HMCS Fort Ramsay

Six ships docked at HMCS Fort Ramsay naval base.

HMCS Fort Ramsay.

There has been only one establishment named Fort Ramsay in the Royal Canadian Navy.

HMCS Fort Ramsay (Base)

In 1940, the town of Gaspé, Québec, was designated a naval base in order to provide an operational base for naval forces engaged in the defence of the St. Lawrence, capable of supplying these forces and carrying out necessary running repairs. The “base” commenced operations in a small wooden building in the lower town, “sans jetties, sans ships, sans everything” and was named for Fort Ramsay House. In June 1940 the patrol vessel HMCS Eileen,a 65-foot motor launch converted for river patrol duties, entered Gaspé. However, the Commanding Officer was unable to locate the base and the ship proceeded to patrol. In 1941 an anti-submarine net and gate vessels were installed and patrols of the area were established with four armed yachts, HMCS Reindeer, Raccoon, Lynx and Vison.

The 1st May 1942 marked the official inauguration and commission of the HMCS Fort Ramsay naval base. The Fort Ramsay naval base was an entirely self-contained affair and provided its own electricity, water supply, sewage system, and fire department and did not rely on public utilities for any of these essential services. Its main tasks included providing facilities for refitting the Fairmile-B motor launches, protecting sea communications in adjacent coastal waters, detecting and destroying enemy submarine and surface craft in adjacent coastal waters as well as providing a defended anchorage.

In May 1945 at the end of the war in Europe, the decision was taken to close Fort Ramsay and dissolve its assets. The facilities were not capable of carrying out refits for ships larger than motor launches and due to its isolated location and lack of storage accommodation; it would be of no value in the post-war de-storing programme. It was considered advisable that the Communications Department remain operative until the movement of Royal Canadian Navy ships up the river had been completed. The establishment was paid off on 31 July 1945 and its assets disposed off.

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