Oh, how things have changed!  There must have been more change in the Navy in the last 40 odd years, than in the 100 years before it.

I have picked out just a few bits and pieces.  Before I start, let me remind you that I have already published a couple of articles on ships and the composition of the sea going Fleet.  They can be found in NAVY THINGS and NAVY THINGS/Bits and Pieces Volumes 1 to............

Now I am going to mention the dockyards and the on-shore support facilities.

In the 1960's, we had facilities around the world.  Well, to be fair, whilst we could use the world wide facilities, we didn't own them. We did however, own the facilities in Malta, Singapore, Gibraltar, Aden, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Bermuda, Cyprus [though the naval facilities were modest to say the least], Diego Garcia/Gan/Mauritius/Ceylon West [ours yes, but no real naval facilities] and one or two odds and ends of no real significance. We also had Chatham, Portland, Rosyth, Faslane, Rothesay, Londonderry, Devonport, Portsmouth, Gosport, plus other ports like Harwich and Penarth [for example] which had had an association with the Royal Navy. Quite a large filing cabinet of assets for a Navy which was already reducing in size. Extending the above mentioned Port facilities, we had a large fleet of RFA's. We also used, as though they were our own, facilities in Sydney NSW and Halifax Canada for our submarines, owned by the RN, but  whose operational costs were met by the Australian and Canadian governments respectively. When stationed 'down under' or 'across the pond' we submariners earned our salary, our submarine pay, our hard lying money and a special bonus paid by the respective host governments.

Here are the berthing plans for some of those ports. I have left out a few, some to save space, whilst Malta is left out because the berthing plan is too involved.  Malta had several quite separate areas around the Island in which we could park our ships, although much revolved around the Grand Harbour in Valletta.

Click to enlarge  Click to enlarge  Click to enlarge  Click to enlarge  Click to enlarge  Click to enlarge  Click to enlarge  Click to enlarge

The on-shore support facilities in the UK were so large that they warranted a full and senior Admiral to be in overall command as a full time appointment.  This is what the NAVAL HOME COMMAND looked like in 1976.

Click to enlarge  Click to enlargeYou will see from the current Admiralty web site below, which I have copied rather than linking, for fear of the site being removed or altered thereby destroying the theme of this page with a failed URL, that things are very different now in 2004. For example, you will note that the NAVAL HOME COMMAND is now commanded by the Second Sea Lord, who is also Chief Of Staff to the First Sea Lord.  He therefore has three jobs and all high profile. For my purposes, his title is still CINCNAVHOME so no change there. There is no change in CINCNAVHOME's Chief of Staff title. However, when it comes to NAVAL HOME COMMAND FLAG OFFICERS, they have all gone, and where the area is still extant, mainly Portsmouth and Plymouth, the Vice Admirals and Rear Admirals have been replaced by Commodores, which in my time, were few in number.

Moving on to the FLEET ESTABLISHMENTS, the Naval Home Command shown above in my pictures bears no resemblance to the current Admiralty web site.  The RN College Greenwich is now part of the London University and HMS Osprey, has, pardon the pun, flown away making way for Portland to become yet another south coast marina.

From the next group of establishments, the non-seagoing POWER HOUSES of my time, Dolphin is the home to the tri-service medical world;  Dryad is about to merge with Collingwood, and thereafter its fate is not known, but prime land will not be left empty for long and houses are needed!; Mercury is now a trendy place to buy a house, to partake in conservation projects, and to be buried in a 'green' grave; and Vernon has achieved new heights [not meant to be cynical!] being host to the Portsmouth Spinnaker Tower [at just over 500 feet tall] and the much visited Gun Wharf Quay shopping/entertainment centre. It has everything with not a minesweeper in sight!

This leaves Collingwood as the alma mater of several branches of the navy all collectively increasing the size of personnel borne to such an extent that some refer to it as a permanent building site within its well defined perimetre, yet the area infrastructure, the roads etc., don't seem to change to address this large village/small town that is Collingwood growing on the edge of the town of Fareham.  Sultan, alma mater to all Naval engineer's that are not in Collingwood, does much the same job as it ever did, albeit, it too is expanding. Excellent follows its name in doing an excellent job on a mixture of skills, and again, although the gun-busters lament its passing as their alma mater, the famous [or infamous depending on ones view] Whale Island, its task is not dissimilar to the early 1980's when I left the Service.  There are seven major establishments in the original list above [pictures] now there are/soon to be, three.  On paper, a whopping 42.86% [or nearly half] reduction in the 28 years covered by my story [1976-2004].

Of the others in the list headed FLEET ESTABLISHMENTS, Dauntless, Ganges, Royal Arthur, Fisgard, Cochrane, Forest Moor, Pembroke, Haslar {which is not under Naval control, and any way, its future is still uncertain [Jan 2004]} have gone.

I cannot comment upon RN Detention Quarters, Maritime Tactical School, RNEC Manadon, Cambridge, Joint Services Sailing Centre, RNH Stonehouse, Inskip, Joint Services Sub Aqua Training Centre, Vulcan, RN W/T Station New Waltham.

Of the others, which, without meaning offence I will call non-seagoing NON POWER HOUSES of my time, Temeraire, Victory, Caledonia, Dartmouth, Raleigh, Nelson, Drake, are all open and I understand will remain that way for many years to come.

That leaves President [Whitehall Wireless] obviously of vital importance, but it, along with such BIG PUNCHERS as Warrior [Northwood] and Neptune [Faslane] I always think, perhaps wrongly, that they are 'action men' and belong in CINCFLEET's camp and not CINCHAVHOME's camp...........I did say "perhaps wrongly" so no adverse feedback please.

The following script is the copy from the RN web site. Todays date is the 13th January 2004. 




Finally, what's the betting that in 28 years time, 2032, the whole Navy, lock stock and barrel will be in Collingwood, and the town of Fareham will be growing on the side of it?