Was Edward VII the only royal to use this Portsmouth branch line?

An especially-adapted train for royalty arriving in the dockyard for the launch of HMS Dreadnought in 1906.
An especially-adapted train for royalty arriving in the dockyard for the launch of HMS Dreadnought in 1906.
Bob Sivewright with quick-thinking newsboy Chris Turner

THIS WEEK IN 1992: Couple saved from gas leak by hero newspaper delivery boy

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In this photograph we see the royal train arriving at the slipway for the launch of HMS Dreadnought in 1906.

As can be seen, the train has not arrived via Portsmouth Harbour but is made up of a special saloon for movement around the dockyard’s sharp curves.

In front of a packed North Stand at Fratton Park, perhaps before the First World War, Pompey take on what is believed to be West Bromwich Albion. For those of you watching in black and white, Pompey are in the salmon shirts...

In front of a packed North Stand at Fratton Park, perhaps before the First World War, Pompey take on what is believed to be West Bromwich Albion. For those of you watching in black and white, Pompey are in the salmon shirts...

I stand to be corrected, but I believe this is the only time royalty travelled via the dockyard branch line from the Town Station to the dockyard via the Unicorn Gate entrance.

King Edward VII did the honours that day and launched the ship with a bottle of Australian wine.

•The first game of football to be played at Fratton Park was on September 5, 1899. It was a friendly between Pompey and Southampton, long before the latter were nicknamed Saints.

The ground was not complete at the time although the following year all was ready. An attendance of 9,000 saw Pompey beat Reading 2-0.

On a sunny Sunday, motorcycles and sidecars parade through Guildhall Square, Portsmouth.

On a sunny Sunday, motorcycles and sidecars parade through Guildhall Square, Portsmouth.

In this photo we see the 240ft-long North Stand with terracing – somewhat different to today’s stand which, believe it or not, was built in 1935.

Pompey were playing in salmon-coloured shirts. The opposition could be West Bromwich Albion.

•How about the magnificent picture of the motorcyclists then?

It is looking south across Guildhall Square on a sunny Sunday some time in the 1920s I should think.

Hard to believe, but this was Gatcombe Park, Hilsea, Portsmouth.

Hard to believe, but this was Gatcombe Park, Hilsea, Portsmouth.

I wonder if it is the start of some type of motorcycle club outing?

The family to the front left seem all set for a super day out.

Dad is kitted out in his best waterproof overcoat with his son as pillion. In the sidecar his wife and another child seem quite comfortable as well.

•The very rural scene is not somewhere over the hill, but on Portsea Island.

It is in fact Gatcombe Park, Hilsea, long before the houses were built, of course.

Cows meander on lush turf and trees and hedgerows surround them in a very tranquil scene.

I wonder where the exact location is today?