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This years annual reunion dinner, the 49th, was held on Saturday 16th May in the Royal Sailors Home Club, Queens Street, Portsmouth. A total of fifty-four persons attended the dinner including our president the Earl of Gainsborough and his wife. The presidentís son also attended. Six survivors attended and had their photograph taken by Mrs Hazel Tapsell (see attached photograph). The survivors are Tommy Cropp, Sidney Petherbridge, George Oliver, Arthur Bryant, Gordon Hopewell and John Nealon. Copies can be obtained from Hazel and the secretary will forward the address if required.
Following the dinner the Annual general Meeting took place at which all committee members were re-elected. The secretary read a brief summary and the accounts were presented by the treasurer. Our president then spoke and informed the gathering that the reunion dinner was a priority in his calendar each year, and that he hopes to join us all again in the future years.
Upon completion of the meeting the secretary put a motion to the floor with regards to, the Annual Dinner for 2006.This will be the 50th.dinner and it was felt that this should be a CELEBRATION DINNER. It was put to the floor of a choice of venue with London (a centre point) or Portsmouth (the norm) being suggested. Again various places to hold the dinner were discussed for example HMS Warrior, The Union Jack Club, HMS President to name a few.
The President also spoke on the matter and felt that the dinner of 2006 should be a celebration and maybe could be after the Remembrance Service in order to make it a truly special day.
A rough count was carried out at the meeting and a majority of persons present opted for HMS Warrior, upon checking prices, dates, menus and facilities it was discovered that the Warrior was far from ideal for all of our members.
After discussion with the chairman the secretary sent out a letter to all the survivors who regularly attend the dinner with a request for their suggestion regarding (a) venue and (b) city. The majority suggested Portsmouth at the Royal Sailors Home Club.
The club has been approached and the committee meeting in August confirmed that SATURDAY 13TH.MAY 2006 IS THE DATE OF THE 50TH.CELEBRATION DINNER.
At the committee meeting the Chairman stated that there was much discussion about future annual reunions as the number of those attending has steadily dropped close to the minimum of fifty, As state those survivors who regularly have been consulted which resulted in the date and venue being decided. How ever it will be the LAST ONE and so we hope to get a good attendance.
We hope that our annual Remembrance Service in Westminster Abbey will continue for many years and that the get together in the Union Jack Club that follows it will become our future annual social event. In case some people would like to have an evening meal there we are asking for numbers to give the staff an idea of requirements.
It has been confirmed that the Remembrance Service is to be on SATURDAY 26TH NOVEMBER 2005. We look forward to meeting as many of you who can make it to the service. Entry to the Abbey is through the West Door where we shall be directed to the seating area of the nave prior to attending Evensong. It is requested that Association Members introduce themselves to the Abbey Staff and if applicable wear medals. Please be seated between 2.30 and 2.40pm. Our Remembrance Service around the Nave altar will follow evensong. If you would like lay the wreath please let me know. The Book of Remembrance will be opened after the service. From a personal point of view the attendance at Evensong is one of the most moving I have been at.
Our Standard Bearer Mick Tapsell has been very busy publicizing HMS Barham during the summer with shows at Gravesend and Dover in Kent. When the Barham anchored off Gravesend in 1937 Mickís father visited the ship, little did he know that four years later he would be fighting for his life along with many others. After the Gravesend show Mick has been asked by a local primary school to visit and give a talk to the children on HMS Barham and World War 2. WELL DONE MICK.
The Secretary has received E-Mail from Mr Chris Hockaday who publishes commemorative stamps and wishes to make available stamps showing the bombardment of Tripoli in April 1941. I am led to believe that our treasurer Mr Sidney Petherbridge was mentioned prior to an earlier edition of stamps on HMS Barham.
On a more sorrowful note we received notification the widow of Percy Cullum had died in July of this year. Our chairman attended the funeral on behalf of the Association.
Gwyn Grogan died in August in Sunningdale Berks in 2005 - he was a midshipman at the time of sinking also Survivor Johnny Cochrane in New Zealand in July.
We have also learned that our past Chairman George Elliot has, due to ill health been relocated in the Saint Ronanís Nursing Home, 25 St. Ronanís Road Southsea, Hampshire. George was a staunch supporter of the Association and his humour will be sorely missed at the dinner and especially at our committee meetings. After his service in the Royal Navy, George became a train driver for the railways, finally being an examiner for all train drivers. Training as a Stoker did come to fruition.
Correspondence has been received from Mr. D Palmer stating that he was a survivor and that his name did not appear on the list of survivors as shown on our website. This has since been rectified and it is with pleasure that we welcome Mr Palmer to the Association. The more persons we can add to the Association will make sure the name of the Barham continues.
I have received many changes of address, which I have entered in the latest database, however if any member fails to receive a Newsletter PLEASE LET ME KNOW and a copy will be forwarded by next post.
I should like to record my thanks for all the letters of appreciation for the Newsletters and all those who write to keep me up to date with their affairs or sent me cards. I would like to end by thanking all those who have made donations including postage stamps particularly as small contributions although welcome may have not received personal letter in reply.
| last updated:
13 July 2013