Portsmouth ships line up in Battleship Row – Nostalgia
I have included this spectacular picture for all of you who might remember when Malta was British, which it became in 1815. There must be many of you who served there, not just with the Royal Navy, but the other services too.
During the Second World War it was attacked continuously by the Luftwaffe and the Maltese put up such a fight that the island was awarded the George Cross and it appears on the national flag.
In 1964 the government passed the Malta Independence Act and it became a republic in 1974.
If anyone remembers those days please let me know.
• Although the Beverley Sisters were famous at the time and Morecambe and Wise were to become huge family favourites on television, perhaps the name of Tommy Fields should be known more.
For he was the younger brother of no less than (Our Gracie) Gracie Fields. In fact the family name was Stansfield and although it was only Gracie who became world famous – in the 1930s she was the highest-earning film star in the world – there were also two sisters, Betty and Edith, who went into the world of show business.
The four of them adopted the name Fields.
The three Beverley Sisters were the nation’s favourites in the 1950s and often appeared in the city’s theatres. I believe they last appeared in Portsmouth at Eastney Barracks in the mid-1980s. I am sure someone will let me know.
Not a lot can be said that has not already been said about Eric and Ernie as they became known (yes, ‘Morecambe’ is mispelled in the picture). Just about the best duo of their time.
• On May 22, 1952 the Chief Commandant of the Women’s Royal Naval Service, the Duchess of Kent, was visiting the Royal Naval Barracks, HMS Victory, to present The Queen’s Colour to the Portsmouth Command. The old colours had been presented by George V 26 years previously.
These colours were firstly marched off and the the new colours marched on and the Duchess presented them to the officer of the Royal Guard, Lieutenant Bradson.
Units from every establishment of Portsmouth Command were represented as well as the two colour parties. The ceremony concluded with a march-past with the new Queen’s Colour.
I know it was 65 years ago but are there any surviving members of the parade still with us?
• Seen in an undated picture wearing heavy-duty uniforms are a driver and conductor on a Portsmouth Corporation tram. The conductor is looking pretty casual for the time. Can anyone name either of them?