I wonder if your readers realise just what power a ‘Letter to the Editor’ has.
Local newspapers right across the country, recently printed a letter from me seeking those who had served in the Royal Navy, at the massive 197 acre Shore Establishment HMS Collingwood at Fareham in Hampshire, and who would like to be reunited with their old shipmates through the HMS Collingwood Association, possibly meeting up again at one of the reunions we hold every year or even joining one of the visits to HMS Collingwood to see the changes.
Well they came out of the woodwork, which was what was hoped for, because I doubt if there is a single hamlet or village in the UK, which has not had someone serve there since it was commissioned in January 1940 and up to the present day.
The power of the Letter to the Editor has even brought responses from those who volunteered their services back in World War Two, to ‘Serve for the duration of the present conflict’ as it was expressed on their Service Documents.
Lots of them wondered how many of their trainee shipmates survived the war. The 91-year-old sister of one of those killed when a bomb dropped on an accommodation hut in 1943, killing 31. He had only been in the Royal Navy for 17 days and under early stages of training.
The cook who met the Wren in the Pay Office and has now been married to her for 54 years. The daughter of one of the captains who was challenged when she tried to ride her horse through the main gates. Plus many more interesting stories for the association magazine.
After the war HMS Collingwood became the home of the Radio, Radar and Electrical Branch and the cooks, pay clerks and stores personnel, were now providing administration for those under technical and practical training for the Electrical Branch and subsequent derivatives.
Many of the latter return to HMS Collingwood, ‘home’, on a number of occasions for courses linked to promotion.
Any reader who didn’t see my first letter, or put it to one side to be dealt with later and would love to ‘swing the lamp’ again, can contact me, Mike Crowe at 7 Heath Road, Sandown, Isle of Wight PO36 8PG or on firstname.lastname@example.org (that is crowe number 1) for either the HMS Collingwood Association or the Royal Naval Electrical Branch Association. When did you serve and who are you looking for?
Knowing the ‘power of the press’ and the response from Letters to the Editor, I look forward to receiving many interesting topics and the prospect of reuniting many shipmates.
Thank you Editor.
Heath Road, Sandown, Isle of Wight