You are about to see a movie taken almost 18 years ago in September 1991 inside the former HMS Ganges.  Fortunately, the navy did not abandoned the place in 1976 but sold it on to others for continuing use and they continued with its maintenance, and at this time despite the wholesale demolition of the messes, what remained had not been engulfed in overgrown flora.  The Establishment could still be visited;  it was still reasonably clean and tidy despite it being vacated 15 years previously by the navy but of a much lesser period by civilian authorities who took over the Establishment from the Admiralty; the Signal School was still standing and perhaps most important of all, the mast was being cared for and still looked the part.

The film, a private home movie,  shows us the Establishment starting in the north [PO's Mess and swimming pool etc] and wanders down to the southern boundary finishing as the group approaches the Admiralty Pier built out into the River Stour.  The Shotley Pier, ran parallel to the Admiralty Pier but some distance up river directly opposite the Bristol Arms public house.  It was controlled by a Toll Gate and was used by boats to ferry civilians across the river to Harwich.  The stroll down Signal School lane, which as you will recall, terminated with Faith, Hope and Charity, is very poignant as was the walk on "hallowed ground" through the old College of Knowledge, viz the Signal School.

If you have any problem with viewing the film [sticking etc because of your slow broadband connection] just wait until the streaming film catches up with itself.

The group who will be your guides are John Sayers & Geoff Say.  John and I served in HM Submarine Auriga together during the 1962-1964 commission when the boat was in the 6th Squadron based on Halifax Nova Scotia Canada.   Geoff Say joined HMS St Vincent in 1958 as a junior to do his basic training and then transferred to HMS Ganges [also in 1958] to train as a junior radio operator.  He joined Hawke Division.  He returned to HMS Ganges as a petty officer instructor in 1971/72 and joined Blake Division. He left the navy as a petty officer {Radio Supervisor} and was discharged to pension.   His wife [the taller of the two ladies] is called Ellen.  Geoff was the movie cameraman.   John has the still camera and is centre stage!  His wife of 45 years, very active in the WRNS Association, is called Rita.  John joined Ganges in 1958, and he and Geoff Say were in the same class.  He qualified as a junior coxswain and much enjoyed sailing on the Stour and the Orwell.  On leaving HMS Ganges, he spent a few years in general service [HMS Adamant {HMS Blackwood}/HMS Lion] before joining submarines in June 1962:  his first boat was HM S/M Auriga.  On returning from Canada he married and thereafter did several sea jobs as pier-head jumps from HMS Dolphin {Spare Crew} which included long periods away,  either under the ice or deployed on mysteries in HM S/M Finwhale and HM S/M Sealion.  In this period, John received a draft to HMS Mercury for his career petty officers course, but eventually declined the chance and bought himself out of the navy.  He became a career policeman.

This film takes up a lot of space, in raw video,  over 890 MB in fact.  For ease of streaming downloads,  I have split the movie into three  sections totaling  471MB in all, and if you want it or need it,  an intermission is added with a super big band rendition of the late 1930's Bell Bottom Trousers [not to be confused with Bell Bottom Blues of the 1950's].  Go on ! Test your speakers to the full.

PART ONE  

September 1991 tour of HMS Ganges - Part One.wmv

Arrival and parking at the main gate, and given a car permit and personal body-worn ID passes. A general tour visiting all areas of the establishment still standing.
INTERMISSION

-GuyLombardo-BellBottomTrousers.wav

TIP. If it does NOT open on clicking  the URL above, then repeat the action, click on SAVE and then on OPEN.

PART TWO

September 1991 tour of HMS Ganges - Part Two.wmv

Starts at the mast  with Nelson Hall and the centre piece  on its right. The mast is in good condition. Excellent view of the Canteen/NAAFI. Then onto quarterdeck with good views of signal tower, mast and front main gates now lonely without the guardhouse/QM's lobby with, in the back ground, cars racing up and down Bristol Hill.  Also the wardroom and captain's office building. A nostalgic view [for 'comms boys] of the gate at the end of School Lane, which led from the main gates  to either the School Block or the Signal School. Also a quick entrance  for instructor officers  to and from the wardroom.  The school is now home to several up-market apartments.

Then scan left over the wardroom tennis courts, lawned areas and rose garden, to the sunken garden with its attractive pond and features.

Then down through the tree-lined signal school path to the top entrance - just before it we see the precipitous drop to the steps leading down to the foreshore, known as faith, hope and charity.

The signal school, basically still intact and standing proud, with its red tiled lower walls  and gloss painted upper walls. We 'comms boys spent the best part of twelve of the fifteen months training we endured, learning our skills in this "hallowed" place.

Note the secretive laughter of the two ladies  as one of them loads three pieces of wooden blocks into her bag,  dislodged [by others in previous times] from the original floor of the school. If you closely, you will see many scattered around the corridors. I was the lucky recipient of one of them. Well done ladies and my sincere thanks.

 

 

PART THREE

September 1991 tour of HMS Ganges - Part Three.wmv

Starts at the top of the steps "faith, hope and charity'.  Good views over Harwich harbour .  Returning to main gates to leave by car to Bristol Hill. A stop over on King Edward VII's Drive  to look up the steps [FH&C] back to the signal school . Thereafter, to the admiralty pier stretching deep into the Stour overlooking Felixstowe a busy port which wasn't when I was at Ganges in 1953. Good views back over the Ganges site with a good view of the Bristol 's Shotley pier, built as a 'toll' service to take small boats ferrying Shotleyites to Harwich for work and shopping. Close-up's of the Harwich water line buildings. Finally, views of the Ganges security fencing and a pile of rubble once part of Ganges accommodation blocks, possibly mine - Rodney 12 Mess long covered way. We end stopping in a water front car park which services the HMS Ganges Museum.