Coachlines - March 2024

29.03.24 The Clerk

Clerk’s Notes – March 2024

On 29th March 1920, HMS HOOD was commissioned at Rosyth. She was the heaviest and longest RN warship at the time, and the RN’s 16th and last battlecruiser. A high proportion of her first ship’s company was made up of officers and men from the recently paid off battlecruiser HMS LION, Beatty’s flagship at Jutland.

HMS HOOD remained the largest warship afloat for almost 20 years and was an object of great national pride. However, by the time the Second World War broke out, advances in naval gunnery had reduced her usefulness.

Nevertheless, on 21st May 1941, in company with HMS PRINCE OF WALES, then the newest battleship of the Royal Navy, she went toe-to-toe with the German battleship Bismark in the Battle of Denmark Strait. Unfortunately she came off second best when she blew up in a way reminiscent of the destruction of three British battlecruisers by internal explosions following enemy shell hits during the Battle of Jutland 25 years earlier.

Out of a ship’s company of 1,418, there were but three survivors.

Company news

Forthcoming events

Visit to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum at Gosport – Wednesday 24th April 2024

Having spent much of my flying career being trained to hunt down and sink submarines, I found this museum to be a fascinating insight into the weird undersea world that submariners inhabit. It is well worth a visit and tickets are still available here.

Banquet 2024 – Friday 17th May 2024

There are still some places available. If you have yet to make your booking please do so without delay; tickets can be purchased here.

Banquet 2024 – Prize Draw

The prizes in this year’s Banquet Prize Draw are spectacular and highly desirable. Full details of the Prize Draw, and early bird ticket purchases can be found here.

Shuttleworth Festival of Flight – a day out for all the family – Sunday 30th June 2024

The Shuttleworth Collection is the proud home of a variety of airworthy aircraft, including the world’s oldest aircraft and the oldest British aircraft still flying today. The Festival of Flight will take place on Sunday 30th June 2024. There will be an air display featuring not only the collection’s aircraft but also those from a number of visitors. The collection also includes early cars and buses, motorbikes, steam engines, and farm machinery. There is also a workshop open to view restoration in progress. Coachmakers will have access to a private pod – a small marquee – which will be available as a cloakroom and meeting point. Parking is available at the venue with a separate access from the general public.  Bookings can be made from mid-April and more details can be found in a separate article later in this edition.

Swan Upping on the Thames – Tuesday 17th July 2024

A date for your diary; the Coachmakers has secured a launch from Hobbs boatyard at Henley on Thames in which to travel downstream to support our fellow Livery Companies, the Vintners and Dyers and to observe the Uppers in their traditional skiffs carrying out the traditional responsibility of the swan markers catching and ringing this year’s cygnets. The centuries-old majestic scarlet uniforms are still worn and all the ancient traditions are observed. It is a sight to be seen. Mark the date in your diary; the book will open in late May/early June. More details can be found in a separate article later in this edition.

City News

Drinks party at the Old Bailey – Thursday 4th April 2024

A drinks party is being held at Old Bailey on 4th April 17.30 to 20.00, primarily for anyone involved with the Livery who lives in the Woldingham, Oxted and Environs. This is being hosted by and for Alderman Bronek Masojada and his wife Jane, who when not living at the Old Bailey are Woldingham residents. This is primarily a meet and greet/networking event for anyone involved with the Livery in its widest sense (Freemen, Liverymen, Clerks, Consorts etc) who live, work or play in the Oxted/Woldingham areas. This could include Caterham, Warlingham, Merstham and further afield. Many may not have visited the Old Bailey before, so tours will be offered and all proceeds will support the Sheriffs’ and Recorder’s Fund. There is a small charge of £15 per person, if you wish to attend please register here: Livery Reception – Woldingham, Oxted and Environs. Tickets are limited.

The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch – Thursday 18th April 2024

More details will appear next month. For now, follow this link:

Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST)

The QEST and Heritage Crafts Sustainability Award is back again in 2024. Applications are now open and close on Friday 24th May. If you know a craftsperson who is committed to improving sustainability in their practice, is innovative and an inspiration for others, spread the word about the award.

QEST is looking for makers who’ve made a change to their materials or processes or innovated in another way to measurably reduce their impact on the environment within the past 12 months.

This year, the Award has been split into two prizes: ‘Material Innovation’ and ‘Improving Processes’. Each winner will receive £1,000 and will be recognised at a winners’ reception at the Vicar’s Hall, Windsor Castle in November.
To apply, click here
For more information, click here

Reflections of Alderman Nicholas Lyons, the 694th Lord Mayor of London – 25th June 2024 at Haberdashers’ Hall

This year, Alderman Nicholas Lyons, the 694th Lord Mayor of London will impart his unique insights from his term in office. The evening will unfold within the historic walls of Haberdashers’ Hall, where we will indulge in a drinks reception followed by a sumptuous three-course dinner and a live Q&A with Alderman Nicholas Lyons.

Date: Tuesday, 25th June 2024
Time: 5pm to 10.30pm
Venue: Haberdashers’ Hall, London EC1A 9HX

Expect a convivial atmosphere and an engaging and inspiring mix of attendees. To find out more about the evening and tickets, click here.

Inter-Livery Tennis Competition – Wednesday 18th September 2024 at Queen’s Club

The Feltmakers’ Inter-Livery Tennis Competition in 2024 will be held on Wednesday 18th September at Queen’s Club. The competition is open to teams of mixed pairs, with each Livery Company allowed to enter a maximum of two pairs. The competition is designed for Liverymen and their spouses/partners/friends; one person in each pair should therefore, ideally, be a Liveryman.

The competition will be run as an American tournament, with quarter finals, semi-finals and a final, and the Feltmakers’ Trophy will be awarded to the winners. There will be a knock-out Plate Competition for first round group losers. The start time will be 11am.

The day will be followed by dinner when the Master Feltmaker will present prizes to the winners and the runners-up. The evening normally ends shortly after 9.30pm. We will follow up with full details and application forms in mid-June. Applications cannot be accepted before then. For more details of how to enter contact:

In conclusion

Returning to the Battle of Denmark Strait and the loss of the HOOD, I am sure that it will not have escaped your attention that it was a torpedo dropped from a Fleet Air Arm Swordfish torpedo bomber flying from HMS ARK ROYAL that damaged the steering gear of the Bismark. This slowed her down considerably and allowed the battleships HMS KING GEORGE V and HMS RODNEY to catch up with her and sink her.

Yes, I know that the first wave to attack went for the cruiser HMS SHEFFIELD by mistake, however the new type of torpedo firing pistols used on that run were defective and no hits were made, so that was alright. Fortunately, the firing pistols were swapped for an older, more reliable type for the second run, and not only did they work, the torpedoes to which they were fitted were fired at the right target.

You will have seen the film Sink the Bismark and been given an appreciation of what it might be like to attack a well-armed battleship in an obsolete biplane held together by string and fabric. In reality, unless you’ve been there and done it, it is difficult to imagine or understand the challenges of flying aircraft to and from ships at sea, particularly under heavy enemy fire and particularly flying the aircraft used at that time.

Navy Wings has two Swordfish in its collection and its aim is to inspire future generations by bringing together the aircraft, people, and story of flying from ships, and build a complete collection of representative naval aircraft to cover the entire period of naval aviation from its inception in 1909, to the present day.

In partnership with Navy Wings, the theme of the Banquet 2024 is Naval Aviation Heritage. All proceeds will be shared between the Coachmakers’ Charitable Trust and Navy Wings.

Help us to help them and book your tickets today.