[h=1]Alfred Tennyson, Lord Tennyson[/h][h=2]Crossing the Bar[/h]SUNSET and evening star, And one clear call for me! And may there be no moaning of the bar, When I put out to sea,But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home. Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness or farewell,
When I embark; For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
Dit time - As a cadet at BRNC Dartmouth, I was involved in a press day arranged because Prince Charles was due to join the College for training the following term. My role was in front of the cameras on the sports field where I was winched up and down like a yo-yo from the college's Wasp helo based at nearby Norton. The then Commander of Britannia Flight was Lt Cdr Bernard DeSalis RN.
This was in the pre-digital age of film. On completion of events, the Wasp was tasked to fly all the exposed footage and sound recordings to Exeter Airport for onward delivery to London in time for the evening news programmes and Bernard invited me to go along for the ride. After dropping off our precious cargo, he asked me whether there was anywhere I'd particularly like to see from the air en route back to Norton. I said I'd enjoy flying over Salcombe where I'd spent my early life and still had family. He passed me the chart and said, "Okay, give me a course."
We subsequently buzzed Salcombe and flew down its harbour to the bar. The water was crystal clear in the afternoon sunlight and we saw the unmistakeable silhouette of a hammerhead shark basking in the shallows covering the pale sand. Bernard lowered the Wasp and we measured the helo length for length against the big fish before disturbing it sufficiently for it to disappear into deeper water. To this day, Bernard is the only person able to coroborate my story (if he's still alive) but I will swear it is true to my own deathbed.
The bar at Salcombe also features in 'A Private Ship Called Lollipop' in the MCDOA website's Dit Box.