NOSTALGIA: The navy sea monster that was never given the chance to roar

Pictured in Portsmouth Harbour on August 28, 1965 is the Majestic class carrier HMS Leviathan. (Michael Lennon)

On February 13 I published a photo of Dickie Dyer, one of the many watermen operating within Portsmouth Harbour.

In the distance can be seen an aircraft carrier which I suggested could have been HMS Victorious.

In 1977 Sir Alec Rose attended a scouts presentation to the 3rd Leigh Park Scouts. (Daphne Baker.)

Thank you to all who e-mailed saying that it was in fact HMS Leviathan, a ship that was never commissioned into service, pictured.

She was launched in 1945 but never completed and spent her life in Portsmouth Harbour.

She was one of four Majestic-class carriers built.

The others were Majestic,Powerful and Terrible, which were sold to Australia, Canada and India.

This shopping parade at Widley has seen businesses come and go for nearly a century.

The carrier HMS Venerable had been sold to the Netherlands and renamed Karel Doorman.

After a fire the turbines and boilers were stripped from Leviathan and refittedin that ship.

The Karel Doorman was eventually sold to Argentina.

No purchaser could be found for Leviathan and she remained in Portsmouth where she was cannibalised for spares for the other three ships.

In 1968 she was towed to Inverkeithing to be scrapped.

The photograph of HMS Leviathan comes from Michael Lennon’s book Warships in Focus which contains 180 photographs of every class of ship in service in the Royal Navy between the 1950s and 1990s.

Ships that took part in the Falklands Conflict are well represented as is the Cod War of the early 1970s.

Michael is a renowned naval photographer and anyone who has an interest in naval shipping should try to get hold of his superb books.

It may be difficult to obtain a copy of the book, pictured, but try New To You Books in Cosham High Street on (023) 9232 1089.

Sally Alford who runs Manhattan Cakes, in Widley Parade, London Road, has sent me an e-mail asking if anyone knows anything about her shop, pictured, from days past.

She wrote: ‘I know that our buildings went up in 1926 and I am told our shop was originally a chemist.

‘I would love to learn more about its history but haven’t managed to find either a clear photo of our parade of shops or a concise history.

‘When we were putting up the sign for our cake shop in 2015 we had to take down the previous shop sign and behind that we could see the outline of a previous name, Pinewood Studios. We took photos of it before it was covered up again .

‘Some of our customers think it was once a recycled furniture shop. If any of your readers has a photograph from the past I would love to see it.’

The Co-op next door, which was very busy, has closed since the picture below was taken and is now a Co-op funeral directors. Wonderful.

Just what is needed in an area some distance from other local shops.

In 1977 there was a presentation by round-the-world yachtsman Sir Alec Rose to the 3rd Leigh Park Scouts based at Trosnant School.

The boys are all wearing the Queen’s Silver Jubilee badges.

In the back row standing next to Sir Alec is Tony Baker, pictured.

Can anyone recognise the other scouts?

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