Thursday, 18 March 2010

Pull Up a Bollard and We'll Swing the Lamp

Ginge, Val & Bagsy today, just in time for 'Up Spirits'.

John (Ginger) Prince was the Killick* of the Seaman's Mess on HMS Undaunted during the period 1967, and as such was my immediate boss. Since then I have seen him just once, whilst driving through Sandford recognising him in my rear view mirror. His wife Val has been a little luckier in avoiding me for all of that time, the last time we met was at my 21st birthday party, a bit of a boozy do at my flat in Wyke Road, Weymouth, involving all the non-duty members of the Sailor's Mess on HMS Undaunted. Our 'rear view mirror' encounter lasted a few minutes, when we decided we should meet up for a longer yarn, but never did. Another of the plus points for this Blog is that it has brought Ginge, Val and me back together again. The key element of any true friendship being that time, difference of opinion etc should not tarnish it and today we found that to be true. In the great plan of things we live no more than a 'stones throw' apart, they in Northmoor Park, Wareham and me in Weymouth, so why you may ask have we not done this before - search me - but finally we met for lunch at the Gurkha, Sandford and agreed it was a golden moment for us all. We could easily have gone on forever about our runs ashore in Liverpool, the Channel Islands etc, involvement in the 2nd Frigate Squadron and the Portland 'work up' regime, preparing other ships for deployment around the world but as ever time was short. This will by no means be the last time we meet, and our collective thoughts tonight go out to our shipmates who shared this brief period in HMS UNWANTED (sic).

Where then are George Richardson', Peddler Palmer', Graham Colson', Mick Hutley et al a great Run Ashore each and every one of them. Those marked ' did join Boats with me, but after Submarine training we were drafted in different directions.

Refueling at Sea (RAS) is one of the more testing skills of seamanship, ship handling and coordination. As can be seen from the nearness of the Tanker, half a degree miscalculation in steering could result in dire consequences!

Built soon after the Second World War, helicopters were not even thought of so could her makers have conceived such a picture as this early Wasp landing on our 'later addition' heli-deck?

In her final years, she was towed to 'safe' waters in the Atlantic Ocean

to be used as an Exocet Missile target.

Back broken in her death throws.

As if raising a 'Two Finger Salute' skyward HMS Undaunted finds her watery grave.

* Killick, a word now all but obsolete in the English language, was originally coined to describe a rock, or other heavy weight, used as an anchor in ancient ships. Latterly, used almost exclusively in the Royal Navy as name for an Admiralty Pattern Anchor particularly fouled by a rope or hawser. This foul anchor is used as a badge of demarcation for a Leading Rate (Leading Seaman, Leading Cook, Leading Stoker etc), hence the Leading Hand is familiarly known as a Killick.

The Royal Navy insignia of a Leading Rate.