Ceres Reunion Organisers Richard Knight (left) and Vince Parks (right) flanked by LH Kendrick (right) and AB Joyce (left)
Ceres Association (Wetherby) held their final reunion last weekend (13/14th August). These reunions have been a regular event over the past eight years. Lt Cdr David Noakes RNR, Commanding Officer of Ceres Division and two junior rates were invited to attend the Friday evening dinner as representatives of the RNR in Leeds. In true naval tradition, the RNR provided a piping party to welcome guests to the dinner.
On Saturday, members of the Ceres Association visited the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, before returning for a party in Harrogate, when 20 members of the ships company from Ceres Division joined them.
Ceres Division is the RNR unit located at Carlton Barracks in Leeds and is the latest RN unit to proudly bear the name of Ceres. The weekend concluded with a church service held at St. Peter’s Harrogate currently located within Wesley Chapel. Members of Ceres Association, their guests and the ships company of Ceres Division attended the service.
A brief history of HMS CERES, Supply & Secretariat Training Establishment, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, 1946 – 1958.
Known fondly as a “Stone Frigate”, HMS CERES was in fact a Royal Navy training establishment on York Road, Wetherby. This became home to many hundreds of male and female naval ratings, who were either volunteers or national servicemen. This was where the learned their trades for future use in the Royal Navy. There in Ceres, the “Cooks, Stewards, Writers and Stores Assistants” who made up different branches of the Supply and Secretariat branch, would spend months of training before being drafted off to H.M Ships and shore bases. The majority of those that passed through the main gates, will have fond memories of Wetherby, and the surrounding Cities and Towns, but mostly for friendships that were forged with the common bond of being in uniform. For some this was the first time that they has been aware from home and were probable a bit apprehensive of what the future would hold for them. This weekend 120 people have come for Harrogate to remember and talk about the times and the “runs ashore” they had whilst in training. They will remember their friends and hopefully make new ones whilst they are here. They will remember the parades or “Divisions” as they were known in the Royal Navy, and how smart they felt in their uniforms, marching to the band and the Sunday church services afterwards. When the base closed in 1958, the name of “Ceres” was transferred down to HMS Pembroke, the Naval Barracks at Chatham, where the training of Supply ratings carried on the Ceres tradition. Later after 1958 the naval camp was taken over by the Home Office and turned into a Young Offenders Institute, which it remains to this day.
At present Ceres Division, based in Carlton Barracks, Leeds a Royal Navy Reserve unit proudly uses the name of Ceres.
The Latin inscription on the ships crest, which denotes five ears of corn, is TU NE CEDE MALIS, which means, YIELD NOT UNTO EVIL.