Harbour’s boom defence no match for HMS Ferret

HMS Ferret tests the boom defence across the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour in 1909
HMS Ferret tests the boom defence across the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour in 1909
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This silhouetted destroyer in the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour was HMS Ferret, photographed in 1909.

She had been launched in 1893 and was dismantled in the year after this picture was taken and before being sunk as a target in 1911.

Timothy White's in North Cross Street, Gosport, in about 1910.  Picture courtesy of Peter Greenaway

Timothy White's in North Cross Street, Gosport, in about 1910. Picture courtesy of Peter Greenaway

Which is hardly surprising when you realise what she is attempting here.

With a skeleton crew of brave volunteers, she is ramming the boom defence which stretched from Portsmouth to Gosport across the harbour mouth.

It was designed to prevent enemy vessels entering, but the reinforced bows of Ferret apparently cut through the defence with ease.

This photograph is one of more than 200 contained in the recently-published book Gosport From Old Photographs written and compiled by John Sadden.

He is the archivist at Portsmouth Grammar School and has also worked at Gosport’s Discovery Centre.

The book includes many images of long-gone shops in the town, including the one here of Timothy White’s in North Cross Street circa 1910.

Mr White set up his first chemist shop in Portsmouth in 1848.

By the 1890s his company ran one of the largest chain of stores of this type in the country.

By the 1930s Timothy White’s was trading from 127 High Street between Ashby Place and South Cross Street.

The final photo here shows pre-fabricated houses (prefabs) at Bridgemary in about 1946.

Two hundred units were built on this estate as a temporary measure to alleviate the housing problems caused by enemy bombing before permanent homes could be built.

· Gosport From Old Photographs by John Sadden is published by Amberley Publishing at £12.99.