NOSTALGIA: ‘Cruel’ corvette killer of U-boats that became star of four films

HMS Portchester Castle leaving Portsmouth in June 1952.
HMS Portchester Castle leaving Portsmouth in June 1952.
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On Saturday between 10am and 4.30pm the Portchester Civic Society is holding its annual exhibition Memories of Portchester in the Parish Hall, Castle Street.

The society has a vast collection of photographs, paintings and memorabilia of Portchester which will be on display.

The Custodians cottage outside the Land Gate at Portchester Castle, 1961

The Custodians cottage outside the Land Gate at Portchester Castle, 1961

Local historian Bryan Jerrard will be selling his second, revised edition, of his book Portchester – a Community History.

And here are a selection of photographs from the society’s collection.

On the right is corvette HMS Portchester Castle leaving Portsmouth in June 1952.

The U-boat killer and film star was laid down on March 17, launched on June 21 and commissioned on November 3; all in 1943 – a little quicker than building today’s warships.

The staff of Castle Primary School in July 1988, one of many Portchester school photographs that will be on display on Saturday.

The staff of Castle Primary School in July 1988, one of many Portchester school photographs that will be on display on Saturday.

She had a successful career in the Second World War escorting Atlantic convoys and took part in the sinking of two U-boats.

Laid up in 1946 she was brought out of reserve in 1951 and allocated to the 2nd Training Squadron, Portland, for anti- submarine and seamanship training.

While at Portland she was chosen to portray the fictional frigate HMS Saltash Castle in the film The Cruel Sea.

Her role as a film star didn’t end there though as she also featured in The Cockleshell Heroes, The Man Who Never Was and The Navy Lark films.

T9 Class 30732 passing through Portchester station on May 24, 1953.

T9 Class 30732 passing through Portchester station on May 24, 1953.

Portchester Castle was scrapped in 1958 but her bell still survives in Cobham Hall, the Scout hut at Portchester.