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Royals are not the masters

I AM just writing after an article appeared in December’s Navy News titled ‘Royals are indoor masters’. I would like to point out that the quickest time of the day was by myself, PO(AWT) Buster Brown RN and not Mne Brown. This has cost me a bell-ring in the mess. The one time I appear in the Navy News you get my service wrong! I know this is not your fault and I will email the PTI over at HMS Sultan. – PO(AWT) Buster Brown, HMS St Albans

Ding dong again, but at least you’ve been in Navy News twice now – Ed

Phoenix from the ashes

I WONDER if your readers would be interested in the efforts of the Phoenix Think Tank which attempts to educate the public and especially members of Parliament in the need for a maritime strategy for the United Kingdom?

The recent Strategic Defence and Security Review shows how little the maritime aspects of this island and its critical dependence on sea-borne trade for its food, fuel and raw materials, is understood. Or that the oceans offer a freedom of manoeuvre, flexibility and diplomatic advantage that land-based forces cannot achieve in the protection of our overseas territories and support of our allies.

The Phoenix team is a collection of concerned people who feel strongly that the case for the Naval Service is too often overlooked by events in Afghanistan and elsewhere. To help them they

● Tony Mardel-Ferreira and (presumably) his pilot on board HMS Nubian after the ditching. His Swordfi sh of 819 Squadron crashed shortly after taking off from HMS Illustrious. He and S/Lt D A Wise were rescued by the destroyer and the crash was later found to have been caused by contaminated fuel (photo kindly lent by Mrs Mardel-Ferreira from her late husband, Joe’s, collection)

Heroes of Taranto

I WAS most interested to read your supplement on Taranto and have sent copies to various members of my late husband’s family.

My own interest is that the brother-in-la met, S/Lt Tony Mardel-Ferreira, took part as an observer in the raid and was killed in a subsequent bombing.

I’m sure people know that it was three of Illustrious’ Swordfish, rather than Eagle’s, that ditched shortly before the raid. He was in one that ditched. He was mentioned in despatches. He was

ed as s

have a website: http:// thephoenixthinktank.wordpress. com/about/

the Harrier which your readers may wish to sign up to. It is: www.savetheharriers.

com There is also a petition to save

Capt Michael C Clapp Ret’d, Totnes, Devon

Good show from the RAF

I must complain about a comment in your article Trophy Lives (p37, November); you stated that the RAF were unable to provide cover for Force Z. Admiral Phillips had left his Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral Palliser (I believe) ashore to liaise with the RAF for air cover, but in fact he had never sent any signals giving his position or requesting air cover.

and Force Z’s position became known, RAF/RAAF aircraft were immediately sent out, arriving just as the Japanese aircraft were leaving, with both Prince of Wales and Repulse sinking. I don’t believe it was any fault of the RAF.

Once they came under attack

when HMS Illustrious was bombed off Malta on January 10 1941, and was killed outright.

– Liz Mardel-Ferreira, Havant, Hants

in the wardroom s

moved and enlightened us the most

...ONE signifi cant target was omitted from your excellent supplement on Taranto (November) – the seaplane base. The Admiral in charge of aircraft carriers, Rear Admiral Arthur Lumley St George Lyster, whilst drawing up plans for the attack, used the valuable knowledge and experience he had gained in 1917, when he was flying seaplanes out of Taranto.

A £25 Amazon voucher to Mrs Mardel-Ferreira for the letter which

t w sh,

brother-in-law I never a,

with Wing Captain Arthur Longmore. Both were awarded the Order of the Crown of Italy for their services during World War 1. In 1938 Lyster, now captain of HMS Glorious, with orders from Admiral Fisher, revisited plans for an attack on Taranto (first drawn up in 1935) and started training his aircrew in night-flying and attacking ships in harbour. He used the Grand Harbour at Malta for his

exercises, where the noise of Fairey Swordfish flying low over the harbour kept the locals awake at night. The Italian reconnaissance seaplanes flying out of

Taranto were a constant worry to the British fleet, as they reported on every ship and its movements. Admiral Cunningham wanted the seaplane base,

just east of the town of Taranto in the Mar Piccolo, destroyed.

were given the seaplane base as their target. Six bombs found their target, scoring direct hits on hangar and slipway and adjacent building. The Vulcan bomber may look impressive, but it is the Fairey Swordfish that stirs my blood, a magnificent sight – a magnificent biplane. Seeing it making a flypast on Remembrance

Sunday at Lee-on-Solent Fleet Air Arm Memorial after several years being ‘grounded’ was a welcome sight.

Saviours of the last Ark

SHOULD we be looking at preserving the Ark Royal? The Americans have an aircraft carrier alongside a Concorde in New York. The carrier is a museum to their Fleet Air Arm. Why not the same here, teaching history?

HMS Cavalier was very nearly sold for £1 to be taken abroad and was saved at the last minute by a lot of devoted people, and look what they have done to her now! HMS Ark Royal is a working ship in, I suppose, good condition. What will she be like in ten years’ time after every

Tom, Dick and Harry has boarded her up the trots at the back of Portsmouth Harbour and nicked this, that and the other? With corporate hosting,


– John Keating, ex RN/RAN, Rockingham, Australia

tours, ex-RN

Association dinners and visits, etc, Sea Cadet ‘live aboard’ weekends or a week’s training, with the galleys providing meals just as the Historic Dockyards,

Severn Valley Steam Railways, the Black Country Museum; it could be done. Now is the time to set the wheels in motion to form the HMS Ark Royal Trust and save her before it is a desperate bid in ten years’ time. – Mick Crowe, RN Shipmates, Sandown, Isle of Wight

...THE aircraft carrier HMS Invincible (95 per cent mild steel) is listed on an MOD website as being for sale by tender. The page invites prospective purchasers to click “Add to Wishlist” or “Add to Cart.” Some cart! Someone’s Christmas wish could have come true for around £2 million but surely one should have been able to click “Add to Sleigh” around this time of year?

– Lt Cdr Lester May, Camden Town, London

The quick link is and the page also reassures customers: “Availability: In stock.” – Ed

– Trevor Walhen, ex-Fleet Air Arm, Basingstoke, Hants

Therefore some of the bomb-carrying Swordfish As Lt Cdr Lyster he had set up the ‘English Camp’

Navy needs air power IN THE paragraphs

the naval service of Captain Eric Brown, (Heroes of the Royal Navy no 80, December) you state that the DH Vampire was not a ‘dawn’, but a ‘faltering dawn’. The dawn would come later, with the Supermarine Attacker. Surely this is not correct, I was

serving in the Far East Fleet, as First Officer in RFAs Retainer and later, in Tideflow, with HM Ships Centaur and later Albion. Those ships both had Seahawks


and Sea Venoms embarked. 806 was one of the squadrons embarked. The date was 1959-61. Those were the days, the Far East Fleet was bigger than the Navy now, never mind the cuts. Why does the navy not need

air cover now? Surely the RAF cannot do it? They never could. Three cheers for the Defence Secretary (Roy Mason) who gave us Harriers!

Cdr W T Richardson, RNR Ret’d, Gravesend, Kent

My mystery ships

WHILST serving in the Type 15 A/S frigate HMS Ursa during the Suez campaign I have a memory which seems a bit of a ‘lamp swinger’ and I’m beginning to doubt my own mind. Dawn action stations had been piped and we were making our way to those stations when out of the gloom a large number of USN ships appeared on our port beam. They crossed astern of us, not a soul on deck, no lamp or flag

I NOTED with interest the article about the ceremonies marking the end of the war with Japan (September). Readers might be interested know that


Florida, we have a veteran who witnessed the formal surrender of the Japanese to General Douglas MacArthur and Allied officers on the deck of the battleship USS Missouri from a particularly good vantage point. Wayne Riebow, who is a

here in

signals, very eerie. My camera was safe in my locker but would have been too bulky to fit in No 8’s pockets so pictures were not taken. When I recount the story, no one seems to believe it but I was there and I saw it! Can anyone remember it or has photos to bear me out?

Algerines Association member, Whitchurch, Hants

Good view of a surrender

his action station four decks above the ship’s quarterdeck. Riebow remembers the hush


finally going home. Riebow is a good friend of this

writer, a member of the Royal Navy from 1941-46. The Missouri, chosen for the

great occasion because Missouri was

volunteer at our local veterans’ park, was a gunner on the Missouri, and watched the signing of the surrender documents from

state, escaped the breaker’s yard, and is now a museum at Pearl Harbor.

– Kenneth Tipper, Ocala, Florida

History’s silken threads

THE picture outside HMS Calliope (p31, October) took my eye, as my wife’s grandfather, Harry Baker, was the Chief Shipwright (Chippy) aboard Calliope during the Battle of Jutland in 1916. He finished his time to pension in 1927, and was recalled back to service in WW2 where he was in charge of repairing boats at Sheerness. HMS Calliope was built

Chatham Dockyard before WW1 and crew members were presented

NOW that the Writer Branch has reclaimed its historic name, its Writers’ Associations are delighted that they need no longer consider changing their titles. Having previously listed all the

Writers on the Plymouth Naval War Memorial,

Writer Graham Jewell, archivist of the Westcountry Association of RN Writers, has now managed to track

former Chief in

with silks of the occasion to mark the launch. When Harry’s wife died and before he moved to Pembroke House in Gillingham, Kent, the old sailors’ home, he asked me if I would look after the silk for him. This I did, and in 2009 I had it

– Thomas Gibney, Waterlooville, Hants

framed and gave it to his grandson, John Hay, who presented it to the Chatham Historical Dockyard where it now resides.

Tracking down the Writers

down details of all Writers killed by enemy action and all Writers who have died through illness or accident while still serving. Anyone wanting details of deceased Writers can obtain them from dgrahamjewell@yahoo. or 35, Broad Walk, Saltash, PL12 4NT

Facing a legendary man

stamped ‘leave on draft’ and my pusser’s suitcase and my kitbag in tow, I happened to be confronted by

I THINK Bob Styants in Legendary Men (letters, November) is referring to Lt Cdr Andrew who was the gunnery offi cer at Raleigh and Collingwood. We called him ‘Shovel-Face’ but, out of necessity, never to his face. Upon

having my leave chit

him on my exit from White City. What will I do? I can’t chop him one off? So I politely said: “Good afternoon, Sir.”

retreat ten marching paces and smartly ‘eyes left’ in due deference to his authority. I’d still stand him a wet. – Nobby Clark, ex CPOMEA, Portsmouth

At which point he made me

– Graham Jewell, Saltash, Cornwall

President Truman’s home joy at knowing they were

that fell over the ship’s company at the moment of the signing, and their

– Robin Allum, RNEBA and

TELLING the readers of Navy News off for being ‘sea-blind’ would be like the apocryphal vicar who used to tell off his congregation because not enough people turned up. Our readers don’t need to be told that we need a powerful

strong Navy is one of his priorities. The future, as he observed, would require the Royal Navy

Navy, that 80 per cent of international trade goes by sea, and that the oceans are increasingly being used by terrorists, pirates, criminals and insurgents.

But ‘sea-blindness’ persists among the British public. It is still one of the major barriers to the acceptance that we need a strong Navy, with all the costs that ensue. So it is good to read the speech given by the Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox (highlights of which are on page 4).

The Secretary of State left his listeners in no doubt that a

“more than perhaps in recent decades”. Not, perhaps, a cheering prophecy, but probably a very accurate one.

January 2011 no.678: 57th year Leviathan Block, HMS Nelson, Portsmouth PO1 3HH


And in the midst of our poignant farewell to the Ark and her Harriers, it is reassuring that Dr Fox pledged that from 2015, the Royal Navy would rise anew.

Type 45s, the Type 26 Global Combat ship, the Astute-class submarines – all represent a brighter future and naval assets which will be crucial to this country’s security.

The views expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect the views of the MOD The Queen Elizabeth carriers, the Joint Strike Fighter, the Managing editor:

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