Anti-Submarine Committee (Royal Navy)

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The Anti-Submarine Committee, also known simply as Submarine Committee, was an ad hoc body of the Royal Navy formed in 1910 for dealing with anti-submarine warfare proposals.

History

The committee was formally appointed on 1 April, 1910, under the presidency of Rear-Admiral Cecil Burney. The other members were Captain Sir Robert K. Arbuthnot, Bart., Commander John A. Moreton, and a Secretary.[1] Richard Dunley claims that the committee "appears to have been largely drawn from officers of the fleet",[2] providing no evidence to support this assertion. Commander Moreton was actually an experienced submarine commander.[3] A valuable insight into the early operation of the committee is provided by Arbuthnot's diary.

The committee initially met at Fort Blockhouse, the home of the submarine service, several times a week, usually in the morning.[4] On 14 April Arbuthnot went to H.M.S. Vernon to discuss gear and experiments with its captain, Robert S. P. Hornby.[5] In the morning of 20 April Burney and Arbuthnot went out and dived in a C-class submarine with Captain Frank Brandt. After lunch at Fort Blockhouse they finalised the committee's first report.[6] The 1920 Technical History of the Navy's pre-war ASW efforts states: "This report is given rather fully, as, in the light of the present day experience, it serves very well to illustrate the amount of knowledge on the subject possessed at the time, the trend to which thoughts first turned in dealing with the question, and the comparatively meagre capabilities of the existing Submarines compared with those of the present time."[7]

Up to the outbreak of war in August, 1914, the committee reported at least fifty-five times.[9]

During its existence, the primary tools which would define the pinnacle of anti-submarine warfare through the end of the Great War were devised – particularly the hydrophone and the hydrostatically fired depth charge – but often alongside large numbers of grossly ineffective weapons and tactics which were slow to cede ground.

Presidents

Members

This list is not complete.

Footnotes

  1. See lists below, and for composition see Anti-Submarine Development and Experiments Prior to December 1916. p. 9.
  2. Dunley. "Anti-Submarine Warfare in the Pre-First World War Royal Navy: A Cultural Failure?" p. 15.
  3. Moreton service record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/239.
  4. Arbuthnot diary entry for 5 April, 1910. National Maritime Museum. Arbuthnot papers. ARB/1/12.
  5. Arbuthnot diary entry for 14 April, 1910. National Maritime Museum. Arbuthnot Papers. ARB/1/12.
  6. Arbuthnot diary entry for 20 April, 1910. National Maritime Museum. Arbuthnot Papers. ARB/1/12.
  7. Anti-Submarine Development and Experiments Prior to December 1916. p. 9.
  8. Anti-Submarine Development and Experiments Prior to December 1916. pp. 9-12.
  9. Anti-Submarine Development and Experiments Prior to December 1916. p. 43.
  10. Burney Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38/232. Return, for the Year ended 31st March 1911, of the Army and Navy Officers permitted, under Rule 2 of the Regulations drawn up under Section 6 of the "Superannuation Act, 1887," to hold Civil Employment of Profit under Public Departments. pp. 32-33.
  11. Return, for the Year ended 31st March 1911, of the Army and Navy Officers permitted, under Rule 2 of the Regulations drawn up under Section 6 of the "Superannuation Act, 1887," to hold Civil Employment of Profit under Public Departments. pp. 32-33.
  12. Sturdee Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39/476.
  13. Sturdee Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39/476.
  14. Tupper Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39/536.
  15. Tupper Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39/536.
  16. Date inferred from the date of Tupper ceasing duty on the committee. Clearly listed as "President of Submarine Committee" in Return, for the Year ended 31st March 1913, of the Army and Navy Officers permitted, under Rule 2 of the Regulations drawn up under Section 6 of the "Superannuation Act, 1887," to hold Civil Employment of Profit under Public Departments. pp. 22-23, 32-33.
  17. Hornby Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42/378.
  18. Borne on books of President. Service on committee implied from Arbuthnot diary and also continuous service as Burney's secretary from 1906 to 1920. Murray Service Record.The National Archives. ADM 196/171/290.
  19. Moreton Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/239.
  20. Arbuthnot Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42/244.
  21. Tupper Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39/536.
  22. Tupper Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39/536.
  23. Currey Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42/31.
  24. Return, for the Year ended 31st March 1914, of the Army and Navy Officers permitted, under Rule 2 of the Regulations drawn up under Section 6 of the "Superannuation Act, 1887," to hold Civil Employment of Profit under Public Departments. pp. 32-33.
  25. Veale Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/332.

Bibliography

  • Return, for the Year ended 31st March 1911, of the Army and Navy Officers permitted, under Rule 2 of the Regulations drawn up under Section 6 of the "Superannuation Act, 1887," to hold Civil Employment of Profit under Public Departments. H.C. 234 (1911).
  • Return, for the Year ended 31st March 1913, of the Army and Navy Officers permitted, under Rule 2 of the Regulations drawn up under Section 6 of the "Superannuation Act, 1887," to hold Civil Employment of Profit under Public Departments. H.C. 238 (1913).
  • Return, for the Year ended 31st March 1914, of the Army and Navy Officers permitted, under Rule 2 of the Regulations drawn up under Section 6 of the "Superannuation Act, 1887," to hold Civil Employment of Profit under Public Departments. H.C. 440 (1915).
  • Dunley, Richard (2019). "Anti-Submarine Warfare in the Pre-First World War Royal Navy: A Cultural Failure?" War in History. DOI: 10.1177/0968344518797150.
  • Naval Staff (L.D.D.) (1920). Anti-Submarine Development and Experiments Prior to December, 1916. The Technical History and Index. Vol. 5. Part 40. C.B. 1515 (40). Copy at the National Maritime Museum.

See Also