Former naval college cadets reunion after 75 years

By Kate Cotton   |   Dartmouth Reporter   |
Sunday 5th June 2022 4:00 pm
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Left to right - Roger Ryland, Arnold Melhuish, Alastair Anson, James Green, Michael Page
(contributed )

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Five former Britannia Royal Naval College cadets recently reunited 75 years after passing out from the Dartmouth college.

Michael Page, from Ilsington, was joined by Roger Ryland, Arnold Melhuish, Alastair Anson and James Green, who all now live in the southeast.

The 93-year-olds attended a special 75th commemoration service at St Michael’s Ilsington, led by Bishop Martin Shaw, before catching up with their families and friends for lunch at the Ilsington Country House Hotel. St Michael’s flew the White Ensign to mark the occasion.

Michael said: “For a long time us former college cadets had regular meetings in London, at Royal Thames Yacht Club. At first it was around 25 out of the 60 plus cadets, and, over the years, the numbers gradually dwindled down to the five of us. It was wonderful to meet up this month to mark our 75 years since it all began in Dartmouth when we were just 17 years old.”

During their time at the college Michael and his fellow cadets served on HMS Devonshire, including a trip to the Mediterranean and three months in the West indies.

He said: “It was absolutely fantastic and our year as cadets was bliss, in retrospect. It was a very happy and interesting time. It was a complete change for me at the time, almost a shock at first. I’d been living in London in a very female orientated world so going into an all-male hierarchy was quite extraordinary. It was exciting but hard work, long hours and lots of discipline – but all good.”

Following his time at the college Michael served for 37 years in the Royal Navy, completing his service as a captain weapon electrical engineer. His time included missions in Korea, Mediterranean and Pacific, and work in the head offices of Admiralty and Ministry of Defence.

Following retirement, he set up a company with his late wife Kyn and the couple moved to Ilsington in 2001. Kyn sadly passed away last year after what Michael described as “65 years of very happy times”.

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