Saturday, January 07, 2006

HMS Collingwood

Royal Navy: History: "The Fourth HMS COLLINGWOOD

The present HMS COLLINGWOOD was built as a new entry Training Establishment for 'hostilities only' ratings of the Seaman Branch. The 200 acres it covers were compulsorily purchased in 1939 for just over £7,000; the land owner claimed that it was of the finest cornland in the South of England but, in local opinion, it was much the best snipe marsh in the country.

It was certainly wet and boggy and it took until the mid 1950s to clear sufficient water to allow the construction of anything better than a single storey building or concrete prefab. Initially, buildings were erected to form four distinct but identical sections with common Headquarter buildings; the whole surrounded the Parade Ground which was the focal point of the training. On 10 January 1940 the Establishment was commissioned as HMS COLLINGWOOD under the Command of a Commodore; training began a week later with batches of about 1000 trainees joining every 3 weeks for a 10-week course. Wireless Telegraphy ratings started their training in June 1940 when they transferred from HMS ST VINCENT and formed a separate group under their own Captain; a Radio Direction Finding School was added in 1942. At this time the Medical Section was rated as a Naval Hospital with a Surgeon Rear Admiral in charge. The Wrens came to HMS COLLINGWOOD when it was commissioned in 1940; fifty joined initially and worked as Cooks, Stewards, Messengers and Telephonists."

my father was there from May to August 1942
I have just found some of his letters amongst my late mother's papers
He mentions a three week gunnery course - but where ?


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