If you have a story call our newsdesk on 01722 426511 or email us. To advertise call 01722 426500.
Reunion for midshipmen
A SPECIAL reunion of midshipmen is taking place in south Wiltshire next month (October) of a group who first met and began training together more than 60 years ago.
Out of a group of 15 men who served in HMS Sheffield in her 1953/54 commission, 11 will be meeting up on October 18 at The Beckford Arms in Fonthill Gifford.
With the exception of four, who were Royal Navy Volunteer Reserves at the time, all went through the Royal Navy College in Dartmouth as cadets.
Organiser of the get-together Bob Rouse, who now lives in Salisbury, said: “We were the first to enter at 16 years old rather than 13.
“When we joined we weren’t allowed to take anything with us. We were sent a kit with everything the Admiralty deemed necessary, even down to an Admiralty-pattern comb.
“After Dartmouth, we spent eight months in the training cruiser HMS Devonshire before going on to join HMS Sheffield in Portsmouth as midshipmen.
“She was known as Shiny Sheff because all the fittings usually made of brass in other Royal Navy vessels were made from chrome steel on her, in tribute to the city’s steelworks.”
As a group of midshipmen they went to America and the West Indies, and escorted the Queen from Jamaica to the mid-Pacific on Her Majesty’s first round the world tour.
Some later left the service and went their separate ways, following varied commercial career paths, but have continued to keep in close contact and try to meet up on a regular basis.
Mr Rouse said: “We don’t know of any other ships that have had a reunion this long on – we’re not just talking about two or three chaps but the bulk of us. “We will be remembering the old stories – it was a great experience.”
Comments are closed on this article.