Newfoundland Station

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Newfoundland Station
Flag of the Blue Squadron 1801-1864.png
Ensign of last C-in-C
Active1729–1824
CountryUnited Kingdom
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
TypeNaval Station
Part ofRoyal Navy
Garrison/HQSt. John's Newfoundland and Labrador.
Commanders
FirstCommodore Distinction: Henry Osborn
LastVice-Admiral of the Blue: Sir Charles Hamilton,

The Newfoundland Station [1] was a naval station and command of the British Royal Navy. Its official headquarters varied between Portsmouth or Plymouth[2] in England where a squadron of ships would set sail annually each year to protect convoys and the British fishing fleet operating in waters off the Newfoundland coast and would remain for period of approximately six months based at St. John's Harbour. In 1818 the station became a permanent posting headquartered at St John's. It existed from 1729 to 1824 when it was unified with the North America Station to create the North America and Newfoundland Station.

The station was commanded by the Commander-in-Chief, Newfoundland.

History

The Commodore-Governor was both a British Government and a Royal Navy official who was commander-in-chief[3] of the annual fishing convoy which left England each spring, sometimes from Portsmouth and other times from Plymouth, to fish off Newfoundland: the fleet were tasked with protecting the fishing convoys from harm. They were also responsible for administrative and judicial functions, including assisting the fishing admirals in Britain in maintaining admiralty law and order and compiling the annual report on the fish stocks for the British government. From 1729 to 1775 the officer appointed was usually of Commodore rank; however the station's increasing importance after that date led to appointments of more senior flag officers.[4] The station consisted of its primary naval formation called the Newfoundland Squadron[5] and naval shore establishments based St. Johns.

The squadron stayed in Newfoundland for approximately 4 to 6 months annually. How long they remained depended on the orders the received from the Admiralty, according to the ships' condition. The fleet usually arrived off Newfoundland in July and August, generally returning to England, via the Lisbon Station, towards the end of October. The Newfoundland fishing grounds were widely regarded throughout the North Atlantic community as one of Britain's most important national assets.[6] The wealth which it generated was later estimated to have had a value in 1769 of £600,000, equivalent to £107,496,774. at 2018 prices.[7]

A number of circumstances usually precipitated its return: bypassing the horrendous weather conditions prevalent in the Atlantic at that time of year and escorting the British fishing fleet. In spite of these problems, the naval administration continued to grow throughout the 18th century. By 1818, the colony had a sufficiently large permanent population to warrant having a full-time resident governor. In 1824 this command was unified with the North America Station to create the North America and Newfoundland Station, which in turn in 1830 was itself unified with the Jamaica Station to create the North America, West Indies and Newfoundland Station, the same year a full-time civilian Governor of Newfoundland was appointed.[8]

In Command

Components under this command

Naval Formations

# Formation Name Active Ref
1. Newfoundland Squadron 1729 – 1830 [9]

Naval Shore Establishments

There was no dockyard facilities at St Johns Newfoundland for large repairs to ships of the Newfoundland Squadron maintenance was undertaken at Halifax, Nova Scotia but not until after 1759.

# Name Active
1. Halifax Dockyard 1759 – 1905

Footnotes

  1. Bannister, Jerry (2003). The rule of the admirals : law, custom, and naval government in Newfoundland, 1699-1832. Toronto: Published for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History by University of Toronto Press. p. 88. ISBN 9780802086136.
  2. Malcomson, Thomas (2016). Order and Disorder in the British Navy, 1793-1815: Control, Resistance, Flogging and Hanging. Boydell & Brewer. p. 11. ISBN 9781783271191.
  3. Bannister, Jerry (2003). The rule of the admirals : law, custom, and naval government in Newfoundland, 1699-1832. Toronto: Published for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History by University of Toronto Press. p. 64. ISBN 9780802086136.
  4. Haydn, Joseph (13 Jun 2008). The Book of Dignities: Containing Lists of the Official Personages of the British Empire ... from the Earliest Periods to the Present Time ... Together with the Sovereigns and Rulers of Europe, from the Foundation of Their Respective States; the Peerage of England and Great Britain Original 1851 Digitized by the University of Michigan. Longmans, Brown, Green, and Longmans. p. 279.
  5. Freemont-Barnes, Gregory (2007). "Distribution of fleets, June 1808". The Royal Navy 1793-1815. London: Osprey Publishing. p. 18. ISBN 9781846031380.
  6. Janzen, Olaf (2019). "The Royal Navy and the Defence of Newfoundland during the American Revolution". St. John, New Brunswick, Canada: University of New Brunswick: 1.
  7. "Inflation calculator from 1209 to 2018". www.bankofengland.co.uk. Bank of England. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  8. "Naval Governors, 1729-1824". Heritage Newfoundland and Labrador. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  9. Freemont-Barnes. p.18.

Bibliography

  1. Bannister, Jerry (2003). The rule of the admirals : law, custom, and naval government in Newfoundland, 1699-1832. Toronto: Published for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History by University of Toronto Press. ISBN 9780802086136.
  2. Freemont-Barnes, Gregory (2007). "Distribution of fleets, June 1808". The Royal Navy 1793-1815. London: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 9781846031380.
  3. Haydn, Joseph (13 Jun 2008). The Book of Dignities: Containing Lists of the Official Personages of the British Empire from the Earliest Periods to the Present Time ... Together with the Sovereigns and Rulers of Europe, from the Foundation of Their Respective States; the Peerage of England and Great Britain Original 1851 Digitized by the University of Michigan. Longmans, Brown, Green, and Longmans.
  4. "Inflation calculator from 1209 to 2018". www.bankofengland.co.uk. Bank of England. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  5. Janzen, Olaf (2019). "The Royal Navy and the Defence of Newfoundland during the American Revolution". St. John, New Brunswick, Canada: University of New Brunswick.
  6. "Naval Governors, "1729-1824". Heritage Newfoundland and Labrador. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  7. Malcomson, Thomas (2016). Order and Disorder in the British Navy, 1793-1815: Control, Resistance, Flogging and Hanging. Boydell & Brewer. ISBN 9781783271191.