ROYAL NAVAL AND BRITISH MARITIME SNIPPET 10

a continuation of  type from http://www.godfreydykes.info/ROYAL_NAVAL_AND_BRITISH_MARITIME_SNIPPETS_1.html
and
http://www.godfreydykes.info/ROYAL_NAVAL_AND_BRITISH_MARITIME_SNIPPETS_2.html
and
http://www.godfreydykes.info/ROYAL_NAVAL_AND_BRITISH_MARITIME_SNIPPETS_3.html
and
http://www.godfreydykes.info/ROYAL_NAVAL_AND_BRITISH_MARITIME_SNIPPETS_4.html
and
http://www.godfreydykes.info/ROYAL_NAVAL_AND_BRITISH_MARITIME_SNIPPETS_5.html
and
http://www.godfreydykes.info/ROYAL_NAVAL_AND_BRITISH_MARITIME_SNIPPETS_6.html
and
http://www.godfreydykes.info/ROYAL_NAVAL_AND_BRITISH_MARITIME_SNIPPETS_7.html
and
http://www.godfreydykes.info/ROYAL_NAVAL_AND_BRITISH_MARITIME_SNIPPETS_8.html
and
http://www.godfreydykes.info/ROYAL_NAVAL_AND_BRITISH_MARITIME_SNIPPET_9.html

1.

We start off this final snippet in the series with a little addition to an existing website, namely the HMS Glamorgan site @ http://www.hmsglamorgan.co.uk/  specifically to this page http://www.hmsglamorgan.co.uk/html/whats_new.html and to the May 15 entry.

I thought that rather sad, the possibility of this lovely MEMORIAL site closing because it is "expensive to maintain" and anyway, nobody seems to care - those are my words but they closely convey the intention stated.

Web sites today cost peanuts, but apart from that, these types of sites are literally MEMORIALS, sites for visits, to remember and to pay a silent tribute bound up with everlasting respect, and it shouldn't matter over much that a visitor doesn't find it necessary to leave a message.  That a visit has been made shows on the site logs, which give a true measure of interactivity. Assuming that some of those lost had young children, say 12 years old, and assuming that  an internet of sorts in the future permits webpages similar to those of today, the on-line MEMORIAL to Glamorgan's name and sacrifice will be viewed well into the 2050's, another 35 years still to go, and that is just a guesstimate!

Well, sometime ago, I emailed the Glamorgan webmaster, but, and sadly, got no response, so, to avoid my research being wasted [which I had offered to him to add to his site] I will place it here just in case it is picked-up by an ex Glamorganite.  Incidentally, I once sea-rode the 'Glamorous Organ' for four weeks accommodated in 3 mess, but that was when times were easier and not in harms-way.

This is what I wanted him to see. Some of this data is well known, some alters data already published which is incorrect, some is additional and new to the overall site and story.

Michael Ernest Barrow.htm

If you come across this and know of the Glamorgan's webmaster, please pass it on. Many thanks.

2.

For the first  and last time in these 10 snippet files, I will move slightly away from personnel and matters of the sea, to a generalisation of the British armed forces.

One of the basic differences between WW1 and WW2 was in the treatment of conscientious objectors.

In WW1, imprisonment in a civil prison, was an alternative open to military/naval courts. In WW2 it wasn't  and conchie's [as they were called] were given enforced employment which didn't require side arms, but could and often did, still put them directly in harms way. An example of this was digging trenches and latrines on the front line, or as drivers, bringing stores and ammunition to the fighting troops, and of course ambulance drivers and stretcher-bearers at the front and between the front and field hospitals to the rear.

WW1 conchies, pacies, and abo's, were treated very differently and sometimes harshly unto death.

A paci was a pacifist and an abo was an absolutists. These were regularly used abbreviations especially in the army, and with the exception of an infinitesimally tiny group of regular forces who changed their minds about fighting midstream, were all volunteers or conscripts, the latter group commencing roughly half way through the war in the first half of 1916.

In WW1, the generic name for men called up in 1916 onwards was CONSCRIPT: in WW2 is was HO = Hostilities Only.

  Given the sheer numbers involved of volunteers and conscripts in WW1 [said to be 2.5 million men and upwards] it is somewhat surprising to see the very small number of men who were categorised under the headings of conchies, pacies and abo's, especially when one remembers the need for conscription in the first place which was necessary for three basic reasons. The first was the lack of volunteers, the second the high casualty rates and finally, Frenchmen in the army of France whose morale collapsed in the field threatening a wide spread mutiny:  didn't we have problems with the French in WW2 also? In 1917, our other so-called ally Russia broke ranks and fled to mother Russia to put down their King [Tsar] and support Lenin and his revolution, leaving the Allied cause in a pickle!

About 16,000 men refused to fight and these were called conscientious objectors. Most of these men were pacifists, who believed that even during wartime it was wrong to kill another human being. About 7,000 pacifists agreed to perform non-combat service. This usually involved working as stretcher-bearers in the front-line, an occupation that had a very high casualty-rate. Over 1,500 men refused all compulsory service. These men were called absolutists and were usually drafted into military units and if they refused to obey the order of an officer, they were court-martialled.

Forty-one absolutists were transferred to France. These men were considered to be on active service and could now be sentenced to death for refusing orders. Others were sentenced to Field Punishments*. Those found guilty before being transferred to France were sent to English prisons. Conditions were made very hard for the conscientious objectors and during the war sixty-nine of them died in prison. The age of conscription was eventually raised to 51 and the date extended to 1920.

* Field Punishment No 1 involved men to be tied-up [legs and arms bound] and then tied to a post, a fence, a gun-wheel etc  for all to see for a few hours each day - a kind of a medieval  stocks punishment without the rotten tomato's. Field Punishment No 2 also involved a man being tied-up but with legs  more loosely bound, giving him enough freedom to march [without swinging his arms] with his outfit. He was nonetheless ridiculed by his tormentors although undoubtedly pitied by his peers.

3.

I have temporarily borrow this acronym from my grandkids, all of whom [seemingly] spend most of their wakening moments texting, Skyping and social mediaing. Its goes

OMG! = Oh my God - Written 17th February 2016.

Have you seen  the Channel 4 TV programme called "NAVY SCHOOL" transmitted in February 2016 on the training in HMS Raleigh?  That so-called junior member HARRINGTON came across to me as a RENT-BOY from the moment he appeared on screen, overtly effeminate and a bad team member, lacking the morals necessary for the senior service.  This, plus his dirty kit and jack m' lad attitude makes me wonder about his parents and home upbringing. Not only was it a bad and terrible show putting the Royal Navy is the worst of lights, it must make the general public add to their already concerns of a depleted and ineffectual navy supposedly there to defend our country, if this is the calibre of the future crews. EVERYTHING about the programme was embarrassing from the constant tirade of foul language from the petty officer instructor, Petty Officer HEAD [and Heads comes to mind], and the toleration of the same language used by the recruits. Boys have been and will always be boys, but is there any necessity to emulate the crap shown nightly on TV reflecting modern civilian culture?  I think not!   Given modern trends, I wondered if the female recruits were of the same low moral standards? One dearly hopes not! Frankly, I trust and hope that none of my family or friends watched this series, and I can well imagine that many a senior officer is asking questions as which clown in MOD[N] approved the showing of the programme. As for the females shown [training staff], the rather two-ton-tessie of an Amazon shown here in my tiny video clip HMS RALEIGH Basic Training.wmv [shades of Russian female? olympic shot putters comes to mind], butch and no doubt often coarse, vulgar and foul-mouthed drill petty officer, was the ultimate rotten advert for military life, and clearly the navy has long abandoned the cult of fitness exercised in the BFP culture [basic fitness test - never mind personal pride] for she was a heart attack waiting to happen. Why, for God's sake would the navy allow such a person to represent the navy of the future on screen? Members of naval messes must have cringed. Moreover, women in such roles [note the vast majority of women's roles are well received by men who show respect for the female gender and there are too many to mention here, but the lady who figures large in paragraph 8 below is one such person I have in mind] must one day, realise that there are men's roles and women's roles, and women undertaking some of the men's roles [GI's in this case] will always be prime targets for piss-taking: men tolerate them but cannot take them seriously, and never will!  The investigating female lieutenant looked as though she had missed several hair appointments, although a bloody good wash of her locks would not have gone amiss. All in all, depressing, utterly so, with only glimpses of naval training seen, the rest involving 'playing to the camera' under the directorship of a weirdo or should that be a pervert?  Boy's 17 or 27 and between are not necessarily men, until they have been taught either in the home [best place] or in the barrack room how to act, and if the intention was to show us a "NAVAL SCHOOL", instead of a  'boys' behaving badly' episode, then the director failed miserably.

I am sure that the navy attracts better recruits than the "stars" of this puerile distasteful crap suggested. I know from great experience that this "skylarking" for the want of a better word, goes on - the wardroom calls it "high spirits" - and so my point is simply this:-

Why show this side of our fine navy, when we need to show the nation that despite repeated defence cuts, we haven't cut or lowered the standards of our sailors of the future, and if we have, we shouldn't be telling the general public?

For the record, I went to the recruiting office when I was 14 years and 10 months old actually joining a REALLY TOUGH naval training at HMS Ganges when I was 15 years old. Throughout my training with fellow ratings all of who were 15'odd years old  [not at all like the spread at Raleigh today 17-27 and who knows, less or more] we were guided by high moral principles and mega strict discipline. Readers of this might refuse to believe that it would have been totally unacceptable for staff to swear at boy's using profane and foul language in the early 1950's: officers I might add, rarely is ever swore in public - believe me!  We maintained a full day from 6am to 9.30 pm to keep our minds focused on naval training, not for just a few "sloppy mamby-pamby weeks" but for a full 15 months of commitment and head-down resolve, with, I might add, a kit to master and maintain five times the size of the trivial kits shown in this programme, and even then, a high percentage of their kits were personal clothing items which we weren't allowed.  Every item of our kit was naval issue so all kits were uniform,  constructively easy to inspect and judge, and on day one, all our civilian attire, shoes and heavy coats included, were packed-off back home to mum and dad. We were trained and ready for sea when we were  16 years and 3 months old approx, but even so, we were drafted not into ships company billets, but into supernumerary billets to continue our training to become naval men, roughly a further year on, putting our training in "boot camp" to effect at sea, becoming officially recognised at 17 years and 6 months as an ordinary seaman and paid as such. It beggars belief that recruits can have any meaningful training in the very short time-frame now allocated.

The 'Navy School' TV programme reminded me of the BBC's light programme radio show of many years ago, called "Further up the Creek" with HMS Skylark, only that was funny!

So, dear First Sea Lord, can we ask you to make sure that all future so-called PR programmes commercially made about the Royal Navy, are heavily vetted before being accepted and broadcasted. A repetition of this type of programme does not auger well for your navy, or should I say our navy! Thank you Sir.

P.S.  I copied this from one of those forums which litter the web. The last line says it all, although I am sad to read it, but it has confirmed my worst fears.


Unless I've misread it, it's not a recruiting initiative driven by Captain Naval Recruiting, so far as I'm aware.

Maybe others know different?

It has certainly increased expressions of interest but, a bit like Commando School, the selection and training process is sufficiently robust enough to sift out unsuitable candidates. Some would argue it isn't, but it has evolved over many years and selection is usually a reasonable indicator of achieving the required "type" of person we seek to recruit. Selection is more rigorous now than at any time before. The odds are many of us who have served previously may not have made the grade, had the current entry standards been applied when we joined.

With regard the "wastage" rate at Raleigh, the figure 30% was mentioned in the programme and I can categorically assure you that is nowhere near the true annual wastage rate, which is nearer 12-15% when you look at the overall stats.

The majority of those discharged are through medical issues (pre-existing injuries or injuries sustained after joining, mainly (5-7%), 2-3% of "Fail to Signs" and "No shows" on day one, and 2-3% of voluntary releases for reasons ranging from family issues/partner pressure to bereavement and about 2-3% fitness biffs and "professional fails" (kit musters, etc).

The AFCO attrition rate is about 60-70% wastage (Recruit Test Fails, Interview Fails, Medical Fails, Fitness Fails, etc), so you can be fairly sure those arriving at Raleigh, whatever people may think, are the top 30% of all applicants. Ugh!!!!

4.

PIGEONS!

Many will know that in WW1, pigeons were used prodigiously across the wide expanses of the Western Front, and the even longer distances back to home commanders in dear old Blighty, to carry messages of vital importance to the prosecution of the war. To the men who fed, loved even, cared for, and released/recovered these marvelous birds which today are a pest, well known to spread disease, we owe a debt of gratitude, for without this speedy way of a reliable communication [assuming they were not as sometimes the case, brutally shot out of the skies] troops in the field were in a wilderness, divorced from their loved ones back home and even from their forward commanders, face to face with the Hun in trenches within rifle/machine-gun killing range.

I mention that well within my remit of writing about the navy, came, with particular emphasis the RND [Royal Naval Division]. They, you will recall, were a group of reservists, by and large, ex regulars and volunteers, who willingly and in great numbers answered the call to rally to the flag [the ultimate white ensign] but with an already over-complemented  naval contingent at sea, were given over to fight as soldiers in the land-war. The RND is of course famous for being the first infantry-men in Belgium although they were routed and interned as Prisoners-of-War.

Their alma mater for all purposes was the Crystal Palace in south London, coined to be HMS Palace and sometimes HMS Crystal Palace. They were not trained in naval communication skills per se, search lights, flashing lights, flags and hoists, but did have an over-view of the embryonic wireless telegraphy systems vogue at that time in the Fleet. For shore-bound sailors, including those at the front in the thick of it, another form of communication was necessary which was cheap, readily available, self-supporting and free of maintenance. It would be grossly unkind to suggest that trench-warfare had any advantages, but given that armies gained five-scores of metres of ground only on an advancement and lost it just as easily without really shifting from a specific area outlined on a map, it was easy to grasp the idea of employing pigeons as messengers, which added a further asset in that it could feed itsef! Also at this time, man's best friend was employed at the front and it was not uncommon that birds and quadrupeds were awarded the equivalent of the Victoria Cross and other bravery medals. 

From way back in the 19th century, the common man had acquired the fascination of homing-pigeons, known as an 'affair with other birds'[where the original statement of flirtation came from] and involved them in many hours against the behest of family life. Come 1905/06 the "modern navy" could, but at a most laboured convoluted system, communicate from the Admiralty to southern destination [mainly], Chatham and Portsmouth, by flag signals, flags flown from high-pivotal points en-route or semaphore machines/masts/towers built on high ground, giving of course a speedy two-way communication path. That didn't apply to "off-course" routes, outside this primitive communication hierarchy-pathway, although it was still a prerequisite for the second-tier navy, the likes of say Shotley Gate Sick Quarters. In 1904, it wasn't uncommon for a naval establishment [and some ships] to have both a wired-telegraph and a pigeon-loft on site and the keepers of such, were in fact the forerunners of the petty officer telegraphist. The rate of Yeoman of Signals was already well established at this time and the keeper of the loft often shared his duties with the yeoman, as long as he was a proven pigeon handler. In 1906, a keeper of the loft was paid the handsome sum of 4/4d a day, which was 4d more than a gunnery petty officer of the same class, first or second, and Shotley Gate boasted a large loft along with its famous assault course, for many years the longest in the UK, and its challenging and central training/leisure feature, the Giants Stride: the mast came later in 1908. As the Shotley Gate Training Establishment evolved to take more and more boys into shore accommodation instead of the cramped archaic floating-hulks moored off Lord Bristol's private pier, boys were receiving 4d per day and volunteered in groups to clear and keep the coop clean and tidy so warding off diseases. Eventually, the existing land at Shotley which the navy had taken over from a long time army presence ran out.

The Earl of Bristol, he of the famous Ickworth House dynasty, Bury St Edmunds, West Suffolk, and still of Bristol Hill and the Bristol Arms public house at Shotley Gate who owned much of the Shotley Gate land mass, was asked to sell a few acres to the Admiralty. He agreed to do this, and Ganges was able to expand, making room for the building of an Naval Air Balloon station which in turn became the Ganges Annexe, copious spaces for sports pitches and room for a two estates, one for officers MQ's and the other and much bigger for ratings MQ's.

Incidentally, did you know that H.M. The Queen keeps pigeons [@ Sandringham], has appointed a 'loft master' and is a keen and devout follower of their welfare, owning several cups and trophies in respect of their agility, near perfect navigation, and first back home in the quickest time possible!

5.

  The WW2 word 'kamikaze', of Japanese derivation but as well known, if not better known by the Allies in the Pacific fighting the Japanese. A British word for toilet is Khazi, which is understood to have come from the toilet habits of a race in northern India called the Khasi people, and was used by the British Army as a derogatory expression. As I write, I can't help associating it with the 'arzy' in the Japanese word and with 'nazi' in the German word - sorry about that!

So to my point.

Over the years kamikaze became synonymous with suicide pilots driving their aircraft pre-loaded with high explosives directly at ships in a suicide mission. It wasn't the case, for a kamikaze suicide mission defined a person steering a weapon of destruction at a target knowing the mission would be achieved against a desired target and that the "guiders" sacrifice would bring eternal blessings upon his family. I remember well the one/two men underwater chariot's used by the Japanese and the Italians [in the main] which after the war were put on shown at various naval establishment. They were manned by frogmen in wet-suits who would very bravely, take their chariot's into harbour's [Alexandria in Egypt was a good example, and used by the Italian Navy to attack units of the British Mediterranean Fleet riding at anchor] where they would manoeuvre their craft under a ship, unship their explosives attached to the chariot, and either attached them to the ships hull [limpet mines] or lower the charge to the seabed below the ship. The object was to severely damage the hull of the vessel but also to make their escape. As such, the chariot, and for that matter a midget submarine [remember HMS XE3's attack on a Japanese cruisers moored in the Singapore Straits which resulted in a successful mission, the award of two Victoria Crosses, and the escape of the perpetrators ?] were not suicide missions: midget submarines also attacked the German battleship Tirpitz in similar fashion, some escaping, some killed and some taken as POW's, and some being awarded the Victoria Cross.

The kamikaze zero [a type of Japanese fighter aircraft] did untold damage to allied shipping and its fortunes are proverbial, but a much less well know kamikaze weapon, fortunately not widely deployed, and to my uncertain knowledge sunk only two warships, one a US Navy tanker and one a US Navy escort vessel could have been the ultimate naval stealth weapon.

It was literally a high speed, mega explosive payload torpedo, with a one man crew inside the torpedo steering it to its target; the ultimate torpedo. They were carried into battle [up to four of them] two forward and two aft sitting on the casing of a fleet submarine, or on a ship or launched from shore. It was in service for the last nine months of the Pacific War. It was called the KAITEN, and was like the kamikaze aircraft a desperate last ditch weapon design to stave off defeat.  Clearly it didn't work for approximately nine months later Japan was utterly defeated.

 

This is the Kaiten Type 1. I have cropped the picture to get rid of the bit of armour at the back of the plinth which you can still see at the top of the picture. The tiny superstructure down aft [it has white bits on it]  which carries a periscope is a part of the weapon shown with the periscope raised See picture Kaiten 2 below. Apart from the raised superstructure the Kaiten  was a pure aero dynamic shape with everything, including the kamikaze helmsman locked  inside, just feet from a massive warhead of 3420 lbs of high explosives.  Over 425 were built across various models [Mk's] but only 300 of the only type actually used, the Type1 [based around a type 93 torpedo which was surface vessel launched] were built. As a measure of efficiency and potency, of these 300 only 100 were sent on operations and only two ships were sunk. The  Type 1, was the only Kaiten ever used in anger. It was dogged from beginning to end with water leaks, something the Jap's never cured.

Again a Type 1. Note how the torpedo was cut in two and the welded-in section which houses the one man pilot seat and controls and the periscope housing which he could easily reach to check his bearing and nearness of the intended target. [See picture Kaiten 4 below].

The picture below Kaiten picture No 3] shows the Type 1 kamekaze weapon  with a spare engine drive shaft and propeller system laying down the port side, aft of the pilots conning position.

 

The specifications were:-

American losses credited to Kaiten attacks came to a total of 187 officers and men. The losses of Kaiten crews and support staff were much higher. In total 106 Kaiten pilots lost their lives (including 15 killed in training accidents and two suicides after the war). In addition to the pilots, 846 men died when eight Japanese submarines carrying Kaiten were sunk, and 156 maintenance and support personnel were also killed.  A Japanese total of 1108.  Compare that with the kamikaze aircraft with the following scores.

Approximately 2,800 Kamikaze attackers sank 34 Navy ships, damaged 368 others, killed 4,900 sailors, and wounded over 4,800. Despite radar detection and cuning, airborne interception, attrition, and massive anti-aircraft barrages, 14 percent of Kamikazes survived to score a hit on a ship; nearly 8.5 percent of all ships hit by Kamikazes sank.

Japanese kamikaze losses were Navy 2,525 and Air Force 1,387 a total of 3912

6.

I hail from a very small pretty [in parts] Yorkshire lower Dales market town called OTLEY, which sits equidistant either side of the River Wharfe in Wharfedale. It sits on an east-west axis just about central England, at latitude 55.0880 N, a line connecting the towns of Bridlington in Yorkshire and Morecambe in Lancashire, 70-odd miles to each destination. Its north-south axis is the longitude  meridian 1.655W approx, which runs loosely from Newcastle upon Tyne in the north, through Otley and on to Barton-on-Sea on the southern tip of Hampshire. On that line the distance to Newcastle is 92 miles and to Barton on Sea 284 miles. Given the distances from the sea in any direction, makes one wonder why such a resident would want to join the navy?

     Very little happened there in the early 1950's, although it was a desirable place sitting as it did on the road connecting lovely towns like Ripon in the east to Skipton in the West, sharing  some of those road stop-overs with lovely [again, sorry about the over-use of  that word, but true] towns like Harrogate and Ilkley]. When I was a boy, it had two very famous former residents, one was the world famous 18th century cabinet maker Thomas Chippendale, and the other, in a most stately home called Farnley Hall, lived Lord Horton -Fawkes a relative of another Yorkshireman,  Guy Fawkes, the guy whose image we eagerly burn on the 5th November. Dare I say we also had a guy with a  split-personality [I think I can safely say that?] for the most part over many years,  overtly popular and well received, but for the latter part hated with an equally overt  malevolence for his perverted sexual behaviour, but hated for a short time only, because he had died by the time his evil life had been unravelled. He used to frequent a cafe in the town called 'Tommy Cafe' at the ancient Maypole site, meeting there in their many tens in cycling clubs which he organised. His name - hush my mouth - was Jimmy Saville, but he came not from tranquil and genteel Otley, but  from the proletarian area well south of Otley in working-class, flat-cap, whippet owning, ekee thump working men's club  lay-about territory,  part of  industrial Yorkshire, those who spoke the Yorkshire  lingo with harsh aggressive  overtones whereas, we, further north in agricultural Yorkshire, used softer romantic - Yorkshire vowels and overtones.  We on the other hand, peasants notwithstanding, were men of the land, arable land as well as stock lands, with oceans of green fields, dales, rolling hills and lush valleys, and not a working men's club anywhere nearer than thirty miles away.  Please remember, that a north Yorkshire person is as alien to a deep south Yorkshire person in sheer geographical terms, as is a Gloucester  person to a Jock person in distance or in culture culture.

Anyway, as I left this utopia in 1953 aged 15 to join the Royal Navy, the Good Lord targeted the town via  a primitive satnav system [the 1930 signpost system] directing a stork to deliver a boy named Nicholas to an Otley lady somewhere in its great and pleasant environs. His name was Nicholas Houghton.

Nicholas, Sir Nicholas,  became the most important person ever born in the Otley region since Chippendale, some 236 years before in 1718, going on to become the Chief of The Defence  Staff [CDS]  in the United Kingdom a role started by Lord Louis Mountbatten.  He assumed this role after becoming the most senior and experience commissioned soldier  in the British Army  in 2013, and the most senior officer in the armed forces per se, and will step down after three demanding years in that role from which he retires in summer 2016. One can never imagine the stress put upon this mans shoulders, taking the vicious battles which were fought in Afghanistan and in  other middle east countries into account,  plus the spread of the Jihadists and Islamic terrorist groups and their evil ways. Sir Nicholas must have undergone many a demanding hour, judgments and resolutions of the country's problems , and it can't be too pleasing to have to relinquish his premier job on a rotation pre-planned basis after three years, a job which most in the UK including the Otley population, were not, nor could have been aware of this, his  swan-song at the age of 62.  In military terms he is a 'super star'; sadly, in everyday commercial terms, he is unheard of, which really lays bare the understanding of how the country works and operates for the masses. There is much talk about the UK's security inside the EU but few know, that the UK has the best armed forces of all, and with that comes the best generals, admirals, air chief  marshals. Sir Nicholas is certainly no exception. If we leave the EU it is the continental Europeans and not us,  who will suffer in so many different ways.

This is the General, a thumbnail, of an OTLEY born hero, unique to beautiful Wharfedale, but nationally unsung. Good luck in retirement Sir, and a huge thanks for your steady hand on possibly the country's most difficult and demanding jobs.

7.

 

This is a map of the GREAT LAKES in North America interconnected from the St Lawrence sea way and the Atlantic Ocean

The British connection is that I have sailed through the Great Lakes on two occasions. Look at my URL here http://www.godfreydykes.info/THE_GREAT_LAKES.htm and follow my animation from the Atlantic to Thunder Bay.   I have marked Lake Erie in the picture above.

This is a map of Lake Erie itself showing the familiar names. Note Detroit where Ford built his famous motorcars. To my way of thinking Ford was not a particularly nice man being a devout pacifist in WW1 and the writer/publisher of antisemitic text.

This is the island in the lower Lake [called Put-in-Bay] on which part of the ship is perched on top of a rock. On the map it is  called "Benson Ford Shiphouse".  The ship's frontage faces looking across the lower lake so it can easily be seen by ships entering and leaving Detroit. This is where the ship docked near to the Detroit Ford factories. The tiny islands in this vicinity are linked by an island-hopping flight to various airports around the lake each having a small runway.

THE "BENSON FORD"
 
The "Benson Ford" originally transported iron and coal for the Ford Motor Company! 
The ship was decommissioned in 1981 after nearly 50 years of service.
 

Benson Ford 1

After being decommissioned it was left to rust for four years before the
front part of the ship was removed and perched on top of the 18-foot cliff
above Lake Erie, to serve as a vacation home.

Benson Ford 2

Looking across the bow, it seems that the boat is actually steaming - full speed ahead!

Benson Ford 3

The ship still contains the beautiful wood-paneled state rooms,
dining room and lounge designed by Henry Ford.

Benson Ford 4

Benson Ford 5

The boat was used by Henry Ford to travel across the Great Lakes.
Thomas Edison was a frequent guest on this beautiful ship.
The present four-deck ship-house is 7,000 sq. ft. and includes
walnut-paneled staterooms, a dining room with galley, and passenger
lounge designed by Henry Ford for his personal use while on board.
The ship-house was originally owned by Frank J. Sullivan, but after 
failing to turn it into a hotel in 1992, Sullivan auctioned
the building to father and son Jerry and Bryan Kaspar,
who still enjoy relaxing there while taking time off from work.
It has been modernized with a garage, a game room, a bar, a state-of-the-art kitchen, and four bathrooms.
The 90-year-old cargo ship is beautiful, as she sits overlooking her former waterways.

Benson Ford 6

Visitors must be okay with heights if they take a
tour onto the bow of the boat and see the water so far below.
Benson Ford 7

This ship-home has maintained the historic and beautiful interior, which is updated with modern amenities.
Benson Ford 8
 
Benson Ford 9

Benson Ford 10
 
Benson Ford 11

Bryan Kaspar says:
"Everyone who sees our home from the outside, wants to look inside.
I think everyone who sees it is amazed at the gorgeous woodwork throughout our beautiful ship-home."

Benson Ford 12

Benson Ford 13
 
Benson Ford 14

This impressive getaway includes five bedrooms, four bathrooms,
a captain's office and living room with panoramic views across Lake Erie .
'I love the deck on the fourth floor. It's a great place to enjoy a cocktail
overlooking the lake and the nearby cliffs, and to watch the sunsets is amazing from there.'
Videographer Nick James, who conducts tours of the home, says,
'The most incredible part is standing at the helm with the way
the boat hangs over the cliff. It actually feels like you're on the open water.'
I love the history that remains all around the Benson Ford.
In the parlor, you can imagine Thomas Edison and Henry Ford sitting there puffing on their cigars.'
When you're there, it feels like you're stepping back in time,
and that those two famed gentlemen could appear at any moment.'
An incredible beauty of a long-ago ship, still available for water lovers to see.

Benson Ford 15=
 

8.

SC's [Service Certificates] are SC's but some deserve scrutiny - or at least a COMPARISON.

In my time, I have viewed many SC's [FOR RATINGS] & lists of appointments [FOR OFFICERS] when preparing web pages, or many's the time just for interest to try and get a feeling for a man [usually], and sorry about that, but just a thing men of my age, status and old navy service do look for and are interested in. There can be no doubt that as our female sailors come on stream into interesting appointments [a good start would be the CO {Nato Rank OF5 although the first CO is an OF6 officer} of the carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth - CFV 01 in about 2035!]  I would take a similar interest. Have a look at my URL http://www.godfreydykes.info/ROYAL_NAVY_COMPARISON_OF_RANK_AND_RATE_AND_PAY_WITH_THE_USN.htm

That as you will see is a pretty good introduction! I am sure that I am not belittling anyone [and if I am, I am truly sorry] when I say that naval rank becomes interesting from the point of the first brass-hat, the rank of commander R.N., {Nato Rank OF4} and gets exciting the higher an officer climbs the ladder, routinely to a 4-Star admiral {Nato Rank OF9} but exceptionally, with The Queens direct approval and blessing, to the ultimate admiral of the fleet 5-Star rank {Nato Rank OF10}. Admiral of the Fleet Lord Boyce KG GCB OBE DL  is the last officer to be granted his 5-Stars. Perhaps not as PC as I could be, but I am of that period when our admirals had VC's DSO's and DSC's with bars, and m.i.d., oak leaves on their war medals, and have to accept that today [and gratefully] that we don't have those types of wars which warrant such awards for naval officers.

One of the recurring themes of Royal Naval officers getting to the top, is that they not only commanded our largest ships in their twilight sea-going days as captains {Nato Rank OF5}, but that they had several commands before that, sometimes in different branches of the Service: for example as a submarine CO and thence, in the surface fleet as a CO of frigates [usually] moving up to larger and more important fleet units.

I would therefore find it difficult to comprehend [and being a communicator I served quite near to the officer corps and CO's] that an officer could get to the very top [routinely, i.e., to Nato Rank OF9] with having  but one sea going command? Impossible I hear some of you shouting!

Well I found one, not in our navy for the reasons stated above, but in a Nato navy, and the largest of all at that.

If that isn't enough, it is a woman, and even by her own country's standards an African-American woman to boot.

First off this is her one command USS Rushmore. The Rushmore is Landing Ship Dock  [LSD] an important Fleet Unit,  what we called an LPD [Landing Platform Dock] viz HMS Fearless and HMS Intrepid, and this is a picture of her.

and this lady commanded this vessel as a commander USN  from March 1999 to November 2000. She had no sea or command experience as a captain.

This is Admiral Michelle J Howard {Nato Rank OF9} today as a full admiral  as the VCNS [Vice Chief of Naval Staff USN] or Mrs Cowles, whose husband was a USMC officer.

In the leading text above I mentioned a COMPARISON. I'll leave that to you, but comparing her status and her navy with ours, makes me wonder?  I shouldn't of course because it has nothing to do with me, so I'll close by saying well done Maam, good luck to you and Bravo Zulu. Her marvelous and dazzling array of medals should not be ridiculed as so often is the case UK-USA rivalry [you know, John Wayne won the war type of thing] but envied, and I feel strongly that our military bosses/Government should dish out many more gongs than they do do. Today our sailors are bedecked with largely NATO gongs!

P.S. American admirals come under the same rules as ours with the top job being a Nato Rank of OF9.  They can be elevated to a Rank of OF10 by the C-in-C The President of the USA.

 

 9.

In 1973 I became a FOST [Flag Officer Sea Training] Instructor/Sea-Rider  at Portland work-up base under Rear Admiral James Eberle,  a real old-school stickler and task master. His son, Lieutenant Commander Peter  Eberle RN was appointed as Equerry to HRH Diana The Princess of Wales. I was promoted out of FOST in the last quarter of 1975 to Warrant Officer 1. This is a picture [centre] of a now an ageing Admiral Sir James Eberle GCB. FOST was an extremely physical job involving long hours in all weathers climbing on to ships, British and foreign [some Nato, others not] up precarious ladders from small boats bobbing up and down, and when not that being lowered onto the rocking/heaving  decks of ships by helicopter - doing the 'bis' - being winched back up again and then, some miles distant, being lowered onto to another rocking deck. On each occasion, one had to fight in/out of a flight suit with wrist, neck, ankle seals as tight and as uncomfortable as any wet-suit, don a life-jacket and a bone dome, and then run the risk of having your hips crashing into your sturnum as the ships deck rises dramatically and hits your feet, which are descending, dangling on the end of a wire attached to the helicopter, knocking you upwards with a 'g' force never quantified by FOST staff doctors or aviation medical scientists attached to the Fleet Air Arm.   

One of the jobs as a sea rider was to test the department under inspection/hands-on guidance, to a level well near to reality and then to observe the crews reaction to ones intrusion. This document [pan navy insignificant though it was]  was issued by the Ministry of Defence [MOD] in 1973 along with hundreds more on every subject imaginable,  and every ship coming to Portland should have had it and should have read and inwardly digested the instruction. I certainly had it.

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION ARRANGEMENTS.pdf

Normally when safe and sensible to do so, endeavouring to achieve reality, we would knock off all the electrical power on the main breakers to simulate a generator failure. However, for safety reasons in this case as well as operational requirements, we would alert the crew by shouting out, very loud and very clear "FOR EXERCISE" [3 times] and then order the degree of emergency we wanted a reaction to. So, for example we would order "2nd  DEGREE EMERGENCY,  PRORITY THREE".  A sea-rider HAD TO HAVE a bloody good sense of humour for at all times it was a case of 'there but for the grace of God go I' {the crew being sea-riders and you, crew under scrutiny] and more importantly, a BIG HEART and the ability to turn a blind eye to petty defaulters. If the reactions failed to impress, then a stand-down always led to a teach-in and a chance for the crew to learn and update their ships 'quick reaction' instructions.  A second attempt, some weeks later and without warning was enacted, with the latitude that a failed third and final "test" would mean the ship was operationally inefficient leading to a recall from Portland to ....?

I have recently found this paper edict some 32 years on, but having done so, I remember amusing myself at the expense of several signal officers who were oblivious to the edict, and totally unaware of the requirements therein. They came a cropper , but soon bounced back and all was forgiven and forgotten, although of course not the purport of the  edict. I had some fun with it, but the message was soon spread by other ships working-up and I had to come up with a new surprise - which I did! The work-up candidates always responded and at the end of the day, the work-up team slept well and contented. This was just one of a host of edicts, for ever changing in the light of technology, and whilst this was easy to resolve, others caused a problem requiring a huge kick up the arse:  at all times watching mine from the Eberle mafia if I wasn't forceful enough.  They never even attempted a kick for I was too shrewd, too quick and too sincere for them. After the trivia came the serious, and nobody tried to block or embarrass me for helping with the infirmed crew, especially when the crew were young or the seas were rough leading to lots of ashen faces and mal de mer.

10.

ALLIED COMMUNICATION PUBLICATIONS [ACP's]
whether Unclassified, Restricted, Confidential, Nato Confidential, Secret or  Nato Secret
in the 1977 period.

ACPs extant 1977.pdf

 

Now I bid you all goodbye for this is my last Snippet. Of course it's not the parting of the waves for more detailed stories will continue in my main menu's.