Tomorrow all eyes will be on Windsor as the world pays tribute to HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh who sadly passed away last week.
During this time of remembrance, we look back over photographs from our archive, showing His Royal Highness’ first visit to the Dockyard in 1977.
The front cover from the Dockyard’s newspaper, Periscope in December 1977:
The article reads:
Where can you see Prince Philip?
Many dockyard employees will be allowed to break off from their work to get a glimpse of the Duke of Edinburgh when he pays his first ever visit to Chatham Naval Base on the morning of Friday, December 9.
A Port Admiral’s memo is being issued stating that workers may take time off to see the Royal visitor, subject to their managers discretion.
It will be “business as usual” however in the Nuclear Complex and Colour Loft – two of the places Prince Philip will be visiting to see something of the work that goes on in the Dockyard.
One of the best vantage points for seeing Prince Philip, who will be in his uniform as Admiral of the Fleet, will be the Main Gate Road where it passes the car park and Mast Pond.
The Royal car carrying Prince Philip will pass twice along this road – at approximately 10.35am on his way to visit the frigate HMS LYNX in No.2 basin and at 11.35am on his way on his way back from the Nuclear Complex to the Colour Loft.
Another good place to see the Royal visitor will be anywhere around No.2 Basin and outside the Main Production Offices in Pembroke Road, which his car will also pass twice.
According to the outline programme issued for his visit, Prince Philip will arrive at the Main Gate at 10.30am by car after travelling from London by train to Chatham station.
He will then call at Medway House to meet the Port Admiral, Rear Admiral Christopher Bevan, who will escort him on his tour of the Dockyard.
“I am looking forward to this opportunity of showing Prince Philip that although Chatham is the most historic of dockyards, we are nevertheless equipped with all the facilities for refitting modern nuclear submarines and surface craft.” said the Port Admiral.
Prince Philip’s tour starts with a 20-minute visit to the Leopard class frigate HMS LYNX, because it was felt that – as a former frigate commander of HMS MAGPIE – he would like to see something of the Standby Squadron.
He then goes onto the Nuclear Complex’s new building, where he will be met by the General Manager, Mr Alan Kettle, and other managers and taken on a half-hour tour of the complex, including a look at HMS SOVEREIGN and a visit to the fleet class submarine HMS COURAGEOUS, now in the middle stages of her long refit.
This will be followed by a visit to the Colour Loft, where he will see two Royal standards nearing completion for the Queen Mother and another two recently completed for the Royal Yacht Britannia.
As a special tribute to Prince Philip, our Mast Houses are lit purple and flags across the estate will be at half mast until 8am on Sunday 18 April.