Last night I have my first talk based on my new book, ‘Portsmouth’s World War Two Heroes’. The audience at the D-Day Museum were the Portsmouth Museums and Records Society, a group that I first joined as a committee member at the age of 17! I’ve lectured the Society three times now, so you could say I’m something of an old hand by now!
As always it was great to get out and present some history, hear some comments and answer some questions. For me, that’s why you should want to write history – to take it to people. I can’t stand why authors wouldn’t want to take their book out to people and interact with the public?! It’s like a band producing an album and then never going on tour or doing any interviews!
The first copies of the book arrived at the Museum for sale in the afternoon, and were on the shelves in time for the talk. Five lucky guests went away with the first signed copies of ‘Portsmouth’s World War Two Heroes’. The book is now for sale at the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth, and hopefully early next week will be available at the City Museum as well.
I have several more talks booked – in Gosport, ironically – and a signing and talk at the D-Day Museum for the general public in March, please see my Talks page for details. I am in discussions with another couple of venues and groups about some more events. If anyobody out there is a talks organiser for a local group and you think you might like to book me, please feel free to get in touch.
Heres a few recent news stories from naval circles that probably don’t warrant a post on their own, but I think some of you might find interesting. They all, in one way or another, chronicle the sad demise of the Royal Navy.
Carribean to go without a Royal Navy Guardship
The Ministry of Defence has announced that there will be no Royal Navy Destroyer or Frigate in the Carribean. The Royal Navy has for a long time stationed an escort vessel in the region to combat drug runners, and also to provide disaster relief to Commonwealth territories in the hurricane season. The fleet of escort ships has been slashed to just 19 by the recent Defence Review, leaving too few to carry out deployments. Instead a Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel will patrol the area. Ships routinely seize millions of pounds worth of drugs in the region, and an RFA vessel is simply not up to the job.
Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North and defence select committee member, had the temerity to tell the Portsmouth Evening News: ‘It’s a very worrying announcement. If we’re supposed to be tackling the drugs problem on our streets we need to be dealing with supply and that’s something we should want our armed forces to do.’ For the record, her party forced through the ill-thought out Defence Review which decimated the Royal Navy’s surface fleet.
HMS Invincible sold to Turkish Scrap dealers
The decomissioned Aircraft Carrier HMS Invincible has been sold to a Turkish Scrapyard for an undisclosed sum. The buyers, Leyal Ship Recycling, are based in Izmir and specialise in recycling ships. She is expected to leave Portsmouth around the end of March, arrive in Turkey four weeks later and to take eight months to dismantle. She has been sat in 3 Basin of Portsmouth Dockyard since she was decomissioned in 2005. Supposedly she has been in ‘extended readiness’, but has been so stripped of parts to keep her sister ships running that it would take years and millions of pounds to make her operational again. Expect the bandwagon-jumpers who made much of the demise of Ark Royal to not even notice the end of this Falklands veteran.
Amphibious Exercise cancelled due to weather
An amphibious exercise scheduled to take place in the Solent last weekend was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. The Fleet Flagship HMS Albion and several other vessels were due to land troops on beaches near Browndown Point in Gosport. It was very wet and windy, but one wonders if it was any worse that the weather experienced in June 1944 when Eisenhower, Monty and Group Captain James Stagg had decide whether to invade occupied Europe or not. Or San Carlos Water in 1982. It smacks of Admirals worrying about the paint getting scratched on their Landing Craft, and sends out the wrong message to our armed forces and anyone else. At the end of the day its the Solent, a sheltered Anchorage. If we can’t even make an unopposed landing a few miles from the home of the Royal Navy, what chance a forced landing thousands of miles away?
Filed under defence, Navy, News