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HM Naval Base, Dover
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
CountryFlag United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.gif United Kingdom
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Part ofNore Station (1910-1939)
FirstCommander Stewart E. Forster
LastCommander Thomas B. Scott

Dover was a naval base and area command of the Royal Navy and a subcommand of the Nore Station. At the beginning of the Second World it was replaced by a new Dover Command.[1]


The Port of Dover dates from the Roman Empire period, Roman Dover, or ‘’Portus Dubris’’ as it was called, was one of the three ports used for trade and the movement of the Roman Army. The Romans, for whom the port was a base for their navy, the ‘’Classis Britannica’’, constructed breakwaters against the sea‘s depredations, and added two lighthouses on the heights either side of the estuary. It is possible that they also constructed a fort on what is now the site of Dover Castle to protect the port.

In about 1050 five ports on the south coast of Britain joined together to form the Cinque Ports, in order to provide ships and men for the king on fifteen days a year: Dover being one of them. Through the centuries Dover continued to be a busy port and in 1583 it was given an enclosed harbor. During the Tudor Period, continental invasion still threatened. During the reign of Henry VIII improvements were made to Dover's defences, both to the castle and the Moat Bulwark; the king making a personal visit to supervise the work. Further improvements were carried out under Elizabeth I.

Between 1665-66 Dover suffered an outbreak of plague. Nevertheless it continued to grow. In the 18th century Dover was known for its shipbuilding and rope making industries as well as its fishermen. There was also a leather industry in Dover. In 1793 Britain went to war with France. So in 1794-95 a network of fortifications were created on the heights overlooking Dover.

In World War I it was, with Folkestone, one of the main troop embarkation ports for France. It also served as the operational base for the Dover Patrol as well as the forces covering Auxiliary Patrol Area XI. It was also bombed by aeroplanes and zeppelins (the first bomb to be dropped on England fell near Dover Castle on Christmas Eve 1914) and shelled by passing warships. This forced residents to shelter in caves and dug-outs. The town became known as 'Fortress Dover' and was put under martial law.

In World War II this developed into sustained bombing and shelling by cross-channel guns, causing 3,059 alerts, killing 216 civilians, and damaging 10,056 premises. A series of caves and tunnels in the cliffs were used as air-raid shelters (and as a military base, coordinating Operation Dynamo, whose ships landed at Dover) during the war and Dover became a wartime symbol as part of East Kent's Hellfire Corner.

Naval HQ

Royal Navy Warships in Dover Harbour in 1914
Admiralty Chart England South Coast Dover Harbour 1910

Kings Harbour Master, Dover (1910-1917)

  1. Commander Stewart E. Forster, 25 February, 1910 – 9 October, 1913.
  2. Captain Edward Winthrop, (retd), 25 January, 1915 – 5 February, 1915.
  3. Captain Arnot Henderson, (retd), 5 February, 1915 – 11 December, 1916.

Senior Officer, Dover (1917)

  1. Rear-Admiral Heathcoat S. Grant, 10 January, 1917 – 18 June, 1917.

Rear-Admiral-in-Charge, Dover (1917-1918)

  1. Rear-Admiral Cecil F. Dampier, 18 June, 1917 – 1 June, 1918, (also Kings Harbour Master, Dover).

Divisional Naval Transport Officer, Dover (1915-1918)

  1. Captain (retired) George E. B. Bairnsfather, 1 January, 1915 – 15 June, 1918
  2. Acting Captain Ferdinand H. Elderton, before December, 1918

Captain-in-Charge, Dover (1918-1919)

  1. Commodore, Second Class Alexander Percy Davidson, 1 June, 1918 - 17 June, 1919, (also Kings Harbour Master, Dover).

Kings Harbour Master, Dover (1919-1923)

  1. Commander (N) Stanley B. Norfolk, 17 June, 1919 – 19 August, 1921.
  2. Commander Thomas B. Scott, 1 October, 1921 – 21 October, 1923.


Naval Shore Establishments


  1. Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony (4 September 2020). "Dover - The Dreadnought Project". Harley and Lovell. Retrieved 5 September 2020.