1900- 1945


RN Air Stations etc

Overseas Bases
A very incomplete list of Hulks and Establishments of the Royal Navy C 1830 -->


- As the navy regarded barracks as expensive and not conducive to maintaining good discipline most of the navy lived afloat and if not in a sea going ship, then in old wooden 2 and 3 deckers which were known as "receiving ships" ie floating barracks. These were situated at the main naval towns at the Nore (Sheerness and Medway towns), Portsmouth, Devonport and Queenstown (Ireland)  -
1830 HMS EXCELLENT (Hulk) Gunnery training Portsmouth
- HMS BOYNE (built 1810) relieves HMS EXCELLENT and is renamed HMS EXCELLENT - -
- HMS QUEEN CHARLOTTE (also built 1810) relieves HMS EXCELLENT (BOYNE) and is renamed HMS EXCELLENT - -
1851             Whale Island Parade Ground created Soil from new basins in HM Dockyard transferred to Whale Island increasing size of Island from 10 to 80 acres
1856 HMS CAMBRIDGE (built 1815) replaced by HMS WINDSOR CASTLE (built 1858) which was renamed HMS CAMBRIDGE  Devonport Gunnery School established  Moved into RN Barracks, Devonport in 1902 and to Wembury Point, Devon after WWII.  To close in 2003 (?) Devonport
  HMS WILDFIRE Nore Gunnery School (attached to CinC Nore) Sheerness 
1859 HMS ASIA Hulked and used as Guard and Receiving Ship, Portsmouth - later joined by the HMS DUKE OF WELLINGTON (see also HMS VICTORY) Portsmouth
1859  ????  1863 HMS BRITANNIA commissioned (relieving the less suitable HMS ILLUSTRIOUS)  Subsequently joined by HMS HINDUSTAN (Hulk) by 1875 To train Cadets  do  do Haslar Creek, Portsmouth  thence to Portland in 1862 and finally to Dartmouth, River Dart 30 Sep 1963
1861 HMS BOSCAWEN (late TRAFALGAR) (hulk (built 1841 (PRO Ref  ADM 135/57)) Boys training establishment Portland (previously at Southampton Water)
1862 Whale Island Whale Island: petition by Portsmouth Corporation regarding ownership (PRO Ref: TS 45/100) Portsmouth
1862 HMS ST VINCENT (hulk (built 1815)) Boys training establishment Portsmouth
1863 The Royal School of Naval Architecture Established for the development of science and naval architecture and reorganization of the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors in 1883 Kensington, London
20 Mar 1866 HMS GANGES (Hulk - launched Bombay 9 Nov 1821) Boys Training Ship St Just Pool Falmouth, Cornwall  Moved to Harwich 1899
Jan 1873 RN Barracks, Sheerness First mention in PRO Catalogue (ADM 117/819) Sheerness
1873 RN College Greenwich Established for the training of Executive Officers (replacing its predecessor at Portsmouth. Greenwich, London
1873 Cookery School opened Doesn't appear to have done much good! Portsmouth
1873 HMS PEMBROKE, Originally built in 1812 as a 74, she was rebuilt at Portsmouth as a 60 gun steam block ship in 1854-55 and later reduced to 25 guns. Based at Harwich as a Coastguard depot ship in 1860, she later removed to Sheerness, where she was Flag Ship for the Nore, and then to Chatham in 1873 where she took over duties as Receiving Ship for the Nore Command, and carried the flag of the Admiral Superintendent. At some time during this period it must be assumed that she was hulked. See below for 30 April 1903 for the details regarding the transfer to the RN Barracks Chatham
1876 HMS VERNON (hulk HMS DONEGAL (built 1858)) Torpedo and Electrical Training and Experimental Work  She is described by Clowes as being a tender to HMS EXCELLENT at this time but was commanded by Commander later Admiral John Fisher Portsmouth
1877 HMS MARLBOROUGH (Hulk) Engineer Officer's Training started  Portsmouth 
1880 Training School for Engineers opened Transferred from HMS MARLBOROUGH at Portsmouth.  Closed 1910 and re-opened 1914.  Emphasise changed to special entry cadets during WWI and then reopened again for Engineering courses in 1919.  Moved to Manadon circa 1939 Keyham, Devonport
1881 RN Medical School established School established to raise the quality of surgeons in the Fleet Haslar
1884 HMS DEFIANCE Torpedo Training (in addition to VERNON at Portsmouth) Devonport
1887 Whale Island Portsmouth Extension - Whale Island. (ADM 116/734) Portsmouth
1889 Naval School of Telegraphy  Established:  accommodated in the receiving ship (hulk) HMS DUKE OF WELLINGTON, training was carried out in HMS VICTORY Portsmouth
1890 First steps taken to move the Ship's Company of the depot ship HMS ROYAL ADELAIDE ashore in Devonport See March 1902 Devonport
1890 School of Telegraphy, Devonport Established, operating from HMS VIVID under the control of the Naval School of Telegraphy at Portsmouth Devonport
1891 School of Telegraphy, Chatham Established, operating from HMS PEMBROKE under the control of the Naval School of Telegraphy at Portsmouth Chatham, Kent
1891 HMS EXCELLENT Moved to Whale Island following the building of barracks and practice batteries.  Queen Charlotte condemned.  HMS HANDY and other tenders used for practice afloat. Portsmouth
1895 Sea-going training squadrons introduced  For seamen and stokers entering the destroyer service Portsmouth
1895 Sea-going training squadrons introduced  For seamen and stokers entering the destroyer service Devonport
1895 Sea-going training squadrons introduced  For seamen and stokers entering the destroyer service Medway
1896 HMS EXCELLENT Whale Island Telegraph Office established Portsmouth
1896 Pigeon loft established, Portsmouth Clowes mentions that they were in use in sea going ships prior to this date Portsmouth
1897 Pigeon loft established, Devonport   Devonport
1899 HMS GANGES Moved (see 1906) Harwich
1899 RN Barracks, Portsmouth Land acquired from War Office and work commenced (PRO Refs: ADM 116/538, ADM 116/584, ADM 174/384) Portsmouth, Hants


March 1902 RN Barracks, Devonport.  Named  HMS VIVID after the hulks that was previously occupied as the receiving ship for the port   (renamed HMS DRAKE 1934) First occupied Devonport, Plymouth, Devon
March 1902 Devonport Gunnery School, HMS CAMBRIDGE also moved into RN Barracks, Devonport for accommodation purposes HMS CAMBRIDGE moved to Wembury Point after WW2 Devonport, Plymouth, Devon
30 April 1903 RN Barracks Chatham,  Named HMS PEMBROKE after the hulk that was previously occupied as the receiving ship. Occupied Chatham, Kent
Sep 1903 RN Barracks, Portsmouth.  Named HMS VICTORY  and renamed HMS NELSON c 1977(?))   Replaced DUKE OF WELLINGTON and ASIA the Portsmouth guard and receiving ships (or accommodation hulks)! Completed Portsmouth, Hants
1903 RN College, Osborne (HMS RACER) Opened for officer cadet training (see 1923 for closure) Isle of Wight
9 Dec 1904 HMS SAPPHIRE II (formerly IMPEREUSE) Sapphire II, the old Impereuse, was brought. to Portland as a store ship and torpedo depot. Source:  Portland Year Book 1905
1 Apr 1905 HMS BOSCAWEN Removal of training from Portland to Harwich announced to take place on 18th May next.  Source: Portland Year Book for1905
1905 HMS GANGES joined by HMS CAROLINE and HMS BOSCAWEN II  In addition a new shore training establishment RN Training Establishment Shotley was commissioned (see 1927) Harwich Essex
1905 Fort Blockhouse and HMS DOLPHIN (Hulk) Set up Submarine Depot Gosport
1905 Fisgard: a training establishment for engineering artificers at Portsmouth (later moved to Torpoint, Cornwall). It was housed in the old 'Audacious', built as a battleship in 1869, but reduced to a depot ship in 1902. In April 1904 she was renamed Fisgard, and on 1 January 1906 became the artificers training school. Later other old ships were added, including ex-Invincible/1869, ex- Hercules/1868, ex-Hindostan/1841, ex-Terrible/1895 which were used as workshops etc. These became Fisgard-II, Fisgard-III etc. The establishment finally broke up in 1932 when facilities were moved ashore. Training Ship for boy artificers until 1932 Portsmouth
1906 HMS GANGES renamed HMS TENEDOS III Boy Artificer Training Establishment until 1920 Moved to Chatham
1906 HMS BOSCAWEN II renamed HMS GANGES until 1927 Shotley
1906 HMS BOSCAWEN III renamed HMS GANGES II - Shotley
1906 HM Signal School transferred to RN Barracks, Portsmouth Later some of the training was transferred to the Tactical School adjacent to Admiralty House in the Dockyard:  see 1941 Portsmouth
1906 HMS DRYAD Navigation School move ashore from HMS MERCURY and name after one of its tenders Portsmouth
1906 HMS DREADNOUGHT Building Completed Portsmouth Dockyard
1908 RN Physical Training School Moved to Pitt Street, Portsmouth, between the Dockyard and the Naval Barracks  Portsmouth
1911 1st Naval Air Station - Eastchurch
1912 HMS DOLPHIN  Commissioned at Fort Blockhouse Gosport
1913 HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH Building completed Portsmouth Dockyard
1914 -1915 Vivid II  was an accounting base attached to Vivid during this period.  
1917 Anti-Submarine training started - Portland
1919 RN College Osborne closed See also 1923 Isle if Wight
1920 HMS TENEDOS III renamed HMS IMPREGNABLE III Moved from Chatham to Devonport for boys training. (see 1929) Devonport
1923 HMS VERNON  Moved into shore accommodation from the hulks of HMShips MARLBOROUGH, WARRIOR and DONEGAL.  Electrical Training of A/S and U/W ratings Portsmouth
1919/1923 RN College, Osborne (HMS RACER) Paid off   Training transferred to Dartmouth - (conflicting evidence of when the establishment was finally closed).  Isle of Wight
1924 Forton Training Establishment, Forton Barracks RM Barracks, Forton converted to new entry boys training Gosport, Hants
1924 HMS OSPREY Established for Anti-submarine training and experimental work  (About 1940/1 HMS OSPREY moved to Dunoon, Scotland for the rest of WWII due to its vulnerability to attack from across the Channel and returned in 1946) Portland, Dorset
1926 HMS ST VINCENT Forton Training Establishment. Adoption of name HMS ST. VINCENT for Boys Training Establishment at Forton Barracks. (PRO Ref  ADM 1/8696/41) Gosport, Hants
1927 RN Training Establishment Shotley recommissioned as HMS GANGES New entry boys training Shotley
1929 HMS IMPREGNABLE III (formerly GANGES) Taken out of service and broken up in 1930 Devonport
1932 HMS EXCELLENT Institution of a Diving School under the administration of the Captain, H.M.S. Excellent. Proposed organization (PRO Ref ADM 1/8763/277) Whale Island
1932 HMS FISGARD Artificer training moved from Portsmouth to Chatham until 1939 Chatham
1938 HMS RALEIGH Subsequently commissioned to train new entry ordinary seamen Torpoint, Cornwall
1939 HMS FISGARD Artificer training moved ashore to Torpoint, Cornwall until 1983 Torpoint, Cornwall
1939/40 RN Engineering College Manadon Commissioned - transferred from RNEC Keyham - see HMS THUNDERER - 1946 (A tender to HMS DRAKE) Plymouth
1940 HMS COLLINGWOOD Commissioned to train Hostilities Only Seamen - Jan 1940 Fareham, Hants
1940 HMS COLLINGWOOD W/T Training transferred from HMS ST VINCENT Fareham, Hants
1941 Tobermory, Scotland Work-up base for minor warships -
16th August 1941 HMS MERCURY Commissioned as Signal School on transfer from HM Dockyard, Portsmouth where it occupied the Tactical School adjacent to Admiralty House  
1941 HMS QUEEN CHARLOTTE commissioned Anti-Aircraft Gunnery School  Ainsdale Lido, Ainsdale-On-Sea  Closed 1946
1942 HMS COLLINGWOOD Radio Direction Finding School  Fareham. Hants
1942 Damage Control School formed - London
1942-5 HMS ST VINCENT Revised training arrangements: new entry naval training of observers and pilots transferred from Lee-on-Solent to HMS ST VINCENT:  Gosport, Hants
1944 HM Ships CERES and DESPATCH  Accommodation ships for Portsmouth: supply of HM Ships CERES and DESPATCH for this purpose Portsmouth, Hants
1944 HMS DEMETRIUS Supply and Secretariat Training received from Highgate, London - see HMS CERES 1946 York Road, Wetherby, Yorkshire - opposite the race course.
1945 Admiralty Craft Experimental Establishment  Attached to HMS HORNET -


1946 RNEC Manadon commissioned as HMS THUNDERER See 1939/40 - RNEC Manadon Plymouth
1946 HMS VERNON Transfer of diving school from HMS EXCELLENT to HMS VERNON (PRO Ref ADM 1/19742) Portsmouth
Post WWII HMS CAMBRIDGE Commissioned - staff and trainees move from RN Barracks, Devonport Wembury Point, Devon
1946 HMS COLLINGWOOD Electrical training transferred from HMS VERNON Fareham, Hants
1946/7 HMS PHOENIX/HMS FERRET Joint anti-submarine school Londonderry: renaming of HMS FERRET to HMS PHOENIX (PRO Ref: ADM 1/19991) Londonderry
1946 HMS DEMETRIUS renamed HMS CERES Supply and Secretariat Training (see 1958) Wetherby, Yorkshire
1946 RN Radar School Radex House (RN Radar School, Portsmouth): transfer of administration from HMS COLLINGWOOD to HMS DRYAD (PRO Ref ADM 1/19740) Portsmouth, Hants
1947/9 RN Air Station St Merryn  Selection and training of air weapons officers: transfer of equipment and personnel of Air Gunnery Section HMS EXCELLENT to the Air Armament School RN Air Station St Merryn (PRO Ref ADM 1/21613) St Merryn, N Cornwall
1948 RN Training Squadron  Established Based on Portland and invariably known as the Portland Squadron
1948 HMS RALEIGH New entry training for Stoker Branch introduced at HMS RALEIGH Torpoint, Cornwall
1948? HMS IMPREGNABLE Paid off Plymouth, Devon
1948? HMS ST GEORGE Paid off Isle of Man
1948/9 HMS EXCELLENT Regulating Branch: assumption of Nominating and Administrative Authority by Commanding Officer RN Regulating Branch (HMS KESTREL); transfer of RN Regulating School to HMS EXCELLENT (PRO Ref ADM 1/21047) Whale Island, Portsmouth
1949 HMS PHOENIX Commissioned as NBCD School Stamshaw, Portsmouth
1951 RN Regulating School  Established Whale Island, Portsmouth
1952 HMS ARIEL Paid Off Warrington, Lancs
1952 HMS ARIEL  Commissioned for Air Electrical Training  formerly HMS KESTREL, RNAS Worthy Down. Worthy Down, Winchester, Hants: taken over by the Royal Army Pay Corps in 1958 for use as Pay and Records Computer Centre (RAPCCC).
1956 HMS SULTAN  Commissioned - to train Engineering Mechanics (formerly known as Stokers) Gosport, Hants
1956 Naval bases at: Scapa Flow, Invergordon, Harwich, Bermuda Paid off  
1956/7 Naval Drafting Authority - later known as the Commodore Naval Drafting (HMS PRESIDENT) - see later for HMS CENTURION Commissioned Lythe Hill House,  Haslemere, Surrey
1957 HMS PHOENIX (See NBCD School) Paid off Portsmouth, Hants
1957 NBCD School  Replaced HMS PHOENIX Portsmouth, Hants
1957 HMS HORNET (Coastal forces) Paid off Hythe, Southampton, Hants
1957/8 HMS EXCELLENT RM Gunnery School, Eastney: closure and transfer of training to HMS Excellent (PRO Ref ADM 1/26839) Whale Island, Portsmouth
1958 Flag Officer Sea Training  Established Portland
1958 HMS CERES Supply and Secretariat Training transferred to HMS PEMBROKE eg Writers, Stores, Cooks and Stewards - HMS CERES paid off for use as a Borstal or YCC Wetherby, Yorkshire to  Chatham, Kent
1958 HMS HARRIER WRNS RP and Met Training.  Teaching air navigation and direction - transferred to HMS DRYAD, Southwick, Hampshire (The PRO Catalogue also has this reference: DEFE 51/47 Kete, Pembs: RN establishment HMS Harrier; clearance of buildings and sale of land 1958-1967) Kete, Dale, Pembs
1960 C-in-C Home Fleet  Hoists flag Northwood, Middlesex
1961 Nore Command (C-in-C The Nore) closed Chatham
1961/4 HMS HARRIER Admiralty: miscellaneous; closure of HMS Harrier (PRO Ref BD 28/748 & DEFE 51/47) Kete, Dale, Pembs
1964 HMS ARIEL HMS DAEDALUS renamed Lee-on-Solent, Hants
1970/71 HMS CENTURION (RN Drafting,  Pay and Records) Commodore Naval Drafting at Haslemere transferred to HMS CENTURION.  Pay and Records transferred from HMS PRESIDENT to HMS CENTURION Gosport, Hants
 - HMS Attack Coastal Forces Base Portland
1973 HMS GANGES Paid off Shotley Gate, Norwich, Essex
1974 HMS EXCELLENT Gunnery Training ceased: RN Regulating School continues to operate from Whale Island Whale Island, Portsmouth, Hants
1979 HMS COLLINGWOOD Converted to Weapons Engineering Training:  1993 Communications training transferred from HMS MERCURY Fareham, Hants
1981 HMS DAUNTLESS Paid off: transferred to HMS RALEIGH? Burghfield, Reading, Berks
1982 HMS EXCELLENT Training ceased -
1982 HMS VERNON Training ceased and transferred to HMS DRYAD - 1985 site later sold for redevelopment? Portsmouth, Hants
1983 HMS FISGARD Training ceased and artificer training transferred to HMS RALEIGH 
1982 HMS PEMBROKE Training ceased and transferred to HMS RALEIGH -
1982 HMS CALEDONIA Training ceased -
1993 HMS MERCURY Paid off.  Communications Training transferred to HMS COLLINGWOOD East Meon, Petersfield, Hants
- HMS NEPTUNE - Clyde, Scotland
- HMS PEMBROKE IV - Skegness
- HMS PRESIDENT The ship name for officers and ratings serving with the Admiralty or MOD and former accounting base for MOD(RN) bases around the world which are not big enough to account for themselves before this job was taken over by HMS CENTURION c 197?  WRNS accommodation, London RNR, London Furse House,  37, Queen's Gate Terrace,  London
- HMS VICTORY IV Accounting Base for Portsmouth based ships which don't carry their own ship's office eg Portsmouth Squadron including HM Ships BOXER, VIGO, WAKEFUL, RAMPART (LCT), Diving Ship HMS RECLAIM, PLOVER, STARLING, REDPOLE Portsmouth,  Hants
- HMS ROYAL ARTHUR Petty Officer's Leadership Course Corsham, Wilts
 - HMS Cambridge Gunnery Training School Devonport (hulk) and later Wembury Point, Devon
- HMS NEPTUNE Reserve Fleet Chatham
- HMS BELLEROPHON Reserve Fleet  Flag Officer Commanding Reserve Fleet (FOCRF) Portsmouth
- HMS ORION Reserve Fleet Devonport
1996 Portsmouth Commmand  Disestablished Portsmouth

Naval Air Stations

 - HMS Bambara Royal Naval Air Station Trinco. China Bay. Trincomalee. Commissioned 1 Jan 1944. Transferred to the RAF 1951. Many thanks to Andrew and his Dad.
 - HMS Daedalus Air Station and Fleet Air Arm Training Lee-on-Solent, Hants
 - HMS Goldcrest Royal Naval Air Station At one time included Angle, Dale, Keat, and Brawdy - eventually combined under RNAS Brawdy, which was transferred to RAF in 1971. Many thanks to Andrew and his Dad.
 - HMS Gamecock Air Station Bramcote, Nuneaton
 - HMS Nuthatch Air Station Anthorn, Carlisle, Cumberland
 - HMS Gannet Air Station Prestwick
 - HMS Heron Air Station Yeovilton, Nr Yeovil, Somerset
 - HMS Sea Eagle Air Station Londonderry, N Ireland
1947 HMS Seahawk Air Station Culdrose, Helston, Cornwall
1951 HMS Hornbill RN Air Station Culham, Oxfordshire 1944-59

Overseas Bases

1858 HMS PRINCESS CHARLOTTE (launched 1825) Sent to Hong Kong 1858 to act as receiving ship  -
1874 HMS VICTOR EMMANUEL (launched 1855 as REPULSE) Hong Kong receiving ship Arrived Hong Kong 4 Nov 1874
1897 HMS TAMAR (launched Jun 1863) Relieved VICTOR EMMANUEL as Hong Kong receiving ship end of 1897  Moved alongside 1913 Victoria, Hong Kong: scuttled 12 Nov 1941
1933 HMS ST ANGELO HMS EGMONT renamed Malta
1946 HMS TAMAR  Recommissioned using former Wellington Army Barracks Hong Kong 
1959-1962 HMS TAMAR moved  to new site  - Hong Kong returned to Chinese 1997 - HMS TAMAR 
1946? HMS TERROR Accommodation Barracks for personnel in transit and ships under going refit in the Naval Base.  Accounting Base for minesweepers and other small ships in the Far East except those based at Hong Kong HM Naval Base, Singapore  Handed over to RAN 1971
1946 HMS PHOENIX (RNARY Fayid)  Commonwealth of Nations (21): RN air stations: reduction of manning in Mediterranean Command: establishment of aircraft storage section at Royal Naval Aircraft Repair Yard Fayid approved: HMS PHOENIX (RNARY Fayid) reduced to care and maintenance in January 1946 (PRO Ref: ADM 1/17500) Egypt
 - RNAS Simbang Singapore
 - HMS HIGHFLYER Naval Base, Trincomalee. Trincomalee, Ceylon (Sri Lanca) 1943-1957. (Many thanks to Andrew and his Dad.)
 - HMS JUFAIR Naval Base, Persian Gulf  (1955-Dec 1971 following the termination of protectorate status). Bahrein
 - HMS  ???  - Trincomalee, Ceylon
 -    - Woomera, Australia
 - H.M.S. FLORA Guard Ship, Simonstown  
1956 HMS AFRIKANDER Naval Base, Simonstown Simonstown, Cape Town, S Africa. Handed over to South African
 - RNAS Hal Far Hal Far, Malta
 - HMS ROOKE  - Gibraltar
 - HMS MALABAR formerly HMS TERROR? Bermuda
1968 HMS SHEBA Paid off Aden
1997 HMS TAMAR Paid off Hong Kong


HMS MARLBOROUGH - Built at Portsmouth Dockyard and launched in July, 1855, the naming ceremony being performed by Queen Victoria. Length between perpendiculars: 245 6.    Length, overall: 283. Breadth: 61 2 ½. Depth of hold: 25 10. Burthen:  4,000 tons. Load draught: 25, forward and 26, aft. Height of taffrail  above lwl: 39 10. Height of main truck above lwl: 213 4. Weight of  mainmast: 23 tons. Weight of mainyard: 6 tons. Length of mainyard: 111. Weight of anchors: 23 tons. Weight of rigging: 93 tons. Weight of sails: 15 tons. Area of sails: 38,974 square feet. Weight of guns and carriages: 369 tons. Weight of shot: 170 tons. Weight of powder: 64 tons. Weight of machinery: 600 tons. Weight of water in boiler: 100 tons. Her lower deck guns were 68-pounders, her middle deck, long 32-pounders, her main deck, long shorts and the forecastle and quarterdeck armament was large-calibre carronades.
1852 HMS ASIA (Built at 1824 Bombay. Sold 19O8) paid-off at Portsmouth and from 1859 she was used as Guard and Receiving Ship at Portsmouth under Capt. G GORDON
If anyone wishes to know more about Shore Bases, there is an excellent book by Lt Cdr Warlow, RN called "Shore Establishments of the Royal Navy" printed by Maritime Books whose address is Lodge Hill, Liskeard, Cornwall (tel: 01579 343663).ISBN0-907771-74-2. This book describes the History of these bases, and tells us that there were in the region of 417 bases around the world from 1960 onwards, and 97 were still existing in 1997. An impressive book listing upwards of 1,000 naval bases around the world.

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