Admiral Sir Frank Twiss on the policy of home ports and how it affected the camaraderie of the ships in the fleet.Â
"There was Admiralty policy at the time - was to keep a battleshipâ€™s crew in the barracks at home ports so that in a case of some emergency, a battleship could be taken out from reserve and commissioned straight away. Which meant of course that there was a large number of people living in the barracks, available if this was needed, to commission a battleship, and living there and having to be employed. But it also of course provided the sort of, in fact the shore service for the Navy, was very much being in the barracks or being at sea. And this was made more so by the fact that each home port had its own training facilities. The would be a gunnery school at each of the home ports. There would be a torpedo school and so on. So when men went for further training and advancement they still were able to do it in their own home ports. So as a system, it was quite a stable one and it produced an enjoyable competitiveness between the three ports. When ships assembled in, say the Mediterranean Fleet, where there were a number of battleships, and the regatta came round there was intense competition between the West Country men, the Portsmouth men and the Chatham men. Winning the regatta became quite akin to winning the football league or something. And each one went about it in slightly a different way. There would be probably more heave-ho from the West Country ships, and rather more skill from the Portsmouth ship, but you could never be quite sure how the Chatham ship would somehow manage to produce a turn or two which put them ahead."