HMS MERCURY

The thought passed my mind as well. Satellites are extremely vulnerable but the ionosphere is there forever. You can bounce HF off it and a decent sparker can receive morse through all manner of interference. Surely at least one sparker per ship would be handy? But looking at modern ships it seems that they don't have any of the necessary gear to set up an HF link.
There used to be an annual competition for NATO comms operators in MTX, MRX, FRX and teletyping. It was held at Mercury in 1964. I had just finished my RS course andwon the Morse compo. Got up to 30wpm using mixed groups of letters, numbers, tiddly letters and signs (i.e. imi).
Happy days

An ex RO(G) mjyself I doubt we'll see CW and HF again. I'll use my mobile phone thank you.

I went to Belgium in 1970 to take part in the NATO Naval Communications Competition.
Our team trainer was CRS Mick Puttick, who was also a keen radio amateur - and still is (G3LIK).

The standard speed for doing MRX was 36wpm and to stand any chance of winning you needed around 98% accuracy or better. I recall an Italian won that bit of the competition when I entered!!
I've put a couple of pictures and a bit more about the competition here, NATO Naval Communications Competition.

Mercury?

I joined up in 1966 and recall taking part in a boxing competition (god knows why!) which was made into an evenings entertainment with officers and their wifes et al, attending. I obviously did well as the following day I was feted,congratulated and patted on the back. Not used to that as a 16 year old - felt good for a shy lad like me!!

I used to enjoy doing the patrols around the officers house which is/was a lovely old building. Didn't enjoy the fire duty. Sleeping in bare wooly blankets, clothed, in some old nissan hut by the main gate & cinema.

I remeber many late night sing songs in the 'automat? at the end of one block after closing times - it was full of food/drink dispensing machines and we were regularly turfed out by the patrols late at night.

I also recall one of the bar stewards in the main block's bar, who had been in the RN for hundreds of years and used to belong to one of the local fox hunts. I'd sometimes see him in the bar togged up in his hunting gear. God knows where he kept his horse?

Later doing my LRO's course I was waiting for the bus from Petersfield station and a rather posh limo + driver turned up. A well dressed gent got in, and asked me where I was going. "Jump in" he said, and he asked me a about the RN, mercury and so on. Dropped off at the main gate the gate sentry asked me if I knew who the passenger was. "No idea", I replied, only to be told he was the Captain of Mercury whom I'd failed to recognise!!
 
It has been interesting to read all these Dits about Mercury, an amazing place!My memories on joining after Raleigh in 1984 was the weather, Mercury could have snow in summer and heatwaves in winter!Its funny that MA's have been some of the people who made the biggest impact84/85 the female MA was awful, remember when standing checking ID cards on the admin block under the guardhouse (because of IRA threats) a PO just barged past me, without showing.. Just as I was thinking I hope no one saw me, who was walking towards me! She gave me a lecture but did promise to have words with the PO, maybe was fair, but still awfulThe other was a MA in 1988 when I was on my small ships course, rumours have it that he had asked to go to Mercury for many years, because an RO had punched him in Portsmouth and he wanted revenge, not sure if the story is true, but seeing him in action, probably enough evidence to convict.I have visted the site a few times and the last time I saw that the crescent had been demolished and the rubble was all being processed.Do not believe there are any shore establishments that people hold in such fondness, actually thought the food was amazing for the Navy, but the local catering assistance. Sure that they pay for the milk themselves the way they would hound someone if they took some for a drink instead of cereals !Jonahjones 84-85 and 88 RO1 (G)
 

Jrd1960

Newbie
Wow what a thread, brought back many memories.

I joined the mob on 4th October 1977
Went to Mercs for part 2 training 12/11/77 think our instructor was RS Eastwood
LRO(G)(Q) 22/11/82
RS(Q) 11/4/88
23/2/93 Returned to Mercury as instructor in G Section, was on final divisions when Mercury closed, many a tear was shed on divisions that day, very very sad day indeed.
Continued as a G section instructor at Collingwood
Rated CRS 29/5/95

I am now a Paramedic Practitioner in Hull, attended a conference in Southampton a couple of months ago, so decided to go day early due to distance and also wanted to visit Mercury. Think in someways I wish I hadn't. The place was unrecognisable, the only things left was the little guard hut near the senior rates mess, the SR's accommodation block and the sick bay, which is now the reception facilities for a tree hunggers group.

I stood at the west end of the Crescent Road looking through a wire mesh fence and its just a field full of rubble, I had glazed eyes as I walked around, nothing else was recognisable, you could just make out the bus stop outside where the OOW building used to be. No other buildings whatsoever remain, absolute travesty, all those happy, and they were happy memories demolished without a care. Those people earlier in this thread talking about coming back off weekend for the Sunday night bop, we had DLT and Noel Edmonds up there, Bens burger van, that fire cart.

I was honoured to have had lunch with the awesome Earl of Mountbatten in the JR's dining hall on one of his many un-announced visits, he just came across to our table with his partitioned metal meal tray and asked us if he could join us, Christ I nearly chocked on me dinner, but it was something I will always remember about Mercury.

So many memories.

John Dunwell
 

Pedro

Newbie
Spent 27 weeks in Pascoe Block. Anyone ever
recall CO's Rounds and every mess trying to
win that chuffin' cake for the cleanest, bestest
mess?
.....and the Pig Farm......
Great recollections here....thanks all... Pascoe was my first home after Raleigh in 1961 ...Pete
 

dash

Midshipman

Only just found this site and spent quite a while reading the posts and looking at old Mercury piccys.

Completed my training in 73 then spent some time in the MACC also had a loan draft to Cochrane after finishing training for 'Sallyforth 73' spending lonely nights in the signal tower near the forth rail bridge while the yeoman of the watch got his head down!! before flying to Hong Kong to join the Hermione then returned in 75 for another stint as ships company.. worked in fleetwork trainer then on security.. Bens leftover burgers used to end up in the security lodge at the end of the night but we had usually done a security check of the galley fridge by then and secured some nice pork chops :smile:.
Highlight of the week was our Saturday trip on the transport down to Pompey for a social gathering in a local pub.. spent most nights sitting in a large circle to the side of the dancefloor making our own entertainment!!..
I remembered Mick Tosh joining our class towards the end of training and met up with him again in 76 at Northwood where we were on the same watch in 'systems engineering'.. shared a lift with him and Adge down to Pompey on one of our 3 days off but they didn't pick me up on the way back and I had to catch a train (turning up late for the afternoon watch).

Happy days at Mercury especially the laid back routine of ships company.. shame to see it in such a run down state.
 

Forseti

Newbie
I went to Belgium in 1970 to take part in the NATO Naval Communications Competition.
Our team trainer was CRS Mick Puttick, who was also a keen radio amateur - and still is (G3LIK).

The standard speed for doing MRX was 36wpm and to stand any chance of winning you needed around 98% accuracy or better. I recall an Italian won that bit of the competition when I entered!!
I've put a couple of pictures and a bit more about the competition here, NATO Naval Communications Competition.

Stumbled here by accident and woa this is what I find. David - been there, done that and before you LOL - in fact one year before - 1969 although then it was held in Amsterdam, Holland.

First image - Captain Anson prize - a ball point pen would you believe. Second image - just prior to first MRX test 40wpm.
Oh, and an Italian also won that year with a prize from his Navy of a 2 week holiday with family with spending money. :cussing:
 

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Forseti

Newbie
First went there in 66 and at various stages during my career. For me the best time was when the Jennies used to live at Soberton Towers. A run ashore meant climbing into or hanging onto a beat up old scrapheap of car that had two doors missing which then haired off down to the Pinky. Coming back was great fun as undoubtedly the driver missed the sharp left hand turn at the top of the hill just past the farm and ploughed straight through the hedge. To this day the hedge has never grown back.

You must have been a passenger in my car then - a green mini van. The doors came off after failing to take the corner, ploughing through the hedge and, because it was winter with the freshly but now solid furrowed field, what was left of the car was now no more sadly. Four passengers in the back of the van who were asleep but were suddenly wide away asked if it was a short cut. Oh, and the lane prior to the 'T' junction was termed the 'Mad Mile'. Will be visiting the area again come June and if the wife agrees LOL I'm going to see if I can take that corner. :biggrin:
 

Inglefield

Midshipman
Re Mercury

Great recollections here....thanks all... Pascoe was my first home after Raleigh in 1961 ...Pete

As an OD Pascoe Block was my first home at Mercury and had just been built in April `52 and my Course were, I think, the first to occupy it. Sadly, after a couple of months we were removed from its relative luxury and transferred to one of the old Nissen huts! Nevertheless I quite enjoyed my time at Mercury and we had a great Course Yeoman (Yeo Cawson). According to my Service record Mercury`s Captain at that time was A S Morton whom, I believe, later became an Admiral.
 

Inglefield

Midshipman
1969, CY course my last visit to Merx, hard to believe it was 40 years ago.... God, I'm getting old !
Scrumpy run's down the Pinky.... I remember them.... forgot everything about the fleetwork trainer !

You`re getting old? It`s frightening but I remember it 60 years ago!!
 
I was in the Brickwoods Field gun crew at mercury in 1980! I didn't want to go there when drafted, but eventually grew to love the place. Also met my wife of 30 yrs, L/Wren Sharon Kirkham! ( now Davies ).
 

Chaz

MIA
Wonder how much the MOD sold it for:
http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-37853791.html

If the link doesn't work, put in East Meon for the search area!
 
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