-H.M.S. Hood Association Online Archive-
May 2011 H.M.S. Hood Association Reunion
By Frank Allen and Paul Bevand, MBE
Updated 06-May-2014

On 23 & 24 May 2011 the H.M.S. Hood Association held it's 36th annual reunion at the Royal Maritime Club and Naval War Memorial in Portsmouth, UK. The following is a brief account of the events. Additional information was made available to Association members via the October 2011 newsletter.

chainbar divider


Monday 23 May 2011 - Annual General Meeting and Reunion Dinner
The Association's Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place from 1600-1730 hours in the Royal Maritime Club's "Brock's Bar". Various pieces of internal Association-related past, current and projected/future business were discussed and elections were held. Specific details are available to Association members via the Association newsletter.

Reunion Dinner

Hood Memorial Photo Display, May 2011
Memorial Photo Display
Click to enlarge.

The reunion dinner commenced at 1900 hours. This year we decided not to use the ball room. Instead, the smaller, Nelson lounge was used. The room was richly decorated with various photos and plans of Hood, her crew and Association activities. These were largely provided by Paul Bevand and Commander Keith Evans. The most important portion of the display were of course the display of approximately 790 of the men lost in the sinking of the ship. These dominated an alcove along with the Roll of Honour and flags once flown on Hood (courtesy of Jim Sikorski).

There were approximately 75 people in attendance representing a wide range of connections and interests in our ship. Our Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Derick Collins. In addition to our rank and file, we were also very delighted that our Patron, Lord Hood, our President, Rear-Admiral Philip Wilcocks, C.B., D.S.C., and their lovely wives were able to join us. Also present this year were representatives of the Mers-el-Kebir Association of France- André Jaffre (survivor of Bretagne), his son André and Bernard Madec. Also in attendance were our three new Vice-Presidents, Rob White, David Mearns and Frank Allen.

 

We were also very fortunate to have the following veterans of Hood with us: Commander Keith Evans and Alec Kellaway. Also with us were respresentatives from our friends of the Battle Cruiser Hood, South east London Memorial Group. Another welcome surprise was a visit from Scotland from some gentlemen who brought along actual relics once used aboard Hood (a knife and a 4 or 5.5" gun tampion).

James and Joanna Warrand being presented with gifts from the H.M.S. Hood Association
James & Joanna Receiving Gifts
Click to enlarge.

This year we had two Guests of Honour - James and Joanna Warrand. They are both longtime members of our Association and are well loved/appreciated by us. Their father was Commander John Warrand, Hood's last navigator. He is remembered as an excellent officer who selflessly stood aside to allow Signalman Ted Briggs to leave the sinking ship before he did...and he was lost in the process. Both James and Joanna spoke about their lives, their family and the Association. They were also each presented with a gift - an engraved bell for James and a lovely framed photo of Hood's bell (taken underwater in 2001).

This year's dinner menu consisted of prawn salad followed by roast leg of lamb served with roast potatoes and vegetables. Desert was hot apple pie served with custard. Cheese and biscuits were served, followed by coffee and mints. There was plenty of white and red wine available throughout the evening.

After dinner, toasts were made to The Queen, overseas Heads of State, our Guest of Honour, the ladies and of course, absent friends. This was followed by the introduction of the Guests of Honour, James and Joanna Warrand. Things were wrapped up with an excellent raffle run by John and Marilyn Oakley, assisted by Mrs Wilcocks. The results were most excellent and we are very grateful to all who contributed. The rest of the evening consisted of people chatting and having nightcaps until the room closed around midnight.


Tuesday, 24 May 2011- The Remembrance Service
This year saw a change in venue for our remembrance service. Due to the fact that the event was being held on the 70th anniversary of the sinking, it was felt that a service at the Naval War Memorial on Southsea Common would be more fitting. Detailed planning and excellent weather made for a truly moving service.

May 2011 Remembrance Service
The Remembrance Service
Click to enlarge.

Dignataries (to include Rear-Admiral Steel representing the First Sea Lord, representatives from the Allied High Commissions/Embassies, Rear Admiral Iain Henderson C.B., C.B.E., D.L. and his wife, plus the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth), Association members, our French guests, general public and members of the media were among the 160+ people in attendance. The band and guard were provided by H.M.S. Collingwood.

The service commenced at 1137 and was led by Association chaplain  the Venerable John Green, C.B. As always, it was an outstanding service.

Following the service, the guests attended a buffet lunch followed by various speaches, at the Queen's Hotel, Southsea. The events wrapped up between 1400 and 1500 hrs.

 


 

Next Year's Reunion (2012)
The 2012 reunion is scheduled to take place at the Royal Maritime Club on Saturday, 26 May 2012. The AGM will commence at 1600 hours and the dinner at 1830 for 1900 hours. The Service of Remembrance is scheduled for the following day, Sunday, 27 May 2012. The exact location of the service is to be announced. As always, you can keep track of the latest developments concerning the events via our Facebook page.

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

The Dining Room Decorations    Derek Collins, Master of Ceremonies    French visitors    The Dinner
Chairman Peter Heys (centre) talking with David Mearns    The Winter Party    Raffle Prizes    Commander Keith Evans chats with Paul Bevand
Standards    Naval Escort    Royal Marine Band    Hood Veterans Alec Kellaway (left) and Keith Evans (right) at the Buffet Lunch