Peter Holman Smith at St Vincent

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And thoughts of the Gosport in south Alabama and the Lees Lane area.

Thanks for the picture of the mast at St  Vincent. (provided by Peter Keat) In the 40s I rode my bike past it on my way to the Gosport grammar  school and heard the bugle calls for whatever purpose they served. In 1956 I did  my NS in the Fleet Air Arm and was taken to St Vincent to be instructed how to  survive a dunking in the ocean wearing a boiler suit by being thrown in the deep  end of swimming pool. Also, I climbed the mast and actually touched the golden  ball on top before making a rapid and welcome descent. At the ripe old age of  23, I was a little more nervous than the 14-year old apprentice seamen who  preceded me. I remember being able to see across the Solent to the Isle of Wight  from the top.

As regards the name Gosport. There is a small,  south Alabama town by that name. It's in the deep south and close to cajun  country. I wonder if there is some connection with the colony of French who, I  believe, were Huegenots who made a home in Gosport. My father was a milk  delivery man in the late 1930s and part of his round was a collection of houses  between Leesland Lane and Trafalgar Square ( a small street across the street  from the Criterion Cinema). There was an archway at the entrance to the little  enclave and I was told that the occupants were French. The site is directly across from the old wallpaper factory. (At the time called Asleys, now the Sanderson Business Centre). Many French Heugenots settled in the  Louisiana Territory and I wonder if there is a connection.

By Peter Holman Smith

I have also been wondering about the village of Gosport between Southampton and Winchester, near Ampfield. This is link to a map of that Gosport on the Streetmap site. - Ian Jeffery

I am also working on a list of Gosport’s in the world. - Ian Jeffery

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Hants  PO12 3NR

Tel: 023 9252 3358

Mobile: 078 1751 7995


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