HMS Mercury Post Mistress retires.

(Click on an image to enlarge it)

  Although HMS Mercury was a self contained unit, it still relied on services outside the RN - one of these was the Post Office. Whether serving on a ship or shore base there was nothing like receiving a letter or parcel from loved ones to boost moral. For 19 years Mrs Eileen Lewis was HMS Mercury's postmistress and the following photographs and news clippings were collected by Eileen over the years and have been donated to the museum by her son and daughter -in-law (Rebecca).
Watched by officers and Wrens Mrs. Lewis receives a bouquet from Captain Plumer while Commander D. Pike holds the gifts given to her at the end of 18 years at HMS Mercury's sub-post office.
The following accompanied the above two photos in the East Hampshire Post February 5th 1981:

  The retiring sub postmistress at HMS Mercury, the Naval Communications' School near Petersfield, was rather surprised when the new C.O., officers and Wrens crammed into her office on her last day. "I thought they wanted stamps or something," said a genuinely surprised Mrs, Eileen Lewis after Captain G. Plumer had given her two presents and a bouquet of flowers from the school personnel to mark her retirement. Mrs, Lewis, a civilian, first worked in the sub-Post Office at Mercury in 1962 when her counter was in an old Nissen hut - it was only in 1973 that she moved into the present office. Captain Plumer said the farewell gifts "marking the end of an era" were from the officers, men, and ratings in recognition of her long service. They wished her well in her retirement. Mrs. Lewis, who lives at Downhouse Road, Catherington, said the lunchtime presentation was " a complete surprise," adding that she had been invited for a few drinks in the mess an hour later. She expressed gratitude to the Supply Officer, Lt Commander M. Hall whose office was adjacent to the post office. "He could not have been more helpful," she said. Looking back on her 18 years at HMS Mercury, Mrs. Lewis said, "I have loved it so much I am very sorry to leave. "I have seen nine or ten captains in my time, and I have watched the boys keep coming back on courses, growing up and gaining promotion - it has been fascinating", she said.

Eileen's collection of photographs of Lord Louis Mountbatten'visit 1975.
Junior Radio Operator Kenneth McCormack receives the painting of HMS Kelly from Earl Mountbatten of Burma
These two newspaper cuttings and comments were taken from the Petersfield Post.
Painting presented to Kelly Squadron by Earl Mountbatten of Burma.
Admiral of the Fleet Earl Mountbatten of Burma, maintained his association with HMS Kelly, the destroyer he commanded during World War II, on Saturday. He visited Kelly Squadron at HMS Mercury, the Royal Navy's signals school near Petersfield and presented a painting of the Kelly to the Squadron. The painting was commissioned by a member of the Kelly Survivors Association, Petty Officer Ted West, who died recently. Earl Mountbatten later attended the scattering of PO West's ashes from the Admiral's Barge. Other members of the association, who were aboard HMS Kelly when she was sunk by enemy action in 1941, were at the presentation. The painting was presented to Junior Radio Operator Kenneth McCormack, who was top of the passing out class at Mercury. While the Band of the Royal Marines played the Mountbatten March, the Earl inspected the guard of honour and divisions and took the salute. He had a long and distinguished career in naval signals, and remains closely associated with the branch and with HMS Mercury. He told the 400 ratings who were passing out that they were joining "the finest branch of the finest service in the world". Earl Mountbatten was welcomed by the commanding officer of HMS Mercury, Captain DAP O'Reilly, who also welcomed parents to the Kelly Squadron open day, and members of the Kelly Association.
Lord Mountbatten, Mr Doubleday and Admiral Ashmore
Mountbatten meets his 'old school' likeness.
Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Louis Mountbatten, visited HMS Mercury, the Clanfield Royal Naval Signal School for the unveiling of a bronze bust of himself. While at the school, he developed a simplified method of laying out electrical drawings and wrote the first edition of the standard reference book, "Notes on W/T Sets." This later became known as "The Users Guide to Wireless Equipment" - known to all communicators in the Royal Navy as BR 222. From 1931 to 1933, Admiral Mountbatten was Fleet Wireless Officer in the Mediterranean, and developed a method of identifying ships by the pitch of their morse. during World War II, he rose to become Chief of Combined Operations and Supreme Allied Commander, South-East Asia.
GOOD LIKENESS After the war, he went through a series of high appointments, Viceroy of India, Command-in-Chief, First Sea Lord, Chief of Defence Staff - but never lost his touch with the communications world. The bronze bust was veiled in a two flag message that read, appropriately, " Manoeuvre well executed". Lord Mountbatten was pleased with the likeness. He said: "It's very modern and took me a bit by surprise, but I like it very much." The bust, by sculptor John Doubleday, was commissioned to commemorate Lord Mountbatten's 50 year association with naval communications.
TOP GRADUATE The bust, was unveiled by the First Sea Lord (Admiral Sir Edward Ashmore). More than 100 guests attended the ceremony, held in the main hall of Lady Peel's Leydene House, the training school's main building. The captain of HMS Mercury Captain RC Morgan welcomed the guests and reviewed Lord Mountbatten's career in communications. The Admiral began a course in signals in 1934 at the Navy Signal School at Portsmouth. He passed out top in order of merit, and two officers who were with him on the course - Rear Admiral GF Burghard and Captain AM Knapp - attended the unveiling. Lord Mountbatten rejoined the Portsmouth Signal School in 1929, teaching the course that started him on his communications career. the bust depicts Lord Mountbatten in a bush jacket of the type he wore in Burma. "I was anxious to get an informal atmosphere into my work," said Mr Doubleday. "It took about 200 hours to compete, with the Admiral sitting for me about four or five times. He was extremely helpful, and a very pleasant person to work with."
SHIP SURVIVORS  Among the guests were two survivors of Lord Mountbatten's old ship, HMS Kelly, sunk by German dive bombers off Crete in 1943. The two men, former Able Seaman "Rocky" Wilkins and former signalman Vernon Shaw, often return to HMS Mercury for reunion dinners. Mr Wilkins is Secretary of the HMS Kelly Reunion Association and Mr Shaw is its Treasurer.

Eileen's collection of photographs of Lord Louis Mountbatten's funeral 1979.

Eileen's collection of photographs of the visit of HRH Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer to HMS Mercury 1981.
These two newspaper cuttings and the accompanying text are from the Portsmouth Evening News.
Pilot Prince whirls in
Prince Charles flew his bride-to-be across Hampshire today, arriving at HMS Mercury, the naval school of communications at Leydene, in a helicopter. The Prince, wearing his naval commander's uniform, piloted himself in the red and blue Wessex helicopter of the Queen's Flight from Broadlands to HMS Mercury, touching down on the cropped lawn of Leydene House. It was the last public engagement to which Lady Diana Spencer was accompanying the Prince before the wedding on Wednesday. Although it was a formal occasion - the Prince inspected first the Royal Guard of 48 volunteers and then 564 men on parade - there was a garden party atmosphere among the 1,600 spectators. The Prince was not allowed to forget next week as the royal Marines Band of the Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command struck up its first number - "I'm Getting Married" followed by "Isn't she lovely." These brought an appreciative roar from the crowd. The bride-to-be was wearing a blue dress with white polka dots under a white coat, with lilac shoes and matching handbag. On arriving at HMS Mercury, the Prince was met by Flag Oficer Portsmouth (Admiral AS Tippett) who presented the Captain of the establishment, Captain Gerald Plumer RN.

Eileen's collection of photographs of the visit of HRH Princess Anne to HMS Mercury 1985.