US Navy food store

In 1943, the US Navy established a forward operating base in Plymouth to support the ships that would take troops across the English Channel to fight in France.  It was known as the United States Naval Advanced Amphibious Base (USNAAB) and its engineering, supply and operations units were spread across several locations. 

The food store or commissary as it was known occupied the area between the Mayflower Stand of Home Park football stadium and Gilbert Lane in Central Park.  It was accommodated in three large Nissen-pattern huts and a hangar-type warehouse, all erected on a concrete base.  The hangar covered an area of 16,000 square feet.

In 1945, the USNAAB produced a brochure about its work and a photograph of the hangar appears on one of its pages. 

Page from the USNAAB brochure with the commissary hangar shown bottom right (The Box accession reference 3708/87)

The location of the hangar can be seen from this photograph taken during the 1946 OS survey.  The view is looking towards Central Park and the Home Park football stadium entrance is in the foreground.  

Photo from 1946 OS survey (The Box accession reference 2793/50)

Two of the three large Nissen-pattern huts are in the top right-hand corner of this photograph of the Home Park football stadium which was taken as part of the 1946 OS survey.

Photo from 1946 OS survey (The Box accession reference 2793/50)

The site was decommissioned prior to 1958 with the concrete hardstanding left intact.  Visible evidence of steel columns having been burned off at ground level was still present in 1981.  It soon became used as a carpark by those attending football matches and was subsequently acquired by Plymouth Argyle Football Club.

The footprint left by the US commissary can be seen in this 1967 aerial photo.

Concrete bases for the Commissary’s hangar and huts are visible between Cottage Field and the Home Park stadium in 1967 (The Box accession reference 3488/6929)