Navy Days!

HMS Cumberland on FP4

Portland Harbour, in Dorset, is the fourth largest man-made harbour in the world. Man made, so that doesn’t include Sydney or San Francisco for example! As a child and into my young adult years I could see it from my bedroom window. Not a good view and slightly blocked by houses across the street, but I could still see it. It was one of the Royal Naval ports along the coast and was also one home of the RNAS (Royal Naval Air Station) too. This meant mainly helicopters – Prince Andrew was stationed there at one point, although that’s not something we should shout about right now!

A Sea King
Another Sea King

Our house was, as the crow flies, about 2 miles away, and about a mile off the flight path, so we got very used to the three main types of helicopters flying not quite overhead to the point where we took so little attention of them, we didn’t really register hearing them. I do remember one distant uncle’s visit with humour as he nearly jumped under the table at the thought of one landing on the roof! We didn’t even notice!!

Dropping Off

A highlight of the calendar was the Naval Base “Open Weekend”. As a Naval base it was usually strictly off limits, but once a year, usually in July, during our school summer holidays, it opened! I went many times over the years, and wish that I’d taken many more photos, but I wasn’t really into the Navy, it was always there – until one year it wasn’t! In 1995 the Navy pulled out of Portland for good, it was the end of the era. I wish now that I’d taken more interest and photographs!

Here is a little selection from one year (late 80’s) – hand processed by 20-year-old me – in the shed/darkroom!

HMS Glasgow
The Main Pier – HMS Brilliant left – HMS Glasgow right.
Fire! Cannon on the bow of HMS Glasgow
Missiles!
HMS Cumberland from the sea.
Part of a Mulberry Harbour – Left over from the D-Day convoy.
Refuelling Ship – Sadly didn’t record it’s name!
…and again!
another Sea King.

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