Long Ago Memories

HMS Ganges the Boys training school of the Royal Navy, was the toughest training camp for young boys anywhere. The place where the Royal Navy turned boys into men.  Turned them into the very best sailors in the Navy, they were gratefully received aboard all ships in the fleet because of their training and discipline. I will until the end of my days be proud to call myself a “Ganges Boy”. I will always remember setting foot on the parade square in fear and trepidation for the first time some sixty-seven years ago. I’m sad when I think how Ganges is now gone forever, what a terrible loss this amazing place surely was to the Royal Navy. I departed Ganges in August 1956 and have never returned to the village of Shotley, Suffolk, where Ganges was located. It is just a short bus ride from Ipswich and a little more than an hour by rail to London . You might wonder why I writing about Ganges again???surely, I have posted many photos and told many stories,  it is perhaps becoming a little repetitive, sorry!!!  However, I must confess until a couple of hours ago writing about Ganges was the last thing on my mind. Then on Face Book I came across this coloured photo of the Ganges mast. I have seen this particular photo before but it was of poorer quality and in black and white.  The Mast was once the proud centre piece of the camp where boys climbed the halyards to the highest points on Sunday afternoons enjoying the only free time allowed.  From high above we looked out across the beautiful vista of the surrounding land and rivers. The photo brought tears to my eyes. To see the sad and derelict crumbling yardarms, the ragged ratlines and spars. To look across the old parade square now barely visible through the undergrowth and weeds. What a very sad way to have this grand place end, it truly breaks my heart.

God Bless and keep reading.

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
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