The ‘awesome, powerful and threatening’ USS Iowa arrives 

The battleship USS Iowa arrives in Portsmouth to to tumultuous welcome
The battleship USS Iowa arrives in Portsmouth to to tumultuous welcome
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In the summer of 1986 the American battleship USS Iowa arrived in Portsmouth to a tumultuous welcome. Thousands lined the famous ancient battlements of Old Portsmouth to cheer the ship’s arrival, opposite.

The ship’s company were guests of HMS Vernon during her stay.

The battleship was then 44-years old but still looked as awesome, powerful and threatening as when she was in active war service.

Carrying  9x16inch, 12x5inch guns plus many modern missiles the 57,500 ton full load ship had, in wartime service, a crew of 151 officers and 2,637 enlisted ratings.

After years of sterling service the Iowa had her flag struck on March 17, 2006 and she was donated to the Pacific Battleship Centre. She is now a museum ship in Los Angeles.

At the bottom of the photograph is an escorting yacht. It belonged to Doug Barlow, a retired lieutenant commander, who loaned the photograph.

I just wonder what the feeling was inside a battleship of any nation when at action stations and all big guns were firing broadsides? These are the 16 inch guns of the Iowa, right. Imagine what it must have been like on the Japanese battleship Yamato with 18 inch guns. Awesome.

The British battleships Nelson and Rodney had nine 16 inch guns all forward in three barbettes.  I cannot even imagine the adrenalin running through the gunners when at action station.

If you watch the film Sink the Bismarck there are scenes of guns being loaded and it is thrilling.

Filming was done on HMS Vanguard when anchored in Fareham Creek, although it was supposed to have been on the Bismarck.

I love the picture, below right, not so much for the content but for the boy on the right with cheeks in his hands watching his father plying the sand spade while he looks on. You can image him asking: ‘When’s it my go dad?’

The man with the spade is wearing a suit and tie and has his trousers legs rolled up and is building a sand wall to stop the tide flooding the girls on the right. There are donkeys behind them.  

This is perhaps the late 1930s and even now, dads and older men can be seen taking control when their children/grandchildren are making sandcastles. Guilty!

I have recently been writing about the state of the mast at the former training establishment HMS Ganges. The picture, bottom left, was taken by the button boy, 144ft up while standing on the button during a mast ceremony.

At the bottom you can see his feet with the hook protruding from the button which was gripped between the knees. Nothing to hold on to just the grip to stop him falling.