Gunboat berthed at Gosport had world-famous commanding officer | Nostalgia

Although this photograph shows three submarines tied up at HMS Dolphin, Gosport, it’s the vessel in the top left that is of interest.

Monday, 27th January 2020, 12:50 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 11:15 am
Although the submarines dominate this picture, it's the vessel in the top left corner which is of interest. Picture: Tony New
Although the submarines dominate this picture, it's the vessel in the top left corner which is of interest. Picture: Tony New

Tony New, of Bedhampton, who lent me the photo, tells me it is HMS Grey Goose, a steam gunboat (SGB). They resembled miniature destroyers, were large enough to put to sea in rough weather and could operate as a super-gunboat and torpedo carrier. The class was the largest of coastal forces vessels and built of steel to meet fast production needs.

Because they were steam-powered they had to remain in steam whereas a petrol boat could be started from cold.

The first SGB flotilla was formed in Portsmouth in June 1942 under Lt Cdr Peter Scott, the son of the Antarctic explorer Captain Robert Scott. Peter Scott later became a broadcaster and world-famous conservationist. He commanded the ship in the photograph.

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Bedhampton level crossing and Bedhampton Halt. Picture: Tony New collection

One of the class remains as a houseboat on the River Medway in Kent, now renamed Anserava.

Another ship seen above the conning tower of the left hand submarine is TS Foudroyant, now preserved in Hartlepool. Behind her are the cranes of the slipways in Portsmouth dockyard.

Halt! Who crosses there?

Looking down on Bedhampton level crossing and Bedhampton Halt, as small stations were once called. This side of the crossing is West Street leading to Havant, the other side being Bedhampton Road.

Guess where? I am sure there will be some headscratching... Picture: Mick Cooper collection

The crossing is protected by massive wooden gates operated from the signal box just to the right of them.

Opposite the signal box is a long dark fence with New Road leading to Stockheath Lane. The footbridge over the line remains to this day.

Recognise this location?

Yes, you may well scratch your heads as to where this marvellous photograph dating from 1910 is in Portsmouth. It is, in fact, looking north along Milton Road at the junction with Priory Crescent.

On the left corner is the post office with a confectioner to the right and then comes the now closed Brewers’ Arms pub. There were three pubs surrounding this junction at one time including the Traveller’s Joy and the Milton Arms, the latter still surviving.