Further Moments in the Life of HMS Vanguard
Diary of Events for 1953
Make and Mend
When the apes came to town
The refit was finally over and on 17th March we said our farewells to Gibraltar and set sail for home via the French port of Brest where we arrived on 20th March.  We tied up near the  Second World War concrete u-boat pens which together with the surrounding area had received a battering from our bombers.   Someone shouted to a dockyard worker to ask what the town was like and got the reply with a clenched fist and  an invitation to come ashore.   Many saw something of Brittany and enjoyed their short stay.   There was a tale of  an O/D(Ordinary Seaman) who , hungry, entered a restaurant and asked, in english, for bacon, egg and chips.  After a long delay the chips arrived then the bacon arrived followed by a roast chicken.   He left abruptly feeling that the bill would be beyond his pocket.   Perhaps the Frenchman thought that he had answered the problem once and for all as to which came first - the chicken or the egg.   The main sporting fixture of the visit was an enthusiastic drawn football match with a team from the french naval ship 'Jean Bart' which was in dry-dock near to us and the selfsame dock in which sat the German pocket battleship 'Scharnhorst' during the bombing of which we saw plenty of evidence.   We left Brest on 24th March and arrived in Portsmouth the following day for the Easter leave period.   It also meant that Leading Writer Shirley North would see his wife again for the first time since the Christmas leave.

Following the completion of Easter leave it was time to depart again for the Summer Cruise during which period great days would be upon us.  The two big events of this cruise were the Coronation and the Coronation Naval Review at Spithead.   We left Portsmouth on 8th May and arrived in Portland the same day. Hands to clean ship was the general order of the day and nobody grumbled. We painted, we spitted and we polished and the grey lady looked as smart as ever she had done.
Paintship for the Coronation