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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
"Vindi Boys".

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:

2001 Coffs Harbour NSW Australia
2002 Nambucca Heads NSW Australia
2003 Tweed Heads QLD Australia
2004 Napier New Zealand
2005 Barossa Valley SA Australia

Short History of the Vindi

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 Waltraute.
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.

 

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