Memories soon came flooding back at Fort Cumberland reunion

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Tony Cook, a retired Royal Marines Officer, who served at Fort Cumberland in the 1960s, helped organise a reunion

After a long period of planning and preparation the Fort Cumberland Reunion finally took place on October 10.

Around 65 of us met up at the Royal Marines Association Club Portsmouth.

Many could not place the building but soon remembered it as the old sports pavilion.

We were made welcome by the chairman, Polly Thomas and Heather who made an excellent job of looking after us.

It was not long before memories came flooding back and it was interesting watching folk trying to recognise old pals who now had very little hair, wore glasses and walked with a limp.

Colonel Sam Pope then said a few words about the closure of Fort Cumberland and as the Commanding Officer, the role he played in retaining trade training in the Corps at Royal Marines Poole.

We then had a brief from a Mrs Berridge who served as a WREN at the Fort in the early 1940s. This was followed by Jim Grady who was a chef at the Fort looking after the Special Forces again the early 1940s.

We moved down to Fort Cumberland where we encountered a completely new entrance to most of us. Our way was barred by an enormous security gate with a intercom system.

The first thing I noticed was that the old wooden guard room had been removed. The Fort seemed very clean and tidy and was missing all the buzz, vehicles, stores and tradesman marching around in their green pussers’ coveralls. However, many happy recollections were taking place and guys were moving off to to areas they had been associated with.

Then at 6pm we all met up at The Royal Maritime Club, Queen Street, Portsmouth. Many remembered this building as The Sailors Rest Home in the 1960s. It started with pre-dinner drinks followed by dinner in the ballroom.

It was not long before every one was tucking in and enjoying the company and background music professionally provided by Micky and Grace.

On completion of the meal I said a number of thank you’s to people who had helped in arranging the reunion. I then made a toast to absent friends and Fort Cumberland.

All in all it was a most successful and enjoyable day.

People who could not make it for various reasons were Paul Whitehead, Stuart Syrad, Derek Oakley, Snips Parsons, Bill Hedger, Ken Armstrong, Roland Playford and many others, perhaps next time.