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Author Topic: Nautical "Strange but True!"  (Read 137670 times)

Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #325 on: April 29, 2009, 05:50:44 PM »

Now this is just an experiment (covering my rear, so to speak). The scanned page at 400dpi came out at 1.95mb (!) so I've reduced it to 138 kb. See if its readable. Maybe I'll try 200dpi next time.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #326 on: April 29, 2009, 05:54:52 PM »

Well, it "sort-of" worked! I can read it although not with the same clarity as usual. But as this is my only "workable" method at the moment, I shall persevere until told to stop, desist, cease or shut-up. Cheers. BY.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #327 on: April 29, 2009, 06:17:31 PM »

200dpi was useless and 800 dpi was far too big. So I'm stuck with 400. Not all that bad(!) if you zoom the page a bit.
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Roger in France

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #328 on: April 29, 2009, 08:11:49 PM »

Having spoken so highly of your efforts I have to take exception to your reference to my home town, I was born in Plymouth!

I bet you knew Union Street?

Roger in France
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #329 on: April 30, 2009, 05:06:21 PM »

Ah, Roger! At least you could read it! I'm not happy with this method of posting, but at the moment "needs must". Sorry if I upset you re.Plymouth! (not really). But although I honestly do like Plymouth.....Much nicer than Portsmouth or Rosyth....the town has its quirks just like every other place. Some good, others not so good. Being a Naval port since time immemorial has probably shaped the towns outlook on life...i.e. "transient". But this is about "shipping" and not a treatise on personal observations of the general local populace!
Again, personally, being in a position to wander at will through Devonport Dockyard taught me more history than I ever learned at school. Such a pity that so much of it is not open to the general public. The little summerhouse (gazebo) for the King, possibly the oldest (and medeival) barn type construction of a slipway. The "dry-docks" constructed of granite and shaped to fit a particular class of sailing warship...all still there. The prison buildings that used to house French prisoners during the Napoleonic wars.....and the execution chamber and lime pit. Still there. Even the more modern battleship dry-docks from the 1st and 2nd world wars are largely "as built". All wonderful to browse (preferably alone) .... but the indigenous population are not as "welcoming" as in my native Geordieland! Cheers. BY.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #330 on: April 30, 2009, 05:23:27 PM »

Following on with "Gold Rover" for a minute. I am aware that there is a kit version of "Blue Rover" on the market. Makes up to be quite a nice model, but very short on detail. If anyone is interested in building a "Rover" I have loads of pics of the various details that are not apparent on the kit. Bearing in mind the "Blue" was a batch 1 and "Gold" is a batch 2. I'll put a couple of pics on this thread, but if there is any interest I will post under "Real Ships". BY.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #331 on: April 30, 2009, 06:10:00 PM »

Just 2, most of the others are in colour, but as it's a grey ship does that matter?
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Roger in France

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #332 on: April 30, 2009, 06:16:31 PM »

Help! I have the BY disease!

Forgive me Bryan, but I just wrote a rather lengthy post on your theme and just as I "polished" it I lost the lot!!!!!! Seems I have the same problem as you!

OK will try another way tomorrow.

Roger in France
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Roger in France

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #333 on: April 30, 2009, 06:46:31 PM »

Bryan,

I know what you mean about “nautical material” being off limits in Plymouth. To the Devonport Dockyard you can add the Royal Naval Barracks; the Royal Marine Barracks (including a fully working theatre called “The Globe”); The Royal William Victualing Yard etc.

I also agree with you about the “natives”. As a Plymouthian I accept that my compatriots are insular and unfriendly.

A story of the Royal Naval Barracks, Devonport: In about 1962 I was a Trainee Inspector of Weights and Measures in Plymouth. One day we had a telephone call from a very senior Quarter master (QM) in the Barracks who explained that he was having a problem with the accuracy of weighing and measuring equipment and asked for our help.  It has to be remembered that no official inspections ever took place in such a barracks because as a Crown Establishment they are exempt from Weights and Measures Laws.

The Inspector who was training me told me to load up our testing equipment and we drove off to the Barracks. Having been checked in by the Naval Sentry at the gate we were given vague directions to “Go down there and park up until the QM comes for you”. I drove around and the Inspector said, “Oh look, there is plenty of room to park over there”. I saw a large open area with nothing but a huge flagstaff on it and so I drover over and parked. As I engaged the handbrake a horrendous scream rang out, “Get that f***** car off the b***** Quarter Deck”!!!!! Apparently it was a Naval offence to even walk across the Quarter Deck.

Eventually we arrived in the QM’s office. He explained that discrepancies were arising in sharing out the rum ration and as a ship was about to set sail on a 2 year tour of duty he thought it a good opportunity to check all the measures onboard. What we found was laughable! “Jack” had arranged every possible method you could think of to ensure his measures were oversize so that when he went to draw rum for his mess from central stores he always got more than the mess was entitled to receive!

On returning to report to the QM he said, “Ah, I thought as much. While you are here could you have a look at the weighing and measuring equipment in my stores?” We carried out our tests and found a right shambles. There were false weights, unjust weighing machines and very inaccurate measures! On reporting this to the QM he smiled broadly and said, “Gentlemen your findings help me greatly. I can now right down that I have weighing and measuring errors in the stores which will allow me to write off
£50, 000 worth of missing goods”!

He paid our fee very willingly.

Roger in France

Wow it worked! Wrote it in Word and pasted it here. If I can do it Bryan, so can you!
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #334 on: April 30, 2009, 07:38:02 PM »

Roger. Good for you. My problem is not the "cut'n'paste" stuff. it's the bit at the end when I push "post" and I find I'm forbidden to enter the realms occupied by you Global Moderators...not that I want to. BY.
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malcolmfrary

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #335 on: April 30, 2009, 09:20:26 PM »

OK Bryan, this is written in Open Office, as being one of the nations impoverished I decided not to give my boat money to Microsoft.  This short missive will be highlighted using “Edit”, “Select All”, “Edit”, “Copy”.  I will then go to the reply box on this thread, click in the box then right click on the cursor and click the “Paste” option.   Earwigo.

And there it is.  And I lack moderators powers.  Now lets see what happens when I "Post"

Edit.  It worked!!
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MikeK

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #336 on: May 01, 2009, 08:47:56 AM »

Fingers crossed you crack it this time Bryan - as if the scanning solution is the only route, you have lost one (very reluctant) follower of your most interesting reminiscences.  :(( Short of peering at the screen with a magnifying glass, I found the eye strain just a little too much

Mike
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #337 on: May 01, 2009, 05:09:56 PM »

Fingers crossed you crack it this time Bryan - as if the scanning solution is the only route, you have lost one (very reluctant) follower of your most interesting reminiscences.  :(( Short of peering at the screen with a magnifying glass, I found the eye strain just a little too much

Mike
I agree with you. But it was worth a try. Number one son will visit over the weekend, and he has "computer knowledge" running out of his ears. I will prevail! Who said computers were "easy" for the "elderly"...probably the same moron that predicted the "paperless" office. Ha! A pox on them all. BY.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #338 on: May 01, 2009, 07:13:19 PM »

And so on to "Regent". My first time on this one but apart from some very minor differences (silly things like some internal ladders were of steel and not wood etc) I could have been back on ""Resource". Sometimes I sympathised with the wag who named them "Remorse" and "Regret". But actually they weren't bad ships. But it's the crew that "makes" the ship either a "happy" one or otherwise. Sometimes the ship was a happy one despite having a Captain who just issued edicts and having "edicted" expected everything he had proclaimed to be carried out. This is the ultimate "Ivory Tower" syndrome. It's also quite telling that very few Captains of that mind set ever checked to see if their orders had actually been carried out......95% of the time they were totally ignored except for those who were scrambling for promotion and so would do anything to earn some Brownie points. These sycophants were also often ignored by "them wot did the work". But this time our Captain was a 6'7" nice guy. At that size he could afford to be. The "Stonnery" was the same old, same old mixture of dockyard-mateys promoted beyond their levels of competence (simply because the Officers bar and dining saloon could accommodate them, while  the POs and Crew areas were "full"...always caused a bit of friction). And while I'm at it, what other organisation on earth apart from the British Civil Service could come up with the rank of "Skilled Labourer" I ask you! But their never ending whinging was the same old stuff. The "managerial" side of the Stonnery were perhaps the most ineffectual "managers" I have ever come across...ever. They may have been good at organizing the "stuff" to be loaded and then transferred to "customers" (jargon!), but man-management didn't really appeal to them. As the "hoi-poloi" in the Stonnery were very well aware of this, every rule in their (union) book was exploited to the full. "Overtime" was king. Asas their overmanning. Who else but the Civil Service would countenance employing a well paid guy whose one and only job was to polish one (long) alleyway? The ships staff who lived in a similar alleyway polished the thing as and when time permitted (they were salaried). A bit of a crunch came when we (bridge staff) noticed the same pallett of shells being trundled around the ship week after week, Sunday after Sunday. An enterprising engineer marked one of the shells and a photo of this was presented to the "STO(N)" (boss of the Stonnery). Much bluster and wringing of hands. Much talk of "bringing the wages up to par" and so on. Even now, after all these years, I cringe when I think of what a useless, moneygrabbing bunch of whingers that department employed.
Any way, as I'd joined during her refit (Tyne, again..naturally!) and had gone through the same process of being treated as a primary schoolchild at Portland once again we were considered "fit for purpose" and set off into the blue-yonder. But with only a couple of events to liven things up this was probably the most boring and un-productive voyage I did in the RFA. We called in at Gib. for no particular reason apart from letting everyone ashore for a haircut. On to the Suez Canal. By now I was getting seriously involved with the creeping disease called "boredom". Almost terminal, and the "cutting of wrists" began to seem quite attractive. So I organized a trip to Cairo and the Pyramids. This "party" would leave the ship at Port Said and rejoin at Tewfik (the bottom bit of the canal). I managed to get sufficient people to fill a "full-size" bus (50/55 people?). A 4am start. Yeuch. The "agent" I had booked this trip through had obviously never heard of "customer satisfaction". The bus had seats, but in all other respects it was more like a home-made lorry conversion driven by a madman. It's a long way from Port Said to Cairo...about 6 hours of terror (hence the early start). The terror comes from the Egyptian driving style. The white line in the centre of the road seems to mean that the driver must follow it as if on auto-pilot. So does the big truck coming the other way. At the very last moment (and I mean this) the vehicles swerved and passed. Absolutely awful. And we would be returning in darkness. Oh, well. May as well enjoy my last day on earth. The desert is not at all like even the dirtiest UK beach. For a start it isn't sand. It's mucky gravel. And it is absolutely covered with black plastic bags blowing around like kites in the non-stop wind. Too late to get off now. Stopped for a break somewhere but non of us fancied picking out a live pigeon that the proprietor offered to kill and cook for us. A quick (or slow) widdle, and we were on our way again. Got to Cairo. But before we reached our first destination (The Museum of Antiquities) the "driver" took us through the "City of the Dead". A great start to a fun day out. I suppose it should be called a cemetary, but it's more than that. It's a town within a town, only the inhabitants are well, not alive. They are in houses of various sizes, and the only living things to be seen are the feral dogs. I'll leave the rest to your imagination.
I'll continue this later...you may have gathered that I am reverting to my "old way" of doing this. Time consuming, but masochistically more satisfying! BY
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #339 on: May 01, 2009, 07:18:35 PM »

Egyptian driving standards haven't improved!

Colin
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MikeK

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #340 on: May 02, 2009, 07:34:31 AM »

Now I couldn't resist having a go at the copy/paste conundrum  O0 Like everyone else I don't see where the problem is - weird ! I simply opened word, typed a line of rubbish, highlighted it, right clicked and 'copy'. Then came here and opened up 'reply' and right clicked then 'paste' and hey presto rubbish line appeared.........or am I missing something along the line - not unusual  %%

Mike

ps as usual I didn't read it all properly, your problem comes on hitting 'post'........ I'll just shut up wait until your lad arrives  :-))
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MikeK

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #341 on: May 02, 2009, 07:51:13 AM »

This is a test text in aid of Bryan’s sanity

edit - well that worked alright did as above then hit post and not a murmur out of the forum watchdog.the plot thickens  O0

Mike
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #342 on: May 02, 2009, 08:17:01 PM »

Contiuing with the mad drvers trip to the pyramids...
A quick trip around a huge mosque and the "famous" National Mueum where there is lots of "stuff" but it all seemed to by just heaped in "higgledy-piggedly". Presentation 1 out of 10. "Driving" through the streets of Cairo is weird. At the time of my visit it was thought that there were 16 million inhabitants. Pretty crowded. We were all wondering when we would see the Pyramids....and as we turned a corner in what appered to be an Egyptian Housing Estate...there they were!. In all the glossy mags and photos I'd seen up till then I always thought they were in the middle of wide-open spaces not tucked up against houses in the tackier part of Cairo. The Great Pyramid is a sight to behold, but when looking at it from any distance or viewpoint you are quite likely to be standing in a heap of camel crap. But enough of all that. On the way out of Cairo we stopped for our "inclusive" meal. The "restaurant" was on what can only be described as an uncleared bomb site alongside an open sewer. I had half expected something like this and had warned my fellow travellers to be careful what they ate (after seeing the results from other excursions from other ships). Being better safe than sorry I had packed my own "bag-rats" and didn't touch the "cooked" goat or whatever it was. All this went on under the gaze of many inhabitants who were half watchiing TV from receivers tapped into all the local lamp-posts. Really bizarre. A hair raising journey back to the canal, getting "home" about 4-30am. Knackered.
Within 24 hours over 30 of the "trippers" were in bed and wishing to die. Took a week to recover. So my "bag-rats" proved themselves. By the time these pallid, de-hydrated wraiths staggered out of their cabins we were just about out of the Red Sea and approaching Aden. But on and outwards past Socotra  to a point about half way between Socotra and Karachi. Our "destination"...if such a point deserves the title. We'd come all this way to deliver a bit of kit to HMS Exeter for her missile system. Which still didn't work, so we re loaded it to "eventually" take back to the UK. All that for nothing. As was becoming the norm in my life, our final destination was to be.......Port Stanley. Now to my uneducated logistical brain I would have thought that a quick trog down to the bottom of Africa, hang a right and head for the Falklands. Nope. Back up the Read Sea, back through the Canal, a quick slurp of fuel in Souda Bay, through the Gib Straits, take a left and head South. What fun!
A little diversion here. Mentioning the Red Sea and Aden reminded me of a visit we paid (forget which ship) to Djibouti with a load of "food aid" collected in the UK. Very humanitarian. Except that we watched in horror as "our" cargo was trucked to a russin ship that loaded it while discharging tanks and guns. How sad. Must go. Continue tomorrow. Bryan.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #343 on: May 04, 2009, 05:29:32 PM »

When did "Live-Aid" (the Geldorf thing) start? Could it have been as far back as 1979? If it was then the event I witnessed in Djibouti was in 1979 from "Lyness". So (if that timing is correct) a lot of the public response was totally wasted.

Just as a bit of "light relief" before going back to ships, you may find this interesting....
However, some rescues do work now and again. I post the next 5 pics with no comments apart from the observation that the wheel hub air-bags (designed to keep a ditched Sea King upright) seem not to have been deployed. A Sea King "can" land on water, but needs its rotors running to maintain stability, when the rotors are stopped the high mounted engines (hence a high C of G) will flip it over. Fortunately the weather was good! In a rough winter in the N.Atlantic I wouldn't have bet on anyone surviving.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #344 on: May 04, 2009, 06:53:46 PM »

But back to the "non-voyage" in "Regent". Back to heading "south" yet again, the "lads" needed to be brought up to at least a "Sat" standard....or at least as good as they were when we left Portland some while ago. It's only human nature to resent exercises cutting into ones "off duty" time, and no-one ever gets used to it. For thos "on duty" when an exercise takes place the it's a welcome relief. Swings and roundabouts. For some strange and well forgotten reason RFA exercises were generally held at 3pm. Actually, the reason is obvious. The end of "exercise" meant end of "working day". Stuff that. I never went so far as to "push-the-tit" at 2am, but I saw nothing wrong with just after breakfast. Lets just say that the ships company were somewhat divided! But standards improved and morale was still pretty high.
Of course all this took place over a couple of weeks or so. Not like the RN who seem to want an exercise every blasted day. Tolerance levels have to be well observed....and not too much disruption into "happy hour" time. A point I personally agreed with wholeheartedly.
When we eventually staggered into Stanley Sound my 6 month sentence was about served. Done the refit, restoring, "work-up" and seen about 20,000 miles of different seas and oceans. So very shortly after we got to where we were going I was informed my relief was on his way. Goody!.
But another life enhancing time was ahead. I was now to learn how "the other half" lived. After leaving the ship I (and a couple of others who were also "relieved") had to live (exist) in temporary "transit" accommodation. To wit..a 20ft transport container. Oh joy.
This steel box was unheated, no washing or toilet facilities (none that I found, anyway) and equipped with sleeping bags that smelled as if a couple of dead dogs were still mouldering in them. It was winter again. Cold. One of my fellow incarcerates declared "Enough", went outside, slipped on the ice and broke his leg. Bad news. Miles from anywhere that we knew of. Strapped him up and then couldn't sleep for the moaning. Not the most pleasant of nights. For him, the news the next day when we got some assistance was the fact we'd strapped the wrong leg. Come on...he had told us which one hurt. Not guilty m'lud. But as he wasn't one of my favourite people on board I could'nt really resist a quiet and private chuckle.
No Hercules this time. This was the inaugral flight from the new Mount Pleasant (who dreamed up THAT name I wonder) to the UK. A newish BA 747 awaited us. I was one of only 15 or so people to be ensconced in 1st Class luxury. Bit of a change from the previous couple of nights. My "seat" was right at the front...I could rest my feet on the front radome hatch cover. Looking slantwise out of the little window I was so far ahead of the pilot I would be able to see what was going to hit us milliseconds before he did. A great comfort.
The top "hump" of the aircraft was given over to the "casevacs" (need help with that one Roger?) and the plane was full,full,full.
The pilot had asked for and been given clearance to do a "low pass" over Port Stanley. What a wonderful gesture. But a 747 growling over you at 500ft has to be impressive. Then the aircraft turned and returned for a second pass, but half-way down Main Street went into full power and just launched off into the sky. I was back in Port Stanley a bit later and the memory of that fly-past was to the locals the defining moment when they knew the conflict was well and truly over.
We landed on Ascension for re-fuelling. No modern "tunnels" to the aircraft...just stairs. So this was my first chance to see how really huge a 747 looks from ground level. (We had embarked in semi darkness). But then I slept all the way to Brize Norton, greeted by my wife and son, and so well rested that I had no trouble driving home. Something I would never had contemplated if it had been a Herc. flight.
I forgot to mention, as the 747 was an RAF charter we all had standard RAF cuisine...stuff in boxes....Bloody cheapskates!  BY.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #345 on: May 05, 2009, 06:44:54 PM »

I won't re-do the Gold Rover refit (as posted in the failed version earlier) as it was just another refit with excursions.
But after my leave period I was appointed to "Olmeda". I had angled for this one as I was fed up with both the Falklands and permanent winters. My Lords and Masters must have agreed that I needed a spell in warmer climes.
Apart from being a "tanker", the Ols were pretty good ships, and for their age quite well appointed albeit in the RFA "style". That is, not a patch on what a decent caravan designer could come up with. But these 3 ships were of mid 60s vintage and had probably been designed in the late 50s as improvements / upgrades to the later versions of the "Tide" class. Olmeda could still push nearly 20 knots though. Of the 3 "Olmeda" was the best one, followed by "Olna" and trailing a bit was "Olwen". All 3 were built on the Tyne by 2 different yards. A "Swans" shipwright once told me that a sure-fire way of recognizing a Swans ship was by observing the mitres on the internal wooden door frames....the other yards apparently used butt joints. Little bits of attention to details like this made "Olmeda" a better put together ship than her sisters. A bit like buying a car, the same model built in one place can be significantly better than the same model built elsewhere.
"Olmeda" was launched and operated for a while as RFA "Oleander". But her name was changed due to signal traffic confusion between "Leander" and "Oleander". Thats why her crest was always that of the Alpine flower Oleander. The accommodation was by modern standards not all that brilliant (not that bad), but by the standards prevailing at the time of her design it was OK. Although much of the "working bits" of the ship were upgraded as and when needed the mechanical Rev.Telegraph remained. A bit of kit that would be in constant use during all our various evolutions.It was directed from the bridge by a series of solid steel rods and gears from the bridge to the engine room a mere 500ft away. The bridge end of this archaic bit of kit was directly above my cabin. Had to be soewhere I guess but a bit of "NIMBYism" used to afflict me now and again. One full turn of the telegraph indicated to the E/Rm a 1 rev up or down in speed. 20 turns = 20 revs etc. The open 90* bevel gear was also on my deckhead. Noisy doesn't even come close. The bane of my existence when trying to get some zeds in.....it didn't help that there was little or no sound insulation on the bridge deck or on my deckhead. Was I the only deck-officer who didn't wear clogs during a bridge watch?  Also, the ships were built as part of the "cold-war" naval response to aggression that would apparently be fought in the N.Atlantic. So not much thought was given to operations in Tropical areas. As all the water for showers etc. came from aft to midships, in cold weather the hot water wasn't, and in hot weather the cold water was hot enough to blister paint....the hot water being more like pressurised steam.
Between the for'd and after acc. blocks there were 3 decks open to the weather.  The lower one which was the ships "main deck" and had all the pipework and tank lids and so on on it was only about 6' or so above the sea when fully loaded. Very wet, what with all that sea water constantly sluicing across it (got a bit rusty as well). Most of the older type of commercial tankers had above the "tank deck" a simple catwalk between for'd and aft. Just a walkway really. But the "Ols" "catwalk was a full width deck and was in effect the main deck between for'd and aft. The centre part was clear, but all the RAS winches and most of the RAS paraphanalia was sited on this deck. Still plenty of bleaching spray in iffy weather though. 8ft above that deck was the RAS deck. About 15' wide from the ships side (leaving the centre part still open) mainly held the winch control cabs and lots of bits of wire going every which way. This was the lazy mans route to aft as it was on the same level as our bar(for'd) and the dining room (aft). A hazardous trip especially during "darken ship" nights. Quite a few broken limbs over the years. To be continued.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #346 on: May 05, 2009, 07:46:17 PM »

"Olmeda"(Cont'd)
The top 2 decks were of necessity of fairly light construction. For a ship, that is. An "Ol" was about 660ft longand so "bent" a bit in bad weather. A short ship would go up one side of an ocean swell and down the other. A long ship cannot do that. So the top 2 "decks" were fitted with "expansion joints". Really just a fancy name given to the idea of 2 unattached plated being allowed to slide over/ under each other. It was quite interesting to look at these non-joints when the ship was bucking around a bit. To a person the feeling of the ship bending was so imperceptible as to be non-existent, but then one would notice the "joints" sliding back and forth over a range of up to about 4". Of course, if these joints had not been incorporated then it wouldn't have taken very long (about an hour) for the whole kit and caboodle to have come crashing down. So ships have to be a bit flexible. Otherwise they snap. Gawd knows how they do it in a modern large cruise liner. But you have all read about ships breaking in half "for no apparent reason"....well, there is a reason. The proper name for a ship bending over its length is called "hogging" and "sagging", but rolling forces cause similar problems called "racking", and then you have the forces imposed by the ship "yawing" (twisting). "Heaving" doesn't matter too much to a passenger unless he / she is having a conversation with the big white telephone. But in the structure this is countered by fitting extra frames (particularly at the front end)..these extra frames also counteract the effects of "panting" which can occur when the hull plates think they are lungs and try to go in and out during rapid changes of water pressure as the end(s) of the ship go up and down perhaps 60ft or more.
Queasy yet?
Confident that a modern ship (or any ship, when it comes to it) can cope with everything the ocean can chuck at it?  If so, you have more confidence than me! Smaller ships going slowly in bad weather are better and safer.
But back to the "Ols"
When these 3 ships were built they had a single length double ended hangar capable of housing (maintenance etc) a single "Wessex" helicopter. These aircraft wer always painted in that very fetching blue and yellow livery, much nicer than the drab grey or olive green of the modern stuff. The "double ended" hangar meant that up to 6 Wessexes (?) could be parked for'd of the hangar. Of course, that meant the "swimming pool" couldn't be used...even during a N.Atlantic winter there would always be at least one idiot that complained.
So there we can have (and did) one aircraft on the flight deck, one in the hangar and 6 arrayed on the "parking deck". Eight offensive / defensive aircraft operational from a "merchant" ship. Fully operational, these "tankers" also had weapons stowage, maintenance and preparation areas. Of course, all this military hardware needs both looking after and flight manning (especially if we had all 8 aircraft "up and hunting" at the same time. So a multitude of specialised workshops were "en-suite" . The good news was that the "Stonnery" never even got a toe-hold in an "Ol". (They could never really understand that ships could run without some sort of civil-service input).
But of course it was "pots and kettles" as some of the flights were more a pain in the butt than the Stonnery!. It may be a little difficult to visualize where and how up to 300 people could be accommodated. The ships were surprisingly spacious really. The RFA "permanent" crew were pretty well taken care of. The RN contingent always "fought" for a posting to an RFA as they only had to share a 4 berth cabin instead of a communal "mess-deck". The large "public rooms" . That is: cavernous cafeterias and bar / lounges for each of the three categories of crew (Ratings, POs and Officers). Also, from the RN point of view, the more relaxed discipline on an RFA made life more a pleasure than a chore. Efficiency was always high, with most of the onus being placed on the individual and his peer group. It worked. There is always the odd spat and so on whatever ship is involved, but in general it usually worked itself out.
To be continued.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #347 on: May 05, 2009, 08:14:35 PM »

"Olmeda" cont'd.
Another thing about these ships was that they were incredibly noisy. Steam Turbine driven and fuelled with FFO when designed. (FFO...Furnace Fuel Oil, a sort of diluted crude). Eventually, when the RN stopped using the stuff and everybody swapped over to Diesel (exactly the same gloop you put in your car....unless you have a petrol one of course, but then again..mistakes happen).I think that changeover together with other things spelt the end for the Royal Yacht, Fearles et-al. The scream from the "blowers" on an "Ol" really did inhibit conversation at the back end. We at the front end were OK...the engineers lived midships as well as us "fishheads and the R/Os, pursers and RN flight crew). So "only" the ratings and POs had to put up with it. I still think that the POs used to converse in tongues unknown to man because of the screech. And then some bright spark of an engineer (MoD) had the wizard wheeze of bunging a couple of huge gas-turbines into the space just aft of the funnel for "extra generating power". Bloody hell. We could already power most of Manchester with what we already had! The intakes were so powerful that the flight-deck crew could be almost stuck to the louvres if they got too close. And the noise! Like 3 Sea Kings all running at the same time. Needless to say they were (very) seldom used and so became another waste of tax-payers money. Every port we went into the local authorities had complaints from the local inhabitants. Rightly so. But it also meant that usually we were plugged into shore power (local brownouts) and this gave everybody a bit of relief.
This was just a short one to try and explain what an "O Boat" was like. Next to the voyage. BY.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #348 on: May 06, 2009, 08:02:21 PM »

As an adjunct to my treatise on "O" class tankers I thought that pictures may be useful.
07a..."Olna" was new when this was taken. Single hangar. Not much in the way of flight support etc.
Apart from the flight deck all the other decks were painted green, the funnel top was black and the tops of the RAS rigs were white. All very cheerful, but all changed to drab grey after the Falklands episode.
05a.. shows the double hangar and much more "stuff" on the flight deck. These ships were now much more capable than they were when first launched.
06a...This just shows what I meant about the 2 "loose" decks above the main hull deck.
02a...A fully operational flight deck, but also shows the louvres fro the gas-turbine generator intakes..
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #349 on: May 08, 2009, 07:40:10 PM »

"Olmeda" was part of an RN "round the world" deployment. The force went westwards from the UK to the USA. After that visit it was split up and some ships (the lucky ones) went off through the Panama Canal into the Pacific. Just the name "Pacific" conjures up thoughts of balmy days, benign seas and beautiful sunsets. Don't be fooled. All the above can happen, but this can also be a most vicious ocean. The N.Atlantic in winter is nasty enough, but a lot of that is due to the cold. The Pacific tends to have "warmer" winds but being a much larger stretch of water can whip up swells you wouldn't believe...and these swells will have breaking seas on top of them. Which Ocean do you want to drown in? Take your choice. Many seafarers have and still do... not that that is "Newsworthy" these days. Anyway, the group that went through the canal would be bucking into basically a head swell. Not too bad. The Southern group, after visiting the Falklands went around the "Horn" and angled NW up towards Hawaii. This puts the prevailing seas on the port bow and so you have that awful combination of pitching and rolling. After a few days of this and a certain amount of sleep deprivation tempers can get a bit short. Heads are aching. Backs are aching. Nothing stays where you put it. So I guess that 12 days of this are pushing the limits of civilised living. It is not nice.
After the group joined up again the whole shebang went on to Japan and then to Hong Kong. But as I have said before, the RN thinks a day without strenuous activity is a day wasted. So all sorts of "exercises" were carried out with elements of the USN, USAF and the Japanese. Glad I missed it. The only thing I missed is going around "The Horn". Never did that. But you can't do everything.As is usual with these lengthy deployments (11 months), there is a huge crew change about half way through. This was to be in Hong Kong.
I suppose I really "joined" the ship at Gatwick Airport. So many familiar faces going to different RFAs. Funny that I cannot recall seeing any "Rodneys" there...perhaps they were all going via "Crab-Air" (with their bag-rats). But us-all had a DC10 to ourselves, and what a nice flight it was. Proper service for one thing! Again I had a prime window seat and although we took off in the late afternoon it was a perfect time to see the night coming towards us and then the multitude of flares from the oil rigs over the Middle East. Then a never to be forgotten overflight down the Yellow River to Hong Kong. I was looking forward to landing at Kai Tak from the west but we landed the boring way..from the East, over the water. I had been looking forward to slicing through the washing lines strung up between the blocks of flats lining the the western approach. Pity. But I did wonder why the aircraft had to brake so violently after touch-down. Only when we disembarked (old fashioned stairs) did I see that the airport terminal sat astride the runway as a giant and terminal barrier. Ooops. Room for improvement here!. Perhaps, hence the new airport on "re-configured" Stonecutters Island. All of us lot were booked into a couple of hotels somewhere in Kowloon. So now it was Party Time. I still, after all these years, wish I hadn't. The worst hangover of my life. I vaguely remember telling the topless waitresses to put their top back on as they looked better that way.Then oblivion.
The guy I was relieving had evidently had a similar evening ashore as I never saw him again. Just as well that I knew the routine etc. of an "O" boat. But although the ship stayed there fo another 3 days I just did what I had to do and let the hangover subside.
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