Gibraltar Dockyard

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HM Dockyard Gibraltar
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Part of HM Naval Base, Gibraltar
TypeNaval Base and Naval Dockyard
Site information
OperatorRoyal Navy
Controlled byFlag of the Navy Board 1801 to 1832.jpg Navy Board (1704-1832)
Board of Admiralty Flag 20th Century.png Board of Admiralty (1832-1965)
Navy Board Flag from 2003.gif Navy Board (MOD) (1964-1984)
Site history
In use1704-1984
Installation information
Various (multiple titles see opposite)

Gibraltar Dockyard or formally HM Dockyard, Gibraltar was a Royal Naval Dockyard first planned for as early as 1704, however it would not be till 1721 that the dockyard started to be built.[1] The dockyard existed until 1984 when the British Government transferred ownership of it into the private sector where it was renamed Gibdock.[2]


Gibraltar Dockyard in World War II

Plans for HM Dockyard, Gibraltar were first drawn up in 1704.[3] After the Capture of Gibraltar, victualling facilities were provided from a small quay around what is now the North Mole, but a lack of berths prevented further development. In the 1720s, however, the building of the South Mole was accompanied by the establishment of a small dockyard facility consisting of a careening wharf, mast house and various workshops and staff.[4] The yard remained relatively small in scale for a century and a half, although coaling facilities were added in the 1840s.

In 1871 Captain Augustus Phillimore made the proposal that a new naval dockyard should be constructed in Gibraltar. Phillimore's scheme lay dormant in the Admiralty for 22 years before it was put to Parliament in 1895. The idea was to take five years and just under £1.5m pounds. In 1896 the scheme was further extended with the creation of new moles and three dry docks and a new budget of £4.5m pounds. The transformation was large and the government were still passing enabling legislation in 1905.

The three large graving docks initially known as docks Number 1, 2 and 3, were excavated on what had been the site of the old naval yard. Number 3 dock, the smallest at just over 50,000 tons of water capacity, was the first to be named in 1903 and was named King Edward VII, Queen Alexandra named the 60,000 ton Number 2 dock after herself in 1906, and the largest, Number 1 dock, which could hold over 100,000 tons of water, was called the Prince and Princess of Wales dock, having been named by their Royal Highnesses in 1907, subsequently King George V and Queen Mary.

In 1937 the warning of the Chiefs of Staff gave way to rearmament. The danger of a war being settled in the Mediterranean meant that No. 1 and No. 2 dock were extended so that Gibraltar could handle aircraft carriers and the new larger battleships

Administration of the Dockyard (Navy Board)

Plan View of Gibraltar Dockyard in 1909 source: from the Dock Book, June 1909, published by the British Admiralty

During the 18th century the dockyard was managed and controlled by the Navy Board through its Resident Commissioner of the Navy when appointed, he supervised the principal officers of yard the Clerks of the Cheque and Survey, the Master Attendant and Shipwright, the Naval officer and Storekeeper. In 1832 the Navy Board was abolished and responsibility for the management of the dockyard organisation passed to the Board of Admiralty, who replaced the resident commissioner's with Admiral-Superintendents in the larger ship yards or a Captain-Superintendent in smaller yards.

Resident Commissioner, Gibraltar (1742-1817)

Clerk of the Cheque, Gibraltar Dockyard (1727-1785)

Clerk of the Survey, Gibraltar Dockyard (1742-1756)

Master-Attendant, Gibraltar Dockyard

  • 1745–1759, Robert Haswell.[5]
  • 1759, David Patterson.[6]

Master Shipwright, Gibraltar Dockyard

Naval Officer, Gibraltar Dockyard

  • 1731–1739, Robert Hayes.[7]
  • 1739–1742, Christopher Robinson.[8]

Storekeeper, Gibraltar Dockyard

Administration of the Dockyard (Board of Admiralty)

Senior Naval Officer-in-Charge of all Naval Establishments, Gibraltar (1915-1920)

  1. Vice-Admiral Bernard Currey, 21 September, 1915 – 19 June, 1917. (also Senior Officer, Gibraltar)
  2. Vice-Admiral Heathcoat Salusbury Grant, 19 June, 1917 – 14 July, 1919. (ditto).
  3. Rear-Admiral Reginald Yorke Tyrwhitt, 5 July, 1919 – 17 December, 1920 (ditto).

Admiral-Superintendent, Gibraltar Dockyard (1920-1941)

Commodore-Superintendent, Gibraltar Dockyard (1941-1945)

Admiral-Superintendent, Gibraltar Dockyard (1945-1964)

Administration of the Dockyard (Navy Board (MOD) )

Admiral-Superintendent, Gibraltar Dockyard (1964-1971)

Port Admiral, Gibraltar (1971-1992)


  1. Cock, Randolph; Rodger, N.A.M. "A Guide to Naval Records of the National Archives of the UK: Chapter: Dockyards and other Naval Yards, Atlantic Yards" (PDF). Exeter, England.: University of Exeter. p. 215. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  2. Commons, House of (27 July 1983). "Gibraltar Dockyard". London, England.: Hansard: Volume 46, Column 1212. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  3. Cock, Randolph; Rodger, N.A.M. p. 215.
  4. Cock, Randolph; Rodger, N.A.M. p. 215.
  5. Harrison, Simon (2010–2019). "Master Attendant at Gibraltar". Cy Harrison. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  6. Simon Harrison. Master Attendant at Gibraltar.
  7. Harrison, Simon (2010–2019). "Naval Officer at Gibraltar". Cy Harrison. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  8. Simon Harrison. Naval Officer at Gibraltar.