Sir James Fownes Somerville

(1882—1949) naval officer

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(1882–1949), retired British vice-admiral who was recalled in September 1939. In May 1940 he helped Ramsay organize the Dunkirk evacuation and he then commanded Force H. In February 1942 he was appointed C-in-C of the Eastern Fleet which was defeated by a Japanese task force in April 1942 when it made a raid into the Indian Ocean. In August 1944 he was replaced by Admiral Fraser and he then headed the Admiralty delegation to Washington. Promoted to admiral on the retired list in May 1942, he was later reinstated on to the active list and was promoted admiral of the fleet in May 1945. On his death Admiral Cunningham wrote that ‘he was a great sailor and a great leader: shrewd, imaginative, determined, and farseeing’. He was knighted in 1941.

From The Oxford Companion to World War II in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Second World War.

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