Royal Navy memories needed. Did you serve in HMS Collingwood?

No doubt there are many readers who were in the Royal Navy who started their careers at HMS Collingwood or were drafted there.

Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 10:11 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 11:42 am
HMS Collingwood under construction 1939/1940. Picture: HMS Collingwood archive.
HMS Collingwood under construction 1939/1940. Picture: HMS Collingwood archive.

Next year is the 80th anniversary of the opening of the Fareham establishment and there will be several events to mark it.

Mandy Shearing, the communications co-ordinator at Collingwood, has asked me to mention this in a bid to attract as many old hands who have memories of the establishment as possible.

She says: ‘HMS Collingwood opened to new recruits on January 10, 1940, and we are hoping to hold events throughout 2020, some of which will be open to the public.

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A winter's day at HMS Collingwood with new entrants drill training. Picture: HMS Collingwood archive.

‘Unfortunately these haven’t been confirmed yet. I will keep you informed as soon as they are decided.’

Please send your memories to [email protected] or write to CWD80, Room F31 Atlantic Building, HMS Collingwood, Newgate Lane, Fareham, Hampshire. PO14 1AS.

I know through my research when writing The Naval Camps of Bedhampton that many arrived at Stockheath Camp straight from Collingwood, spending their early days in tents and up to their ankles in mud. They must have wondered what they had let themselves in for.

The main photograph shows the establishment being built in 1939 with what looks like the parade ground being laid out.

The official opening of Baffins Road, Copnor, Portsmouth, on March 16, 1929. Picture: Mick Cooper postcard collection.

In the other, recruits are on drill practice passing a training whaler with davits so the men could learn how to hoist and lower sea boats. The marching party is wearing sea jerseys so this is a winter photograph.

• A notable improvement to Portsmouth’s road system during 1929 was the opening of Baffins Road, Copnor. Until then the road was little more than a mud track.

Although made up under the Private Road Improvement Act, Portsmouth Corporation met the cost of converting it into a first-class road.

It became the last link in the arterial road leading from Hilsea to MIlton. The new road provided a good route for traffic heading towards Southsea.

Garden party at Mayville School, Southsea, 1967. Picture: Mick Cooper collection.

Ceremonial cars led by the lord mayor’s made their way along the new road with children running alongside on the new pavements.

• In August 1967 Mayville School, Southsea, held its annual garden and fancy dress party. The weather was poor so it was held in the school hall.

A splash of colour was added by a national costume and fancy dress parade in which 26 children took part.

If you are one of the girls in the photo or know who ‘Big Chief Horner’ was, please let me know.