A History of H.M.S. KING ALFRED

Page 3

 

1945 the end of the war


 

The outriders at the head of the Victory Parade through Hove pass the front of HMS KING ALFRED in May 1945. Officers and guests gather to watch the parade from the roof of Hove Marina.  Image reproduced courtesy of Royal Pavilion, Libraries & Museums, Brighton & Hove

 


The personnel and trainees of KING ALFRED celebrated VE Day (May 5th 1945) in Hove and marched through the town in the Victory Parade; the WRNS, being the junior service, led the naval contingent. By the end of the month a scaling down of operations at KING ALFRED was begun as the numbers of officers required for sea duty became greatly reduced.

 

The WRNS contingent from HMS King Alfred marching in the Victory Parade through Hove, May 1945.

The WRNS contingent from HMS KING ALFRED marching in the Victory Parade through Hove, May 1945.


On the morning of June 6th 1945 Captain Pelly died suddenly aged 57 whilst on duty at HMS KING ALFRED (H); he was given a full military funeral service at the main building on Hove sea front attended by senior officers from the Army, Navy and Air Force establishments in the area. The coffin was carried on a gun carriage along the Kingsway to the former Hove Marina followed by the funeral procession made up of contingents from the WRNS, KING ALFRED staff and Cadet Ratings. After the service the coffin was taken to All Saints Church, Witham in Essex to be buried.

 

Captain Cuthbert Coppinger DSC arrived on June 21st to assume command. He was to continue the scaling down of training at HMS KING ALFRED, the outlying sites began to receive reduced numbers of CW candidates and Cadet Ratings although RNVR officers were still needed as replacements for men returning home and for the British Pacific Fleet which was still fighting in the war against Japan. Numbers were further reduced after VJ Day (August 14th 1945). 

 

With the war over the outlying annexes of KING ALFRED were no longer needed, Mowden School was the first to close, training ceased there in October when the last Division left for Lancing. When this Division finally left Lancing for Hove, training ceased in December and clean up operations began in preparations for its return to civilian control.  The final handing out of commissions at KING ALFRED took place in late December 1945.

 

The cadet ratings of the final Hawke Division to train at HMS KING ALFRED posing with the training Commander and heir Instructional Officers . There are 41 cadet ratings in this photo - only 31 will pass out as RNVR Officers - see photo below. (Author's collection)

 

December 1945 - one of the last classes of Officers Under Training to pass through HMS KING ALFRED at Hove. These are officers of Hawke Division posing with Captain  Coppinger DSC, and his dog. (Author's collection)

 

Over the six years of War HMS KING ALFRED trained a total of 22,508 RNVR officers for active sea service, these were men from a variety of commonwealth and allied nations including Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Holland, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, and the United States.

 

On January 7th 1946 HMS KING ALFRED moved to Exburv House near Southampton; the site at Hove Marina was known as HMS KING ALFRED II during its clean up and demilitarisation period, finally closing in June 1946.  When it reopened to the public in August 1946 Hove Marina was renamed 'The KING ALFRED Leisure Centre'.  A commemorative plaque was mounted on the wall in the main entrance hall of the building to remember the work of this establishment during the Second World War. A second plaque marks the reopening of the reopening and a third was added to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the commissioning of HMS KING ALFRED.
 

Plaque commemorating the war time ruse of the Hove Marina complex as the Royal Navy's Officer Training Establishment H.M.S. KING ALFRED. Photo by Tony Mould by kind permission of Brighton & Hove Council

Plaque commemorating the Post War reopening of the Hove Marina complex as the KING ALFRED Leisure Centre. Photo by Tony Mould by kind permission of Brighton & Hove Council

Plaque commemorating the Golden Jubilee of the commissioning of Hove Marina as H.M.S. KING ALFRED in 1939. Photo by Tony Mould by kind permission of Brighton & Hove Council

Click on a plaque to see a larger version

Note: These plaques are no longer on public display but are in storage, it is hoped that they will be on display again when the KING ALFRED Leisure Centre it completes the next phase of its redeveloped.
 

 

Ratings removing the Ship’s Bell from King Alfred in January 1936. A scale replica the Ship’s Bell from King Alfred is on display in the swimming pool complex at the King Alfred Leisure Centre, Hove. This bell was presented to the Leisure Centre by a former trainee.
Left: Ratings removing the Ship's Bell from KING ALFRED in January 1946.  Right: A scale replica the Ship's Bell from KING ALFRED is on display in the swimming pool complex at the KING ALFRED Leisure Centre, Hove. This bell was presented to the Leisure Centre by a former trainee. Photo Tony Drury by kind permission of Brighton & Hove Council

               

 

 

The name lives on


 

 

 

HMS KING ALFRED disappeared from the list of active naval ships in August 1946 when Exbury House was renamed HMS HAWKE. The name KING ALFRE was reused in 1994 when a new Royal Naval Reserve training centre opened at Whale Island in Portsmouth designed to take over the training roles of Brighton and Hove's last commissioned naval establishment, HMS Sussex, and Southampton's HMS Wessex which were both closed in a round of defence cuts. [External link to current HMS KING ALFRED]


The name KING ALFRED was also adopted by the Hove Sea Cadet unit which became the T.S. KING ALFRED. This unit has enjoyed a long association with the Royal Navy in Hove, sharing accommodation with the Sussex Division of the RNVR from 1946, and later HMS Sussex RNR centre at Hove Battery until it was closed in 1968. T,S, KING ALFRED is still an active Sea Cadet unit.

 


References

* Extracts from The wartime memories of Telegraphist Derric A Breen, later Lt. Breen RNVR, Chapter 9: Neither Fish Nor Fowl: Reproduced by permission. http://users.aber.ac.uk/azb/outside/book/chapter9.html
 

Sources

 The History Centre, Royal Pavilion, Libraries & Museums, Brighton & Hove

Thanks to Mr. Kevin Bacon, Curator of Photographs

 

The KING ALFRED Papers; a collection of letters and research material held at the Hove branch of Brighton & Hove City Libraries.


'The Wave' KING ALFRED's internal magazine; complete bound set held at the Hove branch of Brighton & Hove City Libraries.


Kerr J.L. & Granville W. (1957) 'The RNVR - a record of achievement' London, Harrap & Co
 

Middleton, J. (1986) 'HMS KING ALFRED 1939. - 1945: Hove's erstwhile stone frigate' Hove, the author
 

Middleton, J. (2002, 2003) 'Encyclopaedia of Hove & Portslade' Vol.8, I to L Brighton & Hove Libraries
 

Warlow, B. (2000) Shore Establishments of the Royal Navy (Second Edition) Liskeard, Maritime Books
 

Lancing College and Operation "Jubilee", the Dieppe Raid 1942
http://www.northlancing.com/History/Lancing%20College/Lancing%20College%20and%20the%20Dieppe%20Raid%201942.htm

 

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Colonel R.E. Bland R.M.P (Retd) for the loan of his father's wartime notebook; Acting Sub Lieutenant RNVR (Sp.Br.) Edwin Bland  kept the notebook while training at HMS KING ALFRED in 1943. He served as British Naval Liaison Officer to the Polish submarine ORP Dzik May 1844 - March 1945, then as British Naval Liaison Officer to the Italian light cruiser Attilio Regolo March 1945 - April 1946 when he was demobbed

 

 

 

 

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Comments (1)

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Shirley Anne Franklin (Lower Hutt, New Zealand) says...
Incredibly informative - I am researching my late father's war service - the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place
Many thanks
daughter of J.C.Sandford JX.247125
9th March 2015 10:09am
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