28 NAVY NEWS, APRIL 2010
TV show features old press
A PROP in a popular TV drama once belonged to a former shipmate in the Cheshunt branch. S/M Norman Reeves, who crossed the bar in 2008, had an old printing press in his garden shed which he inherited from his dad, said branch PRO S/M James Murphy.
“He amused himself printing other organisations’ and RNA branches’ menus and tickets, also turning out the HMS Dahlia Christmas cards – the warship adopted by Cheshunt during World War 2.
“When he died, his wife could not find a buyer, until it was bought some time afterwards by the BBC.” It has now turned up on BBC1’s
Lark Rise to Candleford, featuring
in recent episodes as a new local paper is set up in the fictional town of Candleford.
Tankards for two
A PRESENTATION has been made to two founder members of Wetherby branch at their AGM. S/Ms Richard Knight, branch
secretary, and Vince Parks, social secretary, were awarded their engraved ‘Naval Shilling’ tankards, along with scrolls from the branch president S/M Eric Drummond. S/M Eric told those gathered
that the awards were made in gratitude for the dedicated service given by the pair to the branch since it was founded in 1996. They have also put in plenty
Gunners meet up 40 years on
EX-POMPEY field gunners held a 40-year mini-reunion – which also gave them the chance to catch up with a field gun legend. The ruby jubilee was hosted
Steele, Toni Bramall, Micky Dilks, Paul Overton and Ray T Ayre
“It was a great evening, with
by Brian Godsell who, because of health problems, is now in a wheelchair, and Sue, who (according to our correspondent, Ray T Ayre) “gives 100 per cent love and attention for this Field Gun legend.”
many run ashore stories being bandied about – plus the odd few drinks at the residents’ hotel bar until 3.30am,” said Ray. Ray served in HMS ships
Present and correct from the crew of 1969 were ‘Cowboy’ Beales, ‘Barny’ Barnard, ‘Tommy’
Whirlwind, Aurora and Hermes as well as putting in a stint with the Portsmouth Command field gun crew, and he went on to complete a further career in Civvy Street as a police officer.
Gib reunion recalls submarine explosion
FORTY years ago, in the early hours of February 12 1970, submarine HMS Auriga was passing through the Strait, 27 miles from Gibraltar, when an
explosion shook the boat.
The tank under No1 battery, in
the bow, had detonated following a build-up of hydrogen. “Luckily we were on the surface
at the time otherwise we would all have been fishmeal,” said Stewart ‘Stormy’ Bullard. “As it was, about ten of the 65 guys on board were injured, mainly burns and a couple of broken limbs. “The sea was calm that night
of effort as founders of the HMS Ceres Association to the benefit of shipmates and those who served at Ceres before it closed in 1958.
Cossacks in Pompey
VETERANS from HMS Cossack will descend on Portsmouth this month for their annual reunion weekend.
The programme, from Friday
April 9 to Monday April 12, includes the association’s AGM and formal gala dinner, while a church service at St Anne’s in the Naval Base is followed by a march-past and parade. Members will be using the
Royal Beach Hotel in Southsea as their base, and the association’s archives will be on display in the Fearless Suite throughout.
Battle of Narvik special
supplement inside this edition
ANYONE interested in attending the church service marking the 70th anniversary of the sinking of HMS Glorious and her consorts will need to make contact with one of the organisers first. The service, in memory of the aircraft carrier Glorious and destroyers Ardent and Acasta, will be held at St Nicholas’ Church in HMS Drake on Sunday June 6. Those wishing to attend should contact S/M George Lowden on 0191 262 7878 in advance.
so we were able to make our way unassisted into Gibraltar, where we stayed for several weeks until the boat had been repaired enough to be able to sail for Plymouth.” Stewart was one of a group of
Auriga veterans who were back on the Rock to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the incident. The trip was organised by Jackie Hutching, whose husband Derek was on Auriga at the time. “We started to have reunions
of Auriga’s crew about eight years ago,” said Jackie. “We take it in turn to organise an annual event. “ We felt we should do something special for the 40th anniversary so we’ve come back to Gibraltar – this is the first time we’ve had a reunion here.” “We are staying at the Caleta because, when we came ashore in 1970, we were put into the Caleta
Palace Hotel, as it was known then,” added Stewart. During their visit to the Tower,
they were briefed by the Queen’s Harbour Master, Lt Cdr Nick Chapman, himself a submariner. “It was good for the submariners from HMS Auriga to return to Gibraltar to see where their injured comrades were treated and their submarine repaired,” said Nick. “The visit provided the
opportunity to highlight the continuing importance of Gibraltar in supporting Fleet operations. “Talking to the veterans,
I discovered that I had served with one of them in the 1980s and it brought back many happy memories of my own time on board diesel submarines.” “Not everyone has been able to make this reunion because of illness,” said Jackie. “And, indeed, we still haven’t been able to make contact with some of Auriga’s ship’s company from 1970. “But we’re hoping to have another reunion in Chatham in June, so perhaps we’ll have found some more of them by then.” “Gibraltar has changed a lot in the last 40 years,” added Stewart. “Some of our old drinking haunts seem to have disappeared...” The 1,590-ton Amphion-class
boat, launched at the end of World War 2, served a further four years before being scrapped in 1975. Any Auriga veterans from the time of the incident are invited to contact the group via andriga@
l Former submariners from HMS Auriga and their partners – plus mascot Andriga – at the Tower on the Gibraltar dockyard waterfront
Picture: Cpl Ralph Merry RAF
Victims of MTB honoured
THE officers and shipmates of Brightlingsea branch held a memorial service in remembrance of three crew members who died in MTB 667 on March 5 1943 while sleeping aboard the vessel in Brightlingsea Creek. They had turned in for the night as normal on March 4, but when the rest of the crew returned in the morning and opened the hatches they found their shipmates dead. Subsequent investigations found that carbon tetrachloride escaped from a fire extinguisher and poisoned PO Coxn Heaney, CPO(MM) Harris and LMM Phair.
The men were only sleeping in the boat because of a shortage of berths in the accommodation ship.
Vicar Peter Baldwin conducted the service – which also remembered S/Lt J Dean, who was killed in the Adriatic aboard MTB 667 in 1944 – and two standard bearers, representing the branch and the local Royal British Legion, attended. Brightlingsea was the home of
World War 2 base HMS Nemo, and many RN MTBs and similar craft were built and repaired at the small Essex port.
Hood date in May
THE annual HMS Hood commemoration service will be held at the Church of St John the Baptist, Boldre, on Sunday May 16.
The guest preacher will be the Rev Bill Matthews, who served as a Royal Navy chaplain from 1991-2001 in a number of stone frigates and as chaplain to the 5th Destroyer Squadron. He still plays clarinet with the HMS Nelson Volunteer Band and takes Royal Navy-related services from time to time. Once again the Navy will be represented by the Commanding Officer of HMS Collingwood, Cdre Steve Kirby – the establishment is home to the Maritime Warfare School.
Organisers say that many members of the congregation proudly wear their decorations at the service, and would encourage those that wish to join them to do so.
Russian medal now available Lucky escape at River Plate
BY DECREE of the President of the Russian Federation, the Russian Government has struck a commemorative medal to mark the 65th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War against the common enemy in World War 2, according to S/M Peter Skinner. British veterans who served
on the Arctic convoys to North Russia, and who hold one or more of the commemorative medals already issued, can now apply for one of these medals. There will be two presentations
on each day, but veterans can be accompanied by no more than two family members.
Applicants will need to send full name, permanent address, telephone number and a copy of the certificates of medals already issued, plus full name, address and telephone number of any family members attending.
Also required will be an
at the Russian Embassy in London, on April 29 and May 4, both starting at 11am. Numbers are restricted to 30
A BEER produced by Summerskills Brewery in Plymouth will be raising funds for the local branch. Money from the sale will go towards the Plymouth branch for
indication of which presentation you would like to attend. Anyone unable to travel to London should also apply, marking the application accordingly. Medals will be sent by Royal
Mail at a later date. Applications should be sent to
Drink up and support charity
its charitable work – the brewery produces a charity beer every year. The label features the
Devonport Division cry of “Oggie, Oggie, Oggie.”
Peter A Skinner, The Anchorage, Higher Clovelly, Bideford, Devon EX39 5RR.
ONE of our correspondents has contacted us to clarify a detail over the Battle of the River Plate. S/M Peter Danks, secretary of the HMS Ajax and River Plate Veterans Association, said: “With reference to an article on page 34 of the March Navy News headed ‘Model way to mark birthday’, there is a correction to the statement by S/M John Hudson. “He may well have met Mr Sam
Shale, a retired colour sergeant Royal Marines who was serving as a Royal Marine in HMS Ajax at
the Battle of the River Plate at a lunch in December. “But the X Turret in HMS Ajax was always manned by Royal Marines and Sam Shale actually swapped places with a Cpl Bashford, not a POGI. “Bashford was unfortunately killed in the action, and every year Sam pays his own tribute by laying a wreath on Remembrance Sunday in memory of his pal Cpl Bashford, who he owes his life to having agreed to swap places in the turret prior to the battle.”
l Pictured above is the RNA Memorial in Dartmouth, erected and dedicated by the local branch in 2003. Every year, on Remembrance Day, following the town’s parade and service, the branch holds its own service at the memorial. Shipmates know of a similar type of monument in Malta, but believe it may be unique as being the only one of its kind in the UK – unless you know better, of course...
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