Swastika appeared on Royal Navy ship as symbol of wisdom and good luck, not darkness and terror

Believe it or not, the controversial swastika emblem once appeared on the crest of the battleship HMS Emperor of India. In the picture on the right it can be seen in the centre of the shield to the front of this diving team from the ship.The picture was sent in by Mr BR Webb, of Purbrook. His father is among the men but not named.

Thursday, 18th April 2019, 5:01 pm
Men from HMS Emperor of India's diving team in the 1920s. Picture:  BR Webb postcard collection.
Men from HMS Emperor of India's diving team in the 1920s. Picture: BR Webb postcard collection.

It appears that before the emblem was adopted by the Nazi Party in Germany in 1933 no one thought there was anything bad about it.

But what many of you might not know is that there are two ways of displaying the emblem.

The way that is depicted on the shield, what is known as a right-handed swastika, means in Hindi, wisdom, luck and riches.

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1953 coronation street party, Seymour Street, Buckland, Portsmouth.

But turn it around, as the Nazis did, so it becomes a left-handed symbol and it means west, as in the point of the compass, and stands for darkness, death and destruction to the enemy.

Whatever, I think if it was displayed in any direction today it would be frowned upon.

• Here’s the final picture from Mick Johnson of the coronation street party in 1953 in Seymour Street, Buckland, Portsmouth.

Mick has named some of the people on view.

HMS Vanguard passing TS Foudroyant, 1954. Picture:: Barry Cox postcard collection.

His aunt, Eva Johnson, is cutting the cake with his uncle Victor Tee's face peeping out immediately behind her.

His Aunt Alma is standing second from the left with the bowl in her hand and a chap called Ernie Shawyer is standing just behind her.

If you recognise anyone else please let me know.

• The postcard of HMS Vanguard passing TS Foudroyant was bought on board the training ship in Portsmouth Harbour in 1954.

This bell frame is on display at Bursledon Brickworks Museum, Swanwick. Made of oak, note the mortise and tenon joints.

As can be seen, the last battleship in the Royal Navy is passing her on her way out of harbour.

To the port side of Foudroyant can be seen many of the ship’s boats and some boys can be seen rowing a gig, a large rowing boat, across her stern.

In those far off days it cost just 2d to send the postcard.

In recent years Foudroyant has been preserved in Hartlepool and returned to her original name of Trincomalee.

• And finally… this 18th century bell frame is on display at the Bursledon Brickworks Museum, Swanwick.

It shows the skill of the carpenters of the time with all the joints hand-made with chisel and mallet no doubt.

The massive mortise and tenon joints must have taken an age to cut through the oak beams.

The museum is well worth a visit if you have a spare Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday off.

It is open from 11am until 4pm.