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"The Admirals Curry"



Brian Hill.

Autumm 1962 and HMS Belfast was to leave the Far East Station for the last time,she was to be relieved by a young sister HMS Tiger.
Belfast was under­going a major refit alongside in Singapore dockyard. Shipboard routine,being severely disrupted,struggled to retain some air of normality.

Amidst this tumoil FO2 Far East.Rear Admiral J (Black Jack) Frewen decided to invite himself on board for an informal visit and lunch.The Flag Lt let it be known that the Admiral loved a curry. The ship braced itself for the visit, knowing full well the formidable reputation of Black Jack;a man not known for his warmth,or suffering fools,of any calibre.

Chief P.O.(Cook) was therefore instructed to pull out all the stops to produce a "Piece de Resistance". The day dawned and the Chief was in the galley at daybreak,marinating,infusing and blending exotic spices as he pursued the rituals of his art. At midday the Admiral was piped aboard and a message was relayed to the galley that lunch should be ready in 45 minutes,giving the Admiral time for a couple of pink gins.

The Chief chef put the finishing touches to his masterpiece.The pilar rice gleamed silken and fluffy encasing a rich pungent Mughloi Lamb Biryoni with cloves,cumin and corianda.all topped with orange saffron milk.

The Chief not normally an emotional man was visible proud of his creation.He was quite a large man,over large some would say,a testomony to a lifetime devoted to the culinary arts.He enjoyed his work and his stature lent him a natural air of authority .He moved with an aura of superiority, slightly attenuated by an all pervading musk of chip-fat and body odour.

Summoning his Petty Officer as a bodyguard.he took up the large oval salver and began his journey aft.Because of the disruption caused by the refit the whole midship area was blocked off. There was therefore no alternative that day but to ascend up to the gun deck and proceed aft in the open air. Ladders wre negotiated without difficulty and the party was half way aft when disaster stuck.

An errant sea-gull suffering from bowel incontinence strafed the party and with uncanny accuracy and dropped a large green mucilaginous deposit in the middle of the Admirals Curry.

The Chief froze,horror stricken and quite unable to comprehend the scale of the disaster .Speechless and catatonic he stood,surveying his creation,now ruined,his career and reputation finished
The Petty Officer however,displaying that resourcefulness and adaptability which has been the hallmark of the British Matelot since Nelson.whipped out his marlin spike and stirred it in.

"Come on" he growled,they'll never know. The Chief stirred himself with difficulty,and resumed his journey,a broken man. The curry was delivered to the Wardroom on time. They retreated quivering to the galley and waited. Two hours elapsed.the longest in the Chiefs career,
then two messages arrived at the galley.

"The Admiral is very grateful" "Compliments to all the galley staff"..

Hi dunkers,

I was 20 years old when I was drafted to HMS BELFAST which was berthed in Chatham Dockyard, England. This was on 20 October 1950 and I served aboard her until 22 January 1953, the end of the commission. My rate was an Able Seaman/Radar Controller, and my ships Action Station was in the AIO.
I was in 36 mess, which was below the Sick Bay Flat, and if my memory is correct there were 20 other shipmates in that one mess. There was also another five like 36 mess on the same deck.
Having a war complement of over 950 men, living conditions were cramped. Many of us slept in hammocks and if one could find the space, in camp beds.

At the present we have just over 650 ex serving members who were on the Belfast...who is the friend you know that served on the would be interesting to know..Ex_Matelot
His name is John Harling, I remember him saying he was on the return trip back from Singapore at the end of Belfast's commission. However I don't think he was actually in the RN, he eventually became a chief engineer in the MN but I don't know why he was on Belfast at that time. Reason I know him is that he now instructs in my local sea cadet unit where I was a cadet up until a few months ago.
Hi Dunkers,
Thank you for letting me know..I can't say that I remember a John Harling..because the commission I was on was from 1950-1952 and on our return home we had a bit of excitement at Singapore..a story I am sending entitled ..Mr Jelly Belly and the Drug Runners...Ex_ Matelot

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