NOSTALGIA: Should the nation’s figurehead have one created for HMS QE?

Simon Hart's impression of how a figurehead of the Queen might look.
Simon Hart's impression of how a figurehead of the Queen might look.
A little fuzzy perhaps but here we see Portsdown Hill Road where it meets London Road. The George pub would be on the right behind the soldiers. 'Picture: Barry Cox Collection

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Earlier this week I published a series of pictures from Graham Stevens capturing Sir Alec Rose’s triumphant return to Southsea in 1968 after his solo round-the-world voyage.

’ve reprinted one of them below, but it’s not Sir Alec’s Lively Lady in the foreground in which we’re interested today, but the vessel arrowed.

The blue boat was the trawler Elsie belonging to Jan Lochan.

The blue boat was the trawler Elsie belonging to Jan Lochan.

Eagle-eyed reader Mike Nolan spotted that the blue fishing boat behind Lively Lady’s mizzen mast was the famed trawler Elsie which has featured on these pages a couple of times in the past decade.

To jog memories you might remember the picture, right, of her grounded on the shingle at Eastney after a fierce storm?

Elsie belonged to Dutchman Jan Lochan who arrived in Portsmouth before the Germans invaded the Netherlands in May 1940.

He modernised the trawler by installing winches to haul in his catch rather than having to rely on brute strength. He also used to take anglers out for a day’s fishing.

Elsie high and dry on Eastney beach.

Elsie high and dry on Eastney beach.

n Here’s one to ponder, courtesy of Remember When regular Simon Hart.

He’s written to me about permanent memorials in Portsmouth to the Queen.

Simon raises the question of whether a statue similar to that of Queen Victoria could one day be paid for by public subscription and put up alongside her great great grandmother in Guildhall Square.

But it’s Simon’s second suggestion which might happen first.

He says: ‘HMS Queen Elizabeth is our sovereign’s strongest contemporary link with the city.

‘The defunct tradition of ships’ figureheads could be revived to commemorate our monarch and celebrate our country’s largest-ever warship.

‘In the past, some ships’ figureheads have shown a likeness to monarchs but modern ships do not carry them. This aspect of folk art is well-represented in the naval museum and continues to impress and fascinate visitors with their vivid colours and stylised form.’

Simon sent me an impression of how that figurehead for HMS Queen Elizabeth might look, below.

He adds: ‘A competition could be run to find the most favoured design.

‘This could then be built for display in the historic dockyard which would be of interest for visitors and residents alike.’

What do you think about his suggestions?

Do write and let me know.