Memories of Gerry Darnborough

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Foudroyant and Portsmouth Harbour

When I was about twelve years old I crewed for a gentleman named Mr Mant from Portchester who took care of a sixteen foot clinker built sailing dingy for Mrs Pound, who was the wife of Harry Pound the scrap metal merchant who had a very large scrap yard in those days at Paulsgrove full of war surplus material.

Mr Mant was about seventy four years of age and had sailed on square rig sailing ships in his youth, and was a very experienced sailor, and we would sail the dingy down to the Foudroyant which was moored near Camper & Nicholson's ship yard, next to the Gosport ferry terminal. We would moor the dingy there for the day, and take one of the sailing cutters from the Foudroyant full of sea cadets out sailing for the day, and then return them to the Foudroyant, and sail the sixteen foot dingy back to the scrap yard at Portchester where it was kept.

When I started my apprenticeship in Portsmouth Dockyard in 1954 the Foudroyant was still there as a training vessel for the sea cadets and was always there as a land mark on my daily trip to the dockyard from Fareham.

But some years later it was no longer required for some reason for use as a training vessel, and it was decided to get rid of it, and there were articles written in the local news papers to the effect that the French wanted it back to put it on display in a situation like the Victory.

But the government refused to allow this and the vessel was towed out in to deep water and the bottom blown out of it with explosives so it would sink, which it did after some time, and is probably still there at the bottom. Gerry Darnborough (Added 8th October 2006)

- HMS Implacable (a French warship  captured after Trafalgar and renamed Implacable) and the training ship (TS)  Foudroyant, both of which were in Portsmouth Harbour and used jointly for  training sailors. Implacable was used as an accommodation ship for  Foudroyant.

Foudroyant was formerly HMS Trincomalee, a British  warship built in the Far East, and only renamed Foudroyant when she was  privately purchased many years later. So the French never had any  claim on her.

It was the Implacable which was taken out to sea and  scuttled (in 1949), not the TS Foudroyant. In 1987, Foudroyant was taken by a huge seagoing barge  to Hartlepool, where she was refloated, beautifully restored, renamed  Trincomalee and is now preserved as a museum piece. For confirmation etc, see here and here Ian Fox 

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