The H.M.S. Hood Association Online Archive
Autumn 1986 Association Newsletter
Updated 06-May-2014

The October 1986 newsletter sent to Association members.

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I sincerely hope that this Newsletter finds you all in the best of health as we have one or two attractions in the near future, the first to take place is the British Legion Festival of Remembrance, which is held in the Southampton Guildhall on Monday 17th, November 1986, doors open 6pm. This was a result of one of the British Legion Members seeing our Standard at Boldre Church last May, after receiving numerous telephone calld from different members of the Southampton Committee pleading for our Standard to be paraded at the Guildhall, not wishing to miss an opportunity to show the flag it was promised that our Standard and Escort would be on parade. Within three days a letter written by a Mr John Caplin arrived expressing their delight at our acceptance, to be exact, their words read "We would be honoured if you would join us this year and succeeding years." Enclosed was a copy of the official march on list which to my surprise showed very clearly that H.M.S. "Hood"s Standard will be receiving special treatment, after all Association Standards have marched on there will be a pause and then the Standard of H.M.S. "Hood" will be marched in alone after a special announcement, can we look forward to seeing many of our members at the gathering.

While on the subject of remembering all the Shipmates that we lost, as you may recall in the past we have always attended the Remembrance Day Service at the Portsmouth Guildhall, this year the Committee felt that it would be more appropriate if we attended the Service at the Naval War Memorial at Southsea, which meant getting permission from the Portsmouth Branch of the R.N.A. to parade our Standard, this has been done. So those members wishing to attend should muster at 0845 at the War Memorial on Sunday 9th, Nov.

Of course who could forget our Memorial Service at that lovely old Church at Boldre, where we always receive such hospitality from the Reverend Julian Richards and his Parishiners. I can do no better than reprint his letter:- Thank you very much for your kind and appreciative letter of the 3rd, June. We thought that this years Service was particularly good, and I am sure that one reason for that was the very good turn out of your members.

Next year as you know we are holding our H.M.S. "Hood" Commemoration Service on Sunday 17th, May at the usual time of 1100, I am glad to say that the present Chaplain of the Fleet, Rev Noel Jones will be our preacher, he is very familiar with H.M.S. "Hood" Association because two years ago he was Chaplain of St Anns Church Portsmouth. We look forward to seeing you all again in 1987, which is the 900th Birthday year of Boldre Church.

We now come to our trip to Scotland, as you will remember we were invited to the Royal Navy and Royal Marine Club in Edinburgh. Mrs Win Williams takes up the story.

Thursday 11th, September
Seven of our members set out to tour parts of Scotland, we travelled by coach, arriving in Glasgow around 7pm.

Friday A hired Mini Bus seemed to be the answer to our travel problems, this was duly arranged and picked up. The ladies went shopping while the drivers and navigator plotted the voyage, after which we all met up in the evening for a meal and drink.

Saturday We set off for Bridge-Of-Weir where the Chairman and his Secretary visited an old aunt. From there we went on to Greenock and Gourock. Greenock a place which evoked many memories for the Chairman and his wife, as it did for all the male members of our party, on we went to Largs where we stayed the night. Oban was out next port of call, passing through some beautiful country scenes, and visiting the Sea Life Centre, we slung our hammocks next to one of Scotlands Follies, McCraigs Tower. Fort William was visited with Ben Nevis in the background, while on the road we passed the COmmando Memorial At Gairlochy. On the way to Inverness we stayed awhile by Loch Ness to take photographs and admire the scenery, this was a lovely journey.

Wednesday We passed through Aviemore en route to Pitlochry, here we saw the Wild Life Park, it was unfortunate that were too late to visit Blair Castle. On to EDINBURGH passing over the Forth Road Bridge where we stayed a while and looked around, after freshening up we presented outselves at the R.N. and R.M. Club, where we were welcomed by the Social Secretary, after which we spent a very pleasant evening.

Friday We decided to do our own thing, the ladies as usual went shopping in Princess Street, some went to the Club to meet our Shipmate Eddie Goggins who arranged our visit, and Harry Bunt ("Hood" 1933-1935) others went Portobella Beach to revive old memories, the evening was spent at the club where we had an enjoyable time joining in with all the activities, several members winning small amounts at tombola, it was during the evening that Mr & Mrs Luke McIvor and Mr & Mrs Danny Lee who made their own way to Edinburgh joined the squad.

Saturday was the day we had been waiting for, in the forenoon we reported to the club, from there we were whisked away to W Edinburgh Castle a tour that was made very interesting by a very competent guide, I shall always wonder how he remembers all the details, the next item on the agenda was a very nice lunch at a golf club the name of which escapes me, never the less we were made very welcome, and so on to the evening which was given a great reception.

Sunday We reported to the Club at 10-30am to be shown the sights of Edinburgh, after which a very nice lunch was served in the Club, played a few more houses of tombola and finally it was time to say our goodbyes to all those friendly people, it was time to return to Glasgow on the first leg of our return journey home. Win Williams

If I may add one or two remarks:- The hospitality we received while in Edinburgh had to be seen to be believed, and should any of the Clubs Committee read this which I hope they will, on behalf of all our members my heartfelt thanks to Stan Woods President, Willie Cunningham Vice President, John Baxter Secretary, Alf Sneddon Ass. Secretary, Bill Tovey Sport Secretary, it was a visit that will not be easily forgotten. There was a surprise for me during the evening, there was a sods opera, and believe it or not our mate Tom Shearsmith gave a rendering of what I believe to be a first world war song, and what an ovation he got, that boy should go far, or has he left it too late.

We now come to what has been a problem for the Committee as Tom Shearsmith explains
We discussed the matter at great length at a committee meeting and felt that as we were dealing with Association Funds the opinion of more members should be acquired, and so T. Shearsmith explains the situation that we find ourselves in:- Referring to the Newsletter of July 1986. I would draw your attention to the paragraph regarding the wooden Hood Plaque presented to me in Malta in June this year.

This plaque is approx 2' 6" high by approx 20" wide, hand carved in mahogany on an oak base, its age is a matter of conjecture, but I am endeavouring to find out more about it. The persons who presented it to me were Mr & Mrs V. Cassar who contacted me after reading of our visit in the local press. They were of course very anxious that it should not fall into the wrong hands or become the property of one person, assurances were given on both counts, they were informed that subject to approval it would hang in Boldre Church, a church that is almost a part of our Association and it would be on view for all to see.

I suggested that they might like to come to England for next years Reunion and Memorial Service, their reply was that it would be impossible without some financial help, no commitment was entered into, when the subject was brought up at the committee meeting it was decided to make Mr Cassar an honourary member in recognition of his generosity, but it was felt that the question of financial assistance should be put to a greater number of members, this was done at the get together on the 6th, September when forty members were present, after discussing the matter at great length a vote was taken, with the exception of 12 abstentions everyone was in favour of giving financial assistance to Mr & Mrs V. Cassar, and to this end a fund was started from the proceeds of the raffle which amounted to £30, one senior member present was willing to make a donation from there and then, but the Chairman suggested that it would be better to wait until after our Scotland visit and publication of the Newsletter.

These two items have now been accomplished, I appeal to you the membership to make a donation to the fund to show our gratitude to this couple for their generous gesture and bring them to England next May for the Reunion and official presentation. I conclude with the words from Lt R. Irwin after close inspection of the plaque. Its exquisite and we should make the effort to bring the couple to England.

Tom Shearsmith

In order to keep this fund separate from Association funds please send any donations to Mr Tom Shearsmith (address omitted). Cheques and Postal Orders payable to Mr T.C. Shearsmith. In anticipation may I thank you all.

Next Sunday 19th, October, we that is the Committee visit Petty Officers Mess H.M.S. "Nelson" to discuss next years Reunion, hopefully we expect to book the same band, judging by the number that was shaking a leg they went down very well. Once again we shall be indebted to the President of the Mess Petty Officer Phil Hughes. Petty Officer Bernard Duffy and all the staff for making our Reunion the success that it is.

It was hoped to have a get together at Christmas so that we could wish each other a Happy Christmas, unfortunately the Petty Officers Mess is fully booked, which means that our Christmas will be a little early this year. A get together has been arranged for Saturday 1st, November. Names to me as soon as possible. PLEASE

With many thanks for your support and best wishes

Harry W. Purdue

Once again Charles Strudwick will plant a Badge and Cross with a "Hood" Cap Tally attached in the Garden of Remembrance on Armistice Day. As usual he will do this at his own expense. On behalf of all members, Thank you Charles.