Who remembers the adrenaline rush of the bosun’s chair?

In these days of helicopters I wonder if transferring sailors from ship to ship still carries on in the Royal Navy?In the old days the man would be secured in a bosun’s chair attached to a cable slung between ships.

Monday, 11th November 2019, 6:45 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th November 2019, 6:00 am
The transfer of personnel between ships in a bosun’s chair was called highlining.

The ships had to remain the same distance apart and travel at the same speed while the transfer was done.

I imagine it was both an exhilarating yet somewhat frightening experience, especially if the ships closed up and the cable slackened.

The slack water between the ships would appear to be a boiling maelstrom making the experience even more worrying.

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Can anyone remember using this form of transfer from ship to ship?

• Several readers have, thankfully, sent in answers to questions I posed about photographs I have published in the past few weeks.

Tony Wise says the two photographs published on November 4 and 5 were indeed taken at Bedhampton and both were in Timsbury Crescent.

Robert Pragnell put me out of my misery and reminded me that the short section of road running from Commercial Road to Russell Street, behind the original position of Queen Victoria’s statue, was Percy Street. Of course it was… many thanks Robert.

• Doug Barlow, of Emsworth, pointed out that the great aerial picture of HMS Vanguard showed her on her way to the breaker’s yard.

As he was leaving in his boat from Greenoch, Scotland, he saw from his cabin window tugs approaching and then Vanguard came into view.

The starboard anchor has been released ready for ‘letting go’.

So, of course, the location of the picture was Faslane.

Later in the day Doug went to the breaker’s yard at Gare Loch where one of Vanguard's guns had already been cut by the breaker’s torch.

Did you know that some parts of the ship were brought back to the Portsmouth area?

As part of the scrapping process, sections of 5.9-inch, pre-atomic steel plate which was uncontaminated with radionuclides, were recovered from her and used for experiments in shielding the whole body at the Radiobiological Research Laboratory (now DSTL) at Alverstoke, Gosport.

• Back to the photographs of October 7.

Deryck Swetnham tells me the TON-class ship at the Camper & Nicholson buoys is M1197 Overton, which they completed in 1956.

That same year she was sold to India as Karwar. This should help to identify the cruiser pictured at South Railway Jetty.

It was a Colony-class cruiser but not Mauritius (the bridge front is wrong) or Nigeria (sold to India 1954), so the most likely candidate is Bermuda.

The battleship in the photograph of October 31, was of the King George V Class, probably HMS Anson. The vessel next to the one with the clipper bow is probably a Fairmile B Type Motor Launch, the photograph was not clear enough to read the number.

• Seeing the picture of Southsea skating rink brought back painful memories for Pam Spencer.

She says: ‘During 1951 my boyfriend and I used to cycle from Drayton to go skating two or three times a week until I fell over and broke my wrist.

‘I managed to cycle to the then Royal Hospital in Commercial Road, Landport.

‘They put my arm in a splint and my boyfriend cycled back to Drayton trawling my bike while I went home on the bus.

'My mum nearly had a fit when he arrived at my house with my bike and no me.

‘Luckily she was able to go with me back to the hospital to have it set in plaster the next day, which was not done very well as I have evidence to this day of a very disfigured wrist.

‘Needless to say we did not go skating again.'

• Clare Jury remembers the much-missed Hayling Billy.

She says: 'My parents moved to Langstone in the early 1950s and the garden backed on to the railway line.

‘My brother and I used to love rushing down the garden and climbing on the fence to wave madly as the Hayling Billy chugged past! Memories of the Railway Children.

‘My father would take the train to Havant to join his commuter train up to London.

‘As a family we would often go on the Hayling Billy to go down to the beaches and spend the day there.

‘Watching the crossing gates opening and shutting, the traffic slowly building up, was all part of the fun.

‘One of the burly men who looked after the gates would be ‘invited’ round home when it was time to dispatch some of the chickens my father kept.’ Happy days eh, Clare?