By Marie Arnott
SAILORS at HMS Collingwood turned out in force to welcome a party of veterans enjoying a flavour of today’s Royal Navy.
The veterans consisted of two groups, one from Project 71, a South Coast support group for World War Two veterans, who came with their helpers and represented all branches of the military services. The second group were from Tudor Lodge, the care home that sits adjacent to HMS Collingwood and is visited regularly by personnel from Victory Squadron.
Guests were welcomed by members of Victory Squadron and escorted into the Warrant Officers’ and Senior Rates’ Mess where they enjoyed refreshments and a light lunch.
The Victory Squadron sailors mingled with the veterans and were keen to hear their stories and experiences of wartime service.
Two of the guests, 98-year-old Jean Taylor and Poppy Sherman, 94, spent some time chatting with AB Francesca Lambert, 18.
Jean joined the Navy at the age of 17 ½ and was keen to hear how life in the RN is now.
She said “I was employed as Steward in the Officers’ Mess during my three years, I absolutely loved it. It is so lovely to see that they are still wearing the same uniforms as back then. It is a joy to see them and a joy to be here.”
Navy veteran and former commander and Weapon Engineering Officer Brian Welch is now a resident at Tudor Lodge and was delighted to come back to his alma mater.
Having served at HMS Collingwood many times during his career, he was hosted by AB Liam Cockrane and AB Ellen Mossman.
Liam said: “We helped esort the Tudor Lodge visitors here today. I am really looking forward to chatting to the veterans and hearing their stories.”
Marking this special occasion, Captain Tim Davey also joined the party sharing tea and stories with the visitors – as the photographs show.
PICTURED: Main image, HMS Collingwood’s Commanding Officer, Captain Tim Davey, chatting to Tudor Lodge visitors; with text, AB Liam Cockrane and AB Ellen Mossman with Brian Welch; AB Francesca Lambert with Jean and Poppy; Capt Davey chatting to Project 71 visitors. Photographs courtesy of Keith Woodland, Crown copyright