Why 'mimi'?

Two reasons, the first is that I have already published many files taken from newspapers, and the second being that I have scores upon scores of them still in my databases and I have picked these few at random. Some relate directly to naval boys training whilst others should have a resonance with fledgling Royal sailors. One day perhaps, I might launch a few more of them!

I had the choices of publishing the snippets in relevant topic order, you know all stories about Joe Bloggs no matter the date published by the press in one mass, or in chronological date order, and I have chosen the latter.

1. October 1861 2. October 1861 3. December 1861
Sometime after the Crimean War was over [1856]  and the troops/sailors had returned home, the low lying land of what was called Shotley Gate, or the Gate to the established village of Shotley proper from seaward, was still barren, frequented by wild life including a great deal of aquatic, and chasing it, poachers/trespassers, onto land owned by the Hervey family - pronounced as though it had been spelt as Harvey.   The Hervey's  were political animals and used the English Civil War for their own ends and advantages. It appears that  Thomas  Hervey  [1625-1694]  rather liked the idea of a restoration of the monarchy, and that the future Charles II knowing this whilst in hiding in France, secretly knighted him to be Sir Thomas Hervey. Sir Thomas bought himself a seat on the Admiralty Board and was a working colleague of Samuel Pepys, the famous naval diarist. However, Sir Thomas later resigned and picket up an enormous loyalty bonus of 2000, for doing virtually nothing for the Admiralty or the navy it controlled, quote Pepys. He was largely disliked and untrusted by the Establishment power house. The oft times used expression "When God created the human race he made men, women and Hervey's," was an eighteenth century commonplace about Sir Thomas' family. He, like many in his family were, at various times, the MP for Bury St Edmunds Suffolk. The Hervey's had wealth, probably gained by patronage as was the case for much of the gentry.  They had land in Suffolk, Essex and Lincolnshire. The family home is still to this day at Horringer, three miles outside of Bury St Edmunds at Ickworth House sitting in the middle of Ickworth Park. His son John went one better and managed to get the right side of a Duchess and thereafter he was elevated to the Peerage being given an Earldom with the title of the 1st Earl of Bristol. Still to this day in Shotley Gate, there is a hill leading down to the River Stour called Bristol Hill and a pub at the bottom called the Bristol Arms. Later on the Hervey's were promoted to be the Marquess of Bristol [1826], a very great honour indeed. Of significance, in 1806, not long after the state funeral of Lord Nelson, he inherited great wealth from his uncles estate.
Back to the beginning of the paragraph. Approximately three years later in 1859, the Marquess sold a large plot of land on the  Shotley peninsular to the War Office.
Fifty odd years before this event [1800], great fear abounded about the possibility of a Napoleonic French invasion and the immediate need to built suitable defence in the Harwich area. They built a massive fort, called the  Redoubt, with many guns on the Harwich side of the harbour; an equally massive fort on the Felixstowe side called Landguard Fort,  and around outlying areas including Shotley, they built several Martello Towers which could house heavy artillery. The invasion never came.  By that time [1860] Napoleon III was threatening another invasion which led Lord Palmerson, the Prime Minister to built fortifications at Portsmouth/Fareham and in the Solent areas. Again, this threat never materialised.
By this time the Harwich Redoubt needed to modified and re-gunned so they took it out of service leaving the port area part-vulnerable to attack from the sea. Before they could do this the army had to fortify the large Martello Tower at Shotley Point. The cuttings above show that event, and snippet 3 tells of the barracks to be built on the former Bristol owned land.  Just for interest or amusement lets look at snippet 1. The placement guns are 68-pounders. That simply means that the projectile fired from it weighs 68 pounds, and on this web site What Things Weigh - Something To Think About - July 11, 2010 I have sourced that a full grown Irish Setter weighs 70 lbs.  Now I don't propose that we start lobbing hunting-dogs at one another, but next time you see one, grab if firmly and try lifting it - it's heavy, not to mention awkward! For those of you wondering, a 68-pounder is the equivalent of an 8" calibre shell, and a heavy British cruiser which had 8" guns packed one hell of a punch: a small cruiser had 6" guns.
4. SEPTEMBER 1861 5. DECEMBER 1861 6. MAY 1868
Snippet 6 was two years after Ganges training commenced at Falmouth. Note that there is a delay of 7 years between snippet 3 and 6! In 1863 an Act of Parliament brought into being the Harwich Harbour Act 1863 Board,  onto which a naval agent became an Executive Member. Here, I assume that to be a high profile member of Flag Officer Harwich' Staff.  The Shotley Barracks were built, occupied and fully operational by 1872.

Note snippet 5 published on the 23rd  and the black lines left and right. Prince Albert died on the 14th December 1861 and for many weeks national newspapers bounded all their pages, and separately all the individual items on each page, with heavy thick black mourning  lines. One hundred and fifty years ago they said that the Prince died of typhoid fever, but that is now very much in doubt, researchers now believing that all the written evidence points to a severe stomach disorder called Crohn's Disease.
7, JANUARY 1877 8. JANUARY 1881 9. JULY 1899
Snippet 9 is of interest. In July 1899 the Falmouth town Mayor was pleading the case with the Admiralty that the Ganges should stay put in the West. Clearly the Admiralty had firmly made up its mind and had rather underhandedly told the Mayor of Harwich about the move before confirming it with the Mayor of Falmouth. Also, note the original idea of a playground, which was built on extra land purchased from the Marquess of Bristol,and which became the lower running track.
10. SEPTEMBER 1905 11. SEPTEMBER 1905 12. SEPTEMBER 1905
Note in snippet 10,  Suffolk and NOT Essex for Shotley! The first moves of boys into Shotley Barracks was on Saturday 7th October 1905.
Snippet 11 shows the first officers appointed to Shotley Barracks to date 2nd October 1905. They were Commander Nicholson - Lieutenants Prowse [second in command] - Rankin and Hunt - Chaplains who were also employed as the original schoolies [Instructor Officers] Francis - Staff Paymaster Redman and Assistant Paymaster Messenger. The word Staff denoted a rank which equated with a lieutenant over 8 years seniority wearing two and a half stripes, which in 1914 became a lieutenant commander, and an Assistant was a lieutenant with less than 8 years seniority wearing two stripes. Commander Nicholson is clearly an executive branch officer [with a loop or curl on his top stripe], but had he been a non executive commander, his rank would have been preceded with the word "Fleet" - thus a Fleet Surgeon or a Fleet Paymaster were commanders but with no loop or curl on their top stripe.
In snippet 12 "youths" were recruited at the age of sixteen and a half receiving approximately three months training in hulks [Ganges II] before joining the sea going training squadron, and afterwards joining the fleet in complement billets.
The subject of Tenders often confuses people. Tenders were vessels in the water which were named or associated with ships now abandoned and replaced by shore barracks. This perpetuated the name of famous ships, so, for example HMS Ganges the original ship, once abandoned, assumed the same name for the shore barracks which had replaced it, but to perpetuate the seagoing ships name, a small vessel [usually] was assigned to the shore barracks and the two names were always used in official documents and still are to this day. The tenders often changed [as did their names] but there was always one assigned. It was ALWAYS wrong to use the expression "stone wall frigate" when referring to a shore barracks/establishment because the shore barracks ALWAYS has a sea going unit attached. Later on this page you will see the names of other tenders: they were and are important features of the Royal Navy! Note from the very beginning the "styled" name for Shotley barracks was the Ganges [not HMS Ganges] but for many long years from 1905 onwards until 1927, it was always referred to as Shotley Barracks.
13. DECEMBER 1905 14. JANUARY 1906 15. JANUARY 1906
Snippet 13. The Impregnable was the premier naval training ship for boys, and took the top boys only, known as 'advance class'. They were also a mixture of 1st and 2nd class boys, where the two classes refer only to time in the navy, and after a while, a few months, second class boys routinely became first class boys.  The Ganges, throughout its time at Falmouth and in the first year or so at Harwich/Shotley, took only second class boys [second class on merit not on time in the service] who were called 'general class' - a direct reference to the majority of boy recruits, many of them quite close to being illiterate/inumerate. If, in the light of experience, such a Ganges boy showed promise and was academically way above his peers, then he was transferred to the Impregnable at Devonport. We have two admirals from these early times [not counting men who became admirals, who joined after WW2 and later, when Ganges was on a par with the Impregnable, having 1st and 2nd class, ' advance class' and 'general class' boys. The early boys-to-admirals were Admiral Martin famous for the sinking of the Bismarck when the CO of the heavy cruiser Dorsetshire and Admiral Enright. Both are typical of the text above. They joined Ganges as boys second class but their ability was immediately spotted and they were rapidly transferred to the Impregnable to be trained as 'advance class' boys. Other boys training ships/barracks had their own boy-to-admiral recruits notably Admiral McArdle, a St Vincent boy who joined in 1938, and Ganges' own Admiral David Hepworth who, joining in 1939 was a sub lieutenant before the war had finished with a seniority date of 1.1.1945.  Note how very well the 'top marks' boy did, and he was from Shotley. At this time, Shotley did not train 'advance class' boys, so we can only assume that very soon after his stunning victory in Impregnable, that he was dispatched there to train instead of doing that at Shotley. Just a passing note. Impregnable was held in such high esteem by the navy, that for approximately 35 years, the flag of C-in-C Plymouth was flown in her, which for paying marks of respects etc, would have put her centre stage in Devonport waters, preeminent above all other vessels.
Snippet 14. This huge wooden figurehead stood outside the main gates of Ganges at the end of Caledonia Road.
Snippet 15. An integral part of all boys and youth training was a taste of the sea.  By this time steam was the norm [being introduced as far back as the 1850's]  and for the fleet, had replaced ships of sail only. The sail training squadron of old  were ships propelled by sail and wind. Training must have been hard, but an initiation to life in the navy without comparability. However, the Edgar was only 16 years old at this point [1906] and relatively modern, so the value of this type of sea training would have been of immediate and relevant value to the fleet when the boys eventually joined it. I find it puzzling to read that the Edgar, a very large cruiser, was broken up in Morecambe. I know this town well, and apart from going to the Heysham end [which is not Morecambe] in Morecambe proper, I can only think that they used part of the actual each as a dissecting platform!
16. SEPTEMBER 1906 17. SEPTEMBER 1906 18. JANUARY 1907
Snippet 16.  250 boys, that's a lot, even for a cruiser?
I am showing snippet 17 for one reason only, apart from it being of general interest.  Admiral Chichester was the Superintendent of Gibraltar dockyard and died ashore of pneumonia. His body was repatriated home to the UK in the Formidable as shown in the snippet. Note the number of men involved and mustered on the quayside - 1000 in all. The size of the guard is mind boggling, far far greater than we turn out for a Royal Guard today.  That was back in the days when man power was not the problem it is today. The title of snippet 18 at first glance, put the fear of God into one, thinking on how we think of the word asylum, institution and work houses back over one hundred years ago.  From research, I have learned that the navy needed recruits at all cost, and could never rely on the coastguard service, who at that time, were the navy's recruiters. So, they set up agreements, which in modern language we would call quotas, with organisations who dealt with orphans, waifs, abandoned children, to supply regular numbers of recruits notwithstanding, leaving the navy doctors to weed out those unsuitable medically, paying little attention to unsuitability for other reasons e.g., criminality, pick pockets, pimps. It reminded me of a direct comparison with 18th/19th century press ganging! Still, as this cutting shows, they did pay attention to their recruits academic standards, but for an ulterior motive, that being the navy would pay more for a bright lad than for a dunderhead. Dunderheads were not wasted; far from it. They were always in demand as chimney boys for example, and the army always  needed lots of fodder!
19. JANUARY 1907 20. JANUARY 1907 21. JULY 1907
Snippet 19 is included for a special reason, because it is about the family of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Michael Le Fanu, which we young sailors, rather unkindly called the 'Chinese Admiral'. Just as I was leaving Ganges immediately on return from Christmas 1954 main leave, Captain Le Fanu RN was taking over as the CO of HMS Ganges from Captain Earl Cairns RN. I went off to sea, and after fifteen months in HMS Tintagel Castle, I joined our largest warship, HMS Eagle at Devonport. Within a month of me joining, another new joiner arrived namely the replacement captain, and who should it be but Captain Michael Le Fanu. Captain Le Fanu's wife whose name was Pru [Prudence] although we never called her by that [always Mrs Le Fanu] was the daughter of an admiral, and was wheelchair bound as a polio victim with those dreadful leg irons of those days. We got wind that she liked to see where her husband worked and that she would visit the carrier occasionally. Our SCO [Ships Communication Officer] or Staff Communications Officer when we carried the flag of FONAC [Flag Officer Naval Air Command], was in the know about everything and was very pleasant to boot. He got wind that Mrs Le Fanu had requested that volunteer sailors might like to push her wheelchair around in open spaces and wide access passageways and asked for communicators to volunteer. I believe that I was the second to volunteer and would have been the first had I not been knocked down in the rush. My office boss [BWO - Bridge Wireless Office] was Radio Supervisor Stanley Snape and his approval for my release when needed, got me short listed. I remember those days with affection because she would ask to stop and would speak with as many crew members as possible. She was a lovely lady*, but so too was the skipper, poplar from start to finish, with all on board. The snippet, which my eye caught, shows a Commander H.B. Le Fanu appointed to Ganges [obviously as the Executive Officer] to date 24th January 1907. Could that be Michael's dad, and sure enough it was. Commander Hugh Barrington Le Fanu who retired as a Captain RN having been the Dunkirk harbour master from 1915 until 1919. He died young aged 56 .  Sir [KCB from 1968]
Michael also died very young [aged 57 on 28th November 1970 from leukemia] but not until he had reached the very top as an admiral of the fleet. I remember seeing him in Singapore in early 1970 whilst visiting my ship HMS Rothesday [the year of his death] on his globe trotting to visit the navy world-wide.  I remember thinking how gaunt and frail he looked!  Nice to think that dear old dad was the commander and his son the captain of HMS Ganges. Snippet 20 proves the point that every captain of HMS Ganges has been a senior or very senior captain RN. Snippet 21. Note the distinction between boy and youth which is dictated by the age one joins the service 15+ = boys - 16+ = youths.
* Lady Prudence Grace Le Fanu died on the 3rd December 1980 at South Harting Petersfield Hampshire.   Admiral Le Fanu was known as 'Lef' by the wardroom and sometimes called 'ginger' because of his red hair. He oversaw the cessation of the rum issue in 1970 and nicknamed himself as "dry ginger" thereafter.
22. SEPTEMBER 1907 23. DECEMBER  1907 24. JANUARY 1908
A comment on snippet 24 only.
In for the high jump I would have thought, especially back in those days. One of the early absconders from Shotley. Many many more were to follow!
25. MAY 1908 26.JUNE 1908 27. AUGUST 1908
No comments on snippets 25,26 and 27
28. JULY 1909 29. DECEMBER 1909 30. DECEMBER 1909
You may have noted in snippet 10 that the Ganges II should have the function of an auxiliary hospital if one were needed! Here in snippet 30 the nearest RN Hospital is some distance from Shotley Barracks up in Norfolk at Great Yarmouth, 74 miles away according to the AA road route planner.  Shotley Barracks boasted an RNSQ [Royal Naval Sick Quarters], a small organisation, which although never called a RNH [Royal Naval Hospital], over the years was extended and blossomed into an excellent medical facility serving not only Shotley Barracks but ships and establishments in and off Harwich, and when necessary, local Suffolk civilians in distress. It won great praise in both world wars for the services it provided to all comers in the Shotley/Harwich environs. Great Yarmouth was a famous naval port frequented much by Nelson himself,  and even to this day there is an excellent Nelson Museum in town.
31. SEPTEMBER 1910 32. JANUARY 1911 33. NOVEMBER 1911
Snippet 31 - The North Sea was infamous for accidents amongst these small high speed boats, and two Ganges boys died in one of them - see GANGES AND SHOTLEY NAVAL BURIAL GROUND.html  Snippet 32. Elfin was classed as a small submarine depot ship specifically for  the small Class 'C' submarines, based on Harwich. She wasn't a warship but a former war department dispatch boat called the Dundas, given over to the Royal Navy in 1905 and named HMS Elfin.  About 7 oclock AM on the 16th December 1910, while it was still dark and a gale was blowing Elfin was leaving Harwich Harbour when she came into collision with the submarine C8, which was bound for Felixstowe to renew petrol. The Elfin, which had some 20 or 30 seamen aboard, who were being taken to the Thames, a much larger warship and chief submarine depot ship also based on Harwich, was struck under water and went down within seven minutes. The submarine and other vessels, including the barge Swan, of Mistley, succeeded in rescuing all the men, with the exception of the five who were missing presumed drowned. Eventually, she was toward by tug to sheerness for docking and repairs/rebuild. She continued in service for many years and was sold in 1928. Snippet 33 - The story is told on my main website www.godfreydykes/info but see also snippet 45 later on on this page.
34. MARCH 1912 35. OCTOBER 1912 36. OCTOBER 1912
Snippets 35 and 36 should be read in that order as one article. It tells of the Navy League, a most all telling and powerful pressure group [on the Admiralty] whose members were the eminent members of retired naval officers, coupled with the rich and famous whose sole task was to make sure the navy was correctly funded, provisioned, trained and on its toes. Each and every year, they took over Trafalgar Square and as the text above will show, prepared Nelsons Column in the most splendid way. Would that come back today?  No, I rather think not, but if it did, I am sure the public would respond enthusiastically. Note the attendance of Lord Mountbatten's father [snippet 36 top of page].
37. OCTOBER 1912 38. DECEMBER 1912 39. OCTOBER 1913
Snippet 37 and note the generous tuition allowance for naval instructors in charge of school work for boys at Shotley. A naval instructor was usually a Chaplain [see Snippet 11 above]. Snippet 38 was rescinded after WW2 [thankfully] for I cannot conceive of a Christmas leave without a New Years eve/day added on! Snippet 39 - Ganges II, remember was the senior tender vessel to Shotley Barracks styled Ganges, which trained and accommodated youths and not boys. The captain's pennant can be seen in this picture, just in case you need a reminder. The face is pleasant but is not an integral part of the device : note the swallow tails on the pennants.
40. OCTOBER 1913 41. FEBRUARY 1914 42. AUGUST 1914
Snippet 40 - Queenstown was in Southern Ireland now called Cork, at that time before 1920, a part of the United Kingdom. Snippet 41 - The pipe took nearly two years to lay and conceal, in those days made of clay, each section of approximately one metre in length and cemented together. It was regularly undermined by tree roots and land slippage which grossly affected the supply. As a rough rule of thumb, the pipe from Ipswich to Shotley gate, nine miles as you have read, would require nigh on 15,000 pieces of pipe. It beggars belief that they could even half cope in the years between 1905 and 1916, and now I can see why I, in my turn at Shotley, had it worse than they did?  I had to used those dreadful cold showers in the long covered way even on winter mornings, but clearly boys of this period did not.  I can just hear the Barrack Master saying "sorry we've used our 10,000 gallons and we can't afford the 8d"  [=3.3 recurring p in today's money]
43. MARCH 1915 44. MAY 1919 45. NOVEMBER 1919
Snippet 43 - I'll wager that HM got better grub that we did?  See also THOSE WHO HAVE PASSED THROUGH THE GATES OF HMS GANGES       Snippet 44 - by all account R. Adm Tyrwhitt was a popular officer pan-navy. Snippet 45 - Enough said!
46. APRIL 1923 47. OCTOBER 1923 48. OCTOBER 1923
Snippet 47 - the start of boy writers. Snippet 48. Back at snippet  12 I promised that you would see more establishment tenders and explained what tenders were for. Note the name of the Ganges tender in 1923, but as I said earlier, the Ganges and HMS Ganges had several different tenders. The list of all tenders is long and goes from quite large ships [Monitors for example] down to captains launches.
49. OCTOBER 1925 50. JANUARY 1927 51. FEBRUARY 1927
Snippet 49 - already a change of the Ganges tender. now a minesweeper called HMS Tring. Snippet 50 - a most important part of the history of Shotley. 1927 saw the introduction of a proper ship's crest and the introduction of the motto "wisdom is strength" - see this page for details This leads to the official Ganges badge.html   Snippet 51 - In the days before HMS GANGES got its own dedicated naval padres, that is with the exception of the CofE Chaplain, who, as shown above in snippet 11 was there from day 1.
52. MARCH 1927 53. APRIL 1927 54. MAY 1927
Snippet 52 - Good God...at last 'Horses for Courses! Snippet 53 - Note the title "first Lieutenant Commander". This of course makes much more sense than 1st Lieutenant when the officer is a two and half ringer! However, HMS Ganges didn't have a Jimmy [a 1st Lieutenant] and this function war carried out by the Barrack Master, so the title referred to his seniority despite his job in the establishment and as such he was automatically the third in command after the commander and the captain. In the executive world, he out ranked several senior officers including the Instructor Captain, Captain 'S', Surgeon Captain when borne and all the departmental commanders, and senior Lieutenant Commanders..Snippet 54 - Port Edgar is in Scotland on the southern banks of the Forth at Queensferry,  whose name was HMS Lochinvar.
55. MARCH 1928 56.  MARCH 1929 57.  APRIL 1930
Snippet 55 - and long overdue I would say. As I recall the food at Ganges in 53/54 was neither good nor enough! Best thing that happened in my time in the navy was the introduction of the caterers branch. Snippet 57 - see my page for description of titles and weights SNIPPET_ABA.htm
58. AUGUST 1928 59. AUGUST 1928 60. AUGUST 1928
An interesting story. Don't assume that you know the story as written here, which is an excellent resume. Read 58 to 60 in that order.
61. APRIL1931 62. JULY 1931 63. JANUARY 1932
Snippet 61 - note the very last entry as the Captain of HMS Ganges as a Rear Admiral.   Snippet 62 - I'll leave you to read the text. Another major historic naval change to personnel matters.  This change brought  together brother officers in the wardroom, changed naval protocol, and opened up opportunities not thought possible in the naval service. The words "fleet" and "staff" were dropped in favour of  commander and lieutenant over 8 years seniority, and the lower deck were brought up to recognise  and call/salute all commissioned officers with a sameness. 
64. JULY 1931 65. JULY 1931 66. JULY 1931
  67. JULY 1931  
Yet another interesting subject well worth getting to grips with and learning the truth. Four sub pages to read in the order of  Snippets 64, 65, 66 and 67.
68. OCTOBER 1932 69. FEBRUARY 1933 70. JULY 1933
Snippet 68 - The First Lord is a civilian, a high ranking Minister of the State, appointed to the Admiralty Board to keep the Admirals, the Sea Lords in check! Snippet 70 - The POW speaking at the official opening of Holbrook, just up the road from HMS Ganges. Note his comments on the benefits of being given preferential entry into HMS Ganges. You know, in my day, I can never remember RHS boys joining Ganges, certainly not in my division.  On the other hand, I well remember Maltese boys and Arethusa boys. 
71. JANUARY 1934 72. JANUARY 1934 73. NOVEMBER 1935
Snippet 72 - The comments in the final paragraph are quite unusual.  It does seem strange that a warship would be christened with such an inappropriate  name!  Snippet 73 - St Budeaux is a place I know well. In the 1950's it was the  WRNS Camp an addon to HMS Drake.  It was also the STC [Signal Training Centre] and we communicators victualled in RNB Plymouth [HMS DRAKE]  turned-to each morning crossing the short stretch of water to do either STC exercises or to work-ship maintaining the garden areas and picking up litter. Each lunch time we would return to Drake for our tots and dinner, repeating an afternoon shift back over in St Budeaux. St Budeaux was also the site of Drake's married quarters. It had a mast ready rigged for climbing but not at all like the Ganges mast and environment. It also had a parade ground.
74. FEBRUARY 1936 75. JUNE 1936 76. APRIL 1937
  No comments on snippets 74, 75 ad 76  
77. OCTOBER 1937 78. SEPTEMBER 1938 79. MAY 1941
Snippet 77 -In our day of course they would mean Capt [S] or the Supply Captain wearing white bands in his four stripes. Snippet 78 - This officer would almost certainly have taken one of the lead roles in the planning and execution of moving boys from Shotley to the Isle of Man [HMS St George], there to continue training, free of attack or bombardment from the Germans. It must have been a major logistic exercise which was a great success both  up from Shotley and again back to Shotley at the end of the war in 1946. Snippet 79 records the name of Captain Hickley,  one of a handful of pre WW1 Shotley Barracks commanding officers.
80. DECEMBER 1953 81. SEPTEMBER 1957 82. MARCH 1965
No comments needed for these snippets
83.OCTOBER 1975 84. OCTOBER 1975
Look first at  83 and then 84 to see the story of the demise of HMS Ganges

That's your lot for now folks.