28 NAVY NEWS, JUNE 2007
Look beyond the glamour
IT WAS good to see a centre-
The main task force ships of Operation Corporate shown in the April edition omits five ships taken up
spread of my old ship HMS Gla-
from trade, commissioned to HMS and fully manned by RN personnel.
morgan (April) but I feel I need
I realise HMS Cordella, Northella, Junella, Farnella and Pict are very unglamorous ocean-going Hull
to correct the statement that “like
trawlers but they were under the command of the flagship HMS Fearless and were used for many
the Sheffi eld the missile failed to
tasks in and around the Falklands and South Georgia.
They also cleared the minefield to the entrances of Port Stanley.
THE letter from D J MacKenzie
It most certainly did but thanks
– Dave Pearcey, Ex-Falklands veteran of HMS Cordella, Australia
(April) about the penalties of hav-
to our turn to starboard the weap-
ing a service pension reminded
on clipped the deck edge, explod-
me there are some nasty traps out
ing outside the hangar.
The blast blew the port Seacat
In an effort to be prudent, I
launcher over the side, blew the
took out several different payment
hangar roof upwards and devas-
protection policies for mortgage,
tated everything within.
car and credit card repayments, in
The hole in the upper deck was
the hope that should I ever need
about 4 x 5 feet and in the galley
them then certain financial wor-
deck below about 2 x 3, with some
ries would be taken care of.
shrapnel finding its way to the
How foolish I was!
fridge compartment below.
Having been made redundant
Whilst the fire boundary was
in 2000, I was told at the local
quickly established a bigger threat
employment exchange first that I
was water from the firemain burst
would get Jobseekers Allowance
in the hangar, and fire-fighting
– and then that I would not get it,
effort flooding 2 deck port passage
as I had a service pension.
and giving us a heavy list.
Applications for assistance to
Had the weapon come through
the various payment protection
the side of the hull, and with the
scheme providers all came back
Seaslug magazine midships on 2
with the same request, that I sup-
deck, our fate could well have
ply proof of being in receipt of
– M Page,
Jobseekers Allowance (which I
could not) in spite of there hav-
CCMEMN(P) Orton Wistow,
ing been no mention of this in
the original sales pitch for these
...THE ‘red herring’ about the products.
Exocet not exploding came from – J W Sexton,
ill-informed comment made in the Walton-le-Dale, Lancs
UK shortly after the incident.
Because the damage was not
as catastrophic as expected, two
and two were put together to
The reason why the explosion is calling
damage was limited was that the
WITH reference to Eddie Simp-
missile exploded just above the
son’s letter ‘Calling the Home
upper deck where much of the
Fleet’ (May) I joined HMS
force of the explosion was able to
Hawkins in August 1939 in Port-
vent to atmosphere.
– Ian Inskip, former Navigating
War was declared on 3 Sept,
Officer, HMS Glamorgan the Causeway
after which Lower Deck was
cleared and the Articles of War
were read to the ship’s company.
IT IS with much surprise that I do
The ship was taken out of
not see included a photograph or
WITH 37 years of RN service I
reserve and we sailed to relieve
mention in the Task Force Portfo-
consider I am well-qualifi ed to
HMS Ajax after the Graf Spee
lio (April) of my former command
comment on Sea Swap – the ex-
SS Atlantic Causeway.
change of crews without taking the
We stayed on station, South
I would have thought being the
ship off station away from opera-
Atlantic and Indian Ocean, for
HVU Helicopter carrier that we
two years, during which time we
were, we would be worthy of a
I think it’s a great idea as long
steamed 200,000 miles.
mention at least, along with any
as the executive take a new holistic
I joined the RN in 1937, my
other vessels not mentioned.
view to drafting and the manning
first ship was Boreas, 4
I have noted in other non-relat-
of our valuable warships.
Home Fleet, then Hawkins, Ripley,
ed documents that it is rare that
Having two fully-trained crews
Speedy, Belfast and Berwick.
the Causeway gets any recogni-
for each ship has been invalu-
I left the service in 1949, with
able within the submarine service,
tion at all.
the rate of Stoker Petty Officer. I
where the non-duty crew is able
– Capt Mike Twomey, RN
was 91 in May.
to take leave, career or technical
(ret’d) Cunard (ret’d), Bilton,
– A W Denton, Newcastle-
training and have any medical/
dental support required, ensuring
…THE Cunard container ship SS
...EDDIE is not the only survivor
they are fully fit, fresh and techni-
Atlantic Causeway (sister ship to
in the Fleetwood area.
cally up to the mark.
the ill-fated Atlantic Conveyor)
On the day war was declared, I
However, before the RN imple-
was taken up from trade from lay-
was an able seaman, manning the
ments such a scheme it should
up in Liverpool and converted to a
switchboard on HMS Repulse.
reconsider the advantage of com-
helicopter carrier in Devonport.
I joined the RN in 1938 and am
missioning ships. Marching onto I was on a second-line squadron
now 87 years young.
a ship as a full crew, after a com- at RNAS Culdrose at the time and
– Terence Best, former RPO,
missioning ceremony, instills such we were ordered to form a ten-
esprit-de-corps. aircraft Sea King utility squadron
See also page 31 – Ed
This type of job-sharing has (removing the dipping sonar and
proved itself within industry and fitting troop seats) from various
the public sector. Sea King ASW Mk 2 airframes,
– Steve ‘Ziggy’ Chivers, drawn from other units. I WAS interested in your story ● Cunard container ship SS Atlantic Causeway, unfortunately omitted from the Task Force Portfolio
ex CRE Within 12 days we were ready poster in our April issue about HMS Swift (May). The
to embark and eight Sea Kings fi rst Lieutenant was an ancestor
(the other two joined the QE2)
tion and the metal tracking that embarked to various locations Some of our Sea Kings were of mine.
flew to the ship and we sailed was used to construct the Harrier in East Falkland and served the converted to the AEW role for 849 I have a record of all the priva-
I WAS quite amused at your car-
from Devonport to the Falklands, temporary airfield ashore later in campaign well. The ship stayed in NAS on our return and I believe tions which Lt Gower and his
toon (Naval Quirks, May) about
via Sierra Leone for fuel and the campaign. theatre and was used in a support that some are still flying as Mk 7 crew suffered.
Dolly Peel. My family lived in a
Ascension for a logistical stop. There was great sadness capacity as part of the Task Force. ASEC aircraft! In November 1943 I was
property in River Drive, South
There were also over 20 Wessex onboard when it was announced After the campaign we returned – Ray Henley, Truro, Cornwall appointed to command a newly-
Shields, and right opposite our
Mk 5 helicopters with us from that our sister ship had been hit home to Devonport in the same Thanks to our readers for point- built destroyer, HMS Swift.
house there is a carved wooden
newly-formed Junglie squadrons by an Exocet and eventually sunk, ship and brought back our ing this out. We included Atlantic Alas, we were sunk by a mine
statue of her. (847 NAS, etc) In addition to the especially with the Cunard crew, tired Sea Kings, numerous bat- Causeway, Atlantic Conveyor off the Normandy beaches on 24
There is also a pub called The helicopters the ship carried huge who knew their dead and injured tle-weary Wessex aircraft, HMS and the five Hull trawlers which June 1944.
Dolly Peel in the town centre. quantities of compo rations (load- Merchant Navy colleagues. Broadsword’s bombed Lynx, a were converted to minesweep- History repeats itself.
– Mrs J Warman (formerly ed by the Devonport Field Gun Once within range of the couple of Argentinian Pucaras and ing duties in the May and June – Capt J R Gower, Aldeburgh,
L/Wren Fraser) Hastings Crew!) tentage, vehicles, ammuni- Falklands all the helicopters dis- a captured Huey. Falklands supplements – Ed Suffolk
RNA must look to the future
THE Royal Naval Association holds its annual conference in Torbay of communication.
this month. The Association faces an uphill struggle, as many people still see
Leviathan Block, HMS Nelson, Portsmouth PO1 3HH
No doubt all sorts of interesting topics will be discussed, from the it, however unfairly, as little more than a social club for “blokes in
No.635: 54th year
state of the nation and its Navy to how the individual branches are blazers.”
faring – and how many are gone of the “old familiar faces.” And yet, as Vice Admiral McAnally, the RNA President, has
To put it bluntly, the Grim Reaper is probably the biggest threat to pointed out in these pages, veterans’ associations currently have
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the RNA in its 6th decade. the potential to become more influential, not less, if they choose to
Sarah Fletcher e-mail: subscriptions@
Membership now stands at about 28,000, a fraction of its postwar use their collective power.
Deputy Editor: Mike Gray navynews.co.uk
high, and is falling by about seven per cent a year as shipmates It would be a great loss if the RNA were to fade away, instead
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cross the bar. of handing down its collective knowledge and ethos to a younger
Richard Hargreaves Advertising 023 9272 5062 or
The RNA’s Public Relations Officers have acknowledged the generation.
Helen Craven 023 9275 6951
challenge to attract younger members and more serving No doubt some interesting solutions will be aired in Torbay - let’s
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personnel, as well as bringing in technology and modern methods hope shipmates listen with receptive ears.
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