John Tovey

John Tovey

John Tovey was born in 1885. He joined the Royal Navy and on the outbreak of the Second World War he had reached the rank of rear admiral.

In 1940 Tovey was given command of the Home Fleet based at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands. In this position he was responsible for guarding the northern passages across the Arctic to make them safe for convoys to Murmansk.

As captain of the King George V he also had overall command of the operation to find and sink the Bismarck. He had less success in his operations against the Tirpitz and it was eventually sunk he Royal Air Force.

In 1943 Tovey was placed in charge of naval forces in eastern England. This resulted in organizing the protection of supplies during the Normandy landings.

John Tovey died in 1971.

Primary Sources

(1) Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz (1947)

Last spring the Germans had constructed huge tents in an open space in the Lager. For the whole of the good season each of them had catered for over 1,000 men: now the tents had been taken down, and an excess 2,000 guests crowded our huts. We old prisoners knew that the Germans did not like these irregularities and that something would soon happen to reduce our number.