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A rip in time
LETTERS to the editor should always be However, we do try to publish many
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information. important issues.
Letters cannot be submit- Please try to keep your
for Sheffield
ted over the telephone. submissions as brief as
Given the impressive possible – our space is
volume of letters, we limited.
cannot publish all of The editor reserves
your correspondence the right to edit your
in Navy News. submissions.
IN 1971, I was a Factory
Inspector, investigating fire
and explosion hazards with
flammable dusts.
On 3 May, 1971, I was sent
to Vickers Shipbuilding Yard,
Barrow-in-Furness, where an
explosion had occurred in a ship
under construction.
This was HMS Sheffield, and
the explosion took place between
bulkheads 43 and 53, in the
double bottom which was being
zinc-sprayed, as anti-corrosion
protection for fresh water storage.
Two dockyard operators were
killed, and a third injured. The
explosion caused a split for about
25 feet in the side, and at its wid-
est, this was approximately 24
inches widew.
I will not elaborate on my find-
ings, but during my investigations,
I asked the Director of Vickers
what would happen to the ship.
His answer was to point to an
identical ship being constructed
● The Queen launches HMS Sheffi eld on June 10, 1971, at Vickers
alongside, and he said: “That
in Barrow
ship is destined for the Argentine
Argentine ship, because that is not normal practice in shipbuilding.
due to be handed over for another I guess in due course, the Argies
“We will cut out the damaged nine months.” got their own back, as it were.
portion of Sheffield, and replace it I was somewhat surprised, – Dr Roy V Foster, former Lt
with the identical portion from the but assumed that this might be RANVR, Maidenhead
Grass no
GCs are
heroes too
AS A researcher of the George I recall a few years ago enquir-
I WOULD like to say to other
Cross, I enjoyed reading the ing at the RN Naval Museum
readers who intend to leave the
article on the exploits of Lt Cdr library if the museum held any
Navy with a pension, that noth-
John Bridge, GC GM and Bar. GCs.
ing was explained to me when I
I met him a couple of times and I was surprised at the nega-
left the service in 2004 as a killick
found him very easy to talk with. tive response, but the librarian
However, I am also one of the told me: “Not really, it’s a civilian
When I left I was unemployed
many that wish you would feature award.”
for six months before finding work
GC recipients in your Heroes of the Such ignorance could be turned
with the MGS at Faslane.
Navy series. into respect with some coverage
You can’t claim any benefits
You are quite right that there of the GC in your excellent
when unemployed because of your
are many books on the VC, but journal.
navy pension which, of course, is
one only has to look at the internet King George VI, instigating the
classed as an income, but when
and in particular the George Cross decoration, felt that it was equal
your pension just covers your
Database www.gc-database. to the VC. Yet many confuse the
mortgage and you’re married with, and you find portraits of order of precedence in wearing
kids to support, you get no help so
nearly all the naval recipients. decorations and say it is second
life is a struggle. My friend Marion to the VC.
I never knew this, so would like Hebblethwaite is also writing a I hope this letter will bring forth
to inform other sailors before they series of books, One Step Further, some future coverage of the GC in
leave the Andrew. covering every recipient which Navy News.
– D J MacKenzie, Faslane. would provide a snapshot. – Terry Hissey, Middlesex
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