Monthly Archives May 2019

HMS GANGES Victorian Division Masthead 244



Victoria Australia

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

Telephone Harry 03-9728-3200


Chairman David Lines Opened the meeting.

Birthdays  Alby Cunliffe 93rd. Charles Jenkinson 94th. Ken Irons 88th. Very Happy Birthdays to the Three Amigos

Apologies John and Maureen Hannant, Charles Jenkinson, Owen and Carmel Dingle, Harry Harrison, Ken Irons, Rick Clark, Harry Thacker, John Hillman.

Sick List.  See From the Chair report.

Treasurers Report.  Total monies in Bendigo Bank account $4,009:42.

Correspondence Bank Statement, Solent Division, Buzz from Guzz South African Masthead. All correspondence was tabled in hard copy.

UK Association. Held a successful reunion at Gunton Hall which we understand is also the venue for next year. We welcome a new Chairman Dick Cross and wish him all success. Also a new secretary Nick Crow welcome Nick and all success to you.

We farewell Chairman Colin Gent and thank him for the steady hand on the tiller. Secretary Cliff Snelling for the excellent job he has done as secretary. We also thank Colin and Cliff’s wives and family for the support they have given both men in their duties. We wish them all a pleasant and peaceful time together.

Congratulations to Phil Bridge on his excellent work as treasurer, with the healthy state of the Association finances, it may help Phil recover from his heart surgery. A real BZ Phil for your work and our best wishes for a full and healthy life.

General Business:-

1) The Divisional Get Together: – Chairman David has covered discussions in his report which will follow. Canberra was decided on as a central position for interstate and international visitors to access more easily than country Victoria. The dates for the get together were formulated when there are no festivals or events taking place to our knowledge, also parliament is not sitting. The dates of the Sunday 1st. to Saturday 7th. were available to meet this criteria. We realise this is school time and may prevent some members attending due to family commitments.

I am in contact with a coach company who operate a 27 seat luxury coach for a possible day and half day tour. With Ivor Rothwells  knowledge of the area David and I thought that a trip to the Snowy Mountain Hydro scheme would be a chance to visit the scheme which we have heard about but never got round to visiting. If anyone has thoughts in regard to this please contact me.

For the Victorian members there was discussion in regard to hiring a mini bus to travel to Canberra however cost and comfort did not reach our expectations. Members will make their own way to Canberra and car pool where possible.

Chairman Thanked HarryKime for an excellent lunch. Joan Kime for the dessert and Mark Kinder for tending the bar.

There being no further business Chairman declared the meeting closed.

The next meeting is at Seven Bells *(1130hrs) Wednesday 22nd May. 2019. At FNMC

Regards – Harry Harrison

Thought for the month:- With the electi8on in mind, Truth lies at the bottom of a deep well!! Greek proverb

From the Chair

Meeting on Wednesday 24th April 2019.

This was a meeting bereft of members due, Sickness, or away baby sitting dogs, and various breeds of Animals for family, this left more of Harry Kime’s famous special  fried rice, for those that attended .  Never the less the numbers the Ganges spirit was still there.

Missing was Harry Harrison, having a well-earned break from society, and back to nature, tending the farm, where only, he has to argue with himself.  I think we all feel  that way sometimes, get away from everything, it clears the grey matter.  Charles Jenkinson at the time was in St John of God,. Frankston, for rehabilitation of a hip replacement, the first operation, proved to be a failure, and after finally ending up at the 3rd Hospital he had a second operation, which to date has proved positive.  (Awaiting a sitrep, as I cannot get hold of him) Harry Thacker was a no show, (forgot), this we put down to being unable to drive, Harry had a stroke, came through fine, but later in the week, he thought he had, had another stroke, only to find out it was a seizure, from which, the medical fraternity, have banned him from driving for a possible 12 months, is it the same the world over, it’s a long time to not be independent.

Alby Cunliffe, ended up in the St John of God Hospital in Berwick, unfortunately his spine is the problem, along with old age, his son Brian, said he is back in his Nursing home, but spends a lot of time sleeping.  Our visitations buck him up, and his frig is always full of Beer/Scotch/Rum, which loosens the tongue.

Rick Clarke our youngest member, and our staunchest, with his use of public transport, was also unable to attend

Mentioned was our trip to Canberra, in September, our Accommodation is at the Alpha Hotel, in the Suburb of Greenway, this is set at $139.00 per night, and the booking is from 1st September to the 7th September, anybody wanting to stay longer, please contact me, via  or 0421 068 443.  We have stayed there years ago, next door is the Viking Club, offering the usual Drinks/Meals/etc., it proved a very popular spot for evenings, and only next door to walk to bed.

Harry our invaluable Sec/Treas is in touch with a Coach Company, we thought, or at least, were told by Ivor……. That the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme at Cooma was a good day out, this we are investigating, plus other venues, and of course the War Memorial is a must, that could take 3 days if you read all the transcripts of deeds/Exploits etc.

Transport to Canberra, we had looked at a coach, but were dissuaded by the cost and also could be a case for discomfort travelling that distance.  For the uninitiated from Melbourne up the main highway towards Sydney, Canberra is 679 kms or 421.91124 miles. For Bette/Mike from Auckland 2306 kilometres or 1432 miles and from Perth 3723 Kilometres or 2313.36495 miles. Travelling these distances shows dedication to the Ganges spirit. The choice of Canberra will give people from Interstate a more central position to join with members from all over   Regards to all David Lines  Chairman Vicdiv HMGA.



Held at Gunton Hall, Suffolk

On the 13th April 2019







Colin Gent                                                            Chairman

Cliff Snelling                                                         Secretary

Phil Bridge                                                           Treasurer

Ken Bushnell                                       Membership Secretary

Topsy Turner                                           Events & Standards

Charles (Florrie) Ford                              Certificate Secretary

Tony Willders                                            Reunion Secretary

Shep Woolley                                            Life Vice President

George Barnham



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

The National Standard (Tony Cooke), together with Standards from West London (Paddy Minns), Fulham & Chelsea (Glenn (Jacko) Jack), Shotley (John Youngman), Solent (Alan Hudspeth), Devonport (Brian Hill), South Wales (Gerald Rogers), Mercantile Marine (John Clarke) and the Sea Cadets, were paraded under the Standards Marshalls Des Kerrigan (Outgoing)and Phil (Topsy) Turner (incoming) and inspected by  Peter Taylor ( Founder Member) and Life President,  John (Shep) Woolley.


  1. To remember those who Crossed the Bar

Ken Bushnell stated that the Association had been notified of 114 members who had crossed the bar since the last AGM.  Standards were dipped as he read out their names. A silence was observed in remembrance.

  1. Chairman’s opening address


The Chairman, Colin Gent, welcomed everyone to the 36th Annual Reunion and AGM, and acknowledged the presence of any Family of founding members who were present also Life Vice Presidents Peter Taylor and Shep Woolley.

Colin thanked everyone for making the effort to travel the length and breadth of the country to be here, and in particular those members who had travelled from abroad.  He invited the overseas members to come up and announce themselves.

Michael Kerr – USA; Ken Marjoram – Canada; Earle Fraser – Canada; Alex McKinnon – Australia; Fraser Lees – Denmark; David Pegg – France; John Phelan – Ireland.

They were warmly applauded by all those present.

Colin said that as we knew this would be the last time, he would be addressing us as Chairman of this great Association so he would give us an overview of where he believed the Association stood today.

Despite many obstacles and against modern trends of the day and the fact that we continue to lose Members through age, we, as an Association continue to grow. We are encouraging new members every week and that is not only due to the hard work of the Membership Secretary but every one of you who encourage people to come along and become part of this Association.

We have now secured the financial stability of the Association and have a good understanding of the running costs and the liabilities that may affect the Association in the future.

Over the past 6 years our Annual Reunions have been a great success with this year being a sell-out despite the inevitable rise in costs that go with putting on an event of this scale

Our profile as an Association has been enhanced by attendances at high profile events such as the Remembrance Parade at the Cenotaph, the St. Nazaire Commemorations in Falmouth, and local events supported and attended by members in their Divisions.

We have held our Committee Meetings in this past year onboard HMS Belfast in the pool of London, Gillingham Golf Club in the Medway Towns and the RNA Uxbridge. All with the intention of giving members the opportunity to attend and see the workings of the Committee and many tasks they have to do.

Our National Standard Bearer, supported by Divisional Standard Bearers have travelled the length and breadth of the country to attend the final journey of our members and support their families to show that they will never be forgotten

We are now producing what I consider to be the most professional and collectable year certificates, which is indicated by the numbers applying.

Our Gazette produced 3 times a year is still revered, and I hope you will agree it’s a damn good read.




All of this would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of these members that sit here as your elected Committee and you the members that have contributed in so many ways to making and keeping us at the forefront of Naval Associations.

The only area that gives concern is the lack of volunteers to join the Committee, you need change and innovation to keep things fresh and moving forward. The same people cannot go on forever. I am sure, like me, that there are other things they want to do in their bucket list of life. So please come forward, the Secretary will be pleased to talk to you.

Today you will hear the individual reports of the Committee, which I hope you will receive with good heart, but I would like to pre-empt the Treasurers Report from Phil and hope he will forgive me.

As some of you know Phil has recently undergone a serios Heart Operation and is still in the rest and recovery stage, so it is personally so very good to see him here today and I know you will all agree with that.

As you will see from the Financial Statement today, the funds of the Association are very healthy, in fact more than we could have expected to attain. We have discussed how we might now be in a position to feed some funding back into the membership domain by means of supporting members or divisions with projects that they may not, in the normal course, be able to totally fund themselves. It is hoped we may be able to do this within the current rules of the Association or a small amendment may be needed. It’s not for Medical or Welfare as other Organisations cover that. Phil will give more details in his report, but please be gentle with him.

Finally, I would like to thank you all for allowing me to be your Chairman over the past 3 years. It has been a privilege and an honour, and I hope I served you well. I won’t say it’s been the easiest of jobs by any means, but I wish whoever you elect to succeed me today every fortitude as they take the Association into the future. He also added that he would let the newly elected Chairman make the closing remarks at the end of the meeting.

  1. Minutes of 2018 AGM

The Secretary, Cliff Snelling, asked for a vote to approve the Minutes of the 2018 AGM.  The proposal was carried.  There were no matters arising.

  1. Association Accounts

The Secretary asked for a vote to approve the Association Accounts for the period 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2018.  The proposal was carried.

  1. Secretary’s Report

The Secretary had received a couple of apologies, one from Pancho who had to stay at home to look after his good Wife, and a last-minute email from Dick Lloyd who said that due to a bereavement he and his wife had to be elsewhere this weekend. This would be the first Ganges reunion that Dick had missed in 32 years!



  1. Treasurers Report

The Treasurer, Phil Bridge, said that it gave him great pleasure to say to you that the Association Funds are 10 times better than when he took over in 2010/11

The Association has assets of £77,535.19 made up as follows:

Community Account:                  £7,155.44

Reunion Account:                      £144.63

Tracker Account:                       £70,000.00

Petty Cash Box:                         £16.06

Fixed Assets:                             £219.06 (Laptop x 2 and Voice Recorder)

All figures correct as of 31 March 2019.


Major Income

Subscriptions & Donations:     £33,042.00         (£33,354.50)

Grand Draw:                          £5,150.00           (£5,332.00)

Legacies:                                £7,131.73            (£656.00)

Members please remember they when paying any monies into the Association, cheques must be made payable to ‘HMS GANGES ASSOCIATION’

Major Outgoings (above £1000.00)

Gazette x 3                          £12,839.00         (£13,267.76)

N.S.B Expenses                      £5,213.71           (£4,442.51)

Committee Travel                   £2,824.50           (£2,467.99)

GA Promotion Team                £1,208.05             (£743.91)

Stationery/Postage                £1,208.00           (£1,813.04)

Mylor Refurbishment             £2,2,137.16           (£2,717.09)

Mylor Church                            £1000.00

Charities/Donations                  £2490.40           (£3,000.89)

Total Income                         £49,881.13         (£42,872.11)

Total Expenditure                 £41,059.66         (£40,963.46)

Figures in brackets are last year’s amounts


Thus, this year our profit over loss is £8,821.47



Treasurer Cont.

Phil stated that we were a victim of our own success, the Committees management of your money has gone as planned and we are well over the working budget that he predicted back in 2011, this is down to your support and good management.

The Committee now feel the time is right to offer some limited support financially to members and/or divisions in support of projects that they may not otherwise be able to fulfill and would be in the best interests of promoting the Association and its members.


This is NOT intended to be Medical or welfare related as other Service Organizations provide that support. Obviously, this will be within the Association Rules, but we believe this to be possible. Any application would have to be submitted to the Secretary in writing with full details and the Committee would judge its merits on an individual basis

Phil thanked the members for their support and trust, and Dave & Ann Fagg for their time in examining his books and that this would be his last term in office as the Treasurer.



  1. Membership Secretary Report

The Membership Secretary, Ken Bushnell, stated that total membership is 2,404 and consists of a number of facets.

Active Members                             1271

Life Members                                  653

Associate Members                            79

Lapsed Members                             401

We have two categories of Lapsed Members:

  1. Where Gazettes and correspondence has been returned to MemSec ‘Address not Known’ – 246 – 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 – 155.

Lapsed Members do not receive the Gazette.

114 members CTB during the period April 2018 to March 2019.  During the same period 76 new members have joined the Association.

Ken stated that this was the 6th MemSec report he had made at AGM, which he said was an honour and a pleasure.  We continue to attract new members, and long may that last.

Ken said that, as at all reunions, joining us this weekend we have a number of ‘guests’ – family and friends of Ganges Boys, and possibly some Ganges Boys who are not members of the GA.  He said he would like to extend the warm hand of friendship to those guests, and especially the ex-Ganges Boys.  ‘Come and join this fine Association, you are more than welcome’.

Ken stated that we continue to attract new members. Since taking over as MemSec at the 2013 AGM, we have attracted 402 new members into the Ganges Association, a testament to our progress.

We have a number of unsung heroes in the Ganges Association, none other than our own Life Members, who make a huge financial contribution to our Association – God Bless you All.

MemSec’s Station will be in operation all day today receiving subs, donations and Membership enquires, come and say hello and maybe join the Association if you are not already a Member, you won’t regret it.

Finally, on behalf of MemSec and Co, I would like to thank my wife Annette who contributes a great deal of work assisting me and wish you a fantastic Reunion2019 and hope to see you again in 2020. Thank You.

  1. Certificate Secretary’s Report

Certificate Secretary, Florrie Ford, said that in May it would be 36 years since the Certificates started. The first 50th Certificate was presented in 1983 by Captain Murray Dunlop to Tansy Lee who joined Ganges in May 1933. Since then the Certificates have grown in strength and now are a major part of our AGMs.  Last year he had over 100 requests and this year he has brought with him 45 framed Certificates that have to be presented over the weekend, and all who were expecting certificates to please check with Shelly to make sure that their details were correct and where they were in the running order. Also, photographs would only be taken by the official photographer

The Chairman then presented Jim Ditcham with his 70th Certificate.

Florrie also said that he was selling raffle tickets for a Rum Maiden which would be drawn on Sunday evening.  All the money raised would be going to Scarborough, for the Sea Cadet fund.


  1. Events & Standards Report

The Secretary advised that there was no report from Des Kerrigan (who was standing down) as he had left it at home, and it was the same as had been published in the Gazette.


  1. Reunion Secretary Report

Tony Willders, Reunion Secretary, thanked everyone for attending, and said that the sales for this year were very good and despite the rise in the cost we were fully booked with around 400 people in attendance and until Thursday we had a waiting list. So, if you are planning to attend next years Reunion, please book early.  He also thanked IOW Tours for their invaluable assistance in organising our Reunion.

Moving on to next years Reunion. He had quite literally travelled the length and breadth of the country and said that we were very, very limited in finding a venue that can satisfy the Ganges Association and hold 400 members and guests, for that reason, next year 2020 we will be returning to Gunton Hall.

The dates being the 17th-18th-19th of April. IOW Tours would be taking bookings straight after the AGM and for the rest of the weekend. There is a price increase by Warners for next year of £20, despite some heavy negotiation, and would bring the total to £275.

Tony reminded everyone that the weekend programme of events was as per their Daily Orders, and Dave Poyser would be organising the Uckers competition during Saturday afternoon. This year special Ganges Association boards had been commissioned for the event.

  1. Special Address by The Chairman Colin Gent

Colin made a special presentation of a cut-glass bowl to the Touring Presentation Team of Martin Wiltshire and Dave Cross who had stepped down this year.

He said that it needed two people to Tour the country in the Summer months when they really should be spending time with their families etc. spending a lot of money and personal time to go to the shows, book a venue and promote the Ganges Association. Facts have proved that it doesn’t generate the number of new members that you would hope it would. However, having said that, we should not forget the amount of time given and the steadfastness to duty that they committed themselves to.


  1. The Chairman Colin Gent

Colin asked that the 2 candidates for Chairman, Dave Cross and Charles (Florrie) Ford, to leave the room while a vote for the post was taken. Voting papers were only given to full members. Completed forms were then returned to Baz Downing Waite for scrutiny, and counting by non-Ganges members, namely the IOW staff.


  1. The Secretary, Cliff Snelling

The next 5 proposals are for the re-voting of Committee Members.

Nobody had been opposed, so under the rules of our Association, all of the committee Members in their relevant positions have been re-elected.

Phil Bridge

Ken Bushnell

Tony Willders

George Barnham

Once the vote for Chairman is known there will be one other vote for the position of Certificates Secretary depending on the result.

Proposal 10 is to delete the last sentence from Rule 4a (i) and Rule 4a(iii)

A vote was taken, and the proposal was passed unanimously.


Proposal 11 has been withdrawn and will be discussed at our next Committee Meeting in May.

  1. Museum Report by Roger Jones (Chairman)

Roger said that over the last 12 months they had lost 2 of their Trustees but had managed to replace them and co-opt 2 new ones. Despite a slow start to the year due to inclement weather, footfall had increased by 11% over the previous year, which means they had nearly 5000 visitors in the 6 months that the season runs. Our Treasurer reports that income is now back to a level it was 2 years ago, and our finances are now on an even keel.

We have finally completed our submission to the Arts Council for full Accreditation. This is something that we cannot do without. We have to be Accredited in order to move forward as a museum and receive proper funding. We are being guided by the Suffolk Museum Service and the Eastern Region Arts Council Representative.

Early discussions with the Marina concerning the site of the Museum indicate that they have other projects that they wish to complete first. The Enright block will be the last to be developed some way down the line. However, at this stage they have only offered us a 3-month rolling lease with 3 months’ notice. Giving us the possibility of 6 months tenure in all. This is to start when the existing one expires. We are hoping that we have at least another 12 months on that site when the current lease expires. The Marina have however, in their plans for the development of Enright Block, earmarked some space for a museum although not as much space as we have at the moment but we are negotiating that, and we lose the ceiling height, however they are willing to look into the plans and build into them something that would accommodate the figurehead and other tall items that need to be displayed. We have attempted to persuade them to sell us a small parcel of land to build our own museum. They have declined our offer at the moment, but we have other plans, but these are not for general discussion at this time. I personally wish to see the Museum on-site where it is for a very, very long time. None of what we do would be possible without the continuing invaluable support of the Association and of those members who are willing to turn out in all weathers during the season to open the museum to the visitors. It never ceases to amaze me how well such a small specialist museum is perceived by all visitors, whether Ganges members or not, and how appreciative our guests are of the welcome and help they receive.

The Chairman thanked Roger for his report, and we wish you and all his board of Trustees all the very best of fortitude and help as they strive to go forward and keep our Museum in the forefront of the Navy.



‘Perky’ Mellow Award (Smartest Standard Bearer)

The Chairman said that this year the award was not only for smartness, but also for due diligence during the last 12 months, the Award was presented to Glen (Jacko) Jack from the Fulham and Chelsea Division by Life Vice President John (Shep) Woolley and Founder Member Peter Taylor




  1. Special Presentations

The Chairman made a special presentation on behalf of the members to Des Kerrigan who was standing down from the Committee after 14 years as the Events and Standards Officer. During this period, he had gone above and beyond the duties you could ask of anyone. He almost single-handedly pulled the fledgling link with Mylor and the St. Nazaire Parade together. This now has turned into an annual event. His contribution to the West London Division, The Remembrance Sunday Parade, etc. is a credit to him.

Colin also commented that Des was recently married, and his wife Susan travelled everywhere with him. She supports him and Des would be the first to tell us that without her support Des would not have been able to achieve all that he has.

Phil Bridge then made a Presentation on behalf of the members to the outgoing Chairman Colin Gent who had been a fantastic servant to us all.


  1. Chief Scrutineer

Baz Downing Waite was called upon to give the result of the vote for the new Chairman’s position.

30 Postal Votes were received and over 200 votes were cast at the meeting.

The results, read by the Secretary, was as follows

The Postal Votes…………………Florrie Ford 5……….Dave Cross 28

Votes this morning…………….Florrie Ford 69……..Dave Cross 137

Therefore, the Secretary had the pleasure of calling up Dave Cross, the new Chairman of the HMS Ganges Association.


  1. Certificates Secretary

The Secretary announced that a second vote had taken place and Florrie Ford was unanimously re-elected as Certificates Secretary







  1. New Chairman’s Closing Remarks

Dave Cross thanked everyone for electing him and, once again, thanked Colin for his dedication and hard work he had put in over the last 3 years.


Up Spirits!




Transcribed from a voice recording of the AGM on the 13th April 2019 by:

Nick Crow

Hon Sec.

HMS GANGES WA Division Hoist May 2019


Division Patron: Commander Philip Orchard AM AFNI RAN Ret. Retired




G’day all,

Sunday Social Sausage Sizzle 25/04/19:

Another great turn out for the SSSS with Rockingham RNA, with some 30+ in attendance. As has now become the norm provisioner Secretary James provided the sausages and rolls etc. on our behalf and regular chef Vice President Gary did the honours where cooking was concerned. Again, salads and duff were well catered for. Knocker White ran the raffles with plenty of prizes available, its amazing how some people are regular winners, it may be due to the amount of tickets they buy. The rum raffle was won by Gary Foley.


The opportunity was taken to discuss the upcoming Shep Woolley concert on Saturday 25th May with navy club management. Tickets will be $20/head and bring a plate for nibbles. The concert is scheduled as 1900 for 1930. Our job is to sell tickets but get in early as seating for 150 is the maximum licence allowance. Tickets may be booked or purchased through the Navy Club.


20th Anniversary Dinner;

The anniversary week end is only weeks away and Tony and his team have things well in order. Treasurer Peter confirmed that all who have booked for the dinner (38) have paid up.


To freshen memories;

The Friday meet and greet is in the Season’s Hotel commencing around 1800. Dress is Division shirts for those who have one and we reckon there will be 15 to 20 in attendance. The hotel has food on offer at reasonable prices and is 30 seconds away from the hotel (around the corner).

The dinner is set as 1830 for 1900. For the early birds the restaurant bar opens at 1730. Dress will be smart casual without medals (I will be wearing my blazer), what the ladies wear is entirely up to them.

Although it has been decided not to have ‘Up Spirits’ there will be wine and soft drink on the table and restaurant manager Claus has graciously allowed us to provide our own rum for the toasts. A few of the committee will be setting tables etc from around 1530. Cathy Sharkey with the help of Mary Anthony has arranged the table settings with her usual flair.


Division Gatherings for 2019


Committee Meetings

3rd Thursday of odd month

Commencing 1200 at FNC

Division Meetings

4th Thursday of odd month

Commencing 1200 at FNC

Social Sausage Sizzles

4th Sunday of even month

Commencing 1200 at RNC

16th May 23rd May  
    23rd June (Ganges)
18th July 25th July  
    24th August (RRNA)
19th September 26th September  
    27th October (Ganges)
21st November 28th November (AGM)  
20th Anniversary Celebration Dinner 1st June

Miss Maud Hotel & Restaurant Perth

Annual Black Tot Day Lunch

1200 Wednesday 31st July at FNC

Christmas Lunch

1200 Wednesday 11th December at FNC





Boom Boom!

Two RP’s walked into a building………you’d think one of them would have seen it.


Book Review:

Tony Richards lent me the book ‘Erubus – the story of a ship’ by Michael Palin of Monty Python fame. It is a great read and one that prompted a couple of inclusions in this Hoist. HMS Erebus, named after the dark region of Hades in Greek mythology, was laid down as a Hecla class bomb vessel.

Erebus and her accompanying ship HMS Terror (she was also laid down as a Vesuvius class bomb vessel) are famous for their voyages to Antarctica (Ross expedition) and the Arctic (Franklin expedition), both ships were lost in the late 1840’s whilst searching for the North West Passage.

A couple of things from the book I will share with you; soaking your feet in rum is no cure for frostbite and that Ross requested a young gunnery officer named FitzJames from HMS Ganges to join his crew, but the request was denied. I was intrigued as to how Palin sourced this information until I read later that Commander FitzJames was a key member of the Franklin expedition. Reading the book led me to research further hence ‘The Story of a Class’ and ‘The Falklands’ articles in this hoist.


The story of a Class:

The Canopus-class ships of the line were a class of nine 84-gun two-deck second rates of the Royal Navy. Their design was based on an enlarged version of the lines of the captured French ship Franklin (see below), she was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Canapus, although this ship herself was not included as a member of the class. The earlier ships were initially ordered as 80-gun third rates, but this classification was altered by changes in the rating system in February 1817. This class of ships is sometimes referred to as the Formidable class.

A drawing of the French ship Franklin – Built in Toulon and named after the American Benjamin Franklin, she was completed in March 1798 and captured by the British Fleet under Rear Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of the Nile in August 1798.


Having served the French Navy for less than 6 months she was renamed HMS Canapus and served the British for 89 years.


The ships:

HMS Formidable

Builder: Chatham Dockyard

Ordered: 8th May 1815

Launched: 19 May 1825

Fate: Sold 1906

HMS Ganges

Builder: Bombay Dockyard

Ordered: 4 June 1816

Launched: 10 November 1821

Fate: Sold 1929

HMS Asia

Builder: Bombay Dockyard

Ordered: 22 April 1819

Launched: 19 January 1824

Fate: Sold, 1908

HMS Vengeance

Builder: Pembroke Dockyard

Ordered: 23 January 1817

Launched: 27 July 1824

Fate: Sold, 1897

HMS Powerful

Builder: Chatham Dockyard

Ordered: 23 January 1817

Launched: 21 June 1826

Fate: Broken up, 1864

HMS Clarence

Builder: Pembroke Dockyard

Ordered: 27 May 1819

Launched: 25 July 1827

Fate: Burnt, 1884

HMS Bombay

Builder: Bombay Dockyard

Ordered: 26 January 1825

Launched: 17 February 1828

Fate: Burnt 1864

HMS Thunderer

Builder: Woolwich Dockyard

Ordered: 23 January 1817

Launched: 22 September 1831

Fate: Sold 1901

HMS Monarch

Builder: Chatham Dockyard

Ordered: 26 July 1817

Launched: 18 December 1832

Fate: Broken up 1866


Their Fate:

  • In 1869 Formidablebecame a training ship, at the National Nautical School in Portishead and she was sold out of the navy in 1906.
  • HMS Ganges was finally taken out of service in 1923, and transferred to the dockyard; in 1929, she was sold for breaking up. The following year, after over a century in service, she was finally broken up at Plymouth. Upon breaking, some of the timber was used to make souvenirs, usually having a small brass plaque with some of the ship’s history attached. The panelling in the captain’s cabin was purchased by Thomas Nelson, 4th Earl nelson, who installed it in the principal top-floor room at Trafalgar Park in Wiltshire. The captain’s cabin in the stern was used in the construction of the Burgh Island Hotel in Devon, where it remains to this day. In 1933, timbers from the ship were also used to construct the cross that stands outside the eastern end of Guildford Cathedral in Surrey. You will note Ganges was the longest serving ship of the class.
  • In 1858 HMS Asia was converted to serve as a guardship, and during several years she was flagship of the Admiral-Superintendent of Portsmouth Dockyard. In 1908 she was sold out of the navy.
  • HMS Vengeance became a receiving ship in 1861 (usually an obsolete or unseaworthy shipmoored at a navy yard and used for new recruits or men in transit between stations) and was eventually sold out of the navy in 1897.
  • HMS Powerful was hulked (A shipthat is afloat, but incapable of going to sea, the term most often refers to an old ship that has had its rigging or internal equipment removed, retaining only its buoyant qualities. Hulks have a variety of uses such as housing, prisons, as salvage pontoons, gambling sites, or for cargo storage.) and used as a target in 1860 and was broken up in 1864.
  • HMS Clarence was lent to the Liverpool Catholic Reformatory Association for use as a boy’s reformatory ship, in 1884 she was destroyed by a fire set by 6 of the boys whilst at her mooring on the Mersey.
  • HMS Bombay was fitted with screw propulsion in 1861 (i.e. the only one of its class with stokers aboard) She was destroyed in a fire on the River Plate, in a freak target practice accident. Her efficient ventilation system spread the fire of unknown origin during target practice off Uruguay near Montevideo on 14th December 1864, destroying her and costing the lives of 93 of her crew of 619.
  • HMS Thunderer was hulked in 1863 as a target ship at Portsmouth. Thundererwas renamed twice in quick succession: first in 1869 to Comet, and again in 1870 to Nettle. HMS Nettle was sold in December 1901 to Messrs. King & co, of Garston, to be broken up.
  • HMS Monarch was used as a target ship from 1862 and broken up in 1866.


The Falklands:

Argentina’s claims that the Falklands group of Islands, as Islas Malvinas, is part of their territory, I believe this claim is tentative at best. Although Fuegians from Patagonia may have visited the Falkland Islands in the distant past they were uninhabited when Europeans first discovered them. The first recorded landings on the islands is attributed to English captain John Strong, who, enroute to Peru and Chile in 1690, discovered a body of water between the two largest islands and named it Falkland Sound.


The islands remained uninhabited until the 1764 establishment of Port Louis on East Falkland by French captain Louis Antoine de Bougainville, he christened the islands Iles Malouines (after Saint-Malo the city of his shipbuilders and sailors). 1766 saw the foundation of Port Egmont on Saunders Island by British captain John McBride. Whether or not these settlements were aware of each other’s existence is debated by historians. The name Falklands was not applied to the islands until 1765, when British captain John Byron of the Royal navy, claimed them for King George III as “The Falkland Islands”. The term “Falklands” is a standard abbreviation used to refer to the islands.


But France and Britain were not the only countries to stake a claim, the Spanish claimed ownership of the whole lot through the terms of the Treaty of Tordesillas, which in 1494 had divided up the New World between Spain and Portugal. For the next 50 years the Falklands were claimed at various times by the French, the British, the Spanish and, with the growth of the south Atlantic whaling industry by the Americans as well. Then in 1820 a new country, Argentina, born from the wreckage of the Spanish Empire, announced a formal claim. That is why I believe the claim is tentative at best.



It could only happen to a stoker!

I was sitting in a bar one day and two very large women came in, talking in an interesting accent.
I said, “Cool accent, are you two ladies from Ireland?” One of them snarled at me, “It’s Wales, dumbo!”
So I corrected myself, “Oh, right, so are you two whales from Ireland?”

That’s about as much as I remember.


Master Shipbuilder

HMS Trincomalee, Britain’s oldest warship afloat, is moored alongside in Hartlepool UK. Launched in 1817 she is a Leda class frigate and was built of Malabar teak at the Waida Shipyards in Bombay under the watchful eye of master shipbuilder Jamsetjee Bomanjee Waida. She will be 202 years old in October.


Those in the know (or see “Story of a Class’) will realise HMS Ganges, built of Malabar teak at the Wadia shipyards and launched in 1821, was also built under the watchful eye of Jamsetjee Bomanjee Waida.


Whereas Ganges’s figurehead was that of and Indian prince, Trincomalee’s was that of old Jamsetjee himself. So now you know what the builder of HMS Ganges looked like. For some reason I had always thought of him as a short, dumpy fellow, how wrong can you be?


Trincomalee had a long service life and was involved in the search for the Franklin Expeditions Erebus and Terror and spent many years as a training ship.


Royal Navy Snippits:


New UK Hydrographic Office Opened:
In April the Princess Royal officially opened the new home of UK Hydrographic. Construction of the new headquarters for the 850 data analysers, hydrographers, cartographers, environmental experts and scientists took 18 months to complete and was ready for operations in January. The building was formally dedicated by Princess Anne, hosted by Earl Howe, Minister of State for Defence, and Rear Admiral Tim Lowe, Acting Chief Executive and National Hydrographer.

Seafarers around the world – including every Royal Navy warship and submarine, as well as the support vessels of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary – rely on the accurate charts produced by the team from Taunton to guide them safely around the seven seas. It uses data and information gathered by Royal Navy survey ships – HMS Protector in the Antarctic, HMS Scott largely in the Atlantic, HMS Echo and HMS Enterprise all over the globe and new HMS Magpie in coastal waters – to ensure the charts are as accurate as possible.
For nearly 80 years it’s been based in Taunton, but the site and buildings it originally occupied were deemed unfit for 21st-Century hydrographic and geospatial information service, especially as it switches
from traditional paper charts to providing a digital service instead. “I hope this new building will encourage people to understand what you do here and thank you for it,” Princess Royal said. “We are looking to you in the future to be at the forefront of hydrographic and geospatial information.” (I served on the previous HMS Scott in 1960, but all we surveyed was the River Severn and North Sea)


New Off Shore Patrol Vessels (OPVs):

HMS Tamar, part of an order for five ships, was formally named in Glasgow in March. The 90-metre vessel, which is equipped with a 30mm cannon and flight deck capable of accommodating a Merlin helicopter, is part of a five-strong OPV contract with BAE Systems, worth a combined £635m.
These vessels are designed for patrolling the British coastlines and protecting UK waters, as well as anti-smuggling and counter terrorism operations, and will be a key part of the Royal Navy fleet. HMS Tamar will be undergoing sea trials before being accepted into operational service in 2020.
All five vessels will be initially constructed in BAE System’s Govan yard, before being moved to their Scotstoun site to be fitted out with their systems ahead of rigorous sea trials.
Alongside the Type 26 anti-submarine frigate programme, the Royal Navy work has filled the Glasgow
shipyards’ order books until the early 2030s, with the next batch of frigates to be ordered soon. All the
Batch 2 OPVs, named HMS Forth, HMS Medway, HMS Trent, HMS Tamar and HMS Spey, are set to be delivered to the Royal Navy by the end of 2020. Below HMS Tamar is launched.



Is ’She’ to become ‘It’ or ‘Him’???

It was The Queen who said: “May God bless her and all who sail in her,” as she commissioned Britain’s
latest warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, in 2014. But now the tradition of referring to boats as “she” or “her” is under threat after centuries of naval history. On Tuesday it emerged that a British maritime museum has begun referring to ships it exhibits as “it” in a bid to appear more gender neutral. The Queen, in line with Royal Navy tradition, referred to the HMS Queen Elizabeth as “she”.

The decision taken by the Scottish Maritime Museum near Troon was sparked by vandals. Twice in four
months, references to boats as “she” has been scratched out of information signs, forcing the charity’s
director to scrap the gender-specific term altogether. A 19th century steam yacht called ‘Rifle’, which once carried Queen Victoria across Loch Arkaig while she was visiting Inverlochy castle in 1873, had its display signs defaced last week in the latest attack. A passage which read: “Although she is in a very fragile condition, her propeller is a well-preserved example of an early design and she continues to fascinate viewers,” had all the gendered terms scratched out. The museum’s director David Mann has now vowed to update all signage around the building with gender neutral terms, using “it’ instead. “We are moving in line with other maritime institutions,” said Mr Mann.



Lloyd’s List, a weekly shipping publication which ran in print for more than 250 years, has already abandoned centuries of seafaring tradition by calling all vessels “it”. Julian Bray, the former editor, wrote: “The shipping industry does need to move forward if it is not to risk becoming a backwater of international business. “They are maritime real estate. The world moves on. I can see why ‘she’ would suit a magnificent cruise liner but to a rusting old hulk it could be rather offensive. “However, I don’t think there is anything wrong with calling ships ‘she’ in conversation. It’s a respectable maritime tradition.”

A spokesperson for the trade body, the British Marine Industries Federation, said their organisation would stand firm. “Our owners have always referred to them as ‘she’ and will continue to do so because, to many, they are part of the family,” they said. The exact reason why ships are referred to as “she” has been debated for many years.
A Royal Navy spokesman said: “The Royal Navy has a long tradition of referring to its ships as ‘she’ and will continue to do so.” Good on the RN for standing fast but one wonders if the ever-increasing number of lady sailors will later influence opinion.

Taking things literally!

Two guys are out hunting in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t appear to be breathing, his eyes are glazed over.

The other man pulls out his phone with trembling fingers and calls 000. He gasps, “My friend is dead! What can I do?” The operator says “Please stay calm. I will help you. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.”

There’s a silence, then a gun shot. The guy gets back on the phone and says “OK, now what?”


Point to Ponder:

Help a man when he is in trouble, and he will remember you when he is in trouble again.

That’s all folks;

HMS GANGES Western Australian Division Minutes of General Meeting 28th March 2019

Patron: Commander Philip Orchard AM AFNI RAN Ret.



Held 28/03/19 at Fremantle Navy Club


Present: James & Cathy Sharkey, Ian Critchley, Tony Richards, Patrick Moore, Gary Foley, Paul Chapman, Dave Parry, Jack Warner, Mary Anthony, Alex and Liz McKinnon, Buster & Charlotte Keating, Peter Godfrey, Karl and Morag Campbell, Brenda Chitty, Barry Morgan, Les Simmons, Nobby Clark.

 Apology:  Peter Greenfield, Brian Thompson, Tony & Jan Smith, Geoff & Ann Rumsey.

  1. Welcome & Opening:

President Ian welcomed attendees, introduced our guest Nobby Clark, and thanked everyone for attending. Ian then called upon Rum Bosun Alex to “Up Spirits”.

  1. Lamp Swinger Session
  • Paul Chapman

Paul continued with part 2 of his entertaining talk on the RN, Then and Now, relating to Rum, Bum and Baccy plus Tattoos Body Art and Piercings.

  1. Acceptance of Minutes (23/01/19):
  • Moved: Alex McKinnon Seconded: Buster Keating “That the minutes of the Annual BBQ Meeting held 23/01/19 be accepted as a true and correct record.” Carried.

 3.1 Business arising:

  • 20th Anniversary report (Tony Richards).

Tony addressed the meeting and gave details of the progress being made towards what will be an excellent 20th Anniversary Dinner at Miss Mauds Restaurant on 1st June. Special mention was given to restaurant manager Claus for his above and beyond assistance with the preparations for the event. Tony discussed the format for the evening, which will be promulgated nearer the time.

Paul Chapman was asked to give details of the Shep Woolley concert. Paul stated that the concert would be at the Rockingham Navy Club on 25th May and will include a light meal. The cost and start time have yet to be finalised.

  1. President’s Report
  • 20 years potted history

President Ian has put together a brief history of our Division from its conception in 1999 to the present day. Ian approached the office of his local MP and “persuaded” him to put the history paperwork into a booklet format for free. A booklet of our Division’s history with photographs will be available at the Anniversary Dinner.

  1. Secretary’s Report:
  • All inward and outward correspondence and information emails distributed.
  • The Division has applied to rejoin the RSLWA’s Unit & Kindred Associations Group.
  • Peter Godfrey has volunteered to be the May meeting Lamp Swinger.

Moved: Barry Morgan    Seconded: Tony Richards     “That the inward correspondence be accepted and the outward endorsed.” Carried.

 5.2 Almoners Report

  • Secretary James has been in touch with Ken Read who recently celebrated his 91st birthday, Ken’s wife Sonya is celebrating her 91st birthday today.
  • James spoke with Una Hughes now living in a care home in Augusta. Peter Hughes is suffering from dementia and Una visits him every day. Fortunately they have two daughters living in the area. I have passed my telephone number on to one of their daughters.
  • An email from Bill Hall was read out to the meeting and sad to hear that Bill is in poor health. Mary Anthony will be in touch with Bill and perhaps he can join us at our next BBQ at the Navy Club.

6. Treasurers Report:

  • Treasurer Peter read his financial report to March 2019:
  • Cash at bank $3252.00
    Petty Cash 121.80
    Rum Stock 6 bottles 390.00
  • Reminder: final day for 20th Anniversary Dinner payment is 30th April.

Moved: Alex McKinnon Seconded:  Cathy Sharkey    “That the Treasurers report to March be accepted” Carried.

  1. Raffle
  • Raffle Master Cathy conducted the raffle. The lucky winners were Pat Moore, Ian Critchley, James Sharkey, Tony Richards, Les Simmons and Rattler Morgan. The raffle raised $95.00.
  1. Other Business
  • Nil
  1. Next Gatherings;
  • Social sausage sizzle: Sunday 28th April – 1200 at RNC.
  • Committee Meeting: Thursday 16th May – 1200 at FNC.
  • General Meeting: Thursday 23rd May– 1200 FNC.
  • 20th Anniversary Dinner: 1st June at Miss Mauds.