Royal Navy & Maritime Book Reviews Provided by Rob Jerrard
HMS Dryad Hampshire England. Radar Training Establishment - RP Basic, RP3 & RP2

I have very few photos of Dryad, the three snapshots taken with a Kodak 127 in May 1958 (me on the right - not a photo to write home about, however they show the old huts, very cold in winter!) & Radar Plotter 2nd Class Course 5th October 1962. On the RP2 Course Photo I am bottom Row on the right. I cannot name any of the others or the Instructor. Dryad was a wonderful place to serve - so far from the real Navy with duties such a pig-keeping and a super cross-country course. It was also in my case near home as I lived just the other side of the South Downs, not so good in deep snow. RP2 Course 2/92 2nd Oct 1962, taken by Photographic Production Unit HMS Excellent.

There have been four ships to bear the name HMS DRYAD before the present Establishment. The first, launched in the Thames in 1795 was a 36 gun frigate of 929 tons with a compliment of 270 which saw action during the Napoleonic Wars. The name passed to a sloop begun in 1860 but never completed, to the thirst ship which was launched in Devonport in 1866. The third HMS DRYAD was sold in 1885 when the fourth and last ship to bear the name was launched at Chatham. It was this vessel which eventually became the tender to the Royal Navy's Navigation School when it transferred ashore in 1906 and it is from her that the name of today's HMS DRYAD is taken.

HMS DRYAD continued as the Navigation School between 1906 and 1943 when there became a Fleet requirement for standardised system of Warfare Direction. By this time HMS DRYAD had moved from its bomb torn Portsmouth dockyard to Southwick.

Southwick House, now the Wardroom in HMS DRYAD, was once the ancestral home of the Thistlethwayte family, dating in turn to a 12th Century Priory. Requisitioned by the Royal Navy in 1941 it was in 1944 when it became the forward planning and operational Headquarters of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, General Dwight Eisenhower and the Naval Commander for Operation Overlord, Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsey.

I understand Dryad closed in 2004

  • Royal Navy & Maritime Book Reviews Copyright Rob Jerrard 2007