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London Branch August 2013

Written by London Branch | Posted on 17th August 2013

Earlier on this year the Parent and Supporters Association of the Sea Cadet unit based on HMS Belfast, asked if we would like them to arrange a buffet at one of our meetings. This was a very friendly gesture, much appreciated, and we opted to go for our July meeting to ensure that the cold wintry weather of January and February would have long departed. And so it had. On the third Sunday in July we were able to enjoy a relaxed couple of hours or so on the Belfast having arrived and later departed in sunshine. Our thanks go to the volunteers from PASA who so willingly gave up their time to arrange and run the buffet for us. Special arrangements had been made on this occasion to secure permission for family, family friends or carers to board the Belfast to accompany those who required assistance. The passage of time now tightens its grip! But how well it worked out! It became a mini re-union, greeting those whom we had not seen for some considerable time and being introduced to their family. Wheelchairs were parked and vacated in favour of joining the round tables. Wallis Randall was there with Edna and family. Peter Bickmore came with family members. We had hoped to see John Williamson, but news had been received a few days earlier that he had had a bad fall and was in a rehabilitation centre making recovery. Dennis Reeve was, sadly, unable to be present as the journey to the Belfast and the problem of boarding was beyond his ability. Ken Gadsdon had expressed his apologies earlier on for not attending, due to a holiday break that had been already booked, and apologies were also received from Ted Else and David Carter. We were very pleased to say hello again to Ron Harrison and Win – two people we are always glad to see. It was a nice day with no complaints. In another nice touch, the City of London Sea Cadets web site, under a Sunday 21st July date, mentioned our meeting and followed this with a brief but very nicely presented article on Coastal Forces, who we were, what we did, and ending with a reference to the St. Nazaire raid in 1942 and the part Coastal Forces played in the operation. Generations apart, the Navy still forms a strong bridge! Just prior to the July meeting the Branch Secretary had been in contact with Mr James Battison, a Director of a company with premises only five minutes or so from the Belfast. Some while ago, James (as he seemed to be pleased to be known) had acquired a former MTB and had been for some time, trying to find out something of its history, and had approached the web site seeking information. Unfortunately, without a boat number little progress was possible by the web site and he was put in touch with the London Branch and arrangements were made, as he was so near, to call in on our last meeting to chat with the vets in the hope of something coming out of it. A couple of days or so before we met, by some stroke of good fortune, the boat's number had come to light – MTB 208 – and this of course, enabled Ted Else to access our web site, and obtain information that was passed on to the new owner. Without Kevin and Ted’s dedicated work, how much different things would have been.
mtb 208
Photo: J. Battison
James still came to the meeting and was very pleased with the interest and goodwill that he received from those who were present. It seemed fitting to assure him that we would keep in touch. Kind regards to all Sec

Whatever happened to the Medusa visit?

Members may recall that interest was shown at the March meeting, followed by a request for details, of a possible visit to see HDML 1387 – Medusa – at Gosport. Unfortunately, David Carter has had no further requests for information. Details appeared in the April newsletter, but as a reminder they are displayed again in this issue to jog the memory. David would be glad to hear from interested parties. He originally wrote in April:-


At the last meeting, some members enquired about the possibility of a visit to, and/or trip on HDML 1387 Medusa. I am now one of the crew and have asked my colleagues for a list of suitable dates for when this might be a possibility. Medusa is normally moored in Haslar Marina, Gosport. It would be necessary for us to get there as I do not expect the boat will be coming to London this year. Would those of you who would like to visit, please contact me and give me dates when you would not be available. Could you also tell me if you can get to Gosport easily (either driving yourself or with a friend/family member bringing you). Depending on numbers and your location, it may be possible to arrange transport for those who do not drive. David Carter Tel: 020 8390 5894 Email: [email-obfuscate email=""]

Looking for a break?

Try this one from Ken Gadsdon

A couple of weeks ago Doreen and I spent a week at a Warner's holiday site. We had enjoyed holidays at many of their sites years before, but then we thought that they had become too pricey; so we went elsewhere. However, recently Doreen, always on the look out for a holiday, saw a special deal advertised – an almost half-price holiday at their Isle of Wight Norton Grange site, "Shedsville" I called it, but the deal was so attractive we voted to try it. The sheds turned out to be soundproof brick built chalets in blocks of five, scattered nicely around the main building and on pleasant grassland. The chalets were in 'as new' condition and, but for the size difference – about two thirds of the standard hotel rooms – the accommodation standard was as good. The several regulars to whom I chatted – some from Portsmouth! – said that the condition of chalets was identical: all were good. The main building housed the restaurant, entertainments hall, swimming pool, lounges etc. The crowning glory of the lounge is the commanding view of the Solent, full of would-be sailors with their motorised yachts. A picturesque and ever changing view. Leading from the upholstered comfort of the lounge are two spacious sundecks fully equipped, where London Branch types can endure fresh air. And for those who can afford hotel prices, we saw helpful waitresses dishing out refreshments. The peasants just watched the yachts. But I am told that matelots have their own way of overcoming that problem. For walkers, two hundred yards from the lowest deck is a footpath along the sea wall. Food was excellent and throughout I found the staff were friendly and helpful. The evening entertainment was noisy and Naff, he says; lovely and jolly she says. The camp was fully equipped for the energetic: keep-fit sessions, table tennis, mini golf beach tennis, four rink bowling green with bowls etc supplied; all freely available. All in all a good and cheap holiday. Ken Gadsdon