Amherstburg Dockyard

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HM Dockyard, Amherstburg
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Part of North America Station
Amherstburg in Canada
TypeNaval Dockyard
Site information
OperatorRoyal Navy
Controlled byFlag of the Navy Board 1801 to 1832.jpg Navy Board
Site history
In use1796-1813
Installation information
Resident Commissioner Amherstburg
OccupantsNorth America Squadron

Amherstburg Dockyard was initially a Provincial Marine and then later a Royal Navy yard from 1796 to 1813 in Amherstburg, Ontario, situated on the Detroit River. The yard comprised blockhouses, storehouses, magazine, wood yard and wharf. The yard was established in 1796 to support the Upper Canada Provincial Marine after Great Britain ceded a pre-existing shipyard on the Detroit River to the United States. In 1813 the dockyard was abandoned and destroyed when the British retreated and never reopened.[1]


Amherstburg Navy Yard was constructed in 1796 after British forces vacated Detroit and relocated downstream to the eastern side of the Detroit River.[2] The yard, used to construct and repair vessels, served as the hub of the British Naval presence on the Upper Great Lakes.[3] The yard’s facilities included a large storehouse, two blockhouses, a timber yard with a saw pit, and a wharf.[4] To the north of the naval yard, the British built Fort Amherstburg, at what is now Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada, and to the south, a settlement, which became known as Amherstburg, sprang up to supply the fort and naval yard.[5] For almost 20 years, the yard produced vessels ranging from small, open bateaux, to full-sized, three-masted, ship-rigged men-of-war. Amherstburg Navy Yard played a significant defensive role during the War of 1812, as the ships it produced enabled the British to maintain control of the area.[6]

Following the British defeat at the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813, Amherstburg was evacuated and both the fort and the navy yard were burnt prior to the American capture.[7] The Americans later built an installation named Fort Malden on the ruins of Fort Amherstburg.[8] Although Fort Malden was returned to the British in July 1815, the area never regained its pre-war importance as a fort and naval yard.[9] The fort was used briefly during the rebellions of 1837-38 before its closure in 1858.[10]

the Navy Yard served as the British naval station for Lakes Erie and Huron, 1796-1813; - in the War of 1812-14 the naval force built here enabled the army to retain control of this frontier.[11]

Administration of the Dockyard

From 1546 until 1660 all Royal Naval Dockyards were administered by the Council of the Marine. From 1660 were administered by a resident commissioner who supervised the other senior officers of the yard on behalf of the Navy Board in London. By an Order in Council dated 27 June 1832 it transferred administrative control of the dockyards organisation to the Board of Admiralty, and the role of the Resident Commissioner of the Navy was abolished and replaced by either a Captain Superintendent or Commodore Superintendent or Admiral-Superintendent depending on the size of the naval dockyard.[12][13] In 1971 all remaining flag officer's titled as admiral superintendent were renamed Port Admirals.


  1. "Amherstburg Navy Yard National Historic Site of Canada". 18 April 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  2. (2012).
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  6. (2012).
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  10. (2012).
  11. (2012).
  12. Writer.), E. MILES (Nautical; Miles, Lawford (1841). An epitome, historical and statistical, descriptive of the Royal Naval Service of England. By E. M., with the assistance of ... L. Miles ... With ... illustrations, etc. Ackermann & Company. p. 88.
  13. Archives, The National. "Navy Board and Admiralty: Yard Pay Books". The National Archives, 1660 to 1857, ADM 42. Retrieved 16 March 2018.