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Duncan Mackintosh


Latitude: 50° 52'N
Longitude: 01° 24'W
Country: England

Ownership: HM Government
Type: Private
Contact name: Mr Wayne Morris
Address: Marchwood Military Port, Port and Maritime Wing, McMullen Barracks, Marchwood, SOUTHAMPTON SO40 4ZG
Telephone no: 02380 664299
Website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/h...319916.stm

About Marchwood

In 1943 the little-known port of Marchwood was born on the far side of Southampton Water, its purpose to ferry equipment and men to the Normandy beaches the following year. With the coming of peace in 1945 a continuing military was needed to support the army of occupation.

The port came into its own once more in 1982, when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands. Once again the job of loading all the equipment the troops would need for the fight ahead took place largely unnoticed at Marchwood. It was so important to the war in the South Atlantic that the government invested tens of millions of pounds upgrading the base after the conflict.

Marchwood Military Port (MMP) is situated on 289 acres of land on the western side of Southampton Water, opposite Southampton Docks. The port is operated by 17 Port and Maritime Regiment RLC whose role is to load and discharge service or civilian shipping in support of military administration, exercises and operations world wide.

The site is the sole military port in U.K. and provides the training ground for Army port and maritime personnel. It is the home port for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Landing Ship Logistic (LSL) and army vessels run by the Royal Logistic Corps (RLC). In addition, HQ Solent Station and 17 Port and Maritime Regt Wksp REME are based there.

Marchwood is home to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary's six landing ships, perhaps most famously the Sir Tristram - nearly sunk by Argentine bombs in the Falklands - and the Sir Galahad. Each is a military version of the roll-on-roll-off ferry used for holidays.

The port consists of three main jetties. The largest is 220m long and 33m wide and is capable of accepting vessels up to 16,000 tonnes. It has a sophisticated Ro/Ro facility capable of handling vessels with various ramp configurations, and the jetty also has two 35-tonne rail mounted cranes and railway access. The second jetty, built during World War II, is 190m long, has rail access and is capable of accepting vessels of up to 8k tonnes with limited Ro/Ro facilities. Finally there is a subsidiary jetty of 117m that is used to berth military landing craft and smaller vessels.

Of major importance is the ports ammunition and explosives handling capability. The Directorate of Land Service Ammunition (DLSA) has granted the port a licence to handle ammunition/explosive on the main jetty. Typically the port will handle 100k tonnes of military material a year.

More often these days operations like those now taking place in the Balkans require far more heavy equipment than the existing landing ships can carry, so two new vessels have become regular visitors to Marchwood - Sea Crusader and Sea Centurion are as big as any ship in the Royal Navy. Sea Centurion was only chartered last December and immediately found herself at Marchwood. Her first job was to carry the equipment for UK troops being sent to Macedonia to protect the OSCE peace monitors then operating in Kosovo.

The port at Marchwood is a strategic asset developed and modernised to service most U.K. military requirements. As a regional asset MMP is included in the Solent Area emergency contingency plan (SOLFIRE).

Approximately 150 civilian and 600 military personnel are employed at the port, making it one of the major employers in the local area.

Excellent ties have been forged with the local community during the 50 years the site has been occupied by the military. Formal civic links have been made with an Affiliation to the New Forest District Council.

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