HMS King Alfred Portsmouth (Picture Crown)
Navy

New Maritime Reserves centre opens in Portsmouth

A new drill shed, gym, messes, classrooms, offices and a wardroom overlooking the harbour are all part of the upgrade.

HMS King Alfred Portsmouth (Picture Crown)

New facilities for HMS King Alfred have been completed for the 270-strong formation of Maritime Reserves based in Portsmouth.

King Alfred is moving from a centre on Whale Island to the city's naval base, now occupying parts of the historic Semaphore Tower and using adjacent buildings.

It is the largest element of an £11m refurbishment of the Watering Island area at the southern end of the dockyard, a project managed by BAE Systems.

Commodore Mel Robinson, Commander of the Maritime Reserves, visited the new King Alfred buildings when they were formally handed over by Commodore JJ Bailey, Commander of HMNB Portsmouth.

Cdre Robinson said: "Situated right at the heart of the Royal Navy's waterfront activity in Portsmouth, it will enable our reservists to work and train in even closer alignment with their regular colleagues and strengthen our working relationships with the ships of the Royal Navy.

"The new HMS King Alfred will not only offer a thoroughly modern training facility for our reservists but will play a vital role in delivering a new Maritime Reserves for a new Royal Navy."

Some of the new facilities will overlook the habour. (Picture: Crown)
Some of the new facilities will overlook the habour (Picture: Crown Copyright).

Also joining the Royal Naval Reserve of King Alfred are the Portsmouth detachment of the Royal Marines Reserve, who are similarly moving across from Whale Island.

A new drill shed, gym, messes, classrooms, offices and a wardroom overlooking the harbour are all part of the upgrade.

There is also a virtual reality training suite featuring programmes to operate sea boats and acquaint themselves with the various classes of Royal Navy vessels.

Cdre Bailey said: "It is exciting to see this area of the naval base becoming a future-facing centre of modern Royal Navy activity at the heart of Portsmouth waterfront."

Commanding Officer of King Alfred, Commander Andrew Robinson, said: "As one of the largest Reserve units in the UK, we contribute to global operational capability with a range of specialist skills in support of the Royal Navy.

"Our ability to attract and retain exceptional individuals in the Royal Naval Reserve will be greatly enhanced by the new, modern and fit-for-purpose facilities."

Cover image: The new HMS King Alfred facilities at HMNB Portsmouth (Picture: Crown Copyright).