I was interested, and if I’m honest, saddened, to read the report of ‘College reveals plans for major redevelopment’, in The News, on September 19.
I joined HMS St Vincent as a 15-year-old, on September 11, 1962.
I held the dizzy rate of Junior Electrical Mechanic, 2nd Class.
Having some very poignant memories of the place, I took to Google Earth to see what was going on.
The western corner of Mill Lane and Forton Road seems to be the sports field which is opposite the main gate, unless I’m very much mistaken.
This area also held the Sickbay for St Vincent’s inmates (er, sorry, we boys).
I also looked at what used to be the parade ground, now covered in buildings, and remember my knees knocking as I climbed the ratlines of the mast – no sign of this anymore.
At the back of St Vincent, on the northern side of Forton Creek, there was a disused outdoor swimming pool.
We used to carry out Light Jackstay evolutions, where the weight of the person in the bosun’s chair is borne by a team manning the jackstay line.
This team always let slack and dunked you into the slimy water. Happy days!
The whole of this area is now housing, as is to be the former sports field, I assume – hence my sadness.
Why, oh why, do we always have to cover every drop of green pasture, sports field or wasteland in ever more housing?
I wonder where all these extra people are living at the moment?
Is it about much-needed housing or is it about ministerial claims and developers’ profits?
I wish someone could explain it all in terms I could understand.