Passionate about Portsmouth's history? Bob needs your help...

On Thursday, September 13, I published a photograph of minesweepers tied up in HMS Vernon and suggested they were ton-class ships.

Monday, 17th September 2018, 5:35 pm
Updated Monday, 17th September 2018, 6:48 pm
Thanks to my very knowledgeable readers, I now have a lot more information about the minesweepers at HMS Vernon

Thanks to more informed readers dropping me a line, I now have more information about the photograph, above. 

Mike Nolan states eight of the ships were definitely ton-class minesweepers. Four together on the right with a tank cleaner which is named either Bern or Lundy on the outside. 

Of the two at the pier head, the inside one is not English but possibly a European country. 

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Janice Croad wants to know what the blue pillars in Hilsea were used for or represent

Andrew Knight tells me most of the ships shown are ton-class minesweepers but in the background M906 is the Belgian sweeper Bredel of the ex US agile-class.

The ship outboard of her appears to have a slightly different bridge arrangement to the ton-class ships and may be also another visiting NATO ship.

France, Netherlands and Belgium all had minesweepers that were either ex Royal Navy or a design based on the ton-class, sirius-class for the French, or dorkum-class for the Dutch.

It may be that all the ships may be taking part in joint exercises.

Incidentally the sweeper in the foreground is probably HMS Coniston as she was completed with an open bridge and a lattice mast.

The other tons all seem to have closed bridges and tripod masts. She was launched in 1952 and broken up in 1970.


I am sure I have mentioned the pillars in a column some 10 or so years ago but I have forgotten the answer.

Janice Croad, of Waterlooville, tells me they are located adjacent to Portfield Road, Hilsea and would love to have more information on them.

I am expecting a few replies to this one.


The photograph of well dressed ladies was sent in by Mrs Rulf of Copnor.

She found it among the possessions of her aunt, Laurel Bishop.

I know it is some time ago but does anyone have the faintest idea what the occasion was?

I have a feeling it is of wedding party guests.

There is a chance the lady with the large hat, fourth from the left middle row, and the gentleman next to her may be the bride and groom.

Perhaps an informal wedding without a white dress. Or she might have been a First World War widow and has remarried. Any further suggestions are welcome.


Regular correspondent Richard Boryer sent in a photograph taken with his late father's camera. It was on a glass plate negative which he managed to lift.

Centre far left is his father Dennis. Richard asks if anyone can recognise themselves and can tell what ship these sailors were serving on.