On commissioning day, 15th November 1962, I promised you a lively time in many oceans of the world. I also forecast that the first of a new class of ship would encounter many trials and tribulations during her first commission. This article will remind you of some of the things we have done together, some of the records we have broken, and, individually, will recall to you the high spots of our many voyages.
What have we achieved? First and foremost, we have proved that we have a ship that can keep the sea in any weather. We have evaluated the great number of new machines and devices which make for the fighting efficiency of the modern warship; we have discovered the proper way to use our equipments and we have faithfully recorded our findings for the benefit of those other County Class ships who follow in our footsteps.
At the same time we have shown ourselves to be capable of joining the fleet at a moment’s notice, ready for war and fit to fight.
But this is not all. We have made many friends in the course on our travels. Tens of thousands of ordinary people have come to see our ship and have taken ashore with them the impression that we are a friendly people, proud of our achievements, and second to no other nation in the world. In short, we have made an outstanding success of our cold war role.
I am very proud to have been in H.M.S DEVONSHIRE for her first commission, and I trust you are equally proud. I wish you and your families success and happiness wherever you may serve, and I thank you for your loyalty, sense of duty, and unfailing cheerfulness throughout our time together.
When did the commission actually begin? The Admiralty records— and indeed the cover of this book—will show that it began at the Commissioning ceremony, on 15th November, 1962, but to many of us the story begins much earlier.
To Commander “SAM” Birkett, the ship’s first Engineer Officer, and to Chief E.R.A. Munroe, the big day was the 10th June, 1960. On that sunny day in Birkenhead, they watched HRH Princess Alexandra launch the ship with the traditional blessing,
“MAY GOD BLESS ALL WHO SAIL IN HER.”
Inevitably, it would be a long while before anyone could sail in her. As the launching coat of fresh paint got dirtier in Cammell Laird’s basin, the long and complicated fitting out process got underway, and the first members of the ship’s first commission watched and learnt.
The seventh HMS Devonshire during WWII
By the end of 1960, the advance party consisted of the Commander, Commander E, Commander L, Lt. Maber, Chief ERA Munroe, Chief Shipwright Parr, Chief ME Youd and POME (now CME) Gage. Our numbers continued to grow steadily throughout 1961, until by late summer 1962, over thirty officers and 140 ratings were “standing by.”
We were based in offices close to the main gate of the works, with a noisy electrical shop beneath us, a rather leaky roof above and a fine view of the daily “out muster.” Other centres of activity were the ship, of course, and the vast scale mock up of the machinery spaces in a shed near by—a complex mass of wooden engines, boilers and pipework.
Accommodation was very much a matter of luck. By and large the Landladies of Oxton and Cloughton, of Rockferry and New Brighton, did us proud, but a few proved difficult to handle. Such was the case with the three Leading hands who once found themselves sharing lodgings with a monkey; one officer was required to change into bedroom slippers at the front door mat, place his walking shoes on the newspaper provided in the hall and never on any account to open a window, so that his landlady could keep the digs clean. Another landlady “gave notice” after her lodger had expressed his view on the supper quite clearly by throwing the chips at her.
“Liquid Lunches” were popular. To get to the bar of the “Royal Castle,” for example, one literally only had to dodge across the main road. But to many, who could not abide such a hideous Victorian visage, it was worth a step along to the “Manor” to get a pair of cheese sandwiches and a jug or two of ale. The really ambitious went far afield in search of a solid meal at a reasonable price, and the Gunnery Officer is said to have sampled every cafe in Birkenhead.
Of other activities there was plenty. It was natural that in such an area, golf soon became an “organised sport,” led by C.O.A. Tulip, a team of OA’s and others could be seen departing with a bag of clubs on many an afternoon—how far they actually got round the course was never discovered. LEM (now P.O. Elect.) Bagley played cricket for Cammell Lairds and led the Embryo “Devonshire” team to at least one crashing defeat at the hands of the demon Boilermakers.
One other sport must be mentioned—that resulting from the annual tripper invasion of the Wall, in spite of the higher demand and prices of lodgings there, each summer saw a great increase in “approved lodgings” in New Brighton, and fewer long weekends spent away from the area. Details cannot be given in this magazine (for obvious reasons), but it must be recorded that Merseyside took a considerable toll of our batchelors. The prize undoubtedly goes to Leading Seaman Homer, who, arriving as a batchelor AB, contrived to be a married leading rate with three children before the ship commissioned.
The eighth and last Devonshire
Onboard, the work went on steadily, as did the forecast sea trials and commissioning dates. For each compartment, first of all drawing meetings were held, to discuss and finalise drawings; then a “lineout inspection” carried out by appropriate experts, with all the fittings marked out in the empty shell (how much more space there seemed to be in a messdeck then!). Next came progress inspections when the larger fittings and electrics were installed; inevitably a few alterations would be made, often at the advance party’s instigation, and eventually a final inspection carried out.
Installing 4.5 Guns
At last in March 1962, the ship was ready for contractors’ sea trials. These started with two days off the Mersey, then continued for three fortnightly periods in the Clyde. Accommodation was short, so only a portion of the advance party could be onboard at one time; the remainder kept a dreary telephone watch back in our Birkenhead offices. The trials themselves were most impressive—you don’t often see your ship at full power astern for 4 hours, or see her being forcibly rolled to over 27 degrees each side. It was unusual, too, to see the ship being run on Merchant Services lines—but we were impressed by the food. which was reported to have cost about four times the rate of “Pussers” Victualling Allowance.
With trials completed, back we went to the basin at Birkenhead for the last pre-commissioning leg. As final inspection dates came near, ship manager Fred Morgan got more and more hard pressed ; fortunately for all of us, he remained good natured and co-operative to the end, and we were delighted to see his efforts rewarded with the MBE at the New Year’s Honours List after our acceptance.
Our offices became ever more crowded as Commissioning approached.
One little cage found no less that twentyfive artificers trying, to drink tea and study drawings together; while next door, over different discussions on Ops Room manning problems. the voice of the Gunnery Officer could sometimes be heard arguing wih his butcher about his Sunday joint.
The day after Commissioning was an exceptionally busy one for everybody, spent in storing and sorting out the last minute snags, and when knocking off time came along it seemed strange not to be hopping on a bus up to Oxton. The whole atmosphere had changed as, what had been a daily job of work, became, overnight, our floating home for the months ahead.
Still officially in Contractors’ hand and carrying civilians representing Cammell Lairds and the Admiralty we left the Mersey on November 17th for the formal handover in Liverpool Bay. This should have followed a short full power trial and ended with our return to the Mersey Bar and disembark the civilians. Fate decreed otherwise! As soon as we were in open water it was obvious that the sea state was going to prevent these evolutions and it was decided to press on up to the Clyde For more sheltered conditions. The horrors of this night will live in many minds. Not so much because of our own feelings but because of the discomfort of our unwilling guests who were squeezed into the most unlikely places. Eventually, the ship was signed for at 0421 on the 18th and our civilians went off for the longer, but smoother, journey by rail back from Greenock to Birkenhead—replete with a Charlie Vella breakfast.
Now we were on our own the shake down process started and in the ensuing days we worked our way down to the South Coast where, off Falmouth, helicopter deck landing trials started. Even the confirmed sceptics of the heavier-than-air machine came up and had a goof at the goings on and had to admit that it might be useful for getting the mail. Continuing our progress along the coast we called at Torquay, Plymouth and Portland and, on December 7th, made our way up harbour at Portsmouth. Here we received a warm welcome from our families and a signal from the C. in C. suggesting that even Guided Missile Destroyers should not have all their Radar aerials rotating when entering harbour. (obviously some jealous bastard who has’nt been to sea in many a year)
The leave period and the setting-to-work which followed will he remembered for the bitterly cold weather. The edges of the harbour were frozen over, icebergs slid past the ship on the ebb tide and the Bosun’s Mate’s ki froze in the mug—or so they said! It was obvious that all the ties with Merseyside had not been broken when the time came to slap in for the leave warrants.
A great deal of interest was shown in our shiney new ship and every day brought some party of visitors to pry into the technicalities or just to say she didn’t look much like the last one. The Brass didn’t leave us alone either and by January 16th, when we sailed for further trials, the Admiral Tote in the Ops. Room showed that we had been visited by 13 officers of Flag rank and this number increased to 24 by the time we sailed to the Mediterranean. ( another free jolly for the non sea goers!)
Although the broad outline of our future programme was known there was still room for speculation. Fuel was added by the string of letters received by the Commander from Jenny, Queen of the Hong Kong side party, offering her services to the ship.( In later years Jenny received a MBE, not bad eh for painting ship, flogging ‘goffers’ and ditching the gash! All I got was a BEM or rather a Bollocking Every Morning for just being there!)
Jenny of Jenny’s Side Party
Died in Hong Kong 2009
Generations of sailors who visited Hong Kong will mourn the death of Jenny. She was a much loved living legend who, for all the colony’s constant change, remained the same incomparable institution for over half a century.
Much of her life was an enigma. However. the authors of her twenty-seven Certificates of Service generally agreed that she was born in a sampan in Causeway Bay in 1917. Her mother, Jenny One, according to her one surviving Certificate of Service, which was copied in 1946 from an older, much battered and largely illegible document., ‘provided servicable sampans far the general use of the Royal Navy, obtained sand and was useful for changing money’. She brought up her two daughters to help her.
Behind her perpetual great gold-toothed grin Jenny complained; “I vcIIy chocker. All time work in sampan. N0 learn to lead or lite.” But what she lacked in education she made up more than a hundredfold with her immense and impressive experience in ship husbandry. her unfailing
thoroughness and apparently inexhaustible energy. her unquestionable loyalty and integrity, her infectious enthusiasm and her innate cheerfulness.
Officially Jenny’s Date of Volunteering was recorded as 1928. From then until 1997, when the colony became a Special Administrative Region of China and the Royal Navy moved out. she and her team of tireless girls. who at one time numbered nearly three dozen, unofficially served the Royal and Commonwealth Navies in Hong Kong by cleaning and painting their ships. attending their buoy jumpers, and, dressed in their best. waiting with grace and charm upon their guests at cocktail parties.
Captains and Executive Officers would find fresh flowers in their cabins and newspapers delivered daily. And many a departing officer received a generous gift as a memento from Jenny. For all of this she steadfastly refused ever to take any payment. Instead she and her Side Party earned their keep selling soft drinks to the ships’ companies and accepting any item of scrap which could be found on board.
Jenny’s huge collection of photographs – too big. she said. to be put into books – she stored in a large envelope. They dated back to the mid 20th century and showed her in the ships she so faithfully served, with Buffers and Side Parties, and with grateful officers. many of whom became distinguished admirals. In two thick albums she proudly kept her letters of reference, all without exception filled with praise and affection for her. One was a commendation by the Duke of Edinburgh for her work in the Royal Yacht during her visit to Hong Kong in 1959. She has a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal presented to her in 1938 by the captain of HMS DEVONSHIRE, and a bar engraved ‘HMS LEANDER 1975’.
Most treasured of all Jenny’s distinctions was the British Empire Medal awarded her in the Hong Kong Civilian List of the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 1980 and with which she, formally named Mrs. Ng Muk Kah, was invested by the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Murray MacLehose.
In later years Hong Kong was no longer visited by the great fleets of battleships and cruisers which gave Jenny and her Side Party their livelihood and she found it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. Yet she stayed fit and always willing to undertake any work available. To the end of the Royal Navy’s presence in Hong Kong there could be seen in the shadow of the towering Prince of Wales building within the naval base, a small round figure in traditional baggy black trousers and high-collared smock, with a long pigtail and eternal smile who, regardless of time. remained it seemed for ever – just Jenny.
Jenny died peacefully in Hong Kong on Wednesday 18th February
2009. She was 92 years old.
During January and February sea trials and the periods of recuperation between occupied most of our time and we visited Plymouth and Portland. At Plymouth 38 hardy souls accepted President Kennedy’s challenge to do the 50 mile walk and set out to Bodmin and back. Midshipman Boyce was first home in just over 13 hours and Lieut. Porter was the only other finisher in 17 hours. About 15 others managed 35 miles or so and all the starters reached the half way mark. Darkness and cold were the principal enemies.
At a time when night leave was being given at St. Helen’s Roads our genial quiz-master, E.A. Wills, decided he knew a quicker than the M.F.V. of getting ashore and later confirmed that the sea temperature was 32 degrees or thereabouts. He didn’t even get an extra tot or survivor’s leave.
On March 4th we entered the final phase of sea acceptance when we left Portsmouth for Seaslug firings at Aberporth. Frustrations with the weather and numerous dummy runs were commonplace because, for these fully recorded firings, it was essential to have near perfect visibility. Lieut.-Cdr. Davidge worked overtime and produced the right conditions on March 7th and we heard, most of us for the first time, the noise of tearing cloth that meant “Seaslug Away.” Suffice to say that this and the other firings proved the working of the system and that the efforts of the past month had not been in vain.
During an interlude in Plymouth on March 16th a ceremony was held on board at which we were presented with the first of eight Mini- sail sailing dinghies and a silver trophy, the gift of the Devon County Council. The Chairman, Sir George Hayter Hames, made the presentation and he, the Lord Lieutenant of Devon and members of the council were entertained on board. This ceremony was combined with the presentation of a fine silver rose bowl by the County Territorial and Auxiliary Forces Association and representative Officers and Men of units throughout Devon were also entertained on board. We really felt that our name meant something!
Firings over and with our full outfit of missiles on board we returned to Portsmouth to make ready for the Mediterranean, grateful for all the support and help we had received from the Admiralty civilians and the Contractors—but oh so glad to be on our own at last!
SOME LIKE IT HOT
All acceptance trials completed and a few missiles fired and the ship is ours. After a week in Portsmouth topping up with stores and saying goodbye to the Admirals, we sailed on April Fool’s Day for Gibraltar, Malta and the first batch of our Machinery Trials. We spent the first weekend in Gib. where some of the younger members made their first visit to the Troc, a rather different Troc to that of the balmy old days. In fact, Gib. was pretty chaste all round.
On, on to Malta with a little three watch cruising on the way. Malta was much the same as we’d all known it. One or two dghaisas had outboard motors, the fares had gone up and, in the process, their owners had got a lot fatter. We spent the first few days in Grand Harbour, then with the Flag Officer Flotillas onboard, we went to visit Barcelona for four days. This was our first big run ashore, and very successful it was, too. The ship was berthed slap in the middle of the town, and it was literally two minutes to the night life. Some people flew off to Madrid, where they were entertained by the British Community, very well, it was reported. On the Sunday, there was a bullfight in Barcelona, which was well attended. It was most interesting for beginners for the variety of uncommon things that happened, a badly gored matador, a rejected bull and a really good fight. Anyway, everyone appeared to enjoy the visit, there are some, who still think it was the best of the whole commission.
On Friday, 26th April, we went alongside H.M.S. AUSONIA for fourteen days self-maintenance after a week or so at sea doing machinery trials and weapon training. Back in Malta, we took part in the Fleet Athletics and did quite well, considering we’d had no training. Some had an opportunity to go ashore in Malta for the first time and many to renew old acquaintances. Dozens of visitors from local establishments came to look round our new ship, just as they had in Portsmouth.
Self-maintenance over, and back to sea, refreshed both man-wise and machinery-wise, for more trials and weapon training. Then just as everything seems to be going so well we have a machinery failure (the wardroom was watching a film about castaways on a desert island at the time it was particularly apt) and are forced to return to Malta, and alongside H.M.S. AUSONIA again.
A week later after Devonshire had bought the exclusive rights of “Moonriver” in every night club in the island, we leave Malta for Gibraltar (first stop) and England. A little shopping in Gib. where the bargains are not what they used to be and the rabbits have disappeared into their holes, the rest of the comprehensive blast trials which seemed to do less damage than everyone expected, and we arrive back in Portsmouth on the 8th June.
In Portsmouth there are two kinds of sailors, those who go native and those who don’t. Those who “go native” are seen about the ship with a look of “we’ve never had it so good” on their faces; those who “don’t” count the hours to the next tide. Both sects however are quickly amalgamated into one by the thought of a return to Aberporth and all its frustrations weather-wise.
But before Aberporth came successful basin trials and then return to sea on Thursday, 29th August, to try out the engines. All went well and with tails up we sailed to complete missile firings. The fascination of British weather lies in its diversity, but on this occasion we are in no mood to stand any of its nonsense. The result is successful missile firings. The pudding had been eaten. We now knew that we had a ship which was capable of doing everything we asked of her.
So, here we were, with a clean slate and all set to go to the States. Engines doing their stuff, two successful missile firings under our belt, and everything just straining to go. Back to Portsmouth for storing, pick up the Marine Band and do a few last minute preparations, then off to Plymouth to collect our outfit of missiles. Those last few days were pretty hectic. Among other things, we had to practice in the dockyard our march through Philadelphia as there was unlikely to be any time later. Eventually all was ready and we sailed from Portsmouth on Sunday. 22nd September.
OTHERS LIKE IT EVEN HOTTER
Tuesday, September 24th, the day we had all been looking forward to for the last 3 months or so in Portsmouth. After all the trials and tribulations it was still difficult to believe we were really on our way, engines mended, missiles fired, and all systems go. It was true though. and even the most cynical of the “We’ll never make it” brigade looked brighter as the sun grew hotter and the sea calmer on the ten-day haul across the Atlantic to Bermuda.
This, the longest trip we’d done at sea so far, was used to exercise seamanship and tactics with Wave Ruler, our faithful attendant over the next 3 months, to cleaning the ship, and of course, the inevitable trials. The time passed quickly and so, on the morning of Friday, October 4th, we berthed alongside at Hamilton, Bermuda.
An island paradise—so it said in the brochures anyhow! In fact. Bermuda turned Out to be a disappointment to those who had not been there before, a tourist trap mainly for American honeymooners, who seemed to be dragooned into doing everything—yes, everything by numbers and expensive as well. However, almost anywhere is better than Portland on a windy October day, and at least we could paint ship in reasonable comfort and provide a free show for the waterfront public at the same time.
Accordingly, there were few regrets when we passed the Narrows outward bound on the 8th, and headed North for Philadelphia, Pa.
Looking back at it now, it is incredible to think how much we managed to get into the six days we were there and still be on our feet (almost, anyhow) at the end of it all. We went there to represent Great Britain us and a London bus—for Exposition Britannia, designed to present the best of Britain’s exports (amongst which we hope were included us and a London bus again!), and, even if it sounds like boasting, as far as can be recalled, we never failed.
The ceremonial highlight of the visit was the march through the city, first to the historic City Hall for an address of welcome, and then to be highly honoured by being granted the Freedom of the City. From there, band playing, bayonets fixed, we marched up Market Street through clapping and cheering crowds to hue the streets outside Wanamakers, where the exhibition was being opened by the British Ambassador. A memorable occasion, made even more so by the Gunnery Officer who, observing that the leading cars of the procession had gone the wrong way, rushed up the column shouting “They’ve made a balls-up” much to tile delight of the assembled crowds.
What else have we to remember Philadelphia by? For those of us who were duty onboard on visitors’ days, we will always remember that they never seemed to stop coming, over 15,000 in all. For those of us who weren’t duty well, take your pick! U.S.O. Dances, tours. even games of cricket, rugger and hockey – a home from home, and that really was what Philadelphia was a city of wonderful hospitality and friendliness, and one of which I am certain we are all very proud to be freemen.
It was with sadness that we hauled away from the jetty in the last remnants of the late fall sun and headed down river, not for the open sea though, but for the Chesapeake Delaware canal, the Potomac river and Washington. Despite the fog, which caused us to anchor off the entrance to the one way only canal for the night, this trip was full of interest. We passed first through the narrow, winding canal, and under some hair-raising bridges on bends—the biggest warship ever to do this- and then out into the waters of the Elk and Susquehanna rivers, past Baltimore, on under the new Chesapeak Bridge to Annapolis where we anchored briefly. From there out into the broader reaches of Chesapeak Bay, a sharp right turn and quickly into the narrow confines of the Potomac River, until we finally anchored again for the night off Quantico to draw breath and to catch up on sleepbefore the final assault on Washington.
The main purpose of our Washington visit was to show the American Navy on their own doorstep that we were biggest, best and British. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind when we arrived that we were British anyhow. We went up river, paying the traditional marks of respect to Washington’s tomb at Mount Vernon, and then on to fire our salutes and play ourselves into the capital of America with full ceremonial. There was no denying the fact that we were the biggest either—the biggest anyhow ever to navigate the Potomac to the Navy Yard. Those two facts assured, the next live days were devoted “servicewise” to giving the Americans proof that we were also the best of our type in the World no mean task! To achieve this, specialised tours of the ship were organised for a very broad cross section of the American Navy Office American Admirals in fact were more the rule than the exception! On the whole, the opinion seemed to be that we made up in quality what they made up in quantity!
Once again, the Philadelphian story was repeated, hospitality and friendliness abounded and we did what we could to repay it with the children’s party—a very great success and also being open to visitors, some 12.000 of them in only 2 days this time! As always, the time came round to leave and sail back down the river to Norfolk to spend 2 days there to show the Americans once again that it did work!
After a quick refuel at anchor from Wave Ruler after leaving the Potomac and a fast overnight dash down Chesapeake Bay. we entered Norfolk on October 24th. Here, the main Atlantic base of the U.S. Navy, we saw more ships than many had seen in a lifetime every type and class of vessel imaginable from nuclear-powered carrier to harbour tug it’s nice to know that they’re on our side! The first day we spent demonstrating at sea, alongside that night, and the next day once again fog balked us – no future at 28 knots in a narrow channel! Accordingly, after a dry run, we finally left America in thick fog, bound for the real warmth—general opinion of America, why don’t we do this more often!
The passage south to the sun was uneventful, slightly angled to bypass a dying hurricane, the last of the season’s, and then on 27th October we at last entered the tropics to start our machinery trials. Off came the shirts and in some cases the next two layers of skin as well—and we got down to the serious business of slumming it in the Caribbean. Alter a fairly restful week at sea——for all except the Marine Engineers, who by this time were performing miracles below to keep the ship running we arrived at Willemstad, Curaeao.
Curacao is geared to the Dutch economy by reason of its big Shell refinery and it was with the employees of this firm and the Dutch Navy and police that we found ourselves most concerned for our first tropical run ashore no high power entertainment or programme this time, just a chance to relax and drink beer on sandy beaches—no great effort this! All in all, it was a pleasant interlude in the rat—race of trials.
From Curaeao, we continued in our round trip of the Caribbean, coasting along off Venezuela and then into the Grenadine group of islands to land Banyan parties at Bequia and Union.
There should be no need to expand on the glories of West Indian Banyanning here by now everyone is either for or very much against. The dream of soft sandy beaches, dusky maidens plying you with rum and other unmentionable gifts, moonlight on serene seas, and the ship a thousand miles away have now given way to the reality of lovely beaches (but with a crab or two of monstrous proportions), some fat, chuckling mommas, lukewarm beer, and coconuts falling from on high onto the crockery, and a tropical downpour now and again for good measure.
Nevertheless, the ship was a long way away for 24 hours, the water warm, and everyone enjoyed themselves and somehow we did seem to get hold of that rum, if not the dusky maidens! Once again, the general opinion let’s do this more often!
Having recovered all our banyanners with few casualties, we set course north for Puerto Rico for our much needed self-maintenance period of 14 days. Stopping only to have morning watch swimming off suitable islands in our track, we arrived alongside a very rickety jetty in San Juan on the forenoon of Saturday, November 9th.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
As our visit here was purely operational, apart from the traditional Remembrance Day service onboard, the programme was free of all the ceremonial normally associated with foreign ports. This gave everyone a good chance to have a look round first, and have their runs ashore later. San Juan itself was similar to Bermuda in many ways in that it was based on the American tourist trade—hence there were large numbers of money traps in the shape of hotels and casinos. Away from them though there were many small bars, the PX was good or rabbits, and the sea was good for swimming. As a result, the money. for some anyhow, lasted out the fortnight.
Not a very exciting place to spend a fortnight anyhow, and gloom was spread over the last three days by the shaking news of the death of President Kennedy.( November 22nd, 1963. Almost every American alive that day remembers where they were and what they were doing when they heard that President John F. Kennedy had been shot)
Our departure on a Sunday forenoon was quite exciting—a total power failure and breakers ahead. Six hours later, though, all was well once inside the warm welcoming Caribbean again, and we set our mind to three days’ weapon training.
Unfortunately this was not marked by any degree of success. On the first day one of the aircraft crashed in the sea, and the helicopter and operations room told the American rescue aircraft where it was to the nearest mile, even though we were out of sight a very nifty piece of work. The next day was P.T.A. day the story; 7 drones, 7 ditchings – enough said
Southward now again for a day at our “home port” Portsmouth in Dominica. Three big events took place here, the long awaited and deserved M.E. and M.L. Banyan, a hilarious cricket match, and the sight of one Captain, one Lieutenant-Commander, two Lieutenants, four Midshipmen, one Petty Officer, one Able Seaman, two boats, and a seine net out for a day’s fishing—the result, one very impressed fish!
By this time, our programme had undergone one of its seasonal changes and it was known that we would now leave our next port, Barbados, so as to arrive home a week early.
The sun is hot, the rum cheap, the girls…… What more could one want—except the cash to enjoy it all with. Luckily (or perhaps unluckily, whichever way you look at it!) we arrived on early closing day, Saturday, and left on Monday, so no real opportunities for a rabbit run occured and our final run to the Canaries had been cancelled.
What a decision to have to make to spend or not to spend the savings! The answer lies I think in the weekend takings of Harry’s Nitery, or the aptly named Last Chance Saloon! We left our alongside berth in the new harbour at Bridgetown, sorry the stay had been shortened, glad to be going home, and yet would still be happy to return a nice place.
For every mile we steamed north, the colder and unfriendlier it seemed to become. The milestones of leaving the tropics on December 6th— farewell allowances! Detaching RFA WAVE RULER on the 8th, at Ponta Delgada on (he 10th to pick up the trials party, and a fresh sou’westerly gale to blow us home, all these were left behind and so we arrived at Portsmouth, coinciding also with the first snow of the year, on the 13th.
A memorable three months cruise indeed. We learned a lot about the ship and ourselves and, even more important, showed other people what we were like. In fact, in the words of a cricket supporter at the battle of Portsmouth. Dominica. “Devonshire. you sho done well, boh”
THIS WAS YOUR LIFE
As seen through the eyes of the Chief’ Petty Officers, Petty Officers, Leading Hands and Junior Rates who collaborated to produce this section
It was a cold November morning when we first saw her out of sleep filled eyes! This was to be the “haven of rest” for the next eighteen months for some sixty ratings, four P.O.’s and the Chief Buffer—or did they think so?
“Come on then lads; scrub down; take two to clean the brightwork Hookey!” The Fo’castlc was in full swing. The ship had left her berth in Birkenhead and was headed For Greenock. For the following month we were to do trials. It seemed that the Q.D. under Petty Officer Gardner were due for a quiet time. The part of ship which everyone had worked hard to clean looked like Hiroshima—Blast Trials had begun. However everyone worked together and, despite other setbacks like the “Stoker’s” blowing soot, the ship was in good condition when she entered Portsmouth for Xmas leave.
The ship spent the last month of 1963 quietly in Portsmouth. During this time the R.P.’s were called to Dryad to try out the new G.M. Destroyer Model, a welcome break from shipboard routine.
The early part of 1964 was to be spent carrying out trials of Radar and A/S equipment and so we were in and out of Portsmouth Dockyard. This was to our advantage for we soon learned the routine for bringing her alongside, and coming to anchor. It was also during this time that we found out that the mast would have to be washed regularly. The Boat Party featured prominently in this evolution. This was a somewhat hazardous task as a few onlookers found when a bucket of water came cascading down.
On April 1st we sailed for the “Med” and the sunshine. Whilst the Upper Deck had been thinly populated during the trials off Fishguard, it now became well cluttered with “Goofers” and sun bathers. Now scrubbing the For’d Screen was no longer an irksome job but a good excuse for getting “bronzy for leave.” We stopped at Gib. and then went on to Malta where A/B’s Fitchett, Rowlands, and yours truly were among those who satisfied the Advancement Board that they would make good Leading Seamen, whilst L S Driver and Dowling qualified for P.O. We were in and out of Marsaxlokk regularly and the experience of A B’s Hooper and Connolly as Buoy Jumpers was put to good use. After a good run in Barcelona we returned to Malta before making our way back to Portsmouth, where we arrived on 10th June.
During this period the ship was in Dock and the routine was relaxed slightly. However the work went on and on. We ranged the cable and took the opportunity to clean up all the working parts. The Side Party amalgamated with the Dockyard in an effort to touch up the ship’s side.
On 23rd September, 1963, we set sail for the West Indies and America in company with RFA WAVE RULER, whom we were to get to know pretty well during the next three months. The colour watches competed strongly to see who were the best at “RASing.” The Commander gave the verdict to BLUE watch although there was very little to choose between them.
The Boat Party were justly proud of their new acquisition, the “Huntress,” and P.O. Poling was soon to be seen putting her through her paces.
On arrival at Hamilton, Bermuda, things were not all they should be, the facilities of Pompey Dockyard were not here and whilst the “TOP BRASS” waited to board the Special Parties under L /S Castell sweated it out heaving the gangways in by hand.
The ship was now in tip-top condition for her visit to the “States,” and in the early part of October “the good ship lollipop” berthed in Philadelphia. The visit was a huge success and the high standard gained the praise of our American friends. After all the hard work put in for the American trip we were allowed to relax a little with some quiet runs ashore in Curacao, San Juan and Barbados before making the home run in the early part of December.
From the Sporting point of view we have done well in winning the Cricket Interpart Cup and being runners-up at Football. At Hockey L/S Fitchett and L /S Newman have represented the ship, whilst A /B Connolly, Dryden, Weaver and 0/S Baxter represented us in the Cricket 1st Xl. A/B Hooper, Sullivan, PTI Ballantine and myself also played in some enjoyable matches for the 1st XI. Whilst in San Juan the Upper Deck thrashed the RFA. WAVE RULER by 5 goals to I. We also had A B’s Flinn, Raine and Lampon (call me mister!) in the 1st XV at Rugby.
Altogether it has been a case of work hard and play hard in order to maintain a high standard of efficiency required of the Department. However those who have served on this first commission of H.M.S. DEVONSHIRE will go away with a lot of new friends, and in knowledge that they are handing over a well-kept ship to the next commission.
When we commissioned, it appeared to many that with 48 Communicators aboard a “Destroyer” we were in for a pretty good loaf. Events proved otherwise. Communal party, the telephone exchange and the innumerable working parties all help to keep us happy in harhour and at sea it’s the whole division into “Two Watches” at anything approaching a major exercise.
We’ve had our ups and downs. General toothsucking amongst the (T)’s when they had to change their badges but they didn’t allow “Bunts” to be forgotten -semaphore still rides supreme when alongside another hip, and Doug Whatton, when he isn’t playing his guitar, can still make the sewing machine sing, or perhaps it should be swing. The (W )‘s still find it hard to make anyone believe that they do any work behind the locked door of the E.W.O. The general opinion is that there’s an extended course on how to drive the Land Rover. However the fact that Ron Strangeway is the only (W) who hasn’t achieved advancement (and he can’t go any higher) during the commission must mean something. The (G)’s -well they never really change, do they?
Our achievements during the commission? In the Sports field the Communicators formed the nucleus of the ship’s Soccer team and ably led by the Yeoman carried off the inter-part Soccer trophy. LRO Smith has been a bulwark of the ship’s sailing team, and Osbiston and Park beat the ship from Portsmouth to Plymouth on their bicycles. At Indoor Sports we won the ship’s Team Quiz competition and we now know why it’s called “Harry’s” Nitery.
For the records we’ve had six marriages, produced six infants during the commission and with half the marriages completing l00% Comms. partnerships we reckon the
Communicators in 1984 will be all right.
Our quotations all come from the (T)’s:
WHO wanted to salute F.O. Gib. with 13 GINS?
WHO called the excercise a “BASTARD FLASH”?
and WHO said we couldn’t raise the WAVE RULER because of “RADIO PROVOCATION”?
The 30 R.P.’s borne are only with the Operations Department during full exercises and spend the remainder of the time between Forecastle, Quarterdeck and Boats. No doubt their individual exploits are noted in other parts of this book. The LOP Team for passage watchkeeping has been a regular feature of the Operations Room, but the switch from marlin spike to Fluorograph pencil hasn’t always been successful, which accounts for many a scratched plotting movement.
The Ship’s Flight (Golden Ducks)
It must be borne in mind that the flight is virtually the guinea pig for small ships’ flights in the fact that it has been, and in fact still is, employed in evaluating the necessary requirements for operating a helicopter from a small ship.
On the initial formation of the flight it came under the care of 706 squadron, the Wessex training squadron, where the ground crew obtained the knowledge required to look after its own Aircraft, this milestone was reached in March on the receipt of a brand new Wessex which was to become better known as 989, its Call Number.
This period at Culdrose, the first of many, was spent in flying practice which at first was only permitted over land, due to an engine restriction. This state of affairs lasted for roughly three months when an “Overwater Engine” was obtained and fitted. As soon as 989 could fly over water the flight then proceeded with the next stage of its work up period. namely Anti-Submarine practice and night flying patrols.
In June this first phase of the work up period ended with the flight moving to the Heli-port at Portland for advanced Anti-Submarine practice and Dummy Deck landings on a mock up of Devonshire’s flight deck. At first the 901 radar suffered considerably, but eventually fairly comprehensive After Section of Devonshire was erected.
After one more short stay at Culdrose the flight moved to R.A.F. Sealand prior to embarkation for the Commissioning Ceremony. The stay at Sealand proved to be quite pleasant, with very lenient closing hours in the Club. much to the flight’s delight.
On November 12th came the day for which all the working up led to—Embarkation on H.M.S. Devonshire to become the first single Helicopter to be used as part of a small ship’s Armament. The actual means of embarkation must have caused a great many comments around the meal tables in Scouseland that evening, what with a helicopter landing in the Dockyard, then being pushed by sturdy? Naval Airman through the Dockyard to the ship, where it was hoisted onboard by crane. Let me hasten to add here that it was not due to lack of qualified pilot but the ship did not have an A. R. B ticket. So when the ship was commissioned three days later the flight was there as an intregal part of the ship.
And SO to sea, straight into a Force nine which produced a flight of green looking airmen.
After the first week’s sea trials the helicopter trials started off the Cornish coast, using our own Pilots assisted by a test Pilot from Boscombe Down, Lt Cdr Leonard. A week was set aside for these trials trials, which were a complete success success with over 400 deck landings being achieved. As a result of these trials our A R B was soon received.
After a further two weeks at sea it was up gear and away to Culdrose for a heavy maintenance period, followed by Christmas leave.
On rejoining the ship after Christmas the flight was given the job of progressing on with landing limits both by day and night; this extensive Flying programme was the result of the comment “Who are those starving creatures up there?”
But all bad things come to an end eventually, though in this case not as expected; on the day prior to entering Barcelona, just after take off the engine decided to give up the ghost; a skillful landing was effected by the pilot for our initiation on board of an emergency landing. As a result an engine change was carried out in Barcelona, in between runs ashore and hang-overs. On the subsequent ground runs numerous snags were encountered which were not ironed out until Malta and a Rolls Royce rep. were reached.
On leaving Malta the ship’s engines developed a snag off the coast of Africa, which entailed a limp back to Malta for repairs. Whilst the ship was undergoing these repairs the flight disembarked to Halfar. During the stay at Halfar arrangements were made for members of the flight to fly in R.A.F. Shackeltons on long range patrols; these lasted from 8 hours to [5 hours and even though slightly tedious were enjoyed by all.
After ten days a decision was reached to sail the ship back to Portsmouth for more lengthy repairs to the engine. On arrival the flight was once again disembarked, this time to Lee-on-Solent. This period at Lee- on-Solent was rather a hectic time, with trips to Portland for A/ S practice and participation in Air Day at Lee.
At the latter we stole the show by staging a Ban the Bomb demo., which entailed lifting an old car by the Helo and dropping it literally from a great height on to the airfield. The remainder of Air day was spent by the Maintenance party, Aircrew being in hiding by now, explaining to Admiralty police, the Commander and not a small amount of black, vicious dogs that in fact it wasn’t the Captain’s car!!
Air Day was followed up by a Three Day Camping Expedition to Salisbury Plains, known as Exercise Mudbath. The man must have been psychic as that was exactly what it turned out to be. This exercise proved invaluable for obtaining experience in sleeping in wet sleeping bags and tents, except for one person who, rumour has it, struck off to the local tavern—who says money can’t buy luxury? During this exercise trouble reared its ugly head again in the shape of a u/s starter; this was soon overcome with the aid of an Army Air Corps helicopter flying the C.O. to the ship for a spare injector and some good maintenance by the ground crew.
Embarking again at the end of August, this time heading for Bermuda and the States.
In Philadelphia the flight members visited Boeing helicopter works, making a mental comparison between this massive works and Westlands “Mission huts.” From the States down to Puerto Rico where, at San Juan, 989 developed vibrations in flight. This was eventually found to be a u/s damper and damage to the scissors. Due to lack of spares the Golden Duck remained in its shed until one was borrowed (legally of course!) from our American cousins in Roosevelt Roads.
On to Curacao, which was highlighted by one flight member seeing others at the dreaded campus. No names! No wet dinghy drill!!
Starting troubles winged their way into our system on reaching Barbados and were not properly cleared until arrival back in Pompey.
On arrival the flight was on its travels once again, this time to sunny?
-—okay maybe not—Cornwall, where we met our younger brothers from Hampshire, Kent and London; we like to think they benefited from our sea stories.
After Christmas leave it was back on board for a month’s exercises. The first week being spent with our three sister ships, purely for propaganda we think.
On departure from our sister ships and three weeks and fifty flying hours later we found ourselves at Lee-on-Solent trying to avoid an angry Submarine Commander who may have had personal contact with our light stores carrier. Who says we need missiles or torpedoes?
During our stay at Lee the crew effected two big modifications ; an engine change and gearbox removal. How frustrating to all when it went to Fleet-lands for finer details as out came our engine, followed by two more. Only by holding up the ship’s sailing time did we manage to retrieve our own helicopter, at one period London’s Helo was being run up.
So to sea with a brand new engine for exercise Magic Lantern, where we proved our worth by bringing about the destruction of a Submarine.
Our programme holds in store for us a lot more flying as we are still evaluating limitations for the operating of Wessex from D.L.G.’s.
As a parting note, let us say that our value has been recognised by one of the flight crew being the recipient of a Herbert Lott award.
CANNONS AND CHAOS
The highlight of the P.C.T. period at H.M.S. Cambridge was the “shelling” of the Eddystone Lighthouse which is reputed to have led to Trinity House requesting a “Spotting Course” for lighthouse keepers.
Once under way the guns’ crews had their first of many firings, starting with Final Acceptance Trials followed by Comprehensive Blast Trials— a seaman’s reaction to which is What Clots, they build a ship and then blow it to pieces”.
Gun drill was always appreciated by C.O.A. Pearson, who rigs the special rails which catch the “fired” shells.
The G.D.P.’s crew seemed to find the winter a little arduous. C.P.O. Beach and A.B.’s Sweeney and Constable have all imitated blue monkeys, though all have avoided frost bite.
The control of the guns was well supervised by that North Country Gentleman, Lt.-Cdr. Hibbert, and then by that well known T.V. personality, Lt.-Cdr. Jones. Both were ably assisted by C.R.E.A. Holmes-the man who smells targets befrre they are indicated, and by C.E.A. Kibell who has screw drivers growing out of his hands. There was also the O.A. who wore canteen socks still does.
Gunnery shoots have been few because of ship’s other duties and bad weather, but results are improving, and the future is before us.
The long years of development came to fruition when Devonshire fired her first missile at Aberporth. To see and hear seaslug fired is like rolling all the November 5th’s you have known into one.
After the firing, Lt. Berry’s remark to the Q.D. Officer that “we seem to have smudged a bit of painiwork” was not well received. We are still trying to find the blast proof covers fitted to the equipment on the Q.D.
That spacious palace (Seaslug T.S.) was ruled by C.R.E.A. Swann, Lt. Webb and Lt.-Cdr. Aylward in that order! The other palace “The Palace of Varieties (Seaslug Test Room”) is controlled by LtCdr. Howard, assisted by a camera-fixing, tame steeple-jack named Barrett.
Robinson’s Mechano Special (Seaslug Magazine) really works under the capable hands of “three armed,” oil-breathing maintainers. Seacat
One Director each side of the ship manned by would be cinders if the Gas Turbines light-up much more. During one night start P.O. Featherstone thought lie had passed on and was doing his stint below.
Only a few Seacat firings, containing both good and bad. The concentration required compares with that prior to taking a penalty goal in a goal—less Cup Final with one minute to go. You are on your own and everyone thinks he can do better than you.
Behind the scenes C.R.E.A. Bach and his team worked long hours to provide the hardware for the firing teams to lire, control and hit those little targets.
Supply and Demand
The Commission really started with the arrival of the Maltese cooks and stewards, about 1700 one evening. Shortly after arriving onboard they cooked tea for all the Advance Party and then turned to work through the night so as to be ready to give the whole Ship’s Company breakfast the next day. Charlie Vella had a good team and alt went well that day and at the Commissioning the next day when there were 200 extra guests to feed.
We then sailed from Birkenhead and looked forward to a period to settle down. However a few hours later the Victuallers were to be seen digging out from jam packed store rooms, in a Force 9 gale, sufficient bedding for the hundred or so workmen from Cammell Lairds, who were stranded onboard.
At the same time it seemed that there was a concerted attempt by all departments to remove in hours from the Naval Store what had taken months to put in, and it took all the efforts of S.P.O.’(s) Chandler and his team to keep pace.
After a couple of months things had fallen into place. It was reported that Charlie Vella had been seen asleep uid (unconfirmed) Bugeja to smile. However, we were soon to fall when, in the Soccer match with Hampshire’s Maltese Division we lost in spite of having the referee. After this we decided to stick to blood sports and 18 Mess won the Deck Hockey, while Steward Consiglio achieved fame in mistaking one of his opponents’ heads for the puck.
Our visit to Malta followed, and the families of the Cooks and Stewards were entertained onboard. This gave us some experience for the Children’s Party at Barcelona we thought. But on the day the Spanish children ate their tea in five minutes flat and it was then a race to provide food faster than they could devour it. Thank heaven for a provision lift.
After a spell in Portsmouth the Ship was stocked right up for the America trip. While in America there was a noteworthy expedition from Philadelphia to Washington by W.T.R. Mordue and L.S.A. Bryan. who took the P.O. W.T.R. and the Secretary with them to provide a sobering influence. S.A. Foulkes went to New York ostensibly to return Air Stores via the Cunard Office, while the Maltese Division visited numerous relatives spread over 1500 miles of the North American Continent.
In Curacao, that luscious island set in a tropical sea, the cockroaches were so big that they nearly carried the potatoes aboard, and it took the valiant efforts of L.S.A. Bryan two weeks to kill them.
It is true to say that, in more ways than one, we left our mark where- ever we went and in this we were ably led by Chief Petty Officers Parry and Chandler affectionatley known as “Parry and Riposte, the duelling twins.”
Early in the new year our Maltese Division left and was relieved by another which soon found its feet, though its sealegs took a little longer.
The Ship’s Office
As we draw near to the end of the first commission, we look back and wonder how we ever managed to pay your £232,920 5s Id; type and post 2,000 letters, and receive even more. This task was helped by the co-operation of all, some late nights, and countless gallons of goffa.
This has not stopped the staff having a good time in numerous ports and sampling the local wines. Enough said!!
Lieutenant Porter, Leading Writer Brandham and Writer Morduc. with three other menibers of the supply staff, embarked on a very interesting land rover tour from Philadelphia to Washington, while the ship did the trip the easy way.
Lieutenant Porter, P.O. Writer Hardy, Leading Writer Ellis, and Writer Mordue commissioned the ship, and were shortly after joined by Writer McCallum. Leading Writer Ellis has since left us for Civvy Street, and his chair is low hued by Leading Writer Brandham.
Finally, as the ship rocks and rolls towards the Azores on her seaworthiness trials, we attack the new pay rise, which we hope will make you all barons. The endless tray full of typing still remains, but we will spare a moment to wish you all Good Luck and calm seas on your next ships.
It has fallen to my lot to report on the life of the Marine Engineering Department during this DEVONSHIRE’S first commission. All in the department will, I feel, agree that, from the work point of view, it hasn’t exactly been a bed of roses,
Those of us who joined at various limes previous to commissioning will remember thinking that we were joining a different Navy, where everything worked at the flick of a finger; and, with the latest design throughout, breakdown maintenance would be a thing of the past. We who enjoyed the “fleshpots” of Birkenhead remember phrases like. “But Chief, modern valves don’t leak!”
Whilst this did not make all of us complacent, even the most pessimistic among us thought that a few months away from the makers would be long enough to “get on lop of things.” As the whole ship’s company knows, it didn’t work out quite like that.
Before long in commission other departments were coming to us asking when we expected to return to harbour! On a few occasions their joy was our gloom. The most notable (and spectacular!) defect, of course has gone down in history as “C.E.R.A. Gilbert’s Dilemma” when the Port H.P. steam turbine tried to do a jig round the engine room! If this meant a lot of hard work by all concerned, it at least proved the value of gas turbines as an alternative means of propulsion, the ship travelling from Malta to U.K. on “G.6’s.”
To go into details of the lesser, but no less jarring, breakdowns, would take more space than is available. Sufficient to say that from top to hot torn the department has worked as a team and if they haven’t been so well represented in the ship’s social and sporting world it could well he because they’ve been very well “exercised” below.
It remains for me to mention the latest “arm” of the Marine Engineering Department, and, despite its “thinness” one which has never Failed. Ably led by Chief Shipwright Parr, the “Chippys” have never been without lacking, and many of us remember the hours of their own time they devoted to making the children’s parties such a success wherever we went. We’re proud to have them.
Finally, congratulations to C.E. R.A. Munroe on his Herbert Lott award for ‘‘Services over theyears!’’ To Chief Shipwright Harden, Ch. M(E) Roberts, P.OM.(E) Coultas and POM(E) Rogers on their promotions and to the man who gave us reasonable mess conditions to “flake out in !“ (Meantimes let us not forget those among us who keep them comfortable.)
Condolences to the Senior Engineer, who doesn’t want to leave the ship ( ?) and to Lieutenant Cribb who has to stay.
Commiseration to C.E.R.A. Redpath, who had to write this and M.(E.) Steedon who ditched the gash in San Juan! Let’s hope we meet “old ships” again to talk about the “good old days” on DEVONSHIRE. We may not want the same experience again—hut at least we’ve had it!
Weapons and Radio
The W/R organisation was new to almost all of us when the commission began.
However, everyone soon slipped into gear and worked together Our lust two months were quite hard going, especially for the ML section, which at that time came under the control of the engineers.
Things did not go too well at the beginning and after our first seaslug firings we had to fervently defend the system against sarcastic remarks from other branches.
However, soon we were off to the Med. and things began to improve. It was in Malta that our first bright sparks showed themselves. EMs Ashworth and Cattlewood attacked and destroyed a large proportion of the Maltese fleet at its base at Manole lsland. R.E.A. Denham serenaded the barmaids of Gzira with P.O. Poline. Unfortunately as he said later, ‘‘Tom dropped me as I was picking him up.” The patrol disagreed.
In Barcelona O.A. Raymond started a new hobby; collecting sausages. Very loyal sausages too, for when O.A. Raymond grew a beard so also did one of his sausages. Too bad that it had to be buried at sea, but it matured rather early in life.
Back to U.K. and leave; and thence once more to Aberporth to prove ourselves fit to go to the U.S.A. A tense time, but we came through with flying colours, thanks to some hard work put in by the seaslug section.
In America we had a fine cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We can say with some satisfaction that no branch were smarter in appearance, and that we were second to none in equipment availability.
In the West Indies we sampled the native rum, and R.E.M. Abbot found a pet and went to sleep with it on the quarterdeck.
Back home again with a bag full of “rabbits” and Christmas with the family. Then came Exercise Phoenix; this was hard graft for everyone. Worth noting was the two extremely good seacat firings.
Everyone has worked hard and well, and the various sections have gone out of their way to help each other. This has welded the branch into a close knit unit from officer to junior rate. We can proudly say that we have as hard a working and playing branch as any throughout the Navy.
The Commissioning completed, the medical department was soon shuffling its job cards. A planned maintenance schedule was quickly established, on a monthly, annual, and four-yearly basis.
During the first few months little was seen of S.B.A. Hillier. It was later discovered that he had been camping out in the Crash boat. Surgeon Lieutenant-Commander Conway with the help of the Canteen Manager began to purge the ship’s company of certain “restrictive’ practices.
Meanwhile, from the master record, S.B.C.P.O. Coles was sorting the job cards and appointing the daily breakdown defects (there was no truth in the rumour that the mass inoculations thus arranged were an attempt to sabbotage the trials).
This small department was soon to make its presence felt, helped considerably by the needle sharpening service provided by O.A. Pearson. By June 1963 the medical department had TABbed its way through Gibraltar, Barcelona, and Malta (and most of the ship’s company). it was good to know that these services were appreciated. L/CK. Scibberas, for example, came round, and received second helpings.
Surgeon Lieutenant-Commander Conway was promoted to Commander at Christmas 1963. A new medical officer has brought new problems to some of the plumper types on board. If Dr. Hatfield’s diet fails, a fault-finding machine can quickly be constructed from electronic equipment already on board.
Our cricket matches consisted of four games in Portsmouth and the rest in America and the West Indies, so our none too impressive record is put down to the fact the West Indians are great players. Our first stop on our cruise was Bermuda, where we played Somerset C.C. L.R.O. Owen will remember this one, I think the bowler’s name was Wess Hall. It would not have been so bad if balls had been on the wicket. In America we thought we must record a win, but, alas, the West Indians were there too.
An interesting match was played at Portsmouth (Dominica) against the local village team called Vulcans. Once the mud pitch was rolled and a few cows removed to a- safe distance play commenced, with a few hundred school children as spectators. The result was a draw on a time basis, but thanks to a good innings by R.O. Thomas.
Our highest score by a batsman was 83; P.O. EL. Bagley had the honour against H.M.S. HAMPSHIRE, and the most successful bowler L.R.O. Osbiston.
The team was never down-hearted, they always came back with high spirits, in them, topic of conversation was the afters not the scores.
They say two new cricketers are joining next Commission –Chinese Players We Won Once and How Long Since.
A keen nucleus of the ship’s company formed the rugby team early in the commission. They have put up a fine performance and have never let the opportunity of a match pass unchallenged. At times we have even fielded two sides on the same afternoon.
Wherever we went abroad and there was a team to play we played hem. Bermuda, Barcelona, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Lisbon.
At Baltimore the team travelled over 100 miles to play a match. They had a fine reception after the match, stayed over-night and returned to the ship at Washington the next day.
In Lisbon we recorded a great win over Sporting Club of Portugal 8 pts. to 3 pts. A try by E.A. Titman was the best bit of interception seen this commission.
Our record against other ships is excellent. We have beaten LONDON, KENT, and HAMPSHIRE, which were among some of our best victories.
We have had some amusing incidents during our matches. There was the game at Philadelphia when E.A. Daley tried to bite off an American’s boot. Jim’s front tooth is still in the boot.
In Bermuda P.O. Trivett who, after a knock on the head, refused to be helped from the field, but fell every time we let him go.
Rugby Team’s Visit to Sporting Club, Portugal
The ship’s rugby team visited the headquarters of the sporting club of Portugal.
They were met by the director of the rugby section, and were taken to the trophy room. This glittering spectacle contained over 3,000 trophies, the centre piece of which was a four foot high solid silver trophy valued at over £5,000.
They were then taken on a tour of the club and saw the club gym and theatre, the open air cinema, an open air basketball court, and the club boardroom.
A magnificent feast was laid on in the club restaurant and pennants were exchanged after speeches by both sides.
The club plays all sports, from football to chess, and is organised on a scale unheard of in England.
The membership fee, £5000 a year.
Makes you think, doesn’t it?
Our fortunes in the realm of football have been as varied as the teams we have played. To play and beat, teams with such names as “Los Arqueros Verdes” (The Green Archers) of San Juan and “The Kensington Bluebells” of Philadelphia; both with a very high standard of skill and then lose to a little ship like the BERWICK shows how fickle the fortunes of soccer can be. Tremendous fun all of it, especially some of the entertainment received at the hands of our hosts.
The varying stale of the pitches we were expected to produce football on during the commission was a never ending source of amazement. From the lush green of the stadium of Barcelona University through the mud bath of U.S. Men’s No. 3, to the bone hard shimmering rock of Corradina. What contrasts! Our interpart knockout in February produced some lively competition with enthusiasm reaching white heat. The Doctor reported that the sick-bay some mornings was like a dressing- room of the Gladiators of Old, with the contestants being patched up to face again the fray of the afternoon. All praise to the Operations Team for winning after a stern tussle with Upper Deck Team with a special word of praise for the M.E.’s, who certainly went down with colours flying.
Finally, a word of thanks to Ginger Greenwood, there is no doubt that all of us who played with him or against him this commission have been made better players by his skill, his infinite patience and continual encouragement. We all hope to see Ken Warnes playing for the Royal Navy one day.
“We seek them here, we seek them there; what we seek are Hockey Players.”
The Hockey Team during our Commission has met with varying results. Opposition being at times a bit too strong for the ship, like Bermuda where we classified the score as top secret against Bermuda Athletic Ass. Next day they made amends by beating the Police 3-2.
A regular team was not always possible, due to certain commitments by players. R Mech. Ragg being a selector, did great work playing and turning out a full team, going nearly mad in the process. Have you noticed he has lost hair this commission?
An amusing incident, only to sailors of course, was when A.B. Fitchett was lying on the ground from a blow in the stomach when someone smashed the ball striking him on the forehead as he looked up. Both things being accidental, were very funny to everyone except him. No serious damage was done.
Our star players throughout were E.R.A. Rush and L.S. Twyman, the latter playing for a combined team in Lisbon.
The Officers and Ships Company of H. M .S. Devonshire 1st Commission
This list includes the names of all the officers and men who served
In H.M.S. Devonshire from Commissioning till 31st Mar 1964
CAPTAIN P. N. HOWES, D.S.C.
COMMANDER F. F. B. BROWN
COMMANDER H. R. KEATE
Upper Deck and Operations
Lieutenant—Commander B. M Stoghton
Lieutenant-Commander R. P. Clarke
Instructor—Lieutenant Commander J. Davidge
Lieutenant—Commander J Carr
Lieutenant—Commander J A de M. Leathes
Lieutenant-Commander P H G Rogers
I ,ieutenant—Commander T .J W. Sergeant
Lieutenant P. R. Lloyd
Lieutenant N. J H ill—Norton
Lieutenant (SD) F. R. Wilby
Lieutenant (SE) D. B. Fernie
Lieutenant (SL) I A. C. Morgan, M . B. E.
Lieutenant (SL) R. D. Nicholas
Lieutenant A. B. Richardson
Lieutenant J. F. Stewart
Lieutenant T. H. S. Haigh
Lieutenant D. B. Bathurst
Lieutenant (SD) B. Sewell
Lieutenant (SD) W. J. Kennedy
Lieutenant D. I. Rhodes
Lieutenant J. C. Williamson
Sub-Lieutenant (SD)(PR) G. R. Martin- dale
Midshipman P. 0. Hore
Midshipman J. D. Cooper
Midshipman R. Dixon
Midshipman M. Boyce
Midshipman J. I. Parkes
Midshipman S. J. W. Hughes
Midshipman M. J. Chase
Midshipman S. J. B. Newsom
Beach, C.P.O. (G.I.)
Ballantyne, L.S. (P.T.1.)
Williams, I., A.B.
Collins, B. P., A.B.
Munson, .1., A.B.
Warren, A. B.
Weapons and Radio
Commander E. J Gillitt
Commander G. W. Bridle
Lieutenant-Commander R.M. Aylward
Lieutenant-Commander D. W. Ruffell
Lieutenant-Commander J. E. K. Croydon
Lieutenant-Commander G. Hibbert
Lieutenant-Commander M. A. Jones, M.V.O.
Lieutenant-Commander D. A. Howard
Engineer-Lieutenant (OE) H. P. Berry
Electrical-Lieutenant (L) J M. Maber
Electrical-Lieutenant (R) V. E. Webb
Electrical-Sub-Lieutenant (R) C. E. Batty
A/ Engineer-Sub-Lieutenant E. J. Balchin
Ragg, R MECH.
Shane, E A.2
Stewart E A 2
Denham R E A 1
Johnson , R. E. A. I
Redwood, R.E.A. 1
Foreman R E A 3
Titman R E A 3
Oram R E A 3
Conibear, R E A £
Morrison-Chapman, O.A. I
Hutchins, A P.O.R.E.L.
Kirkland, J E.M.
Smith, J E.M.
Tobin, J E.M.
Harris, T., REM.
Harris, R., REM.
Geach, J REM.
Richardson, L SEA.
Twyman, L SEA.
Williams, J. H., A.B.
Communications & Special Parties
(T) Holmes, C.R.S.
McLellan, A RS.
TufTs, A R.S.
Gorman, R., R.O.2
Gorman, i., R.O.2
Commander K. B. Birkett Engineer-Lieutenant (ME) M. K.
Commander J. M. C. Dunlop Douglas
Lieutenant M. Cribb
Senior Rates /Artificers/Junior Rates
Williams, L.M.(E) Cox,
M.(E)l Bucknall, M.(E)2
Kearn, J. M.(E)l
M iddleton, M.(E) I
Supply and Secretariat
Commander R. W. Harris
Lieutenant-Commander J. H. Martin
Commander D. S. Smith
Lieutenant J. W. Porter
Sub-Lieutenant G. S. Jerrold
ALL S & S
Tabone, P.O. STD.
Abela, A /Ck.(S)
Siurg.Lt Cdr. M. Hatfield.
Surg.Lt.Cdr. T.M,M. Conway.
Coles, Ch S.B.A.