H.M.S. GANGES was the shore training establishment for boy entrants into the Royal Navy from 1905 until 1976. She had taken on the previous duties from the wooden ship H.M.S. GANGES; the ship had previously anchored out in the harbour below, at Shotley Gate, on the east coast opposite Harwich.

These photographs briefly show where and how we lived (some may say survived) the ordeal of training to become one of Her Majesty's sailors.

On entry, these boys were 15 years of age. Most had signed on for 9 years (which didn't include the time served before the age of 18). Earlier recruitments had to sign on for 12 years. This was the minimum. No wonder it was said that you'd signed your life away!

During the following year H.M.S. GANGES quickly made them into men with a sound foundation and knowledge of their future profession; and the men made H.M.S. GANGES have the reputation for the highest standards. The end product was a sailor ready to be drafted to complete his 'specialist training' at their respective shore establishments for about another 6 months.

Then, and only then, was he ready to go to sea and be part of a ship's company able to do the work required of him.

Click here for photo's of the remains of what was once
as seen in September 1991

and again in October 2007

HMS GANGES Site Gallery
(Summer 2007 tour of the former HMS Ganges site)

Aerial views of the former HMS GANGES
(November 2007 & July 2008)

Further details about H.M.S. GANGES can be had from the


Godfrey Dykes website

A Story about the Mast at HMS Ganges

The Darker side of HMS Ganges

Naval Traitors

The Guildford Cathedral Connection

HMS Ganges at Mylor

Some documents on these pages (i.e. books, brochures etc) have been created in the Page Document File format (PDF) so as to present them as they were originally published.
If you aren't able to read the document (PDF file) by clicking on the book covers below, then you will need to download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader
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27th June, 1964

To view a larger version - just click on the photograph

Early photo of Ganges boys in dining hall? Early photo of Ganges boys mustered on the Quarterdeck

Manning the mast

Manning the mast

Aerial view of Ganges 13

Aerial view of GANGES

mast - David Hurn 11

David Hurn on the lower yardarm (Autumn 1948)

Water Polo 12

Inter Divisional Water Polo 1964/1965

Main Gate 13

GANGES Main Gate

Ganges figurehead 13

The GANGES figurehead

aerial view 1

Aerial view of GANGES

Annexe Main Gate 2

The Main Gate over at the Annexe; taken about 1955

bowling alley 3

The Bowling Alley

drum major 4

David Davies was Drum Major of the Bugle Band in 1948

collingwood mess 5

Collingwood 43 mess taken in 1962

window ladder 6

Window Ladder Display Team 1966

ganges display 1

GANGES formation in front of the CMG (Central Main Galley)

exmouth 45 7

Colin Richardson (first on the right) with oppo's who are just over from the Annexe in October 1964. Taken outside the "Green Mansions" (Exmouth 45 mess)

guard commander 7

Colin Richardson - H.M.S. GANGES Guard Commander (Summer 1965)

hawk 47 6

Hawk 47 mess taken in July 1966

mess 3

"Messdeck ready for Saturday Morning Rounds, Sir!"

relax 3

A brief moment of relaxation

mess 1

Junior's Messdeck

knot board 1

Knot Board

mast 3

Looking down through the "lubbers trap" of the mast

mast 3

The mast taken in the Summer of 1975

quarterdeck 3

View of the Quarterdeck from the mast

mast 3

Looking up the rigging of the mast, taken in the Summer of 1975

mast 3

The mast taken in the Summer of 1975

mast 3

The mast taken in the Summer of 1975

mast manning 6

Mast Manning taken in August 1966

mast 1

Mast Manning

colours 1

"Colours" - The morning ritual of hoisting the "white ensign"

main gate 5

GANGES Main Gate taken in 1939. Probably taken on a weekend as you can see juniors up the mast enjoying their recreation period.

main gate 3

Taken outside of GANGES, looking towards the Main Gate.

quarterdeck 3

The Quarterdeck. The Wardroom behind the Quarterdeck mast

signal school 7

Outside the Signal School at GANGES during "instructional hours", taken April 1965. Colin Richardson is the third from the left, front row.

silver oar 7

Colin Richardson (Exmouth 41 mess) receiving "Silver Oar" for winning the cutter race in 1965

silver oar 7

Exmouth 41 mess, winners of the cutter race in August 1965

cricket 1

Playing cricket at GANGES

cricket 1

Playing cricket at GANGES

swimming bath 1

Swimming Bath - Anyone for Backward Swimmers?

rugby - 1948 4

The 1948 winning Rodney Rugby Team

guard 6

H.M.S. GANGES Guard 1966

guard 7

H.M.S. GANGES Summer 1965 - Exmouth 41 mess Guard

Rodney sports team 8

The winning Rodney sports team taken on the bank of Laundry Hill in 1949, with the backs of the Long Covered Way messes in the background. Arthur (Woody) Woodward is on the extreme right of the second row from the front.

Annexe - Sunday Div 2

Sunday Divisions over at the Annexe

Annexe - Sunday Div 2

Sunday Divisions over at the Annexe

Annexe - Captain's Rounds 2

Captain's Rounds (inspection) over at the Annexe

Mast 2

The mast lit up (1955) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of when H.M.S. GANGES was transferred to the new shore establishment.

Chapel 2

St George's Chapel at H.M.S. GANGES

Shotley Mag 2

The gold cover of the Christmas issue of the 1955 Shotley Magazine. (50th Anniversary)

annexe 9

Class photograph over at the Annexe 1961

Hawke mess 9

Hawke mess 1962

Hawke 9

Hawke 343 class 1962

Class 761 9

Class of September 1961

Exped 9

Exped 1962

band 2

Band 1962

Hawke Guard 9

Hawke Guard 1962

Hawke Guard 9

Hawke Guard 1962

Hawke mess 2

Collingwood 42 mess

White Ensign 2

White Ensign

RM Band 10

Royal Marine Band 1950

RM Band 10

Guard and Royal Marine Band 1950
(inside Nelson Hall)

Beat Retreat 1951 10

Beat Retreat 1951

Ganges XI 10


RM Detachment team 10

RM Detachment team 1950

RM Band 1950 10

GANGES Royal Marines Band marching through Harwich. 1950

Kings Birthday Review 10

King's Birthday Review 1950

RM Band 10

Royal Marine Band (Sunday Divisions - 1950)

Exmouth 32 class 12

Exmouth 32 Class - 1964/1965

Exmouth Field Gun Crew 12

Exmouth Division Field Gun Crew 1964/1965

Hawke Div 14

Hawke Division - November 1961

Rodney Div 14

Rodney Division Class 1 - November 1961

kitmuster 15

Layout for Locker Inspection and Kit Muster - 1958


Rodney crew in H cutter. Arthur Woodward is on port side - black with white collar. The old steam tug towing the cutters was attached to GANGES - 1948.

Click on button for more photographs at Ganges:

Photographs down at Ganges Running Track:

Many thanks to the following ex GANGES boys and men, sailors and marines, and families, who have so generously provided these photographs for our pleasure, by bringing back the memories of so long ago.

1 Michael Bolton 2 Michael Reyn 3 Steve Parrott
4 David Davies 5 Dave Brighton 6 Nobby Clarkeson
7 Colin Richardson 8 Alf Alford 9 John Hills
10 Maxie Beare 11 David Hurn 12 Jim Lane
13 John Douglas 14 Adrian Eldridge 15 David Axford
16 Arthur Woodward 17 John Mallett 18 Shiner Wright
19 Richard Southall 20 Peter Hatt 21 Bob Pearce
22 Colin Davies 23 John Bence 24 George Bennett  
25 John Colville 26 Bob Beacock 27 Roy McKee
28 Geg Hopkins 29 Fred Drayton 30 Malcolm Wootton
31 Mike Barron 32 Chris McCreedy 33 Malcolm Lowrey
34 Peter Crayford 35 Gally Watson 36 David Bardsley
37 Laurie Mullen 38 Michael Wood 39 Bob Love
40 Dennis Cannon 41 Wiggy Bennett 42 Dennys Spensley
43 Ian McCulloch 44 Charles Rackstraw 45 Ray Hurley
46 Dennys G Spensley 47 Taff Davies 48 Bungy Williams
49 Graham Clarkson 50 Terry Revell 51 Peter Swann
52 Tony Bailey 53 Peter Bonner 54 Bill Hollis
55 Malcolm Williams 56 Winston Pyle 57 Gary Edwards
58 Andy Paton 59 Barry Wells 60 Mike Margary
61 David Hills 62 Robert Newman 63 Eileen Bryant
64 Steve Phillips 65 Peter Morgan 66 Jeff Davies
67 Robert Martin 68 Christian Bannard 69 David Abercrombie
70 Bryan Ricketts 71 Sheila Hessing 72 Ruth Slater
73 Neil Sowerby 74 Steve (Blud) Reed 75 Phil Tripp
76 Paul Timms 77 Folkert Vrieswijk 78 Peter Wison
79 Pat Kitchen 80 Dave Esam 81 Eric Armstrong
82 Tom Street 83 Ian Lewis 84 James Comley
85 Bob (Rip) Kirby 86 Stan Prior 87 Maurice Mayes
88 Matin Sturgess 89 Philippa Dent 90 D Walder
91 Ken Jones 92 John Garde 93 Kim Collinson
94 John Gordon 95 Michael Rainsforth 96 John Roberts
97 Richard Jones    

If you have any photographs that were taken at H.M.S. GANGES 
(that aren't already on display), and would like to share them with us,
then please contact David Axford before
sending them to discuss details.
letter (e-mail)

Dave Axford

Many thanks


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