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1970s History 1970s Memories

1970s Photo Gallery

Another set of photographs from Vaughan Ashby. A selection of further images from Vaughan can be found in the 1960s gallery.


DUKW at Thorpe St Andrew 1973

The first of a set of photographs taken at Thorpe St Andrew showing the visit of two amphibious military vehicles which visited the Broads in 1973. Vaughan wrote; “I served in No 17 Port Regiment, Royal Corps of Transport and we had all sorts of ships and vehicles to play with. I actually commanded the last troop of DUKW’s in the British Army. They were disbanded by Earl Mountbatten, at our regiment in Southampton, in 1974. Earlier, I went to see the Colonel and asked him if we should do a KAPE tour of the East Anglian coast and the Broads. (KAPE means keep the Army in the public eye). He amazed me by saying ‘good idea Vaughan – organise it and do it.’  Which bears out the old Forces saying – ‘never volunteer!’



DUKW at Thorpe St Andrew 1973

Vaughan continues; “We arrived at Ipswich with an LCT (landing craft tank) which was easily big enough to take 6 DUKWs in her hold, an RPL (ramped powered lighter) and two diesel workboats which were also high powered fire fighters. The LCT would open her bow doors and we could then drive the DUKW’s out into the harbour, full of schoolkids, drive around and then climb back into the ship, which was our showpiece in Ipswich, Lowestoft, Yarmouth and Kings Lynn. She could not come up the Yare as she was too long to turn round in Norwich, so the RPL and the workboats came up by river while we drove up from Yarmouth and took the water at the old Stephen Fields slip just by the bridge in Thorpe, which was as close as we could get to Norwich and get in the water. (A DUKW draws 4ft 6″ when afloat) The DUKW’s also visited Wroxham Broad (via the public beach) and Potter Heigham.



DUKW at Thorpe St Andrew 1973

Whilst these photos were being taken. two other DUKWs were at Cromer, where, full of schoolchildren, they charged down the beach into the sea like lifeboats and went about a half mile off shore, where the kids were winched up into Whirlwind helicopters from Coltishall and brought back to the beach. Can you imagine that being allowed now? Wherever we went, the Army Careers office in Norwich had organised visits from schools all over East Anglia to come and have rides on the boats with us and it turned out to be a big success.

DUKW's at Thorpe St Andrew 1973

The two Army DUKW’s on the river at Thorpe St Andrew.

DUKW at Thorpe St Andrew 1973

Another of the photographs taken by Vaughan at Thorpe St Andrew during the Army visit.

DUCK'w at Lowestoft in 1973

Loading the DUKW’s back onto the landing craft tank at Lowestoft.

H.M. The Queen at Ranworth Village Hall 1976

The Queen and Prince Philip pictured outside Ranworth Village Hall in November 1976 when they visited the Norfolk Broads to open the new conservation centre at Ranworth. Vaughan provided the following information; “The man facing the camera in between the Queen and the Duke is Ian Mackintosh, the owner
of the Albert. he was the Chairman of Rowntree Mackintosh, the big factory in Norwich whose site is now the Chapelfield Mall. He was a very well known patron of the Broads, Commodore of several yacht clubs, director of Aquafibre and Brooms, President of the Wherry Trust, Chairman of the Broads Society, etc., etc. Sadly he died of a heart attack one Sunday morning whilst racing his Norfolk Dinghy at the Frostbites Sailing Club in Thorpe.



Albert of Horning 1976

The Royal couple were taken to Ranworth from Horning in this 1960s Broom 45 “The Albert of Blofield”, which is pictured here en route, flying the Royal Standard at her masthead, with the Royals below deck.


Norfolk Broads River Inspectors 1976

This was also taken in November 1976 during the Royal visit. Vaughan explains; “This photo I took on Ranworth Staithe after the Queen had left and is probably the only time that all of the Broads river inspectors were assembled together, with all of their launches, in the same place. In the centre with the beard is Tony Webster, ex owner of the pleasure wherry Dragon. I had followed the entourage from Horning in one of our hire boats and was moored at the end of the staithe. It was only when they left afterwards that Tony discovered his launch was flying a Womack Cruisers flag instead of the Commissioners' pennant.



Womack Boats winter 1976

The first of three photographs of Womack Cruisers pictured during the winter of 1976/1977. Vaughan recalls; “After this, for several years, the wherry Albion was moored on the front quay for the winter with my boats on the outside of her and this is where her maintenance was done at weekends, before we got the Trust's base started up at Hunter's Yard.


Womack Boats winter 1976

Another view of Womack Cruisers during the winter of 1976/1977.

Womack Boats winter 1976

The final wintry shot of Womack Cruisers from Vaughan.

Womack Boats 1976

Vaughan grew up living on the ex gunboat “Morning Flight” at the Hearts Cruisers boatyard in Thorpe St Andrew which was owned by his father, Commander Ron Ashby. The photograph above shows Womack Boats at Ludham; “This was (the site of) Robert Harrison's yard and it had a dyke alongside leading up to a large slipway for the repair of wherries. After WW11 it was owned by Mrs Golling, who built a bungalow instead of the old boathouse, with a shed and yard facilities at the rear. She also ran a well-known riverside shop from the bungalow. I bought this site from her in 1975 and called it Womack Cruisers. The photo shows some of my boats presented ready for hire in the spring of 1976. We closed down the yard in advance of the great recession of 1982 and developed the site into 3 riverside houses, which are still there now.


Prev Top DUKW's at Thorpe St Andrew 1973

Alongside Hearts Cruisers – in the background you can see the MGB Morning Flight which was brought to Thorpe by Commander Ashby after the war to become the family’s home.