NEWSLETTER No. 4/2001
(PLEASE NOTE THAT PHOTOGRAPHS ARE SHOWN ON THE ‘NEWS’ PAGE IN
ORDER TO SAVE DOWNLOAD TIME)
It is my sad duty to have to report the deaths of a number of our Shipmates since our last newsletter.
Not least among them was our long-serving Vice President, Reg Doring. Reg went into hospital with
what was thought to be an intestinal problem on 12 th September and, after treatment, was expected to
be out after a week or so. He had had a heart problem, of which he made light, for some years.
However, on the 17th his condition deteriorated and he passed gently away on the 18 th. I had been in
touch with his wife Edna every day or so whilst he was in the hospital and was relieved to know that
she was supported by her sister-in-law and a wonderful band of friends and neighbours.
Before World War II Reg had left school and went to work for the Metropolitan Police. His aim was
to be a policeman but at that time he was too young. In 1940 he was called up and, after a spell of
training at Royal Arthur joined HMS Cossack (L03) on 19 th August as an Ordinary Signalman, one of
the replacements for those who left the ship after the 2 nd Battle of Narvik. The endless convoys round
Britain's shores, down to Gibraltar and back, and from Gibraltar to Malta were enlivened by the hunt
for and subsequent sinking of the Bismarck. It was on one of those convoys though that Cossack was
to meet its fate, torpedoed by a U-boat on 23rd October 1941. Reg had just been relieved on watch
and, on his way below, had stopped to use the heads when the torpedo struck. Not realising that he
had been badly burned he made his way out on deck and when the order was given to abandon ship
went over the side and was eventually hauled onto a carley float and later rescued by HMS Legion.
On being landed in Gibraltar he spent a period in hospital there before taking passage back to the UK in
After leave he was sent to Leydene to take the Signalman's exam and was then, in January 1942,
drafted to HMS Ringwood, a Southern Railway cattle boat being converted at Barry for use as a
netlayer. He thought it a bit of a comedown after the very pusser Cossack. He left her in April 1942
and from May 1942 to August 1943 he served in the light cruiser HMS Scylla with Russian convoys
and Operation Torch - the landings in North Africa. From August to September he was in HMS
Asbury a shore establishment in New Jersey before joining the American built Escort Carrier HMS
Ameer in September 1943 in which he served until December 1945.
On his demob he returned to the Metropolitan Police, still with the intention of becoming a policeman.
However, a spot on his lung discovered during his medical examination stopped him from achieving
that ambition. For a time he worked for the Post Office, at one time instructing on teleprinters.
Transferring within the Civil Service he eventually went to work for HM Customs & Excise, VAT
Department, where he remained until his retirement.
His funeral was held at Chelmsford Crematorium on Friday 28 th September and was attended by a good
contingent of his friends and their wives from the Association, members of the local RNA and the
British Legion. The service was conducted by the Rev. Rayner Harries who had been a Chaplain in
both the RN and the RAF and had for some years been Reg & Edna's next door neighbour and vicar at
their local church. Our White Ensign covered the coffin and our standard, together with those of the
RNA and the British Legion were dipped in homage.
After the service we were all asked back for refreshments at the Social Club in Ongar, very close to
where Reg and Edna had lived for 43 years.
The following letter was received later
Dear Members of the Cossack Association,
I would very much like to thank you all for the kindness you've shown me during Reg's illness
and since he died. He was such a dear man and I shall miss him so much. I just hope that he was
able to see the marvellous send off that was given at his funeral, he would have been so proud. I do
thank all those that were there, for the lovely floral tributes from the Cossack and from the four D57
shipmates and for the sympathy cards and letters that I received. I sincerely hope to keep in touch as
Reg would have liked that.
My best wishes to all of you. May the Cossack live on.
As an officer of the Association I was asked to say a few words at the service and I hope you will
forgive me if I just print what I said there as a final obituary to Reg.
Shipmate Reg Doring
Reg was a bit of an enigma in many ways. He was only of average build but seemed to be a big
man. His voice was quiet but he always spoke with authority. He wouldn't volunteer to do
anything but, once dragooned into something, he would work tirelessly to do the job well.
For over 10 years he has served us as HMS Cossack Association's Vice President. Before the
two Associations, representing our individual ships both named Cossack, combined, Reg had kept
in touch with many of the survivors from the Tribal class destroyer in which he was serving as a
Signalman when it was torpedoed and sunk in 1941 with the loss of 159 members of the ship's
company. I'm sure that the shared memory of that awful time brought them very close together.
Even at that darkest time he was thinking of others. Realising that the ship had been badly hit,
his first thoughts did not turn to his own safety but to "This is it - Mum will be upset".
As one of his compatriots recently said, "Reg was a lovely man and worked endlessly for the
Association, particularly for those of us who were in Cossack L03. There are so few of us left
now after 60 years since we were torpedoed and he will be greatly missed".
Edna too is very much part of our Association, supporting Reg in all he did and attending all our
meetings. Our hearts open to her in her grevious loss and we hope that our support for her will
ease her sorrow.
Some of those who served in that Cossack L03 are here today with us. Many others would have
liked to have been here too but age and infirmity take their toll and they have been unable to
travel. All of them though will be here with us in spirit as we say our last farewell to a very
Shipmate D. Hollands
A Stop Press note issued with the last newsletter reported the death in June of 'Dutch' Hollands.
'Dutch' served in Cossack (D57) with the 1949/51 commission and was an 'oppo' of Alan
Quartermaine amongst others. He had been suffering for a number of years with a series of
medical problems, not least of all cancer. Our condolences have been passed to his widow and
Shipmate A.W.J. Lord
Arthur Lord served in Cossack as an L.E.M. from 1954 to 1955. It wasn't until an announcement
was made at the 8th Destroyer Association reunion on the weekend of 15th/16th September that we
became aware of his passing. Mrs. Lord confirmed that Arthur had died on July 8 th, very
suddenly of cancer. The 8th D.A. had been informed and she had thought that they would have
passed it on to us.
Our condolences have been given to Mrs. Lord and her family.
Shipmate John Gamble
John served in D57 as a Leading Seaman from 1948 to 1950. Up to 1999 he attended our
reunions but his health got steadily worse and he was unable to travel. He became more
seriously ill and was admitted to hospital. He came out of hospital on Christmas Day 2000 but
had to return after a few hours. He then went home again on 9th February but had to return to
the hospital after 4 days where he later died.
His funeral was held on 27th February and was attended by his local RNA and British Legion with
standards, bugler and a guard of honour.
Our President, George Toomey passed our condolences to his widow June and their son and
John (Tug) Wilson
Tug Wilson was not a member of the Cossack Association but was a member of the 8th Destroyer
Association and it was there at their reunion that we learned of his death. The Navy News had
the following announcement:
Joined as a Boy Seaman in 1938 and served in Warspite, Gambia, Corunna and Serapis and in
HMS Cossack (Korea). Ex C.O. TS Filmar (now Vulcan), Thurso. Died August 12 th, aged 79.
Tug was a P.O. Electrician in Cossack 1951 - 53. If memory serves me right, he joined the RN
for 7 years with the fleet and five in the reserve. Having served his time during WWII he left in
1946 or 47 he then went to work in the mines as an electrician and was very aggrieved at being
recalled when the Korean War broke out.
However, he was a great messmate with a wonderful sense of humour. It was very sad then to
see him a couple of years ago at an 8th D.A. reunion, a shadow of the old Tug, after suffering a
series of mini strokes which had left him with severe short-term memory loss. However, he was
being well looked after by his devoted wife Margaret, to whom our sympathies have been passed.
Lt. Cdr. F.G. Carter
Also announced in the Navy News (September) was the death of Lt. Cdr. F.G. Carter who served
in the following ships and establishments: Bicester, Cossack, Pembroke, Delight, Torquay,
Blake, Terror, Aisne, Excellent, Warrior and Rooke.
He served in Cossack (D57) during the 1951 - 1954 commission as a Commissioned Gunner.
After his retirement from the RN he lived in Alicante, Spain.
Mrs E. Remnant
Betty Remnant, wife of Shipmate Sid Remnant (L03 1940-41), died on 24th September having
been suffering from cancer for some time. Those who attended our reunions will remember her
well, coping marvellously with her sight difficulties but nevertheless taking part.
MAY THEY REST IN PEACE
The passing of Betty Remnant was sadly preceded by Sid having a stroke on the previous Saturday
(22nd). Philip, their son, rang to tell us of these two sad events. Sid was admitted to the Buckingham
Ward of Worthing General Hospital where there were hopes of a good recovery. Our condolences go
to Philip and his sister for the loss of their mother and our best wishes to Sid in his recuperation. The
latest information, on 22nd October, is that Sid is still in the hospital and has been having ups and
downs whilst they try to balance the various drugs to keep him stable and prevent further strokes.
Our Welfare Officer, Ron Maynard, reported that another of our L03 survivors has also been admitted
to hospital following a stroke. He is Stephen Knott who only joined the Association last year. He
joined Cossack L03 in 1941 as an Ordinary Seaman. I spoke on the phone to Mrs. Knott and she said
that it was a mild stroke but meant that he was unable to get around much at present. They were very
disappointed at being unable to attend the service at Portsmouth Cathedral on 21 st October. Our hopes
for a good recovery go to him.
In addition to losing those members who are mentioned in the obituaries above, we have also lost one
full member and 8 associate members who have declined to continue their membership. The full
member was Surgeon Captain M.G. Williams, RN who served in D57 as a Surgeon Lieutenant in 1959.
Mrs. Williams decided that there was no point in continuing his membership as he is suffering from
Alzheimers and cannot now even read the newsletters. We are very sorry to lose him and, indeed, all
Since the last newsletter we have taken on four new members. These are:
Shipmate E.M. Glover Able Seaman 1957 - 1958
Shipmate A.G. Poole Ord. Tel. 1954 - 1955
Shipmate G.E. Riley Ldg. Stoker Mech. 1951 - 1954
Shipmate D.N. Hartell Stoker Mech. 1950 - 1951
Shipmate S.D. Lock Served in MAORI (with Cossack at Bismarck sinking)
Mr. D. Cave Son of Able Seaman W.T. Cave who died when Cossack (L03)
was torpedoed on 23 Oct 1941
It is a pleasure to welcome them and we hope that we shall see them all at the next reunion in April
The loss of Reg Doring throws our administration into some difficulty. Reg did so much for us,
particularly in providing information with which to answer the many inquiries from relatives of those
who served, and probably died, in L03. He also looked after the photograph and information boards
which have been put up at our reunions each year.
The knowledge that Reg had built up over the years cannot be replaced and we shall have to rely more
on our remaining L03 members to assist us in future. Keith Batchelor, who has been beavering away
trying to put together a list of all those who served in L03, has kindly agreed to take on the
responsibility for the Cossack L03 boards and archive information. However, we badly need someone
to take on a similar function in respect of D57. It is not a particularly onerous task but it obviously
needs someone who will attend each reunion and, perhaps, has a flair at presentation. Keith has
currently taken charge of the D57 material as well for the time being and will take it to the next
reunion, hopefully to hand it over to a D57 volunteer. Will anyone willing to take on the job please
contact the Secretary, Peter Harrison.
Service at Portsmouth Cathedral 21st October 2001
At the time I started putting the newsletter together final details were still awaited from Canon Kirk,
the Precentor at Portsmouth Cathedral. It had been hoped to put the details in and save extra postage.
After letters, e-mails, faxes and visits to Portsmouth not much had been achieved and the newsletter
had to be put on hold. Eventually the details and tickets were received and since they were so late had
to be sent separatly to get them to those attending on time.
As in 1994 when we originally dedicated the memorial plaque in the Cathedral, a finger buffet, of
sandwiches, etc. was arranged at the R.N. Club and Royal Albert Yacht Club so that everyone could
get together afterwards. Originally a total of more than 80 said that they would be attending but, for
various reasons, this had come down to just over 60 by the 18 th October.
The week prior to the 21st had been mostly wet but thankfully on the day it was dry at Portsmouth as
people gathered at the Nelson Monument for the first part of the service. After prayers there and with
wreaths being laid by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth and others, the procession was led by a Sea Cadet
band to the Cathedral. Some of our members and their families took part in the service at the Nelson
Monument and the procession but others took their seats in the Cathedral to await the arrival, after
which the next part of the service began. The first lesson was read by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth
and the second by our own S/M Ron Maynard. A special part of the service was devoted to the
memory of HMS Cossack and the Dean processed, accompanied by Peter Day (representing the
survivors) and Alan Edinborough (representing the relatives of those who were killed) to our memorial
plaque in the South Trancept where special prayers were said. The service continued with an address
given for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and a Sea Cadet standard was also dedicated.
On completion of the service in the Cathedral the Dean, Choir and the congregation went in procession
to the "Hot Walls", by the Square Tower, where some more prayers were said, "Eternal Father, strong
to save" was sung and wreaths were thrown into the sea.
Repairing to the Club everyone soon had a well earned drink in their hand and were tucked into the
sandwiches. It was a good turnout and it was especially nice to meet up with some of our newer
members and with some who had travelled a long way to be there. Just to mention a few, Ralph
Taylor (whose brother died in L03) and his family had come down from Stirling in Scotland, Tom Kay
and his wife Norma had come from Manchester and Geoff Embley had fortunately been over here from
Canada so was able to attend. We had missed Admiral Davies at our last reunion but his son Michael
brought him to Portsmouth for this service and, although confined to a wheechair, it was good to see
To all those who attended, thank you. Sixty years have passed since Cossack was torpedoed with such
an awful loss of life but we must continue to keep their memory alive.
Sea Cadet Corps
As most of you will know, we enjoyed a good relationship for some years with the Sea Cadet unit, TS
Cossack, at Crawley. For some reason that relationship was broken by the unit and letters from our
President, George Toomey, over the last year or two have been met with silence. Last year we heard
of the existence of another TS Cossack, at Barry, South Wales and in response to an appeal in the Navy
News provided them with photographs, etc. and three of our members visited the unit. However, since
then we have heard nothing more, not even a letter of thanks.
An e-mail was received last month telling us of yet another TS Cossack. It is reproduced below
My son is a Sea Cadet at TS Cossack (Southwark) and his mother and I have now joined the
committee and are getting involved in the activities of the unit. One thing is clear, they are
very proud of their name "TS Cossack" and are interseted in the ship and its history.
If you could send me some info on the above for the cadets, they are aged 10 to 16, so
photos, etc and the ship's crest/flag, if possible, it would be gratefully appreciated.
Thanks very much.
Your web site is very good.
A subsequent e-mail in reply to asking for a postal address elicited that fact that the unit was named
after L03, the Tribal destroyer (ie not D57!). Despite our previous experiences, we think we should
help. They have been sent a copy of our booklet HMS Cossack 1938 - 1941 - Some Survivors'
Narratives. It is intended to send them some photographs, including a large framed photograph of L03
which was hanging on the wall of Reg's "office" when Alan Edinborough and I went over to Ongar to
collect the Cossack archives and was offered to us by Edna.
CAN YOU HELP?
Bill Bartholomew received the following via the web site.
My eldest brother served on the L03 Cossack from her launch to her sinking in October 1941.
His name was Leading Seaman Albert Marshall and he was awarded the DSM when they boarded the
Altmark in the Norwegian Fiords.
I notice that on your web site you do not have an original photograph of the ships mascot
Pluto. If you wish I could send you a scanned copy of the photo that my brother gave to my family.
John R. Marshall
Later he sent Bill a letter with some photographs and his letter ends "I do not know if any of
your ex-shipmates knew my brother Albert. It would be nice to know that someone is still alive that
I think the Albert Marshall referred to is the "Raggy" Marshall that we've seen in several
photographs and of course we have got copies of the original Pluto photographs. However, if any of
you knew L. Sea. Marshall well and would like to share your thoughts with his brother, please let me,
the Secretary, know.
The Rev. Richard Burkitt is a nephew of Paymaster Lieutenant Peter Burkitt who was serving in L03 at
the time of the Altmark Incident. He would like to talk to anyone who knew his uncle.
His e-mail address is Rburkitt@btinternet.com and his postal address is 1 Deans Road, Fortrose, Ross-
shire IV10 8TJ and tel. no. is 01381 620255.
'Pash' Baker who served in D57 1949-1951 is looking for two ex-Cossack stokers with whom he served
at that time. They are Ronald Beckham, last known to be living in the Forest Gate/Leytonstone area of
London, and Will Rogers who was last known to be living in Bromley, Kent. If anyone has any
information about either of them please let Peter Harrison know.
From Jayne Lewington ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) came this e-mail
I have just found your website and have found it really interesting. My grandad
served on the Cossack L03. His name was Charles 'Lofty' Stephens. Sadly he died in 1989
but I know he would have been eager to join you all. My mum and I think we may be able to
get hold of a lot more photos etc. of Malta, etc. and will be going straight round to my nans
Anyone remember a Charles 'Lofty' Stephens?
An e-mail received from Shipmate Jim Swain, Chairman of the R.N.A. at Cheltenham said that they
are looking for survivors who were rescued by HMS LEGION to attend the 60 th anniversary
remembrance and dedication ceremony for HMS Legion and her crew lost when she was sunk by
bombs in Malta in March 1942. The event will take place at 11.00 am on 23 rd March 2002
Cheltenham Town Hall. Legion was Cheltenham's adopted warship.
My reply pointed out that they are now few and far between and those we have are now unable to
travel much. He subsequently replied that they will have representatives from the Rajputana and the
Ark Royal, also rescued by Legion, and would very much like to have some Cossack representation.
They would prefer to have L03 representation of course.
If anyone would like to attend this event and represent Cossack please let the Secretary know.
Anyone remember Stoker Alan Budd who served in D57 from 1956 to 1960? An e-mail message
from Sue ( Sueblfc@aol.com ) says that her father with any messmates who served with him. Bill
suggested to her that the best way was for him to join the Association. Perhaps you can persuade him!
This e-mail came from Captain Allan Adair, RN
I have just spent a fascinating hour browsing through your web-site. Congratulations - it
really is excellent. My father Captain W.A. Adair, DSO, OBE, RN was rhe Captain D8 1952-
53 (or possibly 54) during the Korean War and talked of his time with the ship very fondly.
Sadly he died in 1985. If any of your members have memories of him (good or bad!), I would
be delighted to hear from them.
If you have any anecdotes you would like to share please contact Captain Adair by e-mail at
Allan.Adair@fco.gov.uk or by post to Captain A. Adair, RN, Naval Attaché, Ambassade de Grande-
Bretagne, 35 Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, 75383 Paris, France.
Also via the web site we have received an e-mail from Sallyann Padgett whose grandfather's
cousin was Eric Farmer, a Telegraphist who served in L03 and died in October 1941 when Cossack
Sallyanne sent us two items, a poem describing the boarding of the Altmark and Eric's account
of the sinking of the Bismarck, both of which are published below. She said that "it would be really
nice to see if anyone else remembers Eric so that she could pass it on to her grandad who would be
most interested to hear from them". Please let the Secretary know if you knew Eric and would like to
give her a helping hand to please her grandad.
THE TALE OF JSSINGFJORD
Eastwards we sailed from the Falkland Isles,
And Westwards to the Plate,
We searched the waves for a ship of slaves
With a ceaseless burning hate.
South from the Caribbean,
Northward the white wakes scored,
And the set of the sun brought vengeance
At night in JSSINGFJORD.
Yonder she lay, the prison ship,
The Norsemen had let her go,
A floating hell on a nights tide swell
With Britons locked below.
And thirty men on the COSSACK
Waited the words to board,
From the hidden lights in London
To the stars in JSSINGFJORD.
Grappling irons, and then attack,
A fight in the frozen sea.
When thirty men came back again
Three hundred men were free.
For Drake had unslung his hammock
And he stepped once more aboard
And he fought again beside us
That night in JSSINGFJORD.
THE SINKING OF THE BISMARCK
(A Personal Account written by Telegraphist Eric Farmer onboard HMS COSSACK. Eric was
subsequently lost, together with 158 of his shipmates, when the COSSACK was sunk on 25 th October
The day was one of the typical Atlantic wintry days. A fairly strong wind, squally and, onboard any
ship, not at all comfortable. Visibility was only a few miles, 6 at the most, and spray from the bows
passing over the bridge obscuring everything.
The German battleship BISMARCK and cruiser PRINZ EUGEN had been reported as being at Bergen,
Norway. This meant only two things. They had been sent there as reinforcements, or were about to
proceed to sea, make their way into the Atlantic, and begin a series of convoy raiding expeditions.
On 23rd May 1940, two of our cruisers, HMS NORFOLK and HMS SUFFOLK were on patrol in the
Denmark Straits (the strip of sea between Iceland and Greenland) when they suddenly saw two more
dark forms ahead emerging from the fog. As they became clearer, it was seen that they were warships,
and, as there were none of our own big ones in the vicinity, enemy warships.
20.15 on the 23rd. An enemy report was made that one battleship and one cruiser of enemy type were
at large and had been sighted. The chase was on. Our cruisers knew they were no match for the
Germans, so they at once took up shadowing positions. This was extremely difficult owing to the
weather and at 22.15 contact was lost. About 22.30 contact was regained by RD/F (Radio Direction
Finder) with a range of 11 miles. Visibility 8 miles approximately. From this time the cruisers kept
contact until daylight giving occasionally a P C & S (Position, Course & Speed) of enemy. By now our
big ones (ships) had arrived on the scene, and at 05.56 the Battleship HMS HOOD sends a report of
enemy in sight. Visibility had cleared by now and the enemy were 18 miles away. A bit of
manoeuvring and the engagement was on, which resulted in HOOD receiving a thousand-to-one hit in
her magazine, and blowing up. At 06.32 a message was made to destroyers to proceed and pick up
survivors, of which there were only three. A Midshipman, a Signalman and one AB.
HMS PRINCE OF WALES, a battleship, then took up the engagement but the enemy turned away and
broke off. Not before PRINCE OF WALES had had Y gun turret (on the quarterdeck) put out of action,
but only for the time being.
Cruisers NORFOLK and SUFFOLK took up the shadowing again for the day and kept contact. At
dusk a striking force was flown off from the aircraft carrier HMS VICTORIOUS, which reported
registering one hit. This, however, was only an 18in. torpedo and failed to reduce the speed of the
enemy. They were still going at 22 knots.
The cruisers were able to shadow until about 03.00 on the 25 th when at 03.06 a report was made that
contact had been lost. This meant that the enemy had made a large turn, but it was not known in what
direction. This made the situation rather awkward because our main fleet was closing in and were
expected to meet at 08.00 or thereabouts.
The Fleet was then spread out in hope of regaining contact – aircraft were flown off from
VICTORIOUS but to no avail. C in C Home Fleet on the battleship HMS KING GEORGE V made a
signal. Her destroyer escort had run down to a small percentage of oil fuel. The 4th Destroyer Flotilla
were forced to leave the convoy and proceed towards KING GEORGE V as relief escort.
Visibility was still about 8 miles and the sea rough when, at 10.54, a signal was received from Catalina
aircraft of the RAF stating: 1 Battleship in sight, course 180 and the position.
This was south of us, so we turned right around and made towards the spot at 27 knots, increasing to 30
knots. By now aircraft of the aircraft carrier HMS ARK ROYAL had taken over and the Catalina
proceeded on patrol.
Just after noon a Torpedo Bomber attack was made by ARK ROYAL’s aircraft and one hit was
observed. All aircraft returned safely. Reports were made at short intervals throughout the day of
position, course and speed of the enemy. Approximate course 180 speed 22 knots but she was leaving
a trail of oil behind her. The 4th D.F. still carried on at 30 knots.
At about 1130 the 4th D.F. sighted the enemy, who immediately opened fire with everything she had.
The fire was too good to allow us to close the range too much, so we took up a shadowing position.
The big ones were by now heading full speed in our direction and hoped to make a dusk attack, turning
it into a night action. When dusk came, however, it was found that they were too far away for this, so it
was summed up that if nothing drastic was done that night the enemy would be most probably lost,
and, by dawn, even in Brest.
The cruiser PRINZ EUGEN was nowhere around now, so we concentrated on BISMARCK.
A plan of attack was decided on by the destroyers. A torpedo attack was to be carried out when
darkness fell in an attempt to stop, and may be if enough torpedoes struck home to sink the enemy. One
thing was certain though. The enemy had to be stopped, even if it meant the loss of the whole 4th D.F.
At about 0130 the attack started, but BISMARCK was ready and waiting. She opened fire on us by
RD/F and it was so heavy and accurate that we had to retire to a safe distance. The 4 th was then split up
and told to make the attack independently, and at the most favourable time.
It was pitch black, and the only thing to be seen were the starshells fired by the destroyers to keep in
touch with the BISMARCK. The sea had calmed down a bit, but visibility was still only about 8 miles
at the most.
Approximately 0200, HMS ZULU (4th D F), reported having fired her fish (torpedoes), but no hits
registered. BISMARCK was firing at ZULU and HMS MAORI (also 4 th D F), concentrating more on
the latter, and straddling every time. Now was our chance. COSSACK, full speed ahead, went into
attack. We are spotted and BISMARCK opens fire on us. The first salvo was 50 yds short. The next
one burst over the bridge causing everyone to duck. The range was less than a mile now. A sharp turn,
several swishes as the torpedoes are fired, a thick smoke screen, and we are away into the night. A very
loud explosion; and a large flash is observed in the after part of BISMARCK as one of our fish hit.
Almost at the same time, MAORI reports having completed her run and getting one hit, which caused a
large fire on the forecastle. A few minutes later ZULU reported: ‘Enemy on fire and stationary’.
By now it was found that one of our torpedoes had not left the tubes, so we went in again. The range
closed rapidly as we sped in. Another sharp turn, another heavy smoke screen, and we are away again.
A few seconds after our second run a huge sheet of flame was seen to come from BISMARCK. It is not
known whether our second run had been a success, or whether the flash came from the 15in. guns of
the enemy. Anyway the fish had all gone and BISMARCK had been stopped.
About an hour later she was on her way again. This time instead of 22 knots, the most she could muster
was 8 knots. To add to her disablement, she was noticed to have a list of about 30. All we could do
now was to shadow till the big ones gained contact. At 0800 we lost contact but regained it again after
a few minutes. She opened fire almost at once, but made no hits on any of us. 0855, there was a heavy
explosion and after a few seconds a huge sheet of water rose alongside BISMARCK. The big ones had
arrived and the final stage of the engagement was on. The battleship HMS RODNEY came into view
firing 16in. salvoes, which were hitting home. Then came the HMS KING GEORGE V . The
BISMARCK was fighting furiously to get away, but she could not do any more than 8 knots. It was a
sorry sight to see Germans racing along the deck to jump over the stern.
They would sooner be in the open sea which was very rough, than in BISMARCK which was by now
nothing more than a floating hell ship. The 16in. and 14in. salvoes of RODNEY and K G V were
tearing into her continuously. Finally the big guns dropped down like dead flowers and ceased firing at
our ships, who kept at it. There was no possible chance of her getting away now. She was on fire, and,
at last, stopped amidst a cloud of steam.
Germans were seen jumping into the sea, and the 4 th D F together with a cruiser, HMS
DORSETSHIRE, were ordered to close in and pick up survivors – if any. During this errand of mercy,
MAORI had a torpedo fired under her by a U Boat, so the 4 th D F left without picking anyone up,
DORSETSHIRE was able to pick up more than 100 survivors before she left, bringing them back to
England as Prisoners of War.
On our way back with the big ones the German aircraft spotted us, as we expected, and attacked. No
damage done and we arrived back safely.
Before the final battle took place, the Admiral commanding BISMARCK must have known his end
was near because he sent a message to Germany saying that he would fight to the last shell. As she
rolled over we had to take our hats off to the Germans, and admit that they had fought a magnificent
battle, and had died as all sailors wish to do. Engaging a superior enemy and with all guns blazing.
Thus, the sinking of our Battleship, HMS HOOD was avenged in the way they would have wished had
they been afloat. The 4th D F comprising COSSACK, ZULU, MAORI and SIKH had special mention
for their part played.
Our Norwegian Friends
At the end of the piece in the last newsletter giving details of what Morten Hansen said on behalf of
Olav Rothli and Mayor of Flakstad at the last reunion I mentioned that Philip Remnant were visiting
Norway for their summer holiday and were hoping to visit Morten and Olav. Well visit them he did
and his report follows.
By Philip Remnant
As mentioned in the last newsletter my wife and I were able to spend our holiday this year in Norway
and visit the Associations’ friends there. After a storm force 5 crossing (nothing to you old sea dogs but
quiet a swell to us land lubbers) we arrived safely in Bergen and commenced our journey north to the
Lofoten Islands with our caravan safely in tow.
The journey was to take 5 days and involve many steep and winding roads, camping at 1300m altitude
in an ice field with the temperature at 3o C, and crossing the Artic circle. The difficulties of driving on
the unfamiliar road was made worthwhile by the stunning views, clean air, and the friendliness of the
On arrival at Ness we left the caravan and took the ferry across to Svolvaer on the Lofoten Islands.
From here it was a short trip to Kabelvaag where Olav Rothli and Morten Hansen live. Morten and
Marianne made us very welcome, with coffee and a special delicacy of smoked and salted Whale meat.
The first evening Olav treated us to a fish dinner in the local hotel, for which we again thank him very
much. The following day we drove with Olav, Morten and his eldest son, through the Islands to
Skjelfjord, visiting on the way the Viking Chieftains Museum. As the Ordfoer of the Flakstad
kommune was on holiday we took this opportunity to present to Olav the thanks of the H.M.S Cossack
Association, together with a picture of LO3 for onward transmission to the mayor on his return. (See
The following morning we said our farewells and started our 6-day trip south to Jossingfjorden. Again
the journey was a continuous view of mountains, trees, and water in the form of lakes and fjords. After
a brief stop in Oslo to visit the national folk museum and the Viking ships museum we travelled on to
Sokndal. Here we met up with Finn Nesvold who very kindly entertained us for three days. During our
time in Hauge i Delane, we were taken on walks through the local countryside and on some odd
footpaths (see photo of Finn and Dog.) John took us on a history trip of the titanium mines in the area
including a trip to the bottom of the currently operating open cast mine. As we are beekeepers Finn had
arranged for us to spend an afternoon with Majka and Olav Georg the local beekeepers in Bu which we
enjoyed very much. On the last evening we had a memorable meal prepared by Cecile at home, to
which Finn had also invited John and Gunter and wives.
I would again like to thank all in Norway who entertained us, and hope that this visit has helped to
strengthen the bonds between the H.M.S. Cossack Association and our Norwegian friends.
Picture of Finn Nesvold with his dog
SEE ‘NEWS’ Page on Site.
Picture of Philip handing over to Olav Rothli the
letter of greetings and thanks to the Mayor of
SEE ‘NEWS’ Page on Site
We left John Batty halfway through his perambulations around Australia. Part 2 of his account is
given below. I'm glad to say that his 'holiday' has got him to put pen to paper again and we now have
a couple of his stories of Life Down Under in store ready for later newsletters. But first let's enjoy
(Part 2) by John Batty
The morning that we decided to leave Exmouth, we took out our maps for one of the
few times that we used them. We had already over-run our two weeks holiday by an extra
week and a half and travelling at our top speed in a direct line, it would take another two
weeks and maybe more to cover the 4,000 plus kilometres to Sydney, the main reason being
that to keep in a straight line, we would have to climb and cross The Carnarvon Range, at a
guess-timate about 500K‟s wide, then cross the Great Victorian Desert, (another 1,000
kilometres of shifting sands, a hundred plus degs during the day and freezing, (almost,) at
night), and the real obstacle, there isn‟t a road anyway.
This latter argument being the reason that we put away the maps, rolled the dice
which came up with “2” for South and finally headed out with the object of calling in at
Guilderton at the mouth of the Moore River. The town has strong links with the Dutch ships
which sailed this coast four centuries ago.. In 1556, the vessel, De Ver Gulde Dracke, (Gilt
Dragon,), returning from the spice Islands (Indonesia) and loaded with treasure, mostly silver,
was wrecked on a reef North West of the present town. About 70 of the crew managed to
reach shore, six of their number taking a salvaged lifeboat, managed to reach Batavia (Now
Djakarta). and asked for help. Rescue missions found no trace of the men who had reached
the shore and they were never heard of again. Tales of sunken treasure circulated in the
region for years, a regular occurrence on this wreck littered area of coast line, However, in
1931, a young local lad unearthed forty silver coins buried on the beach. The remains of the
wreck were located in 1963, and although not much of the ship was found after being
immersed for so long, Maritime Archaeologists from The Western Australian Museum, later
salvaged cannons, ammunition, tools etc, with over 20,000 coins from the floor of the ocean..
It was a very difficult job to pursuade George not to unhook the desert shovel and start
digging but eventually I succeeded and we were soon on our way again.
The ride down to Guilderton and the stopover for sightseeing had used another week
and few days and by that time it had become an unspoken agreement between us, that we
just follow the coast road stopping at any place which looked interesting. And so we found
our way to Perth, Capital City of Western Australia and home to the famous black swans.
My conscience, had been bothering me for a while but I had left my
telephone/address book at home and, as most of my family have silent numbers, it was
impossible to phone from the out back. I did, however, after a frustrating half an hour
manage to phone my daughter in law, which cost an arm and a leg . George told me that he
didn‟t phone his family very often from home, so nobody would expect him to phone from
the outback. That was the end of the twinge of conscience.
Perth, the Swan river, the architecture and the West Australian Maritime Museum will
forever stay in my memory. We stayed around Perth for a couple of weeks taking the
opportunity of having the Ford serviced and washed. The latter was a waste of time and water
as two days out of Perth it was again thick with red mud and dust. It was a first visit for both
of us and we were amazed by the difference between Perth and Sydney, Perth being so
much more Anglicised than any of the Eastern cities.
The day came when we decided to move on, ignoring the dice, we headed North
West and found ourselves joining the 2nd rate desert road for the three thousand Kms. road
through Laverton, Warburton, past the very lonely Giles Meteorological Station, where we
joined Lasseter‟s Highway. It is somewhere in the region enclosed by Giles Met station,
Coober Pedy and Alice Springs that a 19th century explorer named Lasseter supposedly
discovered a huge reef of pure gold. He made his way back to Sydney, reported the find and
several months later arrived back in the area with a mining group. However, the sand had
been swept by wind storms in a hundred different directions during his absence, and not a
sign could they find of any gold. With their provisions running out, the men decided to return
to Sydney, leaving Lasseter to go his own way. Those men didn‟t reach Sydney and their
fate has never been discovered. Lasseter continued searching but eventually he crawled
into a cave, no food or water left, he scribbled a note and his body was found by a rescue
squad several months later. Dozens of hopeful treasure hunters have searched for the reef
since then, but not a speck of gold has been found.
We turned onto the Stuart Highway and finally, having stopped for a break at Ayer‟s
Rock, where we attempted the obligatory climb but letting our age and tiredness be our
excuse for not completing it and taking to the road again, we drove into Alice Springs the
following day, tired, dirty and hungry.
„‟The Alice‟‟, situated in the geographical centre of Australia certainly earns the name
of The Red Centre, the earth is red and red dust covers everything . The 1950 novel by
Neville Shute , made into a film and later a television series, made nearly the whole world
aware that there really was “A town like Alice.‟ Although today‟s town is modern and well
maintained, Shute‟s description of a rough and ready township still persists and the
inhabitants like it like that.
Besides tourism, cattle, transport and communications, and mining for oil, gas and
gold, The Alice has a prosperous export trade with the Middle East countries in camels. The
Australian deserts and bush areas being the home of hundreds of these wild beasts.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service has a major base at the Alice which is a blessing to
the far flung stations. All the school children in the surrounding districts do their lessons in the
largest classroom in the world, by radio, and correspondence supervised by the South
Australian Department of Education in Adelaide.
The Henley-On-Todd Regatta is held annually and follows the course of the River
Todd. As the Todd is only a memory and the course has long since dried out, the teams race
in home made bottomless boats using leg power!! Besides this event which draws thousands
of tourists as spectators and contestants, the Alice Springs Rodeo show is one of the most
highly regarded on the Australian Rough Riders circuit.
The third big day in The Alice calendar is the Lion‟s Camel Cup Carnival. This event
also uses the Todd dry course as a race track and is (I believe) a riotous event as most of the
mounts are only brought in from the desert the day before the race. Many of the riders are
taken into the hospital the day after!
Reluctantly leaving behind the friendly, hospitable people of The Alice, George and I
regained the Stuart Highway 87 and turning South, left the Northern Territory and entered
South Australia‟s area of the Great Victoria Desert. We passed Coober Pedy and an hour
later, changed our minds, turned around and entered the town. First, we had to negotiate
between the mounds of pale mullock which surround the Opal mining town and have been
built up by decades of hopeful miners as they dug ever deeper in the hope of „‟Hitting a Big
One‟‟ Whether they have done or not, is a question never asked. Nor would it be answered.
“Big Brother” could be listening...All I know is that there are some very fine pieces of opal to
be bought in the underground shops, where you will also find every book which has ever been
written about how to grow rich by digging at Coober Pedy, amongst many others.
Many of the caves left by the diggers, have been converted into comfortable
electrically lit shops, churches and furnished homes.. In a climate which can reach 150 degs
F. for weeks on end, spending time browsing in the underground shops is certainly much
more comfortable than walking around the shafts and mullock heaps.
To the East and North of the town, runs the six feet high wire dog fence which
extends for a couple of thousand miles through South Australia and Queensland. I don‟t
know if it is successful in keeping the Dingo‟s out of the pastures but there were dingoes on
both sides of the fence as it was being built... and there is a full crew which patrols the fence
looking for holes or broken gates year in and year out.
After „Noodling „ in the mullock for three days, we decided that a ticket on the lottery
would make us rich quicker, so we bought one. It lost!! We cleaned up and packed up and
joined the South bound traffic once again on the Stuart highway. Two and a half days later
after passing nothing interesting in the desert except Woomera rocket range, we arrived, hot
and tired at Port Augusta at the head of the Spencer Gulf. After an afternoon and a night
spent in the quietest looking pub, we emerged the following morning looking and feeling, spic
and span and well rested. Seven hours later we were parked in George‟s daughter‟s
driveway in Glenelg, home of HMS.Buffalo, a replica of the first ship to land free settlers in
South Australia, the only state which was settled exclusively by „‟Free-men‟‟ We enjoyed
a three days break with Stella and Gordon, during which time I looked up friends which I had
made when we lived in Adelaide. and all in all we had a very pleasant few days. Thank You,
Stella and Gordon.
Shortly after saying our farewells, we found ourselves climbing the ranges out of the
Adelaide Plains, before sweeping down into Victoria and finding ourselves only a stone throw
from Ballarat, one of the richest of the old gold mining towns. Here, a genuine old mine has
been preserved in working order, and it still contains a small vein of gold.. For a small fee,
tourists can tour the mine and with the help and explanations of a guide, can learn about the
conditions which endured in the 19th century. Also there is a replica of an early 19th century
village which is open to visitors every day showing the life that the local‟s used to lead. That
was a full three days sightseeing, and a very enjoyable three days they were.
Shunning the centre of noisy, busy Melbourne, we somehow found ourselves
boarding the Ferry for Hobart, Tasmania. Which is how we came to be inspecting the old
prison at Port Arthur, one of the worst of the penal colonies. The old buildings had an
ominous air and the modern cafe had not lost it‟s atmosphere after being rebuilt after the
massacre of a few years ago by a demented young man who is now in jail serving a ‟‟Never to
be released” sentence. We didn‟t linger and spent a couple of days circling the island and
finding that it deserved an article of it‟s own. Suffice to say here, that besides the cruelty
administered to the convicts, this was the scene of the first case of cannibalism reported
amongst escaped convicts when a bunch of five escapees were suspected of drawing lots to
find the next one to be eaten. The last escapee was finally captured and admitted that he had
regularly waited until his group were asleep and then knocked the strongest of them over the
head to provide another week‟s food. (some very deep survivalist thinking there !!)
We overnighted on the ferry again to reach the mainland and drove North to
Canberra airport , where I boarded a „plane to Brisbane and George drove the short journey
to his home at Bateman‟s Bay.
I arrived home on the 20th of March having been away for exactly 15 weeks instead
of the 2 weeks we had initially planned for. During that time we had only been able to see a
fraction of this great country, so much time is spent in travelling when one place is hundreds
and maybe thousands of k‟s from the next one on the agenda, however, it was a wonderful
trip and we are already planning next year‟s walkabout, this time to the wilds of North
Queensland and Northern Territory. God Willing.
Most memorable memories?
The Dolphins at Monkey Mia. The park ranger pointed out to us that the dolphins
wouldn‟t approach a human from the side on which that person had a defect, and although it
could be an unseen injury, the dolphin would , without fail, refuse to approach from that side.
The underground homes, cinemas, churches and shops at Coober Pedy, browsing
amongst the books whilst 30 feet underground was an unforgettable experience.
The young checkout girl at one of the supermarkets that we used. She had to make
change from a $20.00 bill for a $12.20c grocery order. First she rang it up on the till, then
had to spend five minutes vainly trying to correct the result. Next, out came the paper and
pencil, After a few minutes, during which the girl juggled with high finance, blushed bright red
with anger or embarrassment and swore like a cap-flat-aback three badge A.B. after he‟d just
spilled his tot, she scrapped the paper, searched in the desk drawer and withdrew a hand
calculator She then punched in the relevant figures, triumphantly presenting me with change
to the value of $8.80c. George punched me in the ribs before I had a chance to say anything
and I guiltily left the store with an ill-gotten extra dollar which we lost in the poker machines of
the next pub we called at...
Now I have only eight months to convince Ron that I don‟t think that he would enjoy
racing around the desert, getting lost in a sand storm, and above all, we didn‟t see an
elephant or lion all the time we were away. Plus, I‟ll tell him that we had to make do with West
Ozzie beer all the time we were away, nobody had heard of Tooey‟s Old over there... I think
that should keep him at home.
8th Destroyer Association Reunion 14th - 16th September 2001
(Report by S/M Alan Quartermaine)
On Friday 14th September, shipmates who served on destroyers on the China Station, 1945 to 1963,
met informally in the Ocean Room at the Spa Centre, Scarborough. The Mayor of Scarborough,
Councillor Mrs. Lucy Haycock and her husband welcomed shipmates back to the popular seaside
Shipmate Mick Farrington produced a "C" Class destroyer in a bottle for the Friday night raffle, which
raised a total of £400.00.
On the Saturday morning the Ocean Room opened its doors at 1030 and, in the foyer, our new Slops
Officer, Frank Leach, sold and took orders for £500.00 worth of kit. Meanwhile, our Archivist, Don
Macdonald, had set up an excellent display of memorabilia, with many new photos on show and other
items being submitted during the morning. The foyer was also the scene of membership renewals with
Shipmate Peter Lee-Hale taking the subs in place of our Treasurer who was absent recovering from a
The AGM started at 1300 with two minutes silence in remembrance of the casualties caused by
terrorism in New York and Washington. The agenda was taken briskly, the Committee was re-elected
en block and Shipmate Barry Knell, Chairman of the HMS Cavalier Association, gave a positive and
up-beat report of the progress of work at Chatham on the restoration of the ship. On completion of yet
another successful AGM, "Up Spirits" was piped, a tot of rum was issued to each Shipmate and a glass
of wine to each of the ladies.
On Saturday evening, approximately 50 members of the Royal British Legion, District of Germany,
joined the Association by invitation. The group included four ex-German Navy petty officers as well
as ex-servicemen of the British Army and representatives from the Dutch town of Nieuw Dordrecht,
where the town's school children tend the graves of RAF crewmen from World War II.
During the evening a raffle was organised which raised £880.00 for Association funds. As for
previous years, cash prizes totalling £250.00 were won, with a 1st prize of £75.00, a 2nd prize of
£50.00 and five other prizes of £25.00. There were also 50 prizes donated by Shipmates.
Sunday 15th September was fine and dry and, at 1230, the Association, members of local Cadet forces
and the visitors from Germany filled the pews in St. Martin's Church at South Cliff for the annual
memorial service. Thirty-six standards lined the pathway to the church for the arrival of the Mayor of
Scarborough and other dignitaries.
At 1330 the Association, Cadets and visitors fell in for the march to the Spa Centre. The 36 standards,
three platoons from the 8th Destroyer Association, one platoon of German visitors and the Cadet
Forces were once again led by the band of TS Cleopatra, the Harrogate Unit of the Sea Cadet Corps.
The salute was taken by our President, Commander Oliver Wright; the Mayor of Scarborough Mrs.
Lucy Haycock; Lt. Cdr. Shakespeare, MBE, C.O. of Harrogate Unit of the SCC; and our Chaplain,
Canon Ralph Mayland, VRD, RNR.
After the parade, all returned to the Spa Centre for liquid and other refreshment. While the standard
bearers were being inspected by the Mayor and our President, the gathering was entertained by music
from a local school band, especially arranged by the manager of the Spa Centre. When the inspection
was over, TS Cleopatra entertained with, first, a piping display and then an excellent display by the
band. A collection was taken for the Sea Cadet Unit's funds and raised £261.61. When the band had
marched off, a S.O.D.S. opera commenced with numerous acts by Shipmates, visitors and lady
members. During this, more money was donated to Association funds.
Next reunion: 13th, 14th and 15th September, 2002.
Those of us in the Cossack Association who served in D57 have always encouraged others to join the
8th D.A. and go to their reunions. However, as we get older the difficulties of travel, etc. sometimes
cause us to have to forego some of the pleasures. Our President, George Toomey, attended the 8th
D.A. reunion again this year and has asked to be given space to mention a few things.
As the original Founder of the 8th Destroyer Squadron Association I always try to attend the
reunions and this year was no exception. I attended the AGM on the Saturday, which was
very well supported by their members.
During the addresses by Committee members I was taken aback by a remark from one of
them "that members of the Cossack Association have not attended due to the fact that that
they objected to there being Associate Members in the Association". This is total rubbish
and I don't know where he got it from. However, I will bring it up at the Cossack Association
AGM in April. We have always allowed Associate Members in the Cossack Association, and
possibly without them there will be no associaton in a few years. In fact I recruited the first
Associate Member at Southend on the first at the first reunion at Southend. He was Joseph
Lynch, George Cross holder, from the 8th Destroyer Flotilla in 1932. I feel that when the next
China Chat newsletter is issued by Geoff Lane the 8th D.A. should explain to its members
that only full members have the right to vote, ie that Associate Members do not. The reason
for this is of course that a large number of members from 'C' Class destroyers that were never
part of the 8th Destroyer Flotilla/Squadron could otherwise out-vote true 8th members and
change the constitution without their consent. I pointed this out in my own address at the
Another point mentioned by the same person was that Cossack members had asked to be
seated (as they have been for the last 3 years) under the low roof in the hall. The
temperature there gets up to over 88 degrees F in the evening and I have been unable to find
anyone who has requested to be seated there. After last year's reunion I asked that this year
that we should be seated in the main area but was told that someone moves the table
markers around. I also proposed that a seating layout should be displayed at the entrance
so that ship's tables could be identified by each member but this did not happen. However,
this year we did have seating in the main area so it appears that at least has been sorted. I'll
request this again for the next reunion, just in case it has been forgotten by then.
My last request to the 8th D.A. is that registration of members attending should be better
organised, particularly now that there is a trophy to be won by the ship having the best turn-
out of members. This year the sheets on which members were asked to sign-in were spread
out loose over a table, hoping that members would sign. I watched many not bother.
The evening was a great success, with many visitors, and it was one of the best that I can
recall at Scarborough. Well done. I was delighted that the raffle took £900.00, mainly due to
the efforts of Geoff and Audrey Lane with the support of all the ladies selling the tickets. Now
it can help those who are in need of welfare support, which is increasing as age and illness
takes over. It will be money well spent. This is one of the reasons I founded the
A number of our members have asked when they will be receiving the booking forms for our next
reunion. Well, it's a bit early yet, with almost 6 months yet to go! It's nice to know that the
enthusiasm is still there.
We have been negotiating with the Burlington Hotel on prices and have just agreed on what they will
be. Inevitably they are slightly higher than last year but are still very good value for money. As a
comparison, another association recently held a reunion dinner at the Sailors Home Club at Portsmouth
and the cost was £22.00 per person, and that didn't include accommodation. Anyway, the prices for
next year will be:
3 nights (Fri, Sat & Sun including bed, breakfast and dinner £81.90 p.p.
and buffet lunch on Sunday)
2 nights (Fri & Sat including bed and breakfast and dinner £63.50 p.p.
and buffet lunch on Sunday)
1 night (Sat only including bed, breakfast and dinner £29.50 p.p.
and buffet lunch on Sunday)
Although some of the extras, such as rum for 'Splice the Mainbrace' and wine at the dinner, for which
the Association has previously paid extra, have now been absorbed into those prices it will still be
necessary for us to make the additional £5.00 per head charge to cover those things which are not. For
those who live local to Eastbourne and require the Saturday dinner only the cost will be £15.00 per
head, including the surcharge.
Booking forms will be sent out with the next newsletter in December. To confirm the dates for your
diary, the reunion weekend will be held at the Burlington Hotel, Eastbourne on 5th, 6th and 7th April,
11th September 2001
Mention should have been made earlier in this newsletter of the awful occurrences of September 11th
in New York and Washington. Many of us will have had their own experiences with sons, daughters
or grandchildren having been over there at the time and have been fearful of their fate. God willing all
will have been safe. However, as we now know, many lost their lives and others badly injured. On
15th September, on our behalf, Bill Bartholomew left the following message on a web site which had
been set up.
On behalf of the President and Members of the H.M.S. COSSACK Association, we extend our
heartfelt sympathy. The horror of the despicable acts of terrorism against innocent civilians
of many nationalities affects us all. We feel your pain. The bravery and selflessness of
those involved in the rescue has our deepest admiration. May those who have gone rest in
peace and those affected find solace. We stand beside you.
Even in such adversity as that mentioned above, humour will out. Some humourous items from the
Old Geezers are easy to spot - this is slang for an old man. But at sporting events, during the playing
of the National Anthem, they hold their caps over their hearts and sing without embarrassment. They
know the words and believe in them. You see Old Geezers remember World War I, the Depression,
Blitzkrieg, Pearl Harbor, the Battle of the Atlantic, Normandy and Hitler.
They remember the Atomic Age, the Korean War, The Cold War, the Jet Age and the Moon Landing -
not to forget Vietnam and the world's other trouble spots.
If you bump into an "Geezer" on the narrow sidewalk, he'll apologize.
Pass a "Geezer" on the street, he'll smile and nod, tip his hat or cap to a lady.
"Geezers" trust strangers and are courtly to ladies. They hold the door for the next person and always
when walking, make sure that the lady is on the inside for protection.
"Geezers" get embarrassed if someone curses in front of ladies and children, and they don't like
violence and filth on television and in the movies.
"Geezers" have moral courage. "Geezers" seldom brag unless it's about the grandchildren, a Little
Leaguer or a mucical recital.
This country needs "Geezers" with decent values and common sense.
We need them now more than ever before. It's the "Geezers" who know our great country is protected,
not by politicians or police, but more by the young men and women in the military serving their
country in foreign lands, just as they did, without a thought except to do a good job, the best you can
and to get home to loved ones.
Let's thank God for the Old Geezers you know.
(via Dave Shirlow, Seawaves Magazine)
NEW HUMAN RESOURCE GUIDLINES
SICK DAYS: We will no longer accept a doctor's statement as proof of
sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to
come to work.
SURGERY: Operations are now banned. As long as you are an employee
here, you need all your organs. You should not consider
removing anything. We hired you intact. To have
something removed constitutes a breach of employment.
BEREAVEMENT LEAVE: This is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you
can do for dead friends, relatives or co-workers. Every effort
should be made to have non-employees attend to the arrange-
ments. In rare cases, where employee involvement is
necessary, the funeral should be scheduled in the late
afternoon. We will be glad to allow you to work through
your lunch hour and subsequently leave one hour early,
provided your share of the work is enough to keep the job
going in your absence.
YOUR OWN DEATH This will be accepted as an excuse. However, we require at
least two weeks notice, as it is your duty to train your
REST ROOM USE: Entirely too much time is being spent in the rest room. In
the future, we will follow the practice of going in alphabetical
order. For instance, those whose names beging with 'A' will
go from 8.00 am to 8.10 am, employees whose names begin
with 'B' will go from 8.10 am to 8.20 am and so on. If you
are unable to go at your time, it will be necessary to wait until
the next day when your time comes again. In extreme
emergencies employees may swap their time with a
co-worker. Both employees' supervisors must approve this
exchange in writing. At the end of three minutes, an alarm
bell will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, and the stall
door will open.
A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces height and spots a man down
below. He lowers the balloon still further and shouts, "Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"
The man below says: "Yes. You're in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet above this field."
"You must work in Information Technology" says the balloonist.
"I do" replies the man. "How did you know?"
"Well", says the balloonist, "Everything you have told me is technically correct, but it's no use to
The man below says, "you must work in business."
"I do", relies the balloonist, "but how did you know?"
"Well", says the man, "You don't know where you are, or where you're going, but you expect me to be
able to help. You're in the same position you were before we met, but now it's my fault."
OLD GEEZERS (ALMOST)
A couple of weeks ago I indicated that if I could, I'd enlist today and help my country
track down those responsibe for killing thosands of innocent people in New York City and
Washington, CC. But I'm 50 now and the Armed Forces say that I am too old to track down
terrorists. You can't be older than 35 to join the Army.
They've got the whole thing backwards. Instead of sending 18-year olds off to the
fight, they ought to take us old guys. You shouldn't be able to join until you're at least 35.
- Researchers say 18-year olds think about sex every 10 seconds. Old guys only
think about sex every 15 seconds, leaving us more than 28,000 additional seconds every day
to concentrate on the enemy.
- Young guys haven't lived long enough to be cranky and a cranky soldier is a
dangerous soldier. If we can't kill the enmy we'll complain them into submission. "My back
hurts!", "I'm hungry!", "Where's the remote control?"
- An 18-year old hasn't had a legal beer yet and you shouldn't go to war until you're at
least old enough to legally drink. An average old guy, on the other hand, has
consumed 126,000 gallons of beer by the time he's 35 and a jaunt through the desert
heat with a backpack and M60 would do wonders for the beer belly.
- An 18-year old doesn't like to get up before 10 am. Old guys get up early just to
show we can (and to steal the neighbor's newspaper).
- If old guys were captured we couldn't spill the beans because we'd probably forget
where we put them. In fact, name, rank and serial number would be a real brain
If it wasn't for the age barrier, I'd pretty much get into the Army without a hitch. According to
the Army Internet site, I'd need to pass an entrance exam (officially called an ASVAB), but the
sample questions I saw weren't exactly headache material. For example:
A magnet will attract a) water; b) a flower; c) cloth rag; d) a nail.
I took a stab and guessed "nail", knowing they'd probably stick me in some desk job with
Army Intelligence at Boot camp.
If 12 workers are needed to run 4 machines, how many workers are needed to run 20
machines? a) 16; b) 18; c) 3; d) 60.
Let's see... three workers per machine times 20 machines... errr... hmmm... uhhh... 60.
Finally, they wanted to know if I had command of the English language, just in case I had to
describe an enemy camp from memory.
Small most nearly means: a) Sturdy; b) Round; c) Cheap; d) Little.
I knew this cheap, little sturdy guy once, but wrote down little.
Now you know where the first questions come from for the "Who Wants To Be
A Millionaire" game show.
Boot camp would actually be easier for old guys. We're used to getting screamed
and yelled at and we actually like soft food. We've also developed a deep appreciation for
guns and rifles. We like them almost better than naps.
The Army could lighten up on the obstacle course, however. I've been to the desert
and didn't see a single 20-foot wall with rope hanging over the side. I can hear the Drill
Sergeant now. "Get down and give me...er...one!". And the running part is kind of a waste
of energy. I've never seen anyone outrun a bullet.
I'm reminded of the story of the young bull and the old bull standing on a hill looking
down on the cows. "Let's run down there and make love to one of those cows!", says the
young bull. "How about we WALK down there and make love to ALL those cows?", replies
the old bull.
Patience is something most 18-year olds simply do not have. For good reason too.
An 18-year old has the whole world ahead of him. He's still learning to shave. To actually
carry on a conversation. To wear pants without the top of his butt crack showing and the
boxer shorts sticking out. To learn that a pierced tongue catches food particles. And that a
200-watt speaker in the back of a Honda Accord can rupture an eardrum.
All great reasons to keep our sons at home to learn a little more about life
before sending them off to a possible death. Let us old guys track down those dirty, rotten
cowards who attacked our hearts three weeks ago today.
The last thing they'd want to see right now is a couple of million old guys.
On pages 17 and 18 you will have read the report by Philip Remnant on his visit to Norway.
He had been given a letter of thanks to pass on to the Mayor of Flakstad together with a copy of the
painting of L03 entitled "Norwegian Patrol". Just as this newsletter was being put to bed an e-mail
was received from Morten Hansen with a photograph of the Mayor receiving the picture.
Photograph of the Mayor of Flakstad receiving the picture of HMS Cossack (L03) from Olav
SEE ‘NEWS’ Page on Site
Morten said that the Mayor was very happy and surprised over this fantastic gift to Flakstad.
The board will put it in a beautiful frame and place it on a wall in the city hall.
BILL AND A CAT
I remember that talk as if it were yesterday. It was not that I did any talking, rather that I
listened with great attention and pleasure to the story of "Old Bill and a Cat". At the time I had no
intention to bring it out in happier days to come, when, on an evening with a pipe going well, one is
expected to tell a yarn.
It was a dark that night, and as I leaned over the rail of our starboard quarter, I regretted my
refusal of an invitation to make up a fourth at cards on the after messdeck. It was a bit eerie up on
deck. All I could see in the darkness was the bow wave, more like the white shoulders, of the ship
immediately in line-astern of us.
Just as I wanted company he came up beside me. He seemed to appear from nowhere and
taking up his berth immediately for'ard of mine on the guard rail began to speak. It was the language
of the sea he used, and I did my best to copy, for it was, after all, the tongue of my extreme youth. A
grand sailorman this temporary companion of mine, and I felt flattered when he mistook me for one of
his own ilk, but in the darkness I was able to conceal my real identity, that of a half-baked civvy, sailor-
rigged. He was quiet for a while and peered about as if to satisfy himself that all was well with the
convoy. Then this seasoned sailor voiced his thoughts.
"I was speaking this day", he told me, "to a cove wot calls himself a sailor, and yet in civvy
street he worked on one of them fruit farms picking fruit, and when it comes to cherry picking time of
the year, the old farmer-lad pays him danger money 'cause he goes up to the top branches of the cherry
trees. Four bob and a half he was paid! Help me God, wot's the Navy coming to? Cherry pickers
getting danger money for picking fruit!"
The old sailorman laughed at this, and a tongue of sea whilled up the side of the ship, showing
white in the darkness, and seemed to hiss at the very thought of landlubbers such as us riding on its
"These lads don't know wot real sailormen's like!", my companion continued. "I wonder
what Bill's saying about it these days. Them longshoremen up the line are no real match for a real
sailor." I wanted to agree with him but feared to interrupt.
"I was telling you about Bill, an oppo of mine. He was away before the war in a destroyer,
the Lorna Doone, and he did get the better of that Customs bloke, even though the cove wore a hard hat
and spats. He beat him easily. We had just finished a commission and berthed at Liverpool. When
we were abroad Bill had been a tea-totaller for a couple of months and had an ounce or two of 'baccy'
for his old man wot liked a pipe o' real leaf. But Bill had to get his 'rabbits' ashore.
He goes ashore with his kit-bag and a big case, and I was wi' him. When it comes to
Bill's turn, the Customs-hand asks him what he has in his case. "Me cat's in there", says Bill. At this
the Customs man laughs something terrible. "That's the best one I've heard", he says. "Come on Dick
Whittington, open that case". "I can't open my case", says Bill, "or the cat will run away".
"The Customs-hand gets real mad at this, and Bill has to open his case, but as he was
bending down, he tells the Customs that if the cat gets away, the Customs will have to capture it again.
As soon as Bill opens his case, out jumps the cat, and when it sees Bill it bolts back to the ship,
steaming at a good forty knots, because the cat hates Bill ever since that morning it had a couple of
breakfasts, and one of them was Bill's".
"Now", says Bill to the Customs fellow, "you look slippy and get me my Fluff back".
"The Customs fellow didn't know what to do. He couldn't leave his place of duty, he says, as it is
against the rules, and then starts talking to Bill as if Bill had been promoted a three ringer on the spot.
Bill gets mad and brings up some real strong language - foreign stuff, but in the end he has to go back
for his Fluff. I waited for Bill, him being an oppo like, and when he comes back, the Customs asks
him if he got hold of Fluff, but Bill , still looking mad, barges past the Customs fellow without
reducing a knot."
"When we were hurrying along the jetty, I says 'Did you get the cat Bill?'. "Cat be
damned!", says Bill, "I went back for me 'rabbits'".
J. Maltman (Mess 23 HMS HILARY)
Bill and the Cat was sent in By Shipmate Peter Cain.
If you have any comments to make about any of the items which are published in the
newsletters, please send them to the Secretary who will put them in the next subsequent one.
Stories about your experiences, humourous items, etc. are always welcome. Bill
Bartholomew tries to change the web site now and again to keep it topical and fresh and he is always
on the lookout too for items of interest, especially if they are illustrated with pictures.
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of any additions or changes.
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