-H.M.S. Hood Association Online Archive-
May 2009 H.M.S. Hood Association Reunion
By Frank Allen & Paul Bevand, MBE
Updated 06-May-2014

On 23 & 24 May 2009, members and guests of the H.M.S. Hood Association gathered at Royal Maritime Club and St Georges Church in Portsmouth, UK for the 34th annual Association reunion. The following is a brief account of the events. Special thanks to Barry Roberts and Jim Sikorski for providing many of the photos seen here.

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Saturday 23 May 2009 - Annual General Meeting and Reunion Dinner
Association members gathered at 1600 hours in the Royal Maritime Club's "Brock's Bar" for the Annual General Meeting. Internal Association business was discussed and annual Committee elections were held. The only notable items to mention here are that RADM Wilcocks has been made the President of the Association following the death of Ted Briggs. Also, Ken "Nobby" Clark was made Vice President for all his years of service and devotion. Nobby has held the Association together for many years...without him, it's doubtful it would have ever come this far. Association members can learn more about the AGM details in the Summer 2009 Association newsletter.

The reunion dinner commenced at 1900 hours. The ball room itself was decorated once again in actual surviving Hood flags (provided by Jim Sikorski) as well as numerous photos of the ship and crew. As always, the most important element of the photo display was the large display of roughly 720 photos of men lost in the sinking of Hood. These occupied the southwest corner of the ballroom along with our Roll of Honour.

There were approximately 85 people in attendence. Among these were our new President and his lovely wife, three veterans of Hood - Nobby Clark, Keith Evans, Alec Kellaway, plus Surgeon Rear-Admiral Curr and a contingent from TS Hood, Sea Cadet Corps from St Austell, Cornwall. We were honoured once again to have Sir Harold Walker KCMG and his wife in attendance. Were were also honoured to have Patrick Wales-Smith, Dr Eric Grove and Rob White in attendance once again.

This year's dinner menu consisted of Chef's spring vegetable soup followed by roast topside of beef, yorkshire pudding plus vegetables and potatoes. Desert was hot dutch apple pie and custard. Cheese and biscuits were served, followed by coffee and mints.

Hood Veteran Alec Kellaway
Guest of Honour Alec Kellaway
Click to enlarge.

After dinner, toasts were made to The Queen, our Guest of Honour, the ladies and of course, absent friends. Following the toasts, our Guest of Honour, Alec Kellaway was introduced. Robert Philpott was to be the guest of honour, but sadly, he passed away earlier in the month. Alec spoke about his time in Hood and the Royal Navy. Afterwards he was presented with a gift - a lovely framed photo of Hood taken in the mid-late 1930s.

After the speech and presentation, the annual raffle took place. It was most excellent as always. The evening wound to a close afterwards with people chatting and having nightcaps between the ballroom and Brock's Bar. Another memorable reunion dinner had successfully come to an end.

Sunday, 24 May 2009- The St. George's Church Service
People gathered for the "parade" to church around 1000 hours. The weather was most excellent as we followed the cadets of H.M.S. Collingwood, TS Tenacity and TS Hood, St Austell along Hannover, Beneficial and Butcher Streets to St Georges. Association chaplain Archdeacon John Green presented an innovative, fun and very enlightening service assisted by canon Karina Green, Miss Tracey Dean on piano, plus some of the cadets.

TS Tenacity's Band Leading the March to Church
Tenacity's Band
Click to enlarge.

The highlight of the service was when the Archdeacon led the congration in making boats out of Hood Rolls of Honour. Those who wished to do so were permitted to place their boats in a small wading pool. Placing the boats on water was a way of remembering and honouring the lost men of Hood. Those who did not place their boats in the pool were encouraged to take them away and release them in water at a later date. Some people did indeed do this- some of the more notable releases were two boats released off Scapa Flow and two boats released into the Patuxent River/Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, USA.

Following the service, the group followed the cadets back to the Royal Maritime Club. That afternoon saw everyone slowly go their separate ways.

Next Year's Reunion
Please take note that next year's reunion will take place at the Royal Maritime Club on Saturday, 22 May 2010. The AGM will commence at 1600 hours and the dinner at 1830 for 1900 hours. The St Georges Service of Remembrance will be on the following day, Sunday, 23 May 2010.

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

Vice President Nobby Clark   Keith Evans talks to Surgeon Rear-Admiral Curr   Enjoying the dinner   Archdeacon Green and Surgeon Rear-Admiral Curr
Admiral Wilcocks, Alec Kellaway and Keith Evans   The Parade to Church   The Parade to Church   Association Members and Guests Gather Before the Church Service
Standards Outside the Church   The Church Service   Inside St Georges Church   Canon Green (left) and Archdeacon Green (right)