Cunningham, Andrew Browne (1883–1963), naval commander, was born 7 January 1883 in Rathmines, Dublin, second son of Daniel John Cunningham (qv), professor of anatomy at TCD, and Elizabeth Cunningham (née Cumming). His early education was at Mr Morley's school, Dublin, and the Edinburgh Academy. In 1894 he entered Stubbington House, a naval preparatory school in Sussex, and in January 1897 he joined HMS Britannia. He served with the naval brigade during the Boer war, despite being only a midshipman. He was commissioned (March 1903) and made a lieutenant in 1904. Appointed to HMS Scorpion (1911), he commanded her throughout the first world war. He distinguished himself in the Gallipoli campaign, and was awarded a DSO and promoted to commander (1915). He finished his war service with the Dover patrol, and sailed with the Zeebrugge raid flotilla on 23 April 1918.
After the war he served in the Baltic. He was promoted to captain in 1920. The interwar years saw a succession of shore and fleet postings including command of the destroyer base at Port Edgar, Scotland (1924–6), flag officer on the North America station (1926–9), and command of HMS Rodney (1929). In September 1932 he was made a rear-admiral, and was promoted to vice-admiral in July 1936. He also commanded Britain's most advanced capital ship, HMS Hood (1938). On the outbreak of war, promoted to acting admiral, he took command of the Mediterranean fleet. In June 1940, after the fall of France, he successfully secured the neutralisation of the French naval contingent at Alexandria, showing acute diplomatic skills. He refused to entertain the idea of a naval withdrawal from the Mediterranean and decided to challenge the far superior Italian fleet, achieving notable success at Calabria (9 July 1940). The naval air attack on Taranto (November 1940) effectively put half of the Italian capital fleet out of commission, and this was followed with a major victory at Cape Matapan (March 1941). He acted (October 1941–June 1942) as head of the British admiralty delegation to Washington, and was naval commander for Operation Torch (the invasion of North Africa) under Gen. Eisenhower. In September 1943 he accepted the surrender of the Italian navy and was promoted to admiral of the fleet. Appointed first sea lord (October 1943), he worked as naval chief of staff for the remainder of the war. In 1945 he received a peerage (raised to viscountcy, 1946). After retiring from the navy he served as rector of Edinburgh University (1945–8) and president of the Institute of Naval Architects (1948–51). In 1951 he published his autobiography, A sailor's odyssey. He died 12 June 1963 in London and was buried at sea off Portsmouth.
He married (1929) Nona Christine Byatt of Midhurst, Sussex. They had no children. There is a memorial to him in St Paul's cathedral; a bust of him near Nelson's column in Trafalgar Square; and portraits in the naval colleges at Greenwich and Dartmouth, and in the Imperial War Museum.