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Pull up a pew and spin a dit!

Its all true 'onest Guv.

New Bridge for Old
(How to re-design an O Boats Bridge)

One fine day in May 1971 Her Majesties Submarine Opportune SSK20 was quietly weaving along at various depths about two hundred miles south west of the Sicily Isles. Our gain-full employment was to test sonar arrays, which were later to be part of the 2000 series sonar sets. El Capitano feeling bored and unhappy with two thirds of his motley crew tucked up in their smelly pits decides to close up the attack team and practice on a poor unsuspecting passing merchantman that had just happened along our part of the South West Approaches. We tumble out of our bunks and gallop off to the Control Room, looking out of course for a Senior Rate or Officer coming in the opposite direction down the 24-inch wide passage to trample over.

Oh! me, I was the Leading Hand of the forward mess, Rader Plotter 2 and Navigator’s Yeoman together with various other tasks assigned to me by people various, but I must admit to an aversion to Chief Stokers, GI’s and Jossmen. Arriving at my allotted position on the front side of the back plot, I donned my regulation head set and mike, scooped up various chino-graph pencils, slide rule and assorted protractors. Had the Sound Room and Local Operation Plot loud and clear and off we go building up a picture of the target. The Captain is on the attack or forward periscope, the signalman is shadowing his movements reading off angles and bearings as required. Other than the Captain did not have his cap on back to front it was just like the movies, loads of tense people talking in hushed tones, when required, practicing what they were trained to do, convert a skimmer into a submarine.

For a reason known only to God and his able assistant our Captain, he, that’s the Captain not God, suddenly stood back from the periscope and says, “I am incapacitated, First Lieutenant take over the attackâ€. Well you could have heard a pin drop or even a Leander Frigate pinging away at Portland, so steps forward the man of the moment Lt. Tom Le Marchant, later to be Captain SM10. Very soon he is gripping the handles of the attack scope and getting into the attack. Old ‘Mr. I Am Incapacitated’ is on the search or aft periscope checking on proceedings. Unfortunately this instrument is four foot shorter than the attack scope so spends a long time under the surface where the Captain can see only a milky green haze.

The proceedings are now reaching a climax, don’t even go there, and we prepare to fire water shots at the target i.e. fire the water in two empty tubes out, this makes the fore-endies, TAS Weapons ratings, feel involved in the proceedings. Then Tom Le Marchant orders the Coxswain on the one-man band, combined helm and planes, to take us to 200 feet. The bow down angle increases and we had just about reached 100 foot when the most almighty bang and the bow down angle increase. All water tight doors and bulkheads were slammed shut about 2 seconds before the Engineer Officer gave the order. All compartments reported no damage or flooding but we carried on going down.

Now one of the laws of physics is as a submarine goes deeper the water pressure compresses it, this makes it heavier, which make it go down faster, which compresses it further, this of course makes it heavier. I will leave the rest up to you, suffice it to say; us that had sight of a depth gauge thought well how deep can we go. The ballast pump was pumping away for all it was worth and as we reach 800 foot, well it may have only been 700, the Captain ordered Main Ballast to be blown. Up we popped like a champagne cork no chance of a one all round look on a periscope or sonar search for surface contacts which is normal when coming up from deep. Being the soul who sat just about under the tower I was ordered to test the tower for flooding then open the lower lid. Then open up the upper lid, this would not open fully due to various bits of metal and fibreglass, which had previously been the bridge and front end of our fin. Up goes the outside wrecker, skilled tiffie, to cut away the wreckage so that the OOW and Lookout could occupy the radar mast well as a temporary bridge.

It was soon discovered that the merchantman, recently out of dry dock, yes a 2-foot by 1-foot new zinc anode was embedded in the fin, had taken off the front upper area of the fin. Later investigations concluded that the 1st Lieutenant had been over estimating the range putting us closer to the target than anticipated. Both our periscopes were well dead and we were ordered to Portsmouth for dry-docking while new scopes were fitted then calibrated.

Six weeks minimums we were told. Well every cloud has a silver lining, I had been married only four months and lived near Guildford, after bunging the chart correction unit in HMS Dolphin 200 duty free fags to correct my charts, and the staff at Guildford Royal Navy and Royal Marines Recruitment Office a bottle of rum I was duly drafted to the same recruitment office and shown as RA for the only time in my naval career.

bernsville said:
This Gen Dit happened about 7 years ago. My mate who was a mackem and a marlin spike short of a rigging set, was tired of being in the mob. He was always getting into trouble and was a regular feature at defaulters. He decides to go on the trot. Rather than keep quiet about it, he tells everyone that he is planning to do a runner on Pay day. Pay day comes along and he finds that his Pay has been stopped, someone has informed the head shed and they have taken action. Undettered by this he manages to blag a train journey to Sunderland by hiding in the heads to avoid ticket inspection. Knowing that the first place the reggies would look for him would be at his mum's house, he decides the best course of action is to lie low and camp in the woods nearby until the heat dies down. He has just over ten pounds on him, so you would have thought he would buy just the essentials for a lengthy stay in the woods, such as bottled water, matches for a fire, dry food which is non perishable, something to make a shelter with. He bought 8 cans of baked beans(negative can opener), a 4 pack of coke and finally 2 porn mags (1 Razzle and 1 Men's World). He survived 1 week camping in the woods, smashing baked bean tins in to rocks to open them,and wanking himself stupid, before he finally succumbed to hypothermia and gave himself in to the police.
He recovered in hospital and is now outside.

10/10 for effort! :lol: :lol: :lol:
function said:
Jenny_Dabber I was at Whitehall and talking to Campbeltowns MCO at that time, I can remember hearing the alarms going off and muffled pipes through the phone and said to the lass on the other end..."mmm I think you need to go now don't you !!!" we read about it all later !

If I can remember it was the 9th September 2001! We were demanded not to tell any one back home too. Think a cork was put in that within an hour of running aground, the whole European press had swammed, taking photos etc. Oh and passengers on the ferry were taping it all!

Couldn’t you have just sent some dabtoes over the side to pretend to paint the bottom or sommat. Then the peeps on the ferries would think you done it on purpose.
UncleAlbert said:

Couldn’t you have just sent some dabtoes over the side to pretend to paint the bottom or sommat. Then the peeps on the ferries would think you done it on purpose.

Would have done that but seeing as the water was 2meters in depth and clear as crystal, it was hard to cover up the STBD prop/blades being inbedded into the ground :oops:
Press will always now before anyone!

I was on watch in a commcen when the Nottingham ran aground. I'd had the duty officer at NBC Pompey asking me if I'd seen any signals about an incident as he'd been receiving phone calls enquiring and new nothing. We also hadn't heard anything.

A dockyard storeman came in to collect his signals and told us about the incident as he'd just heard it on Ocean FM
In the late 70's, early 80's, when HMS Pembroke was still a Fleet Accommodation Centre, the Boatswain was a well known old two ringer (since gone to that great School of Seamanship in the Sky).
One of his claims to fame was the amendment that he made to the RN Drill Manual when he was a young OD in HMS Excellent.
Doing rounds during the middle watch he came upon a copy of the said manual and it was open on the page that dealt with coffins for military funerals. It detailed the different types of linings for different ranks etc.
He added a paragraph that stated that the lining for a coffin of a GI would always be green baize.
The amendment was not noticed and the re-print was produced and remained in circulation, unamended for years.
I think the outside world was aware of the Nottingham incident with 10 minutes of it happening, due to a very efficient phone service and the internet. Can't hide anything nowadays
early 90's at CTC on survival ex we have these bloody rabbits , in the troop harbour team are about 300 m away in cosy tents , only orders are kill the rabbits without making them suffer and keep the noise down , im the youngest in my troop (17) and am flapping about making the wabbit suffer so me and my oppo take the white fluffy thing and wack its neck with back of knife , i miss wabbit but hit (ex) oppos hand hes writhing about in agony next to the rabbit who is also screaming about in agony ..wabbit is making noises and remembering that i was told not to make the rabbit suffer i startt flapping , big welsh lad says kill the effing rabbit quick before the DS find out or ill kill you ignoring my oppo i pick the rabbit up and wack it againts tree ...rabbit still alive , now welsh bloke is threatening to fill me in and my oppo if i dont sort the rabbit a cluster fook of a flap i undo my BFA and put two blank rounds into rabbit .big mistake ..someome in the troop not aware of what is happening shouts STAND TO ..the whole troop are running for their fire positions and grabbing fighting order team run toward harbour shouting what coont ND what coont ND ..troop sgt finds me with a smoking barrel shaking my oppo still on the floor and a rabbit full of wax and cardboard shite on the floor ....i informed him that i didnt ND i shot the rabbit on purpose which point he launches at me thinking im digging him out ..picks up the rabbit and asks me again at which point he thankfully starts laughing hysterically and stands the troop down ...spent the next hour playing pays to be a winner with my rabbit that i have to hold out in front of me thus losing every time !!!!!!!!!!!! oh deep joy

Clump , clump – clump , clump – clump , clump – clump – Slowly the Torpoint ferry weaved its way across the narrows towards Devonport, whilst slumped on the wooden slatted seats was a far from happy 16 year old fresh out of Raleigh. The bloody navy had given me my first draft chit and instead of going to HMS Lion, one of the navy’s newest cruisers along with all my mates, I had been drafted to HMS Tenby all on my own, so in a stroke I had lost all the friends I had made since joining Ganges a year before.
Struggling down the ramp with all I possessed in the world I saw a Landrover with a killick patrolman waving me over. How did you know it was me? I said, throwing my gear into the back of the Landrover.
Patrolmen are trained to spot things that the ordinary matlot would not notice in a million years, he sneered, like you’re the only one in uniform carrying two full pillowcases an a kitbag.
As I climbed in beside him he took off like a bullet out of a gun, I was amazed, I had never seen a Landover go so fast, weaving in and out of the afternoon traffic I was just beginning to enjoy it when he suddenly veered across the oncoming traffic swerving across the road and came to a screaming halt. TAKE YOUR ANS OUT OF YER POCKETS he screamed at a PO Stoker standing at the bus stop, Only a moment before the poor chap hadn’t a care in the world but was now shaking like a leaf.
Cutting back across the traffic he sped off. Loved that he said, chuckling to himself.
I was to busy hanging on.
Dropping me off at the station he gave me an envelope “if you get lost or need help give this to anyone in a uniform†he said, speeding off into the afternoon traffic with one of my pillowcases hanging over the back of the Landrover. Never mind I thought, it`s less to carry and I didn’t really need all that cleaning gear and the gas mask.
Boarding the train we were soon steaming through the countryside north towards Morecambe and the Heysham ferry.
Where you going then? boomed this big man in the seat opposite, Londonderry says I, dear me, says he, that’s a long way for a young lad your age, where`s your mammy?
Is it far? I asked innocently, Far, he laughed, on a clear day you can see America, that’s how far it is.
This is my wife Kath and I’m Herbie, pleased to meet you, he beamed, we’re from Belfast, why Londonderry?
I’m off to join HMS Tenby to do Icelandic Patrol, I said sticking my chest out. You ever been to sea before? he asked, Cause I have, says I, went from Shotley all the way along the north sea and around and up the river to Wivenhoe in a MFV. Came back by lorry.
Touch your collar for luck say`s Kath sitting herself down next to me. Whats that you’re clutching she says pointing to the brown envelope the mad patrolman had given me, I don’t know, says I, lets have a look.
It read.
To Whom It May Concern:
Please note this boy is a member of His Majesty’s Royal Navy and if he becomes lost or misses any train or boat he is to be directed to the nearest Police station or Army/Navy recruiting office, whichever is nearer.

Don`t you worry said Kath I`m a nurse, we`ll see you to Belfast in one piece, now do you want a sandwich?
As the train thundered on through the evening I wondered what lay ahead and my mind went back to the mates I had left behind. Never mind, I had new friends now, Kath the Nurse and an Irishman called Herbie.


The Heysham ferry SS Duke of York leaves on the dot at midnight and the trip from Morecome bay to Donegal Quay in the centre of Belfast takes 8 hours.
On boarding the ferry I lost Kath and Herbie, as they were posh they had paid the extra £2 10s each and disappeared into the first class section. Lugging my gear I soon found a seat in the lounge and settled down for the night. Dozing off I felt the hum of the ships engines and soon felt the gentle rocking as she headed out to sea on a calm winters night.
Suddenly I was woken with a start, It was the shutters going up on the bar, Instantly a queue formed, what’s happening I asked a bloke in the queue. We`re outside the 3 mile limit says he so the bar will be open for the rest of the night, where’s your mammy?
Well I`ll have to go then I said I’m only 16, Not at all says my new found friend we`re in territorial waters now, what do you want to drink? Soon the whole place was alive.
My new found friend Billy lived in Belfast and was going home for a funeral, sorry about that, I said. Don’t you worry, says Billy, we’ll give him a good send-off, there’s people coming from all over the world.
After a couple of hours and a few pints of Guinness someone over in the corner started singing quietly at first, then louder as more joined in, then someone started with a fiddle and before you knew it the whole place was alive, I had never seen anything like this, the singing seemed so professional but that maybe was down to the stout which by this time was going down very nicely.
Then there was a bit of a commotion over in the corner where some teenage girls were sitting, after some persuasion they got up and stood in front of the bar, “on the table†someone shouted and the two girls got up on the table. With the fiddler standing to the side they stood very still with their arm straight down their side. The fiddler played a lively reel but the girls stood motionless while he played it all the way through, then as he started it a second time they started dancing. Ceilis dancing on the table they were brilliant, I had never seen anything like it before and it seemed they were doing it just for me. Then four more girls appeared and started dancing in front of the table. Soon the whole place was an uproar of singing and dancing and everyone partying the night away……

Later that morning saw Billy and I leaning on the rail as the ferry slowly made Its way stern first past Harland & Wolfe towards its berth below Queens Bridge.

“Do you know Billyâ€, I said, “I think Irelan a wonderful country.â€
“Well there you areâ€, says Billy, “and there’s you not even there yetâ€.
While serving in Courageous at Faslane we were detailed off to play host boat to the USS Silversides. The yanks are okay but they're so pi**ed with their own importance that they soon got on my t*ts. We were sat in the Hooley bar one night and Elmer J Chickenshit was gobbing off about how good the yanks were. Eventually he stopped boasting and asked me where him and his oppo could go for a good run ashore. I told him Plymouth was a great place to get pissed. About 20 minutes later the two of them disappeared. Now apparently they went to Faslane main gate, jumped into the nearest Jock Cab they could find and asked the driver to take them to.... you guessed it, Guzz! Now, personally, I would have asked how far it was but not the two yank numpties. To make matters worse they sat quietly in the back watching the meter tick over until they got to f****ing Carlisle before asking how much farther it was.

When the jock cabby told them they ordered a quick reverse course and then had the audacity to complain to their Chief of the Boat, who complained to our Coxswain, who told my DO who told the Jimmy who grassed me up to the skipper. Early next morning and cap doffing, I was ordered to pay the taxi fare and make a public apology! I can't remember how much it cost me now but I know I was broke for more than a week! And people ask me why I think some Yanks are thick as pig shi8. :x
Struggling off the gangway with all that I owned on my back I finally stood on Irish soil in the form of Donegal quay,
“Over here Albert†I turned around to see Herbie waving me over, “you’re going to need help with your stuff,†he said, “throw it on the back seat and get in the front with us.â€
The car a Vauxhall Cresta had column change gears and a front bench seat which accommodated the three of us easily.
Setting off we soon covered the mile to York Street Station. “Hope you managed to get some sleep,†said Kath, “sometimes it can get quite rowdy down in the lounge bar.†Oh yes I replied, In fact I had a really good night.
Deposited on the station steps and with goodbyes said, Kath and Herbie took off into the morning traffic and regretfully out of my life forever.
An hour later saw me speeding on my last leg to Londonderry exhausted, fast asleep, without a care in the world.

H.M.S Tenby in 1960 was one of newest ships in the Navy with sleek rounded lines and a closed bridge (luxury). Trouble was I couldn’t find her. “Where’s the Tenby†I asked one of the locals after I was deposited on the Town Quay by a tilly from HMS Sea Eagle the local barracks. “You’re standing next to it†came the reply, “but that’s not a navy ship surely,†I said, “well you stand a good chance as it’s the only ship on the quay at he moment with a 4.5 gun on the fore deck.†Came the reply.
â€Where you bin then? I though you left Gus yesterday morning,†said the coxswain. “I’ve been travelling for the last 24 hrs†I whimpered, “Typical stoker†he said “always got an excuse, here go and do your joining routine.â€
The ship itself was on a 2 year commission `home and east of Suez` and was starting the 6 month home leg, therefore the crew when I arrived having done 18 months together had bonded and I was very much a newcomer, however I found that I was welcomed by everyone.
Later that afternoon we sailed from Londonderry with us lined up on the upper deck and a good crowd on the quay to see us off. We were destined to be on patrol off the coast of Iceland for the next 8 weeks. I was given the job of sprayer jocky in the boiler room, watch keeping 24 about. Though a bit wobbly at first, after a couple of days I got my sea legs and settled into a routine. We were given permission to stop shaving for the duration.
As we got further north the weather got progressively colder and soon we were spending more of our time off watch chipping the ice off the lines and stanchions on the upper deck. One afternoon saw 3 of us chipping away as the ship patrolled backwards and forward to the east of Iceland when the Jimmi came past. “Why have we been roped into doing this sir,†says my new mate Geordie, “can’t the deck apes cope with it.†Well, says Jimmi “at the moment although there’s quite a lot of white water about it can get a lot rougher, If we find ourselves having to keep our bows head on in a northerly sea and we become to top heavy we can’t turn, then the further north we go the worse the ice gets till we eventually turn turtle.†Gulp, said Geordie. “And I though it was just to keep the ship looking tiddly,†No, no, said Jimmi “it happens to the trawler men all the time.†After that we never complained about ice clearing in fact we were much better at it.
Two weeks in found us doing a RAS from a RFA, I had never seen it before and looked on in wonder as we steamed alongside the tanker taking on fuel and stores using jackstay transfer. Send the Chief Stoker across someone shouted, but they didn`t.


See we got a great film on the RAS today said Janner, “Psycho†a new film by Alfred Hitchcock should be good.
With the film showing in the seamen’s mess that evening everyone piled in, standing room only with some standing on apple crates at the back.
Preceded of course by the obligatory Tom and Jerry cartoon ( “good ole Fredâ€) we settled down to watching with bated breath as the story unfolded.
Then when it came to the scary bit where, with violins screeching he pulls back the shower curtain…….… the apple crate collapsed and with a mighty crash spilled it’s load of Matelots on the floor taking two rows and the projector with it.
Scared the crap out of us I can tell you, now every time I see that film it brings back a memory…. and a smile.

Three weeks in saw me indulging in something that started with the Tenby and I always did whatever ship or boat I was on. I loved to take over the steering, I have done it on everything from submarines to aircraft carriers.
So that day on the Tenby found me at the steering position. Want a go? says the Quartermaster. He`s got no chance, said the port telegraph man, the skippers on watch, Don`t you worry I can handle him, says the QM watch this,
â€Permission for Junior Stoker Hall to take the wheel sir.â€
â€Certainly not!†came the reply “tell him to bugger off.â€
â€He plays rugby sir.â€
â€Err.. what position?â€
â€Second row sir.â€
pause….â€Oh alright… tell him to be careful.â€

Four weeks in and me and Geordie have an evening routine of sitting on the quarterdeck with bottomless tea mugs putting the world to rights. Till one unforgettable Night.
Come and have a look at this Says Geordie, look there in the sky above Reykjavik.
I couldn’t belive it, the whole of the night sky was covered in green curtains continually rolling and weaving. Soon everyone was up to see it, I recon it`s the lights off the capital twisting around says Janner.
No, says Geordie, that’s the northern lights it’s a phenomena caused by a bloody great explosion on the surface off the sun then all the bits come bollicking towards us at a great rate of knots but when they reach us the magnetic forces of the earth pull them north and south and they form a ring round the poles. See.
Of cause by this time me and Janner are looking at each other and rolling our eyes. Well it don’t matter how the`re caused says I it’s certainly a sight for sore eyes.
Over the next few weeks I spent many hours gazing into the night sky being entertained by the dancing lights and it made me realise just how small we are in comparison.
Five weeks in and we have our first sight of the Icelandic Gunboat Thor. It seems that we have been playing cat and mouse with it for weeks, of course being lower deck we don’t usually see what’s going on, all we know is that Iceland extended her territorial waters from 4 to 12 Nm. Now we were here to keep their only gunboat away from our trawlers nets and here it was the gunboat Thor.
Coming off watch a crowd had gathered on the upper deck and with the two ships stopped about a hundred yards apart in what looked like a stand off. Just then one of our quartermasters Taff was coming aft with a bucket of gash. “I`ll show em†says he and without more ado reversed up to the guardrail and whizzing his pants down gave the enemy a moony, we whistled and pointed to make it more effective.
Suddenly, although I`m sure it was pure coincidence, there was a whoosh of white water around the stern of the Thor and turning away from us it sped off.
There you are, said Taff, Never fails.

Six weeks in and the buzz went round that we were leaving our patrol area and the captain was to come on the tannoy to make an announcement. We`re going home early we all said. That evening we all huddled round the tannoy in the mess waiting for the skipper. You will all be glad to hear he said that I have made special arrangements with their lordships allowing us to make a circumference of Iceland, you will, I`m sure, all be delighted to know that this will entail crossing the arctic circle and allow us to issue you with blue nose certificates. We didn`t hear anymore cause at this point someone broke the tannoy.
Seven weeks in and the trawlermen had decided that they would supply us with free fish on a daily basis. Brilliant we said fish and chips. Yes said the caterers but you’ve got to pay for the oil the chips are cooked in, still at 3p per portion we didn`t complain and they were the best fish and chips I have ever tasted.


Returning to Rosyth still aged 16 I had done a lot of growing up in those 8 weeks not only giving me total respect for them deep sea trawlermen out in all weathers but also a bond with the sea that has never been broken.

Since leaving the RN I have been lucky. I am now the MD of a medium sized heating company employing a couple of dozen people or so but your past memories never leave you.

Sometimes, even after all these years, when I am at my desk my mind will wander, looking out the window on a cold winters afternoon, my memories kick in and I am back on the Tenby fighting it`s way through a storm swept ocean. And if I look up, there in the distance, high in the sky, I can still see the northern lights, just as clear as if it was yesterday.

Uncle A - great story - you should get it published in a magazine somewhere, Warships World?

Short dit.

Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. Early in the last decade and the Cold War is just thawing out. The Soviets are still around, though the Berlin Wall has fallen and our main opponent right at that moment is Suddam Hussein - and he's liberally lobbing Scuds all over the Middle East. What was the maximum range of a Scud missile? The future Officers of the Royal Navy are avidly following the latest news, and wondering why they've all suddenly been issued with wartime AGR cannisters and identity discs.

A group of Seniors are gassing away in a cabin when one flicks their, what turns out to be, unextinguished cigarette into a gash bin. A full gash bin. A full gash bin with lots of inflammable items in it. Up it goes in a ball of flame.

You'll be heartened to know that NBCD training came into full play. To the chorus of "Fire! Fire! Fire!" the blaze was tackled with nearby fire fighting apparatus and put out. Following proper procedure the emergency number is dialled, which puts them through the the Hall Porter. A rather new Hall Porter. They report the fire and, again following proper procedure, goes to the panel behind his desk on which there are 2 items:

1 small button labelled "Fire Alarm".
1 f*ck off great big lever labelled "AIR RAID SIREN".

Now which one do you think he operated?
Ever wanted to know what happens when both BA attacks and 3 members of the fire fighting team don't turn up for an exercise?

So did our OOD :roll:
Well jenny dabber.
The Ambuscade was the ship to be on for crashes. We hit the tanker on the STBD side first day down the Falklands during the war. A fishing boat ran into us in the fog on the PORT side at ancour off Brixton. Active hit us up the STERN whilst coming alongside in guzz, we took the whole BOW off by hitting the USS Dale in the indian ocean (new bow fitted in Bombay, see pictures in gallery) To cap it all we were due to go to London when our program was changed due to a knackered Leander class frigate (JUPITER) so we went to France and she buggered up her SUPERSTRUCTURE by hitting London bridge (TEACH YOU TO USE TUGS NEXT TIME, EH SKIPS) thus saving us from being hit on all six sides of the box. oh yes we ran over the ammunitioning bouy in guzz thus scrapping the KEEL.

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