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NAVY NEWS, AUGUST 2010


27


LETTERS to the editor should always be accompanied by the correspondent’s name and address, not necessarily for publication.


E-mail correspondents are also requested to provide this information. Letters cannot be submitted over the telephone. If you submit a photograph which you did not take yourself, please make sure that you have the permission for us to publish it.


Given the volume of letters, we cannot publish all of your correspondence in Navy News. We do, however, publish many on our website, www.navynews.co.uk, accompanied by images. We look particularly for correspondence which stimulates debate, makes us laugh or raises important issues. The editor reserves the right to edit your submissions.


Otway’s Scottish birth


I WAS delighted to read the article Hero Township (June) about the preserved submarine HMAS Otway in Holbrook, Australia (pictured above). I had read about this great feat of moving an Oberon submarine 460k inland, but I have never had the privilege of being in Australia and therefore have never seen this preserved submarine. I have been interested in all six Australian Oberon- class submarines from their build. The six: Oxley, Otway, Ovens, Onslow, Orion and Otama, were built at the Cartsburn Shipyard of Scotts’ Shipbuilding and Engineering Company in Greenock between 1966 and 1974. At the time I was Assistant Naval Architect and was instrumental in their build, launches, dockings,


and all the trim and stability dives. The one disappointing feature of the article was


that no mention was made of the builders. Neither does any of the exhibition or museum material mention them.


The founding of Scotts of Greenock was in 1711 – 300 years next year. We would like your readers to know that we have formed a Friends of Scotts committee and are planning events. Scotts, in days gone by, built many ships for the


Royal Navy and therefore we would be delighted if you would consider doing an article or making a mention in Navy News. – Tom Dunn, executive Committee, Friends of Scotts, Greenock,


Vivid memories of Bari bombing


I HAVE before me a picture of HMS Quail, G45, and having read the account on Wikipedia I’d like to put the record straight. I joined her at Hebburn while still in dockyard hands. What I’d like to point out is


contrary to the free encyclopaedia Wikipedia she was mined as she was just outside Bari Harbour in Eastern Italy after night-time operations in the Adriatic. She was never beached, as someone claims, but was immediately towed into harbour. Her quarterdeck men were in


the rig of the day and were all killed as they had fallen in for entering harbour. I was gear-room watchkeeper and just before the mine struck I had visited the tiller flat to take the last steering engine readings, just missing it. It was forenoon and some men


were killed as they had gone back aft to draw the pre-lunch grog ration.


I dashed the short distance to


the quarterdeck and I’ll never forget the sight that met my eyes, the stern was like a metal hillside with the bodies of the quarterdeck men lying around, apparently killed by blast, the after-gun had been blown over the side. The fleet-sweeper Hebe was mined in similar circumstances a few days later, suffering many casualties. I was aboard Quail as skeleton crew during the horrific bombing of Bari Harbour in early December 1943 and remember the mud thrown over the ship by near- misses from the harbour bed. A ship containing mustard-gas bombs blew up – the USS John Harvey.


I’m in my 90th year but I remember things so vividly. Seventeen ships were hit that night of December 2 and well over 1,000 men killed, the harbour full of oil and floating bodies, quite a rough time.


– Thomas Russell, High Green, Sheffield


This just won’t suit


WHILST serving many tours in Whale Island in Portsmouth and being very busy, I fi nd it so helpful when the pipe is made twice a week notifying us that the Mobile Clothing Wagon is now in attendance.


etc, and be back at my desk before my coffee goes cold, but now we hear that as of August this service is being withdrawn. Why can’t we just come to our senses and keep this essential bit of kit?


I can pop out and get my shirts,


Not only does it save us hours and hours of travelling to and from Nelson, but we must now in this environmentally-friendly state look at our carbon footprint, eg, one wagon or hundreds of cars on the road.


– ‘Concerned Commander,’ Portsmouth


We checked with staff from the Naval Base Commander’s offi ce in Portsmouth who confi rmed that the van will probably go as a cost-savings measure. The fi nal decision will be taken later this summer – Ed


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