Flying the flag for Gosport’s links to royal yachts

Cllr Peter Edgar toasts Britannia and says a poignant farewell to the ship which graced waters between Gosport and Portsmouth for 44 years
Cllr Peter Edgar toasts Britannia and says a poignant farewell to the ship which graced waters between Gosport and Portsmouth for 44 years
Opening of the new school by the home secretary in October 1927. The headmaster, Canon Barton, is on the lowest step, on the left. Dorothea Barton is possibly there, somewhere. (PGS Archive)

NOSTALGIA: A red bluestocking at Portsmouth Grammar School

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Dave Sullivan’s unusual picture here of the Royal Yacht Britannia returning to Portsmouth Harbour for the last time in 1997, prompted veteran Gosport councillor and former mayor Peter Edgar to get in touch.

He has special memories of that day – November 22 – because, as mayor, he was the only first citizen in the area to welcome the Queen’s ship home.

Dave Sullivan's picture of Britannia entering Portsmouth Harbour for the last time taken through a periscope at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Gosport

Dave Sullivan's picture of Britannia entering Portsmouth Harbour for the last time taken through a periscope at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Gosport

He says: ‘I was taken out on a watermen’s tug, the Guy James, to meet the ship at Outer Spit Buoy. It was arranged for me to talk on the tug’s radio with Commodore Morrow, the Royal Yacht’s captain.

‘It gave me great pleasure to welcome all on board back to Portsmouth Harbour and thank them for giving such special service to the nation and the royal family. It also gave me the opportunity to point out we were flying the full-sized Gosport flag from our mast to celebrate Gosport’s long connection with royal yachts especially in Victorian times and earlier, dating back to Charles II.’

Councillor Edgar then commissioned a painting by Gosport artist Anthony Gibson of Britannia’s return – with a Gosport backdrop, of course.

He adds: ‘Hopefully the painting and pictures will help people to remember for years to come what has become the sad end for British royal yachts.’

Anthony Gibson's painting

Anthony Gibson's painting