Ethiopia Military

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The Ethiopian Navy under Haile Selassie

21 Comments · Military history

After the end of World War II, Ethiopia was given control over Eritrea and its ports, allowing the creation an Ethiopian Navy.

In 1958, the Ethiopian Navy became a separate branch of the armed forces. Haile Selassie I appointed Norwegian naval officers to help organize a coastal navy.

Also, a number of retired British naval officers acted as advisors and trainers until the advent of the Derg in 1974.

The Emperor also founded the Ethiopian Naval College, located in Asmera (now part of Eritrea).

The education comprised a 52-month program of study. Some members of the navy also went on to study at Leghorn, Italy.

Celebrations for Ethiopian Navy Day were held in Massawa, such as the occasion in 1969 when the USS Forrest Royal (DD872) and ships from other nations observed the 1st graduation of new midshipmen; the Forrest Royal also hosted a celebration aboard ship which the Emperor attended. The Emperor was presented with a painting of the Forrest Royal at the celebration.

The former USS Orca, a World War II-era Barnegat-class small seaplane tender launched in 1942 (similar to the USS Suisun), was transferred to Ethiopia in January 1962.

It was re-christened as the Ethiopia (A 01), and served as a training vessel until the loss of the Red Sea coast to Eritrea in 1991.

Though unserviceable, it escaped to Yemen, where it is presumed to have been sold for scrap.

Keywords: World War II, Ethiopian Navy, Haile Selassie I,


21 Comments so far ↓

  • Robin Greaves

    My Uncle, Ronald Greaves was the Commandant of the Naval Officer training college in Eritrea located in the town of Imbatkala which is midway between Massawa and Asmara. This location was chosen for it’s close proximity to the Port of Massawa and it’s elevation of approximately 4000′ (1300M) which made it much cooler than the coast.

  • Derek Hall

    My father was one of the British service advisors to the Imperial Ethiopian Navy. His name is Derek Hall and he was the Director of Music with the rank of Lt Commander. My brother and I lived in Massawa for 3 years between 1964 and 1967 and went to school in Asamara. I knew Ron Greaves and I believe I may still have a photograph of him during the time he was in Ethiopia. I will have a look and let you know.

  • Robin Greaves

    I would be truly facinated to see any pictures of Uncle Ron and to hear any information about him and the formation of the Imperial Ethiopian Navy.

  • Björn Fredriksson

    I am writing a book about military band conductors past and present. Can anyone help me with information on Lieutenant Commander Derek Hall?

  • Capt RBG Nair

    My father was one of the Indian Naval advisors on deputation with the Imperial Ethiopian Navy. He is Commnder VB Nair and was dean of the Naval college at Massawa. I stayed at Massawa too from 1970 to 1972. There were a few RN advisors there ; chief amongst whom was Capt Stuart ( Base Commander) and a Cdr Bayly ( supply ). Cdr Bayly had 2 sons Michael and Peter whereas the former had 2 stepsons Justin and Alexander. I wonder if anyone knows their whereabouts ??

  • Tesfaye Tadesse (Cdr.)

    Capt RBG Nair,
    My sincere greetings to you, your DAD and your beloved family.
    My name is Commander Tesfaye Tadesse a former Naval Officer. Commander Nair your dad was my engineering instructor in the Imperial Ethiopian Naval College 1970 through 1972.
    He was an excellent instructor and with him were Cdr Arunachalam and many Indian Naval Officers and Professors from Poona National Defense Academy.
    I vividly recall the wonderful time I had with these creams of the Indian Navy. I am proud to be a student of these intellectuals.
    They did great for Ethiopia but unfortunately the 1974 Revolution came and doomed all.
    Worst of all the 1991 government gave out Eritrea to the Rebels and things went from the frying pan to the fire and we lost our seacoast.
    Isn’t that a shame a government to give a strategic coast line to Rebels to do whatever they want to do with it?
    I cry to date and pray that Ethiopia gets back her seacoast and her people the Eritreans.
    The Eritreans are under the shackles of a regime bent to destroy the Eritreans and the Ethiopians.
    We struggle to throw both regimes in Eritrea and Ethiopia.
    Cmdr Nair by now is retired like I am and I am sure he excelled in rank also when he retired.
    May God bless Ethiopia and India.

  • Alebachew

    Why should the FENA web site be closed? Is there any information? Let’s discuss and re establish it,plz.

  • maregu

    this is great ,that time was very dark but the real was not dark it show light for human beings

  • Ghidewon Haile

    Commander Tesfaye, don’t you feel ashamed of yourself. You fled Massawa when the EPLF captured the port city of Massawa in 1990. Again you fled Eritrea like a rabbit when the EPLF liberated Eritrea in 1991. EPRDF or the Woyane or anybody did not give Eritreans their freedom but they got it themselves by paying a very expensive price. You stupid and idiot have no moral to talk. Shut your mouth you evil and coward idiot.

  • Derek Hall

    To Bjorn Fredriksson

    Your email address does not appear to be working so if you wish to contact me regarding Lt Commander Derek Hall please drop me a line on

  • Luel Tekola

    Dear Comander Tesfaye,

    My name is Dr. Luel Tekola and I am trying to get as much information as Imperial Ethiopian Navy. Can you please send me a test message at LTEKOLA@EXCITE.COM?

    I have few questions to ask you. Thank you.

    United States

  • essay geremew haile

    well i am not like you guys but for the one who wants to write a book about conductors ,well my father,master chief geremew haile was an Ethiopian navy and used to be a conductor of the royal navy march band so need help write in my line

  • claude balleyguier

    My father was the commander of HMS Ethiopia in Massawa from 1968 to 1970. We are french people, so I can testify that France also played a role in the existence of the Ethiopian navy. My father passed away in 1996. I was 18 at the time, and a student in France, but came for holidays to Massawa. I sailed with HMS over a week-end in the Dahlak’s with the ethiopian cadets who were about my age, and this is an unforgettable memory for me. People I remember of that time were Cdr Farnole (british, head of the base I believe) and Cdr Braathen, a norwegian officer. Also Cdr Desta, nephew of the emperor, who kind of headed the navy, and was killed by the revolution. If anyone wants to contact me, my mail :

  • Lavinia Bristol

    I worked as a secretary in London for Prince Alexander Desta from 1967 for about five years. I gave myself the title of Naval Secretary. We had several officers in England at the time at Dartmouth and Alexander used to come to London regularly. He was the godfather of my eldest son and had been at school with my husband, Wellington College. He was an intriguing figure, an oriental despot at one moment and a charming quasi-English gentleman the next. I remember Commander Bayly but do not know his whereabouts now.

  • Mary Ally

    My father, Lt. Col. Robert Sibley (Army) commanded the port in Massawa during the 1974-1975 uprising. Several of his good friends, Ethiopian officers and their families, suffered terrible fates. There were a group of orphans that Dad had to get out of harm’s way and other upsetting stories. Dad died of cancer in 1989, age 54. Wish I could learn more about that time.

  • Desta

    That until the philosophy that one race superior is finally and permanently discredited and abandon everywhere will be in war.

  • Peter Bayly

    I am the youngest son Peter of Commander Patrick Bayly. We were in Massawa from 1967-1973, then moved to Addis Ababa. Sadly my father died in August 1997. I have made contact with the son of Commander Nair ( Girish) and am still in contact with him to this day. Commander Nair is still alive today.

  • Arunachalam Kannan

    My father Cdr.Arunachalam was in Massawa with the Ethiopian Navy from 1967 to 1970. I visited Massawa in 1968 when I was in University. I still remember swimming in the Red Sea and Ethiopia used be a wonderful country. Sorry the coast is lost to Eritrea. What a shame.

  • mes

    Hello every body. My grandfather name is major general wakjira serda nemo he is one of ethiopian ground force member during haile silasse. If any body know his relatives or photos and biography send me by my email.

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