Crossing the bar

"Crossing the bar” refers to the death of a Mariner. The phrase has its origin in the fact that most rivers and bays develop a sandbar across their entrances and “Crossing the bar” meant leaving the safety of the harbour for the unknown.This is the famous poem entitled "Crossing the bar" by Alfred (Lord) Tennyson.

 SUNSET and evening star And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep,Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell, And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness or farewell, When I embark;

For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place

    The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face

    When I have crost the bar.


Hughie Upward
Howard House
June 2015

Hugh Upward …..  a boy from Hove

I knew Hughie from Parkstone Sea Training School (PSTS) days (1954 to 1958), where Hugh Upward (No. 46, Howard House), John Gratham (No.115, Johnston House) and myself (No. 40, Aranmore House) were known as the; ‘3 boys from Hove’, (Sussex), where the three of us lived within a mile or so of each other. Hugh Upward and John Grantham, were about a year ahead of me, all three of us were in the ‘Artificers Class’ at PSTS, known as the; ‘ERA’s /Special Class’. The Artificers Class was a special class set up for those boys who were likely candidates to sit the Artificers Entrance Exams for HMS FISGARD.

Hugh sat the HMS FISGARD Entrance Exams to join the Royal Navy as an Artificer Apprentice in September 1957. In the exams he did extremely well and came 10th, in the Examination Results. It was a remarkable achievement to gain such a  high placing as those exams were sat by well over 700 to 800 boys from all over the United Kingdom trying to gain entry to the prestigious Apprenticeship Training offered by the Royal Navy. He was in Class entry s31and was placed in Grenville Division.

I remember the announcement of the Exam Results at Parkstone, it was at the completion of a Morning Divisions. The Captain Superintendent, Commander Felton RN Rtd., told the assembled company that Hugh Upward had passed the Entrance Exams achieving 10th placement, and would be going to HMS FISGARD, this was followed by a resounding 3 cheers from the Divisions of boys.

In the very rigorous life at Parkstone, Hughie, although small in stature, excelled, in physical training and was in both the ‘School PT Team’ and the Display Team that danced the ‘ Sailors Horn Pipe’ at School Open days. His fitness held in very good stead, for when he joined HMS FISGARD he was to win the ISBA bantam weight boxing title in 1958. At Fisgard he was made Petty Officer Apprentice.

After PSTS, our paths in the Royal Navy seldom crossed, which was not surprising for in those days, the strength of the RN was in the 10’s of thousands. 

Hugh served on HMS GLAMORGAN (D19), as CMEA(L) during the Falklands War, on the 12th June 1982, Glamorgan was hit by an MM38 Exocet Missile, 14 of her crew were killed. Chief Marine Electrical Artificer (L) Hugh Upward received a Commander-in-Chief Commendation for his brave actions and resolution to duty on that day. Hugh Upward was a recipient of the British Empire Medal (BEM).

Hugh has Crossed the Bar and is sadly missed as he makes his final Voyage, with fair winds and a calm sea.

John Trott

Arranmore House No. 40

Parkstone Sea Training School, 1955-1959


Alan Pennifold

Alan's sister Wendy has notified us that he sadly passed away in November. Alan was at Parkstone from 1954 until joining the Navy in 1957. He completed 33 years. He leaves behind his wife, two sons and four grandchildren.

Richard Robin Eastwood
21st March 2014

Passed away at home. Much loved husband and best friend of Bernice and cherished father and grandfather. A friend and mate to many. Funeral at Mary Magdalene Church in New Milton on Friday 28th March. Service starts at 14.30. All welcome.

Roland Crowder.
12th of December 2012

 From the Guild Messenger, summer 2013.

 Roland Crowder died on 12th of December 2012 aged 85 years. Rowland attended the Russell Cotes Nautical School from 1941 to 1944.

Kenneth Francis Richmond.
30th January. 2005.

Master Mariner

[An address delivered at the funeral of Kenneth Francis Richmond (15th June 1931 – 30th January 2005) at St Mary’s Church, Hayling Island on 14th February 2005 by Gordon Brocklehurst MD, MChir, FRCS]

When in danger or in doubt

Always keep a good lookout.

In danger with no room to turn,

Ease her, stop her, go astern’

Two couplets from ‘Aids to Memory for Navigation of Vessels at Sea’ which we learnt as twelve-year olds, when navigation depended upon seeing, hearing, and keeping the rules – their value has lasted well.Ken Richmond and I were boys together in Russell-Cotes Nautical School – a Dr Barnardo’s Home which prepared us for a life in the Merchant Navy. We knew nothing of our parents but both of us had been boarded out by Barnardos as small boys and remembered our foster families well; the Birchenough family at Leek in Staffordshire provided lifelong friendship for Ken.

We had expressed our wish to go to sea at the age of ten, and were termed ‘Elementaries’ at the school until we became fully committed as ‘Nauticals’ aged fourteen. Much of our elementary education was in seamanship, and we learnt the Morse and Semaphores Codes, the International Flags, knots and splices, and our navigation with no difficulty. The uniform and discipline of the nautical school also came easily enough to us, and, as elementaries, we both gained good conduct badges, were promoted to Leading Hands, and played in the band. We were friends and rivals

Ken went on to become a Nautical and was awarded the ‘Boy of the Year’ title. The Chief Officer of the school, Mr Spalding, himself a Master Mariner, befriended Ken and gave him special tutoring, with the advice that he should have the ambition to become a Master Mariner in his turn.

It was customary for the Nauticals to go to sea aged sixteen as deckhands in the Union Castle Line, but when Ken reached this stage the Commanding Officer of the school gave him the alternative offer of a post as a deckboy aboard a private yacht – the Black Swan - and Ken accepted. It was on board the Black Swan, sailing around the British Isles, that Ken first learnt practical seamanship. More importantly, he came to the notice of Sam Long, who was a guest aboard his uncle’s boat. Sam’s experience in the Royal Naval Coastal Command, and as a prisoner of war, had led him towards the Ministry of the Church of England, and during his subsequent training at Mirfield he became Ken’s guardian and guide.

Ken attended Sam’s ordination at York in 1947, and joined him in his first parish at Hornsea in East Yorkshire, and it was there that Ken made a base for himself. Sam also introduced Ken to the Managing Director of the Ellerman-Wilson Shipping Line, based in nearby Hull, which resulted in a successful interview for a post as an officer cadet, and the beginning of Ken’s formal training to become a Master Mariner. Throughout this time Sam Long encouraged Ken in both his spiritual and social development.

During four years as an officer cadet Ken learnt all aspects of managing a ship from his Chief Officers, initially aboard the SS Albano, trading from London to Denmark, and then on the MV Sacramento trading between Hull and New York. His voyages then became lengthier, as trading patterns changed, and he saw many countries. Ken’s letters at that time, written from aboard his ship somewhere across the world, were full of the life at sea for which we had prepared as boys. When he came ashore at London I would sometimes see him, and accompany him to the clergy house at St Augustine’s Haggerston, in East London, where Sam Long had moved to in 1950.But it was from his base at Hornsea that Ken put down the roots from which grew his own family, gathered here today, with many friends and members of this church, to lay him to rest.

His nautical training entailed study at both the Trinity House Nautical College in Hull and the King Edward VII Nautical School in London; in 1952 he obtained his Second Mate’s Certificate, which entitled him to navigate the ship at sea.In 1954, following further study in Hull, Ken obtained his First Mate’s Certificate, and, with great pride, went aboard the MV Cavallo as Second Officer, with two gold stripes on his arm. In the same year Sam Long, Ken’s guardian, mentor and friend, was married to Mary Rainsford.

It took Ken a further three years to reach the ambition of his Barnardo childhood, and on 23rd September 1957 he qualified as a Master Mariner. Nor was this without cost, for the life at sea took a serious toll on his stomach.

Happily, his life ashore had progressed. As the song had it: ‘All the nice girls love a sailor’ – and there were plenty of nice girls in Hornsea. In 1960 one of them was shrewd enough to know that her Valentine’s card was from Ken, and sent one to him; by March of that year she had accepted his proposal of marriage, and on the 15th October 1960 Geraldine and Kenneth were married by Sam Long at St Nicholas’s Church in Hornsea. They have continued to exchange Valentine Cards ever since, and it is through the response of the vicar and members of St Mary’s Church, Hayling Island, to Gerry’s special request that we are able to gather here with Derek, Andrew, Philippa and their families and friends on the day dedicated to the saint of love.

Back in 1960, as a married man, Ken was glad to get the third gold stripe on his arm and become Chief Officer aboard SS Livorno.

With the decline of the size of the Merchant Fleet by that time, opportunities for further promotion were diminishing. Ken also faced increasing family responsibilities, and the threat to his health of continued life at sea. In 1962, therefore, with the arrival of his son Andrew, Ken decided to come ashore and take up the post of Patrol Officer with the Medway Port Operations Service. The navigation skills acquired during his nautical training were thus made available to others.In the same year he consented to become godfather to my daughter, Jane, who is with us here today.

Having moved his home from Hornsea to the Isle of Sheppey, and added their daughter Philippa to their family, Ken and Gerry were able to live a full family life to which he added the rebuilding of his local church, bowls and cribbage, despite late complications of peptic ulceration and the development of ankylosing spondylitis which seriously affected his spine.

He served on the Medway for thirty years, during the last few of which I saw quite a lot of him as one of a quartet of Barnardo boys from the Russell Cotes Nautical School that met and discussed life in Dr Barnardo’s Homes and thereafter. It was characteristic of Ken that he contributed a cheerful geniality to this soul-searching biographical work, and when he retired from Sheppey to Hayling Island, not only applied himself to his family of growing grandchildren, and to his games of bowls, but also took up painting and completed the writing of his autobiography entitled From Sea to Shore. This slim blue volume is a fine account of his life. It was published by Badgerwood Publications LLP who have also used a coloured picture painted by Ken on one of their website pages at Badgerwood Publications (click to visit).

Having joined St Mary’s Church here Ken became a member of various committees and took a keen interest in all the activities of the Church on Hayling Island.

Last summer he was with a number of us who gathered for a reunion in the building which once served as the chapel for the Russell Cotes Nautical School at Parkstone, in Dorset. His spinal condition had by then caused a severe flexion deformity, but he kept his usual smiling face upright, and contributed vigorously to discussions of future arrangements for reunions.We talked of those days sixty years ago when we trained for the sea.

I address him now as a good lifelong friend: How went that other verse Ken?

‘If to your starboard red appear,

It is your duty to keep clear.

To act as judgement says is proper,

Port or starboard, back, or stop her.’

You have navigated well Ken, and come safely home.



©Badgerwood 2005

Roger Leonard Wilding
14th of May 2012
Roger died on 14 May 2012 at his home in Matamata, New Zealand, where he lived with his wife Anne. Those of us that knew him at Parkstone will recall his nickname as “Titch”  but what he lacked for in height he made up for in guts and determination. I corresponded with him by e-mail for over four years and discovered his sense of humour and his love of greyhounds. There was another great love in his life apart from his wife Anne, this was his devotion to Arsenal football club, as I and my late friend John Wallace both support Tottenham Hotspur you can imagine the banter that went between us with Roger generally having the most to crow about. Over the last year or so, he shared with me the trials and tribulations of having this most awful cancer, he was determined to fight the disease right up to the end and no one could have done it more bravely.
Roger contributed regularly to the New Zealand newsletter for Barnardo old boys and girls and was a great source of encouragement for this website. He now has a permanent season-ticket at the Emirates Stadium where he can watch his beloved Arsenal, we shall miss you Roger. RRE.
The following obituary is from the New Zealand newsletter written by Robyn Henley,Counsellor.
It is with great sadness that we advise of the death of Parkstone old boy Roger Wilding on 14 May 2012. Roger had battled mesothelioma, an asbestos related, incurable cancer of the lungs for the past 18 months or so. During this time he relocated from Whangaparaoa to Matamata where his funeral was held on 19 May.
Roger was born during the war years at Richmond, Surrey in England, where he spent his childhood with his three siblings until his admission to Barnardos at the age of 11, two years after the death of his father. Roger attended Parkstone Sea Training School in Dorset from September 1952 until August 1956, joining the Merchant Navy the following year. Last year Roger wrote the following about his admission to PSTS and the next four years on the PSTS website.
" I remember it well, and to this day I won't forget the feeling I had on a dreary afternoon on 2 September 1952. It was at about four o'clock when I walked across the top field with Mr Butcher's daughter Dawn, and my mum and aunt Rosie. We stood at the bus stop and my eyes filled with tears as she boarded the bus to take her away from me. My four years spent at the STS is a very fond memory. To this day I will never forget the camaraderie of the mates I made, I then started to think of a way that I could spend the least amount of time at the school. I was then approached by a gentleman who changed my life and way of thinking he was Mr Joyce known as "Bandy"the bandmaster. So it was the cornet that I found my solace inand I owe a lasting debt of gratitude to Mr Joyce. I loved every day of my time spent and I now know in my old age that what ever it did it taught me about life's ups and downs and stood me in good stead for my life's great venture to follow".
As an adult Roger made his home in New Zealand with his wife and family. In 2008 he made contact with Barnardos to request his personal records from his years at PSTS at that stage I realised there were several other PSTS old boys from the same era living in New Zealand, and Roger was delighted to be reconnected with several of his old acquaintances. Memories, photos, information, anecdotes and memorabilia were exchanged amongst the group, and the connection proved to be a strong and positive one. In mid-2008 after reading his records Roger wrote to me " Parkstone sea training school certainly made me into the man I am today, I have a feeling that had I not gone to the school my path in life would have been a very different story. I have my late mother and Dr Barnardo to thank for that". 
Fellow PSTS old boy Ray Graham attended Roger's funeral service at Matamata as a representative of the New Zealand PSTS network of old boys. He found it an emotional site to see Roger's casket with a photograph on the top of the Parkstone band members (including both Roger and Ray) taken in June 1953 on board the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious,and also Rogers PSTS hat tally ( hat band). Rogers wife Anne has now taken Rogers ashes back to the United Kingdom to be placed with family members buried there.
Barnardos staff in New Zealand and the United Kingdom join with the New Zealand old boys who knew Roger in extending our sympathies to his family at this sad time

George Wilson
19 June 2012

George Wilson died on 19 June 2012 aged 96 years. He was admitted to Barnardo's in 1917 and was boarded out until 1928. George was then at WNTS from 1928 until 1931 when he joined the Royal Navy.

Edgar Smith
22 December 2011

Edgar Smith died on 22 December 2011 aged 78 years. Edgar was admitted to Barnardo's when he was two and spent time at Crowborough before going to WNTS where he was evacuated during the war. He then spent time at Boys Garden City and Dame Margaret's Home, Durham, before returning to WNTS. He trained as a signwriter and when he left Barnardo's care  went to work in Watford. He married and raised three children and had eight grandchildren.

Ernest (George) Porter
1 April 2012

Ernest (George) Porter died on 1 April 2012 three days short of his 101st birthday. (His 100th birthday celebrations were reported in the Guild messenger). Ernest was admitted to Barnardo's when he was six years old and was boarded out from 1917 to 1921. Then he spent time at Boys Garden City (1921) and Watts Naval Training School (1921 to 26). Ernest was an active member of the Sea Schools Association.

Leslie Downs.
29th of January 2012

Leslie Downs died on 29 January 2012 aged 81 years. Leslie was admitted to Barnardo's in 1937 and spent time at Bognor (1940 to 41), Russell Cotes Nautical School (1941 to 43) and Watts Naval Training School (1943 to 46).