British Forces Gibraltar

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British Forces Gibraltar
British Forces Tri-Service badge
Country Gibraltar
Allegiance United Kingdom
BranchStrategic Command[1]
Part ofStrategic Command. Subordinate to Director of Overseas Bases.
HeadquartersDevil's Tower Camp
AnniversariesBattle of Trafalgar
Commander of British Forces GibraltarCommodore Steve Dainton
Commanding Officer, Royal Gibraltar RegimentLieutenant Colonel Simon Dyson
Commanding Officer, Gibraltar SquadronLieutenant Commander Christian Lowe
Commanding RAF GibraltarWing Commander Annella Doherty MBE RAF

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 in Africa.


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.[2]

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]."[3]

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.[4]

HM Dockyard, Gibraltar[edit]

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.

The current dockyard is still used by the Royal Navy and is referred to as 'Her Majesty's Naval Base Gibraltar (HMNB Gibraltar)'.[1]

Permanent units[edit]

Though Gibraltar's current garrison is much smaller than it had been before the end of the Cold War, a sizable force still exists, including:[1]

Ministry of Defence



Air Force

Flag officer commanding[edit]

Senior Officer, Gibraltar[edit]

Post holders included:[16][17]

Flag Officer, Gibraltar[edit]

Post holders included:[16]

Flag Officer, Gibraltar and North Atlantic[edit]

Flag Officer, Gibraltar and Mediterranean Approaches[edit]

Post holders included:

Flag Officer, Gibraltar[edit]

Post holders included:[16]

Commander British Forces, Gibraltar[edit]

Commodores Tim Henry (left) and Steve Dainton

Post holders included:[23]

  • Rear Admiral Jeremy Sanders (April 1992 – December 1994)
  • Major-General Simon Pack (December 1994 – April 1997)
  • Commodore Alastair Taylor (April 1997 – June 1999)
  • Commodore Andrew Willmett (June 1999 – December 2001)
  • Commodore Richard Clapp (December 2001 – May 2004)
  • Commodore David White (May 2004 – 8 January 2005)[24]
  • Commodore Allan Adair (19 January 2005 – 1 May 2007)[25]
  • Commodore Matt Parr (1 May 2007 – February 2009)[26]
  • Commodore Adrian Bell (February 2009 – September 2010)[27]
  • Commodore Tom Karsten (September 2010 – November 2012)[28]
  • Commodore John Clink (November 2012 – August 2014)[29]
  • Commodore Ian McGhie (August 2014 – July 2016)[30]
  • Commodore Mike Walliker (July 2016 – September 2018)[31]
  • Commodore Timothy Henry (September 2018 – July 2020)[32]
  • Commodore Steve Dainton (July 2020 - )[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "FOI(A) regarding British Forces Gibraltar" (PDF). What do they know?. 5 May 2021. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  2. ^ "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.
  3. ^ Peter Melson (2014). "NATO in Transition: Five Years in SHAPE 1989 to 1994". The Naval Review (UK): 161.
  4. ^ "The British Army in Gibraltar". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  5. ^ Horseman, Martin, ed. (March 1982). "RN Dockyard in Gibraltar to close". Armed Forces. Shepperton: Ian Allan. p. 44. ISSN 0142-4696.
  6. ^ "QHM Gibraltar". GOV.UK. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  7. ^ Channon, Max (1 August 2019). "The Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron officially Rock!". PlymouthLive. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  8. ^ "All change at the top for Gibraltar Squadron | Royal Navy". Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  9. ^ "FOI(A) regarding Forces overseas" (PDF). What do they know?. 23 November 2020. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  10. ^ "HMS Trent (P224) | Royal Navy". Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  11. ^ HMS TRENT Heads To Gibraltar For LENGTHY DEPLOYMENT 🚢⚓, archived from the original on 13 December 2021, retrieved 31 March 2021
  12. ^ "Defence review will forge a growing Navy with expanding horizons". Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  13. ^ "BMT completes successfully trials for High-Speed Patrol Craft HMS Cutlass". Navy Recognition.
  14. ^ "The second new @RNGibSqn patrol boat, HMS Dagger has been delivered to Gibraltar". Twitter. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
  15. ^ Ministry of Defence (13 May 2021). "British Forces Gibraltar explained". Voices Of The Armed Forces. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  16. ^ a b c Mackie, Colin. "Royal Navy Senior Appointments from 1865". Colin Mackie. pp. 163–164. March 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  17. ^ Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony. "Gibraltar – The Dreadnought Project". Harley and Lovell, 26 November 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  18. ^ Svonavec, Stephen. "Royal Navy Flag Officers, December 1, 1937". Fleet Organization Web Site. Stephen Svonavec. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
  19. ^ Whitby, Michael (2011). Commanding Canadians: The Second World War Diaries of A.F.C. Layard. Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press. p. 362. ISBN 9780774840378.
  20. ^ "Naval Commands and Flag Officers (Hansard, 10 April 1946)". Hansard: vol 421 cc1897-9. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  21. ^ "Obituary: R. A. Foster-Brown". The Independent. 2 February 1999. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  22. ^ page 125
  23. ^ Mackie. 2018.
  24. ^ "Body of Gibraltar commander found". BBC News. 9 January 2005. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  25. ^ "The Permanent Joint Headquarters". Archived from the original on 5 May 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  26. ^ "Military teams triumph in the Gibraltar Triathlon". News. 14 August 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  27. ^ "Gibraltar: British could have fired on Spanish police launch". News Focus. 12 December 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  28. ^ "CBF Gibraltar promotion to Rear-Admiral". Gibraltar Chronicle. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  29. ^ "Commodore John Clink is new CPF". Gibraltar Chronicle. 17 October 2012. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  30. ^ "New CBF for Gibraltar as Commodore Clink Accepts Rear Admiral Promotion". Your Gibraltar. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  31. ^ GBC News (13 July 2016), CBF Retires, and Stays in Gibraltar, archived from the original on 13 December 2021, retrieved 14 July 2016
  32. ^ GBC News (31 August 2018), CFormer Gibraltar Squadron commander, Commodore Tim Henry, to take over as CBF on Tuesday, retrieved 2 September 2018
  33. ^ GBC NEWS (1 July 2020), Gibraltar's new Commander British Forces will be Commodore Steve Dainton

External links[edit]