Uncle survived onslaught of shells in HMS Pepperpot

HMS Nelson passing along Southsea seafront
HMS Nelson passing along Southsea seafront
Two clerks on duty in James Taylors offices in Old Portsmouth. 			 (Robert James collection)

BOB HIND: How ways of doing business have changed from the old days

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This envelope was recently handed down to me and I found it of some significance as AE Hind was my late Uncle Arthur (always known as Jack), my late father’s brother. It contained a letter written by my late grandmother, who I never knew.

It is addressed to him while he was serving in HMS Highlander.

jpns-15-05-14 rw envelope''Envelope to Steward Arthur Hind

jpns-15-05-14 rw envelope''Envelope to Steward Arthur Hind

But what that doesn’t tell you is that the year before, 1942, my uncle was serving in HMS Penelope.

She was always known as HMS Pepperpot as she was on the receiving end of so many shell-hits during the siege of Malta in 1942.

He used to make light of it all when he spoke about it, which was rarely, but it must have been so frightening.

In the letter my grandmother tells Jack of events at home, about his other brothers’ service and the fact she hadn’t heard from William for many months. He was lost when the SS Ceramic was torpedoed in December 1942.

jpns-15-05-14 rw house 1951''Picture houses galore in Portsmouth and suburbs 1951.

jpns-15-05-14 rw house 1951''Picture houses galore in Portsmouth and suburbs 1951.

In the main picture we see the battleship HMS Nelson passing along Southsea seafront about 1939.

The upper deck is crowded with sailors who had lined the deck when leaving harbour.

If anyone can tell me why she has the two capital letters NE on X turret, I’d like to know.

There’s an interesting advertisement here for all the cinemas, always known as picture houses of course, on Portsea Island and in the surrounding area in 1951.

There were 23 in total compared to just one mainstream cinema today at Gunwharf Quays and the specialist films sometimes shown in the dockyard boathouse.

At the Savoy there was an organist, Reginald New, to entertain you. The proverbial Reginald Dixon of Southsea. Lovely.

Does anyone remember him, Perhaps he is still with us? Do let me know.