In February 1946, the aircraft carrier HMS Glory arrived in Newcastle Harbour.
“At that time, the Glory was the largest ship to come into the harbour,” aviation historian Bill Hitchcock, of Dudley, said.
The Glory became known as the “bride ship”, but we’ve dubbed it the “love boat”.
The ship arrived in Newcastle with Corsair and Firefly aircraft to conduct air manoeuvres.
The aircraft were left at Williamtown, so the ship could return to Britain during March and April as a “war bride ship for Australian girls who had married British servicemen,” Bill said.
The Brits had met Aussie girls while stationed in Australia.
“The ship returned in April to pick up its aircraft,” he said.
During that time, the British Royal Navy gave “its first official flying exhibition in Australia, with a demonstration of firepower on a target moored off the beach at Newcastle”, Bill said.
“The Corsairs and Fireflies made passes at 100 feet [30 metres]. Two Fireflies gave an aerobatic display over the city.”
They also flew over Lake Macquarie.
“I’d just finished work at Belmont in the afternoon. I was only 18 at the time. They flew in a big N-formation. The N stood for navy,” he said.
The Glory never saw action against the Japanese. It was commissioned shortly before the war ended. But records show it did sail to Rabaul in New Guinea in September 1945 to accept the surrender of the Japanese garrison.
A Japanese general and vice admiral signed a document on HMS Glory, surrendering about 139,000 Japanese soldiers.
The Glory was later deployed in the Korean War in the early 1950s.
As for its brief role as a bride ship, Bill said this kind of thing wasn’t uncommon in the war years, as romance often blossomed.
The Americans were here for five years and many of them also married Australian girls, he said.
The Real Love Boat
The Love Boat TV show made news recently when it received an honorary star plaque on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The show was a hit, running from 1977 to 1986.
The original cast reunited on American’s Today show.
“It was romance. At the time, there were only cop shows and sitcoms on the air,” said Fred Grandy, who played the character Gopher.
“So, this show filled some kind of need.”
On a recent stroll through Cooks Hill, we came across Lovers Lane.
We did our best to ignore the missing apostrophe, while wondering about the origin of the name.
Did the lane used to be a place where couples got up to a bit of mischief?