OFFICERS OF THE ASSOCIATION
President Admiral Sir James Eberle, GCB
Vice President Mr. A. Edinborough
32 Warborough Avenue, Tilehurst, Reading, Berks.
RG31 5LA (0118-9429425)
Chairman Shipmate G.W. Toomey
95 Wilton Avenue, Chapel St. Leonards,
Skegness, Lincs. PE24 5YN (01754-872116)
Secretary Shipmate E.P. Harrison,
(Membership Records 31 Wood Lane, Fleet, Hants GU51 3EA
Accounts & Newsletter) (01252-613052)
Slops Organisers Shipmate L. & Mrs J. Taylor
3 Willow Avenue, Swanley, Kent BR8 8AS
Archivist Lt.Cdr. K. Batchelor (SCC) RNR
10 Beacon Road, Ware, Herts. SG12 7HY (01920-
Bosun Shipmate P. Marchant
Parade Marshal Shipmate K. Satterthwaite
Web Master Shipmate F. W. Bartholomew
Standard Bearers Shipmate B. Hibbert
Shipmate P.E. Taylor
Eastbourne Co-ordinator Mrs J.M. Grist
Australian Co-ordinator Mrs. J. Hennell
From the Editor
I must apologise for the stupid mistake made in the Reunion 2005
article in the last newsletter. In it I said that “Bill Howe” was to
be our special guest for the reunion dinner. The name should have
been Bill Stone. My abject apologies. Bill is of course a young
104 and served in HMS Hood.
The reunion is now coming very close and there is still much to be
done. Panic always sets in about this time. However, we’ve done
it often enough now so it should be alright on the night.
We have had the good news that Finn Nesvold and John Gottfried,
and their wives will be attending the reunion this year. Finn and
John are two of the local history stalwarts who keep the name of
Cossack alive in Jossingfiord.
The Chairman’s Message
Once again the reunion is only a few weeks away but there is still
time for those of you who haven’t booked to do so.
I shall be going down to Eastbourne on the Thursday of the
reunion weekend so that I can have a meeting with the Hotel
Manager early the next morning. At that meeting we will discuss
and agree on the prices for next year’s reunion! That will include
bar prices, accommodation, etc. but getting a good deal depends
very much on numbers attending. If we get a good turnout this
year, as we did for the last one, I can crack the whip. Last year I
managed to get the Manager to do a special beer promotion price,
which was well below outside pub prices. Far be it for me to
encourage you to drink a lot (!) but the more beer drunk helps me
to negotiate a good price. There was some evidence that last year
some members were drinking some which had been brought in.
Please don’t. It is against hotel rules and makes it difficult to
negotiate low prices for everyone to enjoy.
As you may know, last year we tried to hire someone to control the
car park but unfortunately were unable to do so. The reason that
we need to have someone there is to stop shoppers taking up
spaces. I would therefore appeal to those who arrive early to take
a turn, say half an hour, on Friday and on Saturday morning to
help. Would anyone willing to take a turn please let me know
(01754-872116) so that I can draw up a roster.
I hope that as many as possible of you will attend the AGM on the
reunion Saturday morning. I particularly want to discuss Welfare,
specifically of members who need help but don’t seem to be able
to get it.
I shall be running two raffles this year, one on Friday evening and
the other on Sunday. The prize for the Friday raffle will be a
silver mint £5.00 Trafalgar Bicentenary proof coin with certificate.
The coin shows a compass on one side and Lord Nelson on the
other. Currently I can’t tell you what the prize will be for the
Sunday raffle but I’ll be able to tell you on the Friday when I shall
start selling tickets for both. The draw for the Sunday raffle will
be done during Sunday breakfast as it is too chaotic after the
parade what with people trying to get food and many preparing to
Please don’t leave it too late to book for the hotel. I try to get the
rooms sorted out about three weeks before the reunion so that we
get as many as possible into sea-front rooms, and those with
walking difficulties near to the lifts.
Last but not least, if you are going to write to me please make sure
that you use my new address, which is shown on page 1 of the
newsletter. Even in mid-February I have received mail redirected
from my old address and I moved last September!
Take care. I hope I’ll see YOU at the reunion.
Four new members have joined us since the last newsletter in
December. They are:
S/M P.J. Gardner Leading Writer D57 1949-51
Mrs. C.A. Cook Associate Member Wife of S/M F. Cook
Mr. C.G. Cook Associate Member Nephew of S/M Cook
Mrs. M. Cook Associate Member Wife of Mr. C.G.
It is seldom we are able to put out a newsletter without the news
that we have lost another of our shipmates, and this one is no
exception. Fred Wickert who was a Boy Seaman in D57 from
1954 to 1955 and died on 25th October 2004. I regret to say
that despite his having joined the Association in 1995, we know
nothing more about him. He never sent in any details of his
service nor corresponded in any way. We only learnt of his
death when his partner received the December newsletter and
asked us to stop sending it. It is so sad but is a fact of life.
Many people are very private persons.
Both S/M Dusty Miller and China Chat, the organ of the 8th
Destroyer Association, reported the death of A.G. Hall on 8th
July 2004. Tony Hall was a member of the Cossack
Association from 1994 until 2000 and served as an A.B. in D57
from 1951 to 1953.
Our total membership is now 285 (186 Full/Life members, 93
Associate members and 6 Honorary members).
Records of Service
As you can see from the above, there are still quite a number who
have never responded to our requests for details of your time in the
RN. If you are one of those, may we please appeal again for you
to send a photo copy of Pages 2 & 3 of your service certificate, or
the equivalent, to the Secretary.
Help & Advice
Geoff Scarlett’s article “Help, Help, Help!” was welcomed by a
number of you. In particular, Captain Tony Wood (D57 1953-54)
wrote to say that he found it very interesting and hoped that people
read it, cut it out or copied it, and made sure that their immediate
family knew where to find it. He also mentioned that ARNO
(Association of Retired Naval Officers) was a good source of help
for their members. Tony Wood (01904-750175) can also advise
on the Sailors’ Families Society of which he is a Trustee and
Chairman of the Charitable Service Committee.
Can you help?
With much regret, due to the extremely serious illness of his wife,
Cyril Allwood has had to resign as the Deputy Standard Bearer.
For many years Cyril has carried the D57 Standard and we thank
him for his dedication.
Peter Taylor (D57 1958-59) has agreed to take over from Cyril.
However, Brian Hibbert, who has been our Standard Bearer for
some ten years, has bought a place in France with the intention that
he and his wife will spend as much time as possible over there.
He has therefore told us that he will be resigning as Standard
Bearer on completion of this year’s reunion. We are of course
indebted to Brian for his long service and for the way he has
represented our Association through the years.
So, we need a new Standard Bearer. Can you help? The duties
are to carry the Association Standard at the church and in the
parade after the church service, to occasionally attend funerals
when requested by the bereaved and to take part in the occasional
As it happens there are two commemorative parades coming up
shortly. The first is at the International Drumhead Ceremony, part
of the Trafalgar 200 celebrations, on Southsea Common on 29th
June 2005. The second one is on Horse Guards Parade, London
on 10th July 2005 for the WWII 60th Anniversary
Commemoration. The first one, on Southsea Common, we had
committed to as Brian had initially said that he would attend. We
have not committed to the second but need to do so by 10th March.
If you are fit, willing and able to take on the Standard Bearer’s job
we would like to hear from you as soon as possible.
You have helped
1. In the last newsletter we appealed for anyone who knew
Signalman Tom Rainford who was lost when L03 was sunk to get
in touch. Not unexpectedly considering how few L03 members
we have left now, we did not find anyone.
However, Sheila Kirk, an Associate Member who is one of the
daughters of Chief Stoker Atherton who also was lost in L03, sent
in a cutting from a Wigan newspaper from 1941. The headline on
the cutting was “WIGAN NAVAL MEN PRESUMED KILLED”
over the details of three men - Chief Stoker Atherton, Signalman
Rainford and Ord. Coder Hargreaves - who were missing
presumed killed. The name of the ship wasn’t mentioned but all
three were serving in Cossack.
A copy of the cutting was sent to Craig Cowdroy, nephew of Tom
Rainford and may help him in his quest to find out more about his
uncle. A phone call from Colin told us how pleased and grateful
he was to receive the cutting. Our thanks to Sheila for her kind act.
2. The day after the newsletters were put in the post a telephone
call from Shipmate Peter Lee (D57 1950-51) told us that he had
received his copy and that he had had a long chat on the phone
with Leading Writer Philip Gardner. So, good news in two ways -
first that a 2nd class letter was delivered next day and secondly, of
course, that Peter had spoken to Philip. As a result of that contact,
in which Philip expressed an interest in becoming a member, he
has now joined the Association. I understand that since then that
Shipmates Mick Davidson (D57 1949-51) and Quartermaine (D57
1950-51) have also spoken to Philip.
As was mentioned in the last newsletter, Philip now has very poor
sight and this gave us some cause for concern about the size of the
print in the newsletter. It wouldn’t be practical to have a larger
print newsletter which would go to everyone because of the extra
size and therefore the extra printing and extra postage cost.
However, it might be possible to produce a few separately for
those who are badly affected. To gauge the requirement would
those members who would like to have a large print newsletter
please let the Secretary know.
Playing the right card
In the last newsletter we reported that S/M R.J. Card (D57 1957 -
58) had become a member. An excited phone call from S/M Pat
Gaffney told of how overjoyed he was at this news as he and
Roger Card had been real close oppos on that commission and
asked to be put in touch. They hadn’t seen each other for 48 years
and he was looking forward to renewing their friendship.
Pat and his wife travelled down to Exmouth at the beginning of
February where Roger had arranged ’a bit of a do’ at the local
RNA club, with local town council members and the press invited
to join them. Pat sent in some cuttings from the Exmouth Journal
and a photograph of the pair of them. They are printed below and
on the following page.
SEE ‘REUNION’ WEB PAGE
Pat said that they had a fantastic weekend together. Roger will be
coming to the reunion at Eastbourne in April when he and Pat will
get together again and with others members who were in that same
commission. Sounds like a recipe for a lot more lamp-swinging
and a few more glasses raised.
Not only was there a mistake in the name of our special dinner
guest, there were mistakes on the hotel booking form. You may
have noticed that the prices shown on the form were different from
those given in the newsletter. The correct hotel charges will be
those given in the newsletter and are :
3 nights dinner, bed & breakfast £88.50 per person
(Friday/Saturday/Sunday or Thursday/Friday/Saturday)
2 nights dinner, bed & breakfast £70.00 per person
(Friday/Saturday) or (Saturday/Sunday)
1 night dinner, bed a breakfast £35.00 per person
Sorry to have caused confusion.
Those of you who have already booked will have received your
dinner tickets for the Saturday dinner. The number on your dinner
ticket will be entered in the draw for the Door Prize, which will be
the weekend for two persons at one of the Wallace Group hotels.
Remember, the winning ticket must be produced in order to claim
the prize - so don’t leave your tickets at home!
The successful Cash Prize Raffle is being run again this year. The
First Prize will be £100, with a Second Prize of £50 and four Third
Prizes of £25 each. Tickets will not be on sale at the reunion so, if
you haven’t yet bought yours and you want some, please send a
cheque (£1.00 per ticket) to the Secretary a.s.a.p. The draw will
be held after dinner on Saturday evening and cheques will be sent
to any winners not attending the reunion.
Tickets for the main raffle of donated items, also to be drawn on
the Saturday evening, will only be on sale at the reunion, although
the sellers will be after your money from early Friday evening
onwards. The appropriate number of winning tickets, depending
upon the number of donated items, will be drawn in one go in the
ballroom and the winning numbers will be posted on a board in the
foyer immediately afterwards. Please then check your tickets
against the board and, if you are a winner, collect your prize from
either Les or Jean Taylor.
Those of you who have attended our previous reunions will know
the routine but for the benefit of those who are new to it, or have
forgotten, the programme for the weekend will be as follows.
Friday 15th April 2005
A busy day for settling in, setting up and, most importantly,
for renewing old friendships. Our local members, Eddie Gillam
and Dave Hawkes, and of course Chairman George and several
other of the Association’s officers, will no doubt have done much
towards getting things set up but many hands make light work and
any help will be appreciated.
Arrangements will have been made for Reception to take
charge of donated raffle items. These are very much appreciated.
The proceeds from the raffles go into the Association funds and
ensure that we can keep the annual subscription down thus
ensuring that the less well-off can afford to remain as members.
For those staying at the hotel, dinner will be served in the
dining room and those partaking should be seated between 19.00
and 19.30. If you are likely to be late in arriving and will miss
dinner, please let reception know (Tel. No. 01323-722724) and
they will arrange for something (probably sandwiches) to be
available to you on arrival.
The bar will be open of course and entertainment of some
kind (music for dancing and, with luck, easy listening) will be
provided in the ballroom area. Take the time to relax and catch up
on old times and latest happenings with your friends in the
comfortable surroundings of the Burlington lounge. Make time
too to take advantage of our photographic and other memorabilia
which will be available for browsing thanks to Keith Batchelor
(and I’m sure his wife). Keith has been extremely busy since the
last reunion re-doing the whole lot to take advantage of the new
boards we purchased. Les & Jean Taylor will probably have their
slops items on display in the same room at some time during the
evening. Remember though, berets are not available from stock
and your particular size has to be ordered. If you need a beret,
please order it by post from Les (address on page 1).
The Royal Navy Old Comrades Club at 16 Beach Road,
Eastbourne, which is the HQ of the local RNA, has extended an
invitation to visiting members.
Please take time too to look at the Seating Plan for Saturday’s
dinner to find out where you and your guests will be sitting. The
board will be displayed in the foyer.
Saturday 16th April 2005
Breakfast will be served in the dining room between 08.15 and
09.00 and afterwards why not take a walk along the prom, look at
the pier or visit the lifeboat museum. No doubt the ladies will
want to take advantage of the excellent shopping facilities in the
town but, whatever you do, please make sure that you are back in
time for the AGM at 11.00. Up Spirits will be piped on
completion of the AGM, with white wine available for the ladies.
Bar snacks will be available for purchase from 12.00 until 13.00.
Nothing is organised for the afternoon so you will be free for
a zizz or to do that shopping which you didn’t do in the morning.
Members and their guests should assemble in the bar/lounge
for pre-dinner drinks at about 18.30 and to greet our special guest
Shipmate Bill Stone. Bill will be accompanied by his daughter
and her husband and we are sure you’ll give them a great welcome.
Members and guests should take their places at table in the
dining room at 18.55 and then the President, Admiral Sir James
Eberle, will lead in our guests for the evening to take their places at
the top table. All should remain standing until the Grace has been
said. Dinner will then be served.
Wine will be provided with the dinner on the basis of three
bottles (2 red, 1 white) for each 12 persons. Additional bottles of
wine, or other drinks, may be purchased from the wine waiter, with
those staying at the hotel being able to sign for it as a charge to
their room. Please remember to reserve sufficient for the Loyal
Toast at the end of the dinner.
After the toast, our Chairman, George Toomey, will say a
few words of welcome to our special guest, followed by an address
from our President.
The Loyal Toast will be taken after coffee has been served.
It will be taken standing, not seated as is allowed in HM ships.
On conclusion of the speeches our guest will be asked to draw the
winning ticket for the Door Prize which this year is a weekend
holiday for two at one of the Warner Group hotels. The President
will then escort our guests from the dining room to the lounge area,
followed by the others from the top table. Other members and
their guests should then leave the dining room.
Music for dancing and/or easy listening will be available in
the ballroom area and during the course of the evening the Cash
Prize raffle draw and the main raffle draw for donated items will
take place. The winning numbers will be posted on a board in the
The beer promotion with the reduced price will be running
throughout the weekend and the bar will remain open until
midnight as long as there are still customers.
The menu for your dinner will be:
Chilled Fruit Juice (choice of Apple, Orange, Grapefruit or
Melon & Port Cocktail
Roast Topside of Beef Bordelaise
With Yorkshire Pudding, Horseradish and Bordelaise Sauce
Served with roast potatoes, parsley boiled potatoes
Vichy carrots and Cauliflower Mornay
Bread & Butter Pudding
Served with cream
Assorted Dairy Ice Creams
English Cheddar or Stilton Chees
Served with Celery
Freshly filtered coffee
With After Dinner Mints
A vegetarian alternative to the main course can be available for
those who require it. To order it, please write to the hotel
(Reception, Burlington Hotel, Grand Parade, Eastbourne BN21
3YN) or ask at Reception at the hotel on your arrival (no later than
mid-day on Saturday).
Sunday 17th April 2005
Breakfast will be served in the dining room between 08.15
and 09.00. Those who will not be staying on for another night are
asked to clear their rooms after breakfast and before leaving for
church. Should you need to retain the room in order to change
before departing later, please arrange this with Reception.
The church service at Holy Trinity will commence at 10.30
and, as usual, we will be joining with their usual congregation for
their normal family service. A bus will be provided to take those
with walking difficulties to the church and will depart from the
hotel at 10.15 sharp. The bus will not wait after 10.15 so if you
require a lift, please make sure that you are aboard before that.
The Deputy Mayor of Eastbourne, Councillor Colin Belsey will be
attending the church service with us. Our Standards, together with
those of other local organisations, will parade at the entrance to the
church and at the commencement will be marched in and taken
into care for the duration of the service. The others will remain at
the back of the church.
On completion of the service, those members taking part in
the parade should make their way to the Lifeboat Museum from
where the march will begin. The bus will take the standard
bearers from the church to the assembly point and will also take
disabled members back to the hotel.
The parade will take place along the promenade, from the
Lifeboat Museum to the Pier, with a saluting base set up opposite
the Burlington Hotel. The Eastbourne Scottish Pipe Band will
lead the parade, with the massed standards, our platoon and, we
hope, some Sea Cadets also taking part. It is hoped that those
disabled members who are unable to march in the parade will take
up positions at the back of the saluting base, where the salute will
be taken by Admiral Eberle, accompanied by the Deputy Mayor.
We hope that Shipmate Bill Stone will also accompany the
Admiral at the salute.
In the event that bad weather causes the parade to be
cancelled, it is expected that the Pipe Band will give a
demonstration in the hotel ballroom
The bar will be open in the hotel on return from the parade
and the buffet lunch will be laid out on tables on the dance floor.
Please be reasonable about the amount of food you take - others
may go without if you take too much.
There will be no organised Association activity for the
remainder of the day. Dinner will be served in the dining room at
19.00 and there will be the usual entertainment put on by the hotel
in the ballroom/lounge area during the evening. The bar will be
open of course.
Reunion - General Matters
Getting there. The majority of you attending the reunion will
have been before and will know your way. However, should
anyone who has not attended previously require a map please
telephone or write to the Secretary (details on page 1) and he will
send you one.
Car Parking. Again, those of you who have been before know the
situation but for those who have not. The hotel has a small car
park situated on the other side of the small road which runs behind
the hotel. This road is one-way and can only be entered from its
west end, ie from Terminus Road which is on the left of the hotel.
Provided cars are parked properly there should be enough room for
most of ours. Enclosed with this newsletter is a badge which
when placed inside your windscreen will identify you as one of us.
Other car parking is available in the local area if none is left in the
car park when you arrive. Please take care when leaving the car
park. You must turn left into Burlington Road as it is one-way
and beware too of traffic from the left on reaching the junction
with Cavendish Place.
Dress. The accepted dress for the banquet dinner will be blazer
and flannels, or a lounge suit. Ties are expected. Medals may be
Other. If you require any other information about the reunion
please telephone either the Chairman, George Toomey, or the
Secretary, Peter Harrison, who will try to answer any queries you
The second part of Alec Kellaway’s story could not be published
in the last newsletter through lack of space but, better late than
never, here it now is.
I was There, Where?
H M S HOOD
In September 1936 I was drafted to HMS Hood, my first ship.
The Hood was in Portsmouth Dockyard after having been given a
minor overhaul and would be going to the Med. as flagship to the
Battle Cruiser Squadron consisting of HMS Hood and HMS
The Royal Navy had at this time three battle cruisers the Hood,
Repulse and Renown of these Hood was of a class of her own, the
other two were sister ships At the start of W W II Hood and
Repulse were, but for a few modifications, no different to their
original construction. They were built as fast gun ships and this
meant that there was a lack of armour decking. This may have
been the cause of Hood’s sudden sinking while in action against
the German battle cruiser Bismarck. Bismarck at that time was
the most modern battle cruiser in the world and was on her first
sortie against our convoys having just left the ship yard where she
Bismarck left the area after the battle and for several days avoided
the Royal Navy, finally being found, brought into action and sunk.
Her first and only sortie lasting about seven days.
Before the start of hostilities the Renown had been given a
complete overhaul which had taken over two years to complete.
The overhaul meant that except for the 15” guns, every thing else
was stripped from the hull and the ship fitted with new boilers,
engines, modern guns, extra armour protection and modern
superstructure. When Renown rejoined the fleet she looked
nothing like her sister ship Repulse but proved her self through out
Prior to joining the Hood we had to be given medical
examinations, not very severe, and injections for various known
infections. We were also issued with pith helmets which
subsequently we never wore.
Then came the day, 8th September 1936, when all our kitbags and
hammocks were loaded onto lorries to be sent to the ship. Then
around six to seven hundred sailors of all types were marched from
barracks to the dockyard headed by the band - we were on our
On the quayside awaiting the drafts were the regulating and supply
staff who gave out the messing arrangements and I was allocated a
mess that would be my home for over three years.
The next day we had to fall in at the Engineers regulating office
which was responsible for the activities of all Chief, PO, Leading
and 1st and 2nd Class Stokers and the allocation of duties to us 2 nd
Class Stokers emphasised how undermanned the navy was. In
normal commissioning of ships all 2nd Class Stokers would be
allocated for various boiler room duties which covered most of the
heavy dirty work, boiler cleaning, cleaning the uptakes which take
the furnace fumes up to the funnel, and boiler room watch keeping
duties. Other work consisted of cleaning fuel tanks and double
bottom tanks which gave extra buoyancy to a ship.
When my name was called I was told that I would work in the
centre engine room. This was because there was an abundance of
us new stokers and not many experienced stokers. During my time
on the Hood I never once worked in the boiler rooms.
Our duties in the engine room began with cleaning up after the
minor refit, the brass work was all tarnished, the handrails of steel
were all rusty and the plates of the walking platforms very dirty.
We worked hard getting the engine room up to a presentable state.
Also, as the ship was on a new commission, it had to be stored not
only with food but many spares that were required to maintain the
ships’ many mechanical appliances. Later the ship had to be fully
ammunitioned, quite a task with the armament of 15” and 6” guns,
many anti air defence guns plus torpedoes. It was quite a work up
before we went out for engine trials. When at sea us engine room
staff would be in three watches for duties so that there was always
someone tending the engines and recording all telegraph
movements. Two of us would be in the well tending the various
steam auxiliaries, one of the stokers on the starting platform would
man the phone and keep the log while another stoker would be
responsible for taking all main bearing temperatures and the torque
of the two outer shafts passing through the engine room, these
shafts being driven by the two turbine engines in the forward
I never did a watch in the forward engine room though I often had
a watch in the after engine room, which was the turbine for the
starboard inner shaft, the centre turbine was the port inner shaft. In
the after engine room was the steam engine for the steering gear,
this engine did a lot of work because as the wheel in the
wheelhouse was turned the engine had to give instant reaction to
After some weeks of preparation and trials it came the time for us
to proceed to the Med, this journey taking three days for the nine
hundred mile trip in which time we were always doing some
exercise to get the ship company into a fighting unit. It was the
same every trip always doing war exercises whenever ships of the
navy were on passage. Action stations would be sounded and all
personnel would make haste to their allotted action station; mine at
this early stage was centre engine room on watch, after damage
control off watch and 6” ammunition supply longest off watch.
By doing this in a watch system the running of the ship was not
Before reaching Gibraltar, our first port of call, I was taken sick
and confined to the sickbay with Quinsy, an abscess in the tonsils.
The Surgeon Commander had me taken off ships food and I was
provided with a diet cooked by the Captain’s chef. I went back to
the ship’s cooking after about three days, worse luck and a few
days later returned to normal duties. My first views of Gibraltar
were through the sickbay portholes.
It was decided that all the ships companies’ oilskin coats would be
stowed in a compartment below the forward mess’s as these would
not be required in the Med, this was convenient for us as we did
not have to use our locker for storage. But alas, on our return for
the Coronation the oilskins on being brought out were one horrible
sticky mass. The heat in the compartment had melted the oil base
and the oilskins had stuck together. Every one of the crew had to
be supplied with a new oilskin.
The Hood stayed in Gib for quite a few weeks before sailing for
Malta our main base. One of the first tasks that was always done
on Navy ships on arrival in port was to refuel. At Gib the Hood
always berthed on the mole - an extra long breakwater - that made
Gib an excellent harbour. Fuelling was done by way of gravity fuel
tanks inside the Rock; this was a very slow process as the Hood
would require some three thousand tons of fuel and the operation
would take many hours. If fuelling was required urgently then a
fleet tanker would be used.
I had a few days looking around Gib when off duty, the swimming
at the back of the Rock was excellent and we always returned to
the main street for shopping and the few bars before returning to
Before proceeding to Malta we went over to Tangiers in North
Africa, an International port, for several days. I managed to go
ashore for a few hours, the first time I had been on foreign soil,
other than British territory. Us new sailors were given the advice
by older hands, that on arrival at the jetty to stay in groups at all
times and pick one of the locals who for a fee would show us
around. This was good advice as it was found by some
individuals that to be on your own there was always the chance of
On leaving Tangiers we then went on to Malta, carrying out
exercises at all times enroute. The trip to Malta was very pleasant
and with a calm sea all of us ex Drake class were looking forward
to the place that was to be our main base for three years.
We entered Bighi Bay and were between two buoys facing towards
the sea opposite Valetta Customs House and in front of Bighi
Hospital. Except for a short spell later in the floating dock we
were always moored in Bighi Bay. On this, our first view of
Malta, we were astounded at the vast number of churches, many of
them with their bells ringing and as one old hand remarked, ‘the
land of hells, bells and terrible smells’.
During our many visits to Malta we were able to take tours to the
many bays and enjoyed the sights and the superb swimming. The
nightlife in Malta was very varied, from cinemas to numerous bars
and some nightclubs, though in my early days I was restricted to
evening leave only.
It may be best at this stage to stay with my early training on the
Hood. The normal routine would be for a second-class stoker to
be rated up to first class after one year; and therefore all of us from
Drake were rated accordingly. We spent some evenings at night
school preparing for our Education Certificate which was required
towards promotion. My time was spent on engine room duties
and main watch-keeping at sea. In harbour we had our round of
duties to do in the evenings and these would be any one of
numerous tasks. We would be given duties such as fire party,
engineer’s office messengers, assisting in the various Chiefs and
PO’s messes, helping the mess-man, perhaps having to keep the
bathrooms clean along with the passageways for evening
inspection by the officer of the watch. These were the normal
ones. Sometimes there was a need for stretcher and store parties.
Later on we would, if required, do shore patrols although I never
did this during my time on the Hood.
After I was rated first class, which brought with it an increase of
pay of seven shillings per week, the Stoker PO in charge of the
centre engine room gave me the job of being Chief Engine
Artificers mate and this proved to be very helpful to me. Chief
Herring was an exceptional person, his main duties being to ensure
that the engine room was always in a state of readiness for sea.
He was responsible for all the machinery and during my time with
him my education was greatly advanced. Chief Herring would
explain every thing he was doing and what the action of any piece
of machinery was. When later I did my PO’s course the Chief’s
words were a great help.
Chief Herring had been called up during World War I and had
decided to stay in the Navy afterwards. He told me how in the
first months at sea he was still in civilian clothes. His wife had
come out from England and was living in Malta and every evening
when possible he would go ashore and I always remember that he
always brought me back a raw fig, which I looked forward to.
It was Chief Herring that gave me the taste for rum. The Navy
had finally realised that the Chief should not be at sea because of
his age and it was decided to put him ashore and return him and his
wife to England. On the day he was leaving I was working with
another Chief when Chief Herring called me up from the engine
room to say goodbye. He then took me to his mess and duly
poured out his tot of rum for me saying, ‘that’s yours nipper, you
are a good lad, drink it down’. We shook hands and said goodbye
and that was that.
I then went to my mess as it was dinner time, midday, had my meal
and suddenly felt very weary. I slid off the stool under the table
and went to sleep, waking up several hours later with a liking for
Prior to my time with Chief Herring I had requested to do the
auxiliary watch-keeping course and shortly after he left I started
the course. The course consisted of extensive working with the
auxiliary machinery and passing on examination on each machine.
This type of machinery was always in use and was vital for the
running of the ship in harbour or at sea.
There were three types of dynamo engines; steam turbine, steam
reciprocating and diesels, twelve in all, there were the horizontally
opposed steam engines that supplied hydraulic power to the main
gun turrets, also there were the evaporators that supplied fresh
water to the ship.
The evaporators were not very efficient as they took seawater by
pump into a batch of coils inside the casing. Steam ran through
these coils heating the seawater surrounding them, the steam from
the seawater was condensed into pure water and pumped into the
ships water system, pure water being required for the ships main
boilers. There were two ways of testing for pure water, one being
that as the fresh water was being pumped away through our
electrical circuit if the water was not pure a light would come on,
electricity will not pass through pure distilled water, the other test
was quite simple a phial of water was taken to which was added
two drops of silver nitrate, if the water was not pure a cloud would
appear in the phial.
There were also the refrigeration plants that came under this
training; two types being in use, Calcium Chloride and Ammonia.
The last of this course was the many motorboats aboard the Hood;
Admiral’s Barge, Captain’s Motor Boat, Squadron Engineers
Captain’s Motor Boat and two motor launches each with a capacity
for 50 persons.
When one had completed training on this course a certificate was
issued and the person’s records sent to RNB for entry on the POs
list for further training. I had at this time about eighteen months
in the Navy and had a very good start to the promotion list.
Having covered my training time I must to go back to my early
days on the Hood to recount some of the incidents that are always
in my memory. Things may not be in chronological order, as we
were forbidden to keep diaries.
One early incident involved a theft of money from a ditty box, the
wooden box supplied for ones personal effects such as pen, paper,
photographs and intimate objects. A sum of money was missing
and it was reported to the regulating office who did an
investigation but got nowhere. A few days later my friend
McGinley saw a stoker go to a ditty box and noticed that it was a
different box to one this stoker had previously gone to. On
checking up the first box was the stoker’s but the other box was
identified as the one from where the money was lost and it was
identified by an ink stain on it. On the facts being presented to
the stoker he admitted the theft and after doing a prison sentence
was discharged from the Navy. He was only caught because of
that ink stain.
In April 1937 the Hood paid a visit to Gulf Juan on the French
Riviera and it was arranged through ‘Thomas Cook’ that there
would be a tour up to Nice then to the casino in Monte Carlo with
a run up through the hills to Grasse and back down to Antibes to
Gulf Juan. Us under 20’s, if we went, were allowed all night leave
which we took advantage of. This trip was not very expensive and
thoroughly enjoyable and there was also a lunch provided. At
Grasse we visited a scent factory and the girls delighted themselves
by spraying us with neat perfume. As we were still in our serge
suits the scent hung around for many months!
The Spanish Civil War had started in 1936 and the Spanish
warships were interfering with Merchant ships of all nations. The
League of Nations decided that warships of various nations should
patrol Spanish waters on non-intervention patrols to protect
The Hood on her patrols would call at Palma in the Balearic Isles
and operate from there. Majorca being under Franco’s insurgents.
We would run between Gib, Majorca and Malta and this run was
carried out many times.
Once when at anchor our Admiral who, whenever possible took
the dingy away for rowing as his keep fit exercise, collapsed in the
dingy and had to be recovered by the watch on deck. It was very
unfortunate for the Admiral who as a result of his illness was put
on the retired list, though when the war started he was brought
back to the Admiralty and served through out the war, his expertise
in gunnery being very valuable.
In 1937 the Hood with the Med Fleet sailed into the Atlantic to do
war exercises with the Home Fleet. During these exercises we ran
into very rough seas and severe storms, up until then I had never
encountered such heavy weather. Nearly every ship in the two
fleets was damaged and nearly every ship lost its sea boat.
To describe a sea boat; every ship has one boat ready for lowering
into the water. This boat, which on a large ship would be a cutter
and on a smaller ship a whaler. If the pipe was ‘away sea boats
crew’ then the watch on deck would man the boat, but if the pipe
was ‘away lifeboat’, any man near the boat would be used as a
matter of urgency. I was involved in one such incident on one of
my later ships.
After the fleet exercises the Hood was called back to England for
the Coronation of King George VI. This was a welcomed break as
we were in England for a few months. We arrived in the Solent
and came in through the Needles. I believe it was the only time
the Hood ever did this. The crew enjoyed a bit of home leave and
after the inspection by the King of the multi national ships there
was dispersal to all parts of the world.
The Hood had some repairs done and it was decided that she would
do a full power run before returning to the Med. This was done
away from land as the wash caused by her wake would do a lot of
damage if to near the coast. We had worked up to top speed when
we went over a sand bank and our circulating pumps pulled the
sand into the steam condensers and split the inner tubes. This
allowed salt water to enter the boiler water system and laid the ship
up for several weeks for cleansing and repairs. This was a bonus
to us as it kept us in England a bit longer.
The Hood eventually left and called at La Rochelle on the way to
the Med. Leave was given and several of us went ashore and had
a good look around the town and then went to get a meal before
returning to the ship. This was awkward because of the language
problem but we managed to get a meal by going into the café’s
kitchen and pointing to what we wanted. The only thing wrong
was that the meal was cooked with heavy garlic, far beyond an
The Hood returned to Gib to resume patrol duties, war exercises
and showing the flag, this being visits to foreign countries.
On one such visit we went to Split in Jugoslavia for the young
King Peter’s birthday where leave was given, and many sailors
went ashore for recreation and swimming. It was whilst
swimming that one of the lads dived into what looked like deep
water and he struck his head on a rock resulting in a broken neck.
After first aid he was returned to the ship for medical attention as
we had a very capable medical team and equipment on board. The
Hood returned to Malta shortly afterwards and our injured man,
Jock, was sent to Bighi Hospital.
His damaged neck was slowly beginning to mend and we were
given to understand that his neck would fully recover. In the
meantime Hood had resumed her normal pattern of work and on
one occasion of returning to Malta I was detailed with three other
stokers to stretcher a sick stoker to the hospital. We were crossing
between the wards when one of the stokers noticed Jock walking
around which was a good sign. The stoker called out to Jock who
on hearing a familiar voice turned his head sharply and on doing so
broke his neck again. Later we were told that he had been returned
to England for more specialist care. I never found out what
happened after that.
When returning to Malta from one patrol one of our signalmen was
taken ill with appendicitis and our surgeons had to do an
emergency operation, which unfortunately was not successful, as
they were unable to save the signalman.
After I had completed my auxiliary course a notice was put on the
regulating notice board saying that a stoker was required for the
Captain’s Motor Boat. I put in my request for this position and
was lucky enough to be accepted. This proved a good move in
that I was classed as a special duty man and relieved of all other
duties. Whenever the Captain required his boat I and the rest of
the crew had to be there. Our crew consisted of a PO Seaman, a
Leading Seaman, an Able Seaman and myself. The Captains I
served with were Captain Pridham, Captain Walker and Captain
Glennie; of these three Captain Walker I served with most. He
was very energetic and given to outbursts of temper if an order was
not carried out correctly, though I never fell foul of him. His
nickname was Hooky because in the Great War he had lost an arm
and was fitted with an artificial arm with a hook. If someone did
not carry out an order correctly Hooky was liable to swing his
binoculars carried on his hook in that person’s direction.
One day we had to take Hooky to a tanker anchored in the Bay.
We went alongside to a Jacob’s rope ladder hanging down the
tanker’s ship side. Hooky with great agility went hand over hook
up the ladder on to the deck with such speed it would have put a fit
man to shame. It was fantastic to watch.
Our boats crew was called away one evening to take Hooky to a
large yacht in Malta harbour. When the Captain had got on board
he gave the order for us to lay off, which meant that the visit would
be short and we would be called alongside. We waited and
waited, the coxswain keeping the boat in sight of the yacht. After
several hours in which we had lost our evening meal the boat was
called to pick up Hooky, who we returned to the Hood. Hooky on
going up the gangway turned to the coxswain and said, ‘Coxswain
I believe I have kept you waiting? Anyway it's part of your duty,
Goodnight’ and that was that.
To be continued in the next newsletter
A Sailor’s Dream-Part 1
By Ken Satterthwaite
This story begins and ends at Gunwharf Quay (where HMS
Vernon used to be) in Portsmouth. This though is no tale of
‘Derring Do’, it is a yarn that took place in a peace time navy,
thanks to my forebears.
For the 2004 GI’s Dinner, I was staying with my mate and host of
the weekend, Dave & Marie Wragg. On the Saturday morning
both of those ‘who must be obeyed’ suggested in the most
strongest terms that a visit to Gunwharf would be very therapeutic.
Whether for them or us I will leave it to you to make up your own
minds. As I’m sure many of you are aware, it is now full of
boutiques and goffer shops (soft drinks to the uneducated) - mind
you that would suit the Torpedo Anti Submarine (TAS) branch!
After sea-time across on the Gosport ferry us non-shoppers
requested a stand easy, whilst ‘those who must be obeyed’ engaged
the shops at close quarters. We of the male persuasion wandered
down to the quayside for some light refreshments, where we
reposed ourselves in a coffee shop looking out over the harbour,
unfortunately too late to see the Normandy Flotilla leave. Berthed
alongside an adjacent pontoon jetty was an old privately owned
wartime Motor Launch (ML) named ‘Medusa’, preserved in her
original armament and livery. She had taken part in the
Normandy landings and is the vessel in the foreground of the
Medusa in the foreground
SEE ‘REUNION’ WEB PAGE
My thoughts started to wander and took me back forty-six years to
spring 1958, (The ‘Navy Lark’s’ was on the radio and pirate radio
was just over the horizon). So readers, come back with me in my
dreaming to where it all began.
A young sailor, coming to the end of his commission on the
destroyer ‘HMS Cossack’ in the Far East, is sitting in the mess
deck pondering over the preference draft chit he has to complete.
For what and where should he volunteer? What was his ambition?
Where would ‘Drafty’ prefer him to go? Whale Island for two’s
course he suspected, seeing as he had passed for killick (Leading
Seaman) but was only a seaman gunner.
He had none of those visions. He wanted something more
exciting, exhilarating and challenging. He had another vision,
which manifested itself in his mind's eye. He could see himself
with the wind in his hair at the helm of a Motor Torpedo Boat
(MTB), as its sleek grey hull sliced through the water, or manning
the bofor as she speed through the waters at thirty knots. He knew
what he wanted! So he, that is, I completed that form requesting
‘HM Coastal Forces’.
Time moved on, I said farewell to ‘Cossack’ and the oppo’s I had
made, such as Sugar Tate, Jock Duthie, and John Fisher (gunner’s
yeoman), all of whom made GI, though the latter two are no longer
Resplendent on six weeks leave I eventually received a large
brown envelope marked ‘On Her Majesty’s Service’. With
trepidation I slit open the envelope withdrawing the large wad of
folded paper within and with baited breath I read the contents. At
first I could not believe my eyes. I then read it again, slowly.
“You are to join ‘Her Majesties Seaward Defence Motor Launch
3516’ (HMSDML) at Harwich on 23rd July 1958 by 1200hrs”.
My reaction was ecstatic, the gods were smiling on me and Whale
Island would have to wait awhile for my presence.
The due day dawned and with full kit bag and case, containing all
tropical kit full blues x 2 etc., I embarked on the Harwich train
from Liverpool Street Station. Settling back to the clickety clack
of the steam train, my thoughts wandered yet again anticipating the
vessel I was about to join - the grey sleek lines, two Perkins
engines, submarine sweaters and sea-boots - a young sailor’s
dream being fulfilled!
As the train sped eastward the weather deteriorated and grey
clouds scurried across the sky, London suburbs turned into Essex
countryside as the morning slowly passed. My thoughts and
visions were bought to an abrupt end when the train slowed down
as it approached Harwich ‘Parkeston Quay’. My draft chit being
short on instructions and I, in my sailor mind thought, ‘Quay’,
‘Ships’, this were I should disembark and this is were it started to
go down hill. I was the only passenger to leave the train, and as
the train continued to its journey’s end I was alone on the station.
I could see nothing at the quay, not even a British Rail (BR) ferry,
so I sought out a station porter to find out about my new war
canoe. The response I got was not to clear and not what I wanted.
He informed me that he knew of some naval vessels operating
around here but not quite sure were they berthed but thought they
maybe at Harwich. My first remark was, “but this is Harwich!”.
“No”, was his reply, “this is Parkeston Quay, Harwich is the next
The time was now nearing midday and I was no were near my
dream vessel. I then had a flash of a good idea, (that must have
been my start to GI-hood), ‘HMS Ganges’ was just across the
river, I could telephone the regulating office saying I am here,
which would save me being AWOL and they would know about
naval vessels in the area.
Well on the first count the Regulating Petty Officer (RPO) passed
with flying colours, he noted that I had reported in, but not on the
second, he had no idea about naval ships in the area, or perhaps he
knew nothing about naval ships per se.
My next idea was to get a taxi, so with kit bag etc., I sallied forth
to the metropolis of ‘Harwich Town’, which it was not, as I was to
find out. On arriving at the quayside of ‘Harwich Town’ I was
confronted with a wind swept empty place, with the exception of
the Trinity House Vessel ‘Patricia’, which was secured up
alongside a jetty.
Another idea came to me, full of ideas I was, I would ask the crew
if they knew of the vessel I was looking for.
Climbing aboard I found to my dismay only one member of the
crew, the rest being ashore. Anyway he said he had seen naval
vessels around Harwich but was not sure where they tied up and
suggested I talk to the Harbour Master. As the morning had
turned into afternoon, I was feeling hungry, so I asked if I could
leave my kit onboard temporarily whilst I had lunch and sought out
the Harbour Master. He agreed but informed me that they sailed at
Off I trotted, lightened of my load, and found a café on the front,
where I was able to find some warm sustenance to cheer me up.
Having satisfied my inner needs I decided to seek out the Harbour
Master but to no avail, as he was not on duty until late afternoon.
As I said earlier the weather was not seasonal, or perhaps it was for
that part of the world. It was mid July and more like a winter’s
day, with a squally cold wind and showers. I therefore decided to
see if there was a cinema open for me to kill a couple of hours.
Dream on, Harwich in 1958 was not designed for tourists or
visitors, it was a backwater and, if my memory serves me
correctly, the cinema opened about three times a week and not in
the afternoons. So that was a non-starter. I was therefore left to
wander the streets, bearing in mind I was in uniform; I stood out
like a beacon. As I said earlier, Harwich was not as we would call
today a vibrant town, more like a damp squib so, after a wander
round the damp empty streets, I ended back at the same café to get
a cup of tea and warmth, where I whiled away another hour.
Doesn’t time fly when you are enjoying yourself?
As the afternoon was drawing on I decided to seek out the Harbour
Master again, with some luck I might hasten to say, of which I was
not having much of on this day, I found him. On enquiry about
my new anticipated ‘Thunder Bird’ with the Harbour Master he
dashed my hopes yet again. He was a mine of information, as his
reply to my question, “Yes he knew of the naval vessels but they
sometimes come in to Harwich, but on other times they have gone
to Felixstowe” left me more confused Or in today’s language
‘with a challenge or opportunity’. Now what do I do, do I stay, or
go to Felixstowe? Felixstowe as I’m sure you readers are aware,
is across the other side of Harwich Harbour and in those days was
not the big container port it is today, but a small fishing harbour
and the last ferry was 6 pm and none back until morning.
Yet again a flash of light came to me. If I telephone the Harbour
Master at Felixstowe he may be able to enlighten me. So I entered
the red telephone booth, which was still press button ‘A’ or ‘B’
type. I should be so lucky; he gave me the same answer the
Harwich Harbour Master gave me, “Sometimes they come into
Felixstowe and sometimes Harwich”. Putting the phone down I
was now out of ideas and feeling a bit worried as the afternoon was
heading for early evening and my kit was still on ‘Patricia’ so I
would have to retrieve it soon.
As I turned in the booth to leave, out of the corner of my eye I
caught sight of a white submarine jumper and, as I turned full
circle, there in front of me was civilisation as I knew it. There
stood a sailor next to a blue land rover with RN painted on the
side, in white jumper, No.8 Trousers and sea boots. As you can
imagine I was ecstatic, I left the booth and asked him if he knew
about the vessel I was to join, yes was his reply, she is about to
come around the headland and tie up further round the harbour.
I stood their heart pounding; waiting for the purring sound of the
Perkins engines but what I got was not what I had anticipated.
Around the headland appeared a second world war Motor Launch
(ML) with no armament, black hull, white superstructure topped in
yellow, doing about five knots (as shown in the picture below), I
was later to find out she could do twelve knots with the tide behind
if you were lucky.
I was gutted and, if anybody had watched my face, I am sure it
projected so much disappointment, and the ML could have sailed
into my mouth it was so wide open. I thought some bright spark
in drafty was having a good laugh on me. Two more of the same
class followed her and they secured up near were the boat train
secured up, at Harwich Town.
Feeling down hearted I retrieved my kit from ‘Patricia’ and
sauntered down to the ML, which was to be my new home for the
next eighteen months.
At this stage I must confess that the names of those with whom I
served on this vessel have been lost in the mist of time
unfortunately. The sailor I first encountered was a Leading
Seaman and I was to encounter him again some years later when
he was a Chief Petty Officer (CPO) and I a Petty Officer (PO), in
an unusual place.
Anyway, back to the present. I staggered across two of the other
ML’s with kit bag etc., to the one on which I was to serve and was
met by a Lieutenant who turns out be the skipper. His first remark
was, “You’re a gunnery rate, I don’t need one of them on here, the
only armament I have got is a Very pistol, I was expecting a SR
(Survey Recorder)”. The second thing was, “Why the hell have
you got all that kit? There is no room on this boat for all that”.
Just then a PO appeared who happened to be the Coxswain, he
took charge and showed me to the mess in the forward part of the
vessel, down a very small hatch, through which I had to force my
kit bag, and introduced me to my shipmates.
The mess consisted of six bunks, two tiered, the bottom ones
acting as seats during the day. A drop leaf table in front of four of
the two bottoms ones for’ard. Situated in the corner on the
starboard side aft of the mess was a small galley with a coal heated
cooking oven, and this had a tank at its back for hot water. Kit
lockers consisted of a footlocker under the bunks and an individual
cupboard of no more than 18 inches wide 3 ft deep and 18 inches
high. Up forward in the peak was a small compartment, the heads,
which contained a pump out toilet and a sink, you could not swing
a cat around in. There was no shower facilities, when you wanted
that, it was a bucket of hot water from the tank at the back of the
cooking range and chuck it over yourself in the heads, then use the
bilge pump to flush it away - alternatively find a public bath
ashore. I found out later that we did get a shilling (5p in today’s
decimal money) a day, ‘ hard layers’, which was quite a large sum
in 1958. A destroyer’s mess deck was luxury compared to this
and I could see why the skipper had made the remark about my
large kit bag, as a quart was not going to fit into a pint pot. For the
next few days I had a nearly full kit bag for a bed partner.
My new shipmates quickly filled me in on what type of vessel I
had joined. Along with her sister ships in the squadron, she was an
old wartime ML converted to undertake inshore and coastal survey
work for the ‘Hydrographer of the Navy’. She was 72 ft long,
about 8 ft wide and carried a crew of one Officer, a PO Coxswain
(SR), PO Stoker, a Leading Seaman SR, a telegraphist and five
seamen, which included AB SR’s. The leading seaman I had
encountered earlier was also an SR and he lived ashore, as his job
was posting markers at high points on the shore for the SR’s to use
as markers when we were surveying. Later during my time on the
vessel, I was detailed off to help him.
The three vessels in the squadron made up the ‘East Cost of
England Survey Unit’ whose home base was HMS Wildfire in
Sheerness Dockyard, an end-of-the-line place’. Anybody who has
served there in Peacetime will know what I mean. The RN Survey
School’s main base was at Chatham, under the ‘Nore Command’.
I was allocated my bunk and locker where I settled in and, as I lay
there for my first night, I wondered what I had let myself in for.
Next day all was to be revealed.
Awakened early next morning by one of my new shipmates with a
hot mug of tea and the smell of fried bacon sizzling on the cooker,
I thought this is great, but little did I realise just what I would be
doing in the future. I arose and awaited my batting order in the
washing department, dressed in No. 8’s and went up on deck for
leaving harbour. This was no formality of which I had been used
to, ‘let go forward’, ‘let go aft’ and we were away, then back down
the mess for breakfast.
After we left harbour we parted company with the rest of the unit,
as each ML had an area of its own to survey and ours was about an
hours steaming from Harwich. Once we were out of the harbour
the coxswain sent for me to explain what my duties were and to
issue me with white roll neck jumpers, wellies and socks, plus soft-
shoes (trainers in today’s world). As I was not a trained SR I
would undertake general duties and less arduous survey work.
This included keeping the boat clean and painted, taking turns at
the helm, sitting in front of an echo sounder whilst surveying
calling out the depths, also gun sweeper of the main armament, the
‘Very Pistol’, and the final one, which gave me the greatest shock,
was that I was to take my turn as ‘Chef’ which lasted for a week at
a time, rotating with the other non SR’s. I was gobsmacked. I
had joined the navy when canteen messing was almost gone and
general messing was the in thing so preparing food and cooking it
was a magic art to me. I must admit though that when my turn
came round I was eased into it with a lot of help from my
shipmates. Perhaps it was because we ate the same food, from
Skipper down, and therefore they had a vested interest!
Incidentally, by the time I finished my time onboard, I was making
sponge cakes and could muster a great spotted dick and custard,
plus my dumplings, which we boiled in the hot water tank, for the
potmess, were a masterpiece - but that was to happen sometime in
the future. I have to confess that those skills were not perpetuated
HM SDML3516 at sea
SEE ‘REUNION’ WEB PAGE
after I left the vessel.
We arrived at our destination and commenced the work we were
designated to undertake. We were off the entrance to the
Thames and there we steamed up and down our allotted area taking
fixes and chart plotting. We did this continuously all day, only
stopping for lunch, and returning to Harwich that evening, as we
were not allowed to be out over night. It must also be borne in
mind that we had no radar. As soon as we had secured alongside,
we had our evening meal that had been prepared by the duty chef,
then everybody went ashore, excepting one ship keeper (that was
duty watch), to the local pub. There was nothing else to do in
That night I again lay in my bunk, thinking of the past forty-eight
hours and how a sailor’s dream had been redirected by drafty. I
reflected on the experiences that I had encountered to arrive at the
situation I found myself in, as part of the crew of HMSDL 3516.
I considered that, all in all, I had not done so bad after all. She
may not be what I had dreamed of, slim grey lines, 30 knots, bofor
spitting flames, but she was a small vessel, the routine was relaxed
and the guys all seemed a great bunch. This draft chit was a hell
of a lot better than the possible alternative of ‘Whale Island’.
With those thoughts in mind I fell into a fitful sleep.
To be continued.
Those of you who have personal computers, or have friends who
have PCs, will know or have heard of the frustrations of the “blue
screen of death” when for no apparent reason the computer freezes
and refuses to do anything. Since the majority of them will have
the Microsoft Windows operating system it is usually because
some piece of software conflicts with it and the system has a hissy
fit. The next piece, sent in by Bill Bartholomew, probably
represents well what most of us think about the problem.
If cars were made by Microsoft!
At a computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly
compared the computer industry with the auto industry and
stated "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer
industry has, we would all be driving twenty-five dollar cars
that got 1000 miles to the gallon."
In response to Mr. Gates' comments, General Motors issued
the following press release (by Mr. Welch himself, the GM
CEO) "If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we
would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:
1. For no reason whatsoever your car would crash twice daily.
2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road, you would
have to buy a new car.
3. Occasionally, executing a manoeuvre, such as a left turn,
would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in
which case you would have to reinstall the engine.
4. Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you bought
"Car95" or "CarNT". But then you would have to buy more
5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun,
reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive.
6. The oil, water temperature and alternator warning lights would
be replaced by one "general car default" warning light.
7. New seats would force everyone to have the same size bottom.
8. The airbag system would say "Are you sure?" before going
9. Occasionally for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock
you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted
the door handle, turned the key, and grabbed hold of the radio
10. GM would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set
of Rand McNally road maps (now a GM subsidiary), even
though they neither need nor want them. Attempting to delete
this option would immediately cause the car's performance to
diminish by 50% or more. Moreover, GM would become a
target for investigation by the Justice department.
11. Every time GM introduced a new model car, buyers would
have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the
controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.
12. You'd press the "start" button to shut off the engine.
Brush up your English
I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you,
On hiccough, thorough. lough and through.
Well done! And now you wish perhaps
To learn of less familiar traps?
Beware of heard, a dreadful word
that looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead; it’s said like bed not bead-
for goodness sake don’t call it “deed”,
Watch out for meat and great and threat
(they rhyme with suite and straight and debt)
A moth is not a moth in mother
Nor both in bother, broth in brother.
And here is not a match for there,
Nor dear and fear for bear and pear,
And then there’s dose and rose and lose-
Just look them up - and goose and choose
And cork and work and card and ward,
and front and font and word and sword,
And do and go and thwart and cart.
Come, Come, I’ve hardly made a start!!
A dreadful Language?? Man Alive,
I’d mastered it when I was five!
Our Chairman received a copy of the HMS St. Vincent Journal,
beautifully produced and printed at the end of 2004. The 32 page
A4 size booklet had devoted 3½ pages to letters answering the
“Name The Ship” competition from the previous edition. The
ship was of course HMS Cossack (L03) and the photograph used
was the same as that of her shown on page 1 of this newsletter.
What had caused confusion to many was the “L03” on the ship’s
side. Cossack had the pennant no. L03 but this was changed to
F03 in December 1938 and then later G03, HMS Badsworth taking
over the L03 no. on 17/3/40.
According to one of the correspondents, the Badsworth, one of the
Hunt class, was launched in 1941 and was transferred to Norway in
1946 where she was renamed Arendal.
The thing I find confusing is not the changes to the pre-fixes, L to
F, to G, but that both Cossack and Badsworth could have had the
suffix “03” at the same time. I assume that pennant numbers were
painted on the ships’ sides to aid recognition. In the case of the
very knowledgeable St. Vincent ex matelots it only served to
That’s it folks. Be careful out there.
MEMBERS E-MAIL ADDRESSES
Admiral Sir James Eberle AdmiralJim@lineone.net
Margaret Atherton MAAthert@aol.com
Bill Bartholomew firstname.lastname@example.org
Fred Barton fred@fbarton90.Wanadoo.co.uk
Keith Batchelor email@example.com
Mike Bath firstname.lastname@example.org
John Bishop email@example.com
Tony Brown firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Brown email@example.com
Cdr. K.P. Bruce-Gardyne firstname.lastname@example.org
Philip Bryant email@example.com
George Bye firstname.lastname@example.org
Russell Campling email@example.com
Jack Caswell Jack1cas@aol.com
Mike Cook MikeStensonCook@aol.com
Fred Cook firstname.lastname@example.org
Fred Cooper email@example.com
Fred Craddock firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Eames email@example.com
Barbara Edgell firstname.lastname@example.org
Geoff Embley email@example.com
Dave Fenton firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Forder email@example.com
Liz Foster-Hall firstname.lastname@example.org
Pat Gaffney email@example.com
Betty Gilham firstname.lastname@example.org
Alastair Gordon email@example.com
Janet Grist firstname.lastname@example.org
John Gritten email@example.com
Geirr Haarr firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Hampstead email@example.com
Stan Hannaford firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Harrison email@example.com
Dave Hawkes firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan Hennell email@example.com
David Higgins firstname.lastname@example.org
Ken Howe email@example.com
Peter Jackson firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Kay email@example.com
Alec Kellaway firstname.lastname@example.org
Graham Keyes Gkeyes@btinternet.com
Geoff Lane Geofflane@tesco.net
Stan Leadbetter email@example.com
Nigel Lester firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Luter email@example.com
Bob McLean firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Marchant email@example.com
Terry Matthews firstname.lastname@example.org
Dusty Miller GEMSPEC@FSBDial.co.uk
Finn Nesvold email@example.com
Doug Parkinson firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Patterson email@example.com
Jack Price Ppamelajack@aol.com
Jack Race firstname.lastname@example.org
Philip Remnant email@example.com
Harry Ripp firstname.lastname@example.org
Don Rush email@example.com
Ken Satterthwaite firstname.lastname@example.org
Geoff Scarlett email@example.com
Dr. Neil Shand firstname.lastname@example.org
Anne Smith email@example.com
Mrs D.D. Spencer firstname.lastname@example.org
Frank Spendelow email@example.com
Les & Jean Taylor firstname.lastname@example.org
F.M. Thomas email@example.com
Colin Trigg firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Tunks email@example.com
Frank Weedon firstname.lastname@example.org
Don Whittick email@example.com
John Williams firstname.lastname@example.org
Please report any corrections or changes to the Secretary