Royal Naval Hospital

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"RNH" redirects here. For the ice hockey player, see Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
The earliest surviving Royal Naval Hospital complex (not counting Greenwich) is on Illa del Rei, Port Mahon, Minorca (established 1711, rebuilt 1771-6, restored 2011)

A Royal Naval Hospital (RNH) was a hospital operated by the British Royal Navy for the care and treatment of sick and injured naval personnel. No Royal Naval Hospitals survive in operation, although some have become civilian hospitals.

Early history[edit]

Individual surgeons had been appointed to naval vessels since Tudor times.[1] During the seventeenth century, the pressures on practitioners grew, as crews began to be exposed to unfamiliar illnesses on increasingly long sea-voyages. One response, as proposed in 1664, was the provision of hospital ships to accompany the fleet on more distant expeditions. Another was the provision of temporary shore-based hospitals, such as those briefly set up during the Anglo-Dutch Wars in such locations as Ipswich, Rochester, Harwich and Plymouth (the latter being established on a more permanent footing in 1689).[2] By the turn of the century, permanent hospital provision was being contemplated for overseas bases; one was set up in Jamaica by Admiral John Benbow in 1701. More were to follow, both at home and abroad.


Royal Naval Hospitals included:

United Kingdom[edit]

Former Royal Naval Hospital in Deal, Kent


Hospitals were established close to several of the overseas Naval Yards, including:

Royal Naval Hospital buildings of 1821 in Port Royal, Jamaica; Admiral Benbow had established the island's first naval hospital in 1701.

Other naval hospitals were established in other overseas locations, usually in the vicinity of other small naval establishments (e.g. coaling or supply yards) including on Long Island, New York (1779), Newfoundland, St Lucia (1783), Barbados (1815), Fernando Po, Yokohama (1876), Mauritius.


Greenwich Hospital, which predated all the above, was established on somewhat different grounds, as it cared for retired seamen rather than those on active service:


  1. ^ "British Naval History article". 
  2. ^ a b Coad, Jonathan (2013). Support for the Fleet: Architecture and engineering of the Royal Navy's bases, 1700-1914. Swindon: English Heritage. p. 24. 
  3. ^ "Naval documents database". 
  4. ^ "RCAHMS". 
  5. ^ The Madras Tercentenary Commemorative Volume. Chennai, India: Asian Education Services. 1994. 
  6. ^ "Navy Band website".