Devs Last Commission
A modern warship is a complex and highly sophisticated creation. To operate such a ship successfully requires a wide diversity of talent: the skills of the seaman, the engineer, the shipwright, the cook, the electrician and many more at every level must blend together as a unit, a 500 strong team striving towards a single goal.
In the 18 years of her active life, Devonshire has travelled many miles, seen many places and done many different things. She has weathered every storm both figuratively and literally – and acquitted herself handsomely no matter what the challenge.
In the last fifteen months during which it has been my privilege and pleasure to command her, I have formed an attachment for
Devonshire which 1 suspect is shared by many more who have served in or been associated with her over the years. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have contributed in any way to her success; the officers and men who have sailed in her and their families, whose support is a contribution never to be underestimated, the bodies with which we have been associated over the years, perhaps especially the Devon County Council who adopted the ship and with whom I believe she has established a special relationship – the list is endless.
I hope the name of Devonshire will live on. She has been well served and she has served us well in return.
It is always difficult to know what to include and what to leave out when compiling a record of the life of a ship. This is ours and 1 hope you will read it with the same pleasure which we have had in producing it. It is a tribute to a great deal of hard work but it has also been a lot of fun.
With best wishes,
Captain C. A. F. Buchanan
1976 – BY ONE MESS
Devonshire was rededicated in May, 1975 and although only Manny (the Canteen Manager) was on board at the time there are still members of the Ship’s Company who were on board in 1976. 1 Mess tell the tale of 1976 which included some very good visits.
There are only four members remaining from the original crowd. Many new faces joining throughout the commission meant many joining and leaving barrels – the only good thing about trickle drafting!!
There have been only two Mess Presidents in the whole time which reflects on the well behaved and tolerant Mess members. They were CMEA(P) Paul Tullis and Dave Cook. Who says Clankies don’t rule?
During Devonshire’s stint in the Mediterranean (April/May, 1976) working with the NATO Naval on call Force, 1 Mess was instrumental in bringing together all the Chief Petty Officers of the force. A wing-ding of a do was held in Cagliari where true to the tradition of cooperation, the UK supplied the beer, the Italians the vino collapso and the USN/Turks the food. The language barrier was soon broken down helped by CREA Len Rodgers and an original version of Zulu Warrior.
The cold of Middlesbrough
(December, 1976) didn’t do anything to the House of one old lady who we helped under the Age Concern scheme. She still writes asking for more Tricho to remove the paint from the carpet! When the interior decorators returned it was apparent that the walls of her house weren’t the only thing plastered that day!
One of the most interesting periods of 1976 were the visits behind the iron Curtain to Odessa and Constanta in May/June followed by a visit to Halfa.
Visitors to the Mess have been many. They have ranked from CinCFLEET to a little old lady and man on holiday. The record for the most guests in one day is still held by someone who will remain anonymous, alias Cosmos Tours. Having invited two people back on board, 26 turned up after they had spread the buzz around their hotel.
Our wives have also enjoyed our hospitality with the Portsmouth socials being a highlight of our time in base port. Their ability to get on with one another has also helped the Mess when the ship is away.
Soon everyone will leave for other less frantic drafts where eight to four routine is the norm. Hopefully some of us will meet up again someday, perhaps on other ships.
To those who have already gone, best wishes. To those of us yet to go, get it down ya, while you have the chance.
1977/78 BY THE WARDROOM
The bulk of those remaining on board at de-commissioning will have joined in the last 18 months. ‘This is their life!’
In many ways our early 1978 programme is very similar to that of 1977. We were planned to participate in two Decevals (this means an evaluation that takes place in December). The first was in December 1976 and the second in 1977. Problems with the main gearbox meant that we did not make the latter which was just as well for the weather was so bad that little was achieved. All the ships involved had a miserable time.
We also participated in two Exercise Springtrains in January 1977 and 1978. These included Seaslug firings off Africa, weapon training and boisterous runs ashore in a Gibraltar topped up with matelots. The highlight of the last Springtrain was the sports Olympiad which Devonshire won against some stiff opposition – such as Hermes. The Devonshire entry for the ‘chain of command’ race was a ‘show stopper’. Led by the band, a procession in full Roman regalia pulled the Captain in his chariot around the dockyard issuing challenges to all the ships alongside en route. The Tiller Flat girls added a certain amount of glamour!
1977 really got underway in May after two months in dry dock. After a shakedown period, Devonshire made her way to Portland and work-up. Unfortunately this was not a very long period and it was split up by the long Jubilee weekend. However, it was long enough for the Portland staff to put us through our paces and every facet of life was exercised in a variety of situations.
Having applied yet another coat of paint, June found us at Spithead participating in the Royal Review. This was a very impressive sight and was a splendid opportunity for all our friends and families to visit.
An all too short visit to Torquay followed when we were able to renew our links with the county of Devonshire. Once again our programme will repeat itself for we are to pay another visit to Torquay this July. This, unfortunately, will be our last run ashore.
Exercise Highwood was our major exercise for 1977. Much of our time was spent hiding as we were playing the opposition. A fishing competition in Scapa Flow had to be swiftly curtailed as we were bounced by a patrolling Nimrod.
More leave followed and it was not until September that Devonshire sailed again BACK to Portland. No one was sad to finally leave!
After a successful Seaslug firing on the Hebrides range, we spent a period in the North Sea being bounced around in very uncomfortable weather. A submarine exercise was cancelled and our tanker lost her rudder. We attempted to tow her but our tow parted. One tug sent out from the UK managed to get a rope around her screws and so a second tug had to get them both out of trouble.
Our main foreign visit for the year was Esbjerg in Denmark. My advice to anyone reading this is, do not go there!
In October, 1977 we met up with the Ark Royal during her work-up. Again a coincidence for we were to deploy with her in April, 1978 to the Caribbean.
Exercise Ocean Safari followed straight on. We had to sail all the way from the North Sea to Lisbon to join our group and we didn’t get a run ashore! Our task was to escort the tankers and so most of the action passed us by. Once again the fishing was very good and the local fishermen off Portugal were only too willing to supply the goods.
Early November, 1977 saw us in Cardiff, Welsh Wales. This was our second visit to Wales in that year – the first being to Swansea in January. A very good run was had by one and all. The welcome was very warm even though RN ships are quite frequent visitors these days. The Police and Rugby Clubs in particular were marvellous.
That really was the end of 1977. There was a lot of hard work but very little to show for it. The programme was uninspiring with very little fun. We all looked forward to 1978 and the trip to the sun.
1978 started with a visit to London which was very enjoyable, if a trifle expensive. We then moved on to Springtrain which included a F0F1 inspection and then we were off.
In April we sailed for the Caribbean with everyone praying that we wouldn’t break down on the way – we had looked forward to this trip for so long. Sun, sand, palm trees? The sun proved to be the first problem as several were quite badly burnt.
Island hopping commenced after an easy passage across the ‘pond’. San Juan, Guadeloupe, Barbuda, Antiqua, St Croix, Florida, Grand Cayman and finally Charleston. The trip of a lifetime.
At the time of writing we have only reached Antiqua. The sun is shining, the pay rise has just been announced and it’s a make and mend every day!
There’s still a good deal of fun to come until July and indeed a spot of work when we rejoin Ark Royal.
Once we have said our farewells to the county of Devon we will rather sadly start breaking up ourselves. The Ship’s Company dance should be something to remember if the effort and money expended to date is anything to go by.
The final families day it is hoped will be attended by Princess Alexandra. It was Princess Alexandra who launched Devonshire and we look forward to seeing her at our swan song.
Good luck to all Devonshires past and present and many thanks and best wishes to all our friends.
by COEMN ‘Chippy’ Carpenter
It is pure coincidence that three members of No 1 CPO’s Mess were all serving on the ship’s first commission 1962-1964. OEA1 Vic Shane is the real daddy of us ill, having joined her six months before Commissioning Day and experienced the throbbing sound of her brand new engines during her maker’s proving trials. I joined her at Birkenhead just prior to commissioning and OEMN Ron Judd was the last to follow some months later during the ship’s shock trials in Portsmouth.
The bulk of the ship’s company was assembled in RNB two weeks prior to joining, and an extensive familiarity course was programmed. I can remember us all being fascinated with this brand new class of ship and even the Officers explaining her modern design and weaponry were excited. A special train from Portsmouth was arranged to transport us to Birkenhead, an overnight sleeper taking over from Euston. We hardly had time to rub the sleep out of our eyes before this grey glistening monster was seen from the coach windows. Once onboard you had the feeling that every little detail for us joiners had been taken care of, and indeed it had.
Unlike at present, the ship’s galleys and stewarding were totally run by Maltese whilst the laundry was a ship’s company affair run on a voluntary basis from all branches. Devonshire was the first ship to implement Seamen into the WE Branch and so, as in 2E Mess and 3P Mess, Greenies and Seamen were integrated. Below in 3E Mess, were Seamen as at present but 3D was the Communicators domain. Of the Senior Rates accommodation 1 Mess was a PO’s Mess (Apprentice Shane), and 5 and 6 Messes were one large CPO’s Mess.
Hampshire was supposed to have been the first GMD to join the fleet, but she was delayed in building and Devonshire proudly presented herself to Portsmouth shortly after Commissioning.
One can imagine the extensive trials and exercises that took place during those first few months. The only consolation was that Portland were learning with us and ships evolutions and Damage Control exercises were rather more timid than they are today.
Undoubtedly the highlight of the first commission was the Ship’s visit to the States during the latter part of 1963, and especially the visit to Philadelphia. The Ship’s Company were presented with the freedom of the city and, together with a Royal Marine Band, the whole ship’s company marched the length of the main street.
A return visit to the West Indies followed in early 1964 and also included a visit to the Mediterranean and Malta.
The ship was tied up alongside Ausonia in Seliema Creek for most of the visit and it was a memorable time for most of us. It was late one night that a number of Greenies’ from 2E Mess took on half the Maltese Dhaighsa fleet as it was tied up alongside, and despite several sinkings and crippling blows the attackers were captured and awarded £250 costs.
At the time of writing, our Devonshire looks all set for a new home. After seeing -he heart and soul ripped out of Hampshire, I for one am pleased that she may have a new lease of life.
By CPO(OPS)EW D. A. Laybourne
It was one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ events – the opportunity to visit Russia. A mysterious and yet awe inspiring country.
A great deal of preparation was carried out in Grand Harbour, Malta. All the paintwork was renewed. ‘Cosmetic’ being the ‘in’ word. On the Flight Deck stores were being uncrated, whilst the band marched and the drummers beat their way through the debris. Up forward the decks were being scrubbed, watched by the Commander, fully dressed with his telescope under his arm except for his bare feet! No one was allowed to mark those decks once they’d been scrubbed.
Eventually, Devonshire arrived at Odessa. The visit coincided with the visit by a Russian destroyer to Portsmouth. The ship berthed stern towards the town and the famous Poteinkin Steps. Directly opposite was a Russian destroyer which was our host ship.
That forenoon 30 of us visited the Russian destroyer. We were ushered on to the forecastle where we were given Russian/English language guides. There followed half an hour of chatting and photo taking assisted by the language guides. Then we were escorted down between decks via a carefully chosen route such that there was little to see. The main impression was of narrow passages and low deckheads. One felt that the compartments around were crammed with equipment with little space for the crew.
We reached a compartment reminiscent of an empty messdeck. At one end was an orchestra and singers, dressed as sailors. In the centre of the room was a line of tables laid out with food and jugs of fruit juice. Around the bulkheads were pictures of Karl Marx, Lenin and other heros of the Soviet Union, including some sports personalities. In one corner was a table piled high with free literature on communism and other doctrine. There were also advertisements on life in the Russian Army and pictures of operations with satellite countries.
Our hosts were young Russian sailors similarly armed with language guides. One got the impression that they were a bit bewildered by the whole thing. In some ways, they could be likened to Boy Seamen from Ganges – fresh faced, fit and just a little ignorant of what life had in store for them.
The first treat we had was the orchestra playing some very powerful Russian folk songs sung by their sailors. It all sounded very professional and was very, very good. Next there followed a round of speeches from both sides and then more singing followed.
Tours of Devonshire also proved to be very popular as could be seen from the large queues of local people every day. they were very friendly and many could speak some English. Inevitably politics raised its ugly head but the average Russian showed very little interest in it.
Teenage girls met teenage sailors just as in any other port. They were very inquisitive, particularly about life in the West.
Come the day of departure, there were lots of people to see us off including girls in tears. 1 think everyone had enjoyed the visit particularly as we had been made so very welcome.
It was was a very valuable experience – thanks to HMS Devonshire in June, 1976.
Every time we go to sea we tune in to the SRE
and what have we for your delight? Another round of ship’s’Quiz Night’.
In the studio, Devonshire’s best
about to sit a mental test
on subjects everyone should know
concisely asked by our ‘Cosmo’.
If your man goes out of focus
sit tight, please don’t phone us.
It’s Pete Cairns fiddling with his gear.
He works the camera with his ear.
‘Angela’ Fowles next with the news.
Legs well hidden under the pews.
There’s a well kept secret not many know
he’s on the Morcambe and Wise Christmas show.
We hope you all enjoyed the show
but now it’s really time to go.
A final slot to blow the tubes
a massive pair of suntanned boobs!
By Nobby G; They did there best to please the rest, now they’ve gone do not be forlorn, no more bloody SRE to wake us at the dawn!
Life in Devonshire never lets you get bored. It all really started after last DED when we faced Portland with even more juniors than normal, but we gritted our teeth, smiled when we were being examined and generally set out to please. It must have done the trick because although we had to go back again it wasn’t because of the Black Gang.
The only event we were famous for during this period was putting on the longcast an emergency docking that hadn’t been there before.
At the post-review visit to Torbay we started a lasting friendship with the Flight Commander who was making his first recovery, by greeting him with a thick black cloud of smoke that enveloped the helicopter completely, only his rotor tips being visible.
The emergency docking did enable MEM’s to gain experience in steaming a latter-day Stephenson’s Rocket masquerading as a donkey boiler. They all enjoyed this new-found responsibility and provided amusement by standing on the boiler with a piece of toast in their left hands, rigidly at attention saluting as colours and sunset took place, sometimes at first burning the toast.
We then had an unpleasant period at sea when we grew adept at changing G6 fuel filters in a 30 degree roll and having to clean them with an old tooth brush for re-use. The weather was as filthy as the fuel and we tried hard to convince ourselves that our super. smooth machinery state changes hadn’t contributed to the parting of the tow for the crippled RFA Blue Rover.
Exercise Ocean Safari went on record for blowing up a diesel during a RAS which was exciting in itself and we all learned a great deal about how it would run on 15 cylinders. The real mockery was that we had to borrow parts from a museum to put the engine right!
Murphy’s law struck again in early December when one of our always hardpressed Gear Room watchkeepers became confused and engaged something he shouldn’t have. The resultant expensive noises put the ship alongside until Christmas was over and the time had come to sail to London and the forthcoming Admiral’s Inspection.
It was en route to Gibraltar that POG6 upped and died. It, also, happened during a RAS, as all the exciting breakdowns seem to in Devonshire. It was a very sad occasion like the passing of an old friend. What did frighten the FDO however, were ‘large balls of fire descending on to the flight deck’ as PIG6 went into mourning. However PIG6 recovered and all was well. It was during the same period we had a very trying middle watch when the firemain burst in two places. It certainly kept the Chippies on the hop!
Every ship’s company has its characters and the ME Department of Devonshire has its fair share. For years to come people will remember such characters as MEMN ‘Willy’ Wilbraham whose ‘Good morning mortals this is God speaking’ unexpectedly echoing over the machinery broadcast at 0300 will take some forgetting; also such characters as MEM ‘Womble’ Gawthrop who could be relied upon to do the dirtiest job imaginable in the most cheerful manner; people ike MEM Stonestreet whose piercing shriek ‘Chiefl Chiefl’ usually precede a question on the number of spoonfuls of sugar taken with tea rather than a repo of a serious breakdown or fire – that will be hard to forget.
There were also characters such as MEM’s ‘Jock’ Grant and ‘Milly’ Milward -‘theoldmen of the evaps’ who could usually cajole them into producing water where others had failed. There were characters like JMEM ‘Manny’ Mansell, who looked so young that he was mistaken for a Sea Cadet and had to fight his way off a bus taking a party of them home after a tour of the ship. There were of course many many more.
3Q stokers’ messdeck has a creditable list of achievements, being overall winners of the Tug of War, much to the annoyance of the seamen, and having arguably the best inter-mess football team. MEM ‘Terry’ Campbell won the cartoon competition by showing us his idea of what the inside of the Officers’ Heads looked like. 3Q also won the inter-mess indoor games competition and MEM Milward won the Ship’s darts competition.
The DB tankies perhaps deserve a mention. They have, over the last 18 months, taken charge of enormous quantities of various liquids. They have also occasionally stored it in some unusual places and made tenuous friendships with members of 3D and 3R messes who have once or twice had an impromptu bath. They have taken on board enough fuel to have taken the Landrover to the Sun and halfway back, and enough water to fill St Paul’s Cathedral five times. They have been ably led by CMEM’Winkle’ Perry whose cry’Where’s the fuel finding paste?’ has been heard echoing from the Fuel Working Space. They also have a message for the First Lieutenant: ‘Dieso is good for paintwork’. This stems from an occasion when we fuelled so fast that the dieso was pumped into the tanks and it shot straight up the vents without stopping.
Achievements of the rest of the department include shooting down a PTA with black smoke and unravelling a wire from each screw, on different occasions.
It has always been comforting to know that when the Captain wants a real cup of tea he comes to the MCR.
Life in Devonshire never lets you get bored!
There is a POME whose name is JAN,
Who is the Blue Watch No 1 fan,
He is a short and little bloke,
Took off a burner and too much smoke.
He didn’t panic and wasn’t hasty
Then he lifted the f***ing safety.
The folks ashore looked on in horror,
1 hope he’s not on watch tomorrow.
But with that smoke all black and smudgy
He nearly broke the paraffin budgy.
The yeoman’s hands all had a moan,
Oh f—–jng hell, the soots been blown.
He took 10 lads and off they marched,
To clean the masts all black and starched.
So when you’re told ‘Take off a burner’
Please make sure that he’s not a learner.
. . . and so to the Chippies. For so long, we the willing, led by the unknowing have been doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.
The boys, Joe Curtis, Jan Poole, Steve Berry and Dave Shelley must have something going for them because over the past two years they have got through one in number FCMEA(H), three in number CMEA(H)’s and are on their second Shipwright Officer.
Crests or picture frames, floods or blockages, ATU’s or filters, salt water or fresh, it makes no difference to us with our long arms, universally jointed elbows and no sense of smell, we press on regardless and the standard answer always has been, still is, and must remain: ‘Put in a Job Card!’
In conclusion a chuck up for the lads of the Vent Party and chippies mates who have put up with our ways and whims over the commission:
‘The Vent Party Chucks Up!’
AND TO SEE IF CLIMATOLOGY IS RELIABLE
The day will start with lots of blue sky and only a few thin pieces of cloud. As the forenoon proceeds cloud will build up, until during the afternoon the predominantly sunny weather of the day is interrupted by occasional short duller periods. There will be no rain, snow, or hail. Visibility will be excellent.
Winds will be light (or even calm) first thing in the morning, getting up to around 15 kts (with gusts to 20 kts) from W to SW out in the Solent. Temperatures will rise to an afternoon maximum of about 20’C (68?F) though because of the wind it will feel somewhat cooler than this.
After all, the golden rule of a forecaster’s world is ‘Keep life in perspective’. This means that in a world of death, disaster, famine, bankruptcy and the like, if the worst that can happen to you is that your forecast goes wrong, it doesn’t really matter, does it? (All forecasters have to be philosophers as well.)
THE DEVONSHIRE VOLUNTEER BAND
HMS Devonshire has been for some years the only DLG with a respectable volunteer band. Two years ago its reputation was high, just as the reign of Band Sgt Ralph Cole was coming to an end. When he left he took most of the band with him, so that his relief, Band Sgt Trevor Foster, had to begin from scratch. The drafters were unkind for a long time, refusing to send us experienced players, so the road to progress was a long, hard one.
We learnt painstakingly our simple tunes, and for a while every programme consisted of the same five or so pieces, the only ones that we could play. Gradually, more of Sgt
Foster’s learners gained band status; and finally the drafters relented so far as to send us a couple of players who had learnt to play already, until at Sgt Foster’s final appearance for the F0F1 Inspection Divisions in January this year, the music-loving Admiral Squires felt able to compliment us with a clear conscience – as did many other listeners.
The final part of the commission has been under Band Col Sgt Trevor Lewis. This has seen further expansion of our activities, which have included two memorable appearances in Gibraltar – a splendid concert jointly with the Hermes and London bands, and on our own the ‘Roman’ morning, already famed through its appearance in Navy News
The Supply Department
‘Chips is off. The machines broken. ‘Chips is off. The fryer’s broken. ‘No omelettes – no eggs: sorry’. ‘Then make the omelettes out of something else’. ‘Want some more?’ proffers the CPOCK. ‘Ditch your own gash!’ says another satisfied customer.
All were said at one time or another, but only once, because the galley went from strength to strength over the past two years under the eye of ‘Robbie’ and his merry bunch of chefs, who worked hard to achieve their well-deserved ‘Good’ Inspection assessments. All the entertainers appeared at one time or another – ‘Jock’ Keenan on his drums, Dave West with his boxing, ‘Barney the Large’ tag wrestling with ‘M and the indefatigable ‘Conny’ who caused much mirth for a considerable period.
Not to be outdone the Stores Department produced a round of applause by sending off urgent demands for provision chain lifts only to discover one week later that they held 26 on board! Within a few weeks of this their Lordships in their wisdom announced that not only had Local Acting CPOSA Bradley been selected for CPOSA – having served on board since October 1974 something had to happen – but that they also considered POSA Thompson suitable along with POSA Chapman – a veritable gaggle of Chiefs! CPO Bradley also has the honour of being the longest serving member of the present ship’s company.
The Caterers, nobly led by CPOSA Allgood and followed by CPOSA Cattermole, maintained a low profile and managed with the able assistance of Taff Lewis to fight off the persistent attacks of the shipwrights, whose main aim appeared to be to flood the Provision Rooms with Dieso, using the rather unpleasant tactic of leaving tomato sauce on the sides of the lift shaft and topping up the well with onions until everybody, but everybody, was driven back by the smell! Of course, sensible people, they regularly cleaned out the lift well and emptied the water in the bilges; but which Tanky ever remembered to switch on eductors? – Case, maybe, Bethell, no, Clare, never!
An attempt was made over the past year and a half to bludgeon the Ship’s Office into submission by visiting it at the rate of one outside Inspection Team every one and a half months. However, they stood
their ground! Hugh Wolfensohn continued to play his fiddle, lrzndolin, stand on the Flight Deck or whatever whilst the office burned, and CPO Ricketts followed nobly in the footsteps of Commander (S) by blowing his cornet (not ice cream!) in the Band and occasionally pushing his in-tray on to that poor over-burdened staff of L~ Alexander, a leading stamp collector and the ship’s Librarian, L~ Knowles, who never gave up trying, WTR Mulkerrin who hopes to join the Social Services on his leaving the Navy soon and WTR Barclay, Herbert Lott winner extraordinaire for services rendered and an able stamp collector.
The Wardroom staff appeared to exist to cause officers the minimum amount of convenience for the maximum amount of time – who else but STD Derwin would close the heads during stand-easy, polish cabin flat decks in the middle of working hours (STD Smith) or fill the senior officers’ bath with ice two hours before a Mess Dinner (STD Couch)? However, without their assistance life for the officers would have been miserable – who would prepare the 4,000 small eats required at a Cocktail Party, the roast suckling pig for an informal party and the Chief Steward’s mandatory morning cup of coffee?
That then has been the tail of the Supply Department. But what of the head? What indeed, you may say! Paul ‘the fuzz’ Barton has remained single-minded (there is no truth in the rumour) in his efforts and has been a sort of ‘Farther’ figure to us all, and Commander John Lane KCMG (Kindly Call Me God) has skipped a lot before finally becoming the Senior Officer Disposal, SOD, and stopping the slide – of his trombone of course!
The Department has always aimed to please: in providing the service they have for the ship they have done us all proud.
The ‘Shao Brothers’ unofficial Chinese contractors have provided a first class, efficient tailoring and laundry service in HMS Devonshire since commissioning. Despite occasional electrical and mechanical defects which have caused not only the main washing machine to be out of action for several periods but also severe water rationing, the Laundry crew have maintained a good service throughout by their hard work.
The present ‘firm’ on board is Mr Shao Chin Ming, the Contractor and Tailor, Mr Poon Sai Leng, Tailor, Mr Shao Wai Kwong, the No 1 Laundryman, Mr Wong Ho, Mr Hui Lin and Mr Cheng Shing Kan, the laundrymen.
George Potts said this on 25 May 2008 .
“Serving as a cook and Leading cook on the Dev`s 3 galleys from 1973 to October 1976 Iwould point out that the gallies the chefs and the service was second to none. This high standard was achieved not only post `76 but prior to that date also. The names mentioned in the above pen picture are only representitive of the post 1976 crew, and although Dave West and Conny may well have stood out as characters on that particular commission, there were so many colorful characters, in the neglected 1973-76 period of the Dev`s history it would take me a dog watch or two to describe them. Please remember the Dev did have a history between the aforementioned dates, and the crew of that time were as good if not better than any other”.
By Nobby G: Whats up George, did’nt you get a mention in despatches. Maybe you was’nt as popular as the others… I was reliably informed that the food greatly improved when you left the ship!
Also be reminded that this is all from the LAST commission and does not take into account the previous commissions……So who is ever reading this to you, might explain it to you fully!
The Club Swinger (PTI) Mike Ellis
The latter half of this the last Commission has been enlivened by the arrival of ‘Mick’ Ellis, the new Clubswinger. Although the talent has always
been close at hand, his organising ability and infectious enthusiasm managed to create a team spirit and increased participation at all levels in all forms of recreation.
Probably the most prestigious event to be won in recent months was the Springtrain Olympiad held in Gibraltar. Hermes, Blake and three other DLGs were amongst those beaten. Devonshire’s own particular brand of the Chain of Command race – Roman style – will long be remembered.
The PT Staff would like to thank all on board for their support and for making their job more enjoyable.
The Communications department is a sub-division within the Operations department and is responsible for all means of outside communication to and from the ship.
Nobody knows quite how long communicators have served in RN ships but a contemporary report on the Battle of Hastings states that King Harold was killed by an RO. So, it could be since 1066 or thereabouts!
Within the branch itself, we form two groups. The ‘Sparkers’ deal with all the morse circuits, teleprinter nets and a certain number of the voice nets. They also keep a set of portable radios for the use of the landing and boarding parties.
The ‘Buntings’, on the other hand, deal mainly with visual communications by signalling lanterns, flags whilst maintaining a high standard of operation on Tactical voice sets which are used to manoeuvre the ship when in company.
In addition, the department
is the provider of all the required circuits in the Operations Room and the EWO.
In the past three years, we have seen many changes in the staff but the advent of the Task Book and a continuous daily training programme have meant that almost all ratings who have been with us for a year have passed for higher rate.
On the sporting scene, the department always fields a soccer team. Unfortunately, we have never won anything although the six-a-side team did win a crate of beer once!
In harbour most of our time is taken up with the care and maintenance of our part of ship but there is still the signal traffic to be looked after.
Another side to our job is Commercial wireless. Since July, 1975 we have sent 354 telegrams and made 375 radio telephone calls. Add to this an average of 1,800 signals in and out of the ship each month and we end up with a total for the commission of around 65,000.
In closing we would like to send our best wishes to all Communicators who have served in Devonshire since 1962 and who have helped to build and perpetuate her reputation within the Fleet as a ‘Top Line’ communications ship.
The ship’s company have quite a few nicknames for the Reg Staff most of them unmentionable in this article. However the MAA is known as ‘Bunny’ (nothing to do with rabbits), the RPO as CLUBS (something to do with his manly physique) and the LREG as THE LEFT LEG (meaning the left leg of the dog).
Bunny is a native of London, Clubs hails from Bridge North and the Left Leg is a staunch Fifer.
Our duties vary on board from taking the helm when the ship is replenishing to ensuring the ship’s company mail is handled correctly. It has even been known for a member of the staff to spend some time in the galley and the engine room.
Heard at the Table
Jossman: ‘BIoggs. Report to me at 0800 tomorrow having had your haircut.’
(Pause: Jossman notices extensive love bites on the Defaulter’s neck.)
Jossman: ‘Better still. Get your girlfriend to bite it offl!’
THE DIVING TEAM
What can one say about diving! Most of the time the team dives in cold, murky Portsmouth water attempting to block or unblock some of the Shipwright’s inlets. How the team manfully suffered these uninteresting dives against the promise of a diving ‘banyan’.
Life looked up as the team prepared itself for the diving in the beautifully clear waters of the Spanish Main. Thoughts of Spanish treasure galleons had absolutely nothing to do with the tremendous upsurge in diving interest! Reflections on shark and barracuda infested waters somewhat dampened enthusiasm and advice from the ‘experts’ to swim towards interested sharks and punch them on the nose in order to discourage them was treated with suspicion.
There are two jobs programmed for the team on this last trip. One is to blast a channel to a jetty on the island of Barbuda and the other is to raise a wreck in English Harbour, Antigua.
Finally, to end – the 40 HP outboard engine belongs to the Boats Officer not the diving team.
Devonshire Flight first formed in 1962. Since then the flight has been allocated 11 different aircraft for a variety of reasons, only two however have crashed, unfortunately on each occasion killing one of the pilots.
By Robby G. The last time our helo crashed, was on families day, off the Isle of Wight. Fortunately no casualties this time.
Since 1962 over 6,200 hours have been flown in day and night sorties.
The present aircraft XP105 was first introduced into service in 1962, delivered to the Royal Navy by Westlands Ltd with 8.20 hrs on the clock. It was then a Wessex Mk1. with 194 sonar and no radar, so the crew had to rely upon DR navigation. This was found to be unacceptable and in 1967 XPI.05 was converted to a Wessex M0 with a new improved sonar and radar set. On 29th August 1967 with 1,267 hrs the aircraft was delivered to 706 Squadron at Culdrose and later in 1970/71 saw service with 819 Squadron.
After a spell at Fleetlands with 2,309 airframe hours XPI.05 became Oscar Flight’s aircraft where it saw service off Iceland during the Cod War tracking the fishing fleets on radar and warning the guarding Frigates of the approach of the Icelandic gunboats. ‘Hector’, as he has become known on board, was finally delivered to HMS Devonshire in January 1977 after the previous aircraft XM844 had been lost over the side with the tragic loss of the Flight Commander.
XP105 was taken on by Devonshire Flight and quickly won the hearts of all on board. With 3,043 hours Hector* is the oldest Wessex MW in the fleet, and is even slightly older than the ship. He is however still fit enough to carry our sailors ashore and fetch such vital things as mail.
In his spare time Hector goes hunting for submarines but he is not getting any younger and they seem to be a bit quick for him these days. He will now go back to 737 Squadron at Portland where he will help in the training of Observers.
* By Nobby G;
Was it “Hector” that crashed during families day?
At times like this something significant, maybe poignant, certainly witty, ought to be written after 18 years of a sub -department’s existence. Well it’s not easy to meet any of these criteria unless your name happens to be Muir or Norden and even then they would lack the necessary background knowledge . . . one assumes!
It is difficult to sum up the last 18 years of EW in Devonshire except to say that the main change in this period has been in the personnel.
The young EW rating of today is at an overall higher level of operational ability and knowledge than his counterpart 18 years ago. This is not to criticise those pioneering ‘Gollies’ but to indicate that things have improved both in shore training and ship operation.
Today the ‘Golly’ is more confident in his equipment and not so hang dog in outlook.
Hand in hand with this there is a much greater understanding and appreciation of the ‘Golly’ and his role. Perhaps this has taken too long but with the next generation of equipment and the entry, at last, of the ‘Golly’ into the Operations Room things can only keep on improving.
Finally, if any of you come across a gibbering, greying, prematurely aged gent mumbling on about once being an EW maintainer, please buy him a pint – for without his help over the years the ‘Gollies’ would be in a sorry state.
But in Devonshire, things are different as the Lord is on our side! Why else would he strike down with a mighty thunderbolt the rushton target flying through our carefully chosen point of aim? Thus striking terror into the heart of the Canberra pilot towing it and improving the employment prospects in the laundry business!
Our aim has been guided on other occasions too, amply demonstrated when A turret shot down AB Clarke’s Seacat missile thus preserving the target for future use. This also permitted PO G. 1. Ashton to demonstrate the benefits of his classical education by explaining, in pure Anglo-Saxon, what a good shot it was.
Others have benefitted from our endeavours as well. When B turret removed the port 10in lamps, the Communicators were able to clean them more easily. At the same time, the port bridge wing was prepared for a fresh coat of paint and the woodwork stripped for refurbishing. Chippy truly blessed us for that and returned the compliment by washing out B magazine for us!
Where else but in Devonshire could we have enjoyed the peace and serenity of 65 weeks on work-up, its passing seasons highlighted by such events as Ocean Safari, Springtrain and the High Seas firings? Where else too could we have benefitted our fellow men quite so often by insisting that they share with us the envigorating open air pleasures of ammunition ship?
No where but in Devonshire could one have found twins, identical down to the initial on their name tallies (when worn) so doubling the chance of response to the call of ‘Turley’. Nor would one find elsewhere such demonstrations of brotherly love as at the end of a Spinks/Williams run ashore.
As Devonshire now goes on to higher things, all these benefits and blessings are about to end. Consider as you sadly depart to wherever you are going – Could the Lord possibly make the same mistake again?
On many occasions we have shown the ships in company (RN and NATO) where the enemy is lurking sometimes even given 403 a hand, or is it an ear? The lads also managed to defeat two PWO(U)s – one of whom left and the other transferred in disgrace to Gunnery. The third PWO(U) handed the reins of the division to an Aussie and a University graduate (to provide mental weight on the paperwork).
Fred and Denis have both held their jobs as supervisors down for 18 months. The former keeps his sanity by occasionally donning his old sailor suit and Denis disappeared in Wales returning with a piece of paper proving that he is an invaluable asset to a ship at sea, namely a heavy goods vehicle licence!
In the past 12 months the team has had the fortune (?) to be burdened with several new killicks, Budgie and Stephen being banished to watchkeeping. Dave and Tex have preferred to stay with Top 1 to teach RPs to be seamen. Pete alone remains with the ‘Pingers’ working on the Quarterdeck. The terrible twosome, Johno and Steve will soon be split to go separate ways. Phil continued to add weight to the Part of Ship but soon hopes to become a Regulator? Jacko was also on the watchkeeping kick.
Robby had several moves until he finally found himself as Captain of the Heads. Flakes is still slogging away at Namet (I wish him luck). Yorky Hemmont and West are now passable seamen after working for the past few months in the Bosuns Party. Shiner remained true to sonar to the end and finished his time on the Quarterdeck with occasional spells as Chippy’s Yeoman.
The ‘Pingers’ of Devonshire are no more but wherever they sling their hammocks, I wish them the best of luck and success.
THE RADAR DIVISION
It has been a long and busy two years. The Radar Division has all but completely changed in that time. Most of the junior members of the team joined as juniors and are leaving as ABs or Leading Hands.
Even AB ‘Guts’ Hill (who has managed to put on even more weight), will be remembered for his impersonations, mainly of CPO Elsom and the Tremeloes. ‘Jan’ Hone and ‘Tomo’ Thompson will be remembered for their various poetic deliverances on the closed circuit TV and at Sod’s Operas. 1 have known ABs Wilson and Wood for over a year now and still cannot understand their Scottish accents. And then there is Pete Radford who in the last two years has only been seen three times on the upper deck – and that was when he was going ashore!
Of the Divisional Officers, Lieutenant Nick Davies left after two years on board and was relieved by Lieutenant ‘Mighty Mouse’ Evans.
Only a handful have been here for the whole commission – Petty Officer ‘Tanzi’ Lee, AB Radford, LS’Bas’Lester and myself, LT.
Just remember in your next jobs wherever they may be: If you sail to East or West Radar Starboard watch is best.
THE SICK BAY
Well’ folks, here we go on a guided tour of the sick bay and its incumbent criminals. The boss is Surgeon Lieutenant Pat (‘Give me a shake before Lunch’) Williams, whose main claim to fame is the ability to produce a musical scale out of his armpit. The PO Doc, Tony Thornton, is known both for his lack of hair and his uncanny ability to impersonate Max Wall
The MA Doc is Bill Billingham who is the only bloke I know who can have his glasses removed on a run ashore and not be any the wiser.
‘Baby Doc’ is Scouse Lenden; he is so thin that it is rumoured he lost a bout. of shadow boxing.
The last 18 months has brought us a great variety of patients, some good, some bad, and many ugly. We have injected them, splinted them, and thrown tablets down their necks. Some of them actually felt better for it. What more can one ask.
Weapon Engineering Department
FROM THE BILGE TO FLIGHT DECK TOO
WE WORKED 18 HOURS ON MANY A DAY
BUT IT STILL WASN’T ENOUGH FOR YOU
THERE WERE FIRE PUMPS AND OVENS
AND FANS THAT NUMBERED MANY
WE WERE THERE TO FIX YOUR DEFECTS
THOUGH YOU GAVE US NOT A PENNY
WE FLOODLIGHT UP IN LONDON
AND GUADALOUPE TOO
IN ALL WAYS WE SUCCEEDED
ALTHOUGH WE WERE SO FEW
YOU REALLY GAVE US ROCKS
AND PUT US TO THE TEST
BUT NOW ITS DONE YOU MUST AGREE
W1 SECTION WAS THE BEST,
W2 Section consists of the somewhat peculiar combination of the 901 Radar and Control Systems, Internal Comms and Navaids. On the one hand the complexity of part of the ship’s prime weapon system and on the other more basic equipments but equally vital to the everyday life and efficiency of the ship.
Home for the Internal Comms is M2 Breaker Room, a treasure trove of microphones, inserts, loudspeakers and ‘come-in-handy’s’. Tucked in the corner behind his desk ‘father’ is often to be seen quietly teaching his workers the skills of their craft. It was once rumoured that to improve the modest furnishings the Fairy Queen brought a wardrobe by night. Alas, come midnight the wardrobe turned into a box for the Quartermaster.
At times an outsider might be led to believe that the only duties of this diligent team is finely tuning the Main Broadcast or taking turns to realign gyro repeats, but it is never long between the unwelcome bids to further service of ‘Gyro Alarm’, ‘Steering Gear Breakdown’ or ‘Telephone EM, Gangway’. An Internal Communicators lot is not an ‘appy one.
The stars of the Section, however, are the Seaslug TS crew. For countless weeks they busy themselves with the routines required to keep their system on top line and practising the skills of target acquisition. Only rarely does the great day com around when all the practice is put to the test and the reward paid with the cries o ‘intercept’ and ‘target destroyed’. In the past two years a total of 12 Seaslug Missiles have been fired by the ship, the last in May 1978 on the Atlantic Weapon Range near Puerto Rico.
The success of the TS crew is very dependable upon teamwork and every team requires a good leader. As such CEA Hambrook’ example was faultless – he was never there to be faulted: Notable for his absence for various reasons during the first three exercises this past year he condescended to join his team for the fourth when he emerged as the Byron of the TS. As yet h has not found a publisher for his limericks but it is hoped that by printing on below it will start him on the path to fame.
There was a green MCO
Whose finger was quick on the go
The missile had fired
And all it desired
Was 800 yards more to go.
‘Lap, Leap, Lege; the lore of the liveliest section of the ship is soon to be rewritten by the planners and the guts of the ship, that shwerpunkt of a County Class Destroyer’s conception, the Seaslug Magazine, is to be eviscerated in a civilian dock.’
Who is to blame the Seasluggers if they cannot think of the impending changes as giving the ship a new lease of life? In this commission alone they have seen as a result of much hard work some spectacular missile firings:
Exercise Springtrain ’77
Roosevelt Roads ’78
None of these would have been possible without the team work of the members of W3 section . . . The AB(M), S(M), and OEM who in a very short stay in the MQP becomes a competent maintainer and able to operate a complex equipment; the long suffering Petty Officers Bob Harvey, Andy Moss, and John Crook who know only too well the extent of the preparation needed for firing; the Section Chief Rick Broniman; and the Section Officer Mike French.
They have looked after equipment that once made up the latest Naval Surface Weapon – A magazine occupying virtually a complete deck of the ship; a high capacity hydraulic system with which to shunt missiles around like rolling stock in a marshalling yard; a fully automatic (and fully occupied) missile testing facility; and a still up to date launcher control system.
It was with some sadness then that the section heard the cry over the intercom ‘Bird Away’ that told them that they had done their job for the last time.
RADIO & RADAR MAINTENANCE
W4/5 RADIO DEPARTMENT 1975-1978
(Or . . . There’s got to he an easier way!!)
The commission has been long and reasonably varied, and on 18th July 1978 the 150 week work-up will be over. The exercises came thick and fast but as usual we survived and gave a good account of ourselves.
Under the leadership of S/Lt Barley and FCREMN Barrie (The Lip) Jones, we succeeded in just about everything we did. Portland was ‘no sweat’, even when Messrs Green and Ruddick ‘borrowed’ the Admiral’s flag we still survived, and the staff complimented us on the standard of our junior rates. (Obviously they like a joke too!!) (JOKE fellas).
The Russian trip was probably the highlight of the commission and the ‘troops’ amazed us all by working even harder and longer, scrubbing out, without getting ‘bootfaced’ about it.
On the domestic side, we had very little trouble. The only anxious time was when ‘Wee Jock’ Norrie fell from Greenacres on to the Port waist in ‘roughers’, luckily he’s OK now. (Although it’s hard to tell with him!!) REMN 2 ‘Taff, Morgan had sleepwalking problems and was found on the Flag Deck hiding from ‘The Reds’!! (Keep taking the pills Taff.) REMN1 ‘Tansy’ Lea’s wife had another baby, she’s since had him tattooed ‘Dangerous Animal’!!! LREM Bob Pennycook got married, poor lad. Still he seem’s to be doing well on it!
We have kept the whole ship in stores for three years and kept the ship’s company entertained via CCTV and SRE (we do maintain it you know!). Even the Sluggers had to rely on the Radio Department, in the impressive shape of REA1 Cliff Le-Good, to get them through their firings, much to the annoyance of CREL Dave (Looby Lew) Lewis!!! The troops always seemed to be stores party, RAS party or some party or another and still did their normal work cheerfully and well. We have done our ‘bit’ and more.
CREA Len Rogers
PS: By the way, Im still looking for the sadists who had Apprentice Hardy searching for the safe-to-rotate keys for the ANEMOMETER, for two hours!!!
For the uninitiated W6 Section of the Weapon Engineering Dept has responsibility for the maintenance of- two 4.6 inch MK6 MOD 3 Turrets, controlled by an MRS3 MOD 1 system. Two GWS 21 (Seacat) systems. One medium range Sonar set 177M. A Torpedo decoy system 182. Air launched weapons MK46 and MK44 Torpedos. Two close range 20mm QF guns, all the ship’s small arms (SLRs, SMGs, LMGs, Pistols etc). Diving gear and Damage Control BA.
Now the men, working almost permanently, we have 10 Senior Rates, 20 Junior Rates and myself (Sub/Lt (E) (W) J. M. McGuiness). We probably have more than, our fair share of characters, from an Irishman who watches war films backwards to prevent his being surrounded, to a trombone playing, bee-keeping, CCEA.The long and never ending cosmetic maintenance task is verbally co-ordinated by a PO(M) who likes to be called GI. (Anyone wishing further information on British Punative
Expeditions, Old War Medals, Tree Surgery and old Hotspur Comics ring the GI Ext 240. He is sure to be there).
That in a Nutshell or should I say a Nuthouse is the W6 Section, let’s not forget that without the Seaslug and W6 Section equipment Devonshire would be wearing a Red Ensign and carrying bananas.