Orkney service marks HMS Vanguard sinking centenary

Orkney service marks HMS Vanguard sinking centenary

Wreck of HMS VanguardImage copyrightPA
Image captionRoyal Navy divers changed the White Ensign on the wreck of HMS Vanguard as part of the commemorations

A service to mark the centenary of one of the biggest tragedies in the history of the Royal Navy has taken place in Orkney.

More than 800 people died when HMS Vanguard sank in Scapa Flow.

A series of internal explosions ripped through the battleship at about 23:20 on 9 July 1917.

A memorial service was held in St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, on Sunday evening to mark the exact moment of the explosions.

Commemorative events also took place above the wreck site and at the Lyness Naval Cemetery where 41 of the men are buried.

The White Ensign on the wreck of the Vanguard was also changed by a team of Royal Navy Divers.

A book of remembrance compiled for the commemorations was handed over to the people of Orkney at the service.

HMS Vanguard
Image captionHMS Vanguard sunk almost immediately after the accidental explosions

Built in 1909, Vanguard was the eighth ship to bear the name and was one of the new generation of Dreadnought battleships.

On 9 July 1917, the ship had been conducting exercises in Scapa Flow and had anchored for the evening.

At 23:20 a series of catastrophic explosions, most likely caused by an accidental magazine explosion, resulted in the ship sinking almost immediately.

Of the 845 men aboard, only two survived.

As part of the commemorations, Royal Navy divers from HM Naval Base Clyde’s Northern Diving Group (NDG) travelled to Orkney to change the White Ensign on the wreck of Vanguard.

Wreck of HMS Vanguard
Image copyrightPA
Wreck of HMS Vanguard
Image copyrightPA

Leading diver James Brown said: “The waters of Scapa have always held a special place in NDG’s heart. Whenever an opportunity arises for us to work in Orkney there is a competition within the team to secure a place.”

Naval regional commander Scotland and Northern Ireland, Captain Chris Smith said the history of the Royal Navy and Scapa Flow were “tightly entwined”.

“The devastating explosion, completely accidental rather than a result of enemy action, was a shock when it happened and the tragic loss of more than 840 lives is still felt through their descendants and those in Orkney who feel passionately that we should mark the centenary in appropriate fashion,” he said.

“I am very happy to be joined by the ship’s companies of HMS Dasher and HMS Pursuer as well as the Northern Diving Group and personnel from the current HMS Vanguard as we support the welcome efforts of Orcadians in commemorating the loss of this great battleship and all but two of her crew in suitable fashion.”


 GANGES CREW REMEMBER THIS LAST YEARWell guess what? We are doing it again this year.



at the Maritime Museum Southbank Brisbane.

Monday 31st July 2017

Time turn up 1100 to1145 up spirits 1200

Courtesy of PUSSER’S RUM




Minutes of the HMS GANGES Association – Qld Division AGM 2017 held on 24 June



Present: Dexley Johnson, Jack Gardiner, Ian Thomson, Kennedy Anderson, Charlie Greensmith, Graham Slaney, Judy Gardiner, Joy Thomson, Linda Anderson, Lorna Greensmith.

Apologies:  Roger Bower, Brian Samuels, Ray Barker, David Bird, George Baker and Jack Stacey.


Acceptance of the Minutes of last AGM and Extraordinary General meeting was proposed

by Charlie Greensmith and seconded by Ian Thomson. Minutes accepted unanimously.


Executive positions vacated.


Dexley Johnson appointed by the meeting as temp. Chairman.


Dexley Johnson called for nominations for Executive positions of President, Treasurer and Secretary from the floor. Charlie Greensmith nominated Graham Slaney for President. Seconded by Ian Thomson.


Carried unanimously.


Graham Slaney took the Chair.


Dexley Johnson nominated Linda Anderson for Treasurer. Seconded by Ian Thomson.


Carried unanimously.


Ken Anderson nominated Lorna Greensmith for Secretary. Seconded by Jack Gardiner.


Carried unanimously.


The President asked the meeting if anyone is aware of people not receiving his emails to please notify him.


Treasurer’s Report Presented. Acceptance moved by Charlie Greensmith. Seconded by Lorna Greensmith. Passed.


Ian Thomson asked why some members are awarded 50 and 60yr. certificates from UK Div.

and others are not. Charlie and Ken explained that in order to receive certificates people must be a member of the UK Div. for at least 5 years.


Dexley, Charlie and Ken reaffirmed that when the Qld. Div. formed it was decided at a general meeting that ass. members could serve on the committee owing to the small number of members able and willing to participate due to large distances.


Lorna Greensmith proposed Charlie Greensmith as Rum Bosun due to his long associations

with South Trade …importers of Pussers Rum… who provide us with rum for our tots at meetings. Seconded by Joy Thomson and Dexley Johnson. Carried. Much thanks to our previous Rum Bosun, Ray Barker, who is unwell at the present time. We all wish him a speedy recovery.


A gathering for the 47th anniversary of Black Tot day to take place on Mon. 31st July in the ward room of the Diamantina at the Maritime Museum was suggested. Charlie to contact

Alan Bibby to confirm.


Christmas party to be held at Palms Resort at Beenleigh on Sunday 26th Nov. 17. More info.

will be sent in the newsletter. Dexley suggested fish and chips or chicken from a local fast food shop as an alternative to a BBQ. Decision still open.


Because of the increased cost of UK membership, Lorna raised the issue of perhaps joining our president as a member of the UK Div. as a position rather than a person so that we would always have a rep. to the UK. Ken and Charlie said they would happily serve that function as they were members already and that they did not think the UK Div. would let us do that anyway.


Linda asked that a reminder be sent out in the next newsletter that yearly fees are now due.


Meeting closed at 12.30pm.

Update from Shotley Pier

Now we have started taking payments, people are paying online at Crowdfunder, and by post. The enthusiasm and reminiscences about the pier are truly heartwarming.

We have reached  17% of our target which is a bit on the low side at this stage,. Please help us reach more people by forwarding this newsletter and tell your friends and family about the project. The Crowdfunder pages are great to look at.

A big Thank You to Sarah at the Shotley Rose Pub for her warm welcome at our drop in session,  plenty of people came by to say hallo, and most brought their cheque book with them !

Investors pictured here are delighted to be involved, and are looking forward to strolling on the pier once more



Several people have asked about buying shares for children. We cannot issue shares to anyone under 16 due to our constitution, but you can hold them in trust by filling in the relevant form and we will transfer them into the child’s name on their 16th birthday.

Local Foot Ferry operator Chris, has sent us this 1961 Ferry timetable, its close to our hearts because the foot ferry departed from the Pier in those days

The foot ferry of today has been reinstated by Chris to bring the service up to date with journeys from the Shotley Marina pontoon to Harwich and Felixstowe, and there is plenty of YouTube footage to show the trips – Harwich is a matter of minutes by ferry but over an hour by road. Have a look at their website

To give it the full name, “Harwich Harbour Foot and Bicycle Ferry”  is available to have day trips or one way travel, they also do seal watching trips. Chris has added a bike hire service  and can also offer river cruises.

It’s the beginning of Co-ops Fortnight and we get to tell our #coopstories   Here is our first poster, deliberately a bit brash to catch the eye on Twitter


Shotley Pier

Shotley Pier is a 122 year old Victorian working pier, sited on the peninsula, bounded by two beautiful rivers, River Orwell and River Stour. The area is  a designated AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and UN Ramsar Convention Wetlands with protection from over-development.

The pier has been for sale for several years. Our community group wants to buy and renovate the pier, to enable people to walk on it, and to enable activities such as leisure fishing, crabbing and other activities that interact with the water such as kayaking, rowing, boarding of ferries and boats for day trips.

The pier was used from its earliest days to ferry foot passengers between Harwich and Shotley, saving hours of road travel from Essex to Suffolk.  British Railways Motor Boat Services issued this poster, showing the railway heritage links of the pier.

The views are stunning, the sunsets are amazingly beautiful and photographers, artists and the public love taking pictures and creating art from the changing scene at all times of the day. Many artists and photographers visit for the sunsets, the beauty of the mudflats and the ever changing tidal scenes.

Our group is made up of local people who have watched the pier decline, who wanted to get involved to restore the pier, and create an asset for the community.   Viewing it from the pub window or walking along the prom are the main ways to enjoy it these days, and we want to see it repaired.

The pier has a great history of seafaring use by the Royal Mail, the Royal Navy, and local fishing boats. Local inshore fishing ceased to use the pier more than 10 years ago. The local community now uses the landside area for walking,  launching kayaks and small craft on a short nearby public slipway.   The heritage links to railways,  postal history are well known, and we know that the coal merchant who resided at the Bristol Arms used the pier to unload coal shipped by barge. The coaldust is evident on this photo, along with the turretted tollgate.

Local legend had it that there were lamp-posts on the pier, this photo is great proof the story is true, and gives us the ideal look to aim for in our restoration.

The bay has Harwich port and Felixstowe port within view, so the pier has a fantastic close up view of large numbers of shipping movements rather than a distant sea horizon. People come from miles around to enjoy the busy river views, and to enjoy the mild weather conditions of the sheltered harbour.  Imagine being able to stand at the end of the pier to watch monster cruise ships float by,  they feel almost within arms reach  of the hammerhead.

There is an historical link with the Arthur Ransome book “We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea” and the pier is mentioned in the plot as well as pictured in the book. His work is being celebrated locally in 2017.

HMS Ganges was a large Royal Navy base a few hundred yards from the pier and has a long honourable history of use. We have a lot of photos showing that the trainees at the base used the pier on a daily basis to assist its use of the Admiralty pier nearby. Here is Rear Admiral Sir Reginald Tyrwhitt walking along Shotley Pier as he relinquished his command of the Harwich force in 1919.

The community shares you buy will give you membership of The Shotley Heritage Community Benefit Society Ltd. Your involvement could be as active as helping to repair and paint it, attend meetings or keep in touch by email and occasional visits. This should be viewed as an investment in community rather than to get a financial return as there won’t be any dividends payable. The focus is on restoring it to working use as well as leisure use such as strolling and fishing.

We are aiming to create several apprenticeships to give young people skills to enter the regional industry of coastal civil engineering, and we will repair the pier out into the water by stages if funds are too limited to do the whole task at once. We already have many skilled volunteers ready to get stuck in.

The Society has formed a large steering committee, which brings together more than 40 years of collective experience in pier operations, engineering skills,  maritime communities expertise, and social enterprise know how.  In order to ensure continuity of service,  as soon as funds permit, the Society will appoint an experienced project manager, who will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the business, overseen by the Directors.

We invite you to review our share prospectus and look at our website for further details of our project.

Join us, and own a piece of this unique  Victorian pier.

HMS GANGES Queensland Division Newsletter – June 2017





JUNE 2017

Welcome aboard everyone,

Welcome to the June newsletter, my first topic is to ask your assistance, I have been putting together a complete up-to-date members list with limited success especially regarding the members below whom I believe my contact details are out of date, emails to these folks have been sent back as undelivered, phones disconnected etc. if anyone is in touch with any of these fine people, could you please ask them to contact me, so I can send them these newsletters.

Mike Barron

Dennis Cooper

David Rees

Richard Roe

Jack Stacy

AGM As you are all (hopefully) aware, the AGM will be held on 24th June 2017, if anyone has any motions, or things they wish to put forward / suggest / discuss can I ask you to either forward it to myself or to Lorna (Sec) so we can put some kind of agenda together (closing date for items will be 20th June)

MEMBERSHIP The number of members currently is 26 (including the list above of course)

CONSTITUTION I have been asked by a member if we have a Constitution, I have investigated this thoroughly and discovered that as we are “Incorporated” (which we have to be, to raise money through annual dues, raffles etc, under Queensland State Regulation), we are covered by a generic standard Constitution that covers all small clubs and associations throughout the State.

NEWSLETTER QUIZ Each month I will try and entertain you and maybe test a memory or two, this month for the history experts..

Name the Ship and class (answer next newsletter)

VISIT TO HMS GANGES (2016) – featuring Mr Ian Critchley (President WA) Found this video on YouTube for anyone interested – https:// It runs for 25 minutes and I was shocked at the decay that’s has occurred. I do hope you spot some old shipmates in it.

May was a fairly quiet month so not a lot to write about, as this is YOUR newsletter, if you would like anything added then please contact Scotty (details below). In keeping with History (and particularly Royal Navy Historical facts) I would like to present monthly a few items from history..and something from today’s Royal Navy.

1509 – 1660 Historic Periods
Aware of the growing importance of naval power, Henry VIII built up his own standing fleet, known as the Navy Royal. This enlarged fleet required a more developed administration which eventually saw the establishment of the ‘Navy Board’. When Civil War broke out, the Commonwealth regime created the most powerful and effectively run fleet Britain had ever seen. When King Charles II came to the throne in 1660 he inherited a huge fleet of 154 ships; this was the beginning of a permanent and professional Royal Navy as we know it today.

2017 Today’s Navy
As of January 2017, there are 77 commissioned ships in the Royal Navy. 19 of the commissioned vessels are major surface combatants (six guided missile destroyers and 13 frigates) and 11 are nuclear-powered subs (four ballistic missile submarines and seven fleet submarines). In addition the Navy possesses a landing platform helicopter, two amphibious transport docks, 15 mine countermeasures vessels, 22 patrol vessels, four survey vessels, one icebreaker and two historic warships (Victory and Bristol). The Royal Navy currently operates three bases where commissioned ships are based; HMNB Portsmouth, HMNB Devonport and HMNB Clyde. In addition, a number of commissioned vessels belonging to the University Royal Naval Units (URNU) are stationed at various locations around the United Kingdom. The total displacement of the Royal Navy is approx 337,000 tonnes (641,000 tonnes including the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Royal Marines). Besides the Royal Navy, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and the Royal Marines operate their own flotillas of naval vessels which complement the assets of the Royal Navy, however they are not included in this list or the above figures. In addition, the naval training vessels Brecon and Cromer can be found based at the Royal Navy shore establishment HMS Raleigh and the Britannia Royal Naval College, respectively.[1] As a supporting contingent of Her Majesty’s Naval Service, the civilian Marine Services operate a large number of auxiliary ships (including coastal logistics, tugs and research vessels) in support of Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary operations. All ships and submarines currently in commission with the Royal Navy were built in the United Kingdom, with the exception of icebreaker Protector which was built in Norway.

This month’s humour..

This month’s humour comes from …well doesn’t matter where it come from, suffice to say if it doesn’t have you in stitches you should have joined the RAF..

As fans of films like ‘The Cruel Sea’ will know, ships used to be controlled by an officer standing on the bridge and shouting orders into metal tubes. This wasn’t some form of early, computer voice recognition. They were just metal tubes that ran through the ship and appeared somewhere that orders needed to be heard.
One of the tubes led to the ‘wheelhouse’ – an armoured, windowless compartment in the middle of the ship containing the ship’s steering wheel, a gyro repeater to show the ship’s course and absolutely nothing else. Except, that is, for a poor b@stard with the worst job in the world: staring at the gyro repeater for hours on end and making small adjustments on the wheel to keep the repeater showing the ordered course.
If you were unlucky, you’d get the middle watch – from midnight to 0400 – in the wheelhouse. If you were really unlucky your ship would be transiting the Pacific and the course wouldn’t change for days at a time. Well before the times of auto pilots.
On one occasion, at about 0300, the wheelhouse was occupied by the trusty leading coxswain who handled the wheel with a masterly grip, and a cook of ill repute who was at a loose end while the batch of tomorrow’s bread he was baking was in the oven.
Despite having a combined IQ that was lower than some of the marine invertibrates fouling the ship’s hull, this pair were easily bored. As they say, the Emperor makes work for idle hands and they soon discovered that the bolt securing the ship’s wheel was loose. Not only could the bolt be unscrewed, but the entire wheel could be removed – thus leaving a 2,500 ton warship doing up to 20 knots and containing 300+ mainly sleeping matelots totally out of control.
A new form of entertainment was born (no ipods, playstations or DVDs in those days). The pair of loons took turns unbolting the wheel and then bolting it back on again. The ‘winner’ of the game was the one who needed to apply the smallest course correction after reattaching the wheel.
Like all games, this one soon became boring. To spice things up a bit, they decided that they would run round the wheelhouse, carrying the wheel, before reattaching it.
Of course, this also became boring. To cut a long story a bit shorter, they ended up unbolting the wheel and running round the entire upper deck (that’s the main, outside ‘deck’ of the ship that has the big guns, superstructure and helicopters parked on it) while carrying the wheel before returning to the wheelhouse and reattaching it.
As I said, they were not burdened by the ravages of intelligence. It didn’t occur to either of them that, at all times when the ship was at sea, the bridge was occupied by an officer of the watch who was selected for having near perfect eyesight and whose powers of observation were honed by years of training. Naturally, he was somewhat perturbed to see some foul creature scurrying across the fo’csle (the pointy bit at the front) in the small hours of the morning carrying a large object of indeterminate origin.
Three swift steps and the OOW was on the bridge wing (an open ‘balcony’ at each side of the bridge). With the flick of a switch he activated the searchlight and illuminated the miscreant, who froze like the protagonist in a comedy jailbreak. The shouted conversation went like this:-
OOW: Who the fcuk is that on the fo’csle. LSCOX: Nobody sir. OOW: Is that you coxswain? Jesus Christ! Who’s steering the ship? LSCOX: Err … OOW: What’s that you’re carrying? LSCOX: Nothing sir. OOW: It looks like …. JESUS FCUKING CHRIST – IT’S THE SHIP’S WHEEL.
The ship’s company were promptly roused to their emergency stations (the bits of the ship where they go in an emergency such as a fire, a hull breach or a mad b@stard nicking the main steering gear).
The Captain, on hearing the pipe for emergency stations, promptly ran up the bridge ladder in his pyjamas, fearing that his ship had been torpedoed by a rogue Nazi submarine that didn’t know WW2 had ended or a rogue commie submarine that didn’t know WW3 had yet to begin.
The ship’s wheel was reattached, the off duty crew returned to their bunks and calm returned to all parts of the ship. Except the part occupied by the Captain, who was crazed by a furious rage.
At that time, the Naval Discipline Act still allowed the death penalty in some circumstances. The regulators (military naval police) were kept up all night investigating whether this was one of those circumstances and whether the Captain could, through some obscure legal loophole, award a death sentence at the end of a summary trial (where the Captain is the judge and jury and usually hands out a fine).
Not wanting to damage the ship’s newfangled radar and sensitive antennae, the Captain quickly ruled out hanging and made enquiries among the Fleet Legal Team about the possibility of a firing squad on the quarter deck (the flat bit at the back of the ship – usually occupied by a knackered, 25 year old helicopter on modern RN ships).
Sadly, the Captain’s hopes of conducting the first summary execution aboard ship since Pte John Dalinger RM met his maker in 1860 were to be dashed. He had to make do with Courts Martial, discharge and hefty jail sentences for the hapless coxswain and hopeless cook (whose bread ignited during the aftermath of the incident and brought the crew, once more, to emergency stations).
With that I will bid you farewell, until the next newsletter..

Regards and Stand Easy


To contact Scotty Graham Slaney 3/12-14 Musgrave St, KIRRA, Qld 4225 Phone 0434896017. e-mail skype:

P.S. If you no longer wish to receive newsletters from sunny Queensland, please advise and I will remove your details from the list. Until we meet again, fair winds to you all..

PPS For those living on the Gold Coast, if you would like a lift to the AGM please let me know..

HMS GANGES South Australian AGM 2017 Newsletter

The Shotley Buzz No 52

28th May 2017

It has been quite a while since the last South Australian Shotley Buzz, this is due to unfortunate circumstances, we lost our President David Friend who had been very ill with complex problems, also in April we lost our previous Treasurer Ted Arnold who had moved to Queensland to be near his daughter whilst he saw out his time with lung cancer. David’s wife Penny and Ted’s wife Joyce received many condolences from within the Ganges network.

Since the time I stood down as President due to my cancer David and I worked closely together, so he asked me to keep things going during the last few months.

We normally hold our AGM in June/July but due to changed circumstances this was brought forward to 18th May 2017. I was appointed as President/secretary a job we have always combined for convenience in a relatively small group. Margaret Burgess kindly took on the role of treasurer, Mike Crowley(57) took on the role of Vice President and Bob Chumley continues the good work of welfare officer. Margaret and Mike became our signatories for our account at the credit union.

Members present all signed a letter of thanks  to Robyn Renyard daughter in law of our late treasurer Vince Renyard, during the time we were an incorporated body Robyn audited our accounts free.

We had a good turn up for the meeting but with 10 apologies from members and their wives mainly sickness, being away and standing apologies for long distance.

We then continued into an ordinary meeting which was held at our normal venue hopefully everyone enjoyed their meal and socialising with each other.

The attached photograph at the luncheon shows members present holding the South Australian Ganges Ensign is 97 year old Peter Thomas (1940)



Our next general meeting will be held in mid July.


Your aye

Derek Ernst


HMS Ganges Victorian Division Newsletter (Masthead 225)

Victoria Australia

Chairman: David Lines.   Secretary: Harry Harrison



Secretary conveyed Chairman David Lines’ apologies David and Janet are on a cruise over the Top End and onto Singapore. Smooth sailing for them. Secretary opened the meeting and welcomed all.

Birthdays for April  Charles Jenkinson 92, Alby Cunliffe 91, Ken Irons 86, Bill Agnew 82.Congratulations, Very Happy Birthdays to the Four Amigos

Apologies David and Janet Lines, John and Maureen Hannant, Tom Clark and his daughter Jane, Jean Rees, Sally Briscoe, Albie and Phyllis Cunliffe, Owen and Carmel Dingle, Mary Stephens, Joe Deguara, Charles Jenkinson, Ric Clark, Mike Bennett, Ada Barnard, Flo Livingston, Harry Thacker To those of you who are not well, a speedy recovery. To all others we hope all is well. The apologies outweighed those present at the meeting

Sick List   Albie Cunliffe had an accident at his gang hearty he is recovering well Best of Luck Albie.

CTB South Australia  President David Friend and SA member Tom Arnold Crost the Bar Vale David and Tom

Treasurers Report   Account Balance Victorian Division $3.440.23

Correspondence  Bank statement, Solent Division, Queensland newsletter. Sympathy cards and emails acknowledging CTB’s.

UK Association    Have held another successful reunion and AGM. Colin Gent was elected Chairman of the association unopposed. Our congratulations to Colin. Our best wishes for a steady as she goes for the association. All the committee were re-elected our congratulations to all. The Victorian Division acknowledges and thank the Chairman and committee for all their hard work, and professional approach to governing the Association. BZ

 General Business 1) October Get Together The division has put on hold 12 rooms at Club Mulwala Resort. From the 16th.-21st. October. The rooms available are 3 standard rooms discount tariff $128, 8 premium discount tariff $148, 1 deluxe tariff $156 and one two roomed room discount tariff $280. A deposit of one nights’ tariff is required 2 months prior to arrival, refund 24 hours before arrival. Would all those interested contact the secretary or chairman.

There are a number of wineries, breweries and other attractions and places of interest in the area. A list and options and prices will be available at next meeting.

2) Queensland Division President Charlie Greensmith informs us that due to his medical condition he is stepping down as president of the division. Charlie has done an excellent job steering the division over a number of years. The smooth transition to a new Chairman Scotty Slaney is a credit to his administration. We congratulate Charlie on a job well done and wish him and Lorna the very best of everything for the future.

We welcome Scotty as President and hope to catch up with him in the future. Be interesting how he got the nickname Scotty when not born in Scotland.

3) South Australia  Our condolences have been forwarded to the SA division and the family of the President David Friend who Crost the Bar.  To our knowledge Peter Burgess has been Acting President whether Peter has taken the position of President is not known. IPP Derek Ernst is keeping us informed. Our best of luck to all.


1) Harry Kime thanked the division on behalf of the FNMC committee for the donation to ANZAC day activities at the club. An enjoyable day was had by those who attended.

Secretary  Thanked Joan and Harry for a most enjoyable lunch. A big thank you to Barbara Canty for a delicious dessert. Harry for tending the bar and Mark Kinder for tending the bar and assisting in the kitchen

2) A reminder that the RNA lunch for May is on the 3rd Sunday the 21st. May there will be a service to dedicate a plaque in remembrance of Jimmy Johnson commencing at 1200hrs. For catering numbers for lunch contact Mike.

The next meeting is at Seven Bells *(1130hrs) May the 24th. 2017. at FNMC

Regards – Harry Harrison

Thought for the month: – “Try to learn something about everything and everything about something” Thomas Henry Huxley

Albie on his 91st Birthday decided the Cunliffe clan would invade Berwick. Albie is wearing body armour ?

Stop Press

Thomas Bell Clark CPO Steward


Tom Crost the Bar Tuesday 8/05/2017.

Our condolences to his daughters Jane and Miriam and Granddaughter Emma.

The funeral is Tuesday 16th. May 2017 at

David W Bull funeral parlour

190 Princes Highway Pakenham.

Vale Tom

HMS GANGES National AGM 2017




held at Gunton Hall, Lowestoft

22 April 2017






Colin Gent Vice-Chairman
Cliff Snelling Secretary
Phil Bridge Treasurer
Ken Bushnell Membership Secretary
Des Kerrigan Events & Standards
Charles (Florrie) Ford Certificate Secretary
John Woolley Tony Willders Reunion Secretary
George Barnham


The Vice-Chairman, Colin Gent, opened the meeting at 10:00.


The National Standard (Tony Cooke), together with Standards from West London (Paddy Minns), Devonport (Sam Raspison), Dorset (Ray Fraser), Fulham & Chelsea (Glenn (Jacko) Jack), Shotley (John Yougman), and Solent (Alan Hudspeth) were paraded under Standards Marshall Des Kerrigan, and inspected by Eddie Seaborne and John Woolley.

1.     To remember those who Crossed the Bar

Peter Taylor, Life Vice President, stated that the Association had been notified of 86 members who had crossed the bar since the last AGM.  Standards were dipped as he read out the names of the 27 Members who had crossed the bar since the last issue of the Gazette. A silence was observed in remembrance.

2.       Chairman’s opening comments

The Vice-Chairman, Colin Gent, welcomed everyone to the Reunion and AGM. He said he would like to acknowledge the presence of Founding Members and that we had two Life Vice Presidents present today in Peter Taylor and John (Shep) Woolley.  He thanked everyone for making the effort to travel the length and breadth of the country to be there, and in particular those members who had travelled from abroad.  Colin invited the overseas members to come up and announce themselves.

Paul Pritchard – Spain; Ken Marjoram – Canada; Michael Kerr – USA; David Pegg – France

They were warmly applauded by all those present.

Colin continued, saying that 12 months ago we left AGM without a Chairman in Office, and two committee members short.  He had offered to hold the reins as Acting Chairman until this AGM, a position he did not expect, but he saw his job as to try and keep a steady ship, work within the committee, and fulfil the expectations of the Association.  By and large, despite a few squalls along the way, he hoped, like him, members agreed that that had been achieved. Colin said we had seconded two new members, Tony Willders and George Barnham, adding on one hand youth, and on the other experience, to the Committee, and he thanked them for giving up what will become a lot of their free time for the benefit of the Association and its members.

Colin said that likewise, each and every one of the Committee give up a vast amount of their time, working tirelessly for the benefit of the Association, and he hoped that members would be heartened by the reports that would be given today.  He stated that he could not and would not be able to fulfil his role without their dedicated support.

Colin said that also there were many members, each playing a very important part in not only the functionality of the Association, but its very being, giving up their free time in supporting, promoting, and attending events.

We have this past year seen a great number of our members cross the bar, sadly a consequence of an ageing membership.  Where possible, and at the bereaved families request, our National Standard Bearer Tony Cooke has travelled the length and breadth of the country, supported by Divisional Standard Bearers, and of course our events co-ordinator Des Kerrigan, and many members.

Colin said he was proud and humbled to be part of the 50+ members that attended our past NSB, Tony Higgins, funeral at Porchester Crematorium.  Route lining and led by 10 Standards was a truly fitting send off, and the obituary given by Bob Campbell was indeed very fitting and excellently delivered, as you would expect from a Ganges Boy.

Colin and a large number of members travelled to Falmouth for the Remembrance Service and

Parade to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the raid on St Nazaire.  The Mayor, an exGanges boy, was soon convinced by MemSec Ken Bushnell, to become a member; an open invitation was issued to all by the Sailing Club at Mylor, and a service of our own was held at the Mylor Memorial.  Another example of the continued efforts to promote the Association.

In 2017 we will attend many parades and remembrance services around the country to let everyone know that the HMS Ganges Association is alive and kicking, in good health, and the place to be if you were a Ganges Boy.  So if you can, please come along.

Colin said he was heartened by the fact that we continue to recruit new members, and some old ones returning to the fold.  Ken’s (MemSec) efforts in recruiting and extracting subs should not go unmentioned.

Colin said he had mentioned a few squalls along the way, but said he would like to make one thing clear.  He could not be held responsible for what has happened in the past.  He had read and heard many things, and firmly believed that we should never forget our heritage, where we came from, and what and who brought us together as an Association.  The Association has come through some very trying times, many things have changed, but we are on a very strong footing, both with the level of membership and financially.  We have a hard working committee made up of people with good and complementary skill sets, who communicate almost daily and deal with problems to the best of their ability, all in their free time.  There is a time to draw a line in the sand and go forward.  This is our intention, and Colin said if it was not that of the members then he was not the person they should be voting in as Chairman.

Finally Colin thanked Shep and Shirley and her team from IOW Tours who had put in an immense amount of work in the organisation of this Reunion.  He hoped everyone had a great weekend, and said that, although Shep was going to take more of a back seat in the future he was sure that he would always be there for wise counsel and guidance.


3.       Minutes of 2016 AGM

The Secretary, Cliff Snelling, said that everyone should have received a copy of the Minutes of the 2016 AGM, and asked for a vote of approval.  The proposal was carried.  There were no matters arising.

4.       Association Accounts

The Secretary asked for a vote to approve the Association Accounts for the period 1st April 2015 to 31st March 2016.  The proposal was carried.


5.      Treasurer Report

The Treasurer, Phil Bridge, said that as of 31 March 2017 the Association portfolio amounts to: £67,008.15, made up as follows:

Community Account:           £6,351.11 Reunion Account:               £290.32 Tracker Account:              £60,000.00

Petty Cash Box:                          £24.42


We have fixed assets of £342.30 (LapTop x 2 and Voice Recorder).

All figures correct as of 31 March 2017.

As members can see our Association is in a healthy position; we are now in the position we were in before the legal actions and financial misuse back in 2011/2012. Well done everyone for your continued support.

Our major income, from subscriptions and donations, this year was £33,903, down just over £2,000 on the previous year.

In the past year our major expenses have been:

Gazette x 3    £13,792.46    (2015/16 it was £17,045.48) N.S.B Expenses       £3,068.58            (2015/16 it was £2,083.20) Committee Travel      £1,401.30      (2015/16 it was ££1,876.91) GA Promotion Team    £1,129.30      (2015/16 it was £1,708.85)

Since the last AGM we have donated £1,000 to Pembroke House, £300 to the SCC Support

Fund, £100 to RNRMC, £900 to the Membership Christmas Draw, and paid out £2,500 for the Grand Draw 2016, £183 for the upkeep of the Mylor Memorial, and £249 for Cap Tallies for the Almoner to send out to families of those members who have CTB.

Our Profit over Loss for 2016/17 is £12,357.87. In 2015/16 it was £17,278.17, but we have made many more donations in the past year than in previous years.

The 2017 Grand Draw is again a great success thanks to Dick and Catherine and their commitment and drive in organising this event. So far the draw has raised approximately £3,800 profit, this deserves a big thank you to them both.

Phil thanked David Rye, Des Kerrigan and Dave & Ann Fagg for their time in examining his books.


6.       Membership Secretary Report

 The Membership Secretary, Ken Bushnell, stated that total membership consists of a number of facets.


Active Members 1259
Life Members 821
Associate Members 76
Lapsed Members 332


Ken said that Life Membership had ceased in January 2012 but those who qualified before that date continue to enjoy this status.  Contributions from Life Members continue and their generosity is very much appreciated.


We have two categories of Lapsed Members:

  1. Where Gazettes and correspondence has been returned to MemSec ‘Address not Known’ – 173 – mainly Life Members.
  2. Where a member continues to pay the incorrect subs although they have been contacted on at least three occasions, all to no avail – 159.

Lapsed Members do not receive the Gazette.


86 members CTB during the period April 2016 to March 2017.  During the same period 53 new members have joined the Association.


It’s encouraging to see the arrival of new members, especially when one hears of associations struggling to maintain their standing.


Ken said he would like to pay tribute to a very fine lady – Mrs Brenda Chitty – who on behalf of the Association collects our subs in Australia.


A courteous reminder to members – when moving house of if you have any change of circumstances, please inform the MemSec.


Ken said that he would be available all day to receive subs, donations and membership enquiries, or just come and say hello.


Finally, on behalf of MemSec and Co, Ken wished everyone a fantastic Reunion 2017 and hope to see everyone again in 2018.


7.      Certificate Secretary’s Report


Certificate Secretary, Florrie Ford, said it had been a really busy year for certificates, they have been sailing through the letterbox at a rate of knots.


Florrie said it had been a year since he took over from Gary Faulkner and he had looked into the history of the certificates which were first done on card.  Florrie said he had redesigned the certificates, and with the approval of the Committee, they were now being printed professionally by a local printer.  We have printed over 150 certificates since the last AGM, they have been posted to Canada, Australia, South Africa, the USA, England and Wales.   Florrie said he had sourced new frames to fit the certificates but had stopped posting the certificate in frames as most of the frames were getting damaged more often than not.


Florrie asked that those members being presented with certificates, or who think they are, could they please see him after the AGM to confirm that they are on the list.


Florrie said that those members wishing to have a certificate presented at AGM 2018 should ensure that he receives their request no later than 31 March 2018.


8.       Museum Report


June Lawford-Randall, Secretary of the HMS Ganges Museum said that having just completed her first year as Secretary it had been a bit of a learning curve!


Did you know that, as a Charity, the Museum is not allowed to make a profit – sales must not exceed the value of donations – or they could cease to become a Charity.  The Charities Commission, which gave the Museum its registration, requires them to keep them informed and updated annually on their situation.


June said that the first task needing attention last summer was to secure Accreditation status which is awarded by The Arts Council.  This identifies HMS Ganges Association Museum as a nationally recognised museum, though run solely by our great team of volunteers, providing access to a number of funding routes and support in the form of professional advice and training to help us to grow and thrive and we have two new mentors whom we can call on at any time.  Therefore it is important that we pursue this opportunity to keep the Museum secure for the future – for our children’s, children’s, children – who are starting to arrive in good numbers – but especially in the museum.


28th October 2016 was the date when Shotley village commemorated the 40 years since the gates closed at Ganges.  The weekend events and exhibition held was a remarkable success, bringing memories to the fore evidenced by handwritten stories and old photographs contributed by the Shotley community, and some courtesy of Mr Fisk.  Whilst the closing of the site was a sad event, the relationship of the community with HMS Ganges was remembered with great fondness by about 300 people, and it is hoped that a booklet will be produced to record the material we collected.


For the general running of the Museum, the Trustees meet mostly once a month, with minutes, actions and planning constantly being reviewed and updated – and we generally get together on Wednesday mornings.  As a whole, lots of time has been spent on keeping the museum ship-shape and safe, putting the Jutland Display together, looking after our visitors and groups, both in and out of normal hours, diary checking, updating membership and distribution lists, planning and preparing papers for the AGM and Training Day, recording and displaying artefacts, banking sales and donations, recording visitor numbers and volunteer hours, reviewing forms, keeping an eye on slops, stock levels, contacts, suppliers and lead times to avoid stock shortages whenever possible etc., but the list is endless.


The more recent tidal surge once again placed the Museum in danger of flooding but Tony, Derek and Lynden, did their best to protect all vulnerable entrances and the threat fortunately diverted.


Flats will be built on the Marina and Faith, Hope and Charity have now been fully uncovered as part of the work.


This year we were very sorry to see our Archivist, Jack Whelan, step down as a Trustee.  He has worked very hard for several years to ensure that everything was done according to the book to look after our artefacts.  However, Jack will still be about supporting us as a volunteer and no doubt keeping an eye on his successor, my husband Tony.


On our new website you will see the heading ‘Artefacts’.  A system called E-Hive has been used to transfer all our photographs so they are available for anyone to search and view on that page.  Whilst the museum is solvent, there has been unavoidable expense to provide this immense online service.


We were also sorry to see Annette Ellis step down but she will remain as a volunteer.  Her experience of social media and knowledge of museums has been invaluable.  Our involvement on the HMS Ganges Museum Facebook page, the separate HMS Ganges page, and Twitter, has resulted in many artefacts being sent in, membership applications, fact and photo finding requests and again, memory sharing.  Our best posting was the newly revealed state of Faith, Hope and Charity, reaching about 5,500 people in only two days.  The phrase ‘social media’ could fill you with dread – but it has provided HMS Ganges Museum with multiple benefits – see our reviews on Trip Advisor.


With our two new Trustees, Roger Jones and Deborah Potts we have a fantastic, growing team supporting all the work involved and we were very proud for Dave Andrews who received a community award from Shotley Parish Council.  As you can imagine we can always find room for more volunteers.


The museum would benefit from having more members, so please let me have your details if you would like to support us for only £5 per year.


Over the past year it has been my absolute pleasure to meet some of you, our top-rate volunteers, listening to your tales and generally enjoying your banter, spirit and pride.  Many days have been spent dealing with email and telephone enquiries and best of all meeting several visitors who either arrange a visit out of season, as a surprise, as a group, and those who phone us from the museum doors hoping for a peep inside not realising that we were closed.


June said that this year she had done her very best to settle in to the role of Secretary, learning the tasks and procedures with some very patient support from Tony.  There’s still more to do but she had a passionate belief in the need to keep the heritage of HMS Ganges alive and, by doing that, giving respect to the many lads who served and went on to greater things.


The Chairman thanked June for her report which was very informative.  He went on to say that although social media could be fantastic it could also be misleading with much misinformation being promulgated.  Colin said that the Museum and the Association are intrinsically linked, but they are two separate groups.  The Association does not own the Museum.  The Museum is a Charity and is governed by the Charity Commission rules.  The Association is not a charity.  However, we will always continue to work together and support each other.


9.       Events & Standards Report


Des said that he could still taste the salt sea air on his lips whilst sitting there in landlocked Bushey thinking of the fantastic weekend us Ganges Boys and Girls spent in Falmouth representing our fine Association recently.  Twenty plus Members and Associates with their wives and partners made the trip West, in March, to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the St Nazaire Raid.  We were treated like Royalty by Falmouth Town Council, and the incumbent Mayor, being an ex-Ganges Boy, was persuaded to join our ranks by MemSec Ken.  Two Tea and Sticky Sessions in the Mayor’s parlour, with an exchange of gifts, the Ganges Platoon marching in the Parade, the Service, and our visit to Mylor and the Ganges Memorial were the highlights of the week end.  Thanks particularly to Martin Wiltshire for carrying the Solent Division’s HMS GANGES Association Standard.  Ganges Wreaths were laid at the Falmouth Memorial and our Ganges Memorial at Mylor.  Our Ganges Boy, Nick Crow from North Devon donated a beautiful crystal bowl and Shep made the presentation to the Mayor.  It will be suitably engraved and will remind them of our Association’s visit and involvement in their 75th Anniversary.  It is surprising how many of us, including myself, served in HMS Falmouth over the years.


Attendance at Funerals throughout the UK by our National Standard Bearer, Tony Cooke, supporting the Ganges Families in their time of grief, remains paramount.  Paddy Minns, other Local Divisions’ Standards and Des support where we can which is all part of our Association’s being.  Please remember that Des now holds a stock of HMS Ganges Wreaths, if a Family specially requests one for a Member’s funeral.


On a brighter note, the West London Division and Uxbridge RNA Members recently welcomed

The Right Honourable Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary and our local MP, to our RNA Club.

He was most impressed by what he saw and was given a comprehensive guide by our own Terry Briggs, keeping it very light-hearted.  Des said that he came across as a most informed gentleman, but he did insist on calling our ships ‘boats’!  We did correct him!!


Finally, a brief reminder to all – it is hoped that we will arrange a HMSGA Platoon for the biennial RNA/Combined Naval Associations Parade in London on Sunday 17 September 2017.  We have managed a good turnout in the past.  Names to Des please as soon as possible, to give us some idea of numbers.


10. ‘Perky’ Mellow Award (Smartest Standard Bearer)


Des Kerrigan asked Eddie Seaborne and Shep Woolley to present the Perky Mellow Award.  Shep thanked Dickie Doyle for providing the bars for the Standard Bearers.  Shep said, once again, it had been an extremely difficult decision as all the Standard Bearers were very smart. Eddie Seaborne presented the ‘Perky’ Mellow Award to the winner – Alan Hudspeth of Solent Division.


11. Address by Chief Scrutineer, Basil Dowing-Waite


Basil Downing-Waite said that even though the rules had been changed for voting to take place at Reunion, he had only received 16 voting forms from members unable to attend.


Basil read out each proposal, and asked members to raise their hands, For or Against.

  1. To re-elect Cliff Snelling to the Committee as Secretary for the electoral period as of 2017. Carried unanimously.
  2. To re-elect Des Kerrigan to the Committee as Events & Standards Organiser for the electoral period as of 2017.

Carried unanimously.

  1. To re-elect Charles (Florrie) Ford to the Committee as Certificate Secretary for the electoral period as of 2017.

Carried unanimously.

  1. To re-elect John (Shep) Woolley to the Committee for the electoral period as of 2017. Carried unanimously.
  2. To elect Colin Gent to the Committee as Chairman for the electoral period as of 2017. Carried unanimously.
  3. To elect Tony Willders to the Committee for the electoral period as of 2017. Carried unanimously.
  4. To elect George Barnham to the Committee for the electoral period as of 2017.

Carried unanimously.

  1. To replace the current Rule 6(g)

This proposal was withdrawn by the Seconder and Proposer just prior to the commencement of the AGM.

  1. To change Rule 17, Dissolution of the Association

A letter in support of this proposal from Jim Worlding was read out by the Secretary, as Jim Worlding did not attend Reunion.  The Chairman, Colin Gent, said that he had discussed this proposal with Jim, and with the HMS Ganges Association Museum who were unaware of it.  The Chairman said that the Committee did not support the proposal, but that the decision was for the members of the Association to make.

For: 24         Against: 144   (this included all votes submitted to the Chief Scrutineer by members unable to attend the AGM)


12. Reunion Secretary Report


Shep Woolley said that everything was going well and he hoped all the members were enjoying themselves.  Isle of Wight Tours had done a fantastic job of organising the Reunion this year.


Shep asked for members to support Christine, one of the Gunton Hall front of house staff, who was running in the London Marathon on Sunday for Meningitis Now.  HMSGA donated £100.  A bucket was passed around for members to make donations.


Shep said that Colin Lambird’s wife had presented the Association with a bottle of Pussers at Colin’s funeral.  Stan Moody had kindly provided a stand and the Rum Maiden would be raffled, with the money raised going to the Sea Cadets.


Shep invited everyone to the Solent Division ‘Sausage Sizzle’ which will take place on 22 July

2017 at Whale Island at a cost of £10 each.  Anyone interested should contact Bob Campbell.


Shep said he was standing down from organising Reunions, and handing over to Tony Willders, saying the Association needed younger members to take up the reins.  AGM and Reunion 2018 will be at Mill Rythe, Hayling Island, 13-16th April.  Details will be in the Summer Gazette.


Finally, Shep said that members of the Committee could not do such a worthwhile job without the support of their partners. The Chairman made small presentations to Secretary Cliff Snelling and his wife Christine, to MemSec Ken Bushnell and his wife Annette, and to Hanny

Bridge, thanking them for all their hard work.  A presentation was also made to our Almoner, Colin (Pancho) Brett to acknowledge the sterling work he does in supporting the bereaved families of those members who CTB.


13. Closing Remarks


The Chairman thanked Dick Binch and his wife for volunteering to stay on and do the Grand Draw for 2017.  However, Dick would now be standing down and a volunteer is required to take his place.


Terry Strawson (Norfolk Division) was invited to come forward to talk to members about the Marshlands Maritime Museum located in Clenchwarton near Kings Lynn, Norfolk, which has over 3,000 Royal Navy exhibits, including lots of Ganges memorabilia.  Members were invited to visit (free) what is considered to be the best privately owned museum in the country.  A local hostelry is located near by!  See for more information.


The Bone of Contention was awarded to Michael Kerr (USA).


Finally, the Treasurer, Phil Bridge announced that John Pring had left a legacy to the

Association in his will.  Final figures were not yet available but it was thought the amount could be around £5,000.


The meeting closed at 11:57 and ‘Up Spirits’ was piped.


Cliff Snelling Hon Sec

HMS GANGES Devonport Division Meeting – May 2017

Forwarded by Basil Downing-Waite


General Meeting Tuesday 2nd May 2017


Apologies.  Joe & Thelma Main, Bill & Christine Mansfield, Dave & Linn Skinner, Jean Bartlett, Mike & Wendy Phillips, Fred & Joan Ford, Charlie & Penny Reid, Scouse & Christine Mansfield, Jim & Sue Murphy, Terry Thomas.

MINUTES OF LAST MEETING: Read and accepted.


SECRETARY: Overseas News Letters received and distributed. Everything continues to move along OK.

TREASURER: Sue continues to be happy with the level of finance.


MAY: Saturday 20th, chicken and chips social. £5.00 per head payable in advance, please.

JUNE. Sunday 18th Weymouth Veterans Parade. Saturday 24th Armed Forces Day.

JULY> Friday 7th. Ladies Night. Wednesday 12th, Lunch with the Cornwall Division at Windy Ridge. Saturday 29th. Black Tot Bar-B.Q.

SEPTEMBER. Saturday 2nd Social event organised by the ladies.

 FEDERATION.  Bill the reported all is well.  Royal Marine Band booked for Remembrance Festival.

Standards requested for May.

Friday May 19th Lord Mayors Choosing Guildhall. Muster 10:00

Sunday May 21st Lord Mayors Civic Service St Andrews.  Muster 10:00

Friday 26th May.  U.S Naval Memorial. Tarmar Bridge car park. Muster 11:30

Sunday 28th May. Malay & Borneo Vets. Belvedere Garden the Hoe. Muster time TBA

WELFARE REPORT. Joe & Thelma. Thelma is soon being discharged from Hospital following extensive check-ups. Betty Hutson is in contact with them. Scouse Mansfiled. Continues to have good days and bad days. Shirley Saunders Continues to make progress following knee surgery and hopes to be back on board soon.

Jean Bartlett. Jean has recently moved home but unfortunate has suffered a stroke in her right eye that is obviously restricting her mobility having to give up driving. Basil has assured Jean that she remains on our books and arrangements can be made to transport her to any of our meetings or events she may wish to attend. Terry Thomas is suffering from a leg problem so will be out of commission for a time.  We wish them a speedy return to more comfortable days.


 1.  Ron Dawson Funeral. This was carried out exactly as Audrey wanted according to Ron’s wishes. It was a dignified and quiet event. With several of our members being unable to attend as they were at the National reunion, four of our members with their wives attended and the family were very pleased.

  1.  Junior Field Gun Festival. Having attended Dave Hutson gave a report. It was somewhat disappointing that it only had two Schools participated but it was assumed it was because that several schools had children participating in the half marathon that had taken place in the morning.
  2. 3.  National re-union feedback. Smudge Smith read out a report that indicated it was a good re-union enjoyed by all.

 THE RAFFLE raised the sum of £61.00. Thanks to all those who donated prizes.

NEXT MEETING: Tuesday 6th June 2017.


Snap 2017-05-05 at 08.48.20

Bernard Smith – Mike Maries – Mike Phillips 

img336Snap 2017-05-05 at 08.47.55 

Sam Raspision, Tony Cooke, Mike Newstead                       Church Service

Tony Griffiths and Basil Downing-Waite



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