First class photo of my old training ship....spent 4 years on her Oct 1955 through to July 1959. I was only thirteen and a half when I joined and what a time to be in that position on the Thames ...the whole world went by on their way to and from London Docks. Shipspotters paradise, I still can recognise instantly the shape of every ship of the day from tugs, colliers to the major ships of the day.
This photo is to be highly commended as it shows detail which we Old Worcesters have not got in our archives. cadets doing all sorts of things ... probably a Saturday as they are all loafing around ... typical of the "60's Brats" as we fondly call them. The entrance high up on the port bow with a cadet in it was where the "Tuck Shop" was located in my time. One summer when we cadets were painting ship a mate and I painted that strake down from the Focstle to the waterline and we went in there to paint the "Cubby hole". I have a photo with H M Submarine 'Tuna" alongside in Scapa Flow which shows her bow line secured to a bollard situated in there.
Originally she was built for the London County Council Assylums as the Training ship 'Exmouth' in 1908 and was moored at Grays in Essex. She was requistioned in WW II as a Depot ship for minesweepers and submarines in Scapa Flow. After the war HMS Worcester II was in a very poor state and kept afloat by pumps and the Board returned her to the RN and got 'Exmouth' ... she was refitted and became HMS Worcester III. With the advent of Mid Apprentice Release courses followed with the rapid and unseemly decline of the British Merchant Navy by 1968 "The Thames Nautical Training college HMS Worcester" was defunct. The grounds and ship were passed to the organisation which was The Seafarers Education Service .... the land was covered firstly in the ill conceived concrete edifice of a training school then when that went that went down the tubes the land was sold to be covered in "Little Boxes ... as the song goes" and HMS Worcester that was was towed away by 'Temi IV' to Bruges where she was scrapped. HMS Worcester existed long enough for her centenary and that was about the length of the rise and fall of the British Merchant Navy as we knew it.
Great photo ... if you have anymore I would be gratefull to receive them.