Going back in time we find that each of the Three Towns had a ‘something’ Return pub – in the 1850s there was the Welcome Return in Mount Street, Devonport; the Sailor’s Return, in Castle Street, Plymouth and the Happy Return in Barrack Street, Stonehouse.
All three conjure up images of servicemen coming home after spells of potentially life-threatening service and indeed there is a Happy Return pub in Chard that traditionally features a sign depicting a sailor with a kitbag slung over his shoulder.
In Nottingham there is another Happy Return pub: there however the link would appear to be more recent, as a former chairman of the brewery that once owned the pub was a huge fan of CS Forester’s Hornblower novel of the same name (published in 1937 it was, incidentally, the first of the Hornblower series).
The pub, and much of the street, was a casualty of the redevelopment of the Royal Marine Barracks in the 1860s.
1850 - D Clissold
1852 - Thomas Smith