34 NAVY NEWS, MARCH 2010
Dagenham Cadet reports on camp Model
ONE of the speakers at the No 4 Area and his international colleagues to see
AGM and area meeting was 15-year-old and do.
Sea Cadet Oliver Hillier. Usually held in August, the camps
by VIP list
Oliver’s attendance at the International allow young people between the ages
Maritime Confederation camp in Italy of 12 and 17 to gain sailing experience,
last year was sponsored by the RNA – learn boat work and the like, taught
the organisation sends one cadet each by professional instructors in the host
DAGENHAM branch invited year to the maritime camps, held in country, usually staying at a naval base.
national president S/M John various locations around the EU – so More than 30 branches attended the
McAnally to their annual dinner, the Avonmouth unit cadet was invited AGM at Street Royal British Legion
hosted by chairman S/M George to the meeting to give an account of his base.
Lester and his wife Eileen. adventures. Oliver indicated that he intended AQUITAINE branch’s senior
S/M McAnally proposed the And the youngster made it quite joining the Royal Navy as soon as shipmate John Hudson has been
loyal toast then delighted the clear that the trip was hugely enjoyable possible – perhaps a bounty forthcoming presented with a model of his old
● Oliver Hillier prepares to address delegates at the No
assembled shipmates with an
4 Area AGM
and provided plenty of things for him for the RNA? ship to mark his 90th birthday.
interesting and informative speech, S/M John served in the
following up by visiting each of County-class heavy cruiser HMS
the tables to chat with members
and their guests.
The VIP guest did admit to
having some difficulty in locating
the accommodation provided by
the branch – in his letter of thanks Colleagues mourn
Cumberland at the River Plate
in December 1939, and was a
guest at the RN and Military
Club in London last December
to help commemorate the 70th
anniversary of the battle which led
to the chairman, he observed to the scuttling of the Graf Spee.
that having been a very senior While in London S/M John
navigation specialist in the Royal
Navy he had somehow managed
to get himself hopelessly lost on a
visit to East London/Essex.
Dagenham counts itself most
fortunate with regards guests of
loss of ‘genial’ Frank
met an ex-colour sergeant RM,
who had swapped turrets in HMS
Ajax with a Petty Officer Gunnery
Instructor (POGI) – the turret
was subsequently badly damaged
and the POGI killed.
honour; the previous year saw In those days X turret in such
national secretary S/M Paddy cruisers were often manned by
McClurg attend the event. the Royal Marines company, said
Branch public relations officer
CDR Frank Ward, until lately a special sense of humour and a the Royal Naval Bird Watching
acquaintances, while he had an
S/M Ken Napier, chairman of the
S/M David Billett said: “We were Deputy General Secretary
wicked sense of fun. Society and gave freely of his talents
abiding curiosity about where he
honoured by their attendance and of the RNA, crossed the
Frank was an MCD Specialist and time to this hobby, producing
and the RNA were going.
Aquitaine shipmates had a
would wish to thank them and
bar on Boxing Day 2009 in
who was the first Commanding a magazine appropriately entitled
He leaves a widow and
busy 2009, with monthly lunches,
all the staff at RNA HQ for the
the Countess Mountbatten
Officer of HMS Sandown, and Sea Swallow for the entertainment
a daughter and will be greatly
on occasion joined by amis de
hard work and effort they put
he was held in high regard by and edification of those who
missed, particularly by his
bord (shipmates) from nine local
into running the affairs of the
Hospice, Southampton, after
his mine warfare colleagues who engage in this arcane pursuit.
colleagues in RNA Headquarters
French AMMACs, the Gallic
an illness, writes RNA General
consulted him frequently, even Frank was ‘Mr Gadget Man’,
and those in the branches with
Secretary S/M Paddy McClurg.
equivalent of the RNA.
after his retirement, on a wide and if anything was new he had
whom he had dealings.
And branch members have
Frank, who was only 56 years of range of MCD matters. to have it.
We are glad to have known
also been regularly invited to
age, was a genial individual with He could not say no, and was But he was also a hard-working
join French lunches, which S/M
a wide range of interests and an secretary of the HMS Vernon and amusing colleague, invariably
Ken notes are both extensive and
extensive network of friends – it Monument Committee, set up to smiling and in a great good
was no surprise that his funeral, erect a memorial at Gunwharf humour.
Aquitaine also enjoys an active
A MEDALLION and two
which was held in the Church Quays in Portsmouth (the former He approached his work as he
affiliation with RFA tanker
certificates have been presented
of the Holy Rood, Stubbington, HMS Vernon site), and gave approached his life, with drive,
Wave Ruler, and kept in touch
to three founding members of the
on January 14, was extremely generously of his time and effort enthusiasm, optimism and a grin.
throughout last year as the
City of Inverness branch.
well-attended and an appropriate to this worthy project. He was generous to his
tribute to this friendly giant with
ship supported the Taurus 09
National president S/M John
In addition he was secretary of friends and approachable to
THE 70th anniversary of the deployment and operations in the
McAnally presented the RNA
sinking of HM ships Glorious, Gulf and off Somalia.
Medallion to S/M Brian Chambers
Ardent and Acasta is to be “The standard has been
who, as founding secretary (and
marked by a memorial service in paraded at French Liberation
without e-mail), did an amazing
Plymouth this summer. Day parades, and at November
job in getting communications up
Aircraft carrier Glorious and ceremonies, usually with 20 to
and running to ensure the branch
her two escorting destroyers 30 French standards, where again
got off to a great start.
were ambushed and sunk by the branch has been made very
S/Ms Mike Bull and John
German battleships Scharnhorst welcome indeed,” said S/M Ken.
Graham, who with Brian were
and Gneisenau on June 8 1940 “November 11 is a national
instrumental in setting up the
between Norway and Iceland. French holiday, and every town,
branch, were presented with life
Although hundreds survived the village and parish has its own
sinkings, many died in rafts and ceremony, attended by all ages.
There were also congratulations
boats in the following days – the “The ceremony is treated very
for S/M Raymond Moore, who
final death toll was 1,531 men. seriously indeed.”
has been awarded an MBE for his
The service will be held at St S/M Ken also noted that every
services to SSAFA – that makes it
Nicholas Church, HMS Drake, on Department (roughly equivalent
three MBEs in the branch so far.
Sunday June 6. to a British county) in France
The previous Friday a service has its own Reserve Officer who
will be staged at the National attends events and supports their
Memorial Arboretum. local AMMAC.
● Maurice Burgess’ model of HMS Dulverton
RESIDENTS of the Sir Gabriel
Woods Mariners Home in
Greenock were invited to join the
Dulverton to be welcomed home
City of Glasgow branch for an
A WARTIME destroyer lives again – but in a a Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessel built
evening of entertainment.
considerably smaller form than before. by Vosper Thornycroft – was launched in 1985
Apart from the refreshments,
Maurice Burgess has spent more than a year and enjoyed a good relationship with the town of
there was a chance to exchange
perfecting a scale model of the first of the Navy’s two Dulverton in Somerset until she was decommissioned
dits and tall tales, and there was
Dulvertons, a Type II Hunt-class ship with a brief but almost six years ago.
a successful raffle – with many of
action-packed career. The town is planning a reunion on April 11 of
the prizes going to the shipmates’
She was launched in April 1941 on the Clyde, those who served in HMS Dulverton.
commissioned five months later and took part in The occasion will be the dedication of Maurice’s
The evening concluded with
numerous operations in the Mediterranean, including model, which he plans to donate to the church.
branch chairman S/M Frank
Malta convoys. For further details, contact Trish Couzens (formerly
Halliday presenting a cheque.
But on November 13 1943, off the Greek island of Green) on 01398 323697 or Rev John Thorogood of
Kos, she was struck by a glider bomb launched from All Saints at email@example.com
● The SS Coamo, depicted on a Colourpicture Publishers Inc
a Dornier aircraft and sustained heavy damage. postcard of the day
Consorts managed to rescue 120 of Dulverton’s
IT was a family affair when awards
ship’s company before scuttling her, but three officers
Sevenoaks makes 50
were handed out at the South
and 75 ratings died in the incident. SEVENOAKS branch celebrates its 50th anniversary
Harrow presentation evening.
In just two years the ship amassed seven Battle on March 21 with a service at St Luke’s Church in
Coamo saved Scouse
S/M Tony Turner was presented
Honours. the town, starting at 2pm.
with the Peter Cant Award for
Maurice’s 1:96 scale replica, which took 15 months Standards and shipmates will be most welcome at
FOR one Navy News reader a Christian Prag, reviewed in June
services to the association while his
to complete, was built from scratch using original the service – maps and fuller details will be available
book review published last year 2009.
wife, S/M Finola Turner, won the
drawings, and is accurate right down to the shade of shortly.
brought back poignant memories. All 186 on board died; some
Shipmate of the Year Award, voted
paint on her hull. For more information please ring S/M Fred
John ‘Scouse’ Gee was a stoker were seen by the Germans to
for by members of the branch.
Two ships have borne the name; the second – Faircloth on 01732 741966.
on board the SS Lady Hawkins scramble into lifeboats but they
which was sunk by a U-boat off were presumed to have been
Virginia on January 1942. swamped by the gales which swept
Scouse and 70 fellow survivors the area over the subsequent three
drifted for days in a lifeboat before days.
being picked up by the SS Coamo The sinking of the Coamo is
of the Porto Rico Line, which believed to be the greatest single
transferred the seamen to Puerto loss of a merchant crew on any
Rico for hospital treatment. US-flagged merchant vessel
The 7,000-ton Coamo was, by during World War 2.
that time, in her final year of U-604 only lasted another eight
service. months before being damaged
By now a US Army transport and scuttled in the South Atlantic
ship, in November 1942 Coamo with the loss of a third of her crew
delivered Allied troops for the of 45.
campaign in North Africa then Survivors were picked up
retraced her route to the UK. by U-185, and some of those
While off Ireland, she was transferred to a third boat, which
ordered to return to the USA returned to France.
alone, and on the evening of U-185 was herself sunk in an
December 2 she was struck by a air attack just days later, with
torpedo from U-604 – subject of the majority of U-604’s survivors
the book No Ordinary War, by going down with her.
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