British admiral. At the beginning of World War II he was commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean. Here he was faced with an Italian fleet that was numerically superior to his own. However, he asserted British domination by his air attack on the Italian base of Taranto in 1940, and at Cape Matapan in 1941, where his victory effectually neutralized the Italian fleet for the rest of the war. As First Sea Lord from 1943 he was responsible for naval strategy and attended the meetings of Allied heads of government.