Site Name: Plymouth Maritime Headquarters
Naval control was exercised by the senior Admiral present in the Hamoaze anchorage from his Flagship. The dockyard was under the supervision of an Admiral Superintendent who resided in the dockyard.
This changed, with the building at Mount Wise of a new Government House for the Military Governor and at the beginning of the 19th century Admiralty House, for the Port Admiral who had moved ashore from his Flagship.
Admiralty House (formerly Government House)
The post of Military Governor was abolished in 1842. Government House
was then occupied by the army GOC, Western District. By 1915, the military
presence on Mount Wise was diminishing with the removal of the Western
District (by now Wessex District) to Salisbury, Wilts and the transfer
of the whole of Mount Wise, including the redoubt, to the Admiralty.
Government House now became Admiralty House, residence of the naval
Commander in Chief (C in C), Plymouth and the old Admiralty House became
Hamoaze House, later HQ of the Major General, Royal Marines until 1993.
On 8th November 1943 the Americans set up the United States Advanced
Amphibious Base at Queen Anne's Battery, Plymouth. The Commanding Officer,
Captain C F M S Quimby USN occupied Hamoaze House together with Admiral
Moon,USN until September 1945 when the base was decommissioned.
Prior to the outbreak of World War 2 in 1937, proposals were made for a protected joint service HQ in the dry ditch near to Hamoaze House consisting of a single storey structure with a 20 ft concrete and shingle overburden.
By 1939, this plan had been widened to provide an Area Combined HQ
(RN & RAF) at the following locations:
|C in C Plymouth at Mount Wise|
|C in C Portsmouth at Fort Southwick|
|Flag Officer Rosyth at Pitreavie Castle|
|C in C Nore at HMS Pembroke (post war HMS Wildfire)|
These HQ's, built to withstand a direct hit by a 500lb bomb, would house the Naval and Air Force commanders together with an army representative. Also accommodated, would be the Fortress Defence HQ (Coastal Artillery) and Air Defence HQ (Anti Aircraft Artillery)
Construction began in 1939 at Mount Wise on the previously
chosen site in the dry ditch, but the plan was now for a two storey
structure. As an interim measure, a temporary combined HQ was set up
in Eggbuckland Keep, an early fortification in northeast Plymouth, together
with the Fortress Defence HQ.
The naval command at this stage was C in C Plymouth and Western Approaches. A decision had already been made to re-locate Western Approaches HQ to a safer and more central location, initially to be on the Clyde the final choice was Liverpool where Derby House had been taken over and strengthened , opening on 17th February 1941,with the appointment of Admiral Sir Percy Noble as the first C in C Western Approaches and following the decision to split the command, the transfer to Derby House of No 15 Group, RAF Coastal Command from Lee on Solent under the command of Air Marshal Sir L H Slatter
This transfer of function resulted in work at Mount Wise being halted
at the half-way stage, however, in view of the large costs already made
and in anticipation of the return to Plymouth of Western Approaches
HQ post war, it was decided to complete the project as a protected HQ
for C in C Plymouth and Fortress Defence HQ. It was fully complete by
early 1941and contained the following:
|C in C Plymouth|
|Fortress Defence HQ|
|AA Gun Operations Room (GOR)|
The Fortress Defence, Fire Control moved, in 1943, to Wembury Battery
where it remained until the end of the war. The GOR moved to Eggbuckland
Keep at the same time, moving on to Crownhill Fort in 1948.
By 1942 planning for D Day was well underway. An outcome of this was
the requirement for a series of protected tactical communications facilities
at a number of strategic locations to serve all allied commitments.
For further information and pictures of Mount Wise click here
© 2005 Subterranea Britannica