Rocking marine hid drape coat and drainpipes in bag

The Alma Arms in 2013
The Alma Arms in 2013
Passchendaele. Picture: Imperial War Museum

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Last week’s news that yet another Portsmouth pub is to close and become flats prompted Derek Knight to delve into his memory bank.

Enterprise Inns put up for sale The Alma Arms in Highland Road, Eastney, at the end of last year, but now it looks as though its days as a pub are numbered.

Derek, of Brasted Court, Milton, Portsmouth, clearly recalls the ‘packed’ rock ’n’ roll nights held at the Alma on Wednesday nights in the mid-1950s.

They were held in what he calls a hall at the back of the pub.

Derek says: ‘I met a chap who was a marine from the barracks at Eastney.

‘He would arrive with a bag with his drape coat and drainpipe trousers inside and go out to the gents and change into them.

‘He said if he wore them coming out of the barracks he would be turned back.’

Derek adds: ‘In those days there was quite a bit of friction between the marines and the local lads and he didn’t want too many to know that he was a marine.

‘But with his short back and sides he stuck out like a sore thumb and most got to know where he was from.’

My piece last week about the old Portsmouth packaging firm Drings sparked memories for Teresa Redman. She recognised the three women sitting on the left in the picture below. In the centre is her mother, Greta Gallop. On the left is Jean Brown who married Teresa’s uncle and on the right is Jean’s sister Elmer.