HMS Royal Arthur – Wiltshire

HMS Royal Arthur was one of the Royal Navy’s shore establishments – similar to HMS Ganges but on a smaller scale. The site at Corsham opened in 1947 after moving from Skegness (the Butlins holiday camp was used during WW2). The Corsham site finally closed in 1993…

A few years ago there was “news” that the site would be converted into retirement homes – nothing seems to have happened with that plan though. Nowadays it sits empty, and seems to be a practice ground for Bristol/Bath’s graffiti artists.

I didn’t get many photos of the buildings, maybe I’ll revisit in the future…

Here’s an old guard-box at the front gate.

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All of the buildings had strange triangular holes knocked through the walls – maybe for police dog training or something…

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The old parade ground is now a dumping ground for burnt out cars.

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The swimming pool was drained on closure. 15 years later and it is nearly full again…

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Nearly all trace of the site’s military use has disappeared. There were very few original features left – a few signs were seen on some doors, but not many.

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Love it or hate it, you can’t help but appreciate the amount of work that has gone into the graffiti.

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  • Mini photo of HMS Royal Arthur
  • Mini photo of HMS Royal Arthur
  • Mini photo of HMS Royal Arthur
  • Mini photo of HMS Royal Arthur
  • Mini photo of HMS Royal Arthur
  • Mini photo of HMS Royal Arthur
  • Mini photo of HMS Royal Arthur
  • Mini photo of HMS Royal Arthur
  • Mini photo of HMS Royal Arthur
This entry was posted in Military, wiltshire and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to HMS Royal Arthur – Wiltshire

  1. sharon jones says:

    I worked in the kitchens at RA so sad to see it now.Remember being thrown in the pool on birthdays lol even through we werent really allowed, im sure many a sailor or even officer will remember me bellowing about which way to hand cultery in still happy days sadly missed

  2. ron dye says:


    RON DYE .CSSX 869013

  3. Bogey says:

    Did a leadership course there in 1983. I can’t help but feel that many of the ‘Leadership team’ in my current company could do with a taster of Royal Arthur.

    “Hoot with the owls, soar with the eagles.”

  4. peter self says:

    did 2 stints as ships company 1964 and 1967 drove tractor both times fond memories of ra as i lived in llanmartin and could get home at weekends live in australia now

  5. Peter Duhig: Greetings! Do U perhaps remember Roy called Alan Parsons? He did
    his PO training at RA about August 1955. I recall his telling me that he had to give a
    2-minute talk about “football” & stated “as far as I can understand….it is 22 blokes chasing a ball from 1 end of the field the other”!! Any input U can give me shall be much appreciated. He died 05/07/2002.

  6. Hi,I joined R.A. in March 1947 doing my National Service, it was freezing cold and we had no heating whatsoever in the “Cabins” as they were called and we had one blanket,so we used our hammocks as cover to try to keep warm. I am 83 now but I still remember the names of my old buddies, Jock Peat,Jim Wolfe,Stan Hawkins,Pop Worral., all lovely lads and Phoebe was the barber then, she delighted in giving us an all over haircut !! We had another name for her then !! All the best George Perkins.

    • Hi, r u Richard called Dick or Rich? Thank u soo much for your happy comments.
      Unfortunately, for me, you were there well before Allan Parsons, Aug 1955. We were billeted with a lovely “old” couple in their 70s – where I am now:) – in Corsham. I have received some literature from Wiltshire council & am trying to plan/book a visit to Corsham – or nearby – during Sept this year. I shall have my dogs (2) with me. These are Not lap-dogs nor what I politely call “sample range”:) Where r u living now, Richard? all the best, Helen Parsons

  7. roy (lampy) lampard. says:

    Joined Royal Arthur 28 4 1948 for kitting out then to Victorious. for training.I also remember Pheobe. Good memories.

    • Hi Lampy…….again, u were @ RA long b4 (Roy) called Allan Parsons; Aug 1955.
      1 of my best memories is cycling from billet in town during the late evening, taking sandwiches to my husband on Guard Duty @ Main Gate. Of course, there were no street lights then. We do “fun” things when we’re yng:)

      All the best shipmate……regards, Helen Parsons

  8. Moore says:

    My Grandad was in class 176 at HMS Arthur during WW2. He was then sent to a merchant ship that was deployed in the Atlantic doing runs from America to Britian and then to the Pacific and Indian ocean probably to Australia. Unfortunately died of a stroke 😦 Probably have a few stories bout this Joint.

  9. Hi Helen, thanks for your comment. Regarding my name, Richard George Perkins is my full name but during my time in the navy I was always called George or sometimes “Polly” , as in Paddington Green, I have often wondered what happened to those old mates at Royal Arthur, I will nver forget them, we went on to HMS Gosling, then HMS Excellent and finally RNB Pompey,where we were split up and sent to various ships, in my case to a minesweeper HMS Ossory Bye for now George Perkins Isle of Wight

  10. Trisha Duffy says:

    Hi writing on behalf of dad was on Hms Arthur and York. His name was Stanley hardy age now 90yrs born 1922. He had a friend Gordon, don’t know his surname unfortunately, does anyone remember him, he lived in harrow Weald middx.

  11. Bob Butcher says:

    I was also at royalarther 1946 ,joined as a steward responsable for about twelve new entrys throughout the train journeyheld the railway warrant what a responsability at the age of seventeen and the first time away from the villagewhere i lived in Warwikshire then .Went to hms ceres in yorkshire and began to wonder when i would see a ship at least onward then to RNB Chatham another stone frigate for lots more training it was then i was able to change over to the seamans branch something unheard of in those days to cut a long story short i then went on to serve on the frigate Loch Arkaig the cruiser Superb andthen the destroyer Constance the ship i won the korean war for my country in. anyone who knows me feel free and make contact with a eighty three year old and make happy

    • Terry Dansey says:

      Good afternoon.

      My Father, Stanley Dansey served on HMS Royal Arthur in December 45 through to the end of January 46. He joined the Navy as soon as he was 17 in October 45 and after Arthur he went to HMS Glendower and then to HMS Pembroke (Chatham) where he stayed severing as a Boy Steward and later an Assistant Steward until he was released in 1948.

      I wonder if that name rings any bells?

      I had not researched Arthur and Glendower, but we drove round Pembroke today and I thought I would double check the dates and realised he served elsewhere in his three years.

      Regards – Terry

  12. Bob Butcher says:

    Correction to Bob Butcher’s e-mail address on previous posting should read (no dot after bob) so lets be hearing from you.

  13. thks for your “history” Bob although I do “wonder” about your arrival 1946 as RA opened 1947:) Isn’t there ANYONE out there who was @ Royal Arthur about August 1955 & can remember, even just a little bit! about Alan Parsons? he served on destroyer Savage (trials) & spent some time on Malta. Just an aside: no street lights & Alan on guard duty so, preggy with our 1st, I rode a bike in pitch dark except for a torch I carried to take him sandwiches:) At 18 we “do these things” even on countryside we are unfamiliar with! He died 05/07/2002 heart attack:( I’m planning to visit Corsham sept or Oct this year.

  14. I really believe that someone should build the retirement homes that Arthur Wiltshire wanted to build, I has a dream about Arthur Wiltshire, of course I did not know anything about him so I googled him, I dream that he was talking to me about houses, after the research I saw that he wanted to build homes, if someone out there is a descendant they should take up the project and run with it, thank you. Apostle Maxwell Wilson

  15. Frank C Adams=-Writer says:

    I was conscripted into R.N. in January 1948. Reported to Royal Arthur in freezing weather and spent six daunting weeks square bashing under P.O.’s who thought their job was to break the spirit of the ‘civilians’ However I met such an assortment of young men of my own age. Some from Public Schools, some from my own background. At least one from the Outer Hebrideas who had never before seen, never mind travelled on, a train. I enjoyed the company but had to endure the hardship. After my six weeks I moved to Ceres where again I met a wonderful group on ‘MATES’
    After ‘DRAKE’ I moved to H.M.S.WIZARD and had a fantistic life until my demob at the end of 1949. Love to hear from any old messmates.

    • Wilf Gregory says:

      I also joined Royal Arthur at Corsham as a conscript in 1948. Remember oly too well the freezing cold concrete Mess huts. (We were Mess 21). I was in a Stokers draft and went on to be in winning drill squad to take Captains Guard duty at the end of our 6 weeks training. I remember PO Parrott very well. He was our drill instructor. I spent some time in 1948/9 on HMS Bermuda that was moored on buoys in Devonport ,opposite Flagstaff Steps where Wizard was tied up for long stretches. Have tried to contact old ‘oppo’s but non seem to want to remember old messmates and buddies. Shame really as we had such a whale of a time down Union Street drinking scrumpy at 3p a pint!!

  16. Bill says:

    Looking through some photo’s of my partners mother we recently found one which has her father on it with a large group of very young lads surrounding a life preserver with the words HMS Roayal Arthur around the outside and Class 273 on the inside.
    Can anyone tell me what year/month this class refers to?

  17. George O'Neill says:

    I joined the RN in 1976. went to Royal Arthur in early 1977 on a leadership course then up into the black mountains in deep snow as part of the course.
    Royal Arthur as far as i can recall was used in 70’s for leadership training. There was aalso an airfield at the back of the base which I think was used by the yanks.

    • Hi George……u were @ RA 21yrs after my husband! Do u have any photos of RA as
      it was during your Course? any chance u could find out more history, as in whether
      or not the airfield at rear was used x yanks & what they did & for how long???? Of course, Yanks would have been there during/just after the WWII

      Also, I had been given to understand that RA closed during 60s ….. from your email, obviously Not:)
      regards, Helen

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