The Cunningham Papers
Volume II: The Triumph of Allied Sea Power 1942–1946
Following America's entry into World War Two, there was a necessity for the Royal Navy to strengthen co-operation with the United States Navy. Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham's brief term as head of the British Admiralty Delegation in Washington was to endear him to the Americans so much so that they proposed him as Allied Naval Commander of the Expeditionary Force which was to invade North Africa in November 1942. In October 1943, Cunningham was summoned to replace the dying Pound as First Sea Lord, a position he held until his retirement from active service in June 1946. In that time he presided over the invasion of Normandy, operations in the Mediterranean, the sinking of the Scharnhorst and Tirpitz, the defeat of the late surge of U-boat activity, the British Pacific Fleet, and the problems of manpower, the futures of the Royal Marines and the Fleer Air Arm, and the conversion of the Royal Navy from its swollen wartime strength to a much-reduced peacetime cadre. Cunningham remained concerned over the future of the country's defence and that of the Royal Navy and he was able to speak in major defence debates in the House of Lords. He died suddenly in 1963 and was buried at sea. Cunningham was one of Britain's great sailors, a worthy successor to Nelson, whom he admired and many of whose qualities he displayed. This second volume of Cunningham's papers covers the period of his life described above. It includes official documents but also many letters to his family and brother-officers that exhibit his feelings, as well as his illuminating diary entries from April 1944 onwards.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Chronology of the life and career of Admiral of the Fleet Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope; A brief bibliography. Part I The British Admiralty Delegation, Washington, DC, March to September 1942. Part II Return to the Mediterranean: 'Torch': the landings in North Africa, July 1942-May 1943; 'Husky': the landings in Sicily, March 1943-April 1944; 'Baytown' and 'Avalanche': the landings in Italy, August 1943-January 1945. Part III First Sea Lord: Appointment, September 1943-March 1944; Churchill, the chiefs of staff and the combined chiefs of staff, October 1943-May 1946; Command and manpower, October 1943-January 1946; Neptune and after, December 1943-March 1945; The Germany navy: U-boats and surface warships, January 1944-August 1945; The Mediterranean, March 1943-February 1946; The British Pacific Fleet and the East Indies Fleet, November 1943-March 1946; The post-war navy, May 1943-May 1946; Sunset retreat: retirement and succession, May 1945-June 1946. List of documents and sources; Index.
Michael Simpson is a retired Reader in History at the University of Wales, Swansea, UK.