Tuesday, 26 April 2011

HM Naval Bases

HMNB Devonport

Her Majesty's Naval Base (HMNB) Devonport (HMS Drake), is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy (the others being HMNB Clyde and HMNB Portsmouth). HMNB Devonport is located in Devonport, in the west of the city of Plymouth in Devon, England. It is the largest naval base in Western Europe and is the sole nuclear repair and refuelling facility for the Royal Navy. The collocated Royal Dockyard is owned and operated by the Marine division of Babcock International Group (BM), who took over the previous owner Devonport Management Limited (DML) in 2007. The BM operation is commonly called Devonport Royal Dockyard.

The Naval base at Devonport is nicknamed Guz by naval ratings. One suggestion is that this originates from the word guzzle (to eat or drink greedily), which is likely to refer to the eating of cream teas, a West Country delicacy and, therefore, one with strong connections to the area around Plymouth However, there are three or four myths around the reason for the nickname, this is just one of them.

Devonport Flotilla

Ships based at the port are known as the Devonport Flotilla. This includes the Navy's assault ships HMS Ocean and HMS Bulwark. It also serves as home port to most of the hydrographic surveying fleet of the Royal Navy and Type 23 frigates The previous Commodore of the Devonport Flotilla was Commodore Peter Walpole ADC who assumed command in September 2005.

Amphibious Assault Ships

HMS Ocean Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH)
HMS Albion Landing Platform Dock (Mothballed)
HMS Bulwark Landing Platform Dock (LPD)

Type 22 frigates

HMS Campbeltown
HMS Cornwall
HMS Chatham
HMS Cumberland

Note that the above are Scrapped.

Type 23 frigates

HMS Argyll
HMS Monmouth
HMS Montrose
HMS Northumberland
HMS Portland
HMS Somerset
HMS Sutherland

Trafalgar class submarines

HMS Torbay
HMS Trenchant
HMS Talent
HMS Triumph

Surveying squadron

HMS Echo
HMS Enterprise
HMS Gleaner
HMS Scott

Other ships based at Devonport

RFA Argus (A135)

HMS Raider (P275)

Plymouth Hoe

The Hoe is a popular area for Plymothians and visitors. There is always a great deal of activity on the water, including frequent warship movements, ferries going and coming from France and Spain, fishing trawlers and a swarm of larger and smaller sailing boats. The Fastnet yacht race ends here. The annual two-day British Firework Championships attracts tens of thousands of spectators.
Plymouth Hoe is perhaps best known for Sir Francis Drake played his famous game of bowls here in 1588 before sailing out with the English fleet to engage with the Spanish Armada.

In the late 1660s, after The Restoration, a large stone fortress known as the Royal Citadel, was built at the eastern end of the Hoe. Its purpose was to protect the port and probably also to intimidate the townsfolk who had leaned towards Parliament during the Civil War.

There is an imposing series of Victorian terraces to the west of the naval memorial which previously continued to the Grand Hotel and, until it was destroyed by bombing, the grand clubhouse of the Royal Western Yacht Club. The club then merged with the Royal Southern and occupied that club's older premises which it had created from the regency public steam baths by the basin at West Hoe before the rejuvenated club moved in the late 1980s to Queen Anne Battery.
HMNB Portsmouth

Click to Enlarge

Her Majesty's Naval Base (HMNB) Portsmouth (HMS Nelson) is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the British Royal Navy (the others being HMNB Clyde and HMNB Devonport). Portsmouth naval base is part of the city of Portsmouth, located on the eastern shore of Portsmouth Harbour north of the Solent and Isle of Wight.
The base is home to the oldest surviving dry dock in the world, as well as being the base port for two thirds of the Royal Navy's surface fleet. The base is home to a number of commercial shore activities including shipbuilding and ship repair (operated by BAE Systems Surface Ships); naval logistics, accommodation and messing (delivered by Fleet Support Limited); and personnel support functions (e.g. medical and dental; education; pastoral and welfare) provided by Defence Equipment and Support.

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.The Naval Base is also home to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, which allows members of the public to visit important maritime attractions such as the Mary Rose, HMS Victory and HMS Warrior.
Portsmouth naval base is home to two thirds of the Royal Navy's surface ships. The naval base employs 17,200 people. In addition, Portsmouth will help build and be the home port of the two new Royal Navy aircraft carriers ordered in 2008, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. This has secured the base's future for the next forty years and will revitalise shipbuilding in the city.

HMS Dolphin (shore establishment)

HMS Dolphin closed as a submarine base on 30 September 1998, although the last RN submarine permanently based at Gosport was HMS Ursula which had left 4 years earlier in 1994. The Royal Navy Submarine School (RNSMS) remained at Dolphin until 23 December 1999 when it closed prior to relocation to HMS Raleigh. The RNSMS staff marched into HMS Raleigh and were welcomed onboard by Commodore Lockwood on 31 January 2000. The RNSMS is located in the Dolphin and Astute blocks at Raleigh, although the Submarine Escape Training Tower (SETT), a 30m deep tank of water used to instruct all RN submariners in pressurised escape, remains at the same site, now renamed Fort Blockhouse.

Submarine museum

The Royal Navy Submarine Museum is still sited nearby on Haslar Jetty Road next to Fort Blockhouse and Royal Naval Hospital Haslar.

The Portsmouth Flotilla

Invincible class aircraft carriers

HMS Invincible (R05) Scrapped 
HMS Illustrious (R06)  Laid up 
HMS Ark Royal (R07) Scrapped

Type 45 Destroyers

HMS Daring  
HMS Dauntless  
HMS Diamond 
HMS Dragon
HMS Defender
HMS Duncan

Type 23 Frigates

HMS Kent
HMS St Albans
HMS Lancaster
HMS Iron Duke
HMS Westminster
HMS Richmond

Hunt class mine countermeasures vessels

HMS Ledbury
HMS Cattistock
HMS Brocklesby
HMS Middleton
HMS Chiddingfold
HMS Atherstone
HMS Hurworth
HMS Quorn

River class patrol vessels

HMS Clyde
HMS Tyne
HMS Severn
HMS Mersey

Antarctic Patrol Ship

HMS Endurance Scrapped

HMS Protector

Archer class patrol vessels

HMS Tracker (P274)
HMS Blazer (P279)
HMS Ranger (P293)


HMNB Clyde

Click to enlarge
                                                                   Faslane Naval Base

Situated on the Gare Loch, and the RN Armaments Depot Coulport on Loch Long, are the primary components of HM Naval Base Clyde. The Naval shore establishment at Faslane is HMS Neptune. Both the Gareloch and Loch Long are sea lochs extending northwards from the Firth of Clyde. The base serves as home base to the United Kingdom's fleet of Vanguard-class nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed submarines, as well as conventionally-armed nuclear powered submarines, supported by the Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines.

In command of HMNB Clyde is the Naval Base Commander (Clyde), Commodore C J Hockley. The base is home to a number of lodger units including Flag Officer Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland (FOSNNI) (who is also Flag Officer Reserves/FORes), the Northern Diving Group and the Scottish Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence Police and Guarding Agency. It is base to 3,000 service personnel, 800 of their families and 4,000 civilian workers, largely from Babcock Marine, forming a major part of the economy of Argyll and Bute and West Dunbartonshire.

Faslane was first constructed and used as a base in World War II. During the 1960s, the United Kingdom began negotiating the Polaris Sales Agreement with the United States regarding the purchase of a Polaris missile system to fire UK-built Nuclear weapons from five specially constructed submarines. In the end, only four were constructed; Resolution, Repulse, Renown and Revenge. These four submarines were permanently based at Faslane.

Faslane itself was chosen as the base at the height of the Cold War because of its geographic position, which forms a bastion on the relatively secluded but deep and easily navigable Gare Loch and Firth of Clyde on the west coast of Scotland. This position provides for rapid and stealthy access through the North Channel to the submarine patrolling areas in the North Atlantic, through the GIUK gap to the Norwegian Sea. One boat was always on patrol at any given time. In times of political instability, sometimes two boats would be deployed at sea.

Vanguard class SSBNs

In the 1980s, the British Government announced plans to replace the Resolution class submarines carrying UGM-27 Polaris with the newly developed Trident missile system on the new Vanguard class submarines, also to be based at Faslane. These submarines were named:

Astute class SSNs

HMS Astute (S119) arrived at home port, Faslane, for the first time on the 20th November 2009. Faslane will be home port to the Astute class submarine SSNs for the foreseeable future.

HMS Astute is the lead ship of her class of nuclear-powered Fleet submarines. Commissioned in August 2010, Astute is one of the most "advanced submarines in the world".

HMS Ambush



Helensburgh today acts as a commuter town for nearby Glasgow, with a population at the 2004 census of 20,626, and also serves as a main shopping centre for the area and for tourists attracted to the seaside resort. Helensburgh is also influenced by the presence of the Clyde Naval Base at Faslane on the Gare Loch, a major local employer. The town is a popular destination for day trippers.

The town is served by three railway stations, Helensburgh Upper on the West Highland Line, Craigendoran, on the North Clyde Line and Helensburgh Central, the terminus of the North Clyde Line.

The seafront has an indoor swimming pool, an esplanade walk and sailing facilities including Helensburgh Sailing Club.and the nearby marina at Rhu just beyond the town boundary. The streets are built on a gentle slope rising to the north east, and at the brow of the hill a golf club has views looking south out over the town to the Clyde, and to the north across nearby Loch Lomond to the Trossachs hills.

A regular passenger ferry service runs from Helensburgh pier to Kilcreggan and Gourock, (until 2007 the historic ferry Kenilworth was used on this route); Craigendoran pier fell into disuse in the late 20th century. The paddle steamer Waverley calls in to Helensburgh pier during summer sailings.

In a recent study, Helensburgh was shown to be the second most expensive town in which to buy property in Scotland.

The town is used extensively for the local Naval Base, Faslane which is the site that houses the British nuclear deterrent fleet of Vanguard class submarines. The base is only six miles away from the town. A significant amount of income for the town is generated by the base, its submarines and visiting vessels alike.

Helensburgh is home to a number of annual events, with the local branch of Round Table running an annual fireworks display on Guy Fawkes Night and hosting a Real Ale Festival at the Victoria Halls.


Faslane HIVE

Faslane HIVE
Families Centre
Churchill Square
Churchill Estate
G84 9HL

Email: faslane.hive@rncom.mod.uk
Tel: 01436 678029
Fax: 01436 675391

Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs: 0800-1530hrs Fri: 0800-1300hrs

HMNB Clyde at Faslane is situated on the shores of the Gareloch, approximately 30 miles north of Glasgow on the West Coast of Scotland. This is an area of outstanding beauty with its many lochs and mountains. For those who enjoy hill walking or mountain climbing this is an ideal location. For the slightly less energetic there are plenty of places to take gentle walks, through woods, open countryside or by the lochs. However, you could always just sit back and admire the view.

At HM Naval Base Clyde there is an excellent Sportsdrome, Adventurous Training, Ski & Snowboarding Centre, & Sailing Club. There is a Spar shop, a Barber, and Post Office. Spouses are welcome to use the Chaplaincy and Sports facilities once they have a Base Pass (the HIVE Officer can advise on how to get a Pass). More info on all activities in the area can be found on HIVE Info Sheet 2B 'Sport & Recreation'.
Advice/Information Here >> Royal Navy Housing

Estate 'is no hotbed of racism'

Residents of Churchill Estate in Helensburgh say it is NOT a crime-ridden ghetto where residents are targeted with racial abuse and vandalism - as claimed in a Sunday newspaper.
In fact, the figures show that Churchill is probably one of the best policed crime free housing estates in the West of Scotland and residents are furious about the undermining of years of hard work by the red top Sunday.
For example, in 2006 there were 21 youths reported for drinking in public on the estate in 2009 there has been ONE.
In the same period the figures show that reports of "youth annoyance" have dropped from 43 to seven and reports of youth disturbances have fallen from 12 to 2.
Full Report here >>  No Hotbed of Racism

"The Famous "Imps"


 Facebook  >> Helensburgh Heroes 

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