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Do you know the history of Collingwood’s amazing mace?

28 March 2022
DO YOU know the story behind Fareham’s most treasured item of regalia?

The mayoral mace is Item No.1 on the inventory of the council – lovingly produced by a skilled team of sailors at the town’s naval establishment, HMS Collingwood.

Over the winter of 1973-1974 a team from Collingwood’s Common Training Workshop Group comprising Lieutenant Tony Williams, Chief Ordnance Electrical Artificers Bernard Jones, Terry Peat and Brian Coe and Chief Electrical Artificer George Reed, toiled in their free periods to design, create a mock-up and finally the finished product.

The resulting mace is 1.2m (four feet) long – made of brass and lignum vitae with heavy silver and gold-plated accoutrements and weighs 26lbs.

The borough's coat of arms is inscribed on an enamel plate at the base of the mace which was presented at the inaugural meeting of the borough council and mayor-making ceremony on April 9 1974 by Collingwood’s then captain, Captain A A Murphy.

As Fareham’s first item of civic regalia the mace is carried by and used for all official occasions by Fareham’s mayor to this day, including all council meetings.

With the 50th anniversary of the borough looming, its mayor, Cllr Pamela Bryant, as well as the Williams family are keen to learn the story of the mace’s creation.

Contemporary records and newspaper clippings provide some of the background story: Lt Williams was the overall designer and also produced a booklet detailing how to clean/repair the mace (the pamphlet has disappeared, sadly); CPO Reed made the Maltese Cross on the top, CPO Coe turned the wood, CPO Peat supervised the fitting and CPO Jones created the fins.

The Williams family were recently treated to a private viewing of the mace – when the mayor asked for help with the backstory.

“It was touching to see how much it is still valued within the mayoral team,” said Lindsay Williams, Lt Williams’ daughter-in-law.

“We would love to hear from any personnel or their families, who may recall the project during their time in HMS Collingwood.   

“We believe there may be retired personnel who were in training in the workshops, who may well have anecdotes which would be wonderful to record for posterity.”

The Williams can be contacted at: [email protected] 

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