Former trainees of the HMS Ganges Land-Based Training Establishment at Shotley Gate, gathered at a safe distance at HMS Ganges Museum with members of the HMS Ganges Association to join a tipple of an old favourite. June Lawford-Randall tells us more about the day and gives us an update on what else the museum has been up to.
It was a sad day for the Senior Service on 31st July 1970 when the Royal Navy decided to withdraw the custom of allocating rum rations for the first time since 1665. Those mourning the event have ever since continued to recall the sad day by naming it Black Tot Day when many of the lads still meet up to share with one another a tot or two of the highly esteemed Pusser’s Rum.
This year was no different when 28 former trainees of the HMS Ganges Land-Based Training Establishment at Shotley Gate, still relatively local to Shotley, and now shipmates from Shotley and Essex Divisions, gathered at a safe distance at HMS Ganges Museum with members of the HMS Ganges Association to share a commemorative tot of rum with Museum Trustees following a short ceremony. The Standard Bearer stands to attention followed smartly by the proud lads to hear the words, “Up Spirits. Stand Fast. The Holy Ghost. God Save the Queen”. When the Call of the Bosun’s Pipe has sounded, the tots are served in good order.
This event is a heart-warming example of the comradeship felt among the lads who believe their time spent at Ganges was an experience which turned “Boys into Men” despite some of the considerable hardship, bravery, tragedy and pride experienced by them all.
THE ORWELL LADY CRUISES IN
We were delighted to open in August for a pre-arranged visit by the cruise ship The Orwell Lady which we thought might not happen! However, several passengers endured a beautiful cruise down the Orwell River from Ipswich on probably the hottest day of the year to enjoy a lunch visit to The Shipwreck restaurant followed by a tour around the Museum. Several of the visitors had family links to Ganges and some were able to peruse our year folders from the time of their relatives, not having known that this would be possible!
Owing to Covid-19 and the need to keep the safety of our visitors and volunteers paramount the Museum will remain closed for normal opening this season. For more and up-to-date information please refer to our website www.hmsgangesmuseum.com or visit our Facebook page: The HMS Ganges Museum to keep up with current news. However, if you have a particular query which you think we can help with then please get in touch with us. We expect to re-open our doors for normal weekend and Bank Holiday visiting on Good Friday, 2021.
In the meantime it’s business as usual for the Trustees and volunteers who continue to maintain the Museum, deal with membership and other enquiries as well as receive and manage artefacts and stock. If you would like to volunteer with us we would be delighted to meet you and discuss the options – there are many opportunities available including the possibility of helping from home. Please do get in touch if you’d like to lend your support.