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Bus-pass odyssey
New HQ
THE Highland Council has held
to visit Devonport
BARNSLEY branch were due
a civic reception to mark the to open the doors of their new
tenth anniversary of the City of headquarters as Navy News went
Inverness Branch.
TWO former sailors
aboard the 376, departing at 08.50
to press.
Royal Naval Association decided they would like to
for the cathedral city of Wells,
And the new facility will span
president, Vice Admiral John see the modern Navy for
although like the second bus of
the age range as shipmates will
McAnally, and more than 80
themselves last summer.
the previous day (I hope you are
now be sharing the headquarters
members, guests and dignitaries
following this – Ed) the ride left
And being of a thrifty
with their younger associates from
were welcomed at the Town
something to be desired.
the Barnsley Sea Cadet unit.
House by Inverness Provost
nature, S/Ms Alan Beasley
“Once again this was also a
The branch is moving to
Jimmy Gray and Highland
and Norman Treece, of
very interesting journey, a little
Racecommon Road after 20 years
Stourbridge branch, decided bumpy,” said Alan.
based at the Swaithe Working
An excellent dinner was served,
they could minimise transport “Norman changed seats four Men’s Club – a period for which
and the loyal toast was in the
costs by using their bus passes
shipmates are most grateful.
Naval tradition (which confused a – all the way from Stourbridge
A 30-minute wait at Wells
Branch secretary S/M Gordon
few non-Naval people). to Plymouth.
passed quickly, and the pair were
Atkinson said: “We can only thank
However, after dinner, And although it wasn’t quite
soon on their way to Taunton on
the Swaithe WMC for everything
explanations were given in free (there were a couple of
the number 29.
they have done for us over the past
order to help the uninitiated supplements to pay) they still
“This proved to be very
20 years.
understand some of the various managed the round trip for
entertaining,” said Alan.
“But with our numbers
naval traditions. less than £4 – a total of 24 bus
“We sat at the front of the bus
decreasing, like many associations
Provost Gray – the Admiral of
and, as we got to each of the
these days, we need to get closer
the Moray Firth – was the first to
And, what is more, the vast
local out-of-the-way villages, old
to the sailors of Barnsley and
speak, congratulating the branch
majority of journeys left and
wrinklies – even older than us –
moving closer to the town centre
on their anniversary, reminded
arrived bang on time.
will go a long way towards drawing
them of their commissioning
The intrepid pair departed
“They were all heading for
in new members.”
and how prominent they were
Stourbridge at 0950, and after
Taunton to spend the afternoon at
All ex- and serving members
at the Armed Forces Day
changing at Bromsgrove and
the Gala Bingo hall.
of the Royal Navy, WRNS and
Worcester they arrived at Upton-
“We thought that a 50-mile
● Norman Treece and Alan Beasley in Plymouth
parade, where national, Scottish
the Royal Marines from around
on-Severn on the number 363 in
round trip for a game of bingo
and branch standards were on
perfect schedule I don’t know,” though a slight detour took them
the Barnsley area were invited to
time to enjoy a pint by the river.
was a bit much – mind you, it was
observed Alan. on a picturesque loop through
their first muster in the middle of
The 351 to Gloucester took
a free trip of course.
The Provost pointed out the
The weekend gave them the Burnham and Weston.
December – when all new joiners
them through some charming
“Naturally they wanted to know
ship’s bell and name plate from
chance to catch up with old An overnight stop in Weston
were eligible for a free tot of
villages, and a smooth connection
who and what we were as we were
HMS Inverness, which have a
friends, indulge in a spot of set them up for their final day on
Pusser’s rum.
saw the travellers hop onto the 73
in our uniforms.
prominent position in the Town
nostalgia and enjoy Navy Days, the road, with buses via Bristol,
Meetings have now reverted to
to Chepstow – although the two-
“They all wished us well and
Hall, and recalled her visits to
where they were welcomed at Chepstow, Gloucester, Upton,
their normal times – the fourth
minute sortie into Wales across the wanted to join us. Tuesday of each month.
the RNA stand with a large tot, Worcester, Kidderminster and
River Wye saw a supplementary “One old gentleman gave us a Members enjoy a range of social
Sandown-class minehunter
courtesy of Woods Rum and they Halesowen, the final service
charge of £1.30 each. running commentary all about the events and trips throughout the
HMS Inverness decommissioned
also did an interview about their dropping them back in Stourbridge
But the disappointment of Glastonbury area, the Tor and the year, as well as the opportunity to
in 2005 and, after a refit in
trip live on the local BBC radio at 19.30.
having to pay for a bus journey local population.”
station. meet up with sailors past, present
Rosyth, transferred to the
They had left in bright sunshine,
was swiftly forgotten as the pair At Taunton they changed to the
Another highlight was an but they returned to driving rain. – and now, future.
Estonian Navy in 2007 as EML
enjoyed another pint before 92 to Exeter which swept down
invitation to enjoy the hospitality “Walking back from the bus
catching the X14 to Bristol – with the M5 and arrived dead on time.
of the Senior rates’ mess on board station to Norman’s flat we got
A member of the Inverness
Club messdeck
the added benefit of front seats to Alan and Norman embraced
HMS Roebuck. soaked to the skin,” said Alan.
branch has been in contact
enjoy the views as they crossed the their arrival in the West Country
There was even the chance to “Did we care? No, we didn’t – LITTLEHAMPTON shipmates
with the ship and a positive
Severn back into England. with a Cornish pasty (although
take a (free) bus to Saltash Passage we had had an absolutely fantastic enjoyed dinner, dancing and a
connection has been made – Despite traffic snarl-ups on the
they were actually in Devon) for a couple of drinks outside the weekend. bumper raffle when the upper
according to PRO S/M Evan outskirts of Bristol the bus arrived
before they jumped aboard their Ferry Inn, reliving the old days of “Well worth every penny that floor of the Maltravers Social Club
Jessiman, the Estonians have been on time at 18.30.
final bus of the outward leg – the 50 years ago. we had spent.” was temporarily converted to a
very accommodating and are A local bus ride – free, of
X38 to Plymouth. The first bus of their return If any shipmates would like to naval messdeck for their Trafalgar
interested in further contact. course – took the shipmates to Their journey along the Devon
journey started at 09.25, and as attempt such a trip, Alan’s number Night.
Branch chairman S/M Bob their budget hotel, and they then Expressway brought them to it was before 09.30 the intrepid
one tip is “plan, plan and more The principle guest was the
Coburn thanked the Provost enjoyed the sights of the city and Plymouth at exactly 15.14, as the travellers had to pay £2.20. planning.”
chairman of Arun District Council,
and Highland Council for their
had a bite to eat at Wetherspoons.
timetables promised – “How these The route back was roughly For more practical tips, contact Cllr Don Ayling, accompanied by
hospitality; such hospitality does
After a good night’s sleep Alan
buses seem to keep to an almost the same as the outward journey, Alan at his consort Elspeth McCreadie.
not come in short measures,
and Norman took a ride back
shipmates can confirm.
to the bus station then climbed
● Members of the HMS Troubridge Last Commission Association
gather in Portsmouth
THE mystery submarine in
our November edition (right) Troubridge roll increases
equipped with a crystal ball was
HMS Oracle.
● The SS Majestic/HMS Caledonia at Rosyth in late 1937
AN INCREASE in membership the Royal Maritime Club in
Mr L Rudge, of Paignton, meant a change of venue for Portsmouth, and the mess dinner
Picture: D. Cornhill, Photographer
answered correctly, and wins the HMS Troubridge Last saw ex-Troubridge warriors travel
our £50 prize.
Coupons giving the correct answer
Commission Association. from as far afield as the USA,
Mr J Pemberton, of Great will go into a prize draw to establish In 2007, 13 shipmates attended South Africa and the Philippines.
A Majestic finale
Yarmouth, was chosen as winner a winner. a reunion, and a further 12 were Rumour has it that there are a
of our crate of Swordfish Ale.
Closing date for entries is
added to the roster in 2008. few in Australia who are thinking
This month’s ship (above) sank
February 12. More than one entry
In 2009 the figure exceeded of making the trip in 2010.
HMS Caledonia – a stone frigate? War 1, but – still incomplete –
after a torpedo attack by two
can be submitted, but photocopies
all expectations, and with the The group has made contact
Definitely not, said former she transferred to White Star in
submarines from her own navy in
cannot be accepted. Do not include
anything else in your envelope: no
need to accommodate 36 former with more than 70 crew members
Caledonia Boy S/M Syd Shilling, the 1920s as part of the war
1988. What was her name?
correspondence can be entered into
shipmates it was time to move to from the last commission, and
who recalled the pre-war floating reparations package.
We have removed her pennant
and no entry returned.
bigger premises from the Royal hope to increase numbers even
training establishment on the The Majestic was earmarked
number from the picture. The winners will be announced in Hotel in Crewe, who had done the more in time for the 2010
Forth at Rosyth. for scrapping in 1936, but instead
Complete the coupon and send our March edition. The competition group proud in 2007 and 2008. reunion, to be held in Blackpool
“She was a floating training she was taken up by the Admiralty,
it to Mystery Picture, Navy News, is not open to Navy News employees This year’s event was at in October.
establishment, the SS Majestic, converted and sailed to the Forth
HMS Nelson, Portsmouth PO1 3HH. or their families.
bought from Cunard/White Star as HMS Caledonia.
Line and converted by Thornycroft But at the outbreak of World
of Southampton, arriving at War 2 the former liner languished
MYSTERY PICTURE 179 Rosyth on April 23 1937,” said empty at anchor in the Firth of
Syd. Forth until she caught fire and
Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . “She arrived under her own sank in late September 1939.
steam and inched into the basin The Majestic/Caledonia Boys
where she remained for two years, Association, of which S/M Syd is
Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . training over 2,000 boys of 15 and chairman, was formed in 1987,
16 ready for sea. but with a rapidly diminishing
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . “Those still under training on membership, and no younger
September 2 1939 were transferred ones willing to pick up the traces,
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to the Isle of Man (Cunningham it has been decided to dissolve
● Of all the mementos and memorabilia of the Battle of the River
Holiday Camp, rechristened HMS the organisation, allowing the
My answers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Plate, few can convey such simple urgency as this page (above)
St George) back to a stone frigate committee and members to “sit
from the diary of sailor Douglas Hoppe, who served in HMS Ajax.
for safety reasons.” back in our easy chairs in our
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The diary was presented by Douglas’s son Cliff to the Mayor of Ajax,
Majestic was launched in own ‘stone frigates’ and dream
Steve Parish, during the recent visit by River Plate veterans and their
Germany by Blohm & Voss as of happier times in bygone days,”
relatives to Canada, as reported in our December edition
the SS Bismarck early in World said Syd.
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