Last night at sea for royal yacht sailors after a global voyage – Nostalgia 

Last night at sea for the company of the Royal Yacht Britannia with hammocks slung for the last time. Picture: Mike Hill
Last night at sea for the company of the Royal Yacht Britannia with hammocks slung for the last time. Picture: Mike Hill
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When a naval ship has been at sea for months, on returning to Portsmouth she is timed to arrive in the harbour in daylight at a given time.

The night before arrival is called Channel Night when the ship’s company is fired up and ready for long leave and be reunited with their families once again.

Evacuated children from Battersea who arrived at South Harting with their teacher Mr W Greetham on the far right.

Evacuated children from Battersea who arrived at South Harting with their teacher Mr W Greetham on the far right.

Here we see members of HM Royal Yacht Britannia in May 1963 waiting for such a time in the Channel. She had just completed a circumnavigation of the world and was due back from where she started.

This picture includes Mike Hill, John Howberry-Gale, John McIntyre and Jan Collier.

Above their heads can be seen hammocks slung for the last night aboard and the whole photograph exudes happiness.

•The Greetham family (pronounced Gret’am) are well known in the village of South Harting, four miles south-east of Petersfield on the West Sussex border with Hampshire.

With Cottage View running off to the right, here's the Spread Eagle with the glorious carved wooden eagle on the roof.

With Cottage View running off to the right, here's the Spread Eagle with the glorious carved wooden eagle on the roof.

The family are not old school, however. Mr W Greetham was a Londoner who arrived in the village in 1939 with children who had been evacuated from Battersea for their own safety. Although the blitz had not begun at the time those in the know knew what was coming.

Mr Greetham arrived with his wife and daughter Pam. A son, Colin came some six months later.

Colin sent me several photographs of village life in the 1950s which I shall publish in the next couple of weeks.

Many of the children remained in the village after the war and made their homes there.

A popular locals' pub, the Spread Eagle was run by Edna Forster who took over the pub aged 38.

A popular locals' pub, the Spread Eagle was run by Edna Forster who took over the pub aged 38.

In this picture the children pose for the camera with the local children on the wall on the left probably wondering what all the fuss was about.

• Occupying the corner of Arundel Street and Cottage View at Landport, Portsmouth, the Spread Eagle public house was an attractive Victorian Brickwood’s establishment.

It was particularly remembered for the impressive carving of an eagle mounted at on the roof.

It was an unmissable feature of the pub although it was removed in later years when it became unsafe.

The pub traded until 1972 when, a year after it had been taken over by London brewer Whitbread, the house was demolished for the redevelopment of Arundel Street.

Edna Forster took over the Spread Eagle from her mother Lottie when she was just 38, very young in those days. She had assistance from her husband Trevor.

Note that there are no optics behind the bar as it was a beer house at first. However, it did sell good, strong, rough scrumpy cider.