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Author Topic: HMS Pembroke, Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham.  (Read 91556 times)

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Offline bromptonboy

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Re: HMS Pembroke, Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham.
« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2010, 13:25:57 »
Re: the second picture. The Rose Garden with the flagstaff is now the lawn in front of the Wardroom Block. The picture has been taken from an upstairs window of that block.The staircase in the left forground is still there but hidden in the overgrowth. The road that can be seen by the gateway to the left of the picture is Khyber Road. The buildings up on the hill are RE buildings in the vicinity of Fieldworks Road

merc

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Re: HMS Pembroke, Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham.
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2010, 23:01:11 »
Oh yeah, i see now Kyn.

Offline kyn

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Re: HMS Pembroke, Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham.
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2010, 22:25:11 »
I can't seem to work out the location of the rose garden, I thought it was nearer the dockyard because of the chimney.  Bottom corner of the barrack site, where the Medway Tunnel roundabout is?

merc

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Re: HMS Pembroke, Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham.
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2010, 20:57:49 »
Nice pics  :)

I wonder if that's Admiralty House, top left, in the Rose Garden one ?

Offline kyn

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Re: HMS Pembroke, Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham.
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2010, 16:03:32 »
A couple of pictures from Keith Gulvin's collection.

Rose Garden

Offline Lyn L

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Re: HMS Pembroke, Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham.
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2009, 19:17:19 »
Kyn, there's a pic on City Ark of the Guardroom  if you want to see it, Couchman collection for HMS Pembroke. No DE 402 19 20L jpg.  
All demolished now, I believe all the Barrack Churches were almost exactly the same design, St George's had a navy blue carpet down the aisle, ( I remember that from our wedding day ) and the one at Deal Marine Barracks had a red carpet, my brother married in that church a few months before me, apart from them the layout etc was the same.
Were the buildings built by the Royal Engineers ? Brompton Barracks is very similar , they built the barracks in Cairo Egypt, where my Dad was in the 30s, great builders whoever they were .
Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life tryi

Offline kyn

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Re: HMS Pembroke, Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham.
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2009, 15:40:07 »
Thanks for that, i'm guesing it has now been demolished...

Offline Lyn L

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Re: HMS Pembroke, Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham.
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2009, 12:57:29 »
From the horses mouth , the punishment block was just inside the main gate of Pembroke, my hubby was in the RN and spent his last few months in the Navy there, plus being there at other times, we got married in St Georges Church  too, think he remembers the punishment block well Lol. :)
Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life tryi

Offline kyn

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Re: HMS Pembroke, Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham.
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2009, 12:43:20 »
I wonder where the punishment block was?

merc

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Re: HMS Pembroke, Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham.
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2009, 19:51:35 »
August 15,1961

Security tightened after raid at Naval Depot

After a raid by Police cadets on the Armoury at H.M.S. Pembroke,the former Naval barracks at Chatham,the armoury has been moved from just inside the main gate to a more secure position in an unused cell in the punishment block,where it is under constant guard.

It was explained that four Police cadets,with the cooperation of the Medway Towns Police,had taken part in a security test arranged at the barracks last month by the Flag Officer,Medway, Rear Admiral I.W.T. Beloe. in connexion with his first annual inspection of the barracks.

The four Cadets dressed as dockyard workmen in brown overalls climbed over the boundary fence of H.M.S. Pembroke at an isolated point to see if they could get through to the barracks armoury and to the barracks Pay Office.
Two of them posing as plumbers got through to the Armoury,where they forced the lock on the door and got away undetected.
The other two Cadets,posing as window cleaners arrived at the Pay Office where,however,their right to be there was questioned, They left quickly,leaving behind a cardboard box which was suppose to contain a bomb.
They had been unsuccessful in their actual mission,which was to try and get at the safe in the Pay Office.
When the box was found and the lock on the Armoury door was seen to have been forced,the Officer of the day had to make a report and it was later laid down by Rear Admiral Beloe that security measures on the Armoury should be looked into.
An Admiral spokesman said tonight: "In the Armoury at the time were 24 Rifles and ammunition for them. Nothing was taken however. It must be pointed out that H.M.S. Pembroke is not a secret establishment in any way,it is merely a training and accommodation centre".

Offline kyn

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Re: HMS Pembroke, Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham.
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2009, 12:51:45 »
18 November 1981

Offline kyn

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Re: HMS Pembroke, Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham.
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2008, 10:01:03 »
Pictures taken by my Dad

Plaque at the main gate


Guard Houses, presumably this is where the sailors left the barracks to board their ships



Offline kyn

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Re: HMS Pembroke, Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham.
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2008, 18:43:30 »
Some pics of the construction of the gymnasium in December 1908

















construction of the RN Barracks (Pembroke) Chapel.  Now the St Georges centre.









Couple of pics from around 2003

Drill Hall






The offices
 (Beautiful building!)


The swimming pool, at the moment still empty, with the gymnasium behind


Gym still in use by the university


Looking along the parade ground




Demolished buildings




A couple of pics of one of the entrances to the air raid shelters



All paintword & coats 19-5-1956


There was an operating theatre inside these with numerous rooms, offices etc.  5 entrances i think with one coming out at Khyber Road within Brompton Barracks so they were shared between the army and navy!

Offline kyn

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Re: HMS Pembroke, Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham.
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2008, 18:40:17 »
Building works commenced in May 1897 by Holloway Brothers of London to the design of Colonel Henry Pikington on the site of Chatham Convict Prison.  First to be complete was the parade ground and Drill Hall on 26th March 1902 with the development of the swimming baths, bowling alley and other facilities complete by December the same year, with the barrack blocks, Anson, Blake, Drake, Granville, Hawke and Nelson being completed soon after.  The Navel barracks finally opened on 30th April 1903 with 5000 Naval personnel marching from the hulks within the basin, led by the Depot (Blue Jacket) Band, to the 425,000 buildings.  HMS Pembroke took its name from the 3rd rate HMS Pembroke built in 1812 that had become the base ship in 1873.  This hulk was one of three, the other two named Royal Adelaide and Forte, situated in the newly built basins at St Mary's Island, having previously been moored in the River Medway to house the reserve fleet awaiting to be appointed to ships.  During the years up to 1906 a large house was constructed for the commodore and St Georges Church was constructed.  Once complete HMS Pembroke boated accommodation, a gunnery school that had been moved from Sheerness, a new training centre, church, cinema, canteen, infirmary, gymnasium, swimming baths and a large parade ground and drill shed.  A time ball was installed upon the central tower of the wardroom, this was dropped daily at 10am and 1pm except for Sundays giving the exact time to the ships on the Medway.  Sundays would see all personnel attend the church parade, this entered the arch at the eastern end of the parade ground and march past the central steps holding the PO's and Master at Arms and into the drill shed where they would 'fall out'.  on 2nd November 1905 the Boys Brigade was formed at the barracks for the sons of RN and RM personnel, except commissioned officers.  On 19th Decembeer 1906 an opening ceronmony and dedication of St Georges Church was performed by the Bishop of Rochester.  On 18th september 1912 chatham sailors opened Pembroke House Girls Orphanage on Oxford Road, the orphanage was financed and managed by the Chatham Sailors.  The years leading up to the First World War saw the drill hall used as an exhibition centre, Naval store (of rum, clothes and general supplies), a building materials warehouse and as an overflow barracks with the court martial room situated on an upper floor near the rear of the building.  Also during this time Chatham had become one of three Royal Navy's manning ports with the area holding over a third of the Navy and 205 ships manned by the Chatham
Division.  This is the roll the town held until the advent of central manning in 1956.

During 1917 the drill hall had been in use as overflow accommodation due to sailors being stranded when HMS Vanguard was sunk at Scapa Flow in July 1917 and an outbreak of cerebro-spinal meningitis, spotted fever, at the barracks causing in an increased need for sleeping accommodation to avoid further infection.  Unfortunately this meant that the drill hall was full of soldiers on the evening of 3rd September 1917 with 900 men either sleeping or resting upon their hammocks.  At 9.30 pm five Gotha Bombers left Gontrode in Belgium, the bombers could carry 14 bombs each and this was the first time they had carried out a night-time attack, a decision made due to the great loss of the bombers during daylight raids.  One of the bombers encountered engine problems and had to return to bass but the remaining four carried on and passed over Eastchurch at around 11pm where they followed the River Medway towards Chatham.  As this was the first night time raid the Medway Towns were unprepared and the whole of Chatham was illuminated with none of the anti-aircraft guns prepared.  A practise alert had been carried out earlier in the day and when the planes were finally spotted and an alert given a lot of people ignored the warning believing it to be another practise drill.  46 bombs were dropped over Gillingham and Chatham causing much damage.  The drill hall suffered a direct hit and the bomb shattered the glass roof, sending dangerous shards of glass flying through the drill hall before exploding when it hit the floor.  The clock upon the drill hall stopped at 11.12, giving the exact time the bomb exploded.  The men asleep or resting inside had little chance of survival, those that were not injured from the explosion were cut to pieces by the falling glass from the roof.  Ordinary seaman Frederick W. Turpin arrived at the drill hall to offer assistance, later he recorded the scene in his notebook:

It was a gruesome task.  Everywhere we found bodies in a terribly mutilated condition.  Some with arms and legs missing and some headless.  The gathering up of dismembered limbs turned one sick.  It was a terrible affair and the old sailors, who had been in several battles, said they would rather be in ten Jutlands or Heliogolands than go through another raid such as this.

The rescuers spent seventeen hours searching the rubble for their fellow seamen, many using their bare hands to dig through the rubble:

It was a sad spectacle in the moonlight - officers and men carrying the dead bodies of comrades into buildings which had been transformed into a mortuary and the seriously wounded cases into motor ambulances which sped to the hospital - flying glass and falling debris accounting for many of the casualties.

E. Cronk also attended to offer assistance, he stated later:

The raider dropped two bombs; one in the middle of the drill shed and one near the wall of the parade round just where the sailors were sleeping.  I shall never forget that night - the lights fading and the clock stopping -we of the rescue party picking out bodies, and parts of bodies, from among glad and debris and placing them in bags, fetching out bodies in hammocks and laying them on a tarpaulin on the parade ground (you could not identify them).  I carried one sailor to the sick bay who was riddled with shrapnel and had no clothes left on him.  In the morning, to show that the officials could tell who was who, they had a general Pipe asking all the sailors of different messes if they could identify any of the lost; it was impossible in most cases.  It was one of the most terrible nights I have ever known, the crying and the moaning of dying men who had ten minutes before been fast asleep.

Gideon Gardiner described the scene of the temporary morgue within the gymnasium:

Some had never woken up; apparently the shock appeared to have stopped their hearts.  They were stretched out, white, gaunt, drawn faces, with eyes nearly bolting out of their heads.  Others were greatly cut up, mangled, bleeding and some were blown limb from limb.

The sailors who survived with injuries were treated on site by medics and the sick bay staff, however many of the injuries were too serious and later died at the hospital.  It is still uncertain how many sailors died in the drill shed, some say 130 and some say 136 men died.  It is estimated 90 men died whilst in their hammocks and another 40 so seriously injured they were not expected to live.  The official total of dead after the raid was 98 however with the seriously ill in hospital the number rose to around 136.

The funeral took place on Thursday 6th September with the procession comprising of 18 lorries draped with the Union Jack and each carrying 6 coffins.  These 98 men were buried at Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham with another 25 men being interred elsewhere and later burials taking place once the ratings had been identified.  All the men were buried with full military honours and were followed by a procession of marching soldiers and sailors with thousands of people lining the streets.  

1918 Saw the start of the Spanish Influenza epidemic, this resulted in the death of 242 men at HMS Pembroke.  On the 23rd November 1922 the Royal Naval Maternity Home, Cnanda House, was opened by Princess Marie Louise, the maternity home was administered by Chatham sailors.  In April 1942 H. M. King George VI made a moral boosting visit to the Medway Towns, the visit was carried out under total secrecy and the local press were only informed of the visit 30 minutes before the King's arrival, this visit was followed in 1950 by Princess Elizabeth attending a service at St Georges Church dedicating the Chancel as a memorial to the sailors of the Nore Command.  The following year saw tragedy when 24 Roayl Marine Cadets, who were marching down Dock Road to visit the barracks to watch a boxing tournament, were knocked down and killed by a bus.  After the war Chatham became the home of the Reserve Fleet with a few operational ships based there including the Antarctic Patrol vessel HMS Endurance in 1956.  It was announced in the mid-fifties that centralised drafting was to replace local port divisions, this took place in 1957 and a year later there were rumours that the barracks were to close.  The barracks and gunnery school did in fact close and the site was re-opened as the Royal Navy Supply School on the 1st April 1959.  On the 4th March 1960 the Civil Lord of the Admiralty stated:

The Royal Naval Barracks of Chatham will be retained for the Navy to accommodate men from ships being refitted

However the function of a holding depot would end

!974 saw the deaths of three men within the barracks, Petty Officer Arthur Dodd was murdered on 11th April by a fellow Petty Officer in the PO's Mess and two firemen were killed when a fire broke out in the bedding store on the 8th November.

On the 27th July 1981 a wedding cake for Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer left the cookery school at HMS Pembroke on its journy to Buckingham Palace, the same year the barracks was finally ordered to close alongside the adjacent dockyard, this news was given in 1981 and they were to close by March 1984.  With the eruption of the Falklands War in 1982 it was hoped the barracks would remain open but unfortunately this was not to be.  The Royal Navy supply School closed in September 1983 and moved to HMS Raliegh in Devon, this loss was followed by Chatham's Royal Marine Band who moved to Northolt however they returned temporarily to take part in the closing ceremonies.  Friday 3rd June 1983 saw local mayors, churchmen other dignitaries and the Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command arrive to witness the Admiral sir David Cassidi take the salute at the final Ceremonial Divisions.  Three weeks later a sponsored walk was undertaken by Leading Wren Lorna Wright and her ship mates, they raised 1,500 that was presented to the Secretary of King George's Fund for Sailors on the 8th July.  On the 8th August local dignitaries arrived at St Georges Church where they joined in its last Divine Service.  HMS Pembroke was handed over to the closure party on 29th October 1983, fleets of lorries arrived in November to remove the remaining items.  Again the local dignitaries returned on 18th February 1984 and joined the closure party, they met at the mast outside the wardroom before moving onto the main gate where Commander Wilson gave a speech and a Royal Marines Buglar played the Last Post, the ceremony ended with the gates being locked.

The site was taken over by Greenwich University in 1994 and opened a Compass Centre, this has since expanded with most of the buildings being reused and new ones have been constructed.  St Georges Church is now used for exhibitions and conferences and has had its pews removed although many of the memorials reamin as well as stained glass windows depicting 94 ships badges, those that were lost during WWII.

seafordpete

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Re: HMS Pembroke, Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham.
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2008, 19:13:44 »
I can remember installing beer pumps in the Wardroom at Pembroke it was a big bar and there were 3 breweries involved. The Mess manager was a Liet Comdr we called Nelson as he only had one arm or eye (can't remember which). but we were really well treated. A Wren steward brought us coffee and bikkies, lunch came with a huge flask of soup and a pile of sandwiches that would do for 10 never mind us 3. They asked that we take the trays back to the galley opposite when done so I did. Asked the cook where to put them, "move that stuff  and leave em there "says he pointing to a worltop with a few files & books on. When I moved the stuff the world's population of roaches exploded from under them!!!  :o.

Another call we used to fight for was the Nuclear Towers. There were usually 2 subs in for refit at any time and the crews lived in the tower block which had messes for each ship so overall there were about 8 bars. The problem was that we only used to get a call for the towers not the ship/mess. After getting in, you would get taken to a mess, pint of Stella in front of you regardless of time of day and if you were lucky it might not get topped up by which time you found that was the wrong mess, this could be repeated several times until you got the right mess. We had fitters go in at 9-30 and have to be picked up in the afternoon bleeped out their skulls. Then the Gate Police would demand you unloaded the van just to make life easy! Great days!! ::) More another day Pete

 

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