This year we headed south for our Spring Camp, staying in Portsmouth at North End Baptist Church (home of the 4th Portsmouth Company) near the city centre. Running from Saturday 24th until Friday 30th May, the Camp was open to the Juniors, Company Section and Seniors.
The events of Camp
A great number of activities were planned for each day of this Camp, and thanks goes to Graham Knight for its organisations, as well as all the Staff who made it a smooth-running and successful Camp.
Having already packed our luggage on the prior Friday night, we departed The United Church in Lye early on the Saturday morning. The weather for the journey for wet to begin with, but the sun appeared as we neared Portsmouth and the traffic moved well.
We arrived at North End Baptist Church around midday, a little ahead of schedule, and met some Church members (one of whom was an Officer of the 4th Portsmouth Boys’ Brigade) who showed us around their Church, before we all unpacked and set up. After dinner in the evening, we went down to the Portsmouth seafront where the Boys went on some of the rides and in the arcades.
Shortly after breakfast on Sunday morning, all the Boys and Staff were ready in uniform and we joined North End Baptist Church in worship at their Morning Service. After this, as is tradition on such Camps, photos were taken whilst in uniform.
After lunch, we spent the afternoon in and around Southsea Castle, which is on the Portsmouth Seafront. There the Boys could look around the Castle itself and its various cannons and guns. The evening saw the first night’s Devotions, which for this Camp linked in with naval themes.
We were in uniform once again on the Monday morning, when we headed off early to spend the day at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Once inside the Dockyard, we first visited Action Stations which involved a short film and a number of activities/exhibits relating to the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines.
Next we headed over to HMS Victory, stopping to looking at a small boat of the Royal Marines, before going inside HMS Victory to look around her. Afterwards we had lunch before heading into the nearby Mary Rose Museum, where the Boys could see exhibits recovered recovered from the Mary Rose, as well as what remains of the ship herself.
Next we headed over to and boarded the Harbour Tour boat, which then took us out to see the Historic Dockyard, the modern-day ships of the Royal Navy and more. The modern ships we saw included the Invincible-class aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, the Type 45 Destroyers HMS Dragon & HMS Defender and the River-class offshore patrol vessel HMS Mersey.
After disembarking the Tour boat, we went over to look around Warrior, one of the world’s first armour-plated, iron-hulled warships. Following a long day, we left the Dockyard and went back to the Church for dinner.
On the Tuesday morning we again returned to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, but shortly thereafter caught a Waterbus over to the Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower, which is based at a former Armaments Depot of the Royal Navy and covered the work done by men and women there during the war, as well as a history of naval firepower right from the early days of gunpowder up to modern missiles. Most of the museum gave the Boys a chance to look at these cannons, guns, missiles and other weaponry ‘in the flesh’, as it were. Before we left, the Boys also had a chance to try their hand at crab fishing.
Next we caught another Waterbus over to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum. There the Boys were able to look around several submarines, most notably the recently-refurbished HMS Alliance which dates from shortly after the Second World War. After dinner on the evening we visited Funland on Hayling Island, where the Boys were able to go the various arcades.
We began Wednesday by visiting the Royal Marines Museum, which is near the Portsmouth Seafront. There the Boys took part in Commando Survival Training activities, before looking around the Museum itself.
In the afternoon after lunch we headed to Fort Nelson, where the Boys were able to look in, around and beneath the Fort - including the exhibits, its many guns and underground tunnels.
In the evening we were joined in the evening by guests who are involved with the Church’s local Companies of The Boys’ Brigade and The Girls’ Brigade. After dinner on the evening we returned to the Portsmouth Seafront, where the Boys could visit the rides and arcades.
Our last full day began with a visit to a swimming baths which, somewhat akin to the Crystal Leisure Centre in Stourbridge, had ‘fun’ elements such as a slide. In the afternoon we returned to Funland on Hayling Island, where the Boys had several hours in the various arcades and on the various rides.
Next we had a meal (most went with Fish & Chips) at a nearby café. Afterwards we headed to the Bowlplex in Portsmouth, where the Boys and Staff in parallel each had two games of 10-pin Bowling. After dinner that evening there was still time for the Boys to have one final visit to the Portsmouth Seafront.
We were all up in good time on the Sunday morning to pack away and ensure we left the Church in a good clean state. With the minibus packed, we were able to head out in good time. The weather for the journey back was largely good, as was the traffic aside from two 30-minute delays.
Click the play button below to see a slideshow of photos, most taken by Mr Graham Knight and several by Mr Robert Parker.
You can also manually view the set, by clicking here.
Click the play button below to see a video slideshow of the Camp produced by Mr Graham Knight.