A good attendance of over 50 members and families made the 50th annual reunion a special evening. It was particularly pleasing to have with us John Garrard and his family, Ted Wicks and Captain Stephen and Julia Harwood. It was good to welcome Ken Smith and his brother on this special occasion. Ken spoke of the early days of the Association and how his father founded the Association 50 years ago. From those early days, the Association continues to grow with many Frigate members and family members of the Cruiser crew becoming members.
I was very pleased to read a letter from Mayor Steve Parish and also a few thoughts from Cherry Sevigny in which she remembered some long standing Association members.
John and Ted cut the cake which was made to mark the occasion.
I am very grateful to Bob Adams who undertook the role of our photographer for the evening and what a splendid job he did. His article, illustrated with pictures, is very interesting – see this newsletter. Thanks are due to Malcolm and Judi for running the raffle and Alf and Doug for their traditional Up Spirits and to Mike Fox for supplying the Pussers.
On the next morning, an accident to John Hitchen prevented his attendance at the Church and AGM (he soon made a full recovery). However, we held a very nice service conducted by the Reverend Paul Kerr in the St George’s Centre where Doug Moultrie again played the organ for us. Dough said he was 94 and he has been part of our arrangements for many years and deserves our special thanks.
On return to the Hotel, the AGM was held and details are covered in this issue. May I draw your attention to the events which are planned for 2016 and would urge you to support them as the Committee seek to implement the proposals which came from members. I would like to publicly thank everyone who made a contribution to our 75th anniversary events. Those events don’t just happen, many long hours were spent by your committee in their preparation and execution on the day.
Gillingham Reunion 2015 by Bob Adams. The Muster.
I was asked to take the Official photos which I was delighted to do and these have been submitted to the Fleet Review. As I was introduced by our Chairman as the “Happy Snapper”, I took the chance of taking informal and personal photos. Our members have moved on with the times and everyone else was also a Happy Snapper on their mobile phones.
Left to right Ian Darbyshire, Mike Fox, Glyn Seagrave, Nigel Masters, Paul Parker.
Jerry Kirk received his tot from Alf Larkin and Doug Harris under the slogan “Time Flies When You’re Having Rum”, and Jo Wilson recorded a superb photo on her phone.”
Joe Stokes brought a reproduction figurehead of the first wooden Ajax, which are available in the Chatham Dockyard Museum. The raffle prizes organised by Judi Collis, all helped towards association funds.
The Ceremonial cake was cut by the veterans, Ted Wicks and John Garrard, (Ken Smith behind)
I was privy to their subsequent self-congratulations, as shown
in their delightful expressions.
Ken Smith, who said he was nervous at the start, told us a fascinating account of his early life with his father Eric Smudge Smith who was a founder member of the Association in 1965 and the audience warmed to him, which Stephen Harwood acknowledged in his thanks.
The Formal Photos.
1. The River Plate Veterans. John Garrard and Ted Wicks with Stephen Harwood and Ken Smith.
2. The Cruiser Veterans - left to right, John Hitchen, (with Stephen Harwood), Ted Wicks, Dennis Talbot, John Garrard, Don Birrell & Jerry Kirk.
3. The Frigate Veterans, left to right, Ken “Sharky” Ward, Ian Darbyshire, Peter Danks, Alf Larkin, Bob McMorran, Vic Wilson, Glyn Seagrave, Mike Fox, Alan Phillips, Paul Byrne & Nigel Masters.
Although I never got to meet and learn the names of all the Associate Members present, it was great that so many attended.