Special thanks go to Owen Thompson who kindly sent me today’s item for the collection.
HMS nelson was one of only two battleships brought into service by the Royal Navy between the wars. In 1932 she had been in service for five years and she paid off at the end of a commission. Paying off could either mark the ship going into the dockyard for a refit, the transfer from one fleet to another or indeed the final operational point in a ship’s life before it was reduced to reserve or scrapped. I cannot find evidence of HMS Nelson being refitted in 1932 so she was probably paid off before transferring to another fleet or having a change of crew.
To commemorate this event it was, and indeed still is, traditonal to have a number of parades, speaches and social functions and it was decided in 1932 to commemorate the paying off of HMS Nelson by having a ball, presumably for the ship’s officers, in Southsea near Portsmouth. This little card is a souvenir of that event:
The inside of the card details the different dances and order of events for the evening:
It is interesting to modern eyes to see the huge variety of dances that would take place over the evening. Presumably refreshments would have been available as well and a very jolly evening had by all, so cars were available to take revellers home at the end of the night: