Ian Hogg (Royal Navy officer) bigraphy, stories - Royal Navy admiral

Ian Hogg (Royal Navy officer) : biography

30 May 1911 - 2 March 2003

Vice Admiral Sir Ian Leslie Trower Hogg KCB DSC & Bar, RN (30 May 1911 – 2 March 2003) was a Royal Navy officer whose service extended the late 1920s through the early 1970s. He received several medals for his service as a navigator during World War II. From 1967-1970 he served as Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff.

Post-war service

After completing the staff course Hogg was appointed to the staff of the C-in-C Home Fleet from September 1945, the task of fleet navigator carrying the ancient title of Master of the Fleet. He was promoted to commander in 1947 and sent to Washington as staff officer (plans) in the British Joint Services Mission until 1949.

Command of the destroyer Sluys followed, his ship being noted for her good spirit and efficient gunnery. He was then selected as staff officer (plans) and fleet navigating officer in the Mediterranean where Admiral the Earl Mountbatten of Burma appointed him as special assistant to the newly created Chief of NATO’s Allied Staff. On his promotion to captain, Mountbatten wrote of him: 'He was doing a job originally intended for captain’s rank and doing it brilliantly'.

After another staff tour in Washington and at the Admiralty, Hogg was appointed to Cyprus as the senior naval officer.

World War II service

Ian Hogg was awarded the first of his two DSCs for his efficiency and coolness as a navigator under the trying circumstances of the evacuation of Crete in May and June 1941. The Germans had intended to take Crete with combined airborne and seaborne attacks. Although the Royal Navy was able virtually to annihilate the seaborne component, which carried much equipment in local caïques, the German paratroops — though at great loss to themselves — forced the under-equipped British forces, many of whom were still in shock after being driven out of Greece, into another evacuation.

Air attacks by an almost unopposed and expert Fliegerkorps VIII around Crete cost the British three cruisers and six destroyers sunk, with an aircraft carrier, two battleships, five cruisers and seven destroyers badly damaged, bringing the Mediterranean Fleet almost to breaking point. The Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Andrew Cunningham, was adamant that while ships were replaceable, the reputation of the Royal Navy was not, and that the evacuation of soldiers should continue to the limit. In the event 18,000 troops were rescued.

As the flotilla operations and navigating officer to Captain Stephen Arliss in the Royal Australian Navy destroyer Napier, Hogg was responsible on 28–29 May for organising hazardous feats of navigation on an unlit and badly charted coast near Sfakia in southwest Crete for his ship and the destroyers HMS Nizam, HMS Kelvin and HMS Kandahar. Only two motorboats and four unpowered whalers were available to embark 700 men and, at the same time, land 15,000 badly needed rations for those troops still fighting onshore.

The need to make best use of available darkness required the anchorage for this operation to be perilously close inshore. On 30 May, reduced to only two ships through damage and defects but using abandoned landing craft to supplement these, Napier and Nizam saved more than 1,400 troops. Hogg received praise for his cool, calm and cheerful demeanour and his very good advice when the force came under intensive air attack on 31 May, during which Napier was damaged in the engine room by a near miss.

Hogg stayed with the Napier as the senior staff officer to Captain Arliss, who became the commodore in command of Admiral Somerville’s Eastern Fleet destroyers, based in Ceylon, until early 1944.

As the navigating and signals officer of the cruiser HMS Mauritius in August 1944, Hogg was awarded a second DSC for his outstanding zeal during prolonged and violent night actions against escorted enemy convoys close inshore near La Rochelle and the Ile d'Yeu. His captain remarked that Hogg was “cool, calm and collected and afforded advice that enabled us to take risks which with a less resolute and skilful officer would not have been justified”.

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