The Royal Navy, Ruler of the Seas

A Power Force In Defence

Organization in North American Waters

Royal Navy sailor on shore leave, 1873

Caption: Royal Navy sailor on shore leave, 1873

Until the end of the Napoleonic wars, the Royal Navy had many squadrons around the world, including several in America. In Newfoundland there was a small squadron of a few frigates and corvettes based in St. John's, called the Newfoundland Squadron, responsible for protecting the fisheries. Other, more powerful, squadrons had at least one ship of the line, supported by large numbers of frigates, corvettes and other small gunboats. These included the North American Squadron, which patrolled the American coastline from its main base in Halifax all the way to a secondary base in Bermuda. Immediately after the wars against France and the United States, all squadrons in America were incorporated into one. Halifax thus became the headquarters and the most important base for the Royal Navy in America. There were secondary bases in Bermuda and the West Indies. 113