Headline photo is HMS CHRICHTON , 10 MCMS RNR, off Gibraltar
HMS ROOKE was a shore establishment of the British Armed Forces in Gibraltar from 1946 to 1990. It was named after Admiral George Rooke who led the Anglo-Dutch Capture of Gibraltar in 1704
No TONs were based at Gibraltar but many called there on passage from Britain to Malta or further afield. In the 1960’s and 70’s RNR TONs held an annual exercise, termed ROCKHAUL, whereby they joined together from their Divisions around Britain and sailed in formation to Gibraltar, conducting exercises en route, culminating in a major MCM exercise in the Mediterranean.
Located on Queensway near King's Bastion, the base replaced the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron's HMS Cormorant and became a Joint Service Base. The Royal Navy closed the base in 1996 and it became headquarters for the Gibraltar Defence Police until their move to the HM Naval Base.
Several TONs were held in Reserve at Gibraltar - literally a floating population, whose composition varied as ships were called forward for operations or were re-allocated to other reserve pools at Aden, Malta and Singapore.
An MCM maintenance unit was based in HMS ROOKE to look after these ships in Reserve.
CPO Shipwright Bill Pollington recalls being drafted to HMS Rooke, for seven months of delightful Mediterranean summer, to join the RN team charged with bringing forward HMS Aldington for service with the Ghanaian Navy. As with all the reserve TONs in Gibraltar Aldington had been fully cocooned for preservation of the upper works. The removal of that protection material would be undertaken by dockyard staff.
His particular role was to rectify any defects concerning the safety of upper deck fixtures, the watertight integrity of all doors and hatches, the functionality of water supply, drainage and ventilation systems and the completeness of cabin and mess deck furnishings.