Reader Simon Hart is proud of his great great uncle Will Samways who compiled the catalogue of wedding presents sent to Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten when they married in 1947.
Simon, from Fareham, says: ‘This was his final achievement after a successful career in the Royal Navy and in the royal household.’
Samways was born in Fareham and as you can see here, present 1090 was from The Viscountess Lee of Fareham, the wife of the town’s former MP.
Samways joined the Royal Navy as a boy writer in 1896. He was based in Portsmouth and lived at Jessie Road, Southsea. He is pictured, right, in 1908 with his wife Susan and daughter Winifred.
The photographer, inset, was Oscar Owers who had a studio at 51 Fawcett Road, Southsea. Samways moved through the ranks while in Portsmouth eventually reaching the rank of Commander.
Present 859 was from his home town of the city of Portsmouth and consisted of a settee and mirror. Simon adds: ‘I presume the civic dignitaries made the choice. Were the items acquired from a Portsmouth shop or built by local craftsmen? All gifts were precious as rationing was still in force.’
Samways was in HMS Iron Duke during the time of the Battle of Jutland. As a sailor leaving Portsmouth Harbour, he would have known the Gosport peninsula well. Present 2170 was from a Mrs Glew, mothers and old people of Beryton Road, Gosport who gave a plated bacon dish. This circular road with its predominance of mock Tudor houses has taken its place in royal history. I wonder if there are people in Gosport who still remember Mrs Glew and her neighbours?
Will Samways would have held Nelson and HMS Victory in high esteem and the final picture from the present list shows a gift of timber from HMS Victory being made into a cigarette box.
Under each new round of restoration work of the great ship, timbers would be freed for fashioning into new things for the home.
Simon adds: ‘I wonder what the least common item might be? I’ve heard standard lamps were popular.’