This is page SIX

At this very early stage in the page, I want to briefly touch upon Falmouth in whose very large and beautiful harbour, HMS Ganges spent her first 33 years training boys.

Later on, Ganges at Falmouth gets its own page and indeed so does Harwich/Shotley.

You may have seen an entry which mentioned Ganges at Mylor or Milor [both the same place] which was a very small naval dockyard inside the harbour, and during Ganges' time in the port {1866-1899} it was a coaling and watering hole for ships of the Channel Fleet and then the Home Fleet. 

Although almost derelict by 1866, its remaining buildings were made functional and one in particular, a former lofted boatshed was converted, by utilising the upper floor, into a makeshift hospital where the sick boys from the Ganges were treated ashore. This map shows you the areas having the word Mylor as part of its title.  To put it into perspective, Mylor Bridge [for example] right at the end of Mylor Creek is a very pretty little village and the Creek is nearly one mile long but very narrow in places. The waters at the Mylor Churchtown point are considered to be the River Fal which continues all the way up north [approximately 8 miles] to the county town of Cornwall, Truro.

 

The makeshift hospital witnessed many deaths, and the deceased from it along with the deceased who died onboard the Ganges and on visiting ships of the fleet, were buried at Mylor. Also at Mylor there were recreational facilities, a parade ground and an open air gymnasium which clearly the boys looked forward to using, although these land masses were hilly and not very practical for sports like football and cricket.. 

Despite a search [and I will willingly amend this page if proof is forthcoming to suggest otherwise] I can find no evidence of the time period in which Ganges was moored off  Mylor.  There is ample evidence that the Ganges was moored in the harbour which to say the least is massive, but at two points a little distant  from Mylor.  The first is on the right hand side of the harbour, in St Just Pool [under the letter 'n' in Roseland] and the reference to Roseland is the beautiful peninsular which runs down to the equally beautiful area of St Mawes, the chief inhabited areas of the peninsular. Her second berth was on the left hand side of the harbour off the small village of Flushing, in full view of those in Falmouth and in Flushing.  It is not necessary here, but later on when you come to the Ganges at Falmouth page, I have posted the map above twice, each one having different markings and arrows pointing out the information you will need to understand the land masses vis-a-vis the ships mooring. We do know that the Ganges was at some stage moved over to be near Mylor simply because it was difficult to get the boys off and on the ship for recreational periods in Mylor from other moorings, but this was an expedient rather than a planned and desired mooring as were clearly the St Just Pool and the Flushing moorings - see page 15, 1900, 'The reason why'. It would be  nice to stipulate a given date [from - to] relevant to each of the three known moorings which would span the period 1866-1899. Despite the great detail I have found, nobody bothered to record that data and we have no way of knowing where Mylor fits in time wise.  The record suggests it certainly was not the longest period out of the three!.  What is of fact is that she was not berthed off Mylor simply because Mylor was the naval port/harbour, and everything points to the preferred mooring as being that off the village of Flushing where all the ships officers lived ashore plus many other members of the ships company/training staff.

At this stage, assuming that proof will not be forthcoming, HMS Ganges is associated with Mylor, not because it was stationed there {?}, but because of the cemetery where her dead were buried. It is therefore a Memorial to the boys who perished and as such, six years into her time at Falmouth, a Memorial was raised in their memory which shows their names pre and post erection.  It is this memorial, much revered and much loved by the Cornwall Division who have renovated it, enhanced it, and who have subsequently maintained it, which is the Falmouth icon, known now and will always be known simply as Mylor.  Apart from recreational facilities at Mylor, the vast majority of Ganges boys would have associated Mylor with illness and death,  and traversing the water ways to get there must have reminded them of the River Styx and the boatman !

Just as we live in our towns and talk about what is going on there, and not of the town's burial ground fearing that we should ourselves be involved with it in some way or other, sooner or later, then you may find it easier to think of the Ganges in a similar way, divorcing the living in the ship from the ships dead ashore. The Mylor monument was forgotten and abandoned and remained that way for a long time until men, many generations divorced from these hapless Victorian boys, returned it and the names it commemorates to the dignity and reverence  it so richly deserves.  The name of the Ganges lived on, although as you will read, it too was forgotten in its turn, and abandoned.  One of the interesting things in my research was that archival records always referred to Shotley Barracks, even after 1927 when it became formally HMS Ganges, and that the elderly Suffolk gentlefolk [some of whom I have talked to} to this day call it Shotley Barracks. At Harwich's busiest ever time - not repeated since {it says so in one of their mini history pamphlets} namely the first world war years when the harbour was full of warships coaling alongside or from barges midstream, and everywhere in the estuaries of the Stour and the Orwell there was great activity with ships coming and going patrolling the north sea from Dover in the south to Dogger Bank in the north, no sailor or indigenous Essex/Suffolk  local would have had a clue if the Shotley Barracks had been referred to as  the Ganges. To them, Ganges and the Ganges II [which trained YOUTHS and not boys] were long gone and forgotten - temporary visitors to Harwich.

One final point on this subject at this stage.  The sadness of Mylor manifest in the abandonment  of the Ganges Memorial was 'dealt that blow' because those buried in that cemetery died as non-combatants - the country was not at war. Therefore, its lot {and its fortunes} were left in the hands of the local consecrated ground burial authorities.  I say that and not in the hands of the Church authorities because in the earliest of days at that time [mid 19th century] only Anglicans, by statute law, could be buried in consecrated ground. All others: Methodists {and other non conformists}, Jews and Catholics could not, and thus they were debarred from Churchyards.  When municipal burial grounds were established, Anglicans had a patch consecrated by the official church of Great Britain the Church of England, and other denominations sharing what was in effect the same field, were buried in a non-consecrated patch often feet away from a consecrated patch. That these other patches were blessed by the Church of Rome [and other clerics from other denominations] is not in doubt, but suffice to say they were not officially recognised by the State.   The navy, army and marines had a dispensation, and whilst the navy was composed of Anglicans,  non conformists and Catholics,  never Jews or Muslims or Hindu's etc etc, when it came to death, the burial patch, notwithstanding denomination, was naval. It was fraternal;  a 'band of brothers'. However, in 1955 at Portland, the Church of Rome decreed, much against his parents wishes, that the hero of the Submarine Sidon tragic accident, a Catholic doctor, should be buried in a Catholic plot and not with the other men who died in the submarine.  On arrival at Harwich, the Ganges dead were transported to St Mary Churchyard in Shotley and they were buried in a naval patch, specially set aside.  They also had a Memorial raised, but this was to the earliest of deaths {1900 onwards} and didn't wait 6 years as they had done in Mylor.   The reason for this was that Britain was at war with the Boers in South Africa and therefore, anybody in uniform who died  was buried as a combatants.  This way of the burial of combatants, led to the establishment of a naval burial site which eventually, at the time of WW1, was adopted by the Imperial War Graves Commission [IWGC] which by the time of WW2 had become the Commonwealth War Graves Commission [CWGC].  This meant that the Shotley Memorial {with just a few names} would never be abandoned or neglected, and that all subsequent burials would be personal and marked individually.  The site was to be, and indeed is, hallowed, and unlike the good offices of the Cornwall Division of the Ganges Association maintaining the Mylor Memorial, the Shotley site is fully maintained by the CWGC, and to a standard evoking large goose pimples.  The boys of the Ganges, or of the Shotley Barracks, who died between wars benefited by being buried in a 'war cemetery' and so their graves are tended as though they were combatants.  They all rest in peace and I would highly recommend a visit to this cemetery, but bring a large handkerchief with you for it is a sad and haunting place. I am a father of three boys and from them there is an issue of four grandchildren, two of whom are boys and one is now aged 15.  On some days, quite alone,  I visit St Mary Churchyard, and forsaking all my own memories of being a boy, I fight my tears looking at the names of young boys and youths who never were allowed to blossom into becoming men.  Many, I rather suspect, were what I might call ragamuffins, but yet they rest, fittingly,  in peace,  as Prince's. I am awed in their presence. However, unlike Mylor, the reason why ex Ganges boys return to Shotley  is to see their erstwhile alma mater, the old establishment, and not all, by any means, bother to travel the two miles to St Mary Churchyard.  In the Ganges Compendium, mentioned on page 2, there is an in-depth article on the Shotley Memorial and the St Mary Churchyard burial site where over 90 Ganges boys and youths lay. Shotley Gate {the site of the establishment} is a tangible living memory whereas Shotley {a quite separate community} where the last burial of a Ganges boy took place in 1940,  and Mylor {but surely meaning Falmouth to encompass St Just Pool and Flushing}, are intangible but places of recollection particularly thinking back to the hard days these poor boys would have known. 

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