North Waltham

A beautiful village in the borough of Basingstoke and Deane in Hampshire

North Waltham

A beautiful village in the borough of Basingstoke and Deane in Hampshire

North Waltham

A beautiful village in the borough of Basingstoke and Deane in Hampshire

North Waltham

A beautiful village in the borough of Basingstoke and Deane in Hampshire

North Waltham

A beautiful village in the borough of Basingstoke and Deane in Hampshire

WI – March 2023

by | Mar 19, 2023 | WI

Our last meeting on Thursday 9th March 2023 was our 87th Birthday Party when we joined by visitors from Oakley and Deane and Whitchurch WIs.  We were entertained by Steve Herra, a third generation Cunard employee and Royal Naval Reserve.  Pre-pandemic he conducted tours of the Cunard and P&O ships when they were in dock.  Steve has been delivering a variety of talks for 6 years to many organisations.

The title of his talk on this occasion was “The Body Through the Porthole”.  Steve talked us through this true story of Gay Gibson a 21-year-old British actress travelling back from South Africa on the Durban Castle.  On the night of the 17th October 1947 after an evening of dancing on board with friends, they escorted her back to her first class cabin.  There followed a series of events resulting in Gay’s death and being pushed out of the porthole.  As the audience we were to play the part of the jury to decide whether or not the defendant was guilty of the crime.

Gay had caught the eye of one of the stewards, James Camb, and on the night in question he had gone to her cabin which was against company regulations.  James and Gay had a liaison in her cabin that night after which Gay had died.  James panicked as he shouldn’t have been there and pushed her through the porthole.  In those days, these could be opened by passengers to let in fresh air.

James did admit to pushing Gay through the porthole and said, “it was a beastly thing to do”.  However, he denied murdering her and said she had died following their liaison and he panicked. There was a lot of lively discussion in our groups as to whether or not he was guilty – some of us definitely thought so, others had more questions about the evidence.

At Winchester Crown Court the hearing lasted for 4 days and after 45 minutes the jury found James Camb guilty and he was sentenced to death.  However, the death penalty was abolished shortly after and Camb was released from prison in 1959 (after which he continued to commit crimes against women). 

Following the talk we all tucked into a delicious buffet provided by members – this was enjoyed by all – followed by a slice of birthday cake made by Helen.  Thank you to the President and Committee for organising a wonderful party.

Our next meetings are as follows:

Thursday 13th April 2023: Local artist and printmaker Fiona Rimmer introduces us to her work inspired by the countryside of Hampshire and beyond.

Thursday 11th May 2023:  Annual Meeting and Social.  Please do come along to vote for our new committee.

Thursday 8th June 2023:  A visit to the Hampshire Wardrobe at Chilcomb House, Winchester.

If you are interested in joining us at one of our Meetings, held in the Rathbone Pavilion, please contact me on carolynbrown50@googlemail.com

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