- HMNB Portsmouth
Her Majesty's Naval Base (HMNB) Portsmouth (HMS "Nelson"), is one of three operating bases for the
Royal Navy(the others being HMNB Clydeand HMNB Devonport). Portsmouth naval base is located on the eastern shore of Portsmouth Harbour and is part of the cityof Portsmouthand is situated north of the Solentand Isle of Wight. The base is home to the oldest Drydocks, as well as being a base port for 66% of the Royal Navy's surface fleet. The base is home to a number of commercial shore activities including shipbuilding, ship repair, naval logistics, accommodation and messing ( delivered by BVT Surface Fleet); and personnel support functions (eg medical and dental; education; pastoral and welfare) provided by the Ministry of Defence. The base is the oldest in the Royal Navy, has been a vital part of its history and the defence of the British Isles for centuries and was at its height the largest industrial site in the world [ ABROAD AGAIN IN BRITAIN, BBC ] . The Naval Base is also home to "Portsmouth Historic Dockyard" which allows members of the public to visit important maritime attractions such as the Mary Rose, HMS Victory and HMS Warrior.
In 2006 the Ministry of Defence announced that a review would be undertaken to examine the future of the three Naval Bases. The Naval Base Review was seeking to examine the long term future needs of the
Royal Navy, with the most likely outcome being either retaining the three current Naval Bases, but with reduced capacity in each, or closing one of the two on the south coast of England. The results of the review, released in 2007, have stipulated no base closures.
The base commander is Commodore
David Steel RN
The harbour is under the control of the
Queen's Harbour Master, currently Commander S O Hopper RN, who is the regulatory authority of the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth, an area of approximately 50 square miles that encompasses Portsmouth Harbour and the Eastern Solent. Shipping movements are handled by a team of admiralty pilots headed by the Chief Admiralty Pilot, Anthony Bannister.
It plays host to a large part of the surface fleet of the
Royal Navyincluding "Invincible"-class aircraft carriers, Type 42 destroyers, the majority of the Type 23 frigates, fishery protection vessels and a squadron of mine counter-measures vessels (minesweepers and mine hunters). Most of the vessels based in Portsmouth form part of the Portsmouth Flotilla, under the Fleet First reorganisation which saw the three (Portsmouth,Devonport and Faslane) port flotillas replace the frigate and destroyer squadrons and other groupings.
In total some 17,300 people work in the base. Until recently it was the base of the
Second Sea Lordwho flies his flag in HMS "Victory", which is the oldest commissioned warship in the world (although it was originally built at Chatham Dockyard). The Second Sea Lord is now at William Leach Building on Whale Island, which is the headquarters of the Commander in Chief Fleet..
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
In addition to "Victory", a portion of the base serves as a maritime museum (now called Portsmouth Historic Dockyard) and plays host to:
* the raised wreck of the Tudor
carrack" Mary Rose"
* HMS "Warrior"
* HMS "M33", a WWI monitor
Royal Naval Museum
Action Stations- featuring "InterAction"
* Portsmouth Harbour Tours
Trafalgar Sail- foretop sail of "Victory" from the Battle of Trafalgar 1805
Across the harbour in
Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower, at Priddy's Hardand
Royal Navy Submarine Museumat Haslar.
.Along with Chatham, Woolwich, Plymouth and
Deptford, it has been one of the main dockyards for the Royal Navythroughout its history. The Portsmouth Royal Dockyard Historical Trust was established in 1994 to foster and promote the history and industrial archaelogy of this great organisation and a more detailed history may be found at: [http://www.portsmouthdockyard.org.uk Portsmouth Royal Dockyard Historical Trust] .
The wreck of the
Mary Roseis on display in a purpose built museum. The oldest Drydocks in the world were built by Henry VII in 1495. Ships from Portsmouth were a key part of the fleet that drove off the Spanish Armadain 1588.
During this period, this (like the other dockyards underwent reforms proposed by Sir
Samuel Bentham, Inspector-General of Naval Works. Among his innovations were Portsmouth Block Mills, an early example of truly industrial scale production.
HMS "Warrior" The first ocean going
Ironcladis moored in the dockyard.
The first modern warship
HMS Dreadnoughtwas built in 1906
First World War
HMS "M33", a WWI monitor
Second World War
The destroyer flotillas (the capital ships having been evacuated to
Scapa Flow) were essential to the defence of the English Channelparticularly during Operation Dynamo and against any potential German Invasion and the base itself served a major refit and repair role. The German military realised this importance and the city and base in particularly was heavily bombed as a result.
Portsmouth and the Naval Base itself were the headquarters and main departure point for the military and naval units destined for
Sword Beachon the Normandycoast as a part of Operation Overlordand the D-DayLandings on June 6 1944. Troops destined for each of the landing beaches left from Portsmouth aboard vessels such as the armed merchant cruisers HMCS Prince Henry and HMCS Prince David, escorted by the destroyers HMCS Algonquin and HMCS Sioux. The majority of the naval support for the operation left from Portsmouth, including the Mulberry Harbours.
Post Second World War
=Falklands Task Force=Main|Falklands WarIn 1982 Argentina invaded the
Falkland Islands. In response a task force of British military and merchant ships was dispatched from Portsmouth Naval Base (and other naval bases) to the islands in the South Atlantic to reclaim them for the United Kingdom.
The task force consisted of the following ships:
* Two Aircraft Carriers
* Two Landing Ship Docks
* Eight Destroyers
* Fifteen Frigates
* Three Patrol Ships
* Five Submarines
* Three Survey Vessels
* Five Minesweepers
* Ten Fleet Tankers
* Six Logistic Landing Ships
* Five Supply Ships
* One Helicopter Supply ship
* Eighteen Merchant ships including troop/cruise ships such as
RMS Queen Elizabeth 2
Following some losses, the majority of these ships returned to Portsmouth later that year.
In the summer of 2005 Portsmouth Naval Base and the Solent played host to two special events organised as part of the
Trafalgar 200commemorations recognising the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. These were the International Fleet Reviewand the International Festival of the Sea.
Naval Establishments in the Portsmouth area
HMS Nelson- HM Naval Base Portsmouth, encompassing both the dockyard and the Naval Personnel Centre on Queen Street.
*HMS Excellent - Whale Island, Portsmouth. Including the HQ of Commander in Chief Fleet (CinC FLEET); the Second Sea Lord (2SL); Naval Training facilities operated by FLAGSHIP Ltd)
HMS Temeraire- Portsmouth. Training of Naval Physical Training Instructors and sports grounds and facilities for Portsmouth based personnel
HMS Collingwood- Fareham. Naval training provided mainly under contract to FLAGSHIP Ltd
HMS Sultan- Gosport. Naval (and tri-service) training, home of centre of excellence for mechanical and electrical engineering
* Stephen Courtney, Brian Patterson - "Home of the Fleet: A Century of Portsmouth Royal Dockyard in Photographs" (Sutton Publishing, 2005) ISBN 0-7509-2285-0
* [http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/server/show/nav.3084 HMNB Portsmouth web page]
* [http://www.portsmouthdockyard.org.uk Portsmouth Royal Dockyard Historical Trust website]
* [http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk Portsmouth Historic Dockyard website]
* [http://www.ddaymuseum.co.uk/museum2.htm Portsmouth D-Day Museum]
* [http://www.qhmportsmouth.com/ Queen's Harbour Master, Portsmouth]
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