Admiral Sir James Somerville


Admiral Sir James Somerville


Admiral of the Fleet Sir James Fownes Somerville GCB, GBE, DSO, DL (17 July 1882 – 19 March 1949) was a Royal Navy officer.

Sir James lived at Frampton Place from the 1930's until he moved to Somerset to take over his family estate. He purchased Frampton Place in a very run down state and had it refurbished by Freemans of Camp (Ref. Mike Mills).

Sir james served in the First World War as fleet wireless officer for the Mediterranean Fleet in which capacity he was involved in providing naval support for the Gallipoli Campaign. He also served in the Second World War as commander of the newly formed Force H: after the French armistice with Germany, Winston Churchill gave Somerville and Force H the task of neutralizing the main element of the French battle fleet, then at Mers El Kébir in Algeria.

After he had destroyed the French Battle fleet, Somerville played an important role in the pursuit and sinking of the German battleship Bismarck.

He later became Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Fleet: in April 1942 Admiral Chūichi Nagumo's powerful Indian Ocean raid inflicted heavy losses on Somerville's fleet including an aircraft carrier, two cruisers, two destroyers, one corvette, five other vessels, and 45 aircraft – all destroyed by the Imperial Japanese Navy.

However in Spring 1944, with reinforcements, Somerville was able to go on the offensive in a series of aggressive air strikes in the Japanese-occupied Dutch East Indies. He spent the remainder of the War in charge of the British naval delegation in Washington, D.C.


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“Admiral Sir James Somerville,” Oakridge Archives, accessed May 20, 2024,

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