OLD DEVONPORT . UK
www.olddevonport.uk
 

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: June 22, 2019
Webpage updated: June 22, 2019

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ROYAL NAVY IN OLD DEVONPORT

NAVY WEEK, 1931

Plymouth's fourth Navy Week was held between Saturday August 1st 1931 and Saturday August 8th 1931 but it was not open to the public on Sunday August 2nd.  The Barrack Gate opened at 1pm and closed at 5.30pm.  Admission was one shilling, or sixpence for children under the age of 14 years.  Programmes cost sixpence each.

Ships open to visitors were HMS "Rodney", HMS "Eagle", HMS "Furious", HMS "Dorsetshire". HMS "Norfolk", HMS "Adventure", HMS "Vivien", HMS "Vesper", HMS "Watchman", HMS "Vidette" and the submarines "L21, L23, L26 and L27.  HMS "Revenge" was in the Floating Dock.

Naval divers could be seen at work in North Lock while a destroyer in Basin 4 would be firing a torpedo and a dummy depth charge at regular intervals between 2.30pm and 4pm.  A tea dance was held in the hanger of HMS "Eagle" each afternoon between 3pm and 6pm, tickets two shillings.  A life-saving display by breeches buoy was to be carried out from HMS "Rodney" at 2.30pm and 4.45pm daily.  A team from HMS "Norfolk", moored in the Prince of Wales (Number 5) Basin, would demonstrate the recapture of a pirated British steamer.

Displays included a rifle range, Naval gunlaying range, coastal bombardment, mines and torpedoes, vocational training, and the hornpipe, performed by the Royal Naval Barrack's Boys Brigade.  Each day ended with "Beating the Retreat" by the Massed Bands of the Royal Marines on the Officers' Recreation Ground between 5.30pm and 6pm.

It was subsequently reported that 75,763 people had attended the event compared to 80,193 in 1930.

Sadly this year's event suffered one loss of life.  On Wednesday August 5th 1931 26-years-old Able-Seaman Edward Philip Shutt, of HMS "Adventure", had gone up the mast of the tug "Pert" to prepare the equipment for the breeches buoy display and had just placed the wire jack-stay in position, along which the breeches buoy travelled, when the wooden top part of the mast snapped and he fell on to the deck of the tug.  He died on his way to the Royal Naval Hospital at East Stonehouse.  Another man, Able-Seaman Hickman, was injured.   

Navy Week was held again in 1932, 1933, 1934, and 1935, after which there was a break until 1938, the last one before the Second World War (1939-1945).  When the event recommenced in May 1948 it had been reduced to Navy Days.