This amazing never-to-be-repeated photograph was taken at the former Royal Navy’s premier submarine base HMS Dolphin, Gosport.
I believe it was taken pre-January 1922 as HMS Victory can be seen afloat in the distance. She was dry-docked in that month and year.
The original caption says that there are 33 boats, as submarines are called, in the picture.
It was loaned to me by 94-year old former Petty Officer Leslie Hanks, of Drayton, who served in submarines for 10 of his 16 years of service man and boy.
In future columns I will be writing more on Les’s fascinating escapades in the early years of his service when he was sent to Singapore just as the Japanese were invading.
It will make amazing reading.
The mudflats have been dredged and the area is now a marina for hundreds of yachts
I believe, but stand to be corrected, that submarines were only numbered at the time this picture was taken. They were not given names until at least 1926 hence the numbers on the side of each conning tower.
The mudflats to the left have since been dredged and the area is now a marina for hundreds of yachts.
• How many of you who live in the Bedhampton area or grew up there remember the location of the picture on the right?
It is at the bottom of Kingscroft Lane where it turns in a hairpin bend into Bidbury Lane.
It was an engineers’ crossing for traffic into Bedhampton waterworks.
It was controlled by the signal box which may have been just a ground frame only open during working hours. It was decommissioned in the 1930s.
Behind the signal box can be seen the signalman’s cottage.
To the left, the flimsy-looking framework is, I believe, a wind pump of some sort.
We are looking north with the railway line running east and west with Bedhampton Halt a quarter of a mile to the right of the photograph.
One of the springs for the waterworks can be seen to the front.
And there’s a railway siding between that and the running main lines.
In the distance is Bidbury Mead recreation ground. And in the far distance is the A27 running through Bedhampton.
Unfortunately the whole scene is now hidden behind shrubbery so there was no chance of a then and now shot.