Faithful graveside collie in Portsmouth cemetery is identified

Roy the faithful collie sitting on his master's grave.
Roy the faithful collie sitting on his master's grave.
Portsmouth in 1717 (from William Gates History of Portsmouth, 1900)

NOSTALGIA: A seed of learning planted 300 years ago that’s blossomed into Portsmouth Grammar School

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I thought I would bring you up to date with reaction to some of the columns I have written in the past month.

The collie dog on the grave in Kingston cemetery, Portsmouth, was recognised by Martin Earl.

jpwm-06-09-14 rw Country House and ABC Cinema''Looking north in Commercial Road with the ABC cinema and the Country House Tavern (centre). The New Inn on the right has been renamed The Royal after the Royal Hospital that once stood opposite.

jpwm-06-09-14 rw Country House and ABC Cinema''Looking north in Commercial Road with the ABC cinema and the Country House Tavern (centre). The New Inn on the right has been renamed The Royal after the Royal Hospital that once stood opposite.

He tells me the grave is that of his great- great-grandfather George Edward Hill.

Martin’s father used to take him to visit the grave when he was a boy and he was told the dog was called Roy.

Martin’s father was also named Roy and, according to family legend, is believed to have been named after the collie.

Mike Park wrote that his friend Arthur is the 96-year-old grandson of George Hill, who was a scrap merchant with premises in Lake Road. Landport, Portsmouth.

When he died the family sent photographs of the collie to Italy where the figure was carved in marble.

On the same day I published a photo of Fratton Bridge and a constable on point duty.

Most thought it was Alec Joseph ‘Dutchy’ Holland who was well known to most who crossed the bridge.

However, my regular police correspondent and former City of Portsmouth sergeant, Eddie Wallace, tells me the following.

‘It is very difficult trying to identify the officer from the back view depicted, but I think it might be Constable 83 Stanley William Stewart who as a War Reserve Constable joined the regular Portsmouth City Police on January 24, 1943.

‘Later in 1948 he was awarded the King’s Police Medal for Gallantry in attempting to arrest a dangerous armed criminal and was severely injured in the process.

‘Or it might be Constable 323 Alec Joseph Holland, an ex-Royal Marine who joined the City Police on November 20, 1948. For obvious reasons he was nicknamed ‘Dutch’.

‘His traffic signals were not based on the Highway Code, but were of his own making and were extremely successful in getting traffic moving at that horrible junction.’

Finally the two photographs of Commercial Road caused some consternation as most people could not believe the change in the area. I then received this photograph from David Willcox of the cinema and pub in 1983. His parents ran the Country House Tavern from 1939 to 1967.

John Bryant also remembers the area well. He says: ‘As I remember starting at the trolley bus stop outside the ABC Cinema and Jacobs Furnishing Store – moving north we had Hostler sweet factory then BF Pratt potato wholesaler. Next door was Mile End Dairy then The Mile End Cellars selling real scrumpy on sale for just 11d a pint.

‘I’m pretty sure that Smith’s Crisps had a place in the vicinity. Then Dr Mayberry’s house with double rounded bay windows. Then came Charles Dickens’s birthplace, then on to the Travellers pub which had a sign on which was written something like ‘‘Drink up your beer then travel on’’.

‘On the opposite side going north from All Saints’ Church was Ben Grubb’s then a garage where the proprietor would stand beside his petrol pumps, always smoking a cheap cigar.

‘A bit further up was a car showroom where the owner had an American Ford Galaxy. Across the alley past the United pub smelling of stale beer and polish, was Mile End House School, my old school from 1958 to Christmas 1961 when I joined the Dockyard as an apprentice engine fitter at Flathouse. This was located opposite The Market Tavern and Sultan Road.’