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Backs to the future for Collingwood time capsule

ALL EYES have been looking to the future as HMS Collingwood’s new orchard was officially opened and a time capsule buried. The idea of an orchard came from the site’s conservation group led by Energy and Environmental Protection Advisor Mark ‘Cozy’ Powell, with a view to commemorating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next year.

As part of the planned national celebrations, The Queen’s Green Canopy Campaign was launched with Prince Charles as its patron, aiming to encourage individuals, groups and companies to plant as many trees as possible.

Rear-Admiral Paul Beattie was invited by the base’s commanding officer, Captain Catherine Jordan, to officially open the orchard and plant a time capsule beneath a semi-mature Hornbeam, chosen specifically to mark the spot.

Inside the capsule was information explaining how Collingwood managed to continue its training throughout the Covid=19 pandemic and images from Capt Jordan herself who, uniquely, has followed her husband Commodore Andy Jordan, Deputy Director of Ships, into the post of Collingwood’s CO.

The 70 trees – one for each year of Her Majesty’s reign – include apple, pear, cherry and plum. The aim is that blossom and fruit from these trees will also provide food and shelter for many of the important insects, including honeybees, birds and mammals that already call Collingwood home.


To create the orchard staff and children from Woodentots, the onboard nursery, were invited to plant a tree and many named their trees after loved ones, or to mark an important anniversary, although ‘Twiggy’ and ‘Woody’ also appeared on the list!

At the opening, Capt Jordan urged staff to continue to support the orchard and visit ‘their’ tree, in time being able to share in the bounty of fresh fruit, cider and fruit pies. It is ultimately hoped that the fruits of this labour may also help the community by donating produce to local groups.

For now, Collingwood becomes the first shore establishment in the country to boast an on-board orchard and its staff can continue to nurture and encourage their very own stake in the base’s future. After the event, Cozy said: “It was a magnificent occasion and a privilege to establish a lasting memory for so many individuals.

“Spanning two years in the preparation, over 120 people were directly involved in the project. I was taken aback with all the kind words everyone has forwarded to me. Some people go through an entire lifetime without planting a single tree. It is a humbling experience. Younger generations are so in tune with sustainability these days, to be involved in conservation helping the environment is very rewarding.”

“When trees grow, so does society. A habitat should include all things, including trees as we build our future for other generations to enjoy. The occasion was marked with a fitting poem reflecting how everyone is connected to nature.

Collingwood Orchard and You

Stand here grounded with deep roots and feel proud.

Listen to the leaves rustle, talking out loud.

Like branches, reach out your arms with ambition and all your dreams, like fruit will come to fruition.

Mark Regan Powell

And there was special thanks for supporters of the project, including volunteers, contractors, Navy Infrastructure, DIO, AE Roberts Fruit Grower and Nurserymen Ltd, JRC Ltd, Mole Country Store, and Amey Defence

PICTURED: Rear Admiral Paul Beattie, Director Naval Staff, planting the time capsule. Photograph courtesy of HMS Collingwood