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By Michael Simpson

Cunningham used to be the best-known and so much celebrated British admiral of the second one international struggle. He held one of many significant fleet instructions among 1939 and 1942, and in 1942-43, he was once Allied naval commander for the good amphibious operations within the Mediterranean. From 1943 to 1946, he was once the 1st Sea Lord and a player within the wartime meetings with Churchill, Stalin, Roosevelt and the U.S. Chiefs of employees, considering the worldwide process for Allied victory.He additionally led a truly energetic public lifestyles for nearly 20 years after his retirement in 1946. Cunningham's papers are considerable for the interval 1939-63 and are supplemented right here via cupboard and Admiralty files, papers of his carrier contemporaries and of Churchill, and through stories of his friends and family, in addition to large US records and personal papers.

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He possessed little interest in intellectual matters and had no desire to augment his recent staff experience. He felt somewhat out of touch with current naval thinking and practice and he doubted his ability to meet the academic standards. 39 The ‘Young Turk’ and founder of the Naval Review, Vice-Admiral Sir Herbert Richmond, was the first Commandant. He sought ‘to encourage the development of a common approach to defence policy’ and to ‘look at the problem of war as a whole’. In an age of total war, this was an eminently practical approach and badly needed in an era of ‘imperial overstretch’, when it was of vital importance to co-ordinate the Empire’s strategy and policy-making and make optimum use of its resources.

It gave a good indication of his potential for higher command. Not surprisingly, Cunningham led by example, engaging in duels with the Turkish defenders of small ports as he cut out caiques, a reprise of inshore operations in the Nelsonian era. 37 During his brief spell in Rattlesnake, Cunningham took part in an Anglo-French expedition to seize the Greek fleet at the Piraeus. Greece, though ostensibly neutral, was in a volatile political state and the king was pro-German. Cunningham, now commanding a division of four destroyer-minesweepers, swept the harbour ahead of the mainly French battle squadron.

An accomplished fisherman, he was also an ardent golfer. Unmarried, he was in fact a real family man and in the 1920s he was fortunate to be frequently within easy reach of his relations in Edinburgh; with his family, he genuinely relaxed, teasing unmercifully and A life of Admiral of the Fleet Andrew Cunningham 18 playing vigorous if unorthodox party games. As ‘Uncle Ned’ he was the best of uncles. In October 1924, Cunningham took over the destroyer base at Port Edgar. He had little to do for 18 months, other than take charge of the advanced training of some 500 boy recruits.

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