Mind that plinth Horatio! Nelson’s ‘fatal’ Victory fall

No. 1 Vernon Company 18th Hants. (Dockyard Port) Battalion Home Guard
No. 1 Vernon Company 18th Hants. (Dockyard Port) Battalion Home Guard
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The ‘team’ picture above shows No1 Vernon Company 18th Hants (Dockyard Port) Battalion Home Guard.

The photo was sent to me by Deane Clark who discovered it in a case of pictures among his father’s effects.

No Caption ABCDE PPP-140812-144603001

No Caption ABCDE PPP-140812-144603001

His father was a senior scientific officer who worked at Leigh Park House for the Admiralty during the Second World War and Deane recognises the house because of the distinctive wall.

It was taken facing the lake at the foot of the oramental steps and terrace.

Deane thinks that besides photographing mines, his father took this picture of his colleagues who fell under Vernon’s command.

They were the research team for underwater countermeasures analysing captured German mines.

Simon Hart's home-made crackers PPP-140812-145055001

Simon Hart's home-made crackers PPP-140812-145055001

The picture here of HMS Victory, the cover of an illustrated guide, rang immediate bells for Barry Clark.

He wrote saying: ‘The guide was printed by my family firm Clarks Commercial Artworks Ltd. in St James’s Road, Southsea, run by my late father Claude Clark.

‘It was probably published in the early 1950s for a Captain Ladd who I recall lived in Burrill Avenue, Cosham. He was the organiser of the tours, and had naval connections with Victory.’

Barry adds: ‘I believe the tour started at South Parade Pier and visitors were taken by coach to the Dockyard gate, then on to the Victory, a harbour trip, the naval museum and then back to afternoon tea at Kimbles restaurant in Osborne Road, Southsea.

‘As a special treat I was taken on this tour with my dad and always remember the Victory guide telling the joke about the spot where Nelson fell on the main deck, and the old lady who ‘was not surprised’ pointing to the raised plinth screwed to the deck [see 20 years ago].

And finally, we move on to Christmases past and Simon Hart’s home-made crackers.

He remembers in the 1980s, about this time of year, collecting the centre rolls from toilet paper and visiting U-Need-Us in Arundel Street, Portsmouth.

There he bought different coloured crepe paper, snaps and stickers of Father Christmas to make Christmas go with a bang.