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Misery on the Jellicoe Express

Throughout 2 world wars, the Jellicoe Express ran between London Euston and Thurso, linking the South of England ports with the Royal Navy’s Orkney anchorage in Scapa Flow. The train was named after Admiral John Jellicoe, Commander of the Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland in 1916. The first Jellicoe Trains ran from August 1914, carrying steam coal…

HMS Eaglet | Flagship Officer in Charge, Liverpool Docks © IWM (A 29000)
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RNR Officers Club Liverpool

The RNR Officers’ Club Liverpool, more commonly known as the Sea Urchins, and based out of the stone frigate HMS Eaglet, was formed in 1921 and will thus celebrate its Centenary in 2021. To mark this special occasion it is intended to publish a book about the Club which will include a biography of all…

Winston Churchill
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Winston is Back

Dawn, September 1939. German forces invaded Poland and hostilities began. ‘The Prime Minister asked me to visit him at Downing Street.’ Winston Churchill wrote in his memoirs.  ‘I was invited to become a member of the War Cabinet.’ Two days later, 24 years after resigning as First Sea Lord, Winston Churchill returned to the Admiralty….

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The End of Hostilities

The ‘Instrument of Surrender’ that concluded the end of hostilities of World War 2 was signed at Reims at 02:41 Central European Time (CET) on 7 May 1945. The signing took place in a red brick schoolhouse, the Collège Moderne et Technique de Reims which served as the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. It was…

HMS Collingwood Intake
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HMS Collingwood

According to the landowner, it was ‘the finest bit of corn land in the south of England‘. Locals would call it the best snipe marsh in the country. It was certainly boggy and sea boots were compulsory wear for trainees who strayed from the paths. HMS Collingwood opened in January 1940. Built on 190 acres of marshy Hampshire…

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Communications Branch

Neat handwriting, accurate spelling, good mnemonics and integrity. All were key attributes when it came to selection for The Communications Branch. Good handwriting meant messages were relaid accurately. Spelling went hand in hand with this. The ability to memorise lots of information was crucial and integrity was key due to the sensitive nature of the…

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HMT Southcoates

Hostilities Only Ordinary Signalman Brooks’ first draft after training was His Majesty’s Trawler (HMT) Southcoates. Built in 1918, she was christened Samuel Drake and launched from yard no.363 into the River Clyde  by builders Bow McLachlan & Company of Paisley.  Bow, McLachlan & Co. had entered the specialist shipbuilding market in ‘knock-down’ vessels. These were bolted…

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HMS Western Isles

A colourful patchwork of houses paints a peaceful portrait of Tobermory on the Scottish Isle of Mull. Once the location for the BBC children’s programme Balamory, the picturesque fishing harbour was a very different place in 1942 when Ordinary Signalman Brooks arrived. During the opening months of the ‘phoney war’, combatants in the Battle of…

HMT Tranquil
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HMT Tranquil

Whilst training at Western Isles Signalman Brooks briefly joined HMT Tranquil (FY 920) from 23rd April 1942 to 29th April 1942 under command of Temporary Lieutenant William Postlethwaite, RNR. Launched in 1912 as the Good Luck (1497), HMT Tranquil was a converted minesweeping trawler, one of many requisitioned by the admiralty in 1939. On 2nd November 1940, T/ Ltnt. William…

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HMS Windermere

For the next 14 months (26 July 1942 until 11 October 1943) Signalman Brooks served under Skipper Jack Mawer RNR aboard HMS Windermere (FY 207.) Windermere belonged to the Lake Class of anti-submarine whaler. There were six in the class, originally designed and built as commercial whalers but taken over by the Admiralty midway through…