British Forces Gibraltar
Active1889–current
Country Gibraltar
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch
Royal Navy

British Army

Royal Air Force
Part ofUK Ministry of Defence
AnniversariesBattle of Trafalgar
Commanders
Commander of British Forces GibraltarCommodore Steve Dainton
Commander of the Royal Gibraltar RegimentLieutenant Colonel Simon Dyson
Commander of the Gibraltar SquadronLieutenant Commander Lloyd Cardy
Commander of RAF GibraltarWing Commander John Kane

British Forces Gibraltar is the British Armed Forces stationed in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. Gibraltar is used primarily as a training area, thanks to its good climate and rocky terrain, and as a stopover for aircraft and ships en route to and from deployments East of Suez or Africa.

Entrance to HMS Rooke at Queensway, Gibraltar – headquarters of Gibraltar Defence Police.
Entrance to HMS Rooke at Queensway, Gibraltar – headquarters of Gibraltar Defence Police.

British Armed Forces in Gibraltar had been predominantly naval-led since the 1890s. In the 1950s discussions about the creation of NATO's Allied Forces Mediterranean led to the Flag Officer Gibraltar being placed in command of NATO forces in the area.[1]

However, many years later, the British Royal Navy captain serving as Head of Sea Section in Operations Division, SHAPE, was to have to deal with the re-absorption of Spain into NATO in the early 1990s. Arranging the NATO-Spain-Gibraltar-UK linkages involved "delicate negotiations," but British plans, to Captain Peter Melson's knowledge "committed no forces to defence of the Strait, while Spain was willing to commit substantial elements of their ORBAT [order of battle, their armed forces]."[2]

The last UK based army battalion, 3rd Battalion Royal Green Jackets, left Gibraltar in 1991 and the Royal Gibraltar Regiment took charge of local defence under the new headquarters British Forces Gibraltar.[3]

Permanent units

A handful of units are permanently based in Gibraltar for its territorial defence:

HM Dockyard, Gibraltar

HM Dockyard, Gibraltar was active from 1895 to 1984. The dockyard was used extensively by the Royal Navy, docking many of the Navy's most prestigious ships. In the early 1980s a decision by the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence to cut back the Royal Navy surface fleet meant that the dockyard was no longer financially viable.[5]

In 1984 the dockyard passed into the hands of the UK ship repair and conversion company, A&P Group. A government grant and a prospect of lucrative Royal Fleet Auxiliary refit contracts did not help A&P Group however and they passed the yard into the hands of the Government of Gibraltar.

Flag officer commanding

Senior Officer, Gibraltar

Post holders included:[6][7]

Flag Officer, Gibraltar

Post holders included:[6]

Flag Officer, Gibraltar and North Atlantic

Main article: Commander-in-Chief, North Atlantic

Flag Officer, Gibraltar and Mediterranean Approaches

Post holders included:

Flag Officer, Gibraltar, postwar

Post holders included:[6]

Commander British Forces, Gibraltar

Commodores Tim Henry (left) and Steve Dainton
Commodores Tim Henry (left) and Steve Dainton

Post holders included:[13]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "Memorandum from the Military Representatives Committee" (PDF). NATO. Retrieved 9 January 2016. and "Chronology and Organisation of Allied Command" (PDF). NATO. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  2. ^ Peter Melson (2014). "NATO in Transition: Five Years in SHAPE 1989 to 1994". The Naval Review (Magazine) (UK): 161.
  3. ^ "The British Army in Gibraltar". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  4. ^ "JSP 800" (PDF). p. 285. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  5. ^ Horseman, Martin, ed. (March 1982). "RN Dockyard in Gibraltar to close". Armed Forces. Shepperton: Ian Allan. p. 44. ISSN 0142-4696.
  6. ^ a b c Mackie, Colin. "Royal Navy Senior Appointments from 1865". gulabin.com. Colin Mackie. pp. 163–164. March 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  7. ^ Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony. "Gibraltar – The Dreadnought Project". dreadnoughtproject.org. Harley and Lovell, 26 November 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  8. ^ Svonavec, Stephen. "Royal Navy Flag Officers, December 1, 1937". Fleet Organization Web Site. Stephen Svonavec. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
  9. ^ Whitby, Michael (2011). Commanding Canadians: The Second World War Diaries of A.F.C. Layard. Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press. p. 362. ISBN 9780774840378.
  10. ^ "Naval Commands and Flag Officers (Hansard, 10 April 1946)". https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard. Hansard: vol 421 cc1897-9. Retrieved 4 July 2020. External link in |website= (help)
  11. ^ "Obituary: R. A. Foster-Brown". The Independent. 2 February 1999. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  12. ^ page 125
  13. ^ Mackie. 2018.
  14. ^ "Body of Gibraltar commander found". BBC News. 9 January 2005. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  15. ^ "The Permanent Joint Headquarters". Gov.uk. Archived from the original on 5 May 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  16. ^ "Military teams triumph in the Gibraltar Triathlon". News. 14 August 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  17. ^ "Gibraltar: British could have fired on Spanish police launch". News Focus. 12 December 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  18. ^ "CBF Gibraltar promotion to Rear-Admiral". Gibraltar Chronicle. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  19. ^ "Commodore John Clink is new CPF". Gibraltar Chronicle. 17 October 2012. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  20. ^ "New CBF for Gibraltar as Commodore Clink Accepts Rear Admiral Promotion". Your Gibraltar. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  21. ^ GBC News (13 July 2016), CBF Retires, and Stays in Gibraltar, retrieved 14 July 2016
  22. ^ GBC News (31 August 2018), CFormer Gibraltar Squadron commander, Commodore Tim Henry, to take over as CBF on Tuesday, retrieved 2 September 2018
  23. ^ GBC NEWS (1 July 2020), Gibraltar's new Commander British Forces will be Commodore Steve Dainton