Friends of the Maritime Museum

Newsletter No 73 February 2000

Sorry for the late newsletter - - - we're a bit short staffed at the moment!

Winter Lectures
First of all I must apologise to any member who turned up at the Members Room on 21st January, expecting a lecture. Just after Christmas when we looked at the las t couple of newsletters we realised that we had noit advertised the evening or obtained a speaker. As time was short we let the matter rest but forgot that the date was in the Société Jersiaise list of events. So our apologies.

Pitt, a Jersey privateer taken by the French, 1781. The next evenings are . . .25th February 2000: Alec Podger - Privateeers

24th March 2000: Admiral Woodward - An illustrated talk about The Royal Yacht "Britannia".
I am sure that you will all remember Admiral Woodward was in command of the Britannia when she appeared on a documentary programme which covered the trip to South Africa when Her Majesty the Queen visited that country.

The talks will be held in the Members' Room of La Société Jersiaise, Pier Road, St Helier starting at 8:00pm.

Annual Subscriptions
Just a small reminder from our Treasurer that the subscription became due on 1st January, and although most have now paid, there are still a few members who have had it slip through their minds, no doubt due to some bug!

Annual General Meeting
This has been fixed for 25th April and all nominations have to be received two weeks in advance.

The papers for the meeting will be sent out later, but we are still looking for people willing to help.

The Boats
The winter hibernation of the craft continues while the refit of Florence goes ahead in the museum workshop, with JHT staff Gary and Trevor being aided and abetted by Bob Asplet and Dave Hocquard.

During the first week in February two former owners of Florence have visited the museum workshop, expressing great interest in the work, and then went home to look for photographs of her and also to try to find fittings which were once on the craft! They also pointed out the bullet and shrapnel marks left by the German air raid in June 1940.

Fiona and Diana to St Malo . . .
The big event for these two boats this year will, it is hoped, be a voyage to St Malo on the weekend of 24th-25th June. This year is the 60th Anniversary of the Evacuation of Allied Forces (mainly British) from St Malo in June 1940. Small craft from Jersey went down to St Malo to help ferry troops and equipment to ships outside St Malo. The flotilla also stood by as the petrol tanks and the lock gates were blown-up, and some brought personnel back to Jersey. All this in a NE4 to 5 wind and with the navigation lights around the Jersey coast extinguished, and all the craft returned, a fine piece of seamanship.

For the help given by St Helier Yacht Club in organising the flotilla of yachts, the Admiralty in 1952 granted the Club the "Battle Honour" of being allowed to wear a Defaced Red Ensign. It was this Defaced Ensign that we were proud to obtain a warrant to fly on Fiona, it being hoisted for the first time by the late Captain Bill Furzer who had taken the boat to St Malo in 1940.

We now have a second vessel which went to St Malo in 1940, the Diana, and although she still requires much work, it is hoped that she will be ready in time to make the journey. We need help a) to get the boats painted, etc in time and b) people with some experience who are prepared to crew the boats on the journey.

This is the last time that the club anticipate holding a rally to commemorate the Evacuation, so please come and lend a hand, with a paint brush, or perhaps be a guard boat for our craft. St Helier Yacht Club organised a rally of about 150 boats to the Breton port on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary in 1990 and hope for a good turnout again.

A new printer has been purchased as part of the computer update, as things have moved a long way since Alex and his team first started the project.

Did you know . . . . History always repeats itself
I have to smile when I see headlines when the media reports on overspends, late contracts and the like. The Town Hall being filled when a protest meeting is called is nothing new. Such a meeting was called on 29th September 1887 to protest at the state of the Harbour improvements, as it appeared that the three projects then in hand were badly managed. These were the extension of the Elizabeth Castle breakwater, the dredging of the harbour and the construction of a passenger landing stage on the Victoria Pier. The projects were supposed to celebrate Queen Victoria's Jubilee.

Early April 1887 saw the work resume on the breakwater and all seemed to go well with this, with 136 ft being added by January 1888 and 373 ft by January the following year, this out of a proposed 500 ft. The foundations were out to 500 ft by July 1889 but the States voted two months later to halt the work.

The dredging work caused the Albert Pier Head to crack and in September 1895 an English firm won the tender to rebuild it with the contract to take a year. On 27 October the Committee visited the works and as it was not yet half completed, the Committee fired the contractors and decided to undertake the work for themselves. This did not exactly speed things up, as the papers reported in April 1898, the work was now three-quarters complete. The work must have been completed by April 1903 when the States agreed that the workmen continue and rebuild the Albert Quay, taking the foundations down to the bedrock.


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Acting Editor: K Le Scelleur, Rocher du Sud, Rosedale Avenue, Route de la Haule, St Lawrence, Jersey JE3 1LB