What is the strangest thing you have ever received in the post? How about a coconut?
That’s what happened to Jean Stone in the autumn of 1947 when she received a coconut from her then boyfriend navigator Lieutenant C.P. Morgan who was serving on the submarine HMS Alliance.
Lieutenant Morgan spent a total of two months away from home travelling to Gibraltar, the Canary Islands and finally West Africa to test the submarine’s snort mask which allowed them to stay under water for longer. Whilst submerged he had to endure the hot and cramped conditions of the submarine. The only thing that helped him through this long voyage was writing letters to Jean, who he wrote to almost every day, although he was unable to post them until he went ashore.
It was whilst stationed in Freetown in West Africa that Lieutenant Morgan hit on the crazy idea of posting a whole coconut in its shell. He wrote in one of his letters to Jean that ‘...it might be fairly amusing to have a coconut delivered by a startled looking postman!’
At Freetown the submariners were wined and dined by the Governor and what seemed like the entire population of the city. They were entertained on such a lavish scale that they extended their stay for over a week!
The coconut along with Lieutenant Morgan’s wonderful letters can now be viewed by appointment at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum.
The Royal Navy Submarine Museum . Haslar Jetty Road . Gosport . Hampshire . PO12 2AS
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