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months? That’s luxury!

WHAT IS the modern Navy coming to? I read in a recent newsletter of a naval association I belong to that if the new Type 45 destroyers deploy overseas and the time extends beyond six months (yes, six months) the crew will be entitled to £5,000 compensation. This must surely be compensation culture gone completely crazy.

I had to check the calendar to make sure it was not April 1.

Whatever happened to the

saying Join the Navy and see the world? By the time they get anywhere it will be time to come back.

In my day Local Foreign Service commissions were quite common and lasted two-and-a-half years with no break.

None of this flying home in between lark!

General Service commissions normally lasted about 18 months and on average nine to 12 months were overseas. We had some great trips. These ships did not have the five-star accommodation that the Type 45s have.

I would like to know who

dreamed up this one – or is it just a wind-up? – Dave Walker, RN 1955-65, Lindfield, West Sussex

Not a wind-up, but evidently a misunderstanding. Capt John Lavery, RN Pay Colonel, explained: “Mr Walker’s letter relates to the Operational Allowance, paid to eligible Service personnel in recognition of the signifi cantly increased danger in specifi ed operational locations, over and above that compensated for in the X-Factor within basic pay. “Qualifying locations for the allowance are determined at least every six months following Permanent Joint Headquarters’ advice on the danger of current operations.

“The allowance is paid to

Service personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, those serving on Royal Navy ships in Iraqi territorial waters and those undertaking fl ying sorties over or into Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The allowance is paid as a lump sum following a period of such duty, for example, those deployed on a six-month tour will be paid £5,281.64. “I hope that this might serve to allay your concern that all personnel serving onboard Type 45 ships deployed outside UK home waters will be eligible for this form of payment.” The doubling of the allowance to the £5,281.64 total was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron within his fi rst month in offi ce – Man Ed

One and only Walker I WAS fascinated to see your article (September) about

rebuild in 1972/73. I did a lot of research into Captain Walker’s history, as it would appear

trainees from the Walker Division. I was in fact the first Divisonal Officer of Walker after HMS Raleigh’s

Rawlings and myself, went up to Liverpool (where I was born) to meet the surviving members of Captain Walker’s Old Boys’ Association (CWOBA). We were royally entertained, met the Lady Mayoress of Bootle, in whose offices JW used to rest during his breaks from sinking U-boats – and were presented with a portrait of JW which was hung on the stairs of Walker Division. I understand it has now been moved to the wardroom. The surviving members of CWOBA came down to Raleigh the following year, witnessed a passing-out parade, and were entertained in typical Naval fashion. They loved it!

with e t


am ne ed

that be have decided to close Walker Division. It meant a lot to me and my team – we had a great (friendly!) rivalry with Vian, Somerville and Troubridge. It is interesting to see trainees with SA80s

It seems a great shame that the powersrers er m th

r h

– in my long-gone days they were SLRs. And I have photos to prove it! Patrick Topley, ex-Lt(X)(g) RN, Rochester, Kent

80s 0s

A £25 Amazon voucher to the letter which amuses, impresses or enlightens us the most.

Picture: Imperial War Museum, ref: A_022020 Rum do in Honolulu

I REFER to Cdr Mike Evans’ letter (September) about the last rum issued to the Royal Navy. Between August 1970 and September 1971

I served in HMS Hydra which had been deployed surveying the Malacca Straits. This is an extract from my naval memoirs: On July 31 1970 the traditional rum ration was stopped in the Royal Navy. In the Far East all the surplus rum had then been held in the store depot at Singapore naval base.

In his wisdom the CinC allocated this rum to be issued to Hydra, as the ship was employed on an arduous task, with little chance for visits to places other than Singapore. Towards the end of February 1971 Hydra completed the Malacca Straits survey and the ship’s company, including the officers, enjoyed a tot on three consecutive days – surely the last tots issued in the fleet.

– Dave ‘Shiner’ Wright, RN 1953-77, Ex POSA, HMS Hydra, Burwell, Cambridge

...I BELIEVE the ship’s company of HMS Fife are the true claimants to take the last tot in the Royal Navy. The ship was in Honolulu, Hawaii, on July 31 1970. As you would expect, great ceremony

was held on the flight deck of the final tot issue. Our American friends brought TV crews on board to witness the issue and the throwing of the empty rum fanny over the side, consigned to the deep forever. They were unaware that the ship’s diver was

despatched instantly over the other side of the ship to retrieve the very valuable said fanny. I do believe we sailed next day over the date line and had another July 31, my memory fails me if we had another ‘final day of the tot’. – Rod Weatherall, Ex HMS Fife ship’s flight

...I WAS serving in HMS Fife at the time. On July 31st we were alongside in the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii.

This must put us in the frame for drawing the last tot!

...ON THAT blackest of days, I was a killick sparker onboard HMS Sirius,

– Peter Southard, Swindon, Wilts Caribbean

Guardship, alongside Ireland Island (HMS Malabar). We did draw our last tot at approximately

1230, local time, on that saddest of days. The following day with all due ceremony, we

Watch out Jack, there’s a cougar

IN THIS era of fi nancial austerity and the uncertainty of an impending Defence Review, I think it refl ects greatly on the RN that it still maintains a sense of humour in an otherwise humourless world. I am, of course, next

the name of Group deployment. After

referring to year’s Task three

years of naming the Navy’s global firepower demonstration after star constellations (Orion, Taurus, Auriga) I was delighted to read that the 2011 iteration was to be named Operation Cougar. By naming such an important

deployment after a certain type of older woman rather than a

dull astronomic feature it not only shows that today’s Admiralty is ‘modern and relevant’ (as written on the official website) but also that it can keep a cheery outlook in the face of relentless sniping from the other two Services. As such, I greatly look forward

to hearing what the 2012 trip is going to be called. Perhaps your readers can suggest names as part of a new Navy News competition feature?

I look forward to reading the (inevitably cheeky) results from Jack.

– J B Ferret, Thatcham, Berkshire

held a service on board. I have a copy of the Order of Service organised by myself, the ‘Archbishop’ (Surg Lt Peter Agget) and MAA ‘Mac’ McKay. I was also a member of the ship’s band and composed the lyrics to that very solemn hymn. The rum tub, I hasten to add, was only submitted to the depths of the sea boat! Furthermore, something that may solve

Mike’s query as to who drew ‘the last tot.’ It was during early August 1970 that two Canadian ships, the Ottawa and Assiniboine, visited Ireland Island. About 15 of us were fortunate enough to be

invited onboard and were officially victualled in at tot time on the day they arrived (I think around August 7 or 8). That is where, and when, I and the lucky

others drew our last tot, with a can of coke! Does that count?

– Gordon Hardcastle,

Dad’s swift return to Inskip archives held sweeping in Historic Branch

(former CRS 1966-1989)Wrexham

For those who can bear to read it, the fi nal order of service held in HMS Sirius for the tot’s committal can be found on the Navy News website under Have Your Say: Dittybox – Man Ed

I AM writing in response to A W Hodgins’ letter (Sept) about Inskip.

The archive he mentions was

started by me when I was twice CO of HMS Inskip between 1985 and 1994 and carried on by the Superintendent of the Sea Cadet Training Centre Inskip, Lt Cdr (SCC) Ian Wallace, RNR, from 1995 to 2006. When notification of the closure

of the training centre was given in late 2009 I was very concerned about what would happen to the archive and asked that it be given to me for safekeeping. The

archive consisted of

many articles, photographs, and artifacts of both the RNAS days and the beginning of its days as a transmitter station in 1958. It was duly passed to me when the cadets left at the end of January 2010.

The archive for consisted of

four large tomes which I could not reasonably keep at my home and eventually I found a home

it with the Naval

Historical branch in Portsmouth Naval Base.

I passed the complete archive to them in June this year. – Lt Cdr P N Furse, ex-CO,

HMS Inskip, Elswick, Lancashire

Hebe blew up off Bari on Monday November 22 1943, just after 1100 with the loss of 38 lives.

My father was injured and whilst unconscious in the water was supported by Leading Seaman Dodds until rescued by a launch.

After survival leave he went

to Toronto to take command of HMS Mary Rose, a new Algerine Class minesweeper. He took her back to the Med to carry on sweeping mines. No counselling in those days. – Roger Gulvin, Rainham, Kent

me essed d in

d n

ing his bre h

b aks from

that it was the only Division in Raleigh named after a captain, rather than an admiral. Our Part 2 training Officer, Lt Cdr John Gilbert, with FCPO ‘Nobby’

Time for plain


WHILST agreeing with the contents of the letter in September’s edition from Lt Cdr Lester May (Ret’d) I would like to know why it is that some ex-offi cers who served in the RN continue to address themselves by the rank attained on retiring? Is this an option given on retirement within the confines of some naval publication (such as QR(RN) or similar and why on earth do they choose this mode of address? Perhaps Mr May (as I would call him) can enlighten me and no doubt a lot of other serving and ex-naval personnel as to the reasoning behind it. My own stance is that with no other evidence to the contrary, once retired you become plain Mister and join the ranks of the civilian population.

It also smacks of elitism and a touch of snobbery and frankly in the cold light of day totally outdated to anyone outside the service environment. And to some or many inside who really cares? You are what you are now – Mister (ex Lt Cdr) – K A Holloway, CPOWTR (Ret’d) Newcastle-upon-Tyne

A pensionable commission is for life, so anyone who had a full career commission goes onto the retired list and stays there until they cross the bar. Debrett’s Correct Form states “...offi cers of the rank of lieutenant commander and above customarily use, and are addressed by, their rank after being placed on the retired list.” I know only offi cers use their rank in place of ‘Mr’ but I like to add rates and branches if people include them – it all seems relevant for Navy News, and “it adds a certain ton” as the cavalry offi cer said of himself – Man Ed.

MY FATHER was Lt A L Gulvin, CO of HMS Hebe mentioned by Thomas Russell in the August edition.

BENTLEY Priory, the country house in Stanmore, North London, which was the headquarters of Fighter Command in World War 2, is to be redeveloped and the plans include a museum commemorating the Battle of Britain. What an ideal opportunity this will be to get the role of the Fleet Air Arm recognised as it should be in future generations. Not enough people realise how important the Naval contribution was to this pivotal point of the war. They may be ‘the few of the few,’ but 56 Fleet Air Arm pilots

in the role of dockyard defence.

are named on the Battle of Britain Memorial in London. Of these, 23 were loaned to RAF fighter squadrons and 33 served with one of the two accredited Fleet Air Arm Squadrons, 804 and 808, operating under Fighter Command

Naval pilots served with distinction within 12 RAF Fighter Command Squadrons. These young fliers saw some of the fiercest fighting in the battle and produced four fighter ‘aces,’ S/Lts Francis Dawson-Paul and Arthur Blake, and S/Lts ‘Dickie’ Cork and ‘Jimmy’ Gardner who were both awarded the DFC (later converted to DSC) for their actions in the famous 242 Squadron, commanded by Douglas Bader. Bader indeed had three naval officers in his squadron – not that you’d know it from watching Reach for the Sky. The Battle of Britain has a special place in our nation’s collective memory, but the Royal Navy’s part in it is too often sadly overlooked.

The views expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect the views of the MOD

October 2010 no.675: 56th year Leviathan Block, HMS Nelson, Portsmouth PO1 3HH

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