TS Arethusa

Steve Gray
28th July 2005, 17:18
Can anyone out there supply me with any information regarding the whereabouts or fate of the TS Arethusa which was at one time based at Upnor near Strood.

Any info and especially photos would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,


Bob S
29th July 2005, 17:25
Hi Steve,

ARETHUSA is now an exhibit at the South Street Seaport Museum in New York under her original name of PEKING.

Built in 1911, she became ARETHUSA on the River Medway in 1932 and went to New York in 1975.
Info from - http://www.southstseaport.org/

Saw her there in 2002, also have a photo of her on the Medway somwhere, will look it up and post.

Steve Gray
29th July 2005, 18:09
Hello Robert,

Many thanks for the info and for posting the photo's, my mind is now at rest.

Best wishes,


30th July 2005, 00:40
I sailed with a 3rd Mate who'd been on TS Arethusa. He had some hilarious tales of his time there. He was sent there by a magistrate! I'm sure that wasn't the case with all the lads.

John T.

Mick quinn
28th September 2005, 20:52

Saw a piece in some shipping magazine earlier this year that the yanks were about to sell the Peking ex-Arethusa ex-Peking for in excess of 6,000,000 sterling. Considering they only paid the scrap value for her on her demise as a training ship in 1974 thats not a bad return for their money.

By by the way, I joined the Arethusa in 1965 not because I was a naughty boy or anything but because at 13 I wanted to go to sea in the MN and she was the easiest way to do so. Spent 9 fantastic years in the MN travelling the world before package tours and getting paid for it.

25th October 2005, 20:39
Steve. Just as an aside. When I was a Royal Engineer based at the RE Bridging Site at Upnor in 1961 we had heavy pontoon bridge sections moored just off the hard. Late one winter evening the mooring parted during a gale and the cry went up!. Arethusa had a very lucky escape that night as our tug managed to reach the pontoon as it was within feet of spearing her hull. She had a full crew of Shaftesbury boys fast asleep!. Big inquiry after that!.

25th October 2005, 21:11

Here some details of her:

Rig: Four-masted barque
Material: Wood decks, rest steel
Length: 377 ft.
Breadth: 47 ft.
Gross Tonnage: 3100
Net Tonnage: 2883
Depth: 26 ft. 3 in.
Main Mast Height: 170 ft.
Sail Area: 44,132 sq. ft.
Max Speed: 16.5 knots (19 mph)
Passenger Capacity: 32


3rd January 2007, 07:02
yes,e-mail me and I can give you some info mate.

31st January 2007, 07:08

There is an Arethusa Old Boys Forum at


It's in Delphi which is a bit painful but I kicked it off some 10 years back. Not overly active but there's a few hundred posts there worth trolling back through. Easiest way I've found is by changing the thread and message number in the url. The search engine is rather useless.

Cheers, Geoff. (#234 63-66)

21st August 2008, 13:34
Can anyone out there supply me with any information regarding the whereabouts or fate of the TS Arethusa which was at one time based at Upnor near Strood.

Any info and especially photos would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,


As a child, I used to get taken on board 'Arethusa' for Arethusa Days down at Upnor. We'd go off to Lower Upnor and go on board opp. The Ship pub, have a look round and then go and eat sandwiches on Upnor 'beach'. I watched 'Arethusa' being towed away down the Medway in the 1970's after she was bought and taken to NY.


21st August 2008, 15:20
I too remember the Arethusa at Upnor.

My old man was CO of a Chatham based ship (HMS Mesina that had been at Christmas Island) and while he was away in the Middle East my mother and I lived in rented accommodation on a farm at Hoo. Thanks to the landlady my mother got involved with the local social life.

The CO of Arethusa was Captain Malcolm La Mere who had a (I think) a Belgian wife and a daughter called Petra who was a friend of mine - I was well under 10 years old at the time!

We all used the Arethusa swiming pool and were often onboard. At Christmas they had what seemed to me a huge tree with live candles as decorations. There was always two/three of the cadets on sentry duty with buckets of water. Maybe this was only for a special occasion, but I do remember it.

Amongst the local people that we knew well was the Chancellor familly who lived on the Thames barge Viper. John Chancellor and my aold may were good friends and I knew the kids. John had been deep sea in the war and worked with Tony Lapthorne but later became an internationally known marine artist but sadly died a good few years ago just when he was becoming internationally recognised.

We returned to Kent for a family holiday in the 1970s and Arethusa was still there but a couple of years later was sold.

I remember at the time there were letters in the press (about as good as it got in these days!) about how the UK had given up the chance of having a "real" sail training ship. I have no idea what state she was in, but she was able to be towed to the USA so can not have been that bad. Still strikes me as a wasted opportunity!

As everyone else says here, Happy Days - but I was only a kid at the time and the summers were always longer and it always snowed for Christmas!


22nd August 2008, 14:09
Used to be very civilized to have a couple of beers at lunchtime, sat outside the pub at Upnor opposite Arethusa, back in the days when we had decent summers ....................

22nd August 2008, 15:53
Attached picture of Arethusa. 10.06.1949

22nd August 2008, 16:32
I still think it was a missed opportunity!

The UK could have had a real "Tall SHip". I think though that we should be grateful that she found a decent home as the UK seems oblivious to our maritime heritage (and yes I DO know that the ship was originally German from the "flying P' Lietz line sailors).

Does anyone know what condition she was actually in?

As I have said before, she was able to go to the USA!


22nd August 2008, 17:14
I went aboard back in 1991 and and She wasn't too good then. There is talk that She may well be on her way back across the Pond as the Yanks can't afford to keep Her any more. The talk is that She may come back to Hamburg Her place of origin. That would be great wouldn't it. I believe She went into a Dry-Dock at Staten Island for a Hull check to see If She can be towed back if not on a heavy lift barge.

22nd August 2008, 17:27

Wherever she end up, as long as she is looked after, is OK by me. Just look at the Falls of Clyde thread to see how easy it is to lose a piece of important maritime history.

These threads (and other related ones) simply reinforce what WE all know already - namely that to preserve a ship in a safe condtion you need a shed load of cash, and that sadly the UK does not seem to be interested unless it from private funds.

If Hamburg can offer that then yes, it is a great idea.


22nd August 2008, 17:45
Unreal I know but I would like to see her back at Her old moorings at Lower Upnor on the Medway. Just a Day-Dream McC.

22nd August 2008, 17:57
Unreal I know but I would like to see her back at Her old moorings at Lower Upnor on the Medway. Just a Day-Dream McC.

Wouldn't that be fabulous (Thumb) And we could all stand there with a long cool drink in our hands and toast the return of a local landmark.....what does all the National Lottery money go on?? This would be a very worthy cause - and it's not just because I'm a Chatham girl lol

22nd August 2008, 18:15
As I have posted above - as long as the ship ends up being looked after that is good enough for me.

I have very happy memories of my time at Hoo/Upnor/Chatham and so yes - IF somebody can find the cash, and IF some group will maintain her then by all means let her come back to Upnor - or maybe the Chatham Historic Dockyard?

But to be realistic - nobody in the UK seems to care about the warships in Liverpool, the Trust that looked after the Robin, Cambria, Kathleen and May etc. seems to be dead so what chance does a large "Cape Horn Sailor" have in todays Britain?

If Hamburg can give he ship a home and ensure her future then I support their bid.


23rd August 2008, 08:45
Here is a pic of "Peking" in 1991 At New York's South Street Museum.

23rd August 2008, 09:15
During world war 2 there was also a Cruiser named H.M.S. Arethusa, which was " Adopted " by my home town of Swansea in Wales. Regards, Terence Williams. R538301.

14th February 2010, 13:48
Attached picture of Arethusa. 10.06.1949

Thanks for posting your picture of Arethusa, it brought back many happy memories i always remember her as a beautiful ship. For fifteen years i raced regularly from medway yacht club our start line was just up from her stern. used to have fun with the wind shifts she created lying in the lee of the hill behnd her.

14th February 2010, 14:06
Unreal I know but I would like to see her back at Her old moorings at Lower Upnor on the Medway. Just a Day-Dream McC.

I could,nt agree more she was a magnificient sight at Upnor and should be returned to her berth on the medway. I was down there recently and it seemed odd to see the training facilities still in use but the ship not there. Lets hope something can be done. I was upset to see housing and flats appearing inside chatham dockyard looking across river from Arethusa's old berth.

15th February 2010, 17:36
Just found this thread. I'd be interested to know if anyone remembers my grandfather who was a teacher on the Arethusa. I vaguely remember going on board to see him, probably in the late fifties (I was only about six at the time). His name was William Bailey. I'm not sure what subject he taught. It would be nice to pass some info on to my father if anyone can throw some light on this. I went off to sea with Ellerman's in the early seventies, perhaps its something in the genes.

16th February 2010, 08:36
Just found this thread. I'd be interested to know if anyone remembers my grandfather who was a teacher on the Arethusa. I vaguely remember going on board to see him, probably in the late fifties (I was only about six at the time). His name was William Bailey. I'm not sure what subject e taught. It would be nice to pass some info on to my father if anyone can throw some light on this. I went off to sea with Ellerman's in the early seventies, perhaps its something in the genes.

Hi, I was in Arethusa during 56/58, I can recall most of the officers names during that time but I'm not sure about a Mr W Bailey. There was one officer however who,s name I can't remember I think He taught Geography and He was also the divisional officer for Quarter Deck Port. I have an idea that His name did start with the letter B but that's as far as the old grey matter will stretch. Sorry I can't be more helpful. I'll try and sort out a pic of Him that perhaps You may recognise.

16th February 2010, 09:41
Just found this thread. I'd be interested to know if anyone remembers my grandfather who was a teacher on the Arethusa. I vaguely remember going on board to see him, probably in the late fifties (I was only about six at the time). His name was William Bailey. I'm not sure what subject he taught. It would be nice to pass some info on to my father if anyone can throw some light on this. I went off to sea with Ellerman's in the early seventies, perhaps its something in the genes.

Hi again Baileybloke. Regarding You Grandfather I have fished out a pic which maybe Your Grandfather, this is the only instructional officer I am unable to name. He is the centre of the three officers. Is this the Man?.

18th February 2010, 11:23
Hi Old Strawberry, Thank you for getting back to me. I have reason to believe that I may have led you up the garden path. I do apologise. I have now found out from my father that my grandfather was in fact on the Arethusa much earlier than I thought, possibly during the thirties leading up to the war. My visit on board in the fifties must have been a return to old times for my grandfather as well. Doing the mathematics, anyone who knew him would now be in their mid to late eighties so I am probably struggling now.
So, despite your best efforts, it would appear I have wasted your time.
Many thanks anyway for taking the time to reply. Kind regards, Baileybloke

18th February 2010, 14:13
Ah well, it was worth a try. So I still havn't got the name for this officer.

trevor brett
6th March 2010, 15:13
this is trevor brett ex 109 arethusa 1949. why cant we all start a campaigne to get our ship back home with help from the lotterey grant. I would like her to return to lower upnor chatham. wait your replys. Trevor.

31st May 2010, 20:29
Hi again Baileybloke. Regarding You Grandfather I have fished out a pic which maybe Your Grandfather, this is the only instructional officer I am unable to name. He is the centre of the three officers. Is this the Man?.

Old Strawberry,I was in the "Arry" from 49 -51 and do recognise those officers,but the names are vague,I think the one one the left was Mr weightman,on the right,Mr Timms and the middle one could be Mr {Shorty} Seysall,but not sure.It's been a while,ha ha,Sammyb

1st June 2010, 09:37
Hi Sammy B,
You are nearly right Sammy, the officer on the left is indeed Mr Weightman and the officer on the right is Mr Tomms or Thoms but he was known to us (as Peggy). Mr Weightman was Science and Peggy was maths but the officer in the middle I just can't recall his name. He was divisional officer of QDPT and taught Geography. So he still remains a mystery. Ill attach another pic with some other officers You may find familliar.

1st June 2010, 14:36
Hi Old Strawb,
one of our sons is in New york on a visit,and him and his daughter visited the "ARRY" yesterday.He phoned me from her as someone was asking where we bathed.My son told him to hang on and he would find out first hand,unfortuantley,I was out at the time,but have been thinking of her ever since.I love the pix that you posted and knew most of those guys right away,especially "Tiny Fuller" the signals whiz.Had a lot of fun with him.Also Mr Harptree,I was in the swim team and he was the coach,and one of my most vivid memorries is that he let us smoke on the bus when we was going to a competition,ha ha.Love those days over again!Take care,Sammyb

1st June 2010, 15:41
Hi Sammy, I thought You would like the Pic. The Bathroom as I recall was right forr'd on the Portside of the Messdeck, the door would have been where No 2 hammock was slung,the starboardside was the PO's Mess and Pantry,in between were ladders going up to the Upper deck where the toilets were underneath the Foc'sle Head

2nd June 2010, 03:11
Hi Tony,yes ,now you jogged the old memory,ty.Thought you might like to see the sister ship of the old "Arry",she's a Russian training vessel and was in Vancouver harbour for the 2010 olympics,take care,sammyb

PS.Her name is "krusenstern"

14th July 2010, 06:04
Hi folks, 78 mitchell foc,sle stbd 1968, my tug was 77 Wiggins, whatever happened to he i wonder. I didn't last the full training program i'm sorry to say. I took to climbing the mast at night and eventually did a runner with the money i collected for a fag run. couldn't deal with the (navy cake brigade) but i loved the ship and went to NY to see her this May 2010. Please someone fund a proper restoration. She,s had extensive work done to the hull with loads still needed, there's a 20ft patch just above the waterline marked off with big black letters, (NO TUG) so obviously very weak. All the lower deck port holes have been welded up and the rotting deck has been clumsily boarded over with marine ply. The rigging was replaced and repaired but the rest seems to be bodging for tourists. The beautiful captains cabin has been ripped out and its so dangerous to go bellow decks its been fenced off. (Deterioration seems to be in front of maintenance regimes) pity to see her like this but she tries to hold her dignity while i sense feeling abandoned. While in service as a training ship she lived and breathed. In my opinion she deserves a better fate than a mere tourist attraction. She needs to live and be lived in.

15th July 2010, 13:53
Hello Tony(Old Strawbs), 78Mitchell, SammyB and the rest of you guys with a soft spot for the 'Are'....Found this site today and on reading this thread felt compelled to join. Was saddened to hear that the Yanks are neglecting the old girl, she deserves better than that. Seems as if I may have just missed you Tony! I was on the 'Are' from Jan.'55 to May,'56. My name is Roger Dyer, formerly No.123, Tp/St. 'Rookie'Edwards was our Div.Off. Everybody seems to have loved 'Tiny' Fuller but me. He didn't like me and the feeling was mutual, but I must admit, he was a morse code whiz and knew all there was to know about seamanship. I can still see and hear him now, in the cutter, as we poor souls strived to make way through the water. His booming voice " STROKE! STROKE! EYES IN THE BOAT" etc, etc. Truth be told, the man terrified me. I thought most of the other officers were fine, but after a shaky start I liked and respected 'Shacks' the most. Anyway, fingers crossed for the 'Are'. best wishes to all...Roger.

15th July 2010, 17:22
Hi Rodge the Lodge, great to hear from You, always nice to hear from Ex ARRY'S. Do You know Your the first person to Have mentioned and remembered dear Old "Rookie". Of all the Old Boys I have spoken to on various sites no one seems to remember Him. The "Wizz" was My DO "QDST". I was never one of His shining lights but I didn't have a problem with Him or anyone else for that matter, He did however volounteer me for the boxing competition I thought that was very considerate of Him. If You didn't already know there is an TS Arethusa section on Facebook also another one in Delphi Forums (Arethusa old boys forum delphiforums.com/arethusa also Arethusa old boys association. There was another but that has folded now. Regarding "Peking" I visited her in 1991 and She wasn't too good then but at least She is still in one piece. Anyway Rodger good to know You.

16th July 2010, 05:09
Hello again Tony (Old Strawbs)....Your mention of the Annual Boxing Competition stirred a few memories! In late '55 my relationship with Mr.Shackleton had been somewhat tenuous and so, against my better judgment, I allowed him to coerce me into entering the competition. I remember that for three one-minute rounds I belted the crap out of Boy Emby (he was also from QD/ST I think), although the judges quite rightly adduced that Boy Emby had belted me a little bit harder and awarded him the fight. I recall feeling somewhat disappointed at the time, but felt no animosity against the victor, who, like me, probably hadn't wanted to box either. Such was the way, then, of building young men for the future I suppose. Later, they gave me a 'good losers' commendation, whatever that meant, but on the positive side, from that day forth, my relationship with 'Shacks' improved immensely. In early '56, in their wisdom, they promoted me to Leading Boy of Mess 5. Unfortunately my tenure was but short-lived. After a slanging match with P.O.Boy Ewing one evening (silly me), the following morning found me outside the Regulating Office, up before Mr.Farrington on a charge of insubordination. Lunchtime found me back on Mess 13 with my old buddies. Swift justice indeed,ha ha! The Arethusa has earned a reputation of being the toughest of all sea-training establishments, perhaps that's why I still feel proud that I can call myself an old 'Are' boy. Like all seaman, I like to think that we were a special breed - we were and we are. Hope to talk to you again, Tony...Best wishes, Roger.

18th July 2010, 11:41
Hi! I was on the TS Arethusa from Easter, 1947, having just turned fourteen. My number was 66. I remember the Last Post being played by the bugler as we lay below in our hammocks. These were collected and slung from long rails just before lights-out. Supper was a couple of biscuits of hard tack, out of which we were supposed to knock the weevils! We used Duraglit wool to clean the brass portholes - a job I particularly remember doing. There were lessons in seamanship, with outings on the Medway in the cutter - sometimes very hard rowing when the river was rough. We seemed to spend most of our days dressed only in shorts, with no tops. Best blues were worn only occasionally. Another memory is the climbing of the masts and making our way along the yardarms, with a rope for footing. My admiration went to the Buttonboy who stood atop the mainmast! That took real guts and a very steady head. Lessons in the afternoons are remembered, but not the teachers' names. One teacher I liked in particular taught English and I recollect the time when he read to us Kipling's 'If'. It made a great impression on me. I think that since the Arethusa was commissioned by the Royal Navy during WW2, she couldn't have been long handed-back to the Shaftesbury Homes. The officers were quite young and had recently fought in the war. Is there anyone else out there who was a boy-recruit from as far back as 1947?

Chatham Lass
25th November 2010, 20:53
My grandparents lived in Upper Upnor and my Grandmother worked on the Arethusa until 1960 when they moved to Hoo. She is 94 now and not too sure when she started work there but I believe she worked in a domestic capacity and was friends with the cook - she certainly seemed to feed the family with 'leftovers' from the ship!! She was very close to Captain La Mere's family and still carries a picture of his daughter Petra in her locket alongside a picture of me.

I remember being taken aboard the ship on open days as a child in the early 70s - and won a china doll in a raffle and called her Arethusa after the ship. Many of the family photos of me as a child have the Arethusa in the background - plenty of pictures of me balanced on the cannons which flanked the entrance to her walkway. Upnor was never the same when the big grand old lady left to be replaced by the smaller modern training ship.

And as for the figurehead with the exposed chest .. well, many a snigger for a young child growing up in Upnor!!

I wonder if anyone remembers Mrs Iris Mortley (Madge) and her pushbike!!!

26th November 2010, 11:29
hello Chatham Lass,...Lovely to see a post from somebody who remembers my old ship ( Jan.1955 to May, 1956). In 1992, whilst on a holiday in the U.K. with my wife, I went back to Upnor, but without 'Arethusa' being there, the little riverside hamlet just wasn't the same. At that time, the figurehead was still there (facing the River Medway, outside the swimming baths). Forgive me when I say this (my wife did), but her exposed breast still looked as magnificent as it did when first I saw it as an impressionable 14 year old all those years ago(Wave)Unfortunately I have a no independent memory of your dear grandmother at that time, but she may remember the two Cooks that were there in my time. Their names were Stan Whitnall and 'Mo' Pavey. Even now, I can still remember 'Mo' (who, when off-duty, enjoyed the occasional ale in the 'Ship Inn'), walking about the galley singing to himself a very old song called 'Ramona'. Funny how these sort of things stay in ones memory. Anyway, if you mention those names to your Nan, she may well remember them. I do, of course, remember Petra, who in my time was just a little girl. I believe that she grew up to be a very nice person like her mother ( and her father if it comes to that). I am happy to have responded to your thread, but only wish I could have been of more assistance to you....best regards, Roger.

26th November 2010, 15:31
Who can forget those cullinary delights that was dished out by the Galley Staff in those days. How about "UNOX" spam fritters, sausage meat for sunday breakfast(Fried Eggs for the weekly top mess on Sunday's) and I still love spam fritters to this day but unfortunately being on a bit of a fat free diet they're OUT!. Does anyone ever re-call having a bad stomach in those days, I certainly don't. Apart from the "Asian Flu" (Which I blagged for a fortnight in RNH Chatham) saga I don't ever recall being ill on the "ARE'".

27th November 2010, 01:16
Hi Tony...After the post from Chatham Lass the other day and now your latest offering it's good to see this thread active again. Yes, mate, I well remember the 'Unox' fritters and, like you, I loved 'em. Also recall having a passion for the 'chickenettes', don't think there was much chicken in them but they always seemed good to me. I didn't mind the fishcakes either. There always seemed to be lots of baked beans in our diet. I suppose the food was, perhaps, a bit basic by today's standards, but I don't ever recall being hungry. Your mention of eggs on Sunday for the top mess of the week is something I don't remember. I do, however, recall that during the short period I was Leading Boy of Mess 5 (or was it 7, not sure anymore), we were judged top mess after the Saturday morning scrub and shine. Our reward was a free 3d ice cream from the ship's tuck shop. While I think of it, did you ever try the quick route from the galley down to the mess deck vide the food lift ? Bit of a tight squeeze, but it did amuse us for a while (just as long as you weren't caught, if you were, look out !).....best regards, Roger.

27th November 2010, 07:58
Morning Rog' no I never did pull the Galley boy slot. I think that during my Maintainance term I pulled Swimming Bath Boy, Sick Berth Boy, Devitt House Boy, laundry Boy all of which were pretty cushy really. I'm not too sure how the top mess points came about did we have daily inspections or once a week??. I was on 21 Mess and not to put a too finer point on it we were top mess quite often. I wonder how many "Brillo Pads and emery cloth we went through in those days.

28th November 2010, 00:29
Hello again Tony....Your memory for the finer details never ceases to amaze me. I thought I was good, but you, mate, are in a class of your own......T'was my lot to land the Galley Boy job on two seperate occasions (for durations of a week at a time, if memory serves). One requirement of that job I do recall was that we had to wear wooden clogs on our feet whilst working in the galley. They used to make a terrible racket, but you did get used to them. I found it easier if I shuffled along rather than try to lift my feet. I must have looked like a train(Jester). The Dutch have a lot to answer for, ha! ha!....The cooks, Stan and Mo' were pretty good to us but it wasn't as cushy as some of the choice jobs you landed. What on earth did you 'maintain' up at Devitt House? - not the Sister I hope! Some other maintenance duties I performed, were 'Maintenance Staff Mess' and Quartermaster (standing in that little office at the head of the gangway, forever mindful of ones responsibility for ringing the bell and 'dipping' the flag to navy ships, etc. Also responsible for the Scran-bag, do you remember that?). Did you ever volunteer for Retard Party during leave times? Anyway, I'll leave it there for now, while I go away and try to think of other Are' memories.........cheers, Roger.

28th November 2010, 08:25
Hi Roger, I do hope you are a bit warmer there than we are here. I think Roger once you do start to remember those old days, little bits of small detail will begin to come back especially if your one on one with someone else. I do have quite good memories of my time on board the TS Arethusa. I have mentioned in other posts that I personally never had any problems during my time and I suppose it would be safe to say that I enjoyed my time in Her, I do mean the "Arethusa" and not the Sister. I wasn't particularly clever but muddled along in my own way and did most things that one was expected to do. Devitt House Boy was simillar to Sick Bay Boy, just a cleaner really. All I can remember about Sister was Her magnificent chest. When discharged from RNH Chatham after the "Asian Flu" I did spend a couple of days up there(Devitt House) before going back to the ship. I don't recall Her name but I do recall Her coming in to bedroom where I was berthed more or less to say goodnight and see if I was ok and Her leaning over me and that chest will remain in my memory for eternity. But of course any response from me would have been fairly muted as I was then only just beginning to feel the stirrings. Whether or not I will be chastised by the MODS for this but Devitt House was the venue for my very first "One off the Wrist" if you know what I mean. Wouldn't that be a good subject for a new thread "Where did You have Your first "One off the Wrist". I had my first full sexperiment about 18 months later in the pleasuredome of Lisbon!. Hey I am digressing here. Back to the plot.
I have had discussions with Old Boys that didn't have such a good time in the "ARE" and they don't hold Her with the same fondness, for want of a better word than I do and no doubt many others as well. Some even claiming brutallity off which I personally never experienced during my years or even witnessed. So there we are Roger. The demise of establishments like the TS Arethusa and others like Her has added to the lack of respect and the moronic behaviour of some of todays youth.

29th November 2010, 14:56
Hi Tony,.....To answer your question re the weather here in Sydney at the moment. There's no snow, but it is raining and we're told it will stay the same until Saturday next. Your comments re your youthful self-indulgence at Devitt House whilst aroused by Sister, that vision of loveliness, the original Madonna with the big 'boobies', had me giggling. To be honest though, I found that those glasses she wore with the ultra-thick lens (not unlike the bottom of a bottle) were rather off-putting. Not really to my taste, but to each his own I suppose. It did strike me that, perhaps, you were a late starter in that particular nocturnal activity. If my memory serves, after lights out each night, the hammock bars on the Are' were positively vibrating. Maybe you were too busy to notice(Jester).....Like you, whilst on the Are', my happy memories far outweighed the bad. I have been in touch with Ian Walker (also a SN member), who was on the old girl at the same time as me, and he shares the same view. It was tough at times, but most of us were hardy little bu---rs weren't we? so I'm sure that for most it was a positive experience. One other thing I remember. Each Sunday when we were granted a few hours shore leave, I and a couple of mates would hasten up the hill to a little shop in Chattendene, where we would purchase a packet of 20 Cigs and spend the afternoon wandering aimlessly round Hoo, trying to smoke ourselves to death. The silly things we do when young, but we, of course, thought we were being so adult. Good to exchange this with you, I must try and remember more for another time............cheers, mate, Roger.

29th November 2010, 15:44
G'day Roger,
So that was why the hammock rails vibrated. Yes I too remember the Post Office They must have made a fortune up there on "Arethusa" Boys weekly 2/6d. Mine would go on a half ounce of Golden Virginia, a packet of papers and a box of matches leaving about tuppence change and I never got caught Lugging. Do You remember Rodge' on joining, after getting kitted out we had to parcel up our civvies and traipse up to the P'Office and post the parcel home.
Now on the subject of fags, I remember onetime when my Uncle and Aunt came down on visiting day and took me into Chatham to the pictures for the afternoon. At the interlude my Uncle gave me a quid to get some ice creams but with that quid I also bought 20 Senior Service unbeknown'st to Him. I finally owned up to that to my Aunt (my Uncle having already passed away) in 1992. It's great chatting to You Rodger about those days. Cheers for now.

4th December 2010, 14:31
Thanks for that picture in my head Dad! Scarred for life now!
Serously though, tis nice to hear you guys chat about the early days...

9th January 2011, 14:34
Hello Tony (Old Strawb)....Happy New Year Mate! Your young bloke's got a sense of humour, Arethusa trained? well once removed ay? The reason I contact, apart from wishing you well is just this. Earlier tonight I was viewing the Gallery and came across a few 'pics' you had put on site. I then realised that you and I do have a more tangible connection. You little nozzer squirt! you were but a few months behind me, but I now realise that we had a common connection. I didn't realise it by name alone, but having seen his picture I remember well your mate Barry Dimmock. I think he was Top/Port or QD/Pt, but anyway a quite sort of a guy but very switched on. A nice bloke anyway. He must have been on the Are' for more then two years. Just thought I'd mention it. Do you still have contact with him? As for young Strawb if your reading this, respect your father O.K. He's ex-Are and as a kid he was a tough little b----r, we all were. So, upset him, and I'll be round O.K.(Smoke) ..........Roger

9th January 2011, 16:50
Hi Roger, great to hear from You and likewise to You for your greetings. Not sure what this year will bring will it be better than last year? are they ever better than the previous year that remains to be seen but as long as good health holds out that's the most important thing.
Barrie Dimmock, he had already left the "Are" before I joined but I met him on joining my first ship RFA Tidereach April 1958. I think Tidereach held about eight Ex Arethusa boys when I joined her. So I guess I sailed with him for about a year. After that on leaving Tidereach I guess I only saw him once and that was in Mombasa, he was in RFA Retainer and I was in RFA Resurgent.
It was only last year that he popped up on the Arethusa section of the Delphi Forums so I was able to make contact with him by phone. We had a longish chat but that was it really with no further contact. He did also introduce himself on Shipsnostalgia, so I responded but again that was it, no further response. He lives in Plymouth, he did however invite me to come down but not being a driver, that option was not considered. So there we are Roger still at least we know he still lives but I guess many have now gone. I did lose a good friend of mine a few years ago also an Ex "Are" boy and future work colleague, all very sad really as there was a family only funeral so I did feel a bit cheated out saying cheerio to an old Mate. Cheers Roger.

New Arethusa website www.arethusaoldboys.com

Bryn Weightman
27th March 2012, 00:35
I too have happy memories of Upnor and the Arethusa, but from a slightly different perspective. My father was Mr Weightman, who no doubt many of you will remember and of course we lived in the flat over the swimming baths. I made a nostalgia trip to Upnor earlier today for the first time in many years and was pleased to see all the alterations around the baths, the new buildings etc, so obviously the work of the 'Arry' still goes on, albeit in a somewhat different way. Although the figurehead has a shelter over her and a canvas cover over her upper part, she appears to be in a very sorry state. My father would have been horrified to see her like this. However, I cannot help thinking that Upnor will never seem the same without the old ship lying to her moorings in the river

30th March 2012, 15:11
Hi Bryn,
Nice to hear from you. Yes, of course, I remember your father well. 'Willie', as he was affectionately known during my time on the Are'
('55/'56), was the Divisional Officer for Quarterdeck/Port and taught in the subject of Science. At the time, science was a subject I was not particularly fond of, however, I hasten to add that this lack of interest was no reflection on your father's ability to teach. In fact, by his manner of teaching he was able to instill in me an increased interest in the subject and his classes were never boring.

I remember him as a very tall man, although quite slim. I don't think he suffered fools gladly, but nevertheless was often very amusing. I remember him once telling us that as a younger man people often remarked about his likeness to the American actor, Ray Bolger, a song and dance man who, amongst many other roles, played the part of the Scarecrow in the 'Wizard of Oz". Since that time whenever I see a picture of Ray Bolger (which nowadays isn't often) I'm reminded of your father who did indeed bear a strong resemblance.

I was sad to learn that although a canopy has been placed over the old figurehead (the fallen madonna with the big boobies), she was in need of some TLC when you saw her recently. I'm surprised that such neglect has been allowed to occur. I last visited Upnor in the 1990's and felt much the same as you the other day. With Arethusa gone the place seemed empty. I've never been back.

Thanks for posting, Bryn.

Best regards, Roger.

30th March 2012, 15:29
Just as a Heads Up. The Peking AKA "TS Arethusa" is due to leave the South Street Seaport Museum NY on Her way back to Her place of Birth Hamburg. According to the AOBA news letter, She will leaving NY sometime in May 2012. She will be carried on the back of a Heavy Transporter Vessel.

Bryn Weightman
31st March 2012, 17:20
Hi Roger,
Good to hear from you. My sister, Gwyneth, who lived at Upnor with our parents for far longer than I did, and now lives in France, tells me that our father did a lot of maintenance work on the figurehead before he died and he found that a lot of the wood in the back had been replaced by concrete. She was under the impression that there was a group dedicated to restoring the figurehead to it's former glory. Would be nice to hear from them and to hear what is actually happening. If I lived nearer and was a few years younger I would have loved to have become involved as I think it very sad to see the once proud 'Miss Arethusa' looking so dilapidated.

Best regards,


Bryn Weightman
3rd April 2012, 22:16
Good news that Peking is going back to Hamburg, but does anyone know any more than that? Who has acquired her?, where will she be berthed etc?

4th April 2012, 00:56
She will be the centre piece at the Hamburg Maritime Museum.

Bryn Weightman
8th June 2012, 22:35
Found a lot of postcards and pictures of Arethusa on a website called [email protected] Prices seemed quite reasonable. Well worth looking I thought.

Bryn Weightman
2nd July 2012, 19:41
I was looking at a website called Zazzle earlier and was surprised to see a lot of Arethusa teeshirts and mugs on sale. They are designed by a company called windsorarts and have a dozen or so tees with a variety of pictures of her, frozen in, when the Medway froze over, painting ship, the figurehead, even some of the Glenstrathalan. I was quite impressed and think I might treat myself. The mugs too looked good.

21st June 2013, 16:05
Hi.All.Just joined ships nostalgia after fiddling about.After all these years ,still have happy mems of the old Are/

21st June 2013, 18:42
There is a very interesting book on the Peking written by a young sailor who sailed her around the Horn in 1929-30. Very nice testimony on what was at the time, the word largest sailing ship.
"The Peking Battles Cape Horn", By Captain Irving Johnson, Sea History Press, Distributed by Herman Publishing, Inc. Boston

23rd June 2013, 10:32
Hello John (Emby)......re your #60.

Nice to hear from you after all these years. You were probably surprised to find your pugilistic reputation had preceded your joining
Ships Nostalgia (see #38 on this thread). I still have vivid memories of our bout in the Are' Boxing tournament of '55 when for three short rounds, you and I hammered the c--p out of one another. With added height and reach advantage you were quite content to batter my head and body from afar and did so with admirable thoroughness. Occasionally I would manage (somehow) to force you against the ropes and pound away at your midriff until temporarily exhausted I would stand back gasping for breath. At this point, you would continue to batter my ears, scoring points with monotonous regularity, until I'd gathered sufficient breath and courage to have another go at your midriff ......and so it continued until with great delight I heard the final bell. The judges, in their wisdom, awarded you the fight which I thought perfectly reasonable. However, I felt some consolation in the cheers and applause we both received for our efforts. Although my pride was probably dented I don't ever recall feeling any malice towards you for your victory. Like me, you were probably cajoled or coerced into entering the tournament in the first place.(Ouch) That was their way of making men from boys. I like to think that with most of us they succeeded.

I left the Are' in May, 1956, and for a year I tried to study to get a marine engineering cadetship, but, sadly, I realised I was wasting everyone's time. With the kind assistance of Commander England (at Shaftesbury Homes in London), I was able to get away to sea as a deck-boy with Port Line without the need for any further pre-sea training. I spent nine years in the MN until 1966 when with my wife and two children I emigrated to Oz. In '67 I joined the N.S.W. Police. I finally retired in 2000. Now live in the outer Western suburbs of Sydney and enjoy being idle(Smoke).

Like you, John, I still retain fond memories of the time we spent on the Are'. We didn't realise it then, perhaps, but I like to think that you and I are members of a special group, a privileged few(Thumb).

.....best regards Roger Dyer (formerly No.123, Mess 13, TP.ST.)

12th July 2013, 22:36
Hi Baileybloke just read your message I was on the arre 1963-1965 and I can remember your grandfather very clearly I can still see his face, dont remember him teaching unless it was seamanship, everybody reffered to him as Bill Bailey and everybody liked him, he used to do a lot of duty/night duty looking after all us boys, he caught me smoking once and when I denied it he put me on captains report which earnt me 6 cuts of the cane in shorts, afterwards when he saw me crying he told me that if i,d admitted it he would have let me off, lesson learnt, dont lie oh happy days hope this helps

21st July 2013, 00:29
As some of you will well know, the figure head standing on the shore at Upnor was never the figure head of the Arethusa/Peking.

However, I live in Bromley, 35 min drive from Upnor and have visited there many times over the years. The old sports ground at the top of "Shack's" (Shackleton) hill was always a favourite spot to take my two boys for picnics.

The view there, across the Medway is fantatastic and each time I went I swear I heard a bugle and the "Last Post"

Anyway, the last time I went to the Pier for lunch and a pint (June 2013) I can say with some assurance that the figure head (unless I had more pints than I can remember) had been beatuifully restored.

21st July 2013, 00:30
beautifully that is .....

11th May 2016, 11:19
Hi Steve
My father-in-law was 14 (said he was 16) when he joined the training ship in 1927. he was born in 1913.
There is lots of information on the internet.
Best wishes

The old man
12th September 2019, 12:53
Very happy memories of Arethusa , Sea Scouts and Sea cadets from
London were aboard every Easter.
Sailing & Boating on the Medway and church Parade on Easter sunday at the church in Upnor.

tom roberts
13th September 2019, 18:56
I visited the berths of the Peking and the Wavetree they both need extensive restoration the Wavetree was in the worst condition I don't think either vessel will be rescued by not only this country or any other a great shame.

14th September 2019, 14:38
I visited the berths of the Peking and the Wavetree they both need extensive restoration the Wavetree was in the worst condition I don't think either vessel will be rescued by not only this country or any other a great shame.
But Tom "Peking" is now back in Her Port of Build(1911) Hamburg being re-furbished. Don't think She'll ever sail again but She will look great back in all Her Glory.

tom roberts
14th September 2019, 22:11
But Tom "Peking" is now back in Her Port of Build(1911) Hamburg being re-furbished. Don't think She'll ever sail again but She will look great back in all Her Glory.

Great news old strawberry about the Peking I never knew she was returned I hope that the Wavetree gets the same good luck.