HMS London - first commission 1963-65


Hi everyone - first timer here - I have recently been contacted by the son of a shipmate of mine on the London. He was after other sparkers or buntins who were on the London during the first commish. Look forward to hearing from anyone from that era.

Currently living in Oz and had a recent visit from Shep who played at the local RNA - great show as always - next day shared some of his great rum with some of the ex Ganges boys at a barbeque - great weekend.

Yours aye, Pete


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Just spotted this. I have put a few pics from London's first commission on the Rum Ration gallery & have more on my PC if wanted.

John Simm

Peter, I was on HMS London from the day that she was Commissioned at Swan Hunters on the Tyne until she returned to the UK in September 1965. I was in the Radio Electrical Branch. I still have a copy of the First Commission Book, which contains the names of the crew, including the names of those who died whilst on board. I also have many of the photographs from this period of my naval career that may be of interest to you, including the Electrical Division photographed in front of HMS Victory and pictures taken in the Panama Canal, South America, Brazil, South Africa, the Far East and the Suez Canal. I recently read that the Captain of HMS London, Jacob Bartosik, who I also have a picture of, died in 2008. Please feel free to get in touch with me. Kindest regards, John Simm -


War Hero
Book Reviewer
The reorg of the Gallery has killed off the 1st Commission London pix I put up there. I have reloaded to HMS London 1963-5 pictures by postwarblue - Photobucket - apologies if some pics sent by other people have been included, I beg forgiveness.

Similarly my account of the first Commission (a personal account - others will have experienced it differently of course) has also died along with the rest of RRPedia which has also not survived the site rehash). Not sure what to do about that.

Polish Joe's Times Obituary is here: Rear-Admiral Jozef Bartosik | Times Online Obituary

and Mike Henry's Telegraph obit is here Captain Mike Henry - Telegraph

No harm I think in adding a few other notes:

Some Old Londons who made good (or otherwise): was formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race and in the '80s was run by Charles Williams, ex-Commander(E) of London who retired as a Rear Admiral.
My immediate boss, the Gunnery Officer Giles Poole (and a good hand), retired as a 2 1/2 and went to work for an arms firm. He distinguished himself in a demonstration at the RN Equipment Exhibition at Whaley in about 1980 by demonstrating a 30mm mounting and forgetting that it had no training stops.. the barrel knocked away all the struts of the stand and the whole thing collapsed round him (and the client). Sadly Giles died some time back.
James Saunders, the Communications officer who replaced Warren Gilchrist, inherited Rockingham Castle shortly after he had made Commander and been appointed to his first command (Lynx? Leopard?). See
Graham Neilson (TASO and Sports Officer) has been promoting Sail Training for youngsters (see and ) and has now branched out into:
Doug Clark, 2nd(G), retired as a Lt Cdr having worked his way up from a pretty tough boyhood on a training ship on the Thames. As PO of HMS Newfoundland's Seaman's Landing Party he was one of the first British men (apart from the hapless PoWs already there) to set foot in Japan in 1945 (a claim contested by HMS Gambia).
One of the pussers, Jonathan Langdon, became a Judge in civil life but died aged about 60.
A midshipman called JJ Howard (possibly the best of the bunch we had) retired as a Captain and was for many years Director of the Marine Society. See:The Marine Society. One of the others, Garnett, became a vice admiral.
Finally L/Sea Paul Murphy, who was in my opinion the best hands-on upper-deck seaman in the ship, turned up on television in about 1980 in a news item where the members of a hostel for inebriates were debating in a very confused manner whether one of their number had fallen down stairs to his death or been pushed. Murphy was in the discussion - I'd recognise those Irish blue eyes anywhere - shouldn't think he's still with us. He was a man of IMMENSE natural capacity. The Commander intimated that it would be bad news if the totally mothy parrot Murphy brought on board in Rio said untoward things. Lt Ogilvy tackled him about it, intimating that it would be bad for the parrot if it said anything bad about the Captain. Murphy: "Oh no Sorr, I have the highest regard for that officer. I am going to teach the bird to say 'Bugger the Buffer'."

John Simm

Seaweed, I remember a lot about L/Sea Paul Murphy. Do you recall during the ships work-up at Portland that he saved Captain Bartosik's reputation when we entered Harbour at speed and it was only Paul's quick action that got a line attached to the jetty stop the ship's forward movement.

Do you also recall Paul making rope swings for under priviliged children in South America - he was some guy.

I have looked at your pictures on photobucket and they matched some of those that I still have copies of. I have many others if you want electronic copies of them.

Do you know if there is anyway of finding out who is still around who served on the London;s First commission and where they all live now.

I noticed that one of your pictures was of the King of Thailand who visited the ship, just after Able Seaman Dade fell from the front awning onto the jetty then into the river and died.

Kindest regards, John Simm -


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Re King of Thailand, he was followed around by two chamberlains in full white fig bearing a magnificent gold casket and a magnificent gilt platter. I thought these might be sensitive royal or religious objects but one of these bods excplained that the platter was the royal ashtray and the casket contained the royal packet of Lucky Strike.

John Simm

I've recently been told that there is going to be a HMS London reunion in Portsmouth next Saturday at which at least one CPO from the first commission will be attending. Did anyone know about this, if so, how were you notified
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