]

  • Board of Admiralty, Admiralty Naval Staff, Anti-Submarine Division, (1914-1917). (established convoy section)
  • Board of Admiralty, Admiralty Naval Staff, Mercantile Movements Division, (1917-1920).
  • Board of Admiralty, Admiralty Naval Staff, Tactical Division, (1921-1939) - (responsible for convoy movements).
  • Board of Admiralty, Admiralty Naval Staff, Trade Division, (1939-1945) - (responsible for convoys).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hunt, Barry D. (2006). Sailor-Scholar: Admiral Sir Herbert Richmond 1871-1946. Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press. p. 79. ISBN 9780889207660.
  2. ^ Hunt, Barry D. (2006). Sailor-Scholar: Admiral Sir Herbert Richmond 1871-1946. Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press. p. 62. ISBN 9780889207660.
  3. ^ Callo, Joseph F.; Wilson, Alastair (2004). Who's Who in Naval History: From 1550 to the present. Routledge. p. 139. ISBN 9781134395392.
  4. ^ Hamilton, C. I. (2011). The Making of the Modern Admiralty: British Naval Policy-Making, 1805–1927. Cambridge University Press. p. 247. ISBN 9781139496544.
  5. ^ Fontenoy, Paul.E.; Tucker, Spencer. ed. (2005). , "Convoy System", The Encyclopedia of World War I: A Political, Social and Military History, Volume 1. Santa Barbara: ABC Clio. pp. 312–314.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Tucker, Spencer, ed. (2005). World War I : encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. pp. 312–314. ISBN 1851094202.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Jellicoe, John Rushworth, Admiral of the Fleet (1920). "The crisis of the naval war". London: Cassell and Company, Ltd. pp. 102–119.
  8. ^ Jellicoe, John Rushworth, Admiral of the Fleet (1920). "The crisis of the naval war". London: Cassell and Company, Ltd. pp. 102–119.
  9. ^ Jellicoe, John Rushworth, Admiral of the Fleet (1920). "The crisis of the naval war". London: Cassell and Company, Ltd. pp. 119–153.
  10. ^ Jellicoe, John Rushworth, Admiral of the Fleet (1920). "The crisis of the naval war". London: Cassell and Company, Ltd. pp. 119–153.
  11. ^ Jellicoe, John Rushworth, Admiral of the Fleet (1920). "The crisis of the naval war". London: Cassell and Company, Ltd. pp. 119–153.
  12. ^ Jellicoe, John Rushworth, Admiral of the Fleet (1920). "The crisis of the naval war". London: Cassell and Company, Ltd. pp. 119–153.
  13. ^ Jellicoe, John Rushworth, Admiral of the Fleet (1920). "The crisis of the naval war". London: Cassell and Company, Ltd. p. 197.
  14. ^ Franklin, George (2004). Britain's Anti-submarine Capability 1919-1939. Routledge. p. 30. ISBN 9781135774295.
  15. ^ Black, Nicholas (2009). The British Naval Staff in the First World War. Boydell Press. p. 184. ISBN 9781843834427.
  16. ^ Black, Nicholas (2009). The British Naval Staff in the First World War. Boydell Press. p. 184. ISBN 9781843834427.
  17. ^ Black, Nicholas (2009). The British Naval Staff in the First World War. Boydell Press. p. 184. ISBN 9781843834427.
  18. ^ Black, Nicholas. "'The Admiralty War Staff and its influence on the conduct of the naval between 1914 and 1918.'" (PDF). discovery.ucl.ac.uk. University College London, 2006. Retrieved 1 August 2017.

Sources[edit]

  • Black, Nicholas. "‘The Admiralty War Staff and its influence on the conduct of the naval between 1914 and 1918.’" (PDF). discovery.ucl.ac.uk. University College London, 2006.
  • Black, Nicholas (2009). The British Naval Staff in the First World War. Boydell Press. ISBN 9781843834427.
  • Hunt, Barry D. (2006). Sailor-Scholar: Admiral Sir Herbert Richmond 1871-1946. Wilfrid Laurier Univ. ISBN 9780889207660.
  • Jellicoe, John Rushworth, Admiral of the Fleet (1920). "The crisis of the naval war". London: Cassell and Company, Ltd.

Further reading[edit]

  • Rodger N.A.M. (1979), The Admiralty, Offices of State, Terrance Dalton Ltd, Lavenham, England. ISBN 0900963948

External links[edit]