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HM Naval Base, Immingham
HMS Beaver (1940-1949)
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
TypeNaval Base
Part ofNore Station

Immingham was naval base and area command of the Royal Navy from 1906 to 1949.


Location Map of Immingham courtesy of Gordon Smith Source:

Construction work began on the new deep water docks at Immingham in July 1906, but it would be another 6 years before the harbour complex was complete. The commercial use of the docks began on 15th May 1912, when the Swedish-registered freighter SS Max berthed at Immingham. However, the docks were not officially operational until two months later, when King George V and Queen Mary formally opened the complex on 22nd July 1912.

The Admiralty had been examining the strategic importance of Immingham's position at the mouth of the Humber for a number of years and shortly before the First World a naval oil depot was established near the new docks. When war broke out a small detachment of Royal Navy vessels, consisting of 12 torpedo boats and a number of destroyers from the 7th Flotilla, was sent to Immingham. These forces were soon augmented by the depot ship HMS Leander, destroyers from the 9th Flotilla and the submarines of the 8th Submarine Flotilla.

Immingham was not a particularly popular posting, as the town had very few amenities. The principal form of recreation was playing football on a patch of land near the docks, which the Great Central Railway had allowed the Navy to use. When the sailors were granted leave from the base, many chose to sample the delights of Grimsby by travelling on the electrical railway, which had originally been built to transport dock workers.

Although Immingham was not one of the Admiralty's principal wartime establishments, it was in the vanguard of the movement to employ women in the Royal Navy. Soon after the outbreak of war, the new base at Immingham found itself desperately short of support staff and, in November 1914, the commanding officer authorised the employment of female clerks. This pioneering initiative proved to be a great success and it undoubtedly encouraged the Admiralty to establish the Women's Royal Naval Service in 1917.

The first department at Immingham to be filled by women was the Telephone Section of the Signal Station and shortly afterwards women began to work in the Coding Office. By the winter of 1917 women were also working in the Torpedo Shed, where they were employed initially in oiling and cleaning the projectiles. They were soon trained to undertake more technical work and by 1918 women were adjusting naval gyroscopes, servicing hydrophones and priming depth charges.

During the Second World War, John Dowland and Leonard Harrison received the George Cross for defusing a bomb that had fallen onto the grain ship SS Kildare in February 1940 in Immingham Dock. Anti-aircraft batteries were located around the dock during the war, as well as at Homestead Park, and near Immingham Grange.

The Humber Force, part of the Home Fleet which had two cruisers and a destroyer flotilla, including HMS Afridi (F07) was based at Immingham during the war, as well as submarines including HMS Seal (N37).

In Command

Flag Captain-in-Command, HM Naval Base Immingham

  1. Captain E.M. Palmer, RN (retd), 22 December, 1941 - July, 1945.