NOSTALGIA: My daddy's home from war and he's dressed as a penguin!
Tuesday, November 10, 1936, was the last day of tram services on Portsea Island.Â On that day four gaily-decorated carsÂ ran in convoy and souvenir tickets were issued.Â
The last service ran from Guildhall Square at 11.45am running to Bradford Road, along Victoria Road, Albert Road andÂ Highland Road to the Eastney Road depot.Â Number 106Â was the last car in the convoy.
The tramsÂ must have been decorated in Eastney depot beforeÂ arriving at the Guildhall, so does this photograph show car 106 leavingÂ the depot for the final run through Milton or has it just arrived at Eastney after that trip?
The houses in the background are still standing and the street is packed so this form of transport must have been popular. Above the tram are double trolleybus wires.Â Immediately the trams were taken off the road the first trolleybuses ran on the 17-18 and 6-6 routes. I know it's more than 80Â years ago butÂ is there anyone still with us who witnessed this occasion?
'¢Â Two weeks ago I published a photoÂ of HM Ships Intrepid and FearlessÂ both of which saw action in the Falklands war. I asked for memories of the ships and Graham Mellers, a former communications yeoman, sent me thisÂ about Fearless'sÂ commander, CaptÂ Jeremy Larken.
Graham says: '˜The captainÂ ordered that a look-out had to be stationed on the roof of the bridge to face the elements during an attack. Rather than send that man out alone, he went up there with him during anÂ air raid and led the ship from there. What bravery.Â I realised the meaning of true leadership.'
Arriving back in Portsmouth, Graham remembers his family waiting to greet him but they did not recognise him.Â '˜We knew we would get a good reception, so my then young family of two small children, Clare and AndrewÂ (aged sevenÂ and fourÂ respectively), made a '˜welcome home daddy'Â poster on a bed sheet to display as we docked.
'˜They knew I was part of the communications department and should have been somewhere on the flag deck.Â Excited they waved it but as we pulled alongside they were unable to see any sign of me.Â The reasonÂ was because the navigating officer, Lt-Cdr John Prime, thought it a good idea to have someone dressed as a penguin, becauseÂ we had seen so many, on the bow behind the Jackstaff! Yes, it was me!'
'¢Â Last week I mentioned the Horsa glider crash inÂ the Meon Valley at Warnford. IÂ have found out more about the crash and how the King's Own Scottish Borderers were involved.
Airspeed Horsa 1 crashed on a training mission on April 4, 1944. One of the glider pilots was SgtÂ Henry Joel, a member of the Glider Pilot Regiment Army Air CorpsÂ 2nd Wing based at RAF Keevil atÂ Trowbridge, Wiltshire.
Sgt Joel was one of two pilots on that fateful mission and was part of a group training exercise codenamed Dreme. The HorsaÂ was being towed by a Short's Stirling Bomber LJ842 and the exercise consisted of a cross-country night tow comprising three legs after which the gliders were to be released over RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.
On the leg from Lewes to Winchester the cloud base was lowÂ and the Stirling'sÂ pilot decided to fly below it. This being wartime it would have been extremely dark below the cloudÂ and the tow aircraft and glider hit the top of a tree.Â The Horsa was immediately released and crashed into a field east of Warnford church.Â The Stirling flew on for about 15 minutes before crashing at 9pmÂ near Romsey, killing theÂ pilot and fiveÂ crew.Â Â
In the Horsa, StaffÂ SgtÂ Joel, 22,Â and the other pilot, SgtÂ William Walker, 24, were killed. Also on board were 24 members of No3 platoon, A Company, 7th (Airborne) Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers who were also killed.Â SgtÂ Joel isÂ buried at St. Mary Magdalene Church, Great Burstead, Billericay, Essex.Â