Monthly Archives June 2017

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 Victorian Division Newsletter – (Masthead 226)



Victoria Australia

Chairman: David Lines.   Secretary: Harry Harrison 54, Tamworth Road, Kilsyth, Vic 3137

Telephone Harry 03-9728-3200 mob. +61418809712



Chairman David Lines. Opened the meeting and Welcomed all.

Birthdays John Hannant, Flo Livingston Happy Birthday

Apologies Jean Rees, Phyllis Cunliffe, Flo Livingston, Sally Briscoe, Mary Stephens, John and Maureen Hannant.

Sick List. Phyllis Cunliffe is in hospital for tests we wish Phyllis the very best and hope all resolves in the positive.

A service to celebrate Tom’ Clarks life was held at Pakenham on May 16. There was a good attendance of Ganges members Chairman David Lines gave a good speech on behalf of the division also Mike Bennett Chairman RNA Port Phillip Bay Branch RNAwho served on HMS Kent with Tom.

Vale Tomas Bell Clark CPO Steward

04-06-1927 -09-05-2017

Ganges 1970-71

Tom was born on Tyneside the youngest in the family. In 1942 he joined the navy after three years he on again and in all served until 1972 a total of 30 years. He enjoyed his service and referred to the Queen as his boss. In the fifties he was stationed in the Solomon Islands during the Atomic tests. The ship he served on is unknown, it is known that HMS Cook was in the area during this time. Tom worked through the ranks and became Chief Petty Officer Steward. He was an instructor at Royal Arthur and also Tutor/Training leader Instructor at HMS Ganges from 1971. He was proud of the fact one of his students made it to Commander. It takes skill to impart knowledge to recruits to prepare them for service in the navy, Tom had this skill.In the 60’s Tom was stationed in Chatham at HMS Pembroke which Tom was really happy as his beloved wife Hillary and daughters Miriam and Jane where enjoyed time as a family travelling around the countryside and visiting local beaches. In 1972 Tom’s naval service ended.

In 1974 the family came to Australia. Tom came out to a job in the prison service as a warder at Pentridge Prison one of the toughest in the country, this job wasn’t to Tom’s liking so he left and became a security guard . They set up home in Pakenham where Tom’s liking for naval discipline was overruled by Hillary and the girls. Tom and Hillary enjoyed an active social life and were know for their dancing and their expertise for the “jitterbug”. Tom joined the Mason’s and was Grand Master of his lodge. They joined the Victorian Division of HMS Ganges Association and were active in the club until Hillary’s illness and then died. Without Hillary Tom was not as active socially until recently when he and his daughter Jane started attending the monthly meetings again. Tom enjoyed the meetings a Guinness and a tot and swinging the lamp on the senior’s table. Tom had a fall while putting out the rubbish ended up in hospital. Tom confided in David Lines the 20 minutes before his neighbour found him was the coldest he had ever felt. Tom was moved on from hospital to an assessment centre which Tom found acceptable. He was unfortunately assessed as  not able to return home to his unit and moved on to Yarraman an aged care facility. This was a small facility and has a happy environment and caring staff who did all they could for Tom. Tom was despondent at not being able to return to his unit and was never happy despite all efforts to make him welcome.  He died 9 May and no doubt will be jitterbugging with his beloved Hillary in the great ballroom of heaven. David Lines explained two things Tom requested for when David visited was bananas and Smiths crisps so hopefully in heaven there is a bannana plantation and a Smiths crisps franchise.

Our condolences to Tom’s daughter’s Jane and Miriam and granddaughter Emma.

Vale Tom Clark a true gentleman

Treasurers Report The Divisional general account stands at $3,483.23. An outstanding bill for the tribute to Tom Clark in the Herald Sun. Available monies $3,361.23

 Correspondence Bank Statements. Minutes from AGM and May COM meeting, Guzz newsletter. Out sympathy card to the Clark family.

UK Association  A successful reunion was held and next years is underway. Colin Gent was elected as Chairman our congratulations to Colin and the division wish him and his committee well and good counsel. The committee was also reelected How congratulations to them for the sterling job they have done and best wishes for the future.

General Business 1) The October get together. Rooms are on hold at Club Resort Mulwala. Thompsons Bus Line has responded to our email enquiry and suggest a choice of two tours to Rutherglen or Beechworth to date the favourite appears to be Beechworth. Both tours incorporate visits to wineries with Beechworth including a brewery on the itinerary. The line have a number of vehicles catering for the size of group. So to help us sort out details will all members interested inform us if they wish to attend once again the dates are 16th-20th. October. Contact details are in the letterhead. A program for activities are being formulated.

AOB  1) Mike Bennett  Chairman RNA:-A successful lunch on Sunday included a successful service to dedicate a plaque to honour and remember Jimmy Johnston from his family was held at the Remembrance Wall. It was most appreciated by his daughter Tia and family.

June 11th. birthday lunch will have a theme of a 50/60’s dance party. Those who wish may come in attire appropriate to the period. Entertainment will be provided by De JaVue and lunch catered for. For catering those wishing to attend please contact Mike.

Next Meeting Seven Bells (11:30) Wednesday July 26th. 2017

Regards – Harry Harrison

Thought for the month: – Good friends are like jewels of life. Difficult to find and impossible to replace

With the news reporting terrorist attacks in Manchester and London our hearts go out to all those who may be affected either personally or with family or friends involved, and we wish you the very best. To those victims killed may they find safe and peaceful harbours.To those injured may they be healed. To those traumatised by the events may they find peace. To all the division stands in solidarity in condemning such barbaric actions perpetrated by truly evil people. Let us all be steadfast in our condemning such actions. May we all find peace in these troubled times. Secretary Harry Harrison



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..