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Memory Room

This page is about the making of the merchant navy memory room at Fort Perch Rock.

This was an empty sandstone room, damp with water running down the walls and we were tasked with making a memory room out of it. Most of the leaks were originally traced and fixed by various means and the walls were left to dry out for a couple of weeks. All the walls were completely battened out by screwing to the sandstone wall to hold the polythene which was fitted from top to bottom all around. Then 8ft by 4ft plywood sheets were fitted on all the walls and ceiling, having first to be painted on the back with Bitumastic paint.

This was no mean feat at all and was sometimes difficult getting good fixings. Then horizontal battens were fitted and decorated with literally hundreds of rivet type metal mouldings to give the effect of a room on a ship with the rivets showing to make it look authentic. This took literally days to fit them, and then of course they had to be painted with undercoat and two coats of gloss paint. Mike then manufactured a great wooden porthole that made it look even more realistic with a picture of a ship seen through the porthole (the QE11).

mr cabinetmemory room posters


The wooded walls were then undercoated twice as it soaked in and then 2 coats of gloss white paint. When the room was nearly finished we then had to fit lighting and sockets and to scrape and sand the concrete floor plus three coats of floor paint. Then someone decided to walk on it when wet---swines!! This caused another coat of paint to be applied to cover the boot marks up.

The few regulars of Stan, John, Mike and Bob carried out all this work again. The room was then populated with Memorabilia from various sources, stories, pictures items of MN nostalgia etc. There is a bookcase, containing bound “Marconi Mariners”, the ROU “Signal” journals some from 1937, handbooks and a Morse key with associated chart. A long glass cabinet was fitted to house the artefacts and memorabilia of MN days gone by :- Vhf’s, Lifeboat Radios, Compass,  Valve Tester, Resistance checker, Koden Radar, EPIRB’s, SARTS, and even an insulator from Portishead Radio complete with authenticity certificate. Some small items of portable shipboard VHF tx/rx ex ship Dart 8 have also been put in the glass cabinet.

There are two charts for the North Atlantic:
north atlantic chart 1north atlantic chart 2

One a Framed lifeboat charts originally presented to Hugh Parry by the Film Directors of the “Cruel Sea” who provided the technical background for the film. It shows the position of his ship Sacramento Valley sunk off the West Coast of Africa in 1942. Hugh presented it to the Fort before he died. R.I.P. Stan is now marking on the glass the positions of all British MN and Allied ships that have also been lost in WW2. These are being painstakingly and individually marked in Lat and Long by Stan, he is up to 296 – there are 1400 or more.

The other is a chart of the Labrador Coast beautifully drawn by a Canadian Master Mariner which shows all vessels lost (Subs, Fishing boats, Merchant ships and Warships) in that area. This Chart was presented to Senator Jack Marshall by the Master Mariner for the great work he carried out which achieved pension rights for all Canadian Seamen who served in WW2.

When Jack died it was brought to this country by his Nephew who later presented it to the Fort. A radio room clock also ex DART 8 was installed in the memory room at the fort. After all this, we had trouble with the outside door when it started coming off its hinges, this was repaired by Stan replacing the 3 large hinges, very heavy but keeps out the weather.

Three weeks later the door frame was leaking water this was investigated and found to require a new door post to be fitted as it was internally starting to rot and soak up water giving us a “BIG LEAK”, this was soon corrected when a new door post was fitted, ably assisted by Colin and Dave from 610 squadron who also have items on display in the aircraft museum. This work although mainly finished still continues and finishing touches need applying--- we always find jobs that need doing!!

knot boardradio thingsflag or wind sock