Sir Bertram Home Ramsay (1883-1945)

Sir Bertram Home Ramsay (1883-1945)


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Sir Bertram Ramsay was a British admiral best known for his role in organising the evacuation from Dunkirk in 1940 and for planning the naval part of the D-Day landings in 1944.

The War at Sea, 1939-1945, Volume I: The Defensive, S. W. Roskill. This first volume in the British official history of the war at sea covers the period from the outbreak of the war through to the first British disasters in the Pacific in December 1941. Amongst other topics it covers the Norwegian campaign, the evacuation from Dunkirk and the first two years of the Battle of the Atlantic. The text is meticulously researched, and is rooted in a detailed study of wartime records, both British and German. [see more]


Bertram Home Ramsay

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Bertram Home Ramsay, (born January 20, 1883, Hampton Court Palace, London, England—died January 2, 1945, in flight near Toussus-le-Noble, France), British naval officer who, during World War II, oversaw the evacuation of British forces from Dunkirk in 1940 and then commanded the naval forces used in the Normandy Invasion (1944).

Ramsay became a midshipman in the Royal Navy in 1899 and commanded a destroyer in World War I. During the interwar years he alternated periods of active duty with assignments on the staff of the Naval War College (1927–29) and the Imperial Defence College (1931–33). He became a rear admiral in 1935 and retired as a vice admiral in 1938. When World War II began, he was made flag officer at the Channel port of Dover. With the collapse of the Allied front in northern France in June 1940, Ramsay was put in charge of organizing the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk. Mobilizing every usable military and civilian craft he could find, he oversaw the evacuation of about 338,000 British and other Allied soldiers from Dunkirk and nearby beaches, bringing them to safety in England. He was knighted for this achievement.

Ramsay commanded several major amphibious assault operations in the next two years. Working under Admiral Andrew Cunningham, Ramsay helped to oversee the fleet that covered the American landings in North Africa (Operation Torch November 1942) and then commanded the British landing operations in the Allied amphibious assault on Sicily (July 1943). In 1943 Ramsay was appointed naval commander in chief for Operation Overlord, the projected Allied invasion of northern France. The ships under his command landed one million Allied troops in France in one month starting from D-Day (June 6, 1944).

Ramsay had been made an admiral shortly prior to the invasion. He was killed in an airplane crash while on his way to meet British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery in Brussels. His 1944 diary was posthumously edited by Robert Love, Jr., and John Major and published as The Year of D-Day (1994).


Ramsay, Sir Bertram Home

Sir Bertram Home Ramsay, 1883�, British admiral. A career naval officer who retired in 1938, he returned to the service in World War II to command British and Allied naval units in some of the most spectacular operations of the war. He directed the evacuation of Dunkirk (1940), led the Allied fleets in the invasions of Africa (1942), Sicily, and Italy, and commanded, under General Eisenhower, the naval operations in the invasion of France in 1944. He was killed in a plane crash.

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Bertram Ramsay

Born in 1883, Adm. Bertram Home Ramsay spent nearly his entire life in the service of the Royal Navy. During, Ramsay's 29 year career in the navy he commanded a monitor, destroyer, three cruisers and a battleship, and during Normandy, the largest amphibious assault force ever collected. In 1915, Ramsay had a stroke of good luck he turned done the opportunity to be a Flag Lieutenant in the cruiser Defiance, which was later sunk at the battle of Jutland.

He was promoted to Rear Admiral in May 1935 and Ramsay retired for the first time in 1938, but returned to the service of his country at the beginning of WWII.

One of Ramsay's first duties in the war was Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of British Expeditionary Force, along with some French soldiers, from the shores of Dunkirk.

Ramsay's forces, bolstered by a number of civilian vessels, managed to save a majority of Allied forces from the German encirclement and most likely prevented a premature end to the war.

Following Dunkirk, Ramsay went on the offensive. In November 1942, he led the allied fleet in support of Operation Torch, the invasion of Africa. The next year, Ramsay, landed the Montgomery's British 8th Army in Sicily and continued to provide naval bombardment throughout the successful Sicilian campaign.

Ramsay's experience in commanding invasion fleets made him Eisenhower's natural choice to lead the naval forces in Operation Overlord. Despite Ramsay's concerns that the large waves on the channel would degrade the accuracy of his fleet's gunfire, the invasion was launched on June 6th, 1944. His minesweepers began the invasion by scouring the channel for mines and clearing ten channels to Normandy for the invasion fleet.

After the channel was cleared of mines, Ramsay's fleet began landing men and equipment ashore while pounding suspected German strong points with gunfire. The 702 vessel strong naval bombardment fleet ranged in size from battleship all the way down to landing craft that were specially fitted with rockets. Ramsay's planning and experience made history's largest amphibious invasion possible. In 1945, Ramsay's life was cut short when he was killed in a plane crash.


Death and burial ground of Ramsey, Sir Bertram Home.

Ramsay planned the landing efforts. During the Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943, he was Naval Commanding Officer, Eastern Task Force and prepared the amphibious landings. Although the men fighting on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day richly deserve the attention given to their efforts, the job of the naval forces was also of vital importance. In 1944, Ramsay was appointed Naval Commander in Chief of the Allied Naval Expeditionary Force for the invasion. On 02-01-1945, age 61, he was killed when his plane crashed on takeoff at Toussus-le-Noble, southwest of Paris. He was en route to a conference with Field Marshal, Bernard Montgomery in Brussels. Ramsey is buried on the cemetery of St. Germain en Laye, grave 9, near Paris.


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Life & Career

Ramsay was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 15 December, 1904.

Ramsay took the long signal course in 1908-09, having requested the signal branch in light of the fact that he would not be required to coal ship. [1]

He served as Flag-Lieutenant to Rear-Admiral Keppel in Albemarle under the command of Captain Chatfield. Chatfield recorded that Ramsay possessed a willful and rather temeritous streak: [2]

Ramsay was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 15 December, 1912.


  • Use dmy dates from April 2012
  • Commons category without a link on Wikidata
  • 1883 births
  • 1945 deaths
  • People educated at Colchester Royal Grammar School
  • Operation Overlord people
  • Victims of aviation accidents or incidents in France
  • Royal Navy admirals of World War II
  • Knights Commander of the Order of the Bath
  • Knights Commander of the Order of the British Empire
  • Members of the Royal Victorian Order
  • Chief Commanders of the Legion of Merit
  • Grand Officiers of the Légion d'honneur
  • Recipients of the Order of Ushakov, 1st class
  • Scottish admirals
  • Royal Navy officers of World War I
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Admiral Sir Bertram Home Ramsay

Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay
KCB KBE (1883-1945)
This statue commemorates Admiral Sir Bertram Home Ramsay, the inspirational commander of the naval forces during the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940 and D-Day in 1944. He served in the tunnels below Dover Castle.
In September 1938, Vice-Admiral Ramsay was recalled from early retirement. He was given the position of Flag Officer Dover: to re-open the Dover naval base and establish a headquarters in the tunnels to command operations in the Straits of Dover.
From the tunnels, Ramsay planned the evacuation of allied forces from Dunkirk between 26 May and 4 June 1940. He played key roles in the allied landings in North Africa in 1942 and during the invasion of Sicily in 1943. In 1943 he was appointed allied Naval Commander-in-Chief and led seaborne operations during the invasion of Normandy, on D-Day. 6 June 1944.
Admiral Ramsay died in an air-crash in France in January 1945.
Find out more
Ramsay joined the Royal Navy in 1898 at the age of 15. He had a distinguished career before the Second World War, including commanding the destroyer HMS Broke in the Dover Patrol during the First World War.
To find out more about Admiral Ramsay and his work, visit Operation Dynamo: Rescue from Dunkirk.
( photo

captions )
- British commanders planning Operation Husky (the invasion of Sicily) at Malta in 1943. Ramsay is far right.
- Ramsay at his London headquarters in October 1943.

UTM (WGS84 Datum)30U E 617277 N 5665248
Decimal Degrees51.12668333, -1.32403333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 51° 7.601&apos, W 1° 19.442&apos
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds51° 7&apos 36.06" N, 1° 19&apos 26.52" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , SO21 3HW, GB
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