Officially designated “HM Royal Dockyards” until the late 1960s, the British Navy maintained a string of facilities around the world where its commissioned ships could be based, overhauled, refitted and repaired (if things afloat went wrong). The first, a shipbuilding yard as well as a dockyard, was designated such at Portsmouth in 1496 AD, just in time to bedevil the Spanish and French for the next couple centuries. The first outside the confines of Great Britain: the Royal Dockyard at English Harbor in Antigua in 1728. Through the Dutch Wars, Napoleonic Wars, colonial wars, and two world wars the Royal Dockyards did (not to mix metaphors overly) yeoman service. But with the reduced role of the Royal Navy and the erosion of the empire, in the latter part of the 20th Century those Royal Dockyards that remain open have been largely converted to accommodation and training of naval personnel.