The men who built one of the navy's most famous warships '“ Nostalgia

The photograph of the artists who exhibited at the Hot Walls, Old Portsmouth, that I published on Thursday, December 22, was recognised by Steve Pook who tells me one of the men was his grandfather.

Monday, 31st December 2018, 10:54 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 11:17 am
Captioned by Stephen Cribb as Iron Dukers, these were some of the Portsmouth men who built HMS Iron Duke. Picture: Barry Cox Collection

He says: 'Victor Pook (farthest on the right next to the window) was an artist on the Hot Walls for many years.

'˜Vic, as he was known, lived at 14 Hartley Road North End, Portsmouth,  for as long as I can remember with my grandmother Mabel Pook.

'˜They had three boys Victor Pook, Robert Pook and Reginald Pook and Robert  was my father.  An artistic family association indeed.

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HMAS Australia arrives back in Portsmouth on March 28, 1935, with the Duke of Gloucester on board. Picture: Barry Cox Collection

'¢Â It is always a delight to see the Queen when she visits Portsmouth.

Here she is at the Silver Jubilee Fleet Review in 1977 where, with her smile as radiant as ever, she is meeting the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Councillor George Austin. In the background is the royal yacht Britannia.

'¢Â Back in 1934 His Royal Highness the Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, toured Australia on a royal visit.

He was representing King George V at the centenary celebrations of Victoria.

Victor Pook is on the far right. Picture: Dorren Gowing

He also unveiled and dedicated Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance and the ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney. The duke also visited many other states, cities and towns.

The duke left Australia on December 10, 1934, in HMAS Australia visiting New Zealand, Fiji, Panama and Jamaica before arriving back in Portsmouth on March 28, 1935.

HMAS Australia had an illustrious career.

During the war it is believed that she was the first allied ship to be hit by a suicide kamikaze aircraft in which her commander Captain Dechaineux and 29 of her company were killed. She was decommissioned in 1954 after sailing nearly half-a-million miles.

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Councillor G Austin greeting the Queen on South Railway Jetty, 1977.

'¢Â Named after the first Duke of Wellington, HMS Iron Duke was laid down in Portsmouth Dockyard on January 12, 1912, and launched nine months later to the day on October 12. She was commissioned into the Home Fleet on March 1914 as the fleet flagship. She took part in the Battle of Jutland in 1916. She was sent to scrap in 1946.

If you are of Portsmouth heritage one of your ancestors might have worked in the dockyard and might possibly be in the photograph which was captioned '˜Iron Dukers' by famed Southsea photographer Stephen Cribb.

I wonder what the thoughts might have been of some young apprentice, proud to have worked on the ship's construction, on seeing her go for breaking up 30 years later.