Portsmouth sailor recognised in 84-year-old photo - Nostalgia

Sailor Fred Whiting in Boulton Road, Southsea.
Sailor Fred Whiting in Boulton Road, Southsea.
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Last Thursday I published a photograph of the celebrations taking place in Boulton Road, Southsea, back in 1935 to mark the 25th anniversary of King George V coming to the throne.

I asked if anyone could help identify any of the faces, even though the picture was 84 years old.

A clock made by John Poole Frederick Humby in his Elm Grove, Southsea, premises.

A clock made by John Poole Frederick Humby in his Elm Grove, Southsea, premises.

A long shot it might have been, but I am glad to say I received an e-mail from Tina Taw who recognised the sailor in the background as her late father Fred Whiting.

Fred is holding two little girls, one of which, on his left as we look at the picture, is his daughter Rita. On the right is his niece Maggie.

The woman on the right with the dark hair is Fred’s sister and Tina’s aunt Dorothy, who was always known as Joey.

• Posing in front of his classic coupé sports car is Cecil Arthur Humby.

Posing in front of his classic sports car is Cecil Humby. Can anyone recognise the car or the house?

Posing in front of his classic sports car is Cecil Humby. Can anyone recognise the car or the house?

Can anyone tell me the make of the car?

Patricia Phillips, a relative Cecil’s who lives at Waterlooville and who encouraged me to publish the picture, thinks it might have been taken in St Andrew’s Road, Southsea.

As you can see, Cecil’s rakish pose has been captured in front of a house called Branksome. There is a large house called Branksome in Queen’s Avenue but this is not it.

Cecil served in the RAF Volunteer Reserve during the Second World War and was in Singapore when the Japanese invaded on February 15, 1942. 

The Thorngate Memorial Hall in Gosport which was destroyed in the blitz. Can anyone tell me more about it please? Picture: John Huntley postcard collection

The Thorngate Memorial Hall in Gosport which was destroyed in the blitz. Can anyone tell me more about it please? Picture: John Huntley postcard collection

Along with five pals, they acquired a boat and began to row across the Indian Ocean. Somehow they did it after a voyage of at least 1,700 miles.

Shortly after arriving, Cecil, 35, died. He’s buried in Delhi’s war cemetery.

• Cecil’s father John Poole Frederick Humby was a watch and clockmaker who had premises in Elm Grove, Southsea.

About a century ago he made this clock for his own use which has been passed down to his granddaughter Patricia. The face has five dials all for different purposes including telling the day of the week and month of the year. Fantastic craftsmanship. He has also put his name on the clock –  ‘John PF Humby Portsmouth’.

• I admit to not knowing much about Gosport but it is always good to include the town in this column when I can.

John Huntley sent the postcard of Thorngate Hall and perhaps some of you might tell me more and even remember it.

It was erected in 1885 in the High Street at a cost of £9,000 as a memorial to William Thorngate, a merchant in the town who died in 1868 and who founded several charities.

This marvellous building fell victim to the Luftwaffe in the early years of the war.