The Royal Marines were based at Chatham for over 200 years. From 1775 until 1950 the Chatham Division of Royal Marines occupied barracks on a site adjacent to the southern end of the Dockyard. During this time, the Chatham Division was visited by a number of royal guests.
HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Barracks at Chatham, was built between the Steam Yard and Brompton barracks in the early years of the century. By the outbreak of the First World War Chatham had become one of the Royal Navy's three manning ports with over a third of the navy - 205 ships manned by men allocated to the Chatham Division - a role that was to continue until the advent of central manning in 1956.
Thereafter Chatham became home to the reserve - or standby fleet, although a number of operational ships were also based at the Dockyard including the Antarctic patrol vessel HMS Endurance.