OUR LAST GREAT BATTLESHIP

Laid down in early WW2 time; launched in late WW2 time, and commissioned in peace time after WW2.She was dragged kicking and screaming out of Portsmouth's harbour in 1960 heading for a breakers/scrappers yard, and, as we say in the navy, the razor blade factory.

A pictorial story of the early life and times of

H.M.S. VANGUARD

Should be used in conjunction with the two excellent websites, the second of which we get close-up with HM The King and his family and the sea-sick Princess Elizabeth!

http://battleshiphmsvanguard.homestead.com/index.html#

http://battleshiphmsvanguard2.homestead.com/ContentsSouthAfrica.html
 

To compliment those two websites, here is another piece of her history which some might find of interest

 HMS VANGUARD'S EARLY LIFE.pdf

Across the back cover of the pamphlet are many signatures, and all at a time after  Captain Agnew had been promoted to rear admiral - his signature penultimate bottom right. They are all wardroom signatures [but see below], the commander's W.J. Lamb, being on the bottom row southwest of his CO's signature. Not all those who signed sailed with the ship on the South African tour of 1947.

It reflects the diversity of the officer corps starting with several midshipmen, then junior officers [sub lieutenants and lieutenants], to more senior officers [lieutenant commanders RN & majors RM] mostly executive officers but some engineers, some doctors, some dentists, some instructor officers and as many again from the supply and secretarial branch. However, this list highlights a couple of errors/typos in the second listed URL above [in the list of those who sailed in the ship for the tour] and two in particular [there could be others] concern the medical branch! The bottom left signature - a squiggle, which represent the initials E.T.S., followed by the surname RUDD - is that of the ship's surgeon captain.  He is listed as an instructor lieutenant despite being shown as a FRCS [Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons].  G.A.S Authony is listed as a surgeon captain. However, he signs himself as G.S. Authony,  Surg Lt Cdr RN - see immediately above the rear admirals signature. Just a slight 'tweak' will easily fix this error. I have a feeling that the bottom signature [under that of the CO's]  is that of a Scotland Yard Chief Superintendent who assumed the duties as the Kings personal bodyguard.

Anyway, the records shown in the two URL above, are fascinating and of great naval historical importance, and we should all thank Shirley North for preserving them for posterity.

 
During the tour, at the Kings 1947 Birthday Honours List, HM The King graciously promoted the CO,  the Commander and Major Vivian Dunn RM in the Royal Victorian Order from, in the case of the CO, Commander Victorian Order CVO to Knight Commander Victorian Order [KCVO], in the Commanders case from Member of the Victorian Order MVO [4th Class] to Commander Victorian Order CVO, and for Major Dunn MVO [5th Class] to MVO [4th Class]. He also appointed the ships Commander [E] Lancelot Peile RN; the Commander [S] Keith Dunn RN; Lieutenant Commander Ian Steel RN and Major Reginald Carteret de Mussenden RM to the MVO [4th Class]. Finally, to the MVO [5th Class] he appointed Sub Lieutenant James Davidson RN and Mr Horace Banford Commissioned Boatswain RN.

The RVO was always a misunderstood honour at the 4th and 5th Class level, because both recipients wore the same medal and had the same post nominal of MVO, thus few realised the step difference between the two achievements and that was important; the Orders are, when all is said and done, promotions and deserve recognition as such. On the 31st December  1984, HM The Queen decided to change the system so that all would be aware of the Rank order but there was little room for manoeuvre in the structure. To make that room, a lieutenancy was introduced, the only British Order to have such a Rank and from that time onwards [the first Award being the 1985 New Years Honours List] the RVO was as follows. GCVO, KCVO, CVO, LVO, MVO where LVO means Lieutenant Victorian Order = the old 4th Class, and MVO is known as the 5th Class.