-H.M.S. Hood Association Online Archive-
May 2005 H.M.S. Hood Association Reunion
Updated 06-May-2014

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

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Saturday 21 May 2005- Annual General Meeting and 30th Reunion Dinner
This year's reunion was based at the wonderful Royal Sailors Home Club in Portsmouth. A few members and guests arrived during the preceding week, but the majority of attendees arrived on the afternoon of the event. The Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held at 1630 hours in Brock's Bar. As always, the meeting was highlighted by Association-related business and elections. Association members not in attendance will learn more about this in upcoming Association newsletters.

At 1830 hours, attendees gathered in the ballroom next to Brock's Bar. The room was decorated with an extensive photo presentation spanning Hood's entire career. In addition to the photo presentation, two spectacular models of Hood were on display. These were the incomparable 1/200 scale miniatures of Colin Vass - one of Hood as completed in 1920 and the other of Hood as sunk in 1941. As always, the most important items on display were memorial photos of men lost in the sinking of Hood. This year there were 556 such photos. These were situated in their very own corner of the ballroom along with an updated Roll of Honour.

H.M.S. Hood Memorial Photos
Above- The memorial panels

There were roughly 90 people in attendance for this year's dinner. These included Lord and Lady Hood, 11 veterans (Ted Briggs, Nobby Clark, Dixie Dean, Keith Evans, Alec Kellaway, Ron Paterson, Frank Pavey, Robert Philpott, Bill Stone, Cy Thistlethwaite, and Dick Turner), many relatives of crew, and of course, a number of Hood enthusiasts. As always, there were attendees from all over the world: Barry Roberts just arrived from China and David Chessum flew in from Australia. Additionally, Hood veteran Cy Thistlethwaite and his wife came in from California, USA. Also in from the USA were Jim Sikorski, plus our webmaster, Frank Allen and his family. Once again, we also had guests from Germany- Ward Carr and Malte Gaack. Ward and Malte brought a very special guest along with them, Mr Heinrich Kuhnt, a survivor of the battleship "Bismarck". They also bore greetings from the "Tirpitz", "Prinz Eugen", USCG "Modoc" and of course, "Bismarck" veterans associations. There were also separate greetings from the Mers el-Kebir association of France (at the AGM).

Shipmate Dick Turner returned to his duties as Master of Ceremonies. Dick was unable to carry out said duties last year due to poor health. It was delightful to have him back on duty again. This year's Guest of Honour was shipmate Frank Pavey.

This year's meal consisted of a vegetable soup, followed by roast beef, steamed vegetables and some odd cup-like bread thingy. It was followed by a desert of Trafalgar pudding (jam roly-poly and custard). After desert, there was an assortment of cheese and biscuits, followed later by coffee and mints.

After the dinner there followed the speeches and toasts: Association President Ted Briggs proposed a toast to The Queen. This was followed by a toast to Frank Pavey, our Guest of Honour, proposed by Association Chairman Peter Heys. Association Treasurer Ken "Nobby" Clark then proposed a toast to the Ladies, followed by Association Vice-Chairman Keith Evans who proposed a toast to Absent Friends.

Peter Heys and Frank Pavey
Peter Heys (left) & Frank Pavey (right).
Click to enlarge.

Upon completion of the various toasts, the Guest of Honour was introduced. As mentioned above, it was Frank Pavey (Hood veteran, 1937-1940). He was presented with a gift (a fancy new hip flask) by Peter Heys. Frank then told some delightful tales about his time in the Navy with the emphasis on his time in H.M.S. Hood. You can read a similar account by clicking here.

Following the speech, a presentation was made by Heinrich Kuhnt on behalf of the Kameradschaft "Schlactschiff Bismarck", the official Bismarck veterans group, based in Hamburg, Germany. He presented to Ted Briggs a lovely photograph of the Bismarck wreck. It was a close-up of one of Bismarck's anti-aircraft gun barrels encrusted with flower-like sea growth. It was captioned Diese blumen blühen für die kameraden der "Hood" und der "Bismarck" (translation: These flowers bloom for the comrades of the "Hood" and the "Bismarck"). The veterans and Association members felt this was a very touching gift.

Bill Stone at the 2005 Hood reunion
Bill Stone & his daughter Anne.
Click to enlarge.

"Young" Bill Stone, the Association's senior veteran (he turns 105 in September) and by far number one song and dance man, once again treated us all to his delightful rendition of "All the Nice Girls Love a Sailor". We should mention here that Bill has rapidly become a bit of a celebrity around the United Kingdom in recent years, as he is a member of a number of Associations and is one of the very few remaining British veterans of BOTH world wars. He is also an absolutely charming person and gives everyone hope and inspiration.

Late in the evening came the always excellent auction and raffle courtesy of Jack Moulden and his lovely wife. They did their usual excellent job. Among the items auctioned were an autographed copy of Bruce Taylor's amazing new book on Hood and a special edition bottle of "H.M.S. Hood" malt whiskey donated by Mike Bambury. Both did extremely well. Following the raffle, most people mingled first in the dining room and later in Brock's Bar until closing. A few of us had a night-cap or two (or three) in the process.

The dinner was absolutely lovely. We'd like to give a special thanks to David Terry and the staff of the Royal Sailors Home Club for their superb support. Without them, there could be no reunion.

Sunday, 22 May 2005- The Parade and the St. George's Church Service
In keeping with tradition, a number of us woke up a bit tired and with a strangely familiar headache. Of course a nice "fry up" (traditional English breakfast) with ample amounts of orange juice and coffee helped to remedy that situation! Following breakfast, people flocked to the Compass Room to relax and chat until it was time to fall in for the parade.

At 1045 hours members started to assemble on a side street outside of the Home Club. The weather had fortunately taken a turn for the better (it had been very windy and rainy during the previous days). Everyone then formed ranks behind the T.S. Tenacity Sea Cadets band and honour guard from H.M.S. Collingwood. Roger Tombs carried the Association Standard, while Ted Briggs carried the R.N.A.'s Hood wreath. Alan Plant carried a wreath from the US Coast Guard Cutter Modoc. Heinrich Kuhnt carried a wreath from Bismarck, Ward Carr carried a wreath from Tirpitz and Frank Allen carried a wreath from Prinz Eugen. Behind them marched veterans of Hood alongside friends and loved ones. Those marching included Roger Lewington, Mary Mochan, Don Bulman, Michael Nottage, Colin Vass, Mary Tilburn and family, as well as several others.

Bill Stone took the salute as the parade passed the front of the Royal Sailors Home Club. The parade proceeded down Queen Street, past "H.M.S. Warrior", the Hard Interchange, the new Spinnaker Tower and Gunwharf Quay shopping outlet. We turned left towards St Georges Church and came to a halt outside the front door. Everyone then gathered inside. The various wreaths were placed on or around the altar and eveyone took their seats.

Nobby Clark and Bill Stone
Nobby Clark & Bill Stone outside
the Royal Sailors Home Club

The church was once again full for this year's service. The service was again conducted by Association Reverend Ron Patterson. He was assisted by St George's vicar, Karina Green. Piano accompanyment was provided during hymns by Miss Tracey Dean. During the service we were treated to a wonderful rendition of "The Lamb" by the Portsmouth Grammar School Choir. Bill Stone also sang. Reverend Paterson provided his usual top-notch and very personal sermon. This was all followed by the Last Post and Reveille as well as a presentation to several of the young people who helped make the service possible.

Upon the conclusion of the service, a smaller group of people gathered for the parade back to the Royal Sailors Home Club. The weather for the return trip was even nicer than earlier. Following the parade, many people gathered outside for photos and toasts. Later, many went inside to chat over lunch.

The group gradually dispersed throughout the afternoon. A handful of attendees, to include the guests from Germany, our two webmasters, Bismarck veteran Heinrich Kuhnt and Hood veteran Eddie Goggins spent the rest of the day together and had one final meal at a nearby pub. We called it a night just before darkness fell. All in all, it was a delightful end to a great reunion.

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

TS Tenacity Band during the parade   Jack Moulden conducting the auction/raffle   Ted Briggs and Heinrich Kuhnt   The 2005 reunion dinner   Bill Stone watching a video of the Empire Cruise
2005 Hood Association reunion   The Top Table   The Top Table   Collingwood contingent during the parade   Roger Tombs, Ted Briggs, Ward Carr, Heinrich Kuhnt, Alan Plant & Frank Allen
Association members marching to church   Heinrich Kuht and Nobby Clark   Association members arriving at St Georges Church   Ted Briggs leads the veterans during the parade   The Hood Association standard party
Ted Briggs during the commemoration service   Ted Briggs presents a gift to the Collingwood trumpeter   Veterans Jim Taylor (left) and Robert Philpott (right)   Malte Gaack and Hood veteran Eddie Goggins   Veterans Dick Turner (left) and Alec Kellaway (right)