30 sensational photos of HMS Vernon making way for Gunwharf Quays

Before Gunwharf Quays became the shopping mecca it is today, the site was home to HMS Vernon.

The Royal Navy’s torpedo branch also known as the torpedo school, it was commissioned in April 1876.

HMS Vernon was named after the ship of the same name, which alongside HMS Ariadne and the lighter Florence Nightingale made up its floating base initially.

In 1923, post-World War One, it was moved into the Gunwharf site and became a ‘stone frigate’ – the name given to naval establishment on land.

It was integral in the D-Day preparations.

HMS Vernon continued as a naval base, specialising in mine warfare, but ceased to be an independent command on March 31, 1986. It was renamed HMS Nelson (Vernon site) and then later HMS Nelson (Gunwharf).

It briefly became the Headquarters for the Commandant General Royal Marines and continued to be used for training.

In April 1996, the various elements comprising the establishment were split up and moved to different commands.

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