Trapped beneath the bows as battleship approached

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It’s one of the most famous pictures ever taken in Portsmouth – one which never ceases to catch the breath.

The photo on the opposite page shows the battleship HMS Vanguard running aground off Old Portsmouth while on her way to the breakers in 1960.

HMS Vanguard going aground at the Still and West, Old Portsmouth, in August 1960

HMS Vanguard going aground at the Still and West, Old Portsmouth, in August 1960

But Peter Stafford wonders if any reader might have another, quite specific, shot of that August day – one which he will never forget.

He says: ‘I was only 15 and was there with a friend in single sculling rowing boats.

‘When Vanguard beached on the shingle beach in the harbour entrance we were underneath her bows with her bows on one side and the beach the other.

‘It went quite dark as she came nearer.’

‘ The beach cleared of spectators immediately, thinking she was coming up the beach but she grounded before reaching it.’

Peter adds: ‘I wonder if anyone has any photos that show us both in our sculling boats between HMS Vanguard and the shore?

‘Anything to prove we were there.’