Commemoration of HMS Vernon's Minewarfare & Diving Heritage

Discussion in 'Bases / Shore Est' started by Naval_Gazer, Jul 17, 2009.

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  1. Project Vernon is the campaign to erect a monument at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth to commemorate the mine warfare & diving heritage of HMS Vernon which occupied the site in one form or another until 1996. The monument will comprise a bronze statue of a Mk17L moored contact mine fouled by a length of sweepwire and explosive cutter being prosecuted by a diver wearing old-type CDBA Clearance Divers' Breathing Apparatus. The heritage being commemorated includes the WW II Mining Department that also developed mine countermeasures and provided naval bomb & mine disposal personnel during the Blitz, the Minewarfare School, the Diving School, the mine countermeasures vessels that berthed on Vernon's jetties, the Clearance Diving teams and all the men and women who served in connection with them. In its broadest sense, it will represent the entire RN and other Commonwealth navies' mine warfare and diving community – past, present and future.

    To date, the project has harnessed the all-ranks, serving & retired forces of the Minewarfare & Clearance Diving Officers' Association, the Association of RN First Class Divers and the Mine Warfare Association, set up a website, canvassed stake holders and agreed on a popular design, selected a sculptor through competition, secured the support of the Gunwharf Quays management and Portsmouth City Council’s Planning Department, found VIP patrons, achieved charitable status, gained a fair amount of publicity in the media and organised and run fund-raising events that have already netted several tens of thousands of pounds towards the sum required. Fleet Graphics Officer Steve Williams has just produced this inspirational artist's impression of the Project Vernon monument in position at Gunwharf Quays in what was once Vernon Creek.

    Artist's impression of Project Vernon monument[/align]

    The nearly twice life-size bronze statue is intended to be on a scale that makes it impossible to ignore by the thousands of visitors who frequent Gunwharf Quays each day. It will be a lasting tribute to naval mine warfare and diving including all those involved in conducting, teaching and supporting these operations, ashore and afloat, particularly those who passed through the gates of HMS Vernon. Were you ever a ships' diver or a pre-MW Branch TAS ape working on a windy sweepdeck? Did you serve in one of the many minesweepers and minehunters that operated from or visited Vernon? A plaque or interactive display will be installed at the water's edge to provide a comprehensive explanation of this heritage to passers-by.

    This is an ambitious project costing over £250k but it needs to be to match the stature of the people involved and their significant achievements over the best part of a century. Every penny will count but it will take more than the odd fiver or tenner to see it reach fruition. Whatever your connection, go to the Project Vernon website here and make a generous donation now or spread a few smaller donations over a longer period.

    'Danger at Depth' by John Terry FCSD [/align]

    If you are in the Portsmouth area, a Project Vernon promotion weekend will be held at Gunwharf Quays on Sat 25 and Sun 26 July when you will have the opportunity to buy tickets for the project's Grand Summer Draw or order limited edition prints of John Terry's superb oil painting, 'Danger at Depth' with all proceeds going towards the Project.
  2. Re: Commemoration of HMS Vernon's Minewarfare & Diving Herit

    When the Waterloo Train used to pull into Pompey Harbour station on the early Monday morning WE leave train. Was that the Wardroom Dormitory on the left hand side building at Hms Vernon?????
  3. Re: Commemoration of HMS Vernon's Minewarfare & Diving Herit

    It was indeed. Therein lived a Lt/Cdr. W RN whom the Clearance Divers had a contract out on. Just missed him one day with a dustbin which was full of rubbish. Thrown from the top of the J/R accommodation block. They had an acoustic torpedo by the main gate which used to track people as they entered the gate. It used to go ballistic at 0745 every day. :roll:
  4. Re: Commemoration of HMS Vernon's Minewarfare & Diving Herit

    Owing to the adjacent trains, I spent many an interrupted night in the junior officers' accommodation at the back of Vernon's wardroom but it was surprising how quickly you got used to them. It was a bit like moving back on board a ship and adapting to the noise from the ventilation fans and gennies. I always remember visitors asking, "How do you put up with the noise?" and replying, "What noise?"
  5. Bump as the Project Vernon promo weekend is being held at Gunwharf Quays (old site of HMS Vernon) in Pompey tomorrow and Sunday. See where the statue will be sited, buy some raffle tickets and buy or order a limited edition print of the specially commissioned painting, 'Danger at Depth'.
  6. Re: Commemoration of HMS Vernon's Minewarfare & Diving Herit

    Project Vernon is the campaign to erect a monument at Gunwharf Quays to commemorate the Minewarfare and Diving heritage of HMS Vernon which previously stood on the site. This is intended as a legacy for future generations and will honour a broad range of people including:
    • First World War naval personnel involved in the development, laying and sweeping of mines.
    • Second World War mine designers, mine countermeasures boffins, RMS (Rendering Mines Safe) personnel, BSOs (Bomb Safety Officers and other RN EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) personnel as well as those who have since dealt with bombs, mines and other explosive devices all over the world and who, even now, are serving in Afghanistan.
    • MX Wrens who put together 'special' mine assemblies designed to thwart German minesweeping efforts during the Second World War.
    • All those who were trained in minewarfare at HMS Vernon or were involved in designing, laying, sweeping, hunting or rendering safe mines. Before the advent of the MW Branch, these included Torpedo and TAS Branch personnel as well as surface ship crew members, aviators and submariners.
    • All those trained or involved in experimental diving, deep diving, clearance diving and ship's diving or who were based in diving teams at HMS Vernon.
    • All those RN and RNR personnel who have served in minesweepers, minehunters and diving tenders operating out of HMS Vernon or even visiting it for exercises.
    As a reminder, here is an artist's impression of the finished monument:


    If any of you would like to help see this exciting vision come to fruition, please go to the Project Vernon website here and make a donation and/or offer your services. The next promotional event is planned for the weekend of 1st/2nd May at Gunwharf Quays. This will coincide with the Sea Cadet Festival 2010 celebrating the 150th anniversary of the formation of the Cadet movement. Even if you don't get involved in running it, make a point of visiting the Project Vernon stand, having a chat, seeing the exhibits and purchasing some of the merchandise or raffle tickets. This is what the stand looked like in July last year but it will be even more impressive this time:

    [align=center][​IMG] [​IMG][/align]

    Thank you.
  7. Anything about the ASDIC/SONAR ratings who trained at Vernon in the display?
  8. The Log Room display Wet Picnic has set up in the Police Station (opposite the old Guard Room at the main gate) contains a lot of Vernon memorabilia.

    Part of the Log Room display

    As you probably know, ASW sonar was taught at HMS Osprey at Portland until 10 October 1946 when the Osprey-parented Anti-Submarine Branch (formed in 1920) was amalgamated with the Vernon-parented Torpedo Branch (formed in 1876) to form the Torpedo & Anti-Submarine (TAS) Branch parented by Vernon. This was split into the Sonar and MW sub-branches of the newly formed Operations Branch in 1974 and the rest, including the later formation of the Warfare Branch, is history.

    The RN Clearance Diver Branch was formed on 7 March 1952 and remained parented by HMS Vernon under its various guises until the establishment's final closure on 1 April 1996.
  9. Learning about Gunwharf Quays#

    I see that there is going to be a Diver Flash Mob on Sunday:

    "It will conclude with a ‘flash mob’ at 2pm on Sunday, which will see dozens of divers appear across the shopping and leisure centre for an hour."
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
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