Former HMS Ganges training mast taken down
Our School Band was invited to play at the removal of the former HMS Ganges training mast at Shotley Gate. The mast will now be sent off for restoration work after which is planned to be re-erected in early 2025 as part of the residential development that will see almost 300 homes built on the site.
Between 1905 and 1976 HMS Ganges was used as a training establishment for naval recruits to serve in the Royal Navy where they would learn relevant military skills on land prior to naval selection. The mast is 143ft (44m) tall; recruits were required to climb up a minimum of partway in order to qualify, with the ‘button boy’ standing at the very top hands-free on a small circular platform. The training base saw 160,000 recruits through its gates over the 71 years it was operational.
Lucy Pembroke, Head of Community and Alumni Relations commented, “It was wonderful for the school to be invited and for the band to play as the mast was lowered. Historically, there were many of our former pupils who finished at Royal Hospital School and then moved to HMS Ganges before joining the Navy. We look forward to seeing the mast back in place one day in the future, restored to its former glory.”