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Andrew Browne Cunningham

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Cunningham

Admiral of the Fleet Andrew Browne Cunningham, 1st Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope KT, GCB, OM, DSO & Two Bars (7 January 1883 – 12 June 1963) was a British admiral of the Second World War. Cunningham was widely known by his nickname, “ABC”.

Cunningham was born in Rathmines in the south side of Dublin on 7 January 1883. After starting his schooling in Dublin and Edinburgh, he enrolled at Stubbington House School, at the age of ten, beginning his association with the Royal Navy. After passing out of Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, in 1898, he progressed rapidly in rank. He commanded a destroyer during the First World War and through most of the interwar period. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and two Bars, for his performance during this time, specifically for his actions in the Dardanelles and in the Baltics.

In the Second World War, as Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet, Cunningham led British naval forces to victory in several critical Mediterranean naval battles. These included the attack on Taranto in 1940, the first completely all-aircraft naval attack in history, and the Battle of Cape Matapan in 1941. Cunningham controlled the defence of the Mediterranean supply lines through Alexandria, Gibraltar, and the key chokepoint of Malta. The admiral also directed naval support for the various major allied landings in the Western Mediterranean littoral. In 1943, Cunningham was promoted to First Sea Lord, a position he held until his retirement in 1946. He was ennobled as Baron Cunningham of Hyndhope in 1945 and made Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope the following year. After his retirement Cunningham enjoyed several ceremonial positions including Lord High Steward at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. He died on 12 June 1963.