NAVY NEWS, FEBRUARY 2010 27
LETTERS to the editor should always be Given the volume of letters, we cannot
accompanied by the correspondent’s publish all of your correspondence in Navy
name and address, not necessarily for News.
publication. We do, however, publish many on
E-mail correspondents are our website, www.navynews.co.uk
also requested to provide this accompanied by images.
information. Letters cannot be We look particularly for
submitted over the telephone. correspondence which stimulates
If you submit a photograph debate, makes us laugh or
which you did not take yourself, raises important issues.
please make sure that you The editor reserves
have the permission for us the right to edit your
to publish it. submissions.
THE OTHERWISE excellent centre spread past shipmates who served with pride on the light
about HMS Ajax contains one glaring error,
which I expect other readers will have
– ‘Bunny’ Austin
noticed. ...CONGRATULATIONS for producing another
The photograph said to be of Ajax entering brilliant centre-piece done to the highest standards
Chatham to decommission in February 1948 is of artwork.
actually a pre-war photo. Being a retired marine engineer of 45 years
During the course of the war, Ajax’s aircraft Merchant Navy I have just one question – I notice
catapult was removed (in mid-1941) and she received that the two of four propellers have on the port side
two major refits, at Chatham (May to October 1942) clockwise directions looking from the stern to push
and New York (March to October 1943.) the ship ahead.
During these refits, her anti-aircraft armament Normally looking forward from the stern all four-
and radar fit were considerably enhanced, and in screw and two screw-vessels have port-side anti-
order to accommodate the radars and additional clockwise rotation and starboard-side clockwise
communications equipment her pole masts (as seen rotation to push the ship forward.
in the picture) were replaced by sturdier tripod The only system that I have encountered which
masts. is the opposite is the Kamewa controllable pitch
Thus the photo (which matches the propeller.
artwork closely) is of pre-war origin. Was HMS Ajax the only warship to have
– Geoff Hewitt, Penwortham, Preston this configuration or were any other four-
screw warships the same?
...I REALLY enjoyed the January edition
– W L M Castle, Portchester, Fareham.
which included the excellent cutaway of
Ajax (1935-48) and the photo of a
...DURING my National Service 1954-
56 I served on board HMS Battleaxe
The caption states that the photo
(Capt A R Hezlet) which was ‘Captain
is of HMS Ajax decommissioning in
D’ of the 6th Destroyer Squadron.
February 1948 but the photo was
In the summer of 1955 we had a
actually taken in the late 1930s,
film crew on board as part of the pre-
when the ship was paying off before
production for the film, The Battle of
the refit that extended the plating
the River Plate, which finally reached
aft on the ship’s side, repositioned the
the cinema in 1956.
sea boats and replaced the four single
Two of the original ships from the battle
4-inch guns with four twin 4-inch guns.
in 1939, HMS Cumberland and INS Delhi
I am sure that the caption error has been
(ex-Achilles) were with us along with HMS
pointed out to you already.
Jamaica and the heavy cruiser USS Salem.
Keep up the good work.
Cumberland of course was filmed as herself, Delhi
– Roger Winser
acted as Ajax and Achilles, USS Salem represented
the Graf Spee and Jamaica took the role of HMS
...THE CREST shown alongside the battle honours Exeter, which of course had been sunk in the battle
is that of the frigate Ajax. of Java Sea in March 1942.
The cruiser Ajax has a rope pentagon surrounding I hope that his information is of particular interest
the helmet of Ajax, not a rope circle as shown. to any ex-shipmates who served with me in the
– R Dolby, ex-Ajax crew, Stanton, Suffolk 15-month commission of the Axe.
...REGARDING the Ajax cutaway poster, I am
– J M ‘Limers’ Taylor, Kingsbridge, Devon
surprised you have included the frigate crest. There seem to have been a few mistakes spotted on
There will be a few eyebrows raised by my our Ajax poster – Ed (in tin hat)
An officer and a gentleman
IT WAS with great regret that As a result I wrote to him. I had Singapore, even the cablegram we
I read about the death of Rear lost all my memorabilia in a house sent him from Bombay telling him
Admiral Sir David Haslam. fire and I asked him where I could we had broken down and would be
He was the captain of HMS purchase copies of the charts we stuck there over Christmas (1959)
Dampier when I served on her made whilst on HMS Dampier – and a list of what had happened to
from 1958 to 1960 and a great particularly as one of them had a the officers of the ship’s company
captain he was. sandbank named after me. since the commission.
He had the knack of being able Sir David wrote back and sent Needless to say this memorabilia
to communicate with the rank and me various items of personal is amongst my treasured
file without talking down to them memorabilia he had retained possessions.
– a rare commodity for a senior regarding the commission. Rear Admiral D W Haslam was
naval officer in those days. They included the a true officer and a gentleman.
Some years later (after I had left commissioning service book, a May he rest in peace.
the navy) I read an article about booklet published commemorating – Tony Watson, Rushton
him in Navy News. the Duke of Edinburgh’s visit to Spencer, Macclesfield, Cheshire
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