Naval and Air Station Argentia, NL
Updated: Dec 29, 2022
Exploring Abandoned Places
Years ago, when I was a member of the OZFM/ NTV media, we had a soft ball team. We were often invited to the Naval Base in Argentia to play the American team. It was always a great weekend. They welcomed us like celebrities and we loved going to visit. Naval and Air Station Argentia is a former base of the United States Navy, it operated from 1941-1994 and was established in the community of Argentia, NL about an hour drive from St. John’s.
After an afternoon game of soft-ball we would dine like Royalty at the main building. The Americans sure did know how to feed people well. Then we would go to the ten-pin bowling alley for a game and few drinks. It was always a grand time. At one point, approximately 12,000 American military personnel were stationed at the Argentia base. We made some great friends and I often wondered what happened to them after they left.
The base closed in 1994. There is rumoured to be an active submarine base still there. Today, the base has been taken over as an industrial site. Many of the original buildings are still standing but abandoned. Most of the housing and the main hall have been demolished. You can drive or walk around the base and look through the windows and imagine its former glory. There is also a walking trail that takes you through the wooded area around the base.
According to Wikipedia, on August 7, 1941 the heavy cruiser USS Augusta
carrying U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt arrived in the anchorage at Little Placentia Bay off the base. Roosevelt inspected the base construction progress and did some fishing from Augusta over the next two days. Augusta was joined by the British warship HMS Prince of Wales carrying British Prime Minister Winston Churchill on August 9, 1941. While in the Argentia anchorage from August 9–12, the chiefs of staff of Britain and the U.S. met to discuss war strategies and logistics once the U.S. joined in the war. The two leaders and their aides also negotiated the wording of a press release that they called a "joint statement". That press release was issued on August 14, 1941 in Washington, D.C. and was issued simultaneously in London, England. Several days later the Daily Herald would characterize the public statement as being the Atlantic Charter. However, there never was a signed, legal document called the "Atlantic Charter". Neither Roosevelt nor Churchill signed it. The conference concluded the evening of August 12, 1941 with the British and American warships and their escorts passing in review before departing the area for their home ports. The joint declaration was publicly announced on August 14, presumably after Prince of Wales had returned to UK waters.
February, 1942 saw the Argentia base at the centre of one of the worst disasters in the US Navy's history when USS Pollux and USS Truxtun were wrecked 75 mi (121 km) southwest of the base. Over 100 victims were buried in Argentia's military cemetery.
An ex-marine claims nuclear weaponshttp://www.cbc.ca/news/world/ex-marine-claims-nuclear-weapons-stored-at-nfld-base-1.519885 were stored at the Argentia Base in the 1960s according to a CBC story.
See the full story here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_Station_Argentia
History on the area can be found here: http://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/politics/argentia-base.php
If you like exploring and military history, you must visit Navel and Air Base Argentia.