The Button Boys – The Dare Devils of the Mast

Standing on a wooden disc about a foot in diameter, and saluting, does not sound too much of a challenge, unless it is 143 feet above the ground and you only have a lightning conductor to grip between your knees.

This was the job of the button boy at HMS Ganges who had to shin up the last fifteen feet or so to climb on the button during ceremonial parades. The mast has been a local landmark since it was erected a century ago at the end of the Shotley peninsular. Sailors’ uniforms were a familiar sight in the area until HMS Ganges closed in June 1976

Have a watch of the film to see how it was done. John Noakes was filmed climbing up the mast to have a go at siting on the button but not even he could climb the last 15ft.


Do you think you could climb it?


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