Daily Archives: 18 November, 2009

Navy considering future of HMS Endurance

HMS Endurance

HMS Endurance

The Royal Navy are seriously considering the future of HMS Endurance, Britain’s specialist South Atlantic patrol ship and icebreaker, reports Janes Navy International.

Endurance was seriously damaged by flooding in late 2008, and is currently laid up in Portsmouth while it is decided what to do with her. With the repair bill being estimated at £30m, it is not surprising that the Navy are looking at alternatives. At 19 years old, would it be cost effective to repair her? Or might it be more prudent to replace her with a leased ship?

HMS Scott is currently performing Endurance’s role of patrolling the South Atlantic antarctic area. HMS Clyde is also based semi-permanently in the Falkland Islands, and there is usually a Frigate or Destroyer on station in the South Atlantic too. Whilst it might be argued that cutting Endurance from the fleet would signal to the Argentinians that the UK is not serious about the South Atlantic, even without Endurance we have a much more considerable presence around the Falklands now than we did pre-1982. And, arguably, the Argentines are in no position, politically or militarily, to take any action over the Falklands.

Endurance also carries out scientific surveys in the Antarctic area. Whilst this is no doubt useful and interesting to scientists, is this a priority for the Navy? The British Antarctic Survey has its own research vessel, the James Clark Ross.

Endurance is a special ship, no doubt about it, but in hard times maybe the Navy needs to be looking to cut its cloth.

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Filed under debate, Falklands War, Navy, News

MOD may need to write off ‘tens of millions’

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) may need to write off tens of millions of pounds due to inefficiencies in its expenses system, the UK House of Commons Defence Committee has heard. The committee also heard the MoD deny that its focus on efficiency savings is the main cause of failures relating to its equipment procurement processes, reports Janes Defence weekly.

Although problems with expenses are nothing new, especially in Government Departments, you would think that at a time when Soldiers are crying out for more and better kit, that civil servants would ease off on their expenses just a bit. It kind of shows the culture of the MOD sadly.

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Filed under debate, News, politics

Portsmouth Second World War Dead Project

Portsmouths WW2 memorial

Portsmouths WW2 memorial

After the end of the First World War, the people of Portsmouth raised funds to erect a Cenotaph in memory of all of Portsmouth’s sons and daughters who died in between 1914 and 1918. Every name is listed, from A to Z.

But after the Second World , people were tired of war, and the will to erect a new memorial was just not there. This is how it remained for almost 60 years. The almost 3,380 people of Portsmouth who died between 1939 and 1947 have not been memorialised in their home city.

Mrs Jean Louth, whose father Harry Short died at Dunkirk, was horrified to discover this, and set about raising funds and awareness. The centrepiece of the memorial itself has been unveiled, in Portland stone, bearing the arms of Portsmouth and the three armed services, and the inscription ‘IN MEMORY OF THE SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN AND THE CITIZENS OF PORTSMOUTH WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN DEFENCE OF THEIR COUNTRY DURING WORLD WAR II’.

This, however, is only the start. There are plans to erect a memorial wall surrounding the centrepiece, which will be engraved with the names of those who gave their lives. As each name costs £30 to engrave, this will cost a fair bit.

Portsmouth City Council have published a list of portsmouth people who died during the second world war. It is very much a work in progress, with a lot of details missing and possibly incorrect.

Looking at the list got me thinking. As well as possibly filling in the gaps, would it be possible to use a database to compute and analyse these details? If I can add in details such as those you find on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website, the picture is even more detailed. It would be possible to produce reports on average ages, where in the city they came from, in what units they fought, where they died. Some interesting stories should come to light. And hopefully, I can just do something to raise awareness of these brave people when there is a risk that they might become forgotten.

So far I am up to halfway through the B surnames, around 180 people. Its going to take quite sometime, and im still tweaking with the database, but hopefully over time it will be an interesting project!

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Filed under Local History, News, Remembrance, World War Two

Welcome Back!

Welcome Back!

I have been unable to access my blog for almost a week due a serious security breach, which for some time threatened to shut down my blog completely! Thankfully wordpress were able to sort the problem eventually so I’m back with venegance.

I have been busy while I have been away. I have been working my way through a new book from the History Press which I will be reviewing shortly, and I have also started work on a new and exciting project researching Portsmouth’s casualties of the Second World War.

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