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Hms Ganges


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Excellent news regarding the mast at the above ex-naval establishment.

Back in 2011 I visited the site and the mast was in a dreadful state of repair, I took these photographs:-

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Then in 2018 whilst sailing on The Thames Barge Oxygen, the mast became a topic of conversation as we sailed past.

One of the crew local to the site said that they were trying to make restoration of the mast the subject of planning approval for the re-development of the site.

Well it appears it has at last all come together.

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To be selected as the "button boy" to stand on the masthead truck on ceremonial parades at Ganges was a great honour.

I was told that there was a short pole, about thigh high, that he could grip between his legs, but that was his only support. Β He also had to shin up the last few feet of the mast to get there.

The tradition of manning the yards goes back hundreds of years in the Navy, to when a warship entering a foreign port would do this as a sign of peaceful intention. Β With all the crew up the rigging, there was no-one down below to man the guns.

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I have just realised that age is getting to me!

The Thames Barge that I last passed Shotley Point aboard was Hydrogen. NOT Oxygen.

Senior moments gaining in number!

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My late uncle who died at the age of 94 in 2019 trained at HMS Ganges in 1940 before service in the North Atlantic Convoys. When asked if he was ever the "button boy"Β  he replied in his typical manner-----Not b---dy likely , I had more sense than that!!

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