Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich

1. The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich (O.R.N.C.)
[Now home to the Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre] 
2. The story of the Old Royal Navy College, Greenwich
Its motto: "By wisdom as much as war"
(Displayed at the Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre)
3. Part of the Oral History collection of the O.R.N.C.:
Naval Officer Derek Gaulter speaks about D-Day
4. Another part of the Oral History collection:
The story of the WRNS training courses after 1939 
5. WW2 Cipher Officer Jane Eldridge tells her story.
(As a wartime WRN, she trained at Greenwich 1942/1943)
6. WW2 Officer Susan Martin (nee Byron) tells her story.
(As a wartime WRN, she also trained at Greenwich)
For additional information click on 'Comments' below. 


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

The Royal Navy presence at Greenwich

In 1694, during the reign of King William III, a Royal Warrant led to the establishment of a new Royal Hospital at Greenwich for former seamen of the Royal Navy. Building work continued to extend the hospital until 1751 and at its peak, about 2,000 former Royal Navy veterans were accommodated.

However, by 1869 with a massive reduction of former Royal Navy veterans needing to be taken care of, the hospital closed. Shortly afterwards, in 1873, the Royal Naval College for the education of officers moved into the former hospital buildings. The Royal Naval College remained at this site until 1998 when an independent charity was established to conserve the site and its maritime and naval history.

Part of the Old Royal Naval College now houses the Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre [Photograph No. 1]. Inside is a modern, ‘hands on’ museum, exhibition centre and visitors centre telling the story of the site, and especially the history of the Royal Naval College (1873- 1998). Information boards are used to link the timeline of the college [e.g. Photograph No. 2].

The motto of the college was ‘Tam Minerva Quam Marte’. A strict translation of this would be ‘As much of Minerva (the goddess of Wisdom) as Mars (the god of War)’. In other words, ‘By wisdom as much as war’.

Effectively, the college was the ‘university of the Royal Navy’. Originally, only men were educated at the college. But, from 1939 onwards, many women serving in the WRNS were also educated at the Royal Naval College.

Tuesday, 24 November, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

The Oral History archive of the Old Royal Naval College

An important part of the archives of the Old Royal Naval College is the Oral History archive. A number of former students at the college relate their memories. Many of these recordings are readily available, such as the one by Derek Gaulter (b. at Thornton, Lancashire in 1924) who heard about the D-Day landings in Normandy on 6 June 1944 while studying at the college [see Photograph No. 3].

As previously referred to, the first women students serving with the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) arrived only in 1939. During the Second World War over 8,000 WRNS trained at the college. Fortunately, there are a number of wartime WRNS who have recorded their memories and are now part of the Oral History archive of the O.R.N.C. [Photograph No. 4]. For example, one former wartime WRN, Jane Eldridge (b. at Portsmouth, Hants. in 1920) completed her officer training at Greenwich and then trained as a Cipher Officer [Photograph No. 5]. Another former wartime WRN who has recorded her memories for the Oral History archive at Greenwich is Susan Martin (nee Byron) [Photograph No. 6].

While only a part of the exhibition and archives deals with the history of the college during the First and Second World Wars, nevertheless it is a significant contribution. The Discovery Centre also tells the wider story of Greenwich and its importance to the Royal Navy for well over 300 years.

Tuesday, 24 November, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Further reading and information

Click on the following link to go to the official website of the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich:
Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich

Tuesday, 24 November, 2015  

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