The Wartime Memories Project - HMS Royal Arthur

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HMS Royal Arthur, at Skegness, was one of several assessment camps where new recruits would be assessed, kited out and sent to there various depots there were thousands that went through these camps. Before the war HMS Royal Arthur had been a Butlins holiday camp and after the war the site reverted back, HMS Royal Arthur was then moved to an establishment at Corsham in Wiltshire.

This is photo of Class 224, HMS Royal Arthur.

I am trying to find any information regarding HMS Royal Arthur. As far as I can trace, our photo was taken some time between September and November,1941, because I have my father's Certificate of Service in the Royal Navy and those were the only months he served on HMS Royal Arthur. My father is in the top row, and is fourth from the left, his name is William Ivor Parry Williams.

 class 194

This is a photo of class 194.

I have been trying to find out exactly what my dad did in the war. He is in the photo 3rd from left 2nd row from the front. His name was Edmund John Cruise. Any information would be appreciated.

Does anyone remember Reginald Back, who was at royal arthur until february 1940. He died in 1946 just after leaving the navy. My mother his sister never met her brother Reginald because when young the family was broken up some adopted, Reginald went into banardos home, when she traced him he was already dead, she has longed to know more about him, maybe even see what he looked like. Please if anyone could help I would be so grateful.

My father Josephus Soeters was at HMS Royal Arthur during the following dates 21 june 1945 - 01 july 1945 from the Duth Navy.

Willem Soeters

I am researching my late father's Naval career but with little success. The facts I have are sketchy and disjointed. He enlisted in 1941, sailed from somewhere in Scotland early 1942, was hospitalised with pneumonia and shore-based for a year in Durban (RSA) and demobbed late in 1945 with the rank of PO, possibly CPO, in Supply. I have a feeling that his last ship was the VALIANT. However I can verify that he was stationed at ROYAL ARTHUR. I have two photographs both have about 40 men standing in three rows with a fourth row seated at the front. In the middle of which are two "peaked caps" behind a life belt bearing the inscription "HMS ROYAL ARTHUR". In the middle of this is the notation "Class 226" on one and "Class 238" on the other. In addition on the back of the former are 37 signatures with home towns. My father is one of the "peaked caps" on each photograph.

My Brother, James Lovatt, was an ordinary telegraphist on HMS Royal Arthur from 13.04.1942 to 21.12.1942. Jim died 13th December 1984 aged 62.

/p>Regards Roy Lovatt

My Uncle Roland Clifford Harman (my mother's brother) was born in Swindon in 1921. He died at home in Swindon on 28.06.1945 six months after being invalided out of the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. He was at HMS Royal Arthur in 1941, Class A33, but this is all I know about him except that he did see active service during World War II which gave rise to his injuries and ultimate early death at just 24 years of age.

Brian Collett

This is a photograph of an intake of recruits for the RN Sick Berth Staff taken on the 4th September 1941 when I was sent to HMS Royal Arthur and joined Class 48.

I have a number of wartime photographs of service in the Navy including service as SBA on HMS Southdown (Hunt Class destroyer), as Leading SBA at HMS Northney 4, and as SBPO on the escort carrier HMS Ranee which saw service in the Pacific.

Desmond Field

Way back in 1943, I, along with another 99 RAF trainee Wireless operators found ourselves at Royal Arthur after being forcibly volunteered for the Royal Navy. We were paraded in the Winter Gardens, Blackpool and asked to volunteer for the Navy. The Groopy gave us a pep talk about us going to uphold the honour of the RAF and called for volunteers. He only got a handful so walked down our ranks and told every third row they were in the Navy. As I was RAFVR I went to the orderly room and complained bitterly to a WO. who said ok lad I will see you get your discharge and make bloody sure your called up into the Pioneer Corps. Needless to say, I became a very unenthusiastic sailor very soon after.

Arriving at Skegness in RAF uniform we were greeted like VIP's and began to think this Navy lark's not so bad after all. We were allocated chalets and I was in Gloucester house which turned out to be the mess hall where we ate and assembled for training, etc. then we were given the rest ot the day off. After settling in to the 'hut" my room mate and I decided to explore the camp. Hardly had we exited the door when we heard a maniac yelling put that pipe out. As we were smoking fags we knew he could not mean us. How wrong we were. He caught up with us and almost bursting a blood vessel yelled right in our ears PUT THAT BLOODY PIPE OUT. I innocently said I am not smoking a pipe and to this day I believe I saw steam coming out of his ears when he demanded my watch card and told me I was on a charge for insubordination. Still in my well loved RAF uniform, next day, I paraded before some funny fella called "jimmy the one" and I still pleaded that I was only smoking a ciggy and that did not seem to please him at all and the outcome was I was given 10 days number Eleven's and it was on caps about turn quick march and once outside I asked this excitable petty officer what number 11's is and all he would tell me was that I would soon find out in the morning. I did and I made sure I was never on a fizza again.

Ron Roberts

My father Joe O'Rourke was at HMS Royal Arthur during the following dates 6 Sept 1943 to 10 Oct 1943, 8 Feb 1944 to 24Feb 1944. Unfortunately he died in 1980 but I would like to hear from any one who knew him, or may have a picture.

Chris O'Rourke


Class 8 HMS Royal Arthur.

Class 101 HMS Royal Arthur.

Taken at HMS Royal Arthur in 1945

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List of those who served on this Ship

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