If these are Navy Leaders, we really are sunk


Billy Q

Today's Daily Mail letters.
written Peter Toms QGM.

Petty Officer Marine Engineering Mechanic P. F. Toms Petty Officer Toms led the initial fire attack party and was subsequently responsible for directing the efforts of all successive fire-fighting teams on board the El Tambo. During the entire operation, which lasted eight hours, he worked in a smoke and steam laden atmosphere without the benefit of a personal breathing apparatus. AH the time he was in a darkened and unfamiliar vessel, in which many of the ladders were destroyed or distorted. He knew that there were acetylene bottles and high pressure air cylinders on board and that the heart of the fire was believed to be adjacent to the ship's fuel tanks. Nevertheless he took charge of the re-entry below decks leading the fire-fighters to the heart of the fire and personally supervising the spraying of 'the engine room with foam. On several occasions when the portable pumps lost suction and the men at the scene of the fire were left with uncharged hoses, Toms supervised their withdrawal and subsequent re-entry. Although the members of his fire-fighting parties were rotated at regular intervals and were eventually relieved by a fresh team, Toms himself remained at the scene of the fire until it was finally extinguished. Undeterred by the difficulties he faced Petty Officer Toms led his men with great resource and determination, displaying a very high degree of personal courage and professional knowledge. His actions were not only instrumental in saving the ship and her cargo but were also in the finest traditions of the Service.
I think he is referring to this


During February 1977 the ship was involved in the salvage of MV El Tambo after the vessel had been abandoned by her crew with almost 1,000 head of cattle on board when a major fire had broke out in the engine room and had spread through the after part of the ship.

Two members of the ships company were decorated for gallantry during the rescue
Letter in to days Daily Mail from ex C.P.O. Toms, Q.G.M. Well worth a read....
FOR the past five weeks I’ve watched the Monday evening TV documentary about the Royal Navy School and tried to remain impartial and remember that ‘times change and things move on’. But I’m still concerned about the quality and standard of leadership displayed by the officers, senior rates and instructor staff at HMS Raleigh. As an ex-HMS Ganges and HMS Raleigh boy, of 1958-9, I cringe every time one of the instructors tries to impress his/her authority on the assembled recruits. Not one of them, from the senior officer in charge of training, to the senior rates, would have been acceptable as an instructor in my training years. What on earth has happened to the leadership courses officers and senior rates were expected to attend and pass? If those on display are an example of today’s leaders, Heaven help the Royal Navy. It would appear that the only qualities now required are an ability to scream and shout, make unfunny remarks and swear a lot. It’s small wonder the trainees are finding it difficult to understand what’s expected of them. Not one of the instruction staff has displayed any leadership quality. None has any presence, quiet authority, dignity or humility when dealing with trainees who are obviously struggling. All they seem to have is an ability to wreck a trainee’s bedding and kit — and make the usual smart-alec, puerile remarks. Their childish antics in the instructors’ staff room wouldn’t look out of place in a kindergarten. I’m incensed at how the Royal Navy I loved and served in for 25 years is being portrayed to the nation. As an indication of the way in which leadership in the service has been deteriorating, we need look no further than 2007 and the disgraceful HMS Cornwall — when 15 RN and Royal Marine personnel, seven of whom were officers and non-commissioned officers, aboard two rigid hulled inflatable vessels, were captured and detained by the Iranians. These personnel allowed themselves to be seized by the Iranians and kept prisoner for 12 days. At no time did any of the senior personnel involved display any kind of leadership. The writing on the wall was clearly there for all to see. Someone in the Admiralty should have had the gumption to conclude: ‘There’s something damned wrong with our leaders.’ The HMS Raleigh TV programme stands out as a dazzling beacon to this conclusion.
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