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Author Topic: The RFA at work  (Read 7553 times)

Bryan Young

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The RFA at work
« on: May 15, 2007, 06:50:29 pm »

All a few years old...but it still goes on.
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Bunkerbarge

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2007, 08:14:36 pm »

Bryan, I was once on a cargo ship laid up in Falmouth in round about the early 80's when an RFA vessel called the Engadine called in.  She was some sort of helicopter carrier and a very interesting ship.

Did you ever have any dealings with her?
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Shipmate60

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2007, 09:40:05 pm »

Bryan,
RFA.

Royal
Fellowship of
Alcoholics

Even had ex matelot saying he couldnt join RFA as there is more bull in the RFA than RN!

Bob
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Bryan Young

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2007, 11:45:20 pm »

Bryan, I was once on a cargo ship laid up in Falmouth in round about the early 80's when an RFA vessel called the Engadine called in.  She was some sort of helicopter carrier and a very interesting ship.

Did you ever have any dealings with her?
Yes. I was 1/O(X)(Nav) on her for awhile. A very odd ship. She was primarily a training ship for RN Pilots. If my memory serves we would carry and operate up to 8 Wessex helos. and lots and lots of trainee pilots and observers. She normally operated out of Portland (where the squadron was based) but now and again we would have a weekend in Falmouth. "xxxxx" up the weekends at home but were good for a run ashore.
The usual operating area was just outside the Channel SW Approaches, clear of normal commercial shipping.
By "odd"..I mean that she was assymetrical in layout and had such a huge sheer that one end of my bunk was 3' off the deck and the foot end was nearer 5' off the deck. The same applied to the Officers bar. Lean your bum on one end and your chin on the other. Odd.
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Bryan Young

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2007, 11:47:41 pm »

Bryan,
RFA.

Royal
Fellowship of
Alcoholics

Even had ex matelot saying he couldnt join RFA as there is more bull in the RFA than RN!

Bob
Lots of stories like that. But one heck of a lot of the POs and Ratings are ex RN and happy to be so. Always get the disgruntled!
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MikeK

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2007, 09:23:57 am »

Horses for courses as they say, I did the three months probationary period in the 60's ( Tidepool & Tidereach) and jacked it in because of the bull. Others lapped it up - but I think the more Navy than the Navy regime varied from ship to ship ??

MikeK
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RickF

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2007, 12:04:07 pm »

Bryan, I didn't realise you were as old as that!

Royal Navy Seaplane Tender HMS Engadine, 1918

(OK, I know its not the same one, but it is a full size ship, and an historic one too)

Rick
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Bryan Young

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2007, 02:50:29 pm »

Horses for courses as they say, I did the three months probationary period in the 60's ( Tidepool & Tidereach) and jacked it in because of the bull. Others lapped it up - but I think the more Navy than the Navy regime varied from ship to ship ??

MikeK
How right you are! During the mid-sixties the RFA were transforming themselves from a "cloth cap and muffler" outfit into a more modern "fleet train" and some of the senior officers let it all go to their heads (some still do). But once a lot of the old guard retired by the early to mid '70s things hade quitened down a lot. However, during that period most of the MN was going to the wall and so we got a lot of new blood which made a lot of difference. "Tidereach" Ugh. Probably the worst ship it was ever my misfortune to sail in! The "new" Tides were'nt much better either. Had to get the "Ols" to show how it should be done.
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Shipmate60

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2007, 03:07:24 pm »

Bryan,
Nothing malicious, just a bit of inter MoD banter.

Bob
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MikeK

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2007, 05:49:57 pm »

Wasn't that impressed with the Tidereach either. I remember that my bunk was at 45 degrees to the F&A line so no matter which way the seas were running I lost out ! (3rd mates, aft stbd side on the slant if I remember correctly) We did a trip to the Virgin Islands with the Bulwark and Resurgent (aka Detergent) for exercises with the Yanks. On the plus side it certainly passed an otherwise boring watch with the likes of helicopters doing power dives at float targets and firing off rockets etc etc. but I dreaded the radio bursting into life with "standby for zig zag pattern such and such" and off you went counting every minute of what was left of your watch - mind numbing !!

MikeK
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MikeK

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2007, 06:05:19 pm »

Found this online. I was only on her for three weeks 'workup' at Portland

MikeK
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Bryan Young

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2007, 06:18:07 pm »

Bryan,
Nothing malicious, just a bit of inter MoD banter.

Bob
No offence taken! You were quite right. Cheers. BY
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Bryan Young

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2007, 06:20:59 pm »

Wasn't that impressed with the Tidereach either. I remember that my bunk was at 45 degrees to the F&A line so no matter which way the seas were running I lost out ! (3rd mates, aft stbd side on the slant if I remember correctly) We did a trip to the Virgin Islands with the Bulwark and Resurgent (aka Detergent) for exercises with the Yanks. On the plus side it certainly passed an otherwise boring watch with the likes of helicopters doing power dives at float targets and firing off rockets etc etc. but I dreaded the radio bursting into life with "standby for zig zag pattern such and such" and off you went counting every minute of what was left of your watch - mind numbing !!

MikeK
As soon as I saw that your bunk was at 45* I thought you must have been an R/O. Bet you used a bug key now and again as well!
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MikeK

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2007, 01:14:16 pm »

Was that the clever key that sent a stream of dots held one way or dashes the other ? I had a few goes on Sparkies that used it but never could get any rhythm going. Never was a Sparks though - couldn't get the hang of talking to vents and other inanimate objects  ;D ;D To all the R/O's out there climbing on to the key board as I speak - ONLY JOKING.
Getting back to that cabin, if I remember it was triangular with the bunk against the aft 'hypotenuse'

MikeK

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Bryan Young

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2007, 05:23:19 pm »

Was that the clever key that sent a stream of dots held one way or dashes the other ? I had a few goes on Sparkies that used it but never could get any rhythm going. Never was a Sparks though - couldn't get the hang of talking to vents and other inanimate objects  ;D ;D To all the R/O's out there climbing on to the key board as I speak - ONLY JOKING.
Getting back to that cabin, if I remember it was triangular with the bunk against the aft 'hypotenuse'

MikeK


Sorry for the mistake....When I was in "Tidereach" (1973) the triangular cabins had been "given" to the R/Os. Can you recall the warped stainless steel mirrors, the drawers made like a filing cabinet that used to slam in and out every time the ship rolled, the Maltese crew who must have been the laziest bunch ever to have had the nerve to call themselves seamen? I could go on but my innate sense of propriety forbids me.....BY
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Bryan Young

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Re: MALTA GC
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2007, 06:03:21 pm »

I apologise to The Island of MALTA GC on behalf of my friend.
Nothing against the Island of Malta....but the fact remains that the Maltese crew (or at least some of them) would be forever concocting stories to get them sent home to attend multiple funerals (often for the same person), weddings etc. etc. etc. They just did not like being away from their families for more than a week or so. At the time, the RFA employed Chinese, Maltese,Seychellois. Fijian and British crews. It may all have had historical roots but thank goodness they settled on one nationality!
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MikeK

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2007, 09:58:12 am »

Bryan,
I don't like the way this is going - spooky !! When I said I was on her in the 60's I hadn't thought too closely about it, but now I've counted back it was actually around 1972. Can't find my discharge book without a major upheaval, but definitely around then.I remember the Maltese crew, I had just come from Jardines who had mainly northern Chinese crew who were excellent (Except around the time of the riots in H.K, but that's another story !) and the Bulwark helicoptering the padre over every Sunday at sea to conduct mass for them - and excercise his right arm for a while in the bar  ;). I seem to remember the Old Man's name was Mac something or other (Scotsman ??). We didn't hit it off too well and he was the main reason I jacked it in at the end of the 3 months - along with the fact that I was newly married and attempting anchor swallowing  ;D. You didn't by any chance do a trip to the Virgin Islands (Vieque ??) followed by a call at Mayport ??

MikeK
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Bryan Young

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2007, 07:10:11 pm »

Bryan,
I don't like the way this is going - spooky !! When I said I was on her in the 60's I hadn't thought too closely about it, but now I've counted back it was actually around 1972. Can't find my discharge book without a major upheaval, but definitely around then.I remember the Maltese crew, I had just come from Jardines who had mainly northern Chinese crew who were excellent (Except around the time of the riots in H.K, but that's another story !) and the Bulwark helicoptering the padre over every Sunday at sea to conduct mass for them - and excercise his right arm for a while in the bar  ;). I seem to remember the Old Man's name was Mac something or other (Scotsman ??). We didn't hit it off too well and he was the main reason I jacked it in at the end of the 3 months - along with the fact that I was newly married and attempting anchor swallowing  ;D. You didn't by any chance do a trip to the Virgin Islands (Vieque ??) followed by a call at Mayport ??

MikeK
I joined "Tidereach" at the beginning of her 1972 refit in Wallsend. We had Capt. Rutter and the Choff was Tony Pitt. After the usual shennanigans at Portland (Failed...as always, but "some" improvement!) we went off on to the Beira Patrol. (this was when I saw the "flash" of what I now think was a testing of a SA 'nuke') A rotten ship but the on-going problems in Uganda meant I had to suffer 10 days in a 4 star hotel in the Seychelles before a British Caledonia (VC10) flight could get me out. How sad! 35 years on and Mrs Young still refuses to go to the Seychelles!
Went to the other 2 you mentioned but not on the 'reach. I like Mayport though. BY.
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Bryan Young

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2007, 07:20:34 pm »

Bryan,
I don't like the way this is going - spooky !! When I said I was on her in the 60's I hadn't thought too closely about it, but now I've counted back it was actually around 1972. Can't find my discharge book without a major upheaval, but definitely around then.I remember the Maltese crew, I had just come from Jardines who had mainly northern Chinese crew who were excellent (Except around the time of the riots in H.K, but that's another story !) and the Bulwark helicoptering the padre over every Sunday at sea to conduct mass for them - and excercise his right arm for a while in the bar  ;). I seem to remember the Old Man's name was Mac something or other (Scotsman ??). We didn't hit it off too well and he was the main reason I jacked it in at the end of the 3 months - along with the fact that I was newly married and attempting anchor swallowing  ;D. You didn't by any chance do a trip to the Virgin Islands (Vieque ??) followed by a call at Mayport ??

MikeK
Just a quick addendum....did you know Derek Mobberly who left Jardines for the RFA? If you did then contact me via personal e-mail. BY.
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MikeK

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2007, 08:47:08 am »

Bryan,
I don't like the way this is going - spooky !! When I said I was on her in the 60's I hadn't thought too closely about it, but now I've counted back it was actually around 1972. Can't find my discharge book without a major upheaval, but definitely around then.I remember the Maltese crew, I had just come from Jardines who had mainly northern Chinese crew who were excellent (Except around the time of the riots in H.K, but that's another story !) and the Bulwark helicoptering the padre over every Sunday at sea to conduct mass for them - and excercise his right arm for a while in the bar  ;). I seem to remember the Old Man's name was Mac something or other (Scotsman ??). We didn't hit it off too well and he was the main reason I jacked it in at the end of the 3 months - along with the fact that I was newly married and attempting anchor swallowing  ;D. You didn't by any chance do a trip to the Virgin Islands (Vieque ??) followed by a call at Mayport ??

MikeK
Just a quick addendum....did you know Derek Mobberly who left Jardines for the RFA? If you did then contact me via personal e-mail. BY.

Well well what a small world, as they say. The more you tell me , the more it rakes it back from my addled memory. I think her next deployment was to be the Beira Patrol. I must have got off sometime before you joined. That explains why I didn't fall on your shoulders as a long lost shipmate when I met you once when I visited the TMBC from SSMBC to sail 1M's years ago.
I did a couple of runs to Beira with Jardines and we offloaded all our spare books to the RFA ship on patrol, they must have been stir crazy wandering around off that coast. I seem to remember it was also very low lying making radar positions a bit iffy, just to add to the enjoyment !
No I didn't know Derek Mobberly, nor do the other names ring any bells, but three months so long ago have been pushed way into some dark corner of my head, with all the rubbish that's happened since !!

MikeK
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Bryan Young

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2007, 07:17:38 pm »

Mike, a couple of little tales about the Beira thingy.
For all their faults the "old" Tides were superb sea-keepers. As you seafarers out there know, you can get some pretty hefty swells north of Durban. The swells being biggish (20' or so) we were plodding along at about 12 knots (no-where better to go) when a ship doing perhaps 20 knots popped up. Turned out to be the "Bencruachan" (served my time with them). As she was within "binocular" range I was really priveleged to see half the ship leave the water and then more or less drop off! A bit of a giggle to us, but I imagine less so for for those on the 'Cruachan.
As you may or not recall, all the interior bulkheads on the old Tides were of steel. (Nowadays they get them from B&Q). As the crew had little to do apart from normal maintenance they all went fishing. Lines, nets, harpoons..you name it. To keep the fish fresh (ie alive) the "lads" made the stbd.aft crew washroom into a 4' deep fish tank. A slight stability problem. But the sight of all these varieties of fish swimming around is a memory I shall long treasure.
We did about 85 days there. Not a record, but knocked the socks off the later RN claims. And I still like fish!
Many other stories to tell, but I fear the dreaded "Moderator" would call a halt!.
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MikeK

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2007, 08:08:50 pm »

That's the first time I've heard of allowing a bathroom in the Free Surface calculations !!
One of the few jobs I hated on there was supervising the closing of the crew bar when I was duty orofice. Watching the ceremonial locking of the bar, accompanied by various smart-'bottom' remarks from the back, knowing full well that as soon as I had gone, out would come a duplicate key and everything carry on as usual. Then the lip service call to the PO's bar and then back to midships, where the officer's bar was very securely battened down for the night - no duplicate keys there !!

MikeK
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Bryan Young

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2007, 10:47:57 pm »

That's the first time I've heard of allowing a bathroom in the Free Surface calculations !!
One of the few jobs I hated on there was supervising the closing of the crew bar when I was duty orofice. Watching the ceremonial locking of the bar, accompanied by various smart-"bottom" remarks from the back, knowing full well that as soon as I had gone, out would come a duplicate key and everything carry on as usual. Then the lip service call to the PO's bar and then back to midships, where the officer's bar was very securely battened down for the night - no duplicate keys there !!

MikeK
No change there then!
When in "Retainer" I KNEW that the bar re-opened...and that "they" did'nt have a key (I used to take my own lock). So on the day I left the ship it was a case of "come on lads,..tell me how"...and they showed me the extra taps they had plumbed in all around the bar, hidden behind all sorts of artifacts. Can't win can you. I once closed the POs bar on "Lyness" because I thought that the system was pernicious to say the least (I was 1st Officer at the time) and was absolutely horrified (although not surprised) that the Ch.Officer immediatly took the keys from me and personally re-opened the POs bar. (This guy was eventually promoted to Capt. but sacked for a bit of very odd behaviour whilst "in his cups"! What goes around etc. etc.).
Lots of good RFA tales..and very few to do with the dreaded CSB (an alliteration only known to the afflicted!).
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Shipmate60

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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2007, 11:07:02 pm »

Bryan,
DONT even mention CSB  :)

Bob
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Re: The RFA at work
« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2007, 12:22:28 am »

"in his cups"

This is a new one on me. Please explain.
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