I would like to bring to your readers attention, the Royal Navy Shore Establishment HMS Collingwood, because if you say “HMS Collingwood”, or “Royal Navy Electricians”, or “Collingrad the Stone Frigate!”, a lot of your readers will immediately smile, think back and wonder where their old shipmates are and think about “That Parade Ground!” ... reputed to be the biggest in Europe before some of it was built on.

2017 sees the 70th anniversary of the Electrical Branch being formed with HMS Collingwood being its home. But lots of other people lived and worked there, cooks, writers, seamen, stokers, stores, etc, all to keep the city functioning.

So where is everybody and how do you get in touch? There are two wonderful Associations, both of which have reunions, arrange visits into today’s HMS Collingwood and the means of getting in touch with old shipmates. First there is the HMS Collingwood Association for anybody who served there, be they seamen from World War II when the establishment trained those who had volunteered, the cooks who fed them or the wrens who clothed them, or the stokers who kept the boilers going to provide all the hot water, right up to the present day dealing with the very latest in electronics. The membership secretary, Peter Lacey, can be reached on placey58@btinternet.com

Still with HMS Collingwood as home, there is the more specialist and individual Royal Navy Electrical Branch Association, formed specifically for those who served in any of the derivatives of the electrical branch be they electrical, radio and radar, control or weapons engineering and is more aimed at ships served on, to try to reunite branch members on specific commissions. This association is linked with the Royal Navy in that at the request of the Royal Navy, the name has been changed to the Royal Navy Electrical and Weapons Engineering Branch Association and can include those serving at the present time. Partially administered by volunteers at HMS Collingwood, the membership secretary Iain Crawford can be contacted on iaincrawf@yahoo.co.uk

Looking for old shipmates? Both Peter and Iain would be pleased to hear from you and set you on the right road. Get your membership forms in and be at the next reunion. The two associations are contemplating having a joint reunion, where wives and partners, as always, will be included. That will be a real “lamp swinger”. See you there.

Mike Crowe
Isle of Wight