Home. home is the sailor

RW-09-08-11 REMEMBER WHEN REP: CO''112724_REMEMBER_WHEN_03/08/11''July 4th 1968, Alec Rose arrives in Southsea after his around the world voyage. ''Articles from The News for Remember When.' 'Picture: Allan Hutchings (112724-948)
RW-09-08-11 REMEMBER WHEN REP: CO''112724_REMEMBER_WHEN_03/08/11''July 4th 1968, Alec Rose arrives in Southsea after his around the world voyage. ''Articles from The News for Remember When.' 'Picture: Allan Hutchings (112724-948)
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Down the centuries, Portsmouth has become used to putting out the flags for homecomings.

That was the day a humble Southsea greengrocer stepped ashore on the beach at Southsea after sailing alone around the world.

As Sir Alec Rose touched land after his 354-day voyage of 28,500 miles, he was met by a jubilant crowd estimated at 250,000.

The 59-year-old was escorted towards a raised platform built for the occasion close to Clarence Pier by 400 motor-boats, yachts, catamarans and canoes blowing sirens and whistles.

A gun was fired as Mr Rose crossed the finishing line in his 36ft pale blue ketch Lively Lady at the Royal Albert Yacht Club, Southsea, at 11.52am.

And as the weary seafarer from Osborne Road stepped ashore at 12.33pm the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Freddie Emery-Wallis, presented him with a telegram from the Queen.

It read: ‘Warmest congratulations on your magnificent voyage. Welcome home – Elizabeth and Philip.’

The next day Buckingham Palace announced he would be knighted.

Prime Minister Harold Wilson also sent a message of congratulations.

Mr Rose and his wife, Dorothy, were then taken by Rolls-Royce to the Guildhall where the couple spoke to waiting reporters.

Mr Rose revealed how at one point during his journey he had lain unconscious below deck for two hours after being overcome by fumes as he tried to repair an exhaust pipe.

He said: ‘I said my prayers quite often on this trip. I felt there wasn’t much difference between me and eternity. At times my prayers were answered and the yacht and I got through.’

When Mr Rose and his wife arrived home at their greengrocery shop in Osborne Road later that evening they were again met by jubilant crowds singing For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.

Mr Rose, who set sail on July 16, 1967, made stops in Australia and New Zealand during his trip.

He had saved for many years to undertake his epic voyage and was given no extra financial help.