Portsmouth Naval Base

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HM Naval Base, Portsmouth
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
HMS Victory (1969-2000) HMS Nelson (2000-present)
Part of Portsmouth Area Command
Portsmouth in England
Portsmouth Naval Base in 2015.jpg
Portsmouth Naval Base in 2015
Site information
OperatorRoyal Navy
Controlled byRoyal Dockyards Management Board
Navy Board (Ministry of Defence)
Site history
In use1969-current
Installation information
Naval Base Commander, Portsmouth
Commodore Jeremy J. Bailey
OccupantsPortsmouth Flotilla

Portsmouth Naval Base or formally Her Majesty's Naval Base, Portsmouth or (HMNB Portsmouth) is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy (the others being Clyde Naval Base and Devonport Naval Base). Portsmouth Naval Base is part of the city of Portsmouth; it is located on the eastern shore of Portsmouth Harbour, north of the Solent and the Isle of Wight.

Responsibility for the facilities and staff of the base is vested in the Naval Base Commander, Portsmouth who reports to the Director Naval Support who is based at Navy Command HQ.


Naval ship building and repair operations started at the port when the first dock was built in 1194. The world’s first dry dock was constructed in 1495. The keel of the Mary Rose was laid down in 1509. The Old Naval Academy was established in 1733 and the dockyard became the largest industrial site in the world by 1850. The first oil-fired battleship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, was built in 1913. In 1969 a change in the shore organisation at Royal Naval Dockyards altered, previously Commodores commanding Royal Naval Barracks were re designated as Commanders commanding Naval Bases.[1] In 1971 all royal navy flag officers previously responsible for dockyard commands and holding the title of Admiral-Superintendent were re designated Port Admirals. Until the early 1970s, it was officially known as Portsmouth Dockyard or HM Dockyard, Portsmouth; thereafter the term 'Naval Base' was used, acknowledging a greater focus on personnel and support elements alongside the traditional emphasis on building, repairing and maintaining ships.[2]

In 1984 Portsmouth's Royal Dockyard function was downgraded and it was formally renamed the 'Fleet Maintenance and Repair Organisation' (FMRO).[3] The FMRO was privatized in 1998[4] (and for a time (2002-2014) shipbuilding, in the form of block construction, returned). In 1996 the Portsmouth Command under the Flag Officer Portsmouth and Port Admiral Portsmouth (joint title) was abolished, command responsibility for the base passed in full to the Commander, Porstmouth Naval Base a 1 star post. Around the year 2000, the designation HMS Nelson (which until then had been specific to Portsmouth's Naval Barracks in Queen Street) was extended to cover the entire base. In 2001 2001 Naval Base Commander becomes responsible for non-fleet time maintenance to form a true "one stop shop" for Portsmouth base ships.

The base accommodates the Portsmouth Flotilla consisting of 42 ships of the Royal Navy, including two aircraft carriers, six Type 42 destroyers, six Type 23 frigates, eight Hunt-class minehunters, three offshore patrol vessels of the Fishery Protection Squadron, 14 vessels of the First Patrol Boat Squadron, and HMS Endurance and HMS Clyde. Two new Royal Navy aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, will also be based at the port. The commercial shore activities include shipbuilding and repair, naval logistics, accommodation and messing. The public / private partnership between the Royal Navy and BAE Systems Surface Ships provides fleet maintenance, logistics, communications and base support services. BAE Systems Surface Ships’ shipbuilding facility is located in the port. It is currently building sections of the Royal Navy’s new Daring Class destroyers, which will be based at the Portsmouth naval base.[5]

"The port has generated over 26,000 defence jobs in the region." The Naval base garrison facilities includes 15 working dry docks, 62 acres of basins and a 3 mile/4.8 kilometre-long waterfront. The maritime logistics organisation in the port will provide 80% of all non-explosive stores to the Surface Fleet and 65% of the needs of UK naval customers and ships across the world.

In Command

HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales - Super Carriers berthed at Portsmouth Naval Base in 2020.

Port Admiral Portsmouth (1971-96)

Commodore, Portsmouth Naval Base (1971-96)

  1. Commodore Cecil J.A. Johnson: June 1971-October 1972
  2. Commodore John Stuart Crosbie Lea: October 1972-April 1975
  3. Commodore Gerard Hayne: April 1975-April 1977
  4. Commodore Peter I.F. Beeson: April 1977-October 1978
  5. Commodore William E.C. Perkins: October 1978-March 1981
  6. Commodore Michael F. Simpson: March 1981-1983
  7. Commodore David F. Watts: 1983-1984
  8. Commodore Christopher J. Howard: 1984-1987
  9. Commodore John Hall: 1987-1988
  10. Commodore John G. Tolhurst: 1988-November 1989
  11. Commodore David C. Hebron: 1989-April 1992
  12. Commodore Roger J. Lowndes: April 1992-April 1994
  13. Commodore Andrew E. Slater: April 1994-October 1996

Captain of the Port, Portsmouth (1969-89)

  1. Captain Kenneth H. Martin, July 1969-May 1971
  2. Captain Henry E. Howard, May 1971-? 1973
  3. Captain Stanley W. Clayden, December 1973-March 1975
  4. Captain John L. Ommanney, April 1975-October 1977
  5. Captain John R. Grindle, October 1977-February 1979
  6. Captain Peter A. Pinkster, February 1979-May 1980
  7. Captain Clifford J. Caughey, May 1980-February 1982
  8. Captain Anthony R. Wavish, February 1982 – 1984
  9. Captain Christopher J.T. Chamberlen, July 1984 – 1987
  10. Captain Richard A. Smith, 1987-November 1989
  11. Captain Edward 'Ted' M. Hackett, 1992 - 1994 (also & Queens Harbour Master)

Naval Base Commander, Portsmouth (1996-current)

  1. Commodore Iain Robert Henderson: October 1996-September 1998
  2. Commodore Stephen W. Graham: September 1998-September 2000
  3. Commodore Robin Paul Boissier: September 2000-July 2002
  4. Commodore Amjad J. Hussain: July 2002-November 2005
  5. Commodore David George Steel: November 2005-November 2008
  6. Commodore Robert J. Thompson: November 2008-September 2011
  7. Commodore Anthony D. Radakin: September 2011-October 2012
  8. Commodore Jeremy C. Rigby: October 2012-January 2018
  9. Commodore James D. Higham: January 2018-February 2019
  10. Commodore Jeremy J. Bailey: March 2019-

Captain of the Base, Portsmouth

  1. Captain Ian W Greenless, 2005 – ?
  2. Captain Jeremy C. Rigby, September 2011 – October 2012.[6]
  3. Colonel Mike Tanner R.M., 14 September 2014 – 14 September 2016
  4. Captain Bill Oliphant, 14 September 2016 – 14 September 2018
  5. Captain David George, 14 September 2018 2018 – 17 December, 2020
  6. Captain Oliver Hutchinson, 17 December, 2020 –

See Also


  1. Mackie, Colin (November 2019). "Senior Royal Navy Appointments from 1865: /Commodore, Royal Naval Barracks, Portsmouth(Commander, Naval Base, Portsmouth from 1969" (PDF). gulabin.com. C. Mackie. pp. 117–118. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  2. Coad, Jonathan (2013). Support for the Fleet: architecture and engineering of the Royal Navy's bases, 1700–1914. Swindon: English Heritage.
  3. "Portsmouth Dockyard becomes Fleet Maintenance & Repair Organisation". Dockyard Timeline. Portsmouth Royal Dockyard Historical Trust. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  4. "1998 - F.M.R.O. taken over by Fleet Support Limited". Dockyard Timeline. Portsmouth Royal Dockyard Historical Trust. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  5. "HM Naval Base Portsmouth - Regiment History, War & Military Records & Archives". www.forces-war-records.co.uk. Forces War Records. 2008–2019. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  6. "Portsmouth Naval Base chief bids farewell after historic six years in charge". The News. Portsmouth, England. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2021.