Bits and Pieces Volume III

Table of Contents for Bits and Pieces     

By clicking the paragraph required, you will be taken direct to that subject.  When finished, simply click 'Back to Top' ready to click on the next subject of interest

19.  1977 Silver Jubilee Fleet Review at Spithead
20.  The Russian Submarine KURSK
21.  Canals of the world which I have travelled through.
22.  The dinner gong of the 1892 HMS Royal Oak
23.  2005 will celebrate Lord Nelson's death 200 years ago
24.  Navy home from home!  - A MOST OUTSTANDING NAVAL VENUE 
25.  Worse things happen at sea!
26.  Long Service and Good Conduct Medal [LSGC] - A visit to the 'Power House' of the Royal Navy
27.  The Berlin Wall!
28.  This lovely passenger liner was the very first Royal Navy Combined Ops Headquarter/Communications ship!
29.  When I cross the bar!
30.  Poor POMPEY
31.  Costs a fortune!
32.  Pearl Harbour - situated on a small island of Oahu in the state of Hawaii.
33.  CB 415 - WW1 Admiralty Instructions to British Merchant Ships

 

 

19.                       1977 Silver Jubilee Fleet Review at Spithead

What a splendid affair!  The Navy at its best with style, pride and panache even though depleted by savage political cutsI was in Mercury [P7R] getting fit after major abdominal surgery in Haslar in December 1976, but soon to join HMS Tiger as part of FOF2 Staff for a  Jubilee cruise around half the world [to Australia and back and lots of countries in between], at that time called GROUP 6 DEPLOYMENT under the Flag of Rear Admiral Martin La Touche Wymess.  Whilst in Mercury, I was co-opted onto the Petersfield Silver Jubilee Celebration Committee, and subsequently gave the commentary on the heath in Petersfield, where the Navy supplied a major part of the celebration, specifically, the Brickwoods [a Brewery] field-gun competition. During this period, my wife and I involved our family [local and distant] in all aspects of the Review, taking them to see the ships at anchor in MFV'S [motor fishing vessels]; being on the Round Tower to view the Britannia leaving harbour with HM The Queen on the deck; securing excellent viewing positions for the Southsea Common display and the Jubilee fireworks which were ignited over the beach adjacent to the Common.  It was a time of great, sincere and spontaneous rejoicing, and all who witnessed the event were emotionally involved to a degree of overt patriotic fervour.  We, as a nation, love our Queen, and we showed it in great style and commitment.  What follows, is the programme of the event, with the usual generous picture gallery.   The whole affair was outstandingly presented, so much so, that it left us, the audience, with lasting memories of that historic and patriotic event when Her Majesty was left in no doubt that the people of Portsmouth/Gosport/Southsea, greatly loved her and were eager to celebrate her 25 years as our Monarch.  What better caterer/organiser/host/service [whatever] than the ROYAL NAVY to make sure that these celebrations met the aspirations of the  loyal people of Hampshire and the many thousands from outside the area who travelled to witness the event.

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20.                                         THE RUSSIAN SUBMARINE KURSK                                                    

[A MONSTER BY ANY MEASURE - SEEMINGLY WITHOUT MATCH!]

To understand the dimensions and ramifications of the disaster of the Russian submarine Kursk, it helps to know something about its homeport region.  The Kola Peninsula, that stencils the southern coastline of the Barents Sea, is a frigid and forbidding region, inherently melancholy, with an unequivocal  air of detachment about it. Geographically well fortified, it is flush with submarine bases, ports, bunkers, command posts, shipyards and, at last count, 100 derelict, decommissioned nuclear submarines.  50,000 nuclear fuel clusters from former nuclear  reactors are stored under inferior, supposedly temporary conditions.  The land is rich in natural resources like timber, minerals and fish, but lean in permutation. Once contributors of the Soviet State, derelict cowsheds, broken-down trucks and tractors litter the interior, all now relics of so many ruined collective farms.  Towns wither along with their populations.  Life moves at a glacial rate in this frigid climate, where the people have long learned to rely on themselves, while they wait for better days and the grave.

The Kursk, commissioned in 1995, sank on August 12th 2001 with 118 people aboard in 354 feet of water in the Barents Sea. An Akula Class [Typhoon] type 939a nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine [SSGN].  Typhoon class submarines are mammoth, by far the world's biggest submarine, 560.9 feet long and 78.7 feet wide, weighing 14,000 tons.  Its double, skillfully insulated hull construction makes it nearly indestructible, it would take more than a single heavy torpedo ever to sink one.  If that behemoth had collided with a NATO submarine, as Defence Minster, Marshal Ignor Sergevev insinuated, the Kursk would have unquestionably prevailed over the smaller allied adversary.  Its outer hull contains missiles, torpedoes and other stores, and with a total of 5 separate pressure vessels within the outer pressure hull, the sub would absorb a lot of energy before the inner hull ever fractured.

She was the star of the largest naval exercise the Russian Northern Fleet  has staged in a decade, being observed by two U.S. Los Angeles class attack submarines some 50 miles from the scene, along with several other allied monitoring vessels.  She was conducting exercises in mock sinking of American submarines and aircraft carriers.  She had loaded at her homeport of Murmansk, 28 torpedoes and 24 cruise missiles, known to NATO as SS-N 19N shipwreck.  These missiles can carry a conventional 1,600 pound warhead or nuclear warhead that can pack a punch equal to half a million tons of TNT.  That fateful morning, she was observed testing one of these missiles, with the 1,600 pound conventional warhead, scoring a direct hit on a target 200 miles away.

THE SINKING

At precisely 07:28:27 GMT, US navy hydro-acoustics picked up the first blast, then at least a twice as powerful  second explosion at 07:30:42.  Based on examination of the sonar data, the second one was actually several, nearly simultaneous detonations and was equal to 5 tons of TNT.  It nearly deafened the sonar operators, and shock waves were registered at seismic stations 2,000 miles away.  The controversy today is what caused these  detonations and what it could all mean in terms of strategic defence for both the West and for Russia.

Speculation turns around a torpedo accident, one reason being the sub was at periscope depth when the calamity began, which is the level at which a submarine usually fires it torpedoes.  Reports also state that weapon-firing exercises were in progress and Moscow sources corroborate that the Kirsk was testing a new weapon system and that might well have been the cause of the accident.  Former vice president and now governor of the region, Alexander Rutskoi, confirmed it when he said two high-ranking military officers had told him that civilian military experts were aboard the Kursk to test new torpedoes.  They could have been testing either of two types of weapons, an upgrade of the Squall or the newer Stallion.

The latter is a new highly secret weapon known as the 100-RU Veder missile, NATO code-named: SS-N-16A Stallion.  It utilizes silver battery driven propellers to send it out from the submarine to a safe distance before a liquid fuelled rocket engine kicks in to send the missile to the surface.  From there it flies under rocket power at supersonic speed until just above its target, where it ejects a lightweight-torpedo with a parachute and a 200 pound explosive warhead, that slowly drops into the water, which then homes in on the submarine. It can be armed with a mini-nuclear warhead and can engage targets at depths of up to 500 metres.

The Shkval [Squall] is an amazingly fast torpedo-type weapon, developed by the hydro-aerospace systems department of the Moscow Sergo Ordzhonikidze Aviation Institute.  Most torpedoes go about 35-45 knots; the fastest allied one being the UK Spearfish, which has a maximum speed of 75 knots.  The Squall can travel at 200  knots and it is rumoured that newer models can reach an astonishing speed of 260 knots!  It was back in 1994, that Russian reports first surfaced regarding an anti-submarine missile called Shkval, a rocket propelled, supercavitation weapon, 533 mm in diameter and 8.23m long, that could attack targets at a depth of 400m and at ranges of up to 12km.

SUPERCAVITATION CHAPTER AND VERSE!

To understand supercavitation, one needs to understand the principles of cavitation.  Cavitation is the formation of a partial vacuum in a liquid as a result of the passage through it of a swiftly moving object.  It reduces the water pressure along its surface, forming bubbles of various sizes, depending on the size and shape of the object.  Supercavitation occurs when, instead of bubbles, a cavity is created by the low-pressure region, which reduces hydrodynamic drag. Which means with a submerged object completely contained in such a gaseous envelope, the resulting reduction in drag translates into very high speeds.  The shape of the nose of the weapon, the velocity and the static water pressure determine the shape of the gas cavity.  One of the most efficient methods to create this envelope is by deflecting the exhaust forward and out of the nose section of the weapon. Since there is no direct contact between the projectile and the water, incredible velocity can be  attained.

The drawbacks are that only straight-line trajectory is feasible, [as any course change would collapse the envelope], as well as the substantial sound factor.  The target easily detects the considerable noise the weapon creates;  only its speed compensates for its lack of stealth. Nowadays, in submarine warfare, mutual detection is nearly simultaneous and usually at relatively short distances.  The subs circle each other like aircraft trying to get into a position to shoot a torpedo.  The target ship takes evasive action when it hears the conventional torpedo heading its way.  But, with this supercavitation missile, it does not have time to take evasive action. The kinetic energy of the missile on impact can negate the warhead requirement. There are no known countermeasures, putting western navies at a severe disadvantage.  And to add additional menace, the Shkval can carry a tactical nuclear warhead incorporating a timer to destroy an enemy sub, torpedo, large surface ship, or even a land target.

SUSPECTED EVIDENCE

Russian submarine specialist, Vladimir Gundarov wrote in the Russian military's newspaper, the Kursk was retrofitted 2 years ago, at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, with a potentially dangerous torpedo-launching technology against the wishes of many high-ranking navy officials. The expensive silver battery and propeller system was replaced by a new but risky technology using a gas stream to propel the torpedo out of its tube.  When the weapon is triggered, liquid fuel is ignited, producing a gas that shoots the torpedo out of the tube.  At the same time they replaced the torpedo fuel with modern [UGST] duel purpose, liquid monopropellant which has a nitrate ester energetic ingredient that can be very unstable and have a low flash point and impact resistance unless chemical stabilizers are used to prevent the problem.  The new torpedoes are difficult to store and dangerous to handle, the plus side was that they are cheap to make.

THE POPE CONNECTION

An American businessman and retired naval intelligence officer Edmund Dean Pope, was arrested on April 3rd on charges of espionage and held since in Moscow's grim Lefortovo prison.  He faces up to 20 years prison if convicted. He was arrested by the Federal Security Service [FSB] while allegedly attempting to buy technical, classified documentation relating to ballistic missiles and torpedoes in the arsenal of Russia's submarine fleet from Professor Anatoliy Babkin, a department head of rocket engineering at the Bauman Moscow State Technical University. Babkin is considered by the FSB to be an agent recruited by an American intelligence agency. [He could also have been turned]. On the same day, the FSB arrested Pope's associate and head of Energy Science and Power System Division, State College, Penn, USA, Professor Daniel H. Kiely.  He had joined Pope in Moscow to offer technical advice.

The laboratory headed by Dr Kiely designs and develops torpedoes for the US Navy.  68 years old Dr Kiely was interrogated as a witness then released and allowed to return to the United States on "humanitarian" grounds and for the sake of good bilateral relations.  Pope remains to this day [2002] in prison.

Examinations of the physical and seismic evidence, the fact that the torpedo section of the bow was blown open, leaving an enormous hole on her starboard side, and the two explosions 2 min. 15 secs apart, strongly suggests a  torpedo accident caused the sinking.  The fact that the second blast was considerably more powerful than the first one, implies that a torpedo failed to leave the tube, perhaps because the liquid ignited prematurely , causing the first detonation.  The second twice as powerful blast occurred when the warhead blew up and consequently exploded several other torpedoes, explaining the almost simultaneous  multi-explosions.  The ship had no opportunity to save itself, the massive hole and blast damage certainly crippled the whole structure, the sudden intense expansion in air pressure and flooding left no chance for survivors.  The "boomer" didn't  pitch down; it just fell to the seafloor 354 feet down like a rock!

Because of the shortages of cash flow and essential supplies that status of the assets of the Russian Northern Fleet is very unreliable and can hardly be seen as commensurate to a superpower: as they know it.  Their nuclear submarines appear to be the favoured operational  priorities, no doubt because they consider them so important to home defence. Russia's fleet or aging nuclear  submarines has dwindled to 50, and even fewer are operational  due to a lack of spare parts and bad maintenance.  With their defence budget for next year at $7.43 billion they will find it hard to maintain that level of readiness.  Moreover, the budget shortage makes them look for quick fixes for those "silver bullet" solutions which  in  turn provoke inherent pitfalls.  Just as an injection of a tranquilliser calms the distraught briefly, entails risks and does nothing to alleviate the cause of the suffering likewise; a strategy of injecting inadequate funds into the Russian navy can increase the likelihood of an accident, is only transiently beneficial and creates a paranoiac syndrome resulting in such a reflex action as the Pope affair.  They are very concerned by their fragile hold on national security and every  secret counts.

Without an efficient industrial and maintenance base  there is no cure in sight. Maintenance is critical in peacetime operations as it is to sustaining ones' armed forces in time of war.  Furthermore, the "Soviet reaction" during and after the Kursk disaster does not harbour much hope of serious change in the future.  Paradoxically, the Kursk was scheduled to escort a Russian flotilla to the Mediterranean later in the year [2001] in a show of force intending to symbolise the rebirth of Russia as a world power.  The Kursk tragedy brings to mind the Marquis de Custine's abrasive but penetrating observations: "The Russians have rotted before they have ripened".

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21.                                    WATERWAYS OF THE WORLD

There is nothing more boring than being on passage on the open sea.  Conversely, there is something exciting about navigating waterways where at least one side of the ship has a view of the coastline.  To have views to both sides of the ship is exciting, but to have close and spectacular views is something very special, and rare!  This page deals with waterways with views to port and starboard, and at close range. 

The Panama Canal provides such a spectacle, albeit, much of the same vista particularly in the transit NNW from Pacific to Atlantic oceans. However, high jungle greenery clusters clinging to precipitous rocks are preferable to acres of water with no apparent bounds.  I have travelled through this canal twice, the last time in submarine Auriga heading home from 2 years in Singapore in 1968. Below are statistics of the Canal and a map showing the route, entry's and exit's.  Unlike every other 'sea-way' canal in the world, this one has a portion through which a vessel is pulled along by a railway engine through locks.  You have to be quick or you would miss the pull, for it is only for a short distance!  This canal circumvents the need to travel around Cape Horn.

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Panama Canal (Sp., Canal de Panamá), canal joining the Atlantic and Pacific oceans across the Isthmus of Panama. Running from Cristóbal on Limón Bay, an arm of the Caribbean Sea, to Balboa, on the Gulf of Panama, the canal is slightly more than 64 km (40 mi) long, not including the dredged approach channels at either end. The minimum depth is 12.5 m (41 ft), and the minimum width is 91.5 m (300 ft).  

 

Location and Structure

The approach to the canal from the Atlantic is along 7.2 km (4.5 mi) of dredged channel. The canal then proceeds for 11.1 km (6.9 mi), veering slightly westward before reaching the Gatun Locks. Ships are lifted 25.9 m (85 ft) by these three locks, to the level of Gatun Lake. The lake was formed as a result of the damming of the Chagres River by the Gatun Dam, which adjoins the locks. The Gatun Locks open directly into one another and are double, as are the other locks, so that one ship can be raised while another is being lowered. All the lock chambers on the Panama canal have a length of 305 m (1,000 ft) and a width of 33.5 m (110 ft).

From the Gatun Locks the canal passes through Gatun Lake in a southern and south-eastern direction to the mouth of Gaillard Cut (formerly called Culebra Cut), an excavated channel 13 km (8.1 mi) long. At the end of the Gaillard Cut is the Pedro Miguel Lock, which has a drop of 9.4 m (31 ft). The lock borders Miraflores Lake, which is 16.8 m (55 ft) above the level of the Pacific. The canal passes 2.1 km (1.3 mi) through Miraflores Lake and reaches the two Miraflores Locks. These locks lower ships to Pacific tidewater level. From the Miraflores Locks the canal runs 4 km (2.5 mi) to Balboa on the Gulf of Panama, from which a dredged channel extends approximately 8 km (5 mi) out into the bay. In addition to the canal itself, auxiliary facilities include the Madden Dam on the Chagres River, which provides a reservoir to maintain the level of Gatun Lake during the dry season; breakwaters to protect the channels at either end of the canal; hydroelectric plants at the Gatun and Madden dams; and the Panama Railway that extends 76.6 km (47.6 mi) from Colón at the Atlantic end of the canal to the city of Panamá on the Pacific.

In 1991 more than 12,500 commercial vessels, carrying more than 164 million metric tons of cargo, passed through the canal. Transit time through the canal is seven to eight hours.

History

Interest in a short route from the Atlantic to the Pacific began with the explorers of Central America early in the 16th century. Hernán Cortés, the Spanish conqueror of Mexico, suggested a canal across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec; other explorers favoured routes through Nicaragua and Darién. The first project for a canal through the Isthmus of Panama was initiated by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who in 1523 ordered a survey of the isthmus. A working plan for a canal was drawn up as early as 1529, but was not submitted to the king. In 1534 a local Spanish official suggested a canal route close to that of the present canal. Later, several other canal plans were suggested, but no action was taken.

Renewed Interest

The Spanish government subsequently abandoned its interest in the canal, but in the early 19th century the books of the German scientist Alexander von Humboldt revived interest in the project, and in 1819 the Spanish government formally authorized the construction of a canal and the creation of a company to build it. Nothing came of this effort, however, and the revolt of the Spanish colonies soon took the control of possible canal sites out of Spanish hands. The republics of Central America subsequently tried to interest groups in the United States and Europe in building a canal, and it became a subject of perennial debate in the US Congress. The discovery of gold in California in 1848 and the rush of would-be miners stimulated US interest in digging the canal, resulting in the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty. Various surveys made between 1850 and 1875 indicated that only two routes were practical, the one across Panama and that across Nicaragua. In 1876 an international company was organized; two years later it obtained a concession from the Colombian government— Panama was then part of Colombia—to dig a canal across the isthmus.

US Involvement

The international company failed, and in 1880 a French company was organized by Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps, the builder of the Suez Canal. His company went bankrupt in 1889. US interest in an Atlantic-Pacific canal, however, continued. In 1899 the US Congress created an Isthmian Canal Commission to examine the possibilities of a Central American canal and to recommend a route. The commission first decided on the Nicaraguan route, but reversed its decision in 1902 when the Lesseps company, reorganized, offered its assets to the United States at a price of $40 million. The US government negotiated with the Colombian government to obtain a strip of land 9.5 km (6 mi) wide across the isthmus, but the Colombian Senate refused to ratify this concession. In 1903, however, Panama revolted from Colombia. That same year the United States and the new state of Panama signed the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty by which the United States guaranteed the independence of Panama and secured a perpetual lease on a 16-km (10-mi) strip for the canal. Panama was to be compensated by an initial payment of $10 million and an annuity of $250,000, beginning in 1913. The figure was later revised upwards.

Construction

In 1905 the Isthmian Canal Commission decided to build a canal with locks rather than a sea-level channel, and this plan was approved by the US Congress the following year. President Theodore Roosevelt put the construction work under the direction of the US Army Corps of Engineers; Colonel George W. Goethals was named to head the project.

The construction of the canal ranks as one of the greatest engineering works of all time. It was estimated that the canal would be completed in ten years; however, it was in operation by the summer of 1914. The construction involved not only excavating an estimated 143 million cu m (175 million cu yd) of earth, but also sanitizing the entire canal area, which was infested with the mosquitoes that spread yellow fever and malaria. The sanitation work was undertaken by Colonel William C. Gorgas of the US Army Medical Corps, who virtually eliminated the diseases. An unexpected difficulty in the actual construction was the prevalence of slides of earth from the banks of the canal, particularly in the Gaillard Cut. Reexcavation after such slides added about 25 per cent to the estimated amount of earth moved. The final cost of the canal was $336 million.

The widening of the Gaillard Cut from 91.5 m (300 ft) to a width of 150 m (600 ft) was completed in 1970. It permitted, for the first time, two-way passage through the entire cut.

New Treaties

In 1977 the United States and Panama agreed on two new treaties to replace their 1903 agreement. These treaties provided for Panama's sovereignty over the Canal Zone shortly after their ratification and its control of the canal itself at the beginning of 2000, but left the United States the right to defend the canal's neutrality even thereafter. The treaties took effect in 1979. [1]

 


 

The Suez Canal is a much less attractive affair, unless you like sand; miles after miles of it. I have travelled through this canal on three occasions, the last being in the cruiser Tiger in 1977 heading for the east and then back again. It is singularly boring except for seeing the occasional abandoned piece of artillery used between the Arabs and the Israelis over several wars since 1947.  The canal works on a system of by-passes where ships travel in southbound or northbound convoys pulling over and waiting in lakes [bitter lakes] until there is navigable room for them to continue their journey. This canal addressed the shipping requirement of Mediterranean to Red Sea and vice versa thereby circumventing the need to travel around Cape of Good Hope.   By tradition, warships always travel at the rear of the convoy.    Again the explanation and map below tell one of the route and geography of the canal.  It runs between Port Said and Port Suez.

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Suez Canal, artificial waterway running north to south across the Isthmus of Suez in north-eastern Egypt; it connects Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea with the Gulf of Suez, an arm of the Red Sea. The canal provides a shortcut for ships operating between European or American ports and ports located in southern Asia, eastern Africa, and Oceania, by avoiding the need to sail around Africa.

Physical Description

The Suez Canal is about 163 km (101 mi) long. The minimum bottom width of the channel is 60 m (197 ft) and ships of 20 m (64 ft) draft can make the transit. The canal can accommodate ships as large as 150,000 dead weight tons fully loaded. It has no locks, since it connects two points at sea level, with no high ground in between. The canal utilizes three bodies of water—Lake Manzala, Lake Timsah, and the Bitter Lakes (the latter is actually one continuous body of water)—and is not the shortest distance across the isthmus. Most of the canal is limited to a single lane of traffic, but several passing bays exist, and two-lane bypasses are located in the Bitter Lakes and between Al-Qantarah and Al Ismaìlìyah. A railway on the west bank runs parallel to the canal for its entire distance.

The Canal passage and the History

The Canal has actually been built and rebuilt many times, but only now when trade depends so heavily on it does it not fall to negligence. The first to have the idea of connecting the Red and Mediterranean Seas was the Pharaoh Necho in Sixth Century BC. He did not complete it, however during the Persian Invasion of Egypt (also Sixth Century BC), King Darius I ordered the Canal completed.

The canal consisted of two parts. One part linked the Red Sea to the Great Bitter Lake, and a second linked the Lake with one of the Nile branches in the Delta.

The Canal served as a shortcut between Europe and India until the Ptolemic Era (367-47 BC) but then fell to disrepair. It was re-dug during the rule of the Roman Emperor Trajan (98-117 AD), and later re-dug by the Arab ruler Amr Ibn-Al-Aas (around 700 AD).

Yet again it fell to disrepair and was completely abandoned after the trade route around Africa was discovered by the Europeans. Around 1800, Napoleon's Engineers brought back the idea of the Suez Canal.
However, the measurement the French Engineers made determined that there was a difference in 10 meters in the altitudes of the seas, and a large area would be flooded if the construction was carried out.

Later, the calculations were proved to be wrong, and Ferdinand de Lesseps undertook the construction. He was granted a decree by the Khedive Said of Egypt to run the Canal for 99 years after it was completed.

The Canal's construction began in 1854 and was carried out by mostly Egyptian workers in conditions similar to slave labor.

The Canal was completed around 1867 and was inaugurated on November 17, 1869. M. de Lesseps is known as the father of the Suez Canal because of his work. If you would like to learn more about the construction of the Suez Canal.

Ferdinand de Lesseps was sole controller of the Canal, but he sold shares to many French gentry, and the Khedive also held quite a bit. The sum of these shares was the Suez Canal Company. In 1874, Benjamin Disraeli took office as British Prime minister.

Disraeli was interested in buying part of the Suez for Britain, but so were several other countries. The biggest opposition would come from the French shareholders, but the French knew something that nobody else did. They knew that the Khedive had spent the country's surplus money and needed cash fast.

The Khedive had decided that if someone were to offer, he would sell his 177.2 shares of the Suez Canal Company. Since the French didn't think anybody else knew, they took their time raising the money. They did not know that Disraeli was a friend to the world's largest banker at the time, Baron Lionel de Rothschild. Rothschild knew of the Khedive's financial state and when Disraeli asked about it, he told. Disraeli then also asked if he could get a loan for 4 million British pounds to buy the shares, and Rothschild agreed.

He immediately sent a courier to propose the buy to the Khedive. French, Turkish, and Russian spies all discovered this information and sent their own people but it was too late. Disraeli had already bought the Khedive's shares. He then convinced the Queen and Parliament to pay off his debt to Rothschild. Britain controlled the Suez Canal for 84 years until President Nasser of Egypt nationalized it.

The Canal is 120 miles long, and it is the longest canal in the world without locks.

 

Control of the Canal

Under the terms of an international convention signed in 1888, the canal was opened to the vessels of all nations without discrimination, in peace and in war. However, Great Britain considered the canal vital to the maintenance of its maritime power and colonial interests, especially communication with India. By the provisions of the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936, Great Britain acquired the right to maintain defence forces in the Suez Canal Zone, thus assuming command of the canal approaches. For most of the time after the creation of the state of Israel in Palestine in 1948, the Egyptian government prohibited the transit of vessels to and from Israel.

Egyptian nationalists demanded repeatedly that Great Britain evacuate the Suez Canal Zone, and in 1954 the two countries signed a seven-year agreement that superseded the 1936 treaty and provided for the gradual withdrawal of all British troops from the zone. By June 1956 all British troops had departed, and Egypt took over the British installations.

Nationalization

On July 26, 1956, shortly after the United States and Great Britain withdrew their offers to help finance the construction of the Aswan High Dam, the Egyptian government seized the Suez Canal in accordance with a decree of nationalization issued by President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Nasser announced that Egypt planned to use the proceeds from the operation of the canal to finance the dam. On October 29, 1956, Israel invaded Egypt. Two days later, British and French military units attacked Egypt for the announced purpose of ensuring free passage through the canal. In retaliation, Egypt sank 40 ships in the canal, effectively blocking it. Through the intervention of the United Nations (UN), a truce was arranged in November, and by the end of the year Israeli, French, and British forces were withdrawn from the area. Following removal of the sunken vessels by a UN salvage team, the Egyptian government reopened the canal in March 1957. In 1958 Egypt and its nationalized canal company reached agreement on terms of a financial settlement for the canal, and by 1962 final payments had been made to the original shareholders.

The Suez Canal continued to figure prominently in the conflicts between Egypt and Israel during the 1960s and 1970s. It was closed during the Six-Day War of 1967, when several vessels were sunk in the waterway, blocking the shipping lanes. The canal was reopened in June 1975, after an international task force had cleared it of obstacles. Late that year Egypt permitted nonmilitary goods to and from Israel to pass through the waterway. Unrestricted Israeli use of the canal was secured in the peace treaty with Egypt in 1979.

 

The Kiel Canal is about as pretty as you can get!  I have travelled this waterway on several occasions with the RN and with the German Navy also. I did it again onboard the ocean cruiser "MV Ocean Majesty" in June of 2004. My best transit was in HMS Tintagel Castle returning to Portland after a visit to Aarhus in Denmark.   There is much to see and enjoy.  You will have seen that Panama is 41 miles long, Suez is 100 miles long and Kiel comes in at a goodly distance of 60 miles with just two locks, one at each end to check tides.  It runs from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea and allows the passage of very big ships.

kiel canal.jpg (207412 bytes)

 

 

Nord-Ostsee Kanal, also Kiel Canal, artificial waterway in north-western Germany, linking the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. The canal extends in a north-eastern direction across the state of Schleswig-Holstein from Brunsbüttelkoog, near the mouth of the Elbe River, to Kiel, on the Baltic. The canal is very level, and has locks only at its ends to accommodate North and Baltic sea tides. Constructed between 1887 and 1895 and subsequently enlarged, the canal is about 97 km (60 mi) long, 102 m (335 ft) wide, and 11 m (36 ft) deep. The canal shortened the distance between the North and Baltic seas by about 322 km (200 mi) and eliminated the difficult passage around Jutland. It was internationalized by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919

 

There are other waterways, but I have not traversed them.  They tend to be shallow or difficult to navigate  by comparison and include such canals as the Caledonian [in Scotland] and the Magellan Straits in South American.

 

'Mag Sraits.jpg (160544 bytes)

 

Magellan, Ferdinand (Portuguese, Fernão de Magalhães; Spanish, Fernando de Magallanes) (c. 1480-1521), Portuguese navigator and explorer, the first European to cross the Pacific Ocean and the first person to circumnavigate the globe.

Magellan was born in Sabrosa, northern Portugal, of a noble Portuguese family. At the age of 12 he went to court as page to Queen Leonora, consort of the Portuguese King John II. In 1505 Magellan went on the first of several naval voyages to India, helping two successive viceroys, Francisco de Almeida and Diego Lopez de Sequira, to wrest control of key Indian trading ports from the Arabs. In 1509 he and his friend Francisco Serrão were involved in an unsuccessful attempt to take the Malayan port of Malacca (now Melaka). Serrão, and possibly Magellan, went on to Tenate in the Moluccas (then called the Spice Islands) in 1511-1512, marking the beginnings of a lucrative trade in cinnamon and nutmeg. Magellan returned to Portugal in 1512, was promoted to captain, and fought against the Moors in Morocco, where he received wounds that left him lame for life. After his request for an increase in his royal allowance was rejected by Emanuel, King of Portugal, who was indifferent also to Magellan's proposal for a voyage to the Moluccas, Magellan renounced his Portuguese nationality and in 1517 offered his services to the King of Spain, Charles I (later Holy Roman Emperor Charles V).

Magellan had learnt from a variety of sources that the South American continent was probably not joined to the conjectured Great Southern Continent, and that it was likely that the riches of the Far East might be attained by sailing westward around the tip of South America. The route eastward was controlled by Portugal under the terms of the Treaty of Tordesillas. This had laid down a Line of Demarcation, to the east of which the Portuguese were given title, and to the west the Spanish. Since Portugal was strengthening its grip in the East Indies, it was clearly in Spain's interest to establish the position of the corresponding demarcation line on the opposite side of the earth, in case any of the lucrative territories there fell within their zone. Nobody was certain which side of this line the Moluccas lay. The Spanish crown was quick to endorse Magellan's plans and finance came from the German banking firm, the House of Fuggers.

On September 20, 1519, Magellan sailed from Sanlúcar de Barrameda with five ships and some 250 men. Following the coast of Africa to Sierre Leone, they crossed the Atlantic and reached South America, exploring the Brazilian coast and in February 1520 reaching the Río de la Plata estuary (which because of its size he mistook for the southern end of the continent). Here he sighted a mountain and shouted “Monte video” (“I see a mountain”) so giving the name to the city, founded two centuries later, which became the capital of Uruguay. On March 31, as the southern winter was beginning, his fleet put into what is now Port San Julián, on the southern coast of Patagonia, where it remained for nearly six months. During that period the crew came to resent their Portuguese captain and a mutiny occurred, forcing Magellan to execute the ringleader. One of his ships was wrecked surveying the coast of Patagonia. On October 21, 1520, Magellan sailed into the passage to the Pacific Ocean that is now named after him, the Strait of Magellan. It took 38 days to navigate the treacherous strait, and the crew of the San Antonio deserted and returned to Spain. Fires were seen along the shores to the south, causing Magellan to name this land Tierra del Fuego (land of fire). After a journey of 530 km (330 mi), on November 28, 1520, his three ships sailed into the ocean, which Magellan named “Pacific” (meaning “peaceful”) because of its calmness. They sailed northward along the west coast of South America, and then set out westward across the Pacific. Magellan's exact route is not known but he sailed north of the many islands of the South Pacific, only sighting the barren outcrops of the Tuamotu Archipelago (the Islands of Disappointment). By now they were running desperately short of food and fresh water, and many died of scurvy. The survivors resorted to chewing boiled leather, rats, and sawdust before reaching Guam in the Mariana Islands on March 6, 1521. They had been out of sight of land for 100 days. The natives were friendly and enabled them to resupply, but there was a tendency to pilfering , a cultural misunderstanding which led Magellan to call the islands the Ladrones (the Islands of Thieves).

Sailing westward in search of the Moluccas, perhaps not realizing he was far to the north of them, after 10 days Magellan became the first European to see the Philippines, landing on the island of Cebu on April 7. There he made an alliance with the ruler of the island and agreed to aid him in an attack on the inhabitants of the neighbouring island of Mactan. Magellan was killed on April 27 during the Mactan expedition by a group of islanders led by their chief, Lapu-Lapu.

Following Magellan's death, one of the vessels in his fleet was burned by its crew to prevent it being taken, but the other two escaped and reached the Moluccas on November 6, 1521. One of the vessels, the Victoria, commanded by Juan Sebastián del Cano, completed the circumnavigation of the globe, arriving at Seville, by way of the Cape of Good Hope route, on September 8, 1522.

Although Magellan did not live to complete the voyage, he did circumnavigate the globe (if he made the 1511 journey to the Moluccas) by passing the easternmost point he had reached on an earlier voyage.

The cargo of spices carried back to Spain by the Victoria alone paid for the expenses of the expedition. The passage through the Strait of Magellan was too long and difficult to be a practical route from Europe to the Moluccas, however, and Spain sold her interests there to Portugal. Nevertheless, the voyage laid the foundation for trade across the Pacific between the New World and the East, and although Spain did not immediately recognize the importance of the Philippines, before the end of the century Manila had become the greatest Spanish trading centre in the East.

Magellan's circumnavigation, together with the earlier voyages of Vasco da Gama and Christopher Columbus, finally re-established in the popular imagination of Europeans that the world was a sphere, and demonstrated that the world's oceans were linked (since ancient Greek times Europeans had thought the Indian Ocean was landlocked). In addition, Magellan enabled cartographers for the first time to make an estimate of the true size and shape of South America, and the full vastness of the Pacific Ocean.

 

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22.    THE WARDROOM DINNER GONG OF THE 1892 HMS ROYAL OAK?  but read on to look for the probability of it coming from the 1916 vessel!

For many a long year now I have had a piece of naval history sitting outside my dining room which I purchased for £15 from a local follies shop.  I have always been very proud of it and my dear wife has kept the brass work gleaming, just as it would have been when the piece was operational.  I own many naval antique pieces and recently, whilst taking an inventory prior to moving house, I took detailed notes, and, as it were, studied the artefact with a zeal as never before.  Over the years we have used the dinner gong [?] to call the family to dine in the dining room [especially at Christmas times] and I have always wondered about its origin, the stewards who would have banged it and the officers who would have responded to its call.  From the day I first set eyes on this piece I have known that it once had an active part in the life of the battleship HMS Royal Oak.  However, until today [6th September 2002] I had never bothered to have the piece checked-out! The very top bar is an excellent sign post!   It is clearly and without doubt two oak leaves set either side of an oak apple, and can only belong to HMS Royal Oak.  Since the last Royal Oak {commissioned 1916} was sunk at Scapa Flow and is a war grave, one assumes that no artefact has ever been removed from her hull.  Therefore did it belong to the 1892 Royal Oak which was scrapped in 1914?  The gantry for the 'gong'  is made of heavy thick solid brass and the 'gong' itself is a 4"shell casing.  The striking piece lays horizontally across the shell casing towards the top supported by two hook/arms mounted on each vertical upright.  The whole thing sits on a sturdy wooden base which is again, clearly the original.  The original striking piece is missing and we use a realistic alternative piece.  Petersfield in Hampshire, the town in which I purchased this item, is well known for the many admirals who lived [and still do] in the surrounding villages.  It is conceivable that this piece was taken as a keep-sake by a senior officer in the Royal Oak, and upon his death, sold to a buyer who was not au fait with what he/she had purchased, and thus it became a folly instead of a naval antique.  The shell casing has the following markings. There is a WD Arrow underneath which is the letter N and below it a figure 2 and below that the date 8   12   03 [well spaced out].  Then on the other side of the shell cashing there is CFRRF where the letter C is larger than the FRRF: KN where K is larger than N: the letter A inside a circle: a strange letter N followed by a figure 8 and a strange E without its top [or an upside down and back to front F] followed by a 3.  I assume that this shell comes from the turn of the century and was never fired in anger. I am attaching three photographs for any visitor to study.  They are big pictures [in excess of 1.2MB] on purpose, as a smaller resolution would not be clear enough.  I would love to know whether or not my observation is correct!  Please use scroll bars as necessary.  Incidentally for historians per se,  the background to the pictures [taken in my kitchen] is the original Victorian lincrusta dating from 1898.

HOWEVER, NEW KNOWLEDGE HAS COME TO LIGHT WHICH COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING !

Recently, in very early January 2007, I decided to ask the experts about the shell case used to form the 'gong'.  I emailed the Curator of the Naval Explosion Museum at Gosport Hampshire. What she told me could change all my understandings of what I own, and it is now HIGHLY PROBABLE that this is a wardroom dinner-gong used on the 1916 HMS Royal Oak which was sunk at Scapa Flow in 1939.

Here is what she told me:-

From this official information we see that the shell, manufactured in 1903 was fired and re-used several times before being discarded as scrap ready to melt down for a new casting. Now since the 1892 Royal Oak was decommissioned in 1912 and scrapped in 1914, and the shell casing used to make the wardroom dinner-gong could have easily survived [firing, four re-filling stages, four further firings, abandoned and awaiting scrap/re-casting etc] the 13 year period between manufacture and the building of the new Royal Oak, it is more probable that the shell case was used to make the gong for the 1916 Royal Oak than for the 1892 Royal Oak

I knew that it was a naval dinner-gong and that it had been made either by the Royal Dockyard as a "rabbit" [a non Service article made by Dockyard engineers/craftsmen in return for a private sum of money or gifts of duty free goods] or by the engineering Naval artificers aboard the ship it was made for, and thus probably commissioned by the Wardroom Mess President [in the case of a large vessel, the ships number two in Command, the executive Commander].   Clearly, this is a device made for and used by HMS Royal Oak.  Had it been made for the 1892 Royal Oak [but later on of course many years after 1903 and the shells useful life as ordnance and thus near to the end of the ships life - which doesn't make much sense!], this device was taken home by a ships officer  only to end up in a shop many years later as unwanted and uncared for.  Alternatively, it is more probable that it once adorned the Wardroom Flat of the 1916 Royal Oak, and had left the ship between commissions which were many between the dates of 1916 and 1939. Any Commander in any of those commissions who had paid for that "rabbit" had the right to take it with him at the end of his commission in the ship.  The name of CECIL N REYNE commander RN and the executive/wardroom mess president of the Royal Oak in 1920 is the probable commissioner and thus original owner of the gong!  Also of interest during the Battle of Jutland and afterwards,  is that Lancelot Ernest HOLLAND was a lieutenant commander and the gunnery officer of Royal Oak, who in May 1941 died in HMS Hood as the vice admiral embarked, acting as flag officer of the ship's operating in the Denmark Straits seeking out the Bismarck and her escort, the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen.

 

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25.   The Navy  to stage MAJOR FESTIVITIES in  2005 to celebrate the bicentenary of Lord Nelson's death in 1805

For the many thousands of you who do not have access to the Portsmouth local media, keep your eye on this web site for all the details about the BIG CELEBRATION  http://www.port.nmm.ac.uk

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24.                          A "MUST" FOR NAVAL DEVOTEES!

From time to time we stumble across places of naval interest.  Occasionally, we find places in traditional naval areas for dining and socialising which have style and panache and which offer an ambiance not readily found in the majority of restaurants.   Moreover, there are many good hotels in areas adjacent to the sea which, at best, make a less than satisfactory effort in displaying naval [merchant as well as Royal] artefact for the pleasure of the 'naval' visitor.  Image therefore, my glee and surprise to find an establishment which offers the lot and in good measure, so much so, that one visit would not suffice to view the  array of naval artefact displayed.  It is rich in pictures and photographs of Royal Navy ships beyond belief,  offering what must be a unique collection of first and second world war vessels.

The food,  wines and service are superb, and there is even a smoking restaurant and a non smoking restaurant ensuring that both "camps" can enjoy their meal without complaint or discomfort.  There is also a front of hotel patio, tailor made for a pre dinner drink or an alfresco meal.  It is but a few marching paces from the waters edge.

I have no vested interest in the establishment, but having dined there, I couldn't leave without telling you about this naval treasure.

The establishment is the SEAVIEW HOTEL which can be found in the HIGH STREET, SEAVIEW, ISLE OF WIGHT. PO34 5EX.   Seaview is the town one sees when looking towards the island from Southsea [just behind NO MAN'S LAND Fort] with Bembridge down to its left and Ryde over to its right.  The telephone number is 01983 612711 FAX 01983 613729 e-mail reception@seaviewhotel.co.uk   website http://www.seaviewhotel.co.uk

Enjoy your visit just like I did.  It would certainly get 5 stars from me!

 

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25.  THE SAYING " WORSE THINGS HAPPEN AT SEA"

[Worse things happen at sea!]

In the year 1703 [incidentally the Portsmouth Main Dockyard Gates were erected in 1711 at 12 foot wide and stood there for 232 years until 1943, when they were widened to 22 feet, and the first man to become a famous admiral to see them, who joined the navy one year later in 1712, was Admiral Anson] there occurred a storm of such tremendous violence that it is recorded as being the greatest and most destructive ever known in the history of the British Isles.  The damage was on an almost cosmic scale – like some gigantic air raid – and it gained the title “The Great Storm”.  On land the effects were appalling and at sea they were disastrous.  The fact they were worse at sea brought about the saying “Worse things happen at sea”.  Over 10,000 seamen were lost, a third of which were men of the Royal Navy.  The fury of the storm was concentrated into a few hours between midnight and dawn of the 26th and 27th November.  Before its dreadful climax, the storm had been blowing for a fortnight and anchorages were packed with shipping.  In the Downs, besides hundreds of merchant vessels there were a number of warships, including the Channel Squadron, some 13 ships, commanded by Rear Admiral Sir Basil Beaumont of The Blue. The storm raged throughout the Downs and after its passing, the Squadron, which before had been safe in its moorings, was gone.  In the worst disaster ever experienced by the Royal Navy in home waters, an entire fleet was lost, when one vessel after another drove ashore on the Goodwins or foundered along the coast.  Four of the larger ships lost on the Goodwins were the flagship MARY, of 60 guns and 272 men; RESTORATION with 386 men; NORTHUMBERLAND with 253 men, and STIRLING CASTLE with 349 men, all of 70 guns. Of  the first vessel there was one survivor, from the second and third, none, and from the last, seventy.

In the few tides the ships were swallowed by the sands –  *the Scylla  and Charybdis of the English Channel* - which for centuries have been the graveyard of shipping.

*refers to the Goodwin Sands, and, in Greek mythology, Scylla was a monster and Charybdis was a whirpool, two dangers or extremes such that one can be avoided only by approaching the other*

It is believed the terrible storm of the 11th January 1978, which destroyed Margate Pier, also shifted the sand covering the wrecks.  In June 1979 the Thanet unit team of divers were carrying out exploration work in the dangerous waters above the Goodwins and found HMS STIRLING CASTLE.  From then on it was a race against time in case the wreck should again be covered by sand.

Among the impressive array of 300 salvaged artefacts, in perfect preservation is a fine bronze cannon of Dutch manufacture dated 1642 and weighing half a ton; a large bell; a ship’s kettle – the first ever found, and many valuable nautical instruments.  A more macabre find was a gilt candlestick with a skeletal hand still clutching it.

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26.    

          A VISIT TO THE ADMIRALTY BOARD ROOM

         [ LSGC MEDAL TO DIE FOR! - SEE 'COXSWAIN'S BADGE']
         [NAVAL SIGNALMEN [BUNTINGS] SEE 'FIRE PLACE']

This room is part of the Old Admiralty building which was erected in 1723-1725 to the design of Thomas Ripley.

Until the completion of Admiralty House in 1788 the First Sea Lord and other Lords of the Admiralty actually lived in the Admiralty Building, the Board Room being their office - sometimes their dining room.

This room, steeped in Naval History and in the history of the British people, has the unique distinction of being unchanged for almost 250 years as the control point of the same major Department of State.  It is used for meetings of the present Admiralty Board.

Here many famous politicians and most of the great sailors of the past 2½ centuries at some point in their careers worked or conferred. Standing in the room, it requires little imagination to sense their presence.

The outlook from the window into the quadrangle is rather unattractive but prior to the erection of the inhibiting buildings towards the end of the 19th century, the Board Room had a fine uninterrupted view of St James's Park.

It has long been the tradition that smoking in the Board Room is wholly banned.  Even Sir Winston Churchill observed this rule.

The notable features are:-

The Ceiling.

The original which dated from 1788 was shattered by bomb blast in 1941.  After the war is was reconstructed as an exact replica.  The design of diminishing octagons is particularly striking.  No two of these octagons are of exactly the same shape or size.

The Fire Place.

This bears the Arms of Charles II.  The limewood carving surrounding the fire place was probably made for the 1695 building and is the work of Grinling Gibbons.  It was transferred to the present room in 1725 and at one time was on the south wall.  It was put in the present position in 1847 when the room was renovated and the pictures were added.  The nautical instruments represented in the carvings are those in general use in the Navy in the 16th and 17th centuries and some are the only contemporary facsimile models now in existence.  The carvings along the top are symbolic and represent the Admiralty anchor, the Sword of Victory and the Trumpet of Fame, surmounted by the Crown and Laurel leaves; in the centre is shown the 'Eye in Glory' which is an ancient sign which can be seen on the Pyramids and the one used by the Stuart kings to signify their belief in the Devine Right of Kings.  The wind dial immediately over the fire place, which is still in perfect working order, came from the earlier Admiralty Building and dates from 1708.  It is actuated by a metal vane on the roof.  Also on the roof was a large wooden semaphore by which urgent messages were relayed by similar means by teams of signalmen stationed on prominent points [e.g., Churches, some of which still fly the White Ensign to commemorate the fact] enroute.  Thus, it is recorded that a message from the Board Room reached Portsmouth in 12 minutes.  An engraving of the semaphore is on one of the side tables.

The white spot on the left hand side of the fire place is called the Nelson Spot.  Its only connection with Nelson is that it is 5ft 4inches in height which was the height of Lord Nelson.  This mark was inserted for use at interviews for candidates for commissions in the Royal Marines; the minimum height for which under the 1847 regulations, was 5ft 4inches.

Panelling.

The panelling is of oak and dates around 1720 or earlier.  There is no record of its acquisition but it is thought to have been transferred from the first Admiralty Building together with the carvings, the wind dial, and possibly the fire place.

The Clock.

The clock was made in 1697 for the Admiralty [note the Admiralty fouled anchor] by Langley Bradley, who made the great clock at St Paul's. Bradley was a contemporary of the master clockmaker, Tompion.  The clock tells the date as well as the time and has stood in this room since 1725.

Table and Chairs.

These were made about 1788.  Until 1964, the traditional seating arrangement for the Board in session was for the Lord High Admiral or First Sea Lord to be seated at the head of the table.  There were exceptions to this arrangement when for example George Ward Hunt [First Lord 1874-77] preferred to sit at the cut-out section of the table to accommodate his person of 24 stone [336lbs][152.4kilos].  The casket on the table contains the Flag of the Lord High Admiral which flew over Admiralty Building before the Defence re-organisation in 1964.  The Flag was hauled down in March 1964 and now is flown only when Her Majesty The Queen, the present Lord High Admiral [see on this web site RN_ROYAL_RANKS_1979.jpg and ROYAL_FAMILY_RN_RANKS_IN_1979_PART_2.jpg which are part of the Lord Mountbatten Ceremonial Funeral Part One pages] is in the Building.

Silver.

The silver inkstand was introduced by the Duke of Clarence in 1826/27 and the silver candlestick  - resting on the fireplace - is a replica of that used by Nelson.

Navy Board Verge.     Note: A Verge is a rod or wand carried as a symbol of office.  In C.N. Robinson's British Fleet, he says "the Verge, borne in State before a newly appointed member of the Board."

This Verge was made in 1786 when the Navy Board was at Somerset House and was brought to this building when that Board was abolished in 1831.  Alongside it used to be the Admiralty Verge which was made in 1662 for James, Duke of York, who afterwards, became James II, then, the Lord High Admiral.  His second daughter was Queen Anne, the only lady ever to be the First Sea Lord and Lord High Admiral.  The present Queen became Lord High Admiral in 1964 on the dissolution of the Board of Admiralty under the Defence re-organisation and the Admiralty Verge now rests in Buckingham Palace.

Pictures.

The seascape over the door to the right of the fireplace is by Van der Velde the Younger.  The other is by William Nichol. The portrait of Nelson was painted by Guzzardi after the Battle of the Nile.  During the battle, Nelson received a wound over the right eye [not the occasion when he lost his eye] and the scar is visible on the painting which was hung in the Board Room around 1840 primarily to balance that of William IV which hangs on the opposite wall. This monarch's claim to a place here rests on the fact that as Duke of Clarence he was the last person to hold the office of Lord High Admiral until the present Queen.  In 1828 the duties of the post were shared amongst a group of men i.e., placed in commission, hence, Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.

Clerks of the Acts Appointment.

In the wooden frame on the right hand small table is the original vellum appointing Samuel Pepys as Clerk of the Acts [in 1662] - a relatively minor appointment with the Navy Board but one that started him on the road to lasting fame for his work of re-organising the system of building ships, supplying stores to the Fleet and paying the seamen, thereby eliminating many of the inefficient and corrupt practices that hitherto had flourished.  In his famous diary, Pepys records show that during the Great Fire of London he buried in his back garden at Mincing Lane near the Tower of London, gold, wines and cheeses, and his documents.  This was one of the documents buried to protect it from the fire.  He retired from public life in 1689, so did not serve in the 1695 building.

Letters Patent.

Resting on the centre side table are the Letters Patent which authorised the Board of Admiralty to carry out the duties of Lord High Admiral.  The Letters were altered every time there was a change in the membership of the Board and the copy on the table was altered to carry the name Sir Michael Cary who was the last Secretary of the Admiralty.

Coxswain's Badge.

On the left hand table there is a fine specimen of the badge worn by Coxswain's of the Admiralty Barge which was used by members of the Board of Admiralty on the Thames prior to the Building of the London Embankment in 1864-1870.  The badge is of silver gilt and is hallmarked 1736.  Of the 44 badges remaining in 1863, 24 were sold, 15 were sent to the Mint for making Seamen's Long Service Medals and 5 were distributed to the Admiralty, the Victorian and Albert Museum, the British Museum and the Society of Antiquaries.

Theodore Roosevelt's memento of the Great War 1914-18 and one of Lord Tennyson poems.

On the same table rests an original manuscript poem [The Fleet] by Lord Tennyson, together with an interesting manuscript note written by Theodore Roosevelt at the Allied Bazaar in New York in 1917.

"Let us not owe our shameful safety to the British Fleet; let us do our own fighting."

Lord St Vincent's codified rules for the Royal Navy.

The other item of special interest on the table is Lord St Vincent's personal copy of "Regulations and Instructions relating to Her Majesty's Service at Sea". He wrote these instructions, governing the conduct of the Fleet, when he became First Lord at the beginning of the 19th century.

 

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27.      The BERLIN WALL has long gone {all but a small section}, but some things are left behind over and above the pain and heartache suffered throughout the terrible years of its presence.

 

Whilst having a clear out, I came across this little document which is surely worth an airing. The document was given to British soldiers enroute for BERLIN which of course was in East Germany. The journey and printed guide are things of future history documents!  It also begs the question as to why soldiers had all the fun anyway!!

     Click to enlarge     Click to enlarge

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28.    

HMS BULOLO - amongst other things -  A Communications HQ ship for Combined Operations, the first one in the world! From 1943 onwards, she saw service at  just about every major assault landing in Europe, the Mediterranean and Far East. 

A relative of my wife, one Derek Turner, long long time domiciled in Canada has sent me this fascinating souvenir of HMS Bulolo's homeward bound voyage from the Far East in 1946 after the war with Japan had been won.  In his covering letter he says: "Herewith the Bulolo Times I promised you.  As a matter of interest, on January 23rd [my birthday] I got sippers in the OA's mess and spent the afternoon sleeping it off on the upper deck.  We were steaming up the Red Sea under clear sunshine.  It seemed strange to see merchant ships sailing alone after being so used to convoys.  I shall never forget the crew's strong feelings for Lord Louis, and that says a lot about a leader. This was my last sea voyage.  Since flying to Canada in 1948 I have not crossed a sea again."

  Click to enlarge  The front cover of the ships Times.  The artwork is excellent and the colours as vibrant today as they probably were 57 years ago. I wonder if all the 300 copies requested [see text of the Captains message [page 1] below] had this splendid front cover?

The print quality, the short comings of the old mechanical typewriter, and yes, the typing errors with the subsequent over printing [by hitting the typewriter key very hard] all go to make it less than ideal to use my scanner on the text pages.  Therefore, to make it more easily readable and from that, hoping that you enjoy it more, I have faithfully retyped it, so the words, punctuation,  grammar, syntax etc are not those of my choosing!  

I feel that the  effort is worth while because the article is a contemporary WWII document which should be preserved for all posterity notwithstanding the contents therein of which I make no comment, except, safe-to-say, whilst most is of a domestic, mundane and rambling nature, there are some parts of historic interest! 

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Viewing details for mv BULOLO in the Clydebuilt Ships Database


mv BULOLO

Yard No: 668
Shipbuilder: Barclay Curle & Company Glasgow
Engine Builder: JG Kincaid Greenock
Propulsion: Diesel x 2
Built: 1938
Ship Type: Passenger Cargo Ship
Ship's Role: Mail service from Australia to Australasian areas
Tonnage: 6937 grt | 3319 nrt | 4375 dwt
Length: 412 feet
Breadth: 58 feet
Draught: 23 feet
Owner: Burns, Philp & Co, Sydney
Status: Scrapped - 1968
Remarks: Scrapped at Taiwan - Previous update by Paul Strathdee - Picture supplied by Colin Campbell - Previous update by Bruce Biddulph

Last updated: by Paul Strathdee from the original records by Stuart Cameron

<img src="http://www.clydesite.co.uk/clydebuilt/ships/1938/BULOLO_668.jpg">


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Bulolo was built on the Clyde by Barclay Curle and Company of Glasgow in 1938, for the Burns Philips Line of Sydney.  She was built as a luxury cargo passenger ship and even her camouflage and structural alterations failed to hide the beauty of her graceful lines.  Her gross displacement was 6937 tons.  She is reputed to have cost more per lineal yard in building than any other vessel built on the Clyde. The name BULOLO is both a gold mining area and a river in New Guinea, fitting because she was to have spent all her life in the Australasia area of the world.  Her maiden voyage was in September 1938 [I was two months old] and thereafter, she embarked on her normal peacetime run as a luxury liner between Sydney, New Guinea, New Britain, New Zealand and other Pacific islands.  At the outbreak of the second world war in September 1939, BULOLO was taken over by the Admiralty and sailed from Sydney to Simonstown where she hoisted the White Ensign and where she was fitted-out as an armed merchant cruiser/warship.  Her armament was quite impressive to say the very least.  She had SEVEN 6 INCH GUNS, TWO 3 INCH AA GUNS together with SEVERAL CLOSE RANGE WEAPONS.  Her first Royal Navy Commanding Officer was Captain C.H. Petrie DSO RN [later of HMS GLENGYLE fame].

The following section comes from a web site called www.combinedops.com and mentions HMS GLENGYLE.  My story picks-up again after this piece further down the page starting with the words "From January 1940 until April 1943......" which is the start of the next BOLD font you will see. 

BARDIA NORTH AFRICA - 19/20 APRIL 1941

Bardia on the North African coast was the location of an early Combined Operations raid. It was not a good start - more of a learning experience.

Background Planning & Preparations Action Outcome Further Reading  Main Index

 ~ Background ~

This land/naval raid took place at a time of rapid changes in the fortunes of war - usually in favour of the Axis forces. The objective was to disrupt enemy lines of communication and inflict as much damage as possible to installations and equipment  Forces involved were HMS Glengyle and A Battalion (ex No 7 Commando). Bardia lies 500 miles west of Suez and 50 miles east of Tobruk on the North African coast. Click on maps to enlarge.

 ~ Planning & Preparations ~

The story begins with the formation of a Special Service force with the objective of capturing the Greek Island of Rhodes. This at first sight may seem an odd place to start but it puts into context the sequence of events leading to the Bardia raid, the constant changes to plans and the general unpredictable dynamics of the war.

In early 1941 the planners decided that the capture of Rhodes was an achievable and worthwhile objective. Keyes, in his role of Director of Combined Operations, proposed the establishment, in the UK, of a Special Services force for rapid transfer to the Mediterranean on the fast "Glen" ships Glengyle and Glenroy. The idea was accepted by the Chiefs of Staff.

Under the command of Lt. Colonel R. E. Laycock force Z was established comprising Nos 7,8 & 11 Commandos, A troop of No 3 Commando and Courtney's folbot section. The hastily assembled force of around 100 officers and 1500 other ranks sailed from the Isle of Arran in the River Clyde on the 31st of Jan 1941. It arrived at Suez, via the Cape, on the 7th of March. Orders had been received from the War Office that the designation "Layforce" was to be used and that no mention of Commandos or Royal Navy involvement was permitted. The concern was that the vital work of force Z might be compromised if the enemy knew the composition and nature of the force. On the 10th of March Layforce disembarked at Geneifa. Shortly after No 50 Middle East Commando (ex Crete) and No 52 Commando (ex Sudan) were amalgamated under Lt Colonel Young and added to Layforce as follows;

A Battalion - No 7 Commando (Lt Colonel Colvin)
B Battalion - No 8 Commando (Lt Colonel Daly)
C Battalion - No 11 Commando (Lt Colonel Pedder)
D Battalion - No 50/52 Commando (Lt Colonel Young)

After the German invasion of Greece and Yugoslavia on the 6th of April the Rhodes operation was hastily called off. A week or two earlier Rommel had launched an offensive in North Africa and by the 11th April his forces had re-occupied Cyrenaica and captured Sollum and Bardia.

On the same day the role of Layforce changed to planning and undertaking raids behind enemy lines along the North African coast - the same task given to the Middle East Commando force in the previous autumn. Layforce set off for Alexandria on the 12th of April for provisions and preparations. Orders were changed and on the 15th of April Brigade HQ and A & C Battalions set off in the two Glen ships to attack Bardia while 4 Troops of B Battalion sailed for Bomba in a destroyer. Such was the swell that swept the coast the following night that the operation was called off. The folbots could not disembark from their submarine and re-embarkation of the Commandos from the beaches would have been difficult if not impossible.

 ~ Action

New orders were quickly issued. This time A Battalion (No 7 Commando) was selected for a raid on Bardia with the objective of disrupting enemy lines of communication and inflicting as much damage as possible to installations and equipment. The plan was to land simultaneously on four beaches using Glengyle's Assault Landing Craft (ALC). One ALC could not be lowered and there were difficulties with the release gear on others. Nonetheless the approaches to the beaches on the night of 19th/20th of April went smoothly but the expected guiding lights could not be seen. The placing of these lights on the beaches was the responsibility of Layforce's folbot section under Roger Courtney. It later transpired that Courtney and his men were delayed en route to the beaches when friendly fire caused HMS Triumph, the submarine on which they took passage, to submerse and take evasive action.

Despite these setbacks the detachments were only 15 minutes behind schedule when they hit the beaches. There was some confusion when some ALCs landed on the wrong beaches. The landings were however unopposed and progress inland was made to locate and destroy the various targets. Bardia itself was unoccupied but regrettably, due to inaccurate or incomplete intelligence, some targets did not exist or were in unexpected locations. With time running short the return to the beaches commenced with a tally of one bridge blown up and an Italian tyre dump set on fire. Little else of significance was achieved. Sadly an over alert Commando sentry mortally wounded a British officer and one detachment of 67 men returned to the wrong beach. They were later reported to be prisoners of war. One ALC was abandoned and another ALC broke down but eventually made its way to Tobruk.

 ~ Outcome ~

This was not a high point in the history of Combined Operations raids but many valuable lessons were learned for future raids viz.;

  •  training in European conditions had not taken account of the lighter nights along the North African coast,

  •  the men could have moved much more quickly across the terrain,

  •  more thought should be given to the speed in withdrawal and re-embarkation,

  •  spare landing craft should be on hand for stray parties,

  •  the parent ship should lie closer to the shore when conditions permitted,

  •  manning the landing craft prior to arrival at the disembarkation point would speed up the hoisting out.

Allied gains included one German Brigade diverted from other duties to plug the gap in their defences exposed by the raid, one bridge blown up and one tyre dump set on fire. Arguably the most important of the gains were the lessons learned for future amphibious operations. Losses included 67 men taken prisoner, one officer accidentally mortally wounded by friendly fire and one Assault Landing Craft abandoned. 

Understandably morale, following the raid, was not of the highest order. It was made all the worse by the now familiar pattern of receiving new orders only to have them cancelled or seriously modified. When A Battalion finally vacated the Glengyle at the beginning of May the following inscription was found on the troop deck - 'Never in the whole of history of human endeavour have so few been buggered about by so many' .... a sentiment Laycock identified with as he made clear in a lecture he delivered back in the UK at the end of 1941.

 ~ Further Reading ~

Chronological summary of North Africa Campaign

Commandos and Rangers of World War 2 by James D. Ladd. Published in 1978 by MacDonald & Jane's. ISBN 0 356 08432 9

Commandos 1940 - 1946 by Charles Messenger. Pub by William Kimber, London 1985. ISBN 0 7183 0553 1

The Watery Maze by Bernard Fergusson published 1961 by Collins.

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From January 1940 until April 1943 BULOLO was employed on convoy escort duties and patrols in the Atlantic, during which time she achieved the remarkable record of escorting over 400 ships without losing one.  In 1940-41, she steamed over 175,000 miles in the Atlantic.  In 1942, she was taken into dock and emerged as the first Combined Operations Headquarter ship in the world; the principal task of such a ship being to carry the Naval, Army and Air Force Commanders and their staffs, and, through her communication equipment fit, integrate the whole of the assault build-up, execution and consolidation.  How brilliantly Bulolo and her sister HQ ships did their job is abundantly clear from the wonderful results obtained from 1942 onwards. She was present at the landings on North Africa; Sicily; Syracuse; Anzio; Normandy, after which she refitted in Southampton before being deployed to the Far East station where she arrived in June 1945.  She was to be the Flagship for 'Operation Zipper' [the landings which would have recaptured Singapore from the Japanese] but the war ended a few weeks before Zipper's D-Day when the Japanese surrendered. She spent the summer months in pleasant conditions in and around Singapore waters.  In October she assisted in a mercy mission to Surabaya, bringing back 530 women and children to the relative safety of Singapore. She left Singapore on the 4th January 1946 and arrived Portsmouth on the 15th February.  Bulolo refitted to become once again a  luxury cargo/passenger liner and was taken back home to Sydney commanded by Lieutenant Commander Monteith RN.  She was broken-up in Taiwan in 1968 aged 30.

Now, the re-type.  Where the text has a bearing on Naval things per se I have highlighted the text in YELLOW.  Therefore, suffice to say, that those of you reading these pages for WWII historical interest need only read those passages endorsed with yellow highlights.

A MESSAGE FROM THE CAPTAIN

It gives me great pleasure to write a message for the BULOLO TIMES SOUVENIR NUMBER.

It is very gratifying to find that nearly 300 readers asked for a copy of this number.  It is the best illustration of how BULOLO TIMES, Homeward Bound Series, has been appreciated.

The paper has enriched the life of the ship during our voyage from Singapore to U.K.  To those who have contributed to it in any way I give my sincere thanks.

To all of you I wish the very best of luck, good leave and a pleasant settling down to your future lives.

[Signed] J.H. PLUMER,

Commander R.N.

[End of page 1]

-------------------------------------------------------------

BULOLO TIMES

Editor..William C Ibbotson
Leader Writer. David. O. Davies
Features. By many who had a story to tell

The revival of "BULOLO TIMES" was mooted in November last.  Various things intervened and the promised revival did not take place until the ship actually sailed from Singapore for the U.K.
My idea of the Bulolo Times was that it should contain a daily leading article and [inter alia] a correspondence column.  My offer to accept the task of running the ship's newspaper was based on the presumption that when I asked Dai Davies to provide a daily leader he wouldn't say "No".  And he didn't!  It was also based upon my belief that the W/T staff would give their usual magnificent services, as they did!
BULOLO TIMES [Homeward Bound Series] Number 1 appeared in the Wardroom and on the Messdecks in the late afternoon of January 6th.  The original volunteer staff comprised Leading Telegraphist Barritt, Leading Telegraphist Walding and Wireman Neill.  Leading Telegraphist Walding left the ship at Colombo and Wireman Neill left us at Bombay.  Fortunately Sergeant Sleddon joined us in Bombay.  Despite efforts, no further volunteers were forthcoming for some time and then, after a final appeal in the Bulolo Times for a volunteer we received offers of help from all directions and we now have an adequate staff.  This staff now comprised:-
Leading Telegraphist Barrit
Sergeant Sleddon [Royal Marines]
Leading Air Mechanic West
Leading Radio Mechanic Smith and
Mr. D. Turner [Admiralty Civilian]

BULOLO TIMES  [HB Series] went to press on twenty three occasions before "paying off" at Gibraltar
Our motto has been "Your true delight is our intent."  The demand for this Souvenir Edition gives us a strong reason to feel that we very nearly succeeded.
Here then is your copy of BULOLO TIMES SOUVENIR.  The cover is the work of Leading Radio Mechanic Smith.  The souvenir contains a message from the Captain, a Special Leader and reprints of some of the most popular leading articles and features, which have appeared in the H.B. Series.
All rights in respect of reproducing or publishing [either in full or in part] the articles and leaders which have appeared in any copy of the BULOLO TIMES [HB Series] and in this souvenir edition are reserved exclusively to the respect authors.
We thank everyone who has contributed to BULOLO TIMES including our readers, but for whom the whole purpose and object of our efforts would have been in vain.
Good luck to you all wherever you may go.

ooooooooooooo

HOMEWARD RUN

ARRIVED PLACE LEFT
- Singapore 4th January
9th January Colombo 12th January
15th January Bombay 18th January
24th January Aden 24th January
28th January Suez 29th January
30th January Port Said 1st February
4th February Malta 6th February
10th February Gibraltar 11th February
[15th February?] Portsmouth  

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[End of page 2]

 

BULOLO TIMES SOUVENIR
LEADING ARTICLE

This is the pay-off.  I can without awkwardness use the first person singular to gossip about one or two things before we part.
It is of course pleasing to see such a demand for the "BULOLO TIMES" Souvenir which is the twenty fourth number issued by the Editor and Publisher in the Homeward Bound Series.  I admit my pleasure in the selection of Leading Articles to be carried home in the Souvenir - a selection which I understand was made by the Lower Deck.  So much derogatory talk is heard about the East, for instance, that it felt good to see two articles on the East thrown in.  And so many Jonahs talk of life being a burden and, in U.K., a misery that I value the choosing of the article which discussed the pros and cons of giving this world as it is to new babies.

"Bulolo Times" has help us to think and get together on our way home.  The growth and development was visible.  If any reader has found in the front page articles a tenth of the enjoyment which I have found in the feature articles and in "boomerang" then we have done well together and the pricks of writing daily were worth it.  Without "our" Times no one would have written one sentence.

Perhaps we shall take our Souvenir with us one day and sit by the river bank - a day of scorching British Summer so trying to us who will prattle with velvety modesty of "when I was in the Far East" - we may read it for a while then dreamily throw a stone into the pond.  Perhaps, as we stare at the ever winding ripples we shall reflect that living together successfully starts with someone having the initiative, the imagination and the energy to cast a stone into stagnant waters which with stirring and moving become fresh again.

That has happened to us in Bulolo from Singapore to U.K.  We have entertained each other and added to each others knowledge and breath of view, and especially in respect for other views.  Singapore may now be more that the Shackle Club and the Tanglin Club , India a problem more personal to us than it once was.  Perhaps we may have seen that the Surrender of Japan and its administration by General Macarthur has been no solution to the problem of the East.  Should Western Nations quit? Should sovereign nations handover the watch to U.N.O.?  What have we fought for? What will victory mean? What will happen to the Navy? and Britain? and atomic energy?

These and many more questions have been raised in news and articles. There have been no answers, for the answers are built up daily by the way we dig hard for facts and truth, by what we do and what we think.

There is a great deal to remember.  Above all we must remember the men and women and children who made no happy homeward bound trip to peace and civvy street. If we do not remain true to them no one else can be expected to.
"They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We shall remember them."

This little souvenir that we hope will be worth far more than all those things which at the moment we are busily "declaring" on Customs forms if it helps us to keep to it that the years shall not condemn us.

Good luck to you all and thank you

oooooooooooooooooo

[End of page 3]

 

BULOLO TIMES

Series HB No 2

Monday 7th January 1946

It is a safe bet to say that everyone onboard is delighted to hear of Supremo's promotion to the rank of Rear Admiral.  Our admiration of him is something which transcends rank, status, service and all such things. No matter who or what we are, we feel of Lord Louis "He is one of us."  His address to us the day before Bulolo left Singapore lingers mellow in the memory.  The one criticism the writer of this note would make is to say that it is a pity that the address could not have been produced as a pamphlet and a copy given to each of us to take home as a souvenir; for it was a record of the speaker as well as of the war in S.E.A.C.

It is neither possible nor necessary to set out here a summary of Supremo's career.  His imprint is to be found on so many things.  "Combined Ops" was his favourite brain child, and inter-service co-operation and understanding owe tremendously to his enthusiasm and geniality.  All the funny and new things used on the attack on the continent of Europe - how few of them are not mixed up with him.

You who saw him in action in Europe probably think he did his finest work there; those of you who have been in SEAC since its inception think he can hardly have done finer work anywhere else.  Out here the Japs had swept all before them right up to the borders of India.  The greatest triumph had been General Alexander's magnificent withdrawal of his forces back through Burma to India, so that they could fight again another day.  But not yet. Supplies had gone.  Morale was not good. India was in turmoil, culminating in the disturbances of August 1942.  1943 was a bleak year.  The horrible famine in Bengal in the second half of 1943 shocked the world when it heard of it.  There seemed to be little grip anywhere

Then Lord Wavell came to Delhi as Viceroy and Lord Louis Mountbatten came to Delhi as SACSEA.  India quietened down and SEAC livened up.  In some ways, just as Lord Wavell had spotted the values of General Wingate, so Supremo saw the value of Frank Owen. He commissioned him to start and to edit the SEAC newspaper. General Slim was in command of the new Fourteenth Army.  The Fourteenth grew more and more confident and aggressive and fearless.  Co-operation between air and land developed to its best point yet. They fought everything; monsoon, Jap, disease, remoteness, the sinister spell of the jungle.  And, they won.

The men who fought through - they deserved endless praise and command admiration.  The forgotten army became the famous army. It may be a test of our decency to see that its men shall, at no time, become forgotten men.  But their leaders deserve equal praise; "bluff Bill Slim" especially.  And their feeders; the RAF who dropped supplies for our men and surprise for our enemies with complete reliability; and Frank Owen and his men who also from the air, fed the Fourteenth with news and views and dealt with all their questions and problems. [How many months have you been out ? Image what a service newspaper would be hearing from troops at a time when single men were supposed to stay out East for five years, if they were lucky.]

But the greatest of them was the man who inspired it all; who dropped from the skies now and then, late probably, because there was so much he insisted on doing, and yelled "break ranks and come and sit all round me" and talked TO them and not down at them, smiling, natural, no side, and told them frankly of his job and his headaches; of how things were going and what he wanted to them to do. And he did not go away and forget.  When the Burma war was over, he met them at Rangoon and said "you did far more than you were asked to do with far less than you were promised."

SEAC has been very lucky in the sincerity and humanity of its leaders.  It is too wildly fanciful to say that Lord Louis Mountbatten's personality alone has been worth a couple of divisions ?

[End of page 4]

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BULOLO TIMES

Series HB No 3

Tuesday 8th January 1946

Tomorrow we hit Colombo and the Editor he say this is the last issue until we sail for Bombay.  To any who leave the ship at Colombo we say "hail and fare well." We will take your salaams to U.K. but not your rabbits.
We who are confident of keeping on to the end of the road start counting the countries and places to which we say goodbye with little prospect, and perhaps less desire, of ever seeing them again.  Burma, Java, Sumatra, Malaya, Siam, French Indo China, Hong Kong. Now Ceylon - but a few runs ashore first, we hope.  Then India.  And so it will go on.  It will go on until at last we reach UK.  What then?
We leave the East, but the East will never leave us.  On the hearth, on the job, at the Church, and at the pub, they will ask "whats Malaya like- how did you get on with the Indians - how about this Indonesian business - what will happen to the East now ?"  A certain wife spoke to a soldier in a shop in Hampshire saying " I heard you have just returned from Chittagong.  What sort of place is it?"  The soldier knew the answer..."its like every place in the East - it stinks."  And that poor wife, re-reading her husbands letters, was forced to conclude that he had developed a great taste for stinks.
Our famous writer - some would say infamous - spent a twelve month in India, part of it in hospital, and he went home and wrote a book and he called it VERDICT on INDIA.  Talk about giving yourself toffee. Verdict!
But how many of us will perpetrate similar foolishness?  How many of us will have the courage to answer "I knew far more about those countries before I left you.  Now I realise how ignorant I am. I did not learn the language of any of them.  I can not say that I have one friend among the local people.  I know very little of their geography, their history, their way of life, their means of living.  I spent all my time with my own kind.  I went to Green's and to Raffles, to canteens and cinemas, ENSA shows and bathing pools.  It was just like a trip to Blackpool.  I never saw the inside of a temple or any of their famous sights."
Is it not fairer and more honest to admit all this than to spread false opinion and story to gratify your own conceit? If a town stinks, the intelligent reaction is to find out the facts about the government of the town, the education of the people and their standard of living.  Mr Casey, Governor of Bengal, made history by insisting on seeing the overcrowded bustees of Calcutta.  What he saw nauseated him and he played hell about it.  Something is being done.
Do you remember Supremo's words "there are 128 million people in this command and every one of them is dissatisfied." There are many challenges in that, challenges to intelligence and to the sense of duty of any man who wants to be a citizen; who wants to do his bit to prevent any more war. [The atomic bomb is pretty thorough it will dispense with the need for a demob scheme].  So we have to try to understand all this dissatisfaction; to understand the peoples; to know the great desires of their hearts; for it is a fact that they stick to those desires in and out of prison.  To know what their countries have which UK wants; to know what UK has which they want.  Above all, to know that they are men, women and children wanting food, clothing, shelter and freedom - the inalienable right to some happiness.  For understanding and friendship between them and us is a essential part of peace.  We can contribute a little, now here, and later on in UK, by showing these people the respect and courtesy which they do understand and treasure.
There is no peace in the East yet. Its coming will not be hastened by any rudeness from us, or by the free use, now and later, of the terminology of contempt, such as "flicking wogs" and "black bastards."

[End of page 5]

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BULOLO TIMES

Series HB Number 4

Saturday 12th January 1946

"Duncan is in his grave
After life's fitful fever he sleep well."

Duncan being the flaps and buzzes which filled the day of our arrival in Colombo.  That is over, thank heaven.  Some have left the ship, others have joined, and we can settle down for at least three long days though we may be wondering secretly what Bombay will do to us.

The buzzes at Colombo were straight forward ones of course and all on one subject; who goes, who stays and why.  The ship was topping up with passengers and going 'straight home'.  She was disembarking all passengers and sailing empty to Bombay.  Passengers were being put off at Colombo because there were good and fast ships waiting to take them home at once, and the poor old BULOLO was being mucked about again - one buzz all but sent her to Australia at fast speed.  And at the same time there was only one troopship a month from Colombo and a terrific queue.  There were many more, of course, but we're never lucky enough to hear all the buzzes.

That is a pity for buzzes are one of the most fascinating sides of ship life.  The 'lower deck buzz' which gives a new appointment to a ship's officer is usually very soon confirmed by Admiralty.  And the 'stokers messdeck buzz' why is that always on a par with scripture?  Other kinds of buzzes will not be mentioned here for the good and sound reason that they are still paying dividends!  It is enough to say that you who think that ship's officers, signals and the Bulolo Times are the best and only source of information, how wrong you are, how pathetically wrong!  Just for example; a quite assured lower deck statement was overheard in Singapore that we're sailing Friday, fourth of January at 0900 a few days before official decision was taken on the time of sailing.  Witchcraft if you like, but there it is.

But the best days of the buzz are over.  It flourished when the war was raging and the seas were dangerous.  The sailing of the ship, where she will go, what she will do, who will be in company, when she will return, shore leave, mail, that was the breeding ground of the buzz.  And if someone heard Jimmy ask Guns if he could speak French, well that was soft rain to hurry the seeds along.  For the buzz germinates along the laws of nature, it will not be forced.  A certain office in the Bulolo carried for a time a cleverly contrived 'buzz machine' and visitors in plenty came to see it.  And they laughed.  But not a single buzz came from that machine; it lay there as squat and barren as the shot-laden frog which starred in the 'adventures of Mark Twain'.

The buzz will never come from a machine.  It comes from the being and living together of free impulsive men, creating their own community, engaged on a job of which they can only be told a part, so that out of wishful thinking and the imaginativeness of free people they unconsciously fill in the blanks.  And as dangers and the need for secrecy disappears, so will the buzz be discharged to depot without relief.

[End of page 6]

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BULOLO TIMES

Series HB No 10

Tuesday 22 January 1946

It feels good to be back on sterling.  The very name rings true. Its honest and easy.  If a thing costs sixpence or a shilling or a pound we know exactly what it means and whether it is worth that much to us.  There will be no more need for that little mental niggle converting from one currency to another.  If we do occasionally turn sterling prices into dollars and cents and rupees and annas, it will be with the airs and graces of men who have seen the world with a light in the eyes which have seen

"The dawn come up like thunder
Outer China crost the bay"

No more wondering why the Malayan dollar is called two and four when its only worth sixpence.
Money is a tricky subject.  The simplest thing about it is the ease with which it can be spent.  The more we study the subject the more we realise that there is still more to be known about it.  It does bewitch us.  "The love of money" St Paul said "is the root of all evil."  And a preacher discussing that said "and all of us want roots." You buy goods and sell them with money.  You buy and sell services with it. Even gifts demand the money process.  So it digs deeply in our personal lives and private habits.  It goes beyond that, for no form of money is good unless it have government backing, and the government which backs it must be good and strong and it must carry the confidence of all the people who handle its money.
No developed community can go on without it.  The only alternative is barter, which is the name, not of a shoe shop, but of a direct exchange of goods.  You want a flint and have a cow to spare. Another man wants a cow and has a flint he does not want.  That is why barter fails, because you cannot very well chop the value of a flint off a live cow.  The first stages of money showed some commodity as being exchangeable for others;  something most people wanted or would accept because they could easily find someone who wanted it.  As the community developed, its money system had to grow too, until we have our present system of note money and coin and bank money. [We'll leave bank money out of this.  It wont hurt]. It is dangerous to imagine that we have reached the end of the money system development.  The end will be an international one, and the trouble we've had with Malayan dollars and Indian rupees will be regarded in those great days in the same way as we now think of the flint and the cow picture.
Money must do three important things before it can win its spurs.  It must be a means of exchange.  It must be a measure of value.  It must be a standard for deferred payments.
The first two can hardly be separated.  Instead of have a chap who has to sell what you want to buy provided you can sell what he wants to buy, this thing called money does it.  It simplifies the process.  The measure of value is the estimate of the worth of the article.  You want a book.  The book seller want ten shillings for it.  The ten shilling note means the same to you both.  So the transaction is simple.
The ten shilling note means the same to both of you at the time of that purchase.  But that bookseller is saving up to pay a bill of £100 to be paid in three months.  Now, if that money chops and changes every day so that one day a book is worth only half a crown - that means money becomes more valuable in terms of goods - and the next day the book is worth two pounds - that is money becomes cheaper in terms of goods, the heart will be taken out of the bookseller.  It will be taken out of all the other people in his country too.  You must have stability and confidence.  When a man takes on a bill  of £100, he wants to be reasonably happy that its the same kind of £100 that he will be paying back in three months time. If the money is good, it remains steady; it is a good standard for deferred payments. Or, in other words, the value - measure - remains steady over a period.
There are other important qualities.  Money is really the government's word "I promise to pay."  And you accept that just as you accept an individual's word.  You don't waste a moments faith on some peoples' word; with others you know it will be carried out.  So that, when money is good, it is because the government is good, and the people of the country steady and stable.  Sterling has gone through many stages.  Gold was good money because it was valuable and desirable in itself [good rabbit stuff]; the quantity that existed in the world did not fluctuate greatly from year to year, and the demand for it remained constant.  But as trade increased, gold became inadequate, and the bank note and cheque system developed. The promise to pay gold became more and more academic and, with really dangerous brevity, the present system can be argued to be the result of the government technique to assess the nation's total income, the varying needs of trade, the nation's 'seasonal needs'.  And it makes the 'ready' available accordingly..  It watches that income anxiously and applies a little touches of restraint here and of encouragement there without most of us knowing about it.
It is so easy in a well run community for us to know nothing about this side of the money business.  Heaven forbid that anyone should think he's learnt much from this shoddy chat.  If it incites even one man in Bulolo to buy an elementary book on Economies when he gets into the UK, the writer will be satisfied.  It is to be hoped that we have learnt enough about money mysteries out east to want to know the explanation.  A small tin of boot polish in Singapore priced at three Malaya dollars, which in official sterling equivalent is seven shillings.  On that example we have learnt that money can fool us.  We may have noticed that the more unstable a country's money is, the greater the need for time-wasting bargaining.  And that in the absence of stable government normal money takes second place to commodities which are scarce and in demand.  For example, did you notice that cigarettes were in demand in Malaya?  That a good service of good money is essential to the flow of goods which is as essential to countries as laying in stores is for a ship before she sails.  Goods were needed in Malaya.  They were obtainable  from India .  But there was no good money acceptable in both countries. [bank drafts were not available] so you and I were asked in the street if we had any Indian rupees to sell at Rs100 for Malayan dollars 75, that is £7.10.0 sterling for £8.15.0 sterling on paper.
Yes, its a relief to get back to honest sterling.  It has built up its reputation over many years of honesty and steadiness.  The man who lurked in the approaches to Keppel Harbour offering sterling pound notes for tins of cigarettes may have been transgressing law and ethics, but he was a man of foresight, a good psychologist, and he was certainly paying the old country a grand compliment.

[End of pages 7 and 8]

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BULOLO TIMES

HB Series No 12

Thursday 24 January 1946

Yesterday forenoon the writer walked in and out of a very pleasantly run discussion.  After thoughts made his realise that his mind had been made up on it years ago.  And this is a dangerous state of mind.  Perhaps others would like to fade the issue also.
The discussion revolved on whether life was worth living, but more particularly whether you can take a good luck at the world "look into the seeds of time and say which grain will grow and which will not", and, in the end, feel justified in bringing babies into such a world and such a future.
One side seemed to argue; we have just emerged alive from a six year total war, which ended in the destruction of whole cities by means of scientific discovery which stuns us even at the beginning of its development.  That war has ended, but there is no peace.  Hitler and his gang are down and out.  But fear remains. The East is seething and there is unrest and changes of all kinds in all other countries.  In our most private lives we wonder what our conditions will be, in the service, in civvy street; will there be houses for us; will the job be all right, and will the money be enough to see us through.
Is that the kind of world to bring a baby into?  It seems an overwhelming case. But there must be another side.  We can by cynical for a start, and say that the number of babies born in the United Kingdom in a year is not the number of times that very question has been answered in the affirmative.  Discussing the non-fraternisation business in Germany a few months ago, the Times said something like this "the problem will be solved on biological lines". In the next higher stage you will get arguments of what you can afford and of the level which you want to afford.
Above that you will have the discussion which was going on in Bulolo yesterday.  The answer lies in our nature.  The padre would have his answer.  But not all of it.  The answer of another padre of a different persuasion would walk along with the first one for part of the way and then take another road. So would our individual answers.  Life is the same to us all up to a point and beyond that we take the grand trunk roads, the by-passes, or the narrow leafy country lanes according to our personalities and philosophies. 
You yourself -  are you sorry you have lived so far?  Has it been unrelieved misery, have you found no beauty, no happiness, no laughter, no love in it? You have not seen a perfect world.  You have seen possibly the war of 1914-18 as well as this last one.  You have seen mass unemployment, tragic depression and derelict communities; rape of countries like Manchuria, Abyssinia, Czechoslovakia, the massacre of the Jews, the black satanic regime of Hitler, famine in India, the unbelievable pleasure the Japs found in torturing our own kind.  And yet, can you honestly say that you have never burst into song or done something similar, in tune with your own personality, from sheer happiness? Doing your job well, singing a song, making something which proves you are a good craftsman, happiness in your head, a church service which up lifts you, falling in love with the 'most wonderful girl in the world', doing well at cricket or football, bathing in the sea, walking into the wind on the crest of a hill, wallowing in a good play or good music or a good film, dancing, gazing at the sunset, sheltering in a barn and listening to the rain on the corrugated roof, setting up stocks of corn in mellow moonlight, a deep sense of well being when you are with good friends - the list could go on endlessly.  In the very midst of war, you must have some decency and kindness which comes to the surface in human beings when dangers are greatest and sham is sheer waste of time.
If, on balance, you find life good and look forward to the rest of it, are you sure that you have the right to say that someone else shall not have the chance to enjoy what you have enjoyed?  It was amusing yesterday to note that the men who argued that they had this right were as cheerful as the other side.  The old gypsy had no money, no social prestige, no Beveridge scheme for his old age, and yet "there's the sun and the moon and the stars, brother - all sweet things.  And there's the wind on the heath, brother - who would want to die?"

[End of page 9]

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BULOLO TIMES

HB Series Number 13

Friday 25th January 1946

As we left Aden, we said goodbye to the East Indies Station and to Japanese Campaign Pay  so it may be assumed that our feelings were mixed.  On the surface, it was like sailing from just another port, but, invisible to us, the traffickers in mystic rites of codes and cyphers changed one necromantic set of books for another, and communications salaamed to another lot of orders-cum-amendments.  But sterling stays on.

What  have we picked up out East except Japanese Campaign Pay and the Burma Star?

Probably the most dangerous thing we have picked up is a little knowledge.  We have seen many coolies and we have seen many bearers, chowkidars chaprasis, charwallahs, embroilled policemen; so we may go home saying that we know what India is like.  We have pirouetted to our quarters late at night in a city like Calcutta and fallen into one of its charming street garbage pits; so we may go home and say, yes, we know India all right.  Of India's population of roughly 400 millions........... 

[my notes:   from the following links, you will see that the author's claim of 400 million is not far off - it was actually just below this figure in 1950, so a little further away from 400 four years earlier in 1946, when it was written.  In 2000 the figure reached the  ONE BILLION  mark measured using the US standard as shown in this copy/paste from the Oxford English Dictionary [OED] namely a THOUSAND MILLIONS

billion (_______).
[a. F. billion, purposely formed in 16th c. to denote the second power of a million (by substituting bi- prefix2 for the initial letters), trillion and quadrillion being similarly formed to denote its 3rd and 4th powers. The name appears not to have been adopted in Eng. before the end of the 17th c.: see quot. from Locke. Subsequently the application of the word was changed by French arithmeticians, figures being divided in numeration into groups of threes, instead of sixes, so that F. billion, trillion, denoted not the second and third powers of a million, but a thousand millions and a thousand thousand millions. In the 19th century, the U.S. adopted the French convention, but Britain retained the original and etymological use (to which France reverted in 1948).
Since 1951 the U.S. value, a thousand millions, has been increasingly used in Britain, especially in technical writing and, more recently, in journalism; but the older sense _a million millions' is still common.]
1. orig. and still commonly in Great Britain: A million millions. (= U.S. trillion.)

It is not too difficult, even for the most sickening of do-gooders to see that eventually, India will produce so many children that they will fill EVERYBODY ELSE'S COUNTRY with the off-springs of their total ignorance and arrogance, and the indigenous populations will suffer irreparable damage because of it. If you can stomach the detail of the subject matter go to 

http://www.geography.ndo.co.uk/analysingpop.htm and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/2540271.stm

 end of my notes]

 ..............14% are literate; that is to say, can read a letter.  The expectation of life is 26 years.  The average yearly income per Indian is sixty five rupees, say, £5.  The rupee is now worth roughly seven annas compared to its pre-war value. Our average income is £80 and that of the USA £110. Such figures encourage our mental laziness so that we find it easy to forget that there in an India beyond our personal experience, possible, beyond our ken.  There ARE Indians who are cultured educated and of brilliant brain.  There ARE Indians who are fabulously wealthy. Though we remember clearly the spit and hacksaw act of the coolie as he cleared his throat, nevertheless there ARE Indians who are charming.  Marine Drive, Bombay, as the sun went down, made a very pretty picture with its endless sarees.  In the last world hockey championship played, India were champions.  At least three Indians have played cricket for England.  Tata Steel is one of the greatest steel concerns in the whole world.  In short, no matter what our personal special conceit is, it is quite possible that there is an Indian who can knock spots off us.
When we come to Burma and Malaya, similar arguments can apply.  In all these countries you will find high cultured sensitive people, who are as shocked by the smashing up of rickshaws and by bad manners as we are by the riots and excesses of some of their countrymen.  To the writer at least that was the biggest and most persistent demand that the East made on him.   There was a constant challenge that he should use his imagination and try to make it grow big enough to be able to cope with the East; to take him away from statistics and try and think in terms of human beings.  We do not think of U.K. as 45 millions, expectation of life this, annual average income that, we do not think of our hometown in terms of population and amount of electricity consumed.  It is a place of home and loved ones and the job and interests; not so much of classes as of men and women each a little different from the other in outlook, in jobs, in money, in pursuits.  We had to use our imagination to realise that the Navy was the wrong service for knowing a country anyhow.  We would not penetrate inland and live in such a quiet spot that we were able to observe the life around us.  Sometimes we envied the people who were settled in steady service jobs, who knew exactly when they could take leave and took it in full measure, free from the ties and plans of D-Days.  They went right away from the sea into the hills and talked to us of houseboats in Kashmir, the delights of Sprinagar and Simla, riding and hiking in Naini Tal and Darjeeling, and cold beer, the English downs atmosphere of Ootacamund, and so on endlessly until the mist of wistfulness appeared.  Lucky men and women spoke in the same way of Burma and Malaya and Sumatra and Java, and, though we thought, in terms of Sir Lancelot "this quiet is not for me", we were taken very far away from the Calcutta garbage pit.
We are lucky that the East was more liberal than that with some of its delights.  Its large rivers were accessible to men of uncertain leave - river steamers which took you to Stephen Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of a Sunshine Town and to Mark Twain; wide rivers whose banks sheltered villages and kampongs, challenging your imagination to cope with the fact that what the road is to you at home, the river is to these people.  Dawn which made an all night watch a thing to look forward to; noises in harmony, until an intense quietness pervaded the office, and you packed up work for a while and went out to see the blue which had overtaken black change to grey, which, in turn, yielded to a lucky dip of colours - orange, lemon, red and blue again.  Sunsets which could shut up the most garrulous.  Cinemas in the hills have emptied because the audience goes out to see the sun go down.  The moon with its intense light etching palm trees; the flame of the forest and the ghul mohur - those, and much more, we there for us.  Those who never saw them, who go back to talk of stinks and wogs, have a friend in the lady who looked at Turner's painting of a sunset and said "ridiculous, I've never seen such a sunset in my life."  And Turner answered "don't you wish you could?"

[end of page 10]

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BULOLO IN PEACE AND WAR

Although, with a few exceptions, the complement of Bulolo has changed almost completely during the past few months, we are all proud to have had the opportunity of serving in a ship with such an illustrious record.  Here, then, is a brief account of Bulolo through peace and war.  

Bulolo was built on the Clyde by Barclay Curle and Company, of Glasgow, in 1937-38, for the Burns, Philps Line of Sydney.  Engined by Kincaid of Greenock.

She was built as a luxury liner, and even her war camouflage and structural alterations fail to hide the beauty of her graceful lines.  Her displacement is 9850 tons.  She is reputed to have cost more by lineal yard in building that any other vessel built on the Clyde.
Bulolo the ship takes her name from a gold mining area and also a river in New Guinea.
She made her maiden voyage in September 1938, and thereafter embarked on her normal peacetime run as a luxury liner between Sydney - New Guinea - New Britain - New Zealand and other Pacific Islands.
On the outbreak of war in September 1939, Bulolo was taken over by the Admiralty and sailed from Sydney to Simonstown, at which latter port she hoisted the White Ensign for the first time, and fitted out as an armed merchant cruiser.  Her armament was quite impressive - seven 6 inch guns and two 3 inch A.A. guns, together with several close range weapons.  Her first Captain was Captain Petrie D.S.O. R.N. [later of Glen ship fame].
From January 1939 until April 1942, she was employed on convoy escort duties in the Atlantic, during which time she achieved the remarkable record of escorting over 400 ships without losing one.  In 1940-41, she steamed over 170,000 miles in the Atlantic.
In 1942, she was taken into dock and emerged as the first Combined Operations Headquarter ship in the world; the principal tasks of such a ship being to carry the Naval, Army and Air Force Commanders and their staffs, and, through her communications, integrate the whole of the assault, building-up and consolidation of a Combined Operation.  How brilliantly Bulolo and her sister H.Q. ships did their job is abundantly clear from the wonderful results obtained from 1942 onwards.

Her first task in her new role was as Rear Admiral Burroughs flagship in the North African landings.  In early 1943, she was at Casablanca for the conference, acting as communications H.Q.  She wore the Flag of Rear Admiral Trowbridge in the Sicilian landings and later at Syracuse as Flagship of his "Overseas Assault Force", and also at Anzio.
Bulolo returned to England to play her part in the Normandy landings, which she did in no uncertain manner, wearing the Broad Pendant of Commodore C.E. Douglas Pennant, C.B.E., D.S.O., R.N., who was Flag Officer Commanding an Assault Force attached to the Eastern Task Force.  In these landings Bulolo had the honoured task of playing her part in the landing of the famous 50 Division and also of the 7th Armoured Division [The Desert Rats].
After her task off Normandy beaches was completed, she refitted at Southampton for the part she was intended to play in the war in the Far East.  She arrived on the East Indies Station in June 1945; Rangoon had fallen in May; Operation Zipper was being planned with the ultimate objective of capturing Singapore and with Bulolo as main H.Q. ship.  The war, however, ended a few weeks before D Day, and she ended her operational days pleasantly and placidly in carrying out the Zipper cruise.  At the end of October, she ran an errand of mercy to Sourabaya, bringing back 530 women and children to Singapore.

And so, H.M.S. BULOLO is now on her way to pay off, refit as a luxury liner and once again take up her true role in life.  May the rest of her active life be confined to peaceful cruises in the Pacific.

The toast is H.M.S. BULOLO, coupling with it the name of Lieut Commander Monteith, who takes her back from whence he brought her, with, we hope, the pleasant music of his naval comrades singing the Maori farewell, and memories of his wartime shipmates

[End of page 11]

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WHAT OPERATION ZIPPER MIGHT HAVE ACHIEVED

Had the Japs not heard the buzz that Force W, headed by H.M.S. BULOLO, was laying for them, and had they not, as a result, checked their hands in, Operation ZIPPER would have been the biggest all British Combined Operation that had ever taken place.

Joint planning for this operation started in New Delhi on May 23rd 1945, as soon as Force W staff could be withdrawn from the occupation of Rangoon.  Originally, the assault was planned for mid August, but this date could not be kept owing to the sudden reduction of Army period of foreign service from 4 years to 3 years, which meant reorganisation of the military forces taking part.
The outline plan that was decided on, was to assault the Morib beaches to the south of Port Swettenham with 25 Indian Division, followed up, on the same day, with 5 Indian Division.  The object was first to establish a bridgehead, then capture Kelangang airfield in the vicinity, cross the Langat River and capture Port Swettenham on D+1.
On the same day 37 Brigade of 25 Indian Division was to assault in the Sepang area, about half way between Morib and Port Dickson.  This Brigade was to capture the Sepang bridge and other bridges over the river before the enemy could destroy them, and then advance south on Port Dickson.
On D+3, 23 Indian Division, less 37 Brigade, but with 3 Commando Brigade under command, was to assault the beaches south of Port Dickson.  It was hoped that by this time 37 Brigade would have reached Port Dickson and that this landing would be unopposed.  In case 37 Brigade had not got so far, everything was laid on for a full scale assault.

The forces taking part in the operation were as follows;

NAVY

[a] Force W under Rear Admiral B.C.S. Martin C.B.E. D.S.O. consisting of - 2 LSH[L] [Bulolo and Largs] - 2 LSH[S], 8 LSL[L], 3 LSI[M], 51 LST, 49 LCT, 37 LCI[L], 11 LCG, 11 LCT[R], 174 LCA, 107 LCM, Various LSE, LCT[E] LSD, LCS[M], LCN, LCH and LCQ.

[b] The Support Force under Vice Admiral H.T.C. Walker C.B. consisting of NELSON, RICHELILU, NIGERIA, CEYLON, 4 DESTROYERS and 4 SLOOPS

[c] The Assault Carrier Force under Rear Admiral P.N. Oliver, C.B. D.S.O. [who had commanded the Assault Forces in the Mediterranean and Normandy Landings] consisting of ROYALIST, 7 Assault Carriers, 2 Escort Carriers, and one Carrier acting a spare deck.  These carried 5 Squadrons of Hellcats, 1 of Wildcats and 3 of Seafires

[d] The Fighter Direction Ships ULSTER QUEEN, PALOMARES, BOXER and FDT 13

[e] The Minesweepers consisting of 2 Flotillas of Algerines, 1 of Bangors, 2 of BYMS and 1 MMS

[f] 20 Escort Vessels, 5 Fairmile Flotillas and 2 HDML Flotillas

[g] 39 Personnel ships, 66 MT ships, 8 Stores ships, 3 Mule ships, 8 Petrol Carriers and 6 Hospital ships

ARMY

34 Indian Corps under Lieutenant General O.L. Roberts C.B.E D.S.O., consisting of 25 Indian Division, 23 Indian Division, 5 Indian Division, 26 Indian Division and 3 Commando Brigade.

RAF

224 Group under Air Vice Marshall The Earl of Bandon C.B. D.S.O., consisting of 3 Squadrons of Spitfires, 8 of Thunderbolts, 3 of Supply dropping Dakotas and half a squadron of Mosquito night fighters.
Owing to the distance from our own bases, 224 Group  was not taking part in the assault, but, as soon as airfields were captured, aircraft would be flown in [the Spitfires from Carriers and the remainder from Rangoon] to support and cover the advance south. The cover and support of the landings was provided entirely by the Navy and controlled from BULOLO under the direction of Captain H.A. Traill O.B.E. R.N., the Naval Air Commander.

[End of page 12]


It was appreciated that the Morib beaches were bad, but strategic requirements dictated their use.  The early capture of a port is always an essential in Command Operations - Port Swettenham was the only port of any size at all on that part of the coast [the word PORT is barely justifiable used in conjunction with Port Dickson] and the MORIB  beaches were the only possible ones from which to stage the capture of Port Swettenham.  It was intended therefore that the bridgehead should be consolidated and held by 5 Division and 25 Division from Port Swettenham to Port Dickson, leaving 23 Division and 3 Commando Brigade free for Phase B of the operation - the advance south to Johore.

This Phase was due to start on D+12.  49 Brigade was to advance along the coast road, while 1 and 37 Brigades were to advance along the two inland roads, 3 Commando was going to carry out amphibious hooks, that is to say, an Assault Group of Force W would land Commandos behind the Jap front line as it was pushed south, thus increasing their confusion and hastening their retreat.  This drive to Johore was to be pushed ahead at the greatest possible speed, and no time or personnel were to be wasted in establishing and maintaining communication with the main bridgehead.  The two inland brigades were to be supplied by Dakotas of 224 Group and the coastal Brigade supplied by sea.  Support along the coast road was to be provided by Naval bombardment, and fighters from 224 Group, operating from airfields within the bridgehead were to provide air cover and support.
On arrival at Johore, the position was to be consolidated and the necessary concentrations effected for the hop across the Straits and the subsequent capture of Singapore - OPERATION MAILFIST, as t would have been called.
From the Naval point of view, the greatest threat came from mines, human torpedoes, suicide air and motor boat attacks and midget submarines.  Of the Cruiser Force at Singapore, one had been sunk by destroyers of the Fleet after damage by naval aircraft, one was sunk in the Malacca Straits by one of our own submarines and the remaining ones were damaged in Singapore Naval Base by our midget submarines.  There were no other major war vessels in the area.  

Although the Operation was carried out in peacetime, the first of the Naval objectives - the safe and timely arrival of the convoys - was almost as difficult to achieve as if it had been carried out in war. A very large number of ships and craft of all sizes had to be manoeuvred in the narrow waters of the Malacca Straits, in waters made narrower still by the presence of the enemy mines.  On the evening of D-1, the concentration of shipping approaching the Morib beach was 40 miles long.

The fact that damage caused by Japanese mines during the whole of the re-occupation of Malaya was negligible, is a great tribute to the magnificent work of the minesweepers.

Such was the ZIPPER plan.  Although no one can regret for an instant the termination of the war, there must be some among the planners who have a feeling after all their work that they would have liked to take part in the execution of their plan.

[End of page 13]

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SATURDAY SAILOR

Remember August 1939?  Blazing hot days at the end of the month; everyone singing 'South of the Border'; the papers whipping up suspense while we betted on the crisis over our beer [ and it was 6d a pint - remember?

Remember how similar Munich was? The hot, end of August days; the crowds round the newsboys; the sudden realisation that London might be bombed; and the scratch evacuation of the children - how amateur it all seems now.

The Navy was probably the most advanced of the Services in its mobilisation, and, in the R.N.V.R., we had been in a frenzy of preparation for weeks previously.  As the lower deck came aboard H.M.S. PRESIDENT at 1830 on drill nights, we would rush for the notice board - trying to pretend we weren't, but we were - there was so much happening; so much alteration of routines. Focslemen of the second part of starboard would be mustering for gas mask issue; R.N., trucks drew up alongside on the Embankment and practical semaphore was cancelled while we got the Lewis guns, which were to be part of London's barrage, aboard.  Special parties were detailed for small arms training in the City of London School.  There was a continuous queue outside the Captain's Secretary's Office and the telephones on the gangway never stopped. The messengers were frantic, the shipkeepers distraught.  Excitement grew; everyone expected mobilisation [ how could the Fleet do without us?]  There was a false buzz at least three times - and three bumper nights in the canteen, and, at last, it came.  The bustle got worse.  Whenever you saw one of the Divisional P.O. Instructors - whole time staff - he would be rushing up or down a ladder, or pushing down a queue outside the sick bay collecting station cards; and when they ran, it meant business.  The two R.N. officers attached to the division were glued to the telephones, shirt sleeved, with empty cups of tea at their elbows.  Everyone was hot, tired and cheerful.
We mustered as usual two evenings before Chamberlain came back from GODESBURG, and waited in a corner while the more senior classes were filing round the deck seeing the doctor, the paybob and their Divisional Officer - two days ago a part-timer like ourselves - now full time, flat out.  Our turn was 1000 the next day and we felt very superior when we watched the new classes lining up for their kit, and the constant string of people coming onboard to try to join [no luck - the President was too busy.  Better try the Army, chum- they'll take anybody]. And we felt sailors to the core as we raised our hats going over the gangway - for tomorrow we would be in uniform, until we remembered that we couldn't tie a cap tally properly and our favourite shipkeeper had already reported to Chatham as a pensioner.
So Rodney B Class reported the next day at 1000, with bag [ the hammock we thought would be waiting] and at 1130 we returned ashore, with the bag.  The hammock was not waiting, and there wasn't going to be any war - Their Lordships said so; but, even if we were still only Saturday Sailors, at least we were able to shoot a pretty news story at our various locals.
No training for a fortnight, while everyone got sorted out, and then the London Division settled down to some high speed training.  
In November, PRESIDENT went away for a refit, and the signal branch drilled in Stock Exchange.  This was a great privilege - normally, only members and blue button boys were allowed on the floor.  Getting past the doorman was harder than getting out of Chatham on a Friday while.  PRESIDENT came back in February, a new H.A. Director on the flag deck, and H.A. guns on the quarter deck.  The director stuck under Blackfriars Bridge and she lost two tides and gave the newspapers a story.  At Easter, for those lucky enough, there was a cruise to Curacao.  The itinerary was old established - sail from Spithead on Thursday evening.  Good Friday in Tor Bay and the evening in Torquay.  Saturday at sea with the evening at Plymouth. Sunday ashore and on Monday, a quick trip to Portsmouth and a special 'up the line'.
Everyone was asked to put an extra nights training a week - that made three - and, with sailing weekends at Canvey [where we ran a bungalow] and shoots and schemes at Bisley, where the Artists Rifles were our great rivals, the canteen fund was in a very rosy state.  The price of beer and bangers tumbled down and we installed a television set, but the trams on the Embankment didn't agree with  it very much.
Around May, the CHRYSANTHEMUM - like the PRESIDENT, an ex flower class sloop of the last war - was moored ahead of the senior boy and she was given over to the communications chaps, more or less entirely, which saved their pride after the affair of the director on the flag deck, for CHRYSANTHEMUM had a beautiful buff funnel, and, even with her black hull and white  upperworks, no one could say the PRESIDENT didn't look like the Ark.
Whitsun was our last social occasion, a weekend regatta at Greenhithe with H.M.S. WORCESTER, and, as the weeks went by, the Munich atmosphere crept back.  A lot of people volunteered for a month with the Fleet [believe it or not] and permission to go abroad for his summer holidays was only granted to the writer after submission of his itinerary.  A telegram at the end of July brought him back at top speed from a sunbathe on the Brittany coast to some annual training with the NELSON to Invergordon.  The Reserve Fleet was putting to sea and manoeuvres on a wartime footing had begun.

Two weeks later the annual training period had expired, and we were mobilised on the spot "until the end of the present emergency."

One week later, at Scapa, the news told us that it was no Munich mobilisation this time.

Six and a half years later, with the six years of the 1939-45 war in between, it looks as though we can now go back to be SATURDAY SAILORS again.

[End of pages 14 and 15]

oooooooooooooooooooo

ANOTHER GREEK STORY

He was just another olive skinned, greasy customer that one sees in Cairo and Port Said.  In his heart was his family - not seen since '41 - but particularly his sister Marie - left behind in Suda Bay.  The way the Hun came in that night - the way he dropped out of the back window, and away!  The way to fight back - he had been waiting and so had 33 Group, R.A.F.  They'd only been waiting two months and not two years.  They'd been sitting around in Cairo with nothing to do but to wait.  The planning was done, the squadrons were on the border, the Operations Room and Filter Room trailers had been packed, driven through the Sinai Desert and were waiting to be loaded at Haifa.  They'd become part of  Groppi's Horse and had joined the ranks of the Gezira Lovelies Brigade.
Nick, for that was his name, had, through devious means, ingratiated himself with the Wingco, and through Greek or other channels learnt that a strike in the Aegean was due.  He made himself invaluable in the way that Greeks can do if they want to, and Wingco fell for it.  In fact, he 'borrowed' an LAC's uniform and at 2200 hours one evening Nick was standing by to take off the next morning.
They were to do a recce of Cos.  Never heard of it - oh, that little island in the Dodecanese - a bit small for a Beaufighter - no matter - they were to spend that evening in Nicosia , Cyprus, and they both knew that the Hungarian Girls [released by an understanding government] were a welcome change from the wogs, and, of course, Nick knew the local Greeks.
Leaving Cyprus the next morning, they whistled over Turkey - unpleasant mountainous country up to 9000 feet.  The Turks, to show there was no ill feeling, but that they really had seen them [and after all they were still neutral and one could never know who was looking] fired a couple of rounds at least 3000 feet below them. Johnny Turk stopped doing this after a few days as being a waste of time, and he wasn't certain when the replacement shells were coming from anyway.
The Beau landed at Antimachia - 1400 yards levelled out of solid rock - to see a Spitfire standing on its nose amidst a lot of 40 gallon petrol drums.  Thinking it a strange way to park an aircraft, the Wingco strolled over to have a looksee,  accompanied by Nick.  On arrival, they heard shouts of "they're coming."  "How nice of people to welcome us so" murmured the Wingco.  Simultaneously they realised that it wasnt the Station Commanders official welcome party, but 6 ME 109's doing a small spot of ground straffing.  The Wingco beat Nick by half a neck to the nearest cover - which went up in flames on arrival - they'd chosen the petrol drums as cover.  A warm reception.
During the next two days the Luftwaffe attacked monotonously every two hours.  Six out of seven Spits, piloted by South Africans, were lost in the first two hours, but the Germans lost four bombers and five fighters - three of the latter by small arms fire from the R.A.F. Regiment.  Nick, his eyes shining, grabbed a rifle and had his first crack back in two years.  It didnt matter if his fire went awry - he was hitting back.
Between raids, it was found that the mobile radar landed on the island was ineffective, owing to the close proximity of other islands rising 1/3000 feet sheer out of the water, and anyway, the wily Hun merely flew round them at deck level.  The Italian Observer Corps, placed on several of these islands, transmitted by W/T their sightings to Leros, where they were re-transmitted to Cos, usually five minutes after they had been straffed.  The Spits actually shot one transport aircraft down [JU52] on these Italian Observer Corps Posts.
The Wingco was harrassed - things werent going right.  On the airfield that day he sighted Nick, looking greasier than ever and a little unhappy.  Nick was close, but not close enough.  After a few words, he gave Wingco one grateful glance, changed into civilian clothes and was off - to report as liaison member to Lt Col Mac, in charge airfield construction at the other end of the island.  Mac knew airfields.  He'd been building them in the desert for four years.  Within 48 hours he'd organised the levelling of one road, the filling in of two ploughed fields, and the removal of a small olive growth with the help of 100 Italians, 100 B.O.R's, one jeep, two oxen and one garden roller.  Nick helped - but did he loathe those Italians.
H.Q. Cairo would not, and could not, believe that they were ready and waited another 24 hours before sending in the first DC's.  Then they came.  Every night, eight Dakotas parachuted men, materials and food, and four more would land with materials, men and extra ammunition.  In the early hours of the morning, everything was hidden, camouflaged, and a herd of cows driven over the fields.  Sheer audacity got away with this, in full view of the Turkish coast, for 15 days.  One night, one Dakota went unserviceable and the next day they were bombed and bombed and bombed.  Four days later, the Hun started at 5 o'clock on a Sunday morning.  Subsequent reports showed that he used 200 aircraft that day, 80 of them with paratroopers.  In all, he landed 6000 men to take this small but strategic island.  One Spitfire and approximately 1500 troops were their opponents, and Nick.
The airfield was defended by one anti-tank platoon of the D.L.I. the passengers dropped that night, six R.A.F. ground crew officers, and Nick.  By dusk on Sunday evening they gave it up, as casualties were getting high.  Falling back on the town, they took up positions for street fighting, very frightening for the R.A.F. types around the place, but just what Nick wanted.  Anyway, the Colonel changed his mind, and they infiltrated through the town, split into small units in the darkest night ever, walked two hours along a coast road, and then scrambled into the mountains.  Nick was in his element; mountains, Greek shepherds, goat smells, a rifle and, at last, Germans within range.
The Luftwaffe found them again by noon and straffed them very prettily.  This led their Sturmgruppen to them and great fun was had by all.  Nick bagged two.  That evening found three very startled R.A.F. officers and one calm, but seething, Greek hiding in a cave. A recce in the morning found them cut off from the Army by patrolling Jerries - so they stayed put for three days - cigarettes kept them going.
Nature being what it is, Nick left the cave on the fourth morning, steering a course for a large rock about 50 yards away. Whilst there, an M.L., full of Jerries, landed on the beach and promptly put the R.A.F. officers in the bag, and just as promptly put to sea again.  Nature for Nick was being assisted that morning.  That night he went for a stroll and met a Hun patrol - two grenades settled the six of them - Suda Bay and back window almost revenged.  More footsteps - English voices - care - caution - comrades.  They conferred and thought it was a good thing to go to Turkey, but first they must eat.  In answer to their prayers, the next morning a mountain ram walked into their new abode and was promptly kicked to death.  They dare'nt shoot the poor animal - the whole ram - lovely grub.
The next night they pulled the rafter out of a shepherds cottage and made a raft.  The rafters were kept together with webbing equipment, barbed wire and string; crude, but it worked.  When all five were on it, they sat in the water and didnt sink.
The next night, with a ground sheet for a sail, two shovels for paddles and steering for a light on the Turkish coast, the shoved off. Fifteen hours later they landed in Turkey and Nick had eight confirmed.  They were safe.
As the British Secret Service organisation is still secret, all that can be said is that it took them another week, walking, riding on donkeys,  mules and anything else that moved, until they finally took over a 15 ton caique.  Flying the Jolly Roger and the Union Jack, they landed back once again to enjoy the Hungarian and Greek whatnots in Nicosia.
When in Port Said, look out for Nick.  His left ear has no lobe, his eyes are still smiling at the thought of those two grenades, but he still looks greasy.  However, the Greeks had a word for it - and they still have.

[End of pages 16 and 17]

ooooooooooooo

A POTTED DESCRIPTION OF HOLLYWOOD

Hollywood the 'glamour' city of the world, or to those who live and work  there 'heartbreak' city. It has earned this latter title because all types of people from every quarter of the globe have been attracted there, hoping one day to become stars, starlets, bit players or even extras in this artificial and make believe Film Colony.  Many have come but few are chosen.
The film industry before the war was the largest industry in the United States, therefore Hollywood, which is now bounded on one side by Los Angeles and on the other by Beverly Hills has itself become a vast city rivalling in size even  Los Angeles of which it is really a suburb.
Let us now make a quick tour of Hollywood with its artificial atmosphere made evident by the huge palm trees flanking the boulevards, the Avenues all of which have been transplanted there not so many years ago.  Hollywood was originally just desert and it was not until about 1920 when the film industry moved from Long Island New York State to California because of the perfect climate and the nearness of every type of scenery, that it commenced to grow.
We find in this amazing city every conceivable type of architecture, Gothic, Tudor, Spanish, Italian, Dutch etc., but of course, all faked.  Almost every house has green lawns sloping down to the side walks.  These lawns are sprayed every so often by many small spray nozzels hidden in the grass and connected by pipes laid under the grass to a tap in the house - if you want artificial rain for your lawn just turn on the tap.  In every shop, drug-store, hotel, restaurant, night club etc., that you may visit you are sure to meet lovely girl assistants, most of them more beautiful than the starlets or even the stars themselves, but they dont just seem to be able to get that film break that means so much to them and is so elusive.  The reasons are many, they are perhaps not photogenic, have no introduction to a studio, have bad speaking voices, are perhaps camera shy or just cannot act, and finally perhaps, will not become as friendly as the agent or film executive would desire.
All these girls and many young men, now working in gas stations, drug stores etc., who came to Hollywood hoping to act on the films, sign on with the central casting bureau and maybe, if they are lucky, get called as extras for one or two films a year.  They remain on their jobs hoping that one day when working as an extra in some film they will be noticed by someone and given their long awaited chance.  There are also many women and men who have come to Hollywood hoping to obtain technical work in the studios but as they know no one in the industry, they eke out a small living hoping that one day they may get some extra work, and then contact the sound engineer or cameraman, or dress designer or assistant director of the picture and tell them how expert they could be at these particular jobs if given a chance.  What a hope they have poor misguided people. Hence, 'heartbreak' city.
The film studios which were all originally situated in the heart of the city have now spread outwards for more space.  M.G.M., is now at Culver City at least 15 miles from the centre, likewise Warners, 20th Century Fox and Universal are all about10 to 15 miles from the heart of Hollywood.  The only studio still operating in the centre of the city is Paramount.
Practically everything in Hollywood is advertised as being the biggest in the world.  It boasts the biggest roller skating rink in the world - the old Warner studios in fact.  Many of the younger stars frequent it.  Then you come to the biggest bowling alley in the world with 60 alleys - the noise is like a London barrage.  The biggest artificial ski run is Wrigleys Field, the biggest rodeo and so on never ending.
Hollywood is now also the centre of the Radio and recently C.B.S. and N.B.C. built large broadcasting studios where such famous programmes as the Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and many others are broadcast.  Then there are many film cinemas, the most famous being Graceman's Chinese Theatre where most film premiers are shown and where famous stars have their footprints taken in the entrance.  There are also many good 'little theatres' which correspond to our repertory theatres and also some excellent theatres for musical comedies and straight plays.  Hollywood is most certainly the centre of the entertainment world.
On your tour round you will find literally hundreds of restaurants where every known country's food can be obtained.  The famous restaurants are the Brown Derby [ bowler hat to you] there are three in fact, the original one in Wiltshire Boulevard which is shaped like  a brown derby and the most famous one on Wine Street, where, if you are interested you may see famous stars lunching or dining, you may not even recognise them off the screen most of them appear very ordinary types of people.  The Cock and Bull is another interesting restaurant run by Mary Pickford's ex English cook.  Here you get excellent steak and kidney pudding, roast beef and Welsh rarebit.  It is decorated like an English pub and may be in the evening you will see David Niven or Nigel Bruce or some other English actor enjoying a quiet game of darts.  Then there are many really excellent Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Greek, German and French restaurants.  Magnificent hotels such as the Hollywood Hotel, Roosevelt, Beverly, Wiltshire and the Beverly Hills with its huge swimming pool.
Large open air markets where types of fruit of every kind are beautifully laid out to entice the purchaser.  Many famous night clubs such as the Trocadero, Victor Hugos, La Maxe, Cubana, La Conga, Earl Carrolls where the famous Carroll Beauties can be seen and finally Beachcombers with its south sea island atmosphere and Zombies made out of different kinds of rum.  They only allow you two Zombies at a sitting as the third is guaranteed to make you fall flat!
Now a quick trip to Beverly Hills where most of the stars live.  It is in fact quite flat but beautifully laid out with magnificent boulevards and avenues bounded by tall palm trees or trees with flaming red coloured leaves or purple leaves.  The houses are magnificent, most with large gardens and lawns and swimming pools, it is in fact a city within itself.  There is a sign post of interest on Sunset Boulevard which by the way is the longest boulevard in the world being 23 miles long, this sign post reads 25 miles to the sea in one direction and 25 miles to the mountains in the other direction.  All the year round you can bathe at Santa Monica or Long Beach, or if you are a star or film executive,  at Maluba Beach with its magnificent swimming clubs and beach houses belonging to the stars.  At certain months of the year you can enjoy excellent skiing in the mountains.  A day then consists of skiing in the morning, lunches at the Brown Derby, then down to Maluba for a swim in the afternoon.
Let us now take a trip to Calateria Island which lies 20 miles off Santa Monica.  We can go by boat in two hours or seaplane in 15 minutes.  This island belongs to Wrigley the chewing-gum king.  No cars are allowed on it except the luxerious sightseeing coacher.  Avalor is the only town and it has good hotels and places of entertainment.  Wandering Mexican minstrels in the gay clothes saunter along the street playing alluring music.  Bathing in perfectly clear water and sunning oneself on golden sands.  Trips in glass bottomed boats to look at the multi coloured fish, and trips by night in boats with searchlights which attract thousands of flying fish.  On the other side of the island, which is 23 miles by 7 is the isthmus where almost every south sea island film has been shot including Mutiny on the Bounty.  On the island itself there is excellent shooting.  There is also a wild herd of buffalo which was taken there for the shooting of one of Frank Buck's. 'bring them back alive' pictures, this herd is also used today for shooting buffalo scenes in films
Before we leave Hollywood we should make a trip out to the Rex which, before the war, lay three miles off Long Beach.  The Rex was a famous gambling ship.  Huge neon signs directing you from Hollywood to the Jetty where fast motor boats for 25 cents took you to the ship by day or night.  Once aboard you found every kind of gambling in full swing.  Long bars where excellent cheap drinks could be bought anytime during 24 hours, a good restaurant and dancing until the early hours.  The war however, unfortunately put an end to this racket.  On returning from the Rex to Hollywood, one must pay a visit to a Drive-In.  This is a circular building with a car park all round it.  At any time of the day or night you park your car honk on your horn and a beautiful girl in smart uniform will bring you a menu and clamp a tray on to the side of your door so that the tray rests just above your knee or steering wheel.  You can then order a glass of beer and sandwiches for thirty cents or a full course turkey or chicken dinner for about 2/6d without getting out of your car.  This form of eating especially in the early hours, I found most convenient and necessary.
Hollywood also has its real drama.  Shortly after I arrived, I visited the Chase National Bank and on leaving it and stepping down on to the busy Hollywood Boulevard I was startled to hear a quick burst of gun fire and to my amazement a man a few yards away from me fell riddled with bullets.  A love fued I was told.  Film making was a bit tame after that.
Finally come with me one night to LOOK OUT mountain and look down on to millions of ever twinkling multi coloured lights.  The whole pattern cut into glittering squares by the very brightly lit neon lights of the long straight boulevards.  These signs literally put Piccadilly Circus and Times Square into the shade.  This magnificent and indescribable night panoramic, never to be forgotten leaves one at first, speechless.  Then you will probably murmur to yourself, oh glamourous and wonderful Hollywood when in reality it is an artificial and heartbreaking city

[End of pages 18 and 19 and the End of the BULOLO TIMES Homeward Bound Edition]

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29.  

 

Today, I 'grasped the nettle' and looked the future 'in the eye'.

I actually decided where I want to be buried, and having done so, bought myself a plot; a single grave!

Macabre? Not a bit of it.      My darling wife wants her body to go to science and does not want a grave, or indeed any ceremony to dispose of her body after the scientific period has been completed.  She does however, want a memorial service.

For some time now I had wanted to be cremated and my ashes spread in the Naval cemetery at Portland, Dorset, next to the graves of the victims of the submarine Sidon disaster in 1955, my very first mature experience [I was 16 years old] in the Royal Navy whilst serving in the frigate HMS Tintagel Castle.  The Naval cemetery is high on a hill side overlooking the harbour and it is a tranquil location and well tended by Naval authorities.   However, I have changed my mind now that the Navy has abandoned Portland and  the former HMS Osprey {where I was once stationed} is to be used as a holding area for immigrants.  Add to this that the tiny island has a hill top prison and a floating prison, which as far as I am concerned rather limits poor old Portland's future!  Whoever rests there might be disturbed in the foreseeable future.

I wonder how many former Naval or Military establishments became  graveyards {wholly or in part} after they closed down?  Not many I bet, but my former alma mater did, in part that is, and it is there, in  HMS Mercury, where I have chosen to be buried.  Many people have wondered about the fate of HMS Mercury and many would be a little surprised to read that part of the lovely broadwalk has been a graveyard for approximately two years already.  I have just past my 65th birthday, so I reckon that all being well, I should go there when the graveyard is 22 years old {2025}, and not a day before - hopefully!

Anyway, all that personal detail apart, I thought that I would publish a little picture of the burial site which will help in your orientation memories of the former signal school, and which will give you  a little more to talk about when you meet colleagues at your various get together's.  Orientation begins at the old sickbay building which still stands on the south side of Droxford Road, along with the main entrance [post 1983] guard hut, the old senior rate's garages, part of Soberton block and the old senior rate's accommodation  mess.

   Click to enlarge    Click to enlarge

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30.  Poor POMPEY.

 

                                                                                                    

 

Are the people of Pompey really glad to see the back of the Navy as was?  The Navy has been reduced in size, but Plymouth now has the majority of ships and submarines.

Is the city doing as well as it would appear? Walking around Gunwharf Quays one senses an air of prosperity.

Despite promotion to the premier league, are the citizens happy chappies?

Does this article published in The Portsmouth Post {August 2003 issue - page 32} concerning the issues currently being dealt with by the Citizens Advice Bureau {CAB} reveal the true fortunes of the city?

"Portsmouth's average household income is nearly £2000 lower than the national average.  Portsmouth has one of the highest levels of unemployment in the south and its mortgage repossessions increased in 2002.   One fifth of all households in the city require housing and/or council tax benefit.  And 42% of families with children need to claim means tested benefits - in some areas of the city this rises to 80%.  The average CAB client's debt has risen and is now £19000................."

Play-up Pompey!

 

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31.   WE ACCEPT THAT IT MUST BE EXPENSIVE TO BUILD A LARGE OCEAN LINER, BUT I ASK YOU............?

The following article tells of a REAL ship, but it's name takes a lot of believing!

15th August 2003

Largest 'Italian' Cruise Ship Launched
The largest cruise ship in the history of the Italian navy took to the sea today. The "Costa Fortuna" was built in the Finacantieri shipyard in Sestri Ponente. It weighs 105,000 tons and is 272 meters long and 38 meters wide and 66 meters high. It contains 1358 cabins for 3470 passengers and it's the first cruise ship launched in Sestri Ponente after the ocean liner Michelangelo. The "Costa Fortuna" will begin service in the Costa Crociera fleet in November 2003. At present it is headed towards Palermo for the finishing touches and a coat of paint. It will return to Genoa on September 6th to be tried out at sea.


TO BOOK OR ENQUIRE CALL
0870 458 5128


Costa Cruises – Costa Fortuna

On the face of it, the most significant difference between Costa Fortuna and other ships in the Italian-based Costa fleet is its size. At 105,000 tons and carrying 2,720 passengers, the ship has captured the biggest-ship-ever crown, not only for Costa but also for all Italian-based cruise lines.

But what's really important about Costa Fortuna - launched in mid-November in Italy - is that it marks a continued evolution in ship design for the Genoa-based Costa Crociere. That company has, in the three years since it was fully acquired by Carnival Corporation, heavily invested, both in financial commitments and in developing prototypical new vessels. As a result, Costa has established a new standard of contemporary cruising that other European-based cruise lines are only beginning to emulate.

The revolutionary changes for Costa began with Costa Atlantica (and, later, its sister ship Costa Mediterranea). These ships were designed not by Italians or even Europeans but by Carnival Cruise Lines' legendary Joe Farcus, who brought his flashy "Fun Ship" mentality across the Atlantic. This ship, in keeping with Farcus' penchant for themes, takes as its inspiration classic Italian liners-of-yore; public rooms are actually named after some of these vessels.

Costa Fortuna made her inaugural debut on November 25; the ship will sail, throughout the winter, 10-night Western Caribbean/Canary Islands itineraries from its homeport in Savona (near Genoa). This summer, the ship will offer seven-night Western Mediterranean voyages and will head over to the U.S. - specifically its winter home port in Ft. Lauderdale's Port Everglades -- in the autumn. From there, Costa Fortuna will sail alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean seven-night itineraries.

Costa Fortuna's sister ship -- the Costa Magica - is currently under construction at Fincantieri's shipyard in Genoa and is expected to debut in November 2004.

 

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32.  

 I collected this magazine Click to enlargeduring one of my visits to Pearl Harbour enroute home to the UK from Singapore on Submarine Auriga in 1968.  "ALOHA" is the traditional greeting to visitors to this sad but wonderful place. The cover girl is Linda Gouveia and the carrier in the background is the USS Constellation leaving port.

This little island of Ohau, in the state of Hawaii, is a place of pilgrimage for vast number of US ex servicemen [veteran's] but Click to enlargemainly ex sailors and marines. It is also a place of reflection for all  allies who suffered from the effects of total war in the Far East theatre from December 7th 1941 until the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Japan.  This is the memorial to USS Arizona and its crew but it is also dedicated to the thousands of American servicemen who lost their lives on this infamous day. The supporting scripts tell you more about the fate of the Arizona Click to enlarge  Click to enlarge {TIP! If you have difficulties reading the text why not right click, save picture in My Pictures, open WORD, insert the picture and then use your ZOOM to enlarge}.  In the late 60's [68 in this case] over 250000 visitors each year took the navy guided tour of the base.  Such then is the awe of this war grave.  I have never read or heard of the Arizona's fate being compared with other sea war disasters, but there is a sickening similarity with the destruction of HMS Hood particularly the devastation caused by the exploding magazines, and to a lesser degree, the destruction of HMS Barnham also.

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33.  CONFIDENTIAL BOOK [CB] 415 Snippet 1 War Instructions for British Merchant Ships

Instructions issued by Their Lordships of the Admiralty informs Master's of ship's what they and their lookouts might expect to see during World War One.  What follows are but a few examples:-

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge  Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge  Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge

CHAPTER III, headed SUBMARINES, Section XXV - INFORMATION RESPECTING SUBMARINES.

99. The general appearance of a submarine is very distinctive [see Submarine Silhouettes].

[a] The speed of submarines varies considerably; they may be expected under favourable conditions to develop a surface speed of anything from 14 to 20 knots.  In heavy weather the surface speed falls off a good deal.  The maximum submerged speed will probably not exceed 10 knots, and even this can only be maintained for a short distance [see Section XVII., PARA 63].

[b] Owing to the increasing number of defensively armed ships, a submarine will probably first attempt to attack with torpedoes; should she be unable to get within torpedo range [i.e., 1,500 yards] or miss with her torpedo, she would probably come to the surface at a safe distance and attempt to effect destructions with her guns.

[c] Submarines can fire torpedoes when either submerged or on the surface.  The largest gun at present mounted in submarines in about a 4-inch.

100. Large modern submarines have a very large radius of action, which is likely to increase, and therefore it should never be assumed that areas which are at present considered safe may not become dangerous.

101. A submarine is very little affected by bad weather, and most dangerous then, as her periscope is extremely difficult to spot under these conditions.  Masters and Officers must remember this, and the precautions of zigzagging and keeping a good look-out are to be in no way relaxed.

102. It is most important that Masters should familiarise themselves with the silhouettes of submarines and patrol vessels not only in order to assist them to discriminate between submarines and other small craft which may be met with in the patrolled areas, but also to enable them to furnish an accurate report should anything resembling a submarine be sighted.

103. A submarine when submerged and making an attack is obliged at intervals to put up her periscope.  This presents a very distinctive appearance owing to the "feather" of foam which marks its passage through the water.  If a reliable look-out is kept there is a good chance of seeing a periscope in sufficient time to avoid an attack by a submerged submarine.

104. A submarine operating on the surface in an area where patrols are seldom met with may be disguised by:-
[a] Sail or Sails, to represent a fishing vessel.
[b] Dummy funnel or funnels, emitting smoke to represent a heavily-laden cargo vessel.
[c] Profuse production of smoke or vapour to hid submarine entirely.

These must, therefore, be given a wide berth.

Section XXVI - REPORTING OF SUBMARINES

105. Many instances have occurred in which drifting wreckage or other objects floating on the water have been reported as submarines.  To some extent this is unavoidable.  Masters are naturally unwilling to examine very closely any object which resembles a submarine [see Submarine Silhouettes].

106. It is desirable, however, that all reports of sighting submarines should contain as much detail as possible and Form S.A. is printed as Appendix V.  This form should be studied, so that it may be seen what information is required by Admiralty representatives at ports.

Masters must remember that the particulars required by Form S.A. are necessary in order to estimate as accurately as possible the movements and number of enemy vessels which may be operating in a given area, so that the movements of shipping, &c., can be regulated.

107. Many instances have occurred in which, after a ship has been attacked and abandoned, the boats have been ordered alongside the submarine in order that the survivors may be interrogated.

Opportunity is given to obtain further details of the submarine, the colour she was painted, whether paint looked old or new, wireless fittings, &c., and Masters who meet with this unfortunate experience, by noting these details while still fresh in their memory and reporting at the first opportunity, may be able to render valuable assistance to the naval authorities.

In the case of submarines, the number of guns and where they are placed, and peculiarities in the way they are painted, are often the only means of distinguishing these vessels apart.

Section XXVII - AREAS IN WHICH SUBMARINES ARE LIKELY TO BE MET

108. At present hostile submarines are most likely to be met with anywhere in the Mediterranean and North Sea, and anywhere in the Atlantic as far West as Long. 25º West, and as far South as Lat. 30º North.  They may also be met with in the vicinity of Madeira and the Azores.

For convenience these locations are termed submarine areas, and within them the prescribed precautions must be rigidly adhered to.

It must, however, be remembered that the submarine area continually tends to increase, and large size submarines are likely to operate in distant waters.

No attention should ever be paid to idle rumours respecting the presence of submarines in particular localities, unless confirmed by the British Consul.

109. French and Italian submarines may be met with off their respective ports, and British submarines may be seen anywhere where enemy submarines are operating.

Section XXVIII - WHERE BRITISH MERCHANT VESSELS MAY OBTAIN PROTECTION

110. British and Allied vessels proceeding up the East Coast by the coastal route are, if attacked by submarines when in the vicinity of Tor Head, St Abb's Head, Red Head [between Arbroath and Montrose], or Fifeness, to close these points, making the emergency visual signal laid down in Section LII., with a view to receiving assistance from artillery placed on these points.  They must take care not to mask the fire of the shore guns.

III. The following is a list of ports to which, in case of attack, merchant vessels may proceed to obtain protection, either at the port or in the vicinity.

United Kingdom and English Channel:-
East Coast of the United Kingdom -
Lerwick. Wick. Invergordon. Peterhead. Aberdeen. Dundee. Firth of Forth. Blyth. Tyne. Sunderland. Tees. Humber. Yarmouth. Lowestoft. Harwich. Thames [Mouth]. Downs. Dover.
English Channel-
Newhaven. Portsmouth. Portland. Plymouth. Falmouth. Penzance. St. Mary's [Scilly]. Channel Islands. Cherbourge. Havre. Fécamp. Dieppe. Treport. Boulogne. Calais. Dunkirk.
West Coast of United Kingdom and Irish Sea
Avonmouth. Cardiff. Swansea. Milford. Holyhead. Liverpool. Barrow. Clyde. Aultbea. Stornoway. Lough Swilly. Larne. Belfast. Kingstown. Queenstown. Berehaven. Galway. Killybegs.

Atlantic
Bay ports - Brest. Lorient. St.Nazaire.

Mediterranean
Gibraltar. Marseilles. Toulon. Ajaccio. Madalena Island. Aranci Bay. San Remo. Vado. Savona. Genoa. Portofino. Spezzia. Leghorn. Piombino. Portoferraio. Civita Vecchia. Anzio. Gaeta. Pozzuoli. Naples. Campanella Point. Messina. Milazzo. Cape Orlando.  Stilos Point. Cefalu. Palermo. Malta. Syracuse. Catania. Cotrone. Taranto. Gallipoli. Port Said. Alexandria. Benghazi. Tobruck. Bizerta. Algiers. Oran.

End  of Snippet 1

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