PORTSMOUTH AND THE ROYAL NAVY WHEN STYLE WAS FASHIONABLE!

 

In 1953, the City of Portsmouth with the Royal Navy "pulled out all of the stops" to give the people of Portsmouth and the sailors from around the world, the most wonderful programme imaginable. Remembering other Fleet Reviews [in other sea areas as well as at Portsmouth] and particularly that for H.M.'s Silver Jubilee in 1977 at Spithead which was splendid; with the damp squib almost non event for her Golden Jubilee in 2002; and the proposed "Sail Past" [which my wife and I will be attending] on the River Thames for her Diamond Jubilee next year;  do you notice that we are going backwards and the celebrations are getting WORSE as time goes by, and I wonder what the RN and Portsmouth will do to celebrate 2012?

From the City of Portsmouth's Souvenir Programme of the Coronation, I have cobbled together the following file. It is an interesting read and the navy gets 'star billing' not just the Fleet, but the many shore establishments.

What a sad country we have become, and I feel sorry for the navy who are obviously dying to emulate what we used to do in terms of pageantry but they are not allowed to 'cos there just ain't the money.  I wouldn't mind but scrimping on rewarding our Queen for 60 long and faithful years of Service, is to say the least churlish in the extreme. Your Majesty, may I humbly and unreservedly apologise on their behalf for they knowest not what they are doing?

In the following file there are many interesting naval things, like for example the continuous mention of R.N.B. Lee on Solent [his signal address was COMBRAX LEE] but when referring to flying RNAS Gosport is mentioned and so is RNAS Lee on Solent. The RNB refers to the Barracks of the Fleet Air Arm which was associated with the Airfield and RNAS Gosport, called HMS Siskin, became HMS Sultan in 1956, named after the Ironclad HMS Sultan which was moored in Portsmouth Harbour until 1943 as the R.N., Mechanical Training Ship.  In fact, the Lee on Solent base had four separate and specific functions which were Flag Officer Air [Home], Flag Officer Ground Training, COMBRAX Lee [as mentioned] and Captain RNAS Lee [as mentioned].  Also, note the mention of the Dress Rehearsal for the Fleet Review, where no fewer that 200 [repeat] 200 aircraft took part and they all took-off in one big massed formation, wave after wave, from RNAS Lee on Solent.  How sad to see that old airfield today! In March 1957, RNB and RNAS Lee-on-Solent amalgamated under a Captain R.N., to be known as HMS Daedalus.  The post of COMBRAX Lee-on-Solent lapsed.  As a snippet for which I have no obvious 'hole', I will mention here that small ships flights were introduced into the FAA in March 1963 vide AFO460/63.

Enjoy the file PORTSMOUTH AND RN CORONATION CELEBRATIONS.pdf

P.S. For any ex HMS Ganges trainees.  Did you know that Portsmouth had its own Gange's? This is an advert taken from the Souvenir Programme mentioned above. You will note that it was established before 1853, which was thirteen years before the Ganges went to Falmouth in 1866.