Medway Queen is affiliated to HMS Medway; a river class patrol vessel, commissioned in Chatham in September 2019. Pam and Mark Bathurst represented Medway Queen at an “Affiliates Day” on board HMS Medway on October 7th 2019.
Following the agreement that PS Medway Queen would be affiliated to HMS Medway we had two invitations to attend functions with the crew of the latest Naval ship. John Kempton attended the commissioning ceremony on 19th September and on the following Saturday I represented the Medway Queen at the march through, and the freedom of Medway for the crew of HMS Medway. HMS Medway was welcomed by the Mayor and other dignitaries at Gun Wharf, where they all stood outside to watch the march past of the crew and also some Sea Cadets. Following that we walked up into the Dockyard to a civic reception where the Captain, Commander Power, received the certificate of freedom on behalf of the men and women of the ship. Following a lot of food they all dispersed and I returned to the Medway Queen stand in the Dockyard for the 1940s weekend. An hour or so later one of the officers, Lieutenant Jonny Mason, visited the stand and talked to the members present about the Medway Queen. He also invited myself and Mark to visit the Royal Navy’s latest vessel which was moored in the basin at Chatham Dockyard. Lt Mason was very kind and showed us over the ship. It was a wonderful occasion and we were later to join the ship at Portsmouth for an “Affiliates Day” on the 7th October.
Following a discussion with the Trustees it was decided that Mark and I, with son in law Ralph would go and represent Medway Queen. We were invited aboard on the day that HMS Medway was to take part in an exercise with HMS Tyne and HMS Forth. The weather was poor and high winds were forecast, but nevertheless we were able to witness a firefighting exercise and the deployment of the “rib” which was put through its paces for our benefit. We were amazed at the speed and versatility of this superb craft, which can be deployed in eight minutes in an emergency. We were able to spend time on the bridge as the ship made her way past the Isle of Wight and were greatly impressed at the incredible electronics on this state of the art British warship. We were given a comprehensive tour of the ship including a visit to the engine room and the crew’s quarters. The ship’s cooks produced a beautiful lunch and there was plenty of it. God help any would be pirate who fancied their chances; the ships guns were manned, loaded and ready for action whilst leaving and returning to Portsmouth harbour.
We had a fantastic day, but all good things must come to an end and we soon found ourselves back at Portsmouth. However that was not the end of our adventure, our day concluded with an evening reception on the gun deck of HMS Victory. A lovely occasion, and it was an honour to have a repast in the same place that generations of brave Royal Navy seamen had had their meals so many years ago. How incredible to go to sea in the Navy’s newest warship and then spend time on its oldest in the same day.
I presented Commander Power with a complete set of the “Medway Queen” books for the crew to read about our wonderful “old lady” and would like to thank Commander Power, Lt Mason and all the crew who gave us such a memorable day and made us so welcome. HMS Medway is a happy ship; as was HMS Medway Queen
Pam Bathurst with the ship's bell, HMS Medway
HMS Tyne, sister ship of HMS Medway.
Photos: Mark Bathurst