26 NAVY NEWS, DECEMBER 2011
Family service in Senior service
about her naval family (Letters, November). I would like to nominate
my family as a contender for accumulated years of service. My father, David Christie, joined as Stores Accountant in 1947 and retired as Lt Cdr in 1983, after (Korea),
Battleaxe, Manxman, Reclaim, Renown and Revenge. I joined in 1976 as Assistant
Stores Accountant and retired as Lt Cdr in 2011, having served in HMSs Falmouth, Glasgow (Falklands), Invincible (twice), Southampton and Iron Duke. My daughter,
Christie, joined in 2010, serving as Deputy Logistics Officer in HMS Sutherland.
service of 64 years. And I would like to add the
Raine, PO Caterer, All this adds up to continuous
following family members, my wife, Gina, mum Irene, sister Alison, auntie Lyn – all Wrens. My brother-in-law,
uncle, Jim Christie, Lt Cdr Combined service – decades. That should get a few more responses!
– Andy Christie, Assistant General Secretary RNA, Portsmouth
...OUR Signals William father,
was awarded the DSM River Afton PQ17,
Chief Yeoman John Roskilly,
service in Unicorn Burghead
Chief Yeoman, and served 32 years.
My eldest brother, CPO Cook Colin Roskilly, served from 1946 to 1968, 22 years.
(Submarines) served from 1958 to 1982, 24 years. By my reckoning this means
between our father, my brothers and myself, we accumulated 100 years’ service. No doubt this can be beaten
My brother CPO Electrician (Submarines) Juelian Roskilly served from 1950 to 1972, 22 years. I,
but I feel it is a record of service to the country to be proud of. – Jeffery Roskilly, Stalham, Norfolk
... MY TWIN brother and I joined the Royal Navy at HMS St Vincent on June 10 1958. Our date of birth was February 27 1943. So we were 15 years and 103 days old at the time of joining.
we were the youngest in our class at the time. Maybe even the youngest in
the Navy at that moment (you could not join until you were 15 years of age). Excluding
about their age on enrolment, how many ex-Naval Boys (post World War 2) can claim to have joined at such an early age? Lt Cdr F W ‘Bill’ Hagger, Tourouzelle, France
Christmas dreams of snowy hills
IT WAS Christmas Day 1944. I was serving aboard the Navy minesweeper HMS Full Moon as Leading
(Minesweeping). We were
Trincomalee Harbour in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and it was hot – very hot! I was sitting in our after messdeck reading a magazine, Victory, to which I subscribed. Stripped, except for a pair of
shorts, the sweat was running down my face soaking the rag around my neck. Turning to pages 54-55 nostalgia
overcame me as I saw a picture of Worcester Cathedral and read this description of a Christmas trip made by a man as he cycled from Ledbury in Herefordshire over the snowcapped Malvern Hills through Malvern, my home town:
Wireman MS at anchor at
peaceful. ‘You get the impression that the
‘Snow makes everything so
countryside has at last extorted an enormous white quilt from the dhobi, crawled under it, turned over and gone to sleep with a gentle sigh. ‘Yes, England was before me, with not a whisper of wind or a bird to break the quiet. So down into Malvern...’ This
descriptive and my sweat rag was not only used to wipe the sweat from my face. I had been out here nearly two years by then. Nobby,
journey was very
came into the messdeck and asked me what was up – I could not answer for a minute or so, I had pictured that man’s journey all the way.
– George Burton, Malvern Link, Worcestershire
Feeding the fleet
ON SUNDAY October 30, Pamela Cockhill died at her home in Portsmouth. She was a familiar sight to thousands of sailors throughout the Fleet. Men and women of all ranks visited Cockhills, the family- run fish and chip shop outside HMS Nelson, in Queen Street. Pam was the little lady who
gracefully served countless customers young and old. She was proud of her fish and
chips, and so pleased when a national magazine voted Cockhills the third best chip shop in the UK.
She had a heart of gold and such respect for the Royal Navy. She will be missed by many, but
never forgotten, for her fish and chips were indeed the best. She served more than five thousand – she fed the Fleet. The Rev Michael Brotherton, Pembroke, Wales
That Monday morning feeling
I THOUGHT that you might enjoy Tugg’s cartoon (November, Comment) with a different caption which I have put in. I am a retired submariner. The reason the
caption is so funny is that it was actually said by a crewmate when we were already three weeks into a long patrol.
– John Godkin, Plymouth
IT’S A great month for destroyers old and new. HMS Liverpool, oldest of the three remaining Type 42s, returned to Portsmouth in triumph after seven months off Libya. She became the first warship to be fired at in anger since the Falklands campaign 30 years ago and did what destroyers are designed to do – unleashed the full force of her main gun, firing 211 rounds of high explosive and star shells to silence the pro-Gaddafi gun batteries and stop convoys in their tracks. The Type 42s may be approaching the end of their four decades of service, but they’re not bowing out quietly. As Liverpool came home, sister ships York and Edinburgh were as busy as ever. Meanwhile, the Type 45s are well on their way to take over the mantle of the hardworking and reliable 42s which have been the backbone of the Fleet since the 1980s.
2012 will be the ‘Year of the 45.’ Daring, the first of her class, is due to sail from Portsmouth in the new year after passing through her final training with flying colours. Sisters Dauntless and Diamond are also ready to make their maiden deployments, which means that half the class of six Type 45s, the most advanced warships ever built, have now been declared operational.
As the CO of HMS Daring pointed out, recent events in the Mediterranean and Middle East prove how quickly a crisis can develop.Who knows what the next 40 years have in store for our Daring-class destroyers? Whatever the future holds, no doubt they will rise to the challenge as the Type 42s have done for so long.
The views expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect the views of the MOD the Chief Engineer, those who lied It became obvious to me that
Time marches on – and so does the Navy
WHEN I saw my unexpected appearance in Navy News (Navy pacesetters, page 40, October) I knew I would have to brace myself for criticism of Cap and Black
Pace Stick. It was therefore with some
trepidation and expected amusement
that I turned
straight to the letters page when November’s edition turned up in the office. I would like to inform Lt E C Coleman (whoever he is... we looked him up on the Global Address List but to no avail – I must presume he is retired and therefore a Mr E C Coleman) that it gave myself and my team enormous satisfaction and great pride to show the flag for the Senior Service on the British Army’s premier parade ground. The board of judges’ faces were absolute pictures when the Dark Blue piped Up Spirits at the far end of their Parade Ground and then immediately fell out to receive their
tot the from a commissioned
Naval Officer. We had a fantastic time and Army were
With regard to the peak on my cap, it was done for the Parade Ground only. It was the first and only time
I’ve done it. It was done in the office over a cup of tea and with a sailmaker’s palm and needle. In my humble opinion, it
carries on the very old tradition of sailors that in some way modify or personalise their kit for reasons of comfort, vanity, ease of use or pride. It was in no way condoned,
approved or even liked (as far as I was aware) by my superiors when I was the Ceremonial Training Officer at BRNC but it won infamy and notoriety and so we may conclude that in such a draft the cap did its job well. This was only the second time an RN team had made an appearance (I also took the first team from BRNC in 2010) at this prestigious competition that has
● The Raleigh parade instructors compete at the British Army pace stick competition at RMA Sandhurst
been running since the 1950s. This is probably mainly due to
the fact that GIs only carried a swagger stick but also due to the fact that many of my colleagues in some way believe that the Navy are not capable of stepping up to the mark. Well, I did step up to that
mark (type ‘Royal Navy Pacestick’ into YouTube for the proof) and this year the Raleigh team were bestowed with the award of ‘Best Newcomers’.
I almost feel I have to apologise to Mr Coleman for the Navy not being exactly as he would wish it. The single most important
factor in the Navy is the people and therein lies the problem for Mr Coleman – the Navy’s changed and will continue to do so. No doubt I will meet you in Hades sir where you’ll recognise
me – I’ll be the one in the Slashed Peak Cap!
– WO1 (AWW) Scott
Stephenson, FOST Eastern Areas Manager, Plymouth
NTRARY to Lt Coleman’s opinion, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines have a proud history of excellence on parade and state occasions.
The RN leads, the Army and RAF follow. The pace stick has been standard issue and used for many years by drill instructors and was certainly used at Raleigh 30-40 years ago. It was interesting to hear Lt Coleman’s views but it would be interesting to hear what ex-Chief GIs from Whale Island think about today’s standards of drill.
They certainly would not have
been as polite as “you horrible little man”, or “I’ve seen smarter maggots”, the language would have been somewhat stronger, but always followed by “sir” when addressing or dressing down an officer.
As for our modern ‘want to
be GIs’ pictured in the October issue – are tattoos now allowed at Raleigh and does pusser now offer a choice of pacing sticks in different colours?
I do not recollect a choice other than brown. To sum up, I do not agree with the comments made by Lt Coleman, however I do agree with what was said about that cutaway cap.
Dreadful sir, very over-the-top and a step too far.
I PARTICULARLY enjoyed the article Small Ship Big Impact (October) in which you mention two ships from the University Royal Naval Units, Puncher and Express. It would be nice in one issue to see HMS Smiter mentioned, as I don’t remember seeing a mention of her. I served aboard the wartime Smiter from her commission in January 1944, after paying off one Armed Merchant Cruiser. I’m sure her captain and crew
would be pleased of a mention and it would make a nice birthday present for me – I was 89 on the day I read the feature. – Albert Valler, Fife
– Brian J Bloom, ex CPO Shenley, Hertfordshire
December 2011 no.689: 57th year Leviathan Block, HMS Nelson, Portsmouth PO1 3HH
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