Club event reports

if you have a report or comments about an event or rally that you have attended it can be published here. let Rob Gibbons know,


  The MSRVS has attended this annual event for the last 3 years – and it gets better each year. The main event at Highnam Court is centered on a Classic Car Show that aims to draw in a wide spectrum of the public to view the hundreds of classic cars parked on the spacious gardens, fronted by lakes, in the front of the main house. The whole event is staged in support of The Pied Piper Appeal, a charity that helps sick and disabled children in Gloucestershire. The large fields to the Gloucester side of the main house accommodated the support shows, such as ice cream, food and drinks cafes, with Police, transport and modern car stands, that engaged individuals with details of their services. Other attractions were the Gloucester based Family History Society and a gentleman from the Cheltenham Model Engineers, who displayed his working steam and heat engine powered models on a table top display. In the centre of the field was a bandstand for public address and entertainment by music and singers. The usual bouncy castle with children’s rides and a helter skelter were also in the central area, allowing for a ‘doughnut’ shaped public access between the shows. Other adjacent fields were used for parking the hundreds of cars that brought thousands of people to the show.

  MSRVS had our customary pitch on the outside of the ‘doughnut’ where our members operated ‘road trains’ offering free rides to the public through the ‘doughnut’ at walking pace and alongside pedestrians. This year we had 10 engines operating and all towing one or two trailers each. All engines remained in steam throughout the show, and hundreds of people took the rides as well as chatting to our members about their engines. This year, Matt and Harry Long brought their 2 engines to share the experience with seasoned engine operators. From President John Bagwell’s 2” engine up to chairman John Kidley’s 6” engine, they lined up as queues of people took their choice of ride. Rob Gibbons, ably assisted by his granddaughter, were the early starters making two or three circuits before all engines were lined up. Young Oliver Maunder is proving to be a competent and capable ‘steam apprentice’ operating his own engine. Mum Louise was always in attendance, but was able to devote time to other duties that the ladies perform, which is essential to the successful running of any club. Louise is happy to report that there will be six ‘steam apprentices’ with their family’s support attending the Tewkesbury Steam up in a couple of weeks time. Some of the public at the show with young children having finished one ride were choosing the next engine for another go. The day was busy from before the 10 o’clock official public entrance through to 3.30 in the afternoon, when the car park could be seen to be emptying slowly. It was gone 5.30 by the time all the engines were carefully loaded for the homeward trip.

  As a club member without a steam engine, I had the chance to go round the show to see the attractions, and observe what makes this kind of event so popular. The local display personnel were friendly and engaging as could be seen by the time it took me to get a chance to talk to any of them. Near the end of the day, several ice cream vendors came to us offering free ice creams and lollies that they did not wish to take back home with them. How Refreshing! The main classic car area had representation from nearly all genres of motoring from American iron to Rolls Royce, Mini to Porche, and MGB to Morris 8. A selection big enough to cater for anyone’s interest. Drivers and owners were usually seated near their cars and readily spoke to those enquiring details of that particular model. For me, I spoke to several Morris 8 owners, as my late father had owned and driven several Morris cars. I myself owned and drove later Morris cars decades ago and so had common interest to chat about the vehicles on display.

  On reflexion, the relatively simple transport of those earlier years, that needed regular maintenance and loving care to ensure that it remained functional and reliable, often became ‘part of the family’, and even years after parting with a vehicle, it is still fondly remembered with the spirit of adventure that motoring was back then. Later vehicles boasting higher performance were there with bonnets raised ( hoods on the Americana ) to show off their technical specification. Hundreds of people circulated the cars, probably looking for the ones that appealed to those individuals. People of all ages and backgrounds with families from babe in arms to those too old for every day practical motoring were enjoying the warm but indifferent June weather that thankfully remained dry.

  Similarly, the variety of people attracted to MSRVS steam engine rides were undoubtedly attracted by a familiar concept rarely seen in common use today. As with steam railway engines, the working parts can be seen moving, so generating an appearance of life in the machine. This has always given weight to the argument that steam is a more popular spectacle than diesel on the railway. Being ever vigilant to safety, and the fear of little hands tempted to touch hot metal engines, it seemed that the heat, coal smoke and smell of hot oil was enough to keep people of all ages clear enough without spoiling their enthusiasm and wilfulness to see and ride on the engines. Not wishing to make light of health and safety, we do take this subject seriously, but it was good to see that general common sense was sufficient on the day when steam engines were active in a public environment. Without a doubt, this was an enjoyable event, and a good day out for all who came.



Derek England.


  On an overcast evening which should have been bright and warm, The members and guests arrived at Longford Lane for a relaxed evening where many were chatting about the Castle Combe Steam Rally of the previous weekend that some had attended, complete with their road engines. There was also much talk of the following weekend’s steam up at Blue Lias, where the impending wet weather may play a significant part in how well the proceedings will go. Well, you plan for the worst and hope for the best. Keep an eye on the MSRVS web page for reports, if you are planning not to attend but don’t want to miss the action anyway.

  The night was special for me as I had prepared for my first talk at an MSRVS club night. After 16 or so years as a member and 5 years as Events Organiser, It was about time I dipped a few toes into the murky water of public talking. In order to create some anticipation, I picked a subject without revealing what that subject was, until the night. The “Surprise, Surprise” turned out to be on the subject of Ballroom Dancing. The twist in my talk was to illustrate the link between the Etiquette part of Ballroom Dancing and the ownership and operation of model road going steam engines. Like so many seemingly polar opposite subjects that are individually examined for comparison, it was not too difficult to find features with a common origin.

  First I talked about the history of Ballroom Dancing as a refined social media for the privileged classes, where institutional etiquette played a vital part. Common people had their ‘folk’ style dances with simpler traditions and behaviour. At the turn of the Twentieth century, industrialised Empirical Britain meant there was greater affluence in the lower classes of society that had never been seen before. Higher standards of living were becoming expected. At that time there were some who were trying to bring respectful Ballroom dancing into the public domain. One such person was Victor Silvester, whose first passion for music, and his later found love for dance, became his life’s work, that he tirelessly pursued throughout his life as a leading light on the subject of Ballroom Dance. His style, dignity and the all important etiquette remained integral in both social and competitive dancing.

  So what does this all have to do with steam engines? Well, with the aid of Liz Kidley, a lady with Ballroom dance experience, I was able to demonstrate the tradition of approaching a lady in order to have a dance with her. This lead me into explaining how some these traditions likely began. One such tradition focused on a traveller on foot who met a stranger approaching in the opposite direction – was the other person friendly, or was he a potential highway man looking for a victim? The simple solution was that each man pass on the left side, then each could draw a sword for defence, should that be required. It is likely that this led to the British driving cars on the left side of the road. Similarly, a groom at a wedding remains on his bride’s right hand side, to show his ability and willingness to draw his sword to defend them both from potential danger. This led to a lively debate in the room concerning the layout of most road going steam engines, and concluded that simple practical thinking leads to the sound practical layout found in useable steam engines today.

  So what does all this have to do with Ballroom  Dancing? Well, considering the down to earth practical thinking that went into the established layout of steam engines, and the rudimentary tradition of social interaction that becomes expected, and accepted as etiquette, these two quite different subjects do indeed share some common ground.


Derek England.


  First of all, this is not the talk that was advertised for last Tuesdays’ meeting. The reason for a change of talks is that new material has come to light regarding the vessels lost on the Severn estuary along the stretch between Bristol and Bridgewater. So the talk “Run Down River – Shipwrecks and Loss from Bristol to Bridgewater” will be postponed until 17th June 2025. Last Tuesday’s talk was based on vessels lost even closer to home, on the Stroudwater canal.

  Having worked for various companies based along the Stroudwater canal, I have spent many lunchtimes wandering along the banks watching wildlife, local architecture and the slow but steady reinstatement of that body of water that is bringing life and purpose back to the discarded waterway. Paul Barnett’s research shows that 7 identifiable vessels had been abandoned along the canal from Brimscombe to Framilode, for various reasons. Other vessels will be revealed during the reinstatement work now going on. Among those anticipated are 3 vessels believed still buried in the Brimscombe dock.

  Paul illustrated the history of these known vessels using photographs and documented details of their builders and owners that he has gathered from his research. Paul’s recently published book “Fore and Aft” documents other vessels lost in the Purton, Lydney and Sharpness area, and no doubt this current research will lead to a future publication for the Stroudwater area currently being refurbished.  This talk was centred on 2 of the 7 vessels. These were pulled from the water at Ebley onto an adjacent field to avoid payment of duty during the nineteenth century. They were the ILA and the PERSEVERANCE that had finished their useful working life on water, and subsequently been utilised as chicken coops. Through a series of photographs and documents produced since then, a picture emerged of their fate. Topographical ariel photography taken over the last hundred years show outlines of the vessels in that location as they slowly rotted into the ground. Until 1977, ariel photography was strictly monochrome, which gives good definition to objects on the ground or near the surface, despite grass and tree growth obscuring them. Since 1977, ariel photography has become exclusively colour, which make good pictures for commercial work but the greenery becomes dominant and obscures the decaying detail. That is until modern LIDAR ( Light Detection and Ranging ) came along. This technology carried by modern radio controlled Drones is economically and commercially available and yields excellent results in the search over large areas of the earth from above.

  Paul has also linked his investigation with Dave Smith of the Cheltenham based CHADS ( Cotswold Heritage and Detecting Society ). The ILA and the PERSEVERANCE have all but disappeared above ground, but using the CHADS metal detecting equipment, the iron based remains were traced in the field where the vessels were located. CHADS are an organised group who work for personal enjoyment and historic research reasons, and have close ties with local archeologists.

  The Ebley site where the ILA and PERSEVERANCE are located is less than half a mile up the canal from where I saw 2 steel narrow boat hulls placed just 20 feet from the canal bank. This was about 15 years ago, and within view of a friend’s house. He told me that the vessels were returned to service as pleasure craft, but retained their former working history and appearance as bulk carriers, with authentic paint livery, modern propulsion and facilities on board.

  Such is the fate of individual vessels in our ever changing economic world. Their service life contributes to our economy and our recreation, but when they are no longer needed, they are often left to be reclaimed by the Earth.


Derek England.


  Our very own Ted Tedaldi produced a quiz to test our members and guests on their knowledge of local places and events. That is those of us who live in the Gloucestershire county or near by, and regularly attend club nights. These quiz nights are not meant to be taken too seriously and much banter and gentle barracking is the norn, so long as good interaction between the participants allows everyone a chance to let off steam (pun intended). Steam for tea and coffee was raised by Dan Cutting and the distribution of said beverages ably assisted by Mary and Sandra. Chris and Liz took care of the raffle as always which just goes to show that the ladies are always there to make MSRVS club nights memorable.

  The twenty of us gathered in groups of 2 or 3 to form teams, then Ted led us through a fairly informal 32 question quiz that initially resembled a schoolroom (or playground) fun event. After the first couple of fairly easy questions, which Ted let slip some fairly easy answers, things settled down as the quiet in the room became testament to some serious head scratching. Yes, the mild and gentle mannered membership at our gatherings are seriously competitive. Besides, it can be fun to get one over on the next team! One or two of Ted’s questions were suitably vague enough to make more than one answer possible. In at least one case, the internet was consulted to verify a few facts about the subject in question. The net result of this is that we all ended up learning a few things we may not have known before.

  Just when you think you know the area where you live, there’s no better test than a quiz! I like to watch TV panel games and quiz shows. The questions are usually general knowledge that armchair pundits find easy. Those in front of the camera are under more pressure to win the big prize, and do not always succeed. Entertainment is the name of the game, win or lose, which is why we have these events on MSRVS Club Nights. Did I mention that we were gathered in groups of 2 or 3 ? In fact there were several groups of 3 and one group of 4 – and I was on my own, because I was taking notes for this report. This is no excuse for the fact that I only scored 11 from 32, which was the lowest (reported) in the room, but then, I learned a few things I did not know before!

  It was good to see 2 new members in attendance at our gathering, Matt and Harry Long, who as owners of a road going steam engine, are looking forward to mixing with kindred spirits who participate in the world of model steam road vehicle ownership and operation. Experienced club members are usually on hand to help newcomers with their engines. That’s what being a club member is all about. I am sure Matt and Harry will be at our Tewkesbury steam up in June, and possibly at other events our members are looking forward to this year.

Derek England


  Approximately 18% of world trade is transported around the world by ships. These are the carriers that work around the clock to deliver every day goods, bulk materials for industry and fuel necessary for our daily life. We rarely give this industry a second thought until something goes wrong. A ship that has sunk, or wrecked on the rocks and spilling oil into the sea then makes headlines. Losing ships this way means human, financial and environmental losses. Despite the risks, huge profit is the reward for those who gamble with investment.
  Paul’s talk was based on the bulk carriers that made significant impact in commerce since their introductions during the nineteenth century, and still do today. Coal fired steam was powering industry and whale oil lubricated fine instruments and clocks. in 1850, mineral oil was being refined by the James Young process so that kerosene could be used to light streets and homes. This new and apparently abundant fuel source could not have come soon enough as 40 years of whaling had virtually decimated the whale population in the north Atlantic. British oil from Burma in 1850 was followed by Pennsylvania oil, which had become a major supplier by 1860.
  The steam and wind powered vessels were basic traders that carried the oil in barrels. As demand for the product grew, it was noticed that barrels waste at least 25% of the space available. In 1861, the Elizabeth Watts was converted into the worlds first liquified oil bulk carrier, able to carry 1300 tons of petroleum. On a trip from Borneo to Australia, she struck a reef near Victoria and was sunk with total loss. The first purpose built oil tankers were being built in 1863. these were open topped vessels where the oil fumes were present in the hull causing nausea and sickness for the crew. This included the first ocean going steam vessel built in Jarrow during 1873 with a gross weight of 2760 tons.
  by 1877, W.A. Riedmann entered the the oil trade. He converted former emigrant ships ‘Adona’ and ‘Derby’ into bulk carriers with inter connected tanks that could be filled with sea water for ballast after discharging their oil cargo. The oil could be loaded and discharged through one pipe and the ship balanced by pumping oil from tank to tank. On 15th March 1888, the ‘Geeste’ making for New York with a cargo of iron and water ballast, became stranded off Great Yarmouth.
  In 1883, Henry Frederick Swan designed 3 vessels to overcome the ‘Free Surface Effect’. This phenomenon where liquids or bulk materials that flow like liquids, can cause a vessel to become unstable and roll over. Swan introduced design features like Cofferdams, Horizontal Bulkheads and Vapour Lines to improve safe operation of bulk carriers. Later in 1903, Combustion engines were introduced to power bulk carriers and replace steam and wind power, as the vessels were becoming larger.
  In 1915, the USS Maumee (14500 tons) was a pioneer vessel that could transfer oil at sea, vessel to vessel. The ships too big to enter port to load and unload, could transfer to smaller vessels, and eventually to and from offshore piers.
  Daniel Keith Lugwig, considered to be the ‘Father of the Supertanker’, introduced methods of construction for even larger vessels in the 1920’s. Welded steel hulls to replace traditional riveted hulls, and placing the engine at the rear of the vessel instead of mid ships. Welded hull construction proved invaluable decades later producing the ‘Liberty’ ships during WW2. Through the 1960’s and 1970’s, bulk carrying ships had grown up to over 500,000 tons, which were more economic for long journeys, caused by untimely closure of the Suez and Panama canals. Currently, the ‘Knock Nevis’ is the largest ocean going vessel at 564,000 tonnes. Her 80 foot draught means she is not able to safely navigate the English Chanel. Political history in the Suez and low water availability in the Panama has from time to time favoured the larger vessels on grounds of economy.
  Despite the steady advance in design of shipping, disasters at sea have had major effects on commerce, safety and environmental health. Paul talked about notable disasters like the ‘Torrey Canyon’ in 1967, where the oil spillage destroyed marine birds and seals and fish. unfortunately, the detergent used to disperse the oil destroyed the same amount of wild life as the oil, but improved and safe clean up solutions are now available. The ‘Herald of Free Enterprise’, a roll on roll off passenger and car ferry sank when the bow doors were left open while leaving dock, took on board huge amounts of sea water and sank, killing 193 people in 1987. Overloaded ferries in the East are to this day are sinking, despite the lessons learned, which all goes to show how relentless the sea is, and that we have not mastered it yet.
Derek England.


   Advertised as “Operation Beehive –Secrets of the Brean Sands Hulks” , our talk on Tuesday was switched to “Surface Raiders and the Battle of The Atlantic”. These are new talks developed by Paul Barnett from his extensive research in maritime and historical subjects. This new talk, about the capital battleships used by Nazi Germany during WW2 to deny shipped imports into Britain, was tailored from the view point of how the Nazis were able to build such a strong fleet in contravention of the Versailles treaty that should have restricted their arsenal to a defence force only.

  The Versailles treaty of 1919 restricted new build naval vessels to specific weights and numbers. The same restrictions applied to all of Germany’s military equipment and personnel, but Paul’s talk concentrated on the the naval program. The coming to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party sought to change the restriction of the Versailles treaty by building a strong economy to gain the support and belief of the German people. This allowed a recently defeated country to covertly rearm in full view and defiance of the world. The Allied nations, who were also recovering from the ravages of WW1 were powerless to intervene and hoped a strong Germany would not emerge again to wage war.

  Paul’s meticulous study revealed later documentation showing how capital naval ships were exceeding the gross tonnage limits set out in the Versailles Treaty. The Washington Treaty of 1935 set out to negate the advantage Germany was gaining over the Allied countries by increasing the limits for all countries. The London Conference of that year installed the Z plan, which allowed vessels of up to 35,000 tons and up to 14” guns. This would apply to all countries, not just Germany. Despite Germany being restricted by treaties, the Allied countries could see that Germany was growing in military strength that could again threaten world peace.

  the British Royal Navy was the largest naval force in the world as it served the Empire and Commonwealth. Hitler resolved to break Britain by defeating the Royal Navy and commercial shipping to Britain by blockading the north Atlantic ocean. His preference was to use large conventional ships like the Tirpitz, Bismark and the Graf Spee to fight conventional sea battles. These “Surface Raiders” were to starve Britain into submission and divide the Empire. Others in the Nazi hierarchy, led by Karl Donitz, were in favour of submarines to control the oceans, but were held back by Hitler until later in the war.

  The days of these “Surface Raiders” were numbered. As we heard from Paul’s previous talk on the Battle of Jutland, major surface vessels alone just eliminate each other. Huge losses on each side without definitive victory was no good to either side in war. mid way through WW2, Hitler sanctioned greater spending on the submarine fleet to seek effective strikes against the Allies in the north Atlantic. Technology moves swiftly in war, and counter measures became quickly available for each new weapon developed. Large surface ships that were vulnerable to submarines before WW2 became subjects of bombs and torpedoes from aircraft that could operate in the north Atlantic. Radar and the breaking of the Enigma machine codes could locate large relatively slow vessels, so they could be hunted down more easily. Hitler’s submarines, despite showing many early successes, also fell foul to advancing technology and eventually suffered the greatest loss for any German armed branch during WW2.

  An interesting talk by Paul that showed a lot of interest from the members present, and one to recommend to other clubs looking for similar talks.

Derek England.



  Tuesday night’s talk was back on a
technical theme. Oil, and the thousands of products and services that we take
for granted in a modern world, has to be won from the Earth by human effort and
ingenuity. Extracting oil from the ground is tough enough, and as the finite
sources become scarcer, it becomes necessary to extract from more remote
locations, such as under the sea, which adds to the cost of the final product,
in both financial and human terms.

  Paul Barnett spoke in detail about the
discovery of high grade crude in the North sea, and how this came to be claimed
by the countries around that area. For Britain, this would become about 10
percent of North Sea oil production, and so economically important. The 1974
Health, Safety and Welfare Act was suitably in place to cover the operation of
British extraction of oil and gas, although this Act was not sufficient to
prevent the July 1988 disaster at the Piper Alpha platform that took the lives
of 165 crew and 2 rescue workers, as well as destroying the platform.

  Health and safety often appear sufficient
until a serious incident shows up the short comings in the system. In the case
of Piper Alpha, a whole series of incidents contributed to create one of the
costliest man made disasters of all time. Total insurance loss of £1.7 billion
(equivalent to £5 billion in 2021) and the loss of 167 persons that in hind
sight could have been prevented. The Cullen enquiry ( published November 1990)
concluded that short comings in the owners procedures (Occidental Petroleum
ltd) had led to the disaster, and recommended a 167 new procedures, including
design of platform and information to emergency services, be installed. No
criminal charges were raised against Occidental Petroleum ltd.

  This was a new talk by Paul Barnett, and
MSRVS were the first audience to hear it. Consequently we received the full
contents of technical, political and human material, which lasted an hour and
45 minutes. Paul will tailor this talk to suit his various audiences. Naturally
our questions were based on the technical issues, as well as the political and
ethical issues. Plenty of content for everyone to comment on, and a talk worth
hearing again.


Derek England.


   As autumn draws in, we would hope that club nights would be warm and cosy with good interactivity between our members. After all, that’s what club membership is for. Sharing our experiences and chatting about building and operating steam engines. We had a visitor, David Walker from Stratford upon avon, who came to see what we got up to on our club evenings. I hope he enjoyed the evening as he did stay until the end.

  In that same vein we grouped ourselves into 5 teams to compete in a friendly quiz. Our speaker, Ray Sturdy, had arranged a quiz based on pictures of celebrities, sounds of every day equipment, and popular TV music themes from days gone by. There was friendly banter between the teams as Ray kept the quiz running at a good pace. The quiz was not difficult as the lowest score by any team was 49 out of 65.

  There was plenty of time after the quiz to chat about steam, so another productive and entertaining evening.

Derek England.


  Our first club night meeting in two months! It was a splendid presentation by the members of the Gloucester and District Model Boat Club. Ted Tedaldi brought David, Mike and Brian, with a some of their model boats and associated equipment, to give us a comprehensive and interesting insight into their well organised and studied hobby. Another member, whose name is also Mike, was not able to attend due to medical reasons, but we were told that he specialised in dredgers, with fine detail and operational ability in his models.
  Ted’s introduction made us all aware that the model boat world has modellers who study their subject before building a scale model, in a similar way that steam enthusiasts, like MRSVS members, study a subject before selecting plans and materials to build and operate a scale version of that subject. In the same vein, we all seek the same experience that the creators of the full sized sought when creating the original equipment. Like all modellers, the individual members of the model boat club use their personal choice of materials and methods of construction. Some construct using timber, and others prefer plastics like Glass Reinforce Plastic (GRP) and commercially available Plasticard. These options provide a friendly rivalry between the members, and a healthy club atmosphere.
  Ted introduced David, who brought 3 models of naval class vessels at scales of 1:12, 1:24 and 1:48. David talked of the history of his largest vessel, a nineteenth century motor torpedo boat that was designed to travel at high speed towards its target, release torpedoes from the rear of the vessel, and turn away before the torpedoes reached their target. This class of vessel was so feared that the Destroyer class of vessel was introduced to combat it. The model is powered by two electric brushless motors, independently throttled to provide maneuverability, just like the full sized vessel. Hull is constructed of wood with glass fibre overlay to seal the wood and keep the water out of the vessel. David’s other two models were early designs of live steam powered side paddle driven vessels, also constructed in wood. Later, he demonstrated the steam plant and radio control system of those vessels.

  Ted next introduced Mike, who is well known the boat club as a man who just gets on with it. Mike is not phased by any task. He just finds practical ways to overcome complex modelling problems. Mike’s preferred materials of construction are GRP and Plasticard. He also showed a model made out of cardboard. A comprehensive kit with elaborately printed detail that was primarily intended as a display subject. However by using balsa wood stiffening in the structure, the model could be sailed on the water. Propulsion units, radio control equipment and ballasting for operation upon water is also illustrated in the kit instructions. The model is of the USS Missouri, was finely detailed and took 3 years to build. Mike’s other models used traditional GRP hulls that were molded inside GRP split patterns especially made by Mike for the finished hull. Wood strips bonded to the inside of the hull gunwales providing support for the Plasticard decking and superstructure. Lead was bonded into the hull to ballast the vessel to correct buoyancy at it’s Plimsoll line. Complete with electric propulsion and radio control equipment, these models normally took a year to complete.
  Ted then introduced Brian, who has a passion for the performance of his craft. Scale like wake from the bows and white water trailing from the stern to give authenticity. Brian’s passion is modelling naval vessels, which had all sunk. In a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ moment, he said this is so no-one could check the included details on the models. However, one day at an exhibition, someone studying his model counted the number of portholes on the hull and declared that it was one porthole short on his model! Brian also described the up to date technology used in the propulsion and control of his models. Also, 3D printing has many uses when creating detailed parts, such as scaled personnel, bollards and handrails. These parts are relatively cheap to produce in plastic compared to metal parts, but are time consuming to print. To contrast this, he declared that old technology, such as glow plug or petrol engines were not allowed any more on the clubs sailing ground.
  The club usually meet for sailing on Sunday and Wednesday afternoons at the basin of the Gloucester and Hereford canal at Over on the A40 not far from Westgate street Bridge. They can also be seen at Gloucester docks when events are scheduled there.


  It’s been a long time coming since one of our own gave a talk at a club night meeting. Graham Stubbs, who many will think of as the gentle, mild mannered treasurer, and steam engine operator, gave an informal talk which revealed his Royal Navy service in submarines. There’s more to Graham than meets the eye as he calmly deliberated the day to day life on board both diesel electric and nuclear powered submarines. Starting with his 5 year apprenticeship and 1 year submarine training, leading on to his career move as an Electrical Articifer, Graham described his time in both American and British operations rooms, very carefully including the people he met, and without giving away any military secrets! He did mention that the American operations room was easier than the British one, but that’s the only qualification he would reveal as secrecy is mandatory.

  Graham used pictures and charts to describe the classes of vessel, and how the classes were defined to meet the requirements of duty. Graham served aboard HMS Dreadnought, a nuclear powered submarine armed with torpedoes. He also served on HMS Revenge, a nuclear powered submarine armed with Polaris Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles. A tough environment for the newly qualified engineer to gain experience playing ‘cat and mouse’ with the aggressive Russian surveillance submarines and surface vessels. There are many lessons to be learned when dealing with the very real ‘cold war’ threat, and certainly not for the faint hearted!

  There were many questions asked by the membership who were present, ranging from the nuclear technical to domestic routine. Graham answered everything soundly in copious detail, but you were aware how carefully he dealt with the level of information given. A well trained and disciplined mind at work with a lot of valuable experience being called upon.

  For me, the value of this talk is in the approach the British military take in running an armed force. The tiniest details are well taken care of, from feeding, clothing personnel with families at home, to training for manoeuvres in the face of aggressive and relentless ‘cold war’ enemies. Character building for people like Graham, to say the least, and confidence building for the British public that as a nation, we can rise to the occasion, should that ever be necessary.