HMS Ajax & River Plate Veterans Association


FAQ 37

How did Rear Admiral Harwood’s subsequent career develop?


His personal image was high in South America and the Foreign Office requested that he remained on station off South America which he did until September 1940 flying his flag in the old cruiser HMS Hawkins.


He then served for 16 months at the Admiralty before taking up the appointment of Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean as an acting-full (4 star) admiral to relieve Admiral Cunningham while he went the USA in May 1942 to set up Operation Torch, the invasion of French North Africa.


On Cunningham’s return Harwood was promoted to the substantive rank of Vice Admiral, and,  retaining his rank of  Acting Admiral, was appointed Commander-in-Chief Levant, responsible for the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea.


He was then appointed as second-in-command of the Eastern fleet in March 1943 but before he could take up this appointment he had a heart attack and was invalided home.  


He was later certified fit for shore service in a low stress appointment Admiral Commanding Orkney and Shetland. He was placed on the retired list after the war in the rank of full admiral and died on 9th June 1950 aged 62.