-H.M.S. Hood Association Online Archive-
May 2006 H.M.S. Hood Association Reunion
Updated 06-May-2014

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

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Saturday 20 May 2006 - Annual General Meeting and 31st Reunion Dinner
This May found members of the Association coming together once again at the Royal Sailors Home Club near the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth. A handful of members arrived a few days prior to the reunion, however most arrived on the day. Most people took some time to chat and catch up with one another until it was time for the Annual General Meeting (AGM). The AGM commenced at 1630 hours in Brock's Bar and ran until past 1800 hours. The reason for the excessive length was because several updates given by attendees, plus numerous items of business that were discussed and voted upon.

Hood Roll of Honour Memorial Photos
Above- The memorial panels

At 1830 hours, attendees gathered in the ballroom. The walls of the room were once again lined with an extensive photo presentation spanning Hood's entire career. In addition to the photos, there were a variety of hardcopy reports, photos and reports as well as print-outs of the website on various display tables. Most important of all however, was a special photo display of men lost in the sinking of Hood. This year saw 596 photos on display along with a newly updated Roll of Honour.

Like last year, there were once again roughly 90 people in attendance for the dinner. These included Lord and Lady Hood, 9 veterans (Ted Briggs, Nobby Clark, Keith Evans, Eddie Goggins, Ron Paterson, Frank Pavey, Robert Philpott, Bill Stone and Cy Thistlethwaite), many relatives of crew, a few Hood enthusiasts and invited guests. This year, as in years previous, saw attendees from all over the world: Mrs Pelkonen flew in from Sweden, James Warrand flew in from Australia, John England, Thomas Schmid and his wife Gabi plus their friend Peter Brandt flew in from Germany and lastly, our webmaster, Frank Allen and his family flew in from the USA.

There were two faces that were particularly absent this year: Gladys Clark and Dick Turner. Glad, wife of Association Treasurer Nobby Clark, passed away earlier this year. To say she was important to the Association would be an understatement - she was at the heart of the Association having hosted the vast majority of the Association Committee's meetings for 30 long years. She also had to put up with Nobby and his duties as Treasurer and Hood Archivist...which could be quite trying!

Also overwhelmingly absent was Hood veteran Dick Turner. Dick was a long time Association Committee member and our Master of Ceremonies. He was a kind gentleman who was extremely well liked by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. You can read more about him here. Both Dick and Glad, are and will continue to be, sorely missed.

Dick's "understudy", Hood veteran Frank Pavey, took over the duties of Master of Ceremonies . Frank had fulfilled this role before (in 1994) during one of Dick's periods of poor health. We were in good hands. Frank, is a delightful, witty and upbeat person with a great comic sense of timing. Naturally he did a great job.

This year's meal consisted of watercress soup, followed by roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and steamed vegetables. This was followed by a coffee and mandarin gateau (a coffee flavoured sponge cake topped with cream and mandarin segments). After desert, there was the usual assortment of cheese and biscuits, followed by coffee and mints.

Nobby Clark toasts the ladies
Nobby's toast. Click to enlarge.

Following dinner, the toasts commenced: Association President Ted Briggs proposed a toast to The Queen. Association Chairman Peter Heys then proposed a toast to our Guest of Honour, Sir Harold Berners Walker, KCMG. 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.

Upon completion of the various toasts, the Guest of Honour, Sir Harold, was introduced. Sir Harold's father was Sir Harold Thomas Coulthard "Hooky" Walker, the last peacetime captain of Hood. Sir Harold himself is a highly experienced diplomat who has seen a great deal of foreign service, particularly in the Middle Eastern/Southwest Asia. Among his many posts was that of Ambassador to Iraq during the UN sanctioned action of 1991. A fuller list of his posts and achievements can be found here.

Peter Heys presents Sir Harold Walker with a painting
Sir Harold receives the painting.
Click to enlarge.

Chairman Peter Heys presented Sir Harold with an excellent painting of Hood. Sir Harold then told some delightful and poignant tales about his time in the Royal Engineers and long foreign service. He cited his many years of service in the Middle East with the emphasis on the need to learn from history. He also praised the Association highly in its efforts to preserve history, remember the men and to stress the terrible cost of war.

What would a reunion be without the eternally young Bill Stone? Bill, the Association's senior member, once again graced us with his presence. For those who do not know, Bill served aboard Hood during the famous Empire Cruise of 1923-1924. He fought in both World Wars and has lived under the reign of six monarchs. You can read more about him by clicking here.

Now into his 106th year, Bill was accompanied by his daughter and son-in-law. A bit of a celebrity, he was also accompanied by a BBC film crew. They were there filming Bill for a programme about the oldest living veterans. Bill was in his usual good form. He sang his usual delightful medley of "All the Nice Girls Love a Sailor" and "We Parted on the Shore" and brought smiles to many faces. If only we could all age this well and as gracefully!

Toward the end of the evening, Jack Moulden and his lovely wife conducted the auction and raffle. As always, it was top notch. The rest of the evening was spent between the ballroom and Brock's Bar. People gathered to have a nightcap and to chat. The evening went extremely well, and our sincere thanks go the staff of the Royal Sailors Home Club for taking care of things so perfectly.


Sunday, 21 May 2006- The St. George's Church Service
Following a hearty, artery clogging traditional English breakfast, members gathered in the Compass Room. There they chatted until it was time to assemble for the parade.

Unfortunately, the weather had overtaken events- high winds, cold temperatures and rain made it positively dismal outside. Conditions had been poor for days, but they seemed to be at their worst this morning. The high winds and wet streets were a bit dangerous for some of our more senior veterans (due to slipping danger). Nature teased us for a short spell: At one point it looked as though the weather might clear just enough to permit the parade, but it was not to be. Fortunately, our Chairman, Peter Heys, was quick to form a new plan- he arranged for everyone to go to the church service via coach (courtesy of Tenacity or Collingwood).

The church was once again full for this year's service. Wreaths were provided by the Association, Royal Naval Association, United States Coast Guard Cutter Modoc, and Bordgemeinschaft Tirpitz. We wish to sincerely thank the people of the Tirpitz as well as RADM Tom Sargent of the Modoc for their thoughtfulness. It should also be noted that the Kameradschaft "Schlachtschiff Bismarck" had tried to send a floral wreath, but due to unforeseen difficulties, it did not arrive. Although it didn't make it, we do indeed appreciate the kind thoughts behind it.

The service was conducted by Association Reverend Ron Patterson and St George's vicar, Karina Green. Piano accompaniment was provided during hymns by Miss Tracey Dean. During the service we were treated to a wonderful rendition of "Ave Maria" by Miss Sarah Lock of the Portsmouth Grammar School Choir. Speaking of singing, we were also treated, once again, to the wonderful voice of Bill Stone. Bill, his BBC team in tow, sang his favourite hymn, "Abide in Me."

Reverend Paterson delivered a very warm, personal and uplifting sermon. A kind and thoughtful man, Reverend Ron gives great hope and inspiration to all who hear him.

At the conclusion of the service, the bugler sounded the Last Post and Reveille. This was followed by cash presentations to the Portsmouth Grammar School Choir (Andrew Cleary), Tracey the pianist, representatives of T.S. Tenacity and of course, the Guard of Honour. Without these wonderful people, the service would not be possible.

The coach outside St Georges
All aboard! Click to enlarge.

Following the service, people gathered for the coach ride back to the Royal Sailors Home Club. A few of us walked back as the winds had abated slightly (at least the rain had died down and the temperature was a degree or two warmer!). Following the parade, many people gathered inside for photos, toasts and/or lunch. As always, the group gradually dispersed throughout the remainder of the day.

A handful of attendees, to include the guests from Germany, our two webmasters, and Hood veteran Eddie Goggins spent the rest of the day together. We called it a night just before darkness fell. All in all, it was a delightful end to yet another great reunion.


Next Year's Reunion
Please take note that next year's reunion will take place at the Royal Sailors Home Club on Saturday, 26 May 2007. The St Georges Service of Remembrance will be on the following day, Sunday, 27 May 2007. The public service at Boldre will take place on a date to be announced...probably 20 May 2007.

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

Paul and Frank tacking up the memorial photos    A view of the reunion dinner    Sir Harold Walker speaks    Bill Stone sings    Lord Hood (left) and Nobby Clark (right)
Keith Evans (left) and Frank Pavey (right)    Cy Thistlethwaite and his wife    Jack Moulden runs the raffle    Feeling jolly after closing the bar    Relaxing in Brocks Bar following the dinner
Veterans Robert Philpott (left), Nobby Clark (centre) and Bill Stone (right)    The Modoc and Tirpitz wreaths    Association members in St Georges Church    Bill Stone during the church service    The coach arrives at church