|Sussex Association of Naval Officers
"Maintaining naval contacts and interest in Sussex and beyond"
Dates from naval history in March:
2nd, 1973: HMS ARIADNE, RN’s last steam ship and last of Leander class, commissioned.
4th, 1992: HMS VANGUARD, first RN Trident submarine, launched at Barrow-in-Furness.
6th, 1902: Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service established. (Originally formed, negative royal affiliation, 1883.) Welcome aboard, Doris.
14th, 1757: Admiral John Byng executed at Portsmouth for dereliction of duty …. according to Voltaire “pour encourager les autres”.
15th, 1942: X3, first RN midget submarine, launched in Hamble River.
15th, 1968: HMS REVENGE, 4th and final Polaris submarine, Resolution class, launched at Birkenhead.
18th, 2016: HMS ARTFUL, 3rd Astute class submarine, commissioned at Faslane. (4th boat, Audacious, laid down at Barrow, 24 March 2009.)
19th, 1998: First female COs of HM Ships appointed - Lieutenant Melanie Robinson, HMS EXPRESS/Cardiff URNU, and Lieutenant Suzannne Moore, HMS DASHER/Bristol URNU. Former now Captain RNR, Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff (Reserves), latter Commander RN, Commanding Officer 1st Patrol Boat Squadron.
21st, 1983: Last class of direct entry artificers entered HMS FISGARD.
22nd, 1911: Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service established.
22nd, 2007: HMS ARK ROYAL (Captain Mike Mansergh RN, later Commodore and SANO member) recommissioned at Portsmouth after refit.
26th, 2005: Baron Callaghan of Cardiff, formerly Leonard James Callaghan, son of a RN CPO and over time Ordinary Seaman, Lt RNVR, MP and UK Prime Minister - the only person to have held all 4 Great Offices of State - died.
27th, 1976: HMS DIOMEDE seriously damaged in Cod War collisions with Icelandic Coastguard vessel.
28th, 1996: Bell-bottoms, with 5 or 7 horizontal creases, disappeared.
30th, 1971: First Fleet Chief Petty Officers appointed.
31st, 1982: First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Henry Leach received an intelligence report that an Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands appeared imminent. He advised Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that, contrary to MoD advice, a task force could and, speaking above his pay grade, should be deployed to free the islands.
31st, 1984: Chatham Dockyard closed.
31st, 1986: HMS VERNON, at Portsmouth Gunwharf, home of RN diving and mine warfare, decommissioned. Subsequently became part of HMS NELSON, its component units eventually being moved out and most of the site sold off.
31st, 1994: HMS SUSSEX, HQ Sussex Division Royal Naval Reserve, Hove, closed. The recruiting implications of the closure for SANO, at that time bearing a different, reserve-oriented, name and ethos, led to major changes to the association; not least of these was more focus on the regular service as a recruiting ground.
Other RNR units closing that day included HMS WESSEX, HQ Solent Division, Southampton, and HMS SOUTHWICK, HQ Reserve, Fort Southwick, nr Portsmouth. All 3 amalgamated, less many redundancies, into HMS KING ALFRED at Whale Island, Portsmouth. The Royal Naval Auxiliary Service, RNXS, which had 3 units in Sussex, and the RNR Minesweeping Squadron, MCM 10, disbanded the same day. MCM10 included the sea tender to Sussex Division RNR, HMS ARUN, which transferred to the Northern Ireland Squadron.
31st 1995: Portland Naval Base and RN Hospital Plymouth closed.
Principal source: The Royal Navy Day by Day, Captain A B Sainsbury 1992 / Lt Cdr F L Phillips 2018