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Admiral of the Fleet Andrew Cunningham, 1st Viscount Cunningham

An experienced Naval Commander Andrew Cunningham was already the Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet when war broke out in 1939. His main task was to get convoys safely through to Egypt and Malta. He fought the Italians and beat them at the Battle of Cape Matapan and was instrumental in the evacuation of the army from Crete.  His finest hour was the Battle of Taranto where he attacked the Italian Navy at anchor with Swordfish torpedo bombers from his carriers HMS Illustrious and HMS Eagle. This successful action became the blueprint for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour.  In 1943 he was appointed First Sea Lord (the Head of the Navy) and joined Alan Brooke on the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee in running the War.