Celebrating 160+ Years

HMS Conway School Ship 1859 – 1974

The club exists to foster social relationships between former cadets of the training school ship HMS Conway. If you are an Old Conway and not yet a member we would strongly urge you to join so you can get back in touch with your old chums.

From the President – John Noble 62-64

In this, my first address as President, I wish to congratulate Neil Smith, our retiring President, for his sterling work during what was a very trying time indeed. Without Neil’s hand on the tiller, the Club was threatened with standing into danger. Well navigated, Sir, and I know I can count on your help when needed.

I thought readers might appreciate a brief summary on my relevant history and connections with the Club. Having decided, at 15, upon a seagoing career, and applied to Union Castle, I was advised some pre-sea training was advisable!
My father agreed and I applied to go to Conway. My interview with TEWB was successful and I joined in September 1962. After a term in the House, I went to the Camp, first in Starboard Forecastle (FXL), then on to Port FXL. In my final term, I was in the New Block, opened by the late Duke of Edinburgh. Because I had O levels before joining, I was taken into Special Studies.

After passing out in July 1964, I joined Alfred Holt and Co as an indentured Midshipman. My seagoing career was rather unspectacular and after obtaining my Masters, I was encouraged to study for my BSc in Nautical Studies which I obtained in 1977. The rest, as they say, is history!

It is an enormous privilege to be President of The Conway Club. A lively programme is being arranged for this year’s AGM and I really must express deep and sincere gratitude to Mim Smith for undertaking the hard graft in organising this event. Details are on Pages 2 and 3 of the magazine and obviously on this website. I have asked Capt Andrew Moll, the Chief Inspector of the Marine Accidents Investigation Branch, to speak at the dinner. Andrew has kindly accepted my invitation so I do encourage all OCs to try and make it to Portsmouth and have a ‘hullabaloo’.

Looking further ahead, Mim has already made progress for 2024. That event will celebrate 50 years since Conway closed. Watch this space.

Turning now to the Club itself; where do we go from here? First, I must thank Matt Burrow for his stewardship of the finances over recent years and send him all our best wishes in the Honourable Company of Master Mariners. Rob Tubb, an excellent replacement, will keep me and the Club on the financial rails. Also, I look forward to working with Steve Barnet, the Hon Sec.

I am blessed with a Committee made up from a talented body of individuals. Personally, I have little time for ‘petty politics’ or the activities of ‘keyboard warriors’. The Committee is entrusted with running the Club and I intend to keep the ship on an even keel in safe waters. We have some interesting issues in the future and the Committee will be examining how best to handle the (healthy) finances as the membership dwindles. If you have anything to add, please attend the AGM and have your say; after all, it is your Club!

I am coming to grips with the duties of the President and no doubt the Committee and Membership will come up with suggestions. As a fairly ‘retired’ individual, I will be able to arrange visits to branches and attend appropriate occasions.

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Lastly, an invitation to all OCs. The Blue Funnel Midshipmen (Middies) group have held a number of reunions on HQS Wellington in years past. This year’s event is on 9 May and all OCs are welcome. If you want more information,contact me on my noblemarine email here.