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Author Topic: Long and tall tales from an old sailor  (Read 2097 times)

John W E

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Long and tall tales from an old sailor
« on: October 25, 2016, 06:49:03 pm »

Reading about the Russian Task force and taking in some of the comments from the forum members about how they used to 'spy' on Russian ships reminded me of when I was at sea as a Junior Engineer in 1974 and we were at anchor at Karam Shāh along with a lot of other ships with sailors of all nationalities.   Among them were some Russian ships and one of the ships was carrying one of the first known Lady radio officers - remember in those days - we used to carry Marconi Radio officers because we didn't have ship-to-shore stuff like they have today and believe it or not a very primitive radar.  Anyway, not being side tracked too far - one of the pass times we used to have was to watch the old cine movies.  Each ship would be allocated so many movies along with so many books and what we used to do was to exchange films and books with other ships/shipping companies - whilst at anchorage in port.   On this particular day the 2nd mate took it into his head that we should lower one of the ships' lifeboats, load it with the 2 cadet officers and 2 junior engineers along with several other crew members.

We would then set off and row the lifeboat to other said ships to exchange films/books - this was a great idea that was thought of in the bar, agreed by all - until the Captain of the ship stepped in.   He was Ex- Royal Navy - and we had strict instructions not to approach any Russian ships under any circumstances, even if we turned the life boat over and sank it.

So, we lowered the lifeboat and set off, 3 per side trying to row and anyone who has tried to row a 36 ft ship's lifeboat will tell you - trying to even lift the oars out of the water is a struggled because they weight a ton. 

So, we must have got about 40 ft from the side of the ship and we were all 'knackered' and the 2nd mate Neil was screaming at us calling us all the weaklings and threatening to keel haul us.  Walk the gang plank etc. :-) and then we retired to start the 2 cylinder Lister engine up and made life a lot easier.

When we were doing this, unbeknown to us, a Russian crew in their lifeboat must have had the same idea as ourselves.   

As they approached us, Neil was waving at them to fend them off and try to avoid a situation where we knew the Captain would shall we say, not approve of, as luck had it - the P & O guys rescued us in time, by calling us aboard their ship and therefore diverting the Russian lads to another ship.   We exchanged our films with them and we got the film 'JUNGLE BOOK'  :-)  which was watched every night for about 3 weeks so I know every word :-)

When we eventually docked in Karam Shāh to discharge our cargo, which was, believe it or not 2 Chieftan tanks - we had to cover  our ship's name and had to screen off the back end/name of the ship with tarpaulines.    During unloading, we were not allowed on deck - also there were four armed guards aboard our ship to ensure we kept within the rules.

The Captain told us that the ship in front of us and behind us were 2 Russian ships discharging what he believed to be armaments as well.   We wondered if they were the ones who were coming towards us when we were in the lifeboat.   But we never did find out .....

so that's one of my stories.....who is next .... with their story of green water over the bow and get your sea boots on.  :-))
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Rob47

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Re: Long and tall tales from an old sailor
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2016, 02:16:16 pm »

where is karam shah, the bit about 2 chiefy intrigues me :embarrassed:
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Netleyned

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Re: Long and tall tales from an old sailor
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2016, 04:18:13 pm »

Were we selling chieftains to Iran?


Ned
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Rob47

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Re: Long and tall tales from an old sailor
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2016, 04:38:08 pm »

if that is where the port is, yes we were along with shed loads of other kit, but that was in the day of the Shah, part of the reason that we have Challenger 2 today goes back to money invested in a new they wanted with improvements of chieftain, this was shir iran, but when he was toppled UK bought it as Challenger 1
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John W E

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Re: Long and tall tales from an old sailor
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2016, 05:05:29 pm »

my typo but if you are unsure where it is here's a link

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Khorramshahr,+Khuzestan+Province,+Iran/@30.500978,48.1127966,12z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x3fc45c3c52120ab7:0x31226a0a3c384621!8m2!3d30.4255851!4d48.1891251


for those with interest we also carried a huge crate of firearms; and can you remember the controversy of the pipes for the supergun - come to think of it - we did carry a lot of straight pipes on the deck - plus a fire engine, 3 cars, one which went overboard beside Das Island which we were unloading onto barges and the car rolled off the barge, it also knocked a few rivets off the side of the ship and buckled a couple of plates.   

any more tales from people who are genuine sea fairers?   or are you all landlubbers/pretenders :-)
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Liverbudgie2

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Re: Long and tall tales from an old sailor
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2016, 07:53:28 pm »

Remember a big row over the sale of these tanks as they were fitted with new and secret armour (Cobham/Chobham?) which had only just being fitted to our tanks.

LB
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nivapilot

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Re: Long and tall tales from an old sailor
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2016, 09:07:17 am »

"any more tales from people who are genuine sea fairers?   or are you all landlubbers/pretenders :-)"

We used to hire skiffs from Botley boat house, and row up the Hamble river.........does that count?
And many is the time I've been on the Isle of Wight ferry.
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derekwarner

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Re: Long and tall tales from an old sailor
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2016, 09:41:46 am »

 :-).........spent 1/2 a working lifetime on board [along side] both BHP vessels & HMA warships......but only twice with sea time on articles......

1. spent a week on the Australian Prospector [an ANL 100,000 tonner] in the archipelago off Dampier in WA....supervising work on the M/E Woodward governor hydraulic amplifier.......[courtesy of the Singaporean 'Sembawang Shipyard' mechanical butcher dingbats   %)
 
2. spent 20 hours on HMAS Perth [DDG 5000 tonne destroyer] off Jervis Bay NSW ...post 1/2 life refit trying to understand faults with the GMLS 13 missile launcher  <*<

Derek
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dodes

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Re: Long and tall tales from an old sailor
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2016, 07:48:04 pm »

Used to do AGI watch in the NW Approaches and Irish sea on the RMAS Rollicker, the AGI's being U S S R spy trawlers, I.5 cables distance by day and closer by night, always turning trying to keep our port side to his starboard otherwise he would come at you.
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