Merry Christmas! I hope you are all enjoying a restive and happy Christmas Day. We are continuing our annual tradition of looking at a Christmas related object on the day itself and tonight we have the second of three different Christmas cards for you. Tonight’s card has a naval connection and is sent from the Commander in Chief of the Far East Station:The commander in chief’s pennant can be seen on the front of the card:Inside there is a wonderful graphic of the far east, with a Chinese dragon:The Commander in Chief’s flag can be seen at the bottom over Singapore, which was the Far East Station during the immediate post war period. The card was sent to a Mrs Henderson by ‘Bill’:The position of Commander in Chief was an important one and was usually filled by a Vice Admiral, as indicated by the pennant which is that a Vice Admiral is entitled to fly. After the Second World War the British reoccupied Singapore and it remained a major naval base throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The shore establishment, known as HMS Terror, only closed in 1972 with the withdrawal of British naval interests East of Suez. Today the Royal Navy maintains a small maintenance depot on one wharf in the naval base that is now run by the Singaporean Navy. One ex-sailor extols the virtues of the naval base:
Anyway, to Terror . Although not ship’s company I spent a very pleasant period at the establishment in the ’50s while the vessel I was attached to underwent a refit. The pleasures of the base and Singapore itself were many and varied . From the facilities of Terror to the stopping places en-route to the big city there was never a dull moment . Nee Soon, and that poor creature No Nose, to the questionable delights of Bugis Street the variety was endless.
Terror itself provided all a matelot could want from the basic comfort of the blocks to the magnificent swimming pool and the playing fields, it was indeed a holiday type experience compared to some of the UK establishments . Alas , I understand Singas is no longer such an interesting place now it has been ‘ made over ‘ into a huge city of tall buildings not unlike the HK transformation from a character filled experience to another ‘ big city ‘ no doubt impersonal and without the many features provided by ‘ real people ‘ .
I wish I’d taken more phots while there, what with the Union Jack Club and the Brit Club plus all the other sources of entertainment it was indeed ‘ a good run ashore ‘. Happy daze.