Admiral Sir Frank Twiss on the reasons for the abolition of the home port system. (RNM)
Transcript: But this system of course couldn’t last when the Navy was greatly reduced. The number of battleships ran down. The whole size of the fleet went down and it was altogether too top heavy to keep three home ports, each with its own training arrangements and particularly a battleship’s crew. And so bit by bit the system dwindled away until it was necessary to man ships by getting people with the right qualifications from whatever home port of recruiting area they could be found. This in turn led to a good deal of disruption in the family life and you regularly got – particularly after the war – people who were in a West Country ship, Devonport, Devonport’s barracks, with so many men who really should have been in Portsmouth ships having to go to the West Country ship to fill up the numbers. And then every weekend, and when the ship was refitting, they would have most weekends off, there would be a bus load of people going from Devonport to Portsmouth who would meet a bus load of people going from Portsmouth to Devonport somewhere about the middle. And the thing became really rather ludicrous and eventually of course it led to an entire reorganisation and the abolition really of the home port system. People were then appointed, joined the Navy and served wherever they were required according to their qualifications. This has quite changed the atmosphere on board ships to anybody who served before the war. You wouldn’t find – they wouldn’t find – what they had found then at all today. And of course that goes with the fact that they are a great deal more skilled, a great deal more technological knowledge and the whole standard of the sailor in his particular profession is probably much higher class than it was 30 years before.