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Direct your ire

BRIAN PARKINSON should direct his anger (Letters, July) about the Russian convoy medals at past and present British governments who have not recognised our service on those convoys during World War 2. If his father had belonged to either the North Russia Club or the Russian Convoy Club his application would have been dealt with by those clubs’ secretaries, who issued the necessary forms and sent them to the Russian Embassy in London. The Russian government had

very little knowledge of who were entitled and who were not, only our own Naval authorities had that information. It would have been, and still

Mk 1 eyeball Daring’s

PERHAPS you will receive many letters on the officer standing halfway out of a hatch – in the eyes of the ship of HMS Daring featured on your front page in July (see right).

Is this the new position of the

is, an impossible task to contact people who are entitled – many have passed on, or moved. I can understand Brian’s anger

at not getting his father’s medal – even I have not found it easy to deal with the Russian Embassy to talk to the people who deal with the medal issue. I put it down to the anti-Russian

bias that exists in the media and at top government level. We would not be enjoying our freedom today if it were not for the Russian people who suffered such hardship in World War 2. If I can help Brian in anyway he can contact me and I will see what I can do, even if I give him one of my medals.

– F Udell, Stevenage, Herts

...I AM sorry my letter (July) appeared under such an inappropriate heading Convoy medals came too late.

congratulatory comments. As you will be aware, I have nothing but praise for our ally for sending me, over many years, no fewer than four splendid medals together with supporting certificates.

comparison with our own Government’s effort – a small buttonhole Arctic Star received in October 2006, over 60 years after the event, when the vast majority of those involved would have already crossed the bar. While I was pleased to be a recipient,

might be called ‘too late’! – Mike Alston, Secretary,

HMS Middleton (L74) Assocation, Maidenhead, Berks

Torch song

EACH year, much press and TV coverage is concerned with remembering the invasion of France in 1944. Each year, the media totally ignore the earlier invasion of Morocco and Algeria on November 8 1942, which led to the link-up with the 8th Army, the invasions of Sicily, Italy, and in 1944, southern France. The Royal Navy was very much in evidence in the Mediterranean. Would Navy News consider making the operation and those sailors still alive feel less neglected this year?

that’s certainly what Their action bears little This did not apply to my

ship’s cable officer who directs operations under instructions from the bridge? See the bower anchor has been

veered and will be held on a brake slip with the cable holder brake released all prior to slipping the anchor. Note, ships of the modern Navy

have their cable deck under cover. Since the upper deck has an absence of a capstan engine, bollards and fairleads I’m intrigued to know how the ship secures to the dockside? Perhaps the two apertures in the

ship’s side have such a purpose? – Eddie Summerfold, Bury, Lancashire

...I WAS never a small-arms expert, but I am intrigued by the machine-guns mounted on the bridge wing and further aft in your photos of HMS Daring. I understood the main role of this type was anti-aircraft (assuming they ever get fitted with a working model of Sea Viper system) but surely machine-guns are hardly the short-term answer? Also, who’s the guy up at the

sharp end? I thought sonar and radar had

removed the requirement for someone shouting “Left hand down a bit’ as in Leslie Phillips and John Pertwee in The Navy Lark?

I AM concerned over the closure of the Sea Cadet Training Centre which was based at the old ratings’ accommodation area at HMS Inskip in the Fylde of Lancashire. When the uniformed naval communications transmitter station became civilian-manned in 1995 the Sea Cadets took over the accommodation block as a training centre for the north-west and seemed to run this successfully for nearly 15 years. Suddenly in late 2009, in spite of full course bookings for the next year, the staff were told that the place was to close by the end of March 2010.

When staff returned after

– John Physick, Meopham, Gravesend, Kent

Christmas leave they were given just 30 days to pack up and leave, which seems to be obscenely quick by any means. Since that time the place, which

No fond farewell for Inskip Cadets

– Barry Prosser, ex FAA, Hants

had only recently been extensively and expensively refurbished, has remained closed and empty. I have been waiting for six months to see if any explanation for the closure would appear so that people in the Sea Cadets would know why such a successful enterprise has vanished from their area?

– Lt Cdr P N Furse, (ex CO, HMS Inskip) Elswick, Lancashire

Mike O’Sullivan, Director of Training for the Sea Cadets, explained: “Decisions to close facilities are never taken lightly, but based on detailed research and strong evidence, and we do recognise the human factors involved.

“Please be assured that the decision to move rapidly to closure was made after full

Lt Cdr Phil Nash, Executive Offi cer of HMS Daring, told us: “In response to Mr Summerfold’s eagle-eyed observations, I thought you might appreciate some background information to explain how the T45 is operated at sea. “The photo in question was taken during a FOST Thursday War, as Daring transited a simulated mine-swept channel on exit from Plymouth Sound. “The person in the ‘eyes of the ship’ is in fact a mine look-out – the ship was at Action Stations in response to a simulated mine threat (if you look closely you should be able to see that the

person is wearing anti-fl ash). “In addition to employing all of the T45’s state of the art sensors to detect mines we still think that the ‘Mark 1 eyeball’ has an important part to play!

“As for securing the ship alongside, all of the traditional methods are employed (those are fairleads you have spotted). “The cabledeck, capstans, windlasses and bollards are all hidden away in the enclosed foc’sle and quarterdeck and when the ship is prepared to come alongside Harbour Station hands close up to work ropes in the traditional fashion.”

Getting to know the Queen

HERE at Culdrose we think your HMS Queen Elizabeth cutaway (July) is an excellent piece of work – your publication is to be commended for publishing it, and artist Ross Watton doubly so for designing it (I’ve just had a look at his website –I had no idea about him).

A quick look about the RN School of Flight Deck Ops finds several of these pullouts on people’s walls about the building. As we have the responsibility of actually training people to work on the flight deck and the hangar of this ship we have a vested interest in how it builds and develops. This picture will play an

Dunkirk revisited

IT IS a little emotional for me to try to express my thanks to all those Little Ships manned by ‘civvy sailors’ who gave of their best to bring our defeated army off the beaches of Dunkirk. I had the honour to return

this year, and as we were leaving Ramsgate at about 6.30am, my grandson took some snaps of the little ships leaving and rounding the buoy on their way, a journey of about eight hours.

Once clear of the harbour HMS Monmouth was there to see us safely on our way. The little ships formed up in convoy still – that also brought back memories of my war days. Can a big thank you go out

invaluable part in our training, it gives us a sense of scale, and where everything onboard will go – something we haven’t seen before.

carriers will be with us before long and this picture is already in v aluable for memory mapping and briefings – copies of them are all over the walls here in Culdrose. – CPOA(AH) Paul

McKinley, RNAS Culdrose

The new

in Navy News to say how much we think of their fathers and grandfathers who risked all to save so many? I would be thankful to see that in print. Most of us who lived through those days are in their nineties, but if all goes well I hope to return in five years’ time.

– George Drewett, Shepperton, Middlesex

Fourth Ark had the force

A £25 Amazon voucher to the letter which amuses,

impresses or enlightens us the most.

Carriers ‘R’ us

I SEE from the June edition that Lester May, with whom I served in Bulwark, has raised the issue of the illogicality of allocation of pennant numbers. Indeed, since World War 2 both pennant numbers and Naval Party Numbers seem to me to have lost their system. However, it might help Lester

consultation with staff and after the appropriate provisions had been made in respect of notice. “The closure of Inskip was genuinely unavoidable and made in the long-term best interests of the Corps.

“Research undertaken in 2009 showed a signifi cant excess of training capacity, a legacy from the 1970s when the Sea Cadets was a much larger organisation.

“Whilst this excess gave us a good deal of fl exibility, it placed pressure on our budget that could not be sustained in these diffi cult economic times.

“Our decision did not signal a

reduction in training as most of Inskip’s programmed courses were relocated, and the 2010/11 national training programme is as comprehensive as ever.”

to know that the R Flag Superior for aircraft carriers first appeared in 1944 with the British Pacific Fleet. At that time the RN were issuing R Flag Superior numbers to destroyers. However, for some reason, the


BPF were given numbers under a new system. In that system, R1 was R2 Illustrious,

HAVING served six years on the fourth Ark Royal, I must take you to task over your write-up for the cutaway poster for the new carrier. Firstly, both this drawing and the cutaway drawing some 12 months ago of Ark Royal (1V) show original configurations, and ‘dumb down’ somewhat the size and shape of the Ark during the latter years of her service. You also quote that only 20 aircraft were carried. As R09 NATO commitment in those latter years she carried 14 Phantom, 12 Buccaneers, four Gannet AEW, eight Sea King A/S and two Wessex SAR, all housed in two hangar decks when required. – J A Bray (ex FCEL(A)) Greetham, Leics

Are we the youngest oilies?

I HAVE a question for your readers to ponder.

R3 USS Saratoga, R4 USS Ranger, R5 Implacable, R6 USS Enterprise, R7 Indefatigable, R8 Indomitable, R9 USS Essex, R10 USS Yorktown, R11 USS Intrepid, etc.

I am a POWEM(O) serving onboard HMS Liverpool as her Close Range Maintainer, currently deployed off the coast of America. I was wondering, along with a

fellow POWEM(R), also serving onboard HMS Liverpool,

In the post-war reallocation the RN retained R for carriers (in place of the old system of No Flag Superior or Flag D). Apart from the lists of BPF pennant numbers which we hold, there also appears to be a separate Flag A superior list, as there are photographs of sloops and escort carriers with A numbers – does anyone hold the key to these? – Lt Cdr Ben Warlow,

Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex

we the two youngest serving members of our dwindling branch with the longest time left to serve (excluding extended career)? I have currently served just

over 18 years, having joined up in March 1992 and my compadre in January 1992. We would be grateful if you could put this to your readers and in the off-chance that Drafty (a very busy man) might see it and give us an answer!


PWOEM(O) Simon Neasham, POWEM(R) Ian Perry,

Close Range Maintainers, POs’ Mess, HMS Liverpool BFPO 327

THE Battle of Britain is as symbolic to the RAF as Trafalgar to the Navy and Waterloo to the Army. The courage of the young Spitfire and Hurricane pilots is legendary, as Churchill memorably observed, and has been publicly celebrated over the past few weeks.

In the following 70 years the received wisdom has been that a handful of RAF heroes saved these islands from certain Nazi invasion. It is a brave historian who questions it. But while the heroism of the RAF is undisputed, the Navy’s part should not be forgotten. A year or so ago three senior military historians at the Joint Service Command Staff College went further and disputed the ‘glorious myth’ that the RAF saved us from invasion.

They contended that the Germans stayed away because there was never a hope of capturing the British Isles so long as the Navy held sway. German generals agreed, with one General Halder memorably saying any invasion ‘would send my troops into a mincing machine.’

August 2010 no.673: 56th year Leviathan Block, HMS Nelson, Portsmouth PO1 3HH

It is a fascinating argument and one that could rage long and hard, with opposing views on the vulnerability of our ships to German air attack, the numbers of destroyers available on the South Coast, the danger of German mines – and so the debate goes on in its captivating and unprovable course.

Without wishing to detract in any way from the RAF, Navy News of all papers should not forget the Navy’s part.

The views expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect the views of the MOD Editorial Managing editor:

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