Vindi is short for
Vindicatrix, or more precisely, the TS Vindicatrix and its Associations. The
members of the Association are mostly British ex merchant seaman who,
between September 1939 and December 1966, undertook training at the
National Sea Training School in Sharpness, Gloucestershire on the TS Vindicatrix. It is widely believed that there were approximately 70,000
boys aged 15 and 16 who passed through this training school. Those who
survived World War II and those who came after have now formed a number
of Associations around the world, the purpose of which is to rekindle
memories and re-establish friendships forged by those
who attended the TS Vindicatrix and who are affectionately known
world-wide as the
Former Vindicatrix Trainee, Roy Derham, gave impetus to the formation of
the Vindicatrix Association. While researching the history of the old
ship, he learned that many other former trainees had made visits to the
site of the old sea school, and most called into the Dockers Club for a
beer before heading off. Roy left his name and telephone number for any
other former trainees to contact him, and in 1993 the Vindicatrix
Association was formed, the first reunion being held the same year at the
Dockers Club at Sharpness. Reunions in the UK have been held at Sharpness
every year since that time, and in 2001 the members of both the Queensland
and New South Wales Vindicatrix Associations joined forces for the very
first Australasian reunion that was held at Coffs Harbour in New South
Wales, approximately half way between Sydney and Brisbane.
The Australian and New Zealand Reunions have been held every year since,
and with no historical base, there has been the opportunity to take the
reunions to a different venue every year, thus affording those who may not
otherwise have been able to attend the opportunity to do so. So far the
Australasian reunions have been held:
Harbour NSW Australia
2002 Nambucca Heads NSW Australia
2003 Tweed Heads QLD Australia
2004 Napier New Zealand
2005 Barossa Valley SA
Short History of the Vindi
is the abbreviated name of the Training Ship Vindicatrix, the hulk of a
once proud sailing ship called Arranmore. Built of steel, with iron
rivets, and with a displacement of 1946 tons, Arranmore sailed on her
maiden voyage on October 30, 1893, a voyage that would eventually take
eighteen months, and complete a circumnavigation of the world. On August
11 1909 Arranmore sailed from Mejillones Chile, to Falmouth in the UK,
rounding the Horn for the last time under the Red Ensign.
Purchased by German owners in late December 1909, she was renamed
Sustaining heavy damage during a storm on July 20, 1913 Waltraute was
eventually towed into Montevideo Harbour by an Argentine fishing boat
known simply as No. 10. That was the last time that Waltraute would ever
carry sail, and she completed her voyage to Germany under the tow of the
Dutch tug Thames in 1913.
During WWI Waltraute was commandeered by the Imperial German Navy and
after initial use as a store-room she was refitted with an overdeck from
forecastle to poop, and a boiler for heating purposes. Waltraute was now
ready for her next role as depot ship for the Submarine Training Service.
At the end of hostilities Waltraube was initially returned to her former
German owners but it wasn't very long before she was commandeered once
more to become accommodation for German Seamen in Leith Scotland, after
having delivered their ships to England in reparation for wartime losses.
On 15, November 1920 while at anchor in Leith, Waltraute was again hit by
a severe storm causing her to drag her anchors. At 1.30pm after repeated
requests for tugs to assist, Waltraute came into contact with Inchkeith
Rocks, and by 10.00pm the ship lay aground, with waves rolling over her
decks. Waltraute was eventually pulled off the rocks on November 29, 1920.
On June 2 1921 Waltraute entered West India Docks.
It is known that in 1926 Waltraute, now renamed Vindicatrix, accommodated
students and staff of the Gravesend Sea School. With another war looking
more and more likely, Vindicatrix, under
tow of the tug Kenia, left London, bound for a safer berth at Sharpness,
Gloucestershire, and on September 2, 1939, the day before war was declared
on Germany, Captain Superintendent Duguid of the Gravesend Sea Training
School, transferred his trainees and staff from Gravesend to the new
location in the canal at Sharpness.
Junior seamen continued to be trained at the Vindicatrix throughout the
war and when the school at Gravesend was reopened after cessation of
hostilities, both schools were required to remain in operation as so many
new seamen were required.
In January 1967,
the Vindicatrix was towed to Cashmore's Yard, Newport, Gwent in Wales to
be broken up for scrap.