Report by Jackie and Selwyn Kennard
CAPTAIN CONWAY SHIPLEY, ROYAL NAVY 1782 – 1808
MONUMENT REDEDICATION DINNER
Wednesday, 20th September 2017at The Forte de São Julião da Barra, Oeiras
Captain Peter Hore, Royal Navy, of the 1805 Club, suggested that a dinner the night before the rededication ceremony of the Conway Shipley Monument, to enable all those who were attending it and especially those from UK to meet informally, would be attractive.
Rear Admiral P A McAlpine, CBE, Senior British Officer, NATO Oeiras kindly agreed to be the Dinner President and Captain Hore, agreed to be the guest speaker.
When we met Arq Luis B Fernandes, Director do DPGU, of the Oeiras Camara, he recommended that the Forte de São Julião da Barra at Oeiras would be an excellent venue for the dinner. He arranged for ‘The Team”, Jackie & Selwyn Kennard & David Wright, to meet at the Forte de São Julião da Barra on 27th June and introduced us to Jose Fernado dos Santos Pacheco, Sargento-Chefe Co-ordinator, to discuss this. All agreed that it was the ideal venue. As the Forte has no catering staff we were given a list of the three caterers they use. One of these was the Portuguese Naval Officer’s Mess at Cascais, of which Selwyn is a member. We knew the staff there well, so we elected to use them.
The Team met Virginia Moreiras, Subtenente TN (RP) OF-1, Subdiretora Messe de Cascais on 7th July to discuss the menu and arrangements for the dinner. After several more meetings to discuss the arrangements it became obvious that the cost of the dinner would be unacceptably high, as it would have to cover the costs of the closure of the Portuguese Officer’s Mess plus transport of the china, cutlery, glassware etc. from Cascais to the Forte in Oeiras.
Alexandre Deffense, of Cavan S.A. generously offered to supply the wine for the meal in order to keep the cost down to a more reasonable charge per head.
Once all the “i’s” were dotted and the “t’s” crossed we set about organising the dinner invitations, which were sent to those who had made donations towards the cost of the restoration of the monument or supported the project in other ways.
On Wednesday, 20th September 78 people attended the dinner. They were welcomed with drinks on the Terrace of the Forte, overlooking the River Tagus and then made their way to the Sala da Cisterna, where the tables were laid out with the names of the ships that Captain Conway Shipley had served on:
HMS’s Invincible; Pheobe; Endymion; Vanguard; Saint Lucia; Hippomenes; Nymphe; Comus; Blossom and Bodrhyddan Hall, the ancestral home of Captain Conway Shipley’s descendants, the Honourable Owain and Lorraine Rowley-Conwy.
The flags of the Royal Navy, White Ensign, Union Jack, Welsh Flag and the Pennant Flag of the 23rd Escort Squadron (1965-66), HMS RHYL provided the backdrop to the dinner. (The Rhyl Flag had been given to Jackie & Selwyn at their recent Golden Wedding anniversary celebration, by their chief bridesmaid, Helen Mitchell, as Selwyn had served in HMS RHYL when they were engaged in 1966 in Malta). Rhyl is also where the Deffense family’s (Cavan S.A. and Prefabe S.A.) mother, Kathleen Deffense was born and about 10 minutes from Bodrhyddan Hall, Rhuddlan.
Rear Admiral McAlpine welcomed everyone present and at the end of the dinner congratulated “The Team” on arranging the event and introduced the guest speaker, Captain Peter Hore.
Captain Hore, on behalf of The 1805 Club, expressed his sincere thanks to all those who had played a part in the restoration of the monument to Captain Conway Shipley. He went on to explain the significance of The 1805 Club and his role in it. Finally, he gave a fitting testament to the life of Conway Shipley, a young man of courage and humanity.
His full speech can be read at: Conway Shipley Speeches
To complete the evening’s events Commander Ron Goddard and Colonel Garth Manger read an entertaining script on the leaving of Portsmouth Harbour in HMS Victory which envisaged that Lord Nelson & Captain Hardy were subject to current Health & Safety and other current legislative restrictions. This was extremely light hearted and sent everyone away with a smile on their face.