The quaint tale of an artist and a stranded submariner taking tea in Old Portsmouth

Last Wednesday I published a photograph of the searchlight located next to Tower House, Old Portsmouth.

Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 9:36 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:33 pm
Reputed to be fact, the captain and crew from this stranded submarine went ashore visited W.L. Wyllies house for a drink.

It is always amazing how one photograph can lead to many anecdotes and associated photographs.

Robert James emailed the photograph, above, to me to say: ‘You published a picture of the Round Tower which connected with the artist Wyllie's House which in turn connected with a searchlight. 

‘I can connect it with a submarine. Some time ago I purchased a postcard of the submarine H23 aground at Point but could not place the exact location or indeed any record of the grounding.

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Kathleen Munks, one of the Empire girls featured last Thursday.

'Fast forward to yesterday, when I was researching Tower House and the searchlight, I came across this quote which could quite well have been written for Boys Own Paper but is reputed to be fact.

‘The Portsmouth Paper No. 68 W LWyllie, RA The Portsmouth Years carries a piece which reads:

"John Wyllie, W L 's grandson, who lived at Tower House between the ages of six and 16, recounted the tale of a submarine captain who misjudged the tide and distance from the shore, grounding on the beach next to Tower House.

“W L emerged from his studio to greet the sailor as he climbed from his tiny conning tower, then fetching a long plank, which he placed between the terrace wall and the submarine, and led the crew across into his studio.”

Viewed sometime circa 1960 we are in the Southsea model village with a Tudor style house. Photo: Barry Cox collection.

‘As for my postcard, the wooden posts are the ones around the Round Tower which locates it to this story. I hope that you find this story as incredibly appealing as I do. A typical quaint English tale – ground my submarine and drop in for afternoon tea.'

Last Thursday I published a photograph send in by Mick Cooper of girls on stage at the Empire Theatre in Edinburgh Road and asked if anyone recognised them.

I am glad to say I received a reply from Rob Lipsham who told me his wife recognised her late sister Kathleen Munks, below. She was third from the right and aged about 14 at the time. She attended school at John Pound’s. Sadly she died in 2008.

I have not visited the Southsea model village since about the time the photograph, below right, was taken so have no idea if the Tudor style house is still standing.

Thousands gather in Broad Street, Old Portsmouth to greet the homecoming of HMS Hermes from the Falklands.

Are you one of girls? Can you date this for me?

Have you ever seen Broad Street, Old Portsmouth, as it is in the photograph, below? 

On this occasion it was the homecoming of the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes and her arrival in Portsmouth Harbour. What a fabulous greeting the ship and her crew received on July 21 in 1982. The Hermes had been at sea since April 5, and returned after 108 days at sea.