-H.M.S. Hood Association Online Archive-
May 2003 H.M.S. Hood Association Reunion
Updated 06-May-2014

Our own Frank Allen and Paul Bevand wrote and provided the photos for the following account of this year's events.

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Saturday 24 May 2003- Annual General Meeting and 28th Reunion Dinner
Approximately 80 members and guests from the UK, Germany and USA gathered at the Royal Sailors Home Club for this year's proceedings. At roughly 1630 hours members assembled in Nuffield Lounge for the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Various Association-related items and a number of interesting propositions were discussed. Elections were also held, with all currently serving members retaining their posts.

At 1900 hours, everyone gathered in the ballroom. While waiting for the ceremonies to commence, people viewed a huge photo & information layout created and laid-out by the website staff. Though similar to the layout for the two previous years' reunions, the scope of this year's photo presentation was much expanded. Large and rare photos and artwork of Hood and her crew literally lined the walls of the ballroom. Most important of these photos were the 422 individual memorial photos of men lost in the sinking of Hood. These had their own corner of the ballroom (see photo below).

Above- The 422 photos of men lost in the sinking of Hood

A special addition this year was a computer containing the entire Hood Association website. This was set-up in Brock's Bar immediately adjacent to the ballroom. This was to permit those veterans without computer access to view the website in its entirety. As always, there was also a copy of the Roll of Honour present (the same one that is on the CD within the plaque laid at the wreck in 2001).

Lord Hood Accepting A Gift from the Association

We had a very special guest of honour this year: Lord Henry Hood. Lord Hood is the 8th Viscount Hood and is the grandson of Sir Horace Hood, lost aboard the battle cruiser Invincible at the battle of Jutland. He is a family man and successful solicitor. He is very proud of his family's great tradition of service to the Crown and is also very proud that his family name has graced such great warships as our beloved battle cruiser. Lord Hood has agreed to become the patron of the H.M.S. Hood Association.

In addition to our distinguished guest, we also had some prominent Association members present- four men from the team who discovered the wreck of Hood back in 2001: David Mearns, Rob White, Gary Johnstone and the inimitable Dr Eric Grove.

Three Association members came from considerable distances away to attend this year's events: Geoff Clark flew in from South Africa whereas Bruce Taylor and Frank Allen flew in from the USA. We also had visitors from Germany- the "Foreign Secretary", John England, plus Frank's guests Thomas Schmid and his lovely wife Gabi. There was a particularly large group with Mrs Jean Winter.

Bill Stone Sings!

We had the same delightful five course meal as always- excellent roast Norfolk turkey. This was followed by a variety of cheeses and wine plus coffee and desert. After the dinner there followed the speeches and toasts: The Queen, The Guest of Honour, the Ladies and of course, Absent Friends. Following the toasts, Lord Hood spoke. As the Guest of Honour, he received a wonderful present- a silver plaque.

This was followed by an auction and raffle. The rest of the evening was spent in chatting and drinking. After the dinner, many people retired to Brock's Bar for a night-cap and more chatting. Additionally, a number of people took time to view the Association website in the bar.

Sunday, 25 May 2003- St. George's Church Service

Many of us started out with a traditional English breakfast. For those of you who are not familiar with these, they generally consist of fried egg, bacon, sausage, tomato, baked beans, mushrooms and fried bread. A filling meal to say the least! Following breakfast, most members gathered in the Home Club's Compass Room for drinks and conversation until it was time to assemble for the march to church.

At approximately 1100 hours, members began to assemble outside the Club. We formed ranks, and accompanied by Parade Commander Lieutenant John Gordon, honour guard from H.M.S. Collingwood plus the charming young Sea Cadet band of T.S. Tenacity, we set off on the short march to St. George's Church, Portsea. As always, family members and friends marched alongside former crew of Hood. Like last year, we did have a few drops of rain, but it was very brief. Bill Stone took the salute. Ted Briggs carried the Association Standard.

All seats were filled for this year's service. It was conducted by the Association's Chaplain, Reverend Ron Paterson, MBE (Hood veteran, 1933-1936) . In attendance were many members of the Hood Association as well as H.M.S. Collingwood's commanding officer, Commodore PL Wilcocks and his good lady wife Kym.

The H.M.S. Hood Association standard was placed atop the altar. The wreath was laid by veteran Ernie "Mac" McConnell. Reverend Paterson then delivered his sermon. Ted Briggs read the lesson. Rob White also spoke about the expedition and the Association website. We were also treated to more of "Young Bill" Stone's wonderful singing.

Following the service, members assembled for the march back to the Home Club. The weather had certainly improved during the service of remembrance. We marched back in the sunshine and returned to the Home Club. Afterwards, many people gathered to chat, take photos and share a drink or several. A few people gathered in the restaurant and in the Nuffield Bar for the remainder of the day. People dispersed throughout the afternoon.

Additional Photos
Below are assorted photos from the reunion weekend. Click to enlarge.

The top table during the reunion dinner    Dick Turner emcees    The Home Club Ballroom    Nobby Clark, David Mearns and Frank Allen    Ted Briggs unfurls the Association Standard before the march
Bill Stone and Frank Pavey outside the Home Club    The march to St Georges    The march to St Georges    The march to St Georges    Veterans preparing for the return march to the Home Club
Marching from St Georges Church    Marching from St Georges Church    The march from the church to the Home Club    The march from the church to the Home Club    Thomas Schmid and John Roberts chat as Frank Allen and Ted Briggs review a painting in the background