Dad's Navy Days

HMS Gambia - The Crew

I've received an email from Iris who is trying to trace Bill Barraclough who served on HMS Gambia in the 1950's. If anyone knows of Bill, or even if Bill himself reads this, could they please contact me. My email address is brisray@yahoo.co.uk.

Kevin, on behalf of Sid Cowie, who was a LSA on Gambia between 51-54? is trying to trace John Givens who was a coder on the Gambia 53/54.

John Flage emailed me asking if anyone served with his father, Bill "Taffy" Flage. Bill served on HMS Gambia in 1953. If anyone knew him then please contact me at brisray@yahoo.co.uk. There is a "Taffy" on some of the following pages but I am unsure if this is the same person.

The ship's crew, July 1952

HMS Gambia's crew in July 1952. There were many changes of individuals during this Commission, with Crew going from Ship to Shore or Ship to Ship, or returning to the UK for demob, especially the National Service Ratings and Midshipmen. Notice the Cock of the Fleet in the front. Photo from my dad's albums.

The following photographs are of my father and his shipmates aboard HMS Gambia. I know nothing at all about the people he served with apart from the nick names he gave them in the albums.

Jenks, Brad and dad, 1950. Photo from my dad's albums. Dad and Taff, 1950. Photo from my dad's albums. Scouse, Chats, Cotty and Dad, 1950. In August 2001, Mr Jim Roberts on behalf of Mr Ray Harris, whose nickname was Chats, emailed me. Dad and Chats were very good friends. Chats lived in Bath, about twelve miles from Bristol, and still does. He relates how he and Dad would go to Ashton Park and watch Bristol City play football. Photo from my dad's albums. Dad, 1951. Photo from my dad's albums. Dad, 1951. Photo from my dad's albums.

We think this is Commander R. F. Phillimore, MBE, DSC., commander of HMS Gambia. One of Alan Goodwin's photos, submitted by his grandson, Steve McAllister. Lieutenant Hill as "The Professor" during the ship's concert 1950. This would be John Richard Hill who became a Rear Admiral. Photo from my dad's albums. Ship's concert, 1950. Photo from my dad's albums. Christmas Day, 1950. This is 28 & 30 Seaman's Mess, all Radar men. John Harris, who very kindly sent me information about the collision with HMS Phoebe and the only person who's name I know in this photo is in the tall hat on the right, next to "Gur" the Arab. Photo from my dad's albums. Christmas 1950. Alan 'Striker' Goodwin is pictured on the far left of the middle row. Ken Booth very kindly sent a list of the others in the picture. They are: Top left to right: Tony 'Al' Murray, Tony 'Boxer' Scammell, not known, LEM Jock Collins, and two not knowns. Middle left to right: Alan 'Striker' Goodwin, not known, Alan Speakman, Scouse Edwards, Gordon Ross. Front left to right: Fred Harling, Albert Howard, not known, John Stevenson. Tony Scammell was known as 'Boxer' because he was so good at it! One of Alan Goodwin's photos, submitted by his grandson, Steve McAllister. Cooling off in 1951. Photo from my dad's albums. Christmas 1951. Ken Booth identified the people in the picture. Top left to right: Alan Goodwin, two not knowns, Tony Murray, Geoff. Walkden, not known, Gordon Ross (with the staring eyes). Front Left to right: John Stevenson, Albert Howard, three not knowns, Fred Harling. One of Alan Goodwin's photos, submitted by his grandson, Steve McAllister.

Rum issue in 1952.

Rum issue in 1952. The rum ration was stopped on July 31, 1970. Photo from my dad's albums.

Three of Denys Powell's friends on HMS Gambia one Christmas. Unfortunately I do not know their names or the year. Photo kindly submitted by Denys Powell's daughter, Anita Neads. Denys Powell is on the right of this photograph which may have been taken on HMS Gambia but more probably, HMS Cook. Photo kindly submitted by Denys Powell's daughter, Anita Neads. Union Jack Club - Karachi - Feb 1952. Steve wrote his grandad is the one center left with the dodgy beard. Ken Booth, that mine of information, says that the man to Alan's right is Danny McAlinden and the one next to him is L.E.M. Gordon Ross. One of Alan Goodwin's photos, submitted by his grandson, Steve McAllister. HMS Gambia Seaman's Mess, Christmas Day at Port Said, Egypt in 1952. Photo from my dad's albums. Dad captioned this photo "Just the life". Photo from my dad's albums. This is Andy in 1950. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums. This is Billy in 1951. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums. This is Bob in 1950. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums.

Ken "General" Booth

Ken "General" Booth

Ken Booth has been a great help for the site and has emailed me all sorts of information over the years. He was Leading Electrical Mechanician on Gambia and nicknamed "General". Originally, I incorrectly put his nickname as Peanut. Ken emailed me in July 2001 to explain...

I did have a strong connection with Peanut, it being the Peanut Club, started during the WW2 to support Sir Archibald McIndoe, the Plastic Surgeon who rebuilt the faces etc. of servicemen burnt in action. The badges that I sold for one shilling were small yellow discs with an unshelled peanut on it. I sold hundreds of these on many ships and in pubs all over the place. It was a crime to be found without your badge on you, so much so that when you went for a shower the lads would keep them in their mouths! After selling so many hundred I would get a Peanut Medal, this was a peanut hanging on a bar on a ribbon, there were five different colours of ribbon until you got to the top which was a Gold peanut, which I still have. I also like peanut butter!!

Ken was Treasurer of the HMS Gambia Association for its first eight years. He said that there was a crew of 650 plus men on the Gambia but could usually find around 140 of them from each commission. Hopefully a few more may find sites such as this and get in contact with the Association.

There is more about the Peanut Club, plastic surgery and the Guinea Pig Club.

This is Bradley in 1950. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums. This is Bris in 1950. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums. This is Conny in 1950. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums. This is Conny in 1950. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums. This is "Golfer" Cosgrove in 1951. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums. This is "Explorer" Dyson in 1951. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums. This is "Explorer" Dyson in 1951. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums. Alan Goodwin is on the left in this picture which was taken in the Upper Barracca Gardens in Malta in 1951. The man on the right is Fred Harling from Banbury. Ken Booth remembers he was sent home from the commission early with T.B. One of Alan Goodwin's photos, submitted by his grandson, Steve McAllister. Steve McAllister said this was his favourite photo of his grandad Alan Goodwin. Steve thought this was taken at Colombo but Ken Booth thinks it was taken at Dyatalawa. HMS Gambia was in dry dock at Colombo which could accont for the confusion. Ken wrote that the train trip between Colombo and Dyatalawa was not to be forogtten. "I still have the marks from the seats!" One of Alan Goodwin's photos, submitted by his grandson, Steve McAllister. This is Jan in 1950. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums. This is Jaques in 1951. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums. This is Jenks in 1950 or 1951. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums. This is Jenks in 1950 or 1951. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums. This is Johnnie in 1951. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums. This is Joney in 1950. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums. The funeral of A/B Jock Kerr, drowned whilst sailing on Victoria Lake, Rangoon, 1951. Photo from my dad's albums. The funeral of A/B Jock Kerr, drowned whilst sailing on Victoria Lake, Rangoon, 1951. Photo from my dad's albums. This is Reggie "Fatty" Ford in 1950. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums. This is Reggie "Fatty" Ford in 1950. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums. Denys Powell served on HMS Gambia from 1949 to 1952 as a Stoker Mechanic. This is him on June 26, 1949. Photo very kindly submitted by Denys Powell's daughter, Anita Neads. Denys Powell served on HMS Gambia from 1949 to 1952 as a Stoker Mechanic. Photo very kindly submitted by Denys Powell's daughter, Anita Neads. This is Scouse in 1950. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums. This is Sweety in 1950. That's all I know about the photo. Photo from my dad's albums. This is Taff in 1951. Is this Bill "Taffy" Flage? If you know, please email me. His son, John, would like to hear from soneone who knew him. Photo from my dad's albums. 1955 Hockey Team. Inst. Lt. Cdr. Paul O. Stanley identified most of them. Back row, left to right: Smith, Caralet, unknown, unknown, Ali, Davies. Front row, left to right: Palmer, Knowling, Stanley, Smith, Bowyer-Tagg. There were around a dozen Smiths on the 1955/56 commission so I couldn't identify them further. The only ones I could identify further were G. C. Bowyer-Tagg who was a midshipman and P. C. Knowling who was a Stores Chief Petty Officer (V). Photo kindly supplied by Paul Stanley. Stirring the Christmas Pudding, December 1955. From left to right: Ck Morrisey, Mne Ck Whitehead, Ck Jenkins, P.O. Ck Ford, P.O. Ck Bennet, Cdr Trythall, C.P.O. Ck Heath, P.O. Ck Newell. Photo kindly supplied by Paul Stanley.

In July 2002, I received an email from Karen who is trying to trace friends of her grandfather Walter (Tom) Thomas who served on HMS Gambia as a Royal Marine. He was a Royal Marine with 40 Commando from May 1946 to February 1960. His service number was PO/X662.

He served aboard the Gambia for around 2 ½ years. Whilst he was on board there was another Marine killed. His name was Paddy Bray and he was squashed. Also, whilst he was aboard the Gambia it ran into a ship that was passing mail. The mail ship pulled ahead in front of the Gambia and they collided. She had to go back into "dry-dock" in Malta for repairs.

He was aboard the Vanguard for around 14 months. 1948 - 1949 approx. The Vanguard was due to take the old Kind to Australia but the plans changed at the last minute.

He is particularly looking he trace Ronald (Tex) King who left at the same time as as Tom. Tex bought himself out and was last known to be planning to live in Australia.

If you knew Tom and/or remember these events please contact me at brisray@yahoo.co.uk and I will pass them on to Karen.

group of Royal Marines

Were you one of the people in this picture? Do you know who they are? Tom is in the second row from the top, 4th from the left. In his words, "the miserable looking git!"

Detail from the larger photo. Walter Thomas. Karen thinks this photo of her granddad, Walter Thomas, was taken in Malta. Karen thinks this photo of her granddad, Walter Thomas, was taken in Malta.

If you knew Tom and/or remember these events please contact me at brisray@yahoo.co.uk and I will pass them on to Karen.

Pets with HMS Gambia caps

Pets with HMS Gambia caps. Neither animal looks too happy.


There is a far more comprehensive site about HMS Gambia that I also write.

These pages were started in 1999 and were originally of the photos from my dad's photo albums. I started getting information from other people and that was also included. In 2003, Bill Hartland of the HMS Gambia Association contacted me about helping to start their own site. The site that Bill put together disappeared in 2014, so in 2016, I decided to remake it.

"Dad's Navy Days" is still being updated but anything new about HMS Gambia, unless it concerns the content already here, is being added to the HMS Gambia site.

This page created June 14, 1999; last modified July 10, 2021