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HMS GANGES Association South Australian Division Newsletter

The Shotley Buzz No56

Friday, March 09, 2018


We held our first meeting for 2018 yesterday, having stood down for 3 months in the hot weather, so what did mother nature do for us turned this week hot also, so I sent out a prior message to members to come in their short sleeved Ganges shirts leaving blazers and ties at home. We opened the meeting welcoming everyone, reading Charlie’s Prayer and observing a minutes silence for absent shipmates. We made a special welcome to Sid Groom and Elizabeth who had travelled from Murray Bridge, it was good seeing Sid looking good and talking so well following his severe stroke some time back.


It was International Women’s Day and as usual our ladies played a very important role in our gathering, amongst the ladies present was Val Freeman who organises the WRNS in SA and our treasurer Margaret Burgess, on reflection over the years at national reunions many a mention has been made by overseas visitors what impact the ladies have in Ganges Australia.


Apologies were received from Alan Ford at Renmark, Dave Diss, Jess Owen from the York Peninsular who sent greeting to members, Steve and Jan Plumb also  sent greetings to members they are moving to live in Malaysia for a couple or so years we wish them well in their new adventure, but will keep them on our list. Peter Thomas who is 98 YO 1st April was really looking forward to attending but he had an horrific fall earlier in the week and is great pain with a badly torn shoulder muscle, we wish him a speedy recovery. Tom Marling had to call off at the last minute his house is in chaos having the place tiled all the way through.


Margaret Burgess read the treasurers’ report.


Bob Chumley gave the welfare officers report he is undertaking a special task for a members shortly.


I must not forget to mention our special guest “The Ganges Round The World Gnome” he sat at the head table and everyone present signed his passport, in the next few days he will be sent to the Queensland Division.


There was a general concern amongst all members that we seem to have lost contact with member Bob Lipscomb, Bob is considered a valued  member by all, in spite of being very ill Bob has contributed much towards our branch particularly designing tables for members with a Ganges/ nautical design. Quite a number of members have tried to contact Bob with no luck, we all hope he surfaces soon.


Raymond and Mary Brewer recently visited Tasmania where Raymond was a member of the Police Golf Team playing golf against the other police State teams, Raymond won his game and the South Australian team won the competition.


During the meeting we had a chat about the recent newsletters from the Vic and WA branches pointing out the special mention of the article from Victoria about Jean Rees and in the Hoist from WA the wonderful photograph of the Vanguard and the article about the scale model of the Ganges mast.


We had a general discussion about future meetings it was difficult for me to plan a program for the year due to my ongoing treatment so at this stage we decided to plan from meeting to meeting, knowing we are very lucky with the venue where we meet it is almost like our own private clubroom. I will let members know soon when the next meeting will take place.


Raymond Brewer gave a number of naval badges to any member who would like one; Val Freeman readily accepted a WRN”S badge.



Business over we settled down to lunch and socialising, everyone seemed to be having a very good time enjoying each other’s company. Charlie Stanbridge accepted a few comments in good spirit about his newly acquired moustache, which suits him very well.


We closed the meeting at 1330


Yours aye

Derek Ernst




Group Photo 8th March 2018 Special Guest Ganges Gnome

Vale Hilary Richards

 It is with great sadness and regret that I inform you Hilary Richards passed away this morning.
Hilary was the wife of Tony Richards who served as our President for many years. I will keep you informed when funeral arrangements are known.
Any enquiries through me, please.


HMS Ganges Association
WA Division

HMAS AE1 World War I submarine found after century-long search


The first Allied and Royal Australian Navy submarine lost in World War I has finally been found after a 103-year search off the coast of Papua New Guinea.

“Australia’s oldest naval mystery has been solved,” Defence Minister Marise Payne said.

“It was … a significant tragedy felt by our nation and our allies.”

HMAS AE1 was holding 35 crew members when it went missing off the coast of the Duke of York Islands on September 1914.

Twelve previous private and government-funded expeditions over the years failed to find the vessel, which was a grave to so many.

The latest, 13th and final search began on board the vessel Furgro Equato last week.

The missing sub was found yesterday 300 metres under water near the Duke of York Islands.

After the discovery, the crew on board the Furgro Equato took part in a commemorative service to remember the officers and sailors who lost their lives.

“The boat and her crew, who’ve been on eternal patrol since 1914 … have now been found,” Ms Payne said.

“I truly trust that this discovery will bring peace of mind to the descendants of the families of the crew who lost their lives on board and perhaps in time it may also enable us to discover what caused the submarine to sink.”

The submarine was the first of its kind for the Australian fleet and was 55 metres long.

“For the Navy, it demonstrates the persistence of a view that fellow mariners always have and that is, we always seek to locate and find where those who sacrificed so much for their country actually laid at rest,” Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Timothy Barrett said.

The previous searches helped to narrow down where the wreck might be and improvements in technology helped discover the final locations.

A deep drop camera allowed the search party to confirm they had found the missing submarine.

“The final confirmation in this particular case, having found an image on the seabed, was to put a camera down alongside that wreck and actually be able to determine that it had the features that we say belonged to AE1,” Vice Admiral Barrett said.

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

VIDEO: Jeremy Fernandez explains the significance of AE1, Australia’s first submarine (ABC News)

The exact location of the wreck will be kept under wraps for now, with the Australian Government working with the Papua New Guinea Government to preserve the underwater site and to form a plan for a lasting commemoration.

The search party was jointly funded by the Australian Government, the Silentworld Foundation, The Australian National Maritime Museum and Find AE1 Ltd.

A maritime chart showing Rabaul harbour and the surrounding area, including the Duke of York group of islands.

Message from the UK Treasurer


Dated 5 December 2017


To All Overseas Members


Members, We are now halfway through this financial year so I thought I would update you all on the Associations Funds.


Our financial situation as of today: 5 December 2017 is as follows:


Current Account:  £4,136.46     (Association’s Working Account)


Tracker Account:   £60,000.00   (Association’s Savings Account)


2016 Reunion Account:   £100.08  (Association’s UK Reunion Account)


Petty Cash:  £55.77


Fixed Assets:  £273.84


Therefore the Association has assets to the tune of:  £64,566.15


How some of your money has been spent, donations this year so far are:


£1,000.00 to TS Royalist, sponsor of 4 SCC for next years cruise.

£600.00 to Ivan’s SCC Fund (Double amount in memory of Ivan)

£225.00 to RN/RM Childrens Fund

£225.00 to RN/RM Charity

£200.00 to Wells next the Sea SCC set up fund

£100.00 to Royal Marines Poole, Tribute to CPO E.H.Pitcher VC DSM

£100.00 to Chelmondiston Parish Council, Chaplin Lizabeth

£100.00 to Meningitis Charity (Runner from Gunton Hall staff)


Prior to Remembrance Sunday we spent £2,250.00 on the Mylor Memorial, extension of slabbed area, complete clean up, a new pathway and new turfing. The work was completed by the Sunday and good comments were received by those attending the service.


New membership cards are being issued, these cost 0.38p each, some difference to the last lot that were arranged.


We have produced and presented HMS Raleigh with 3,000 Ganges Medals, (3 years worth) to be awarded to the Class Leader/Deputy of the Best Class to pass out each week.


There were again 10 lucky winners of £100.00 in the Membership Christmas Draw, this included Dave Bartlett in Australia and lucky old me!!


I had a hip replacement operation 3 weeks ago, all going fine, walking aided by one stick at present, start the physics programme in a couple of days. Hopefully back to normal in 3 more weeks.


Well that’s about it folks


May I take this opportunity to wish all our Overseas Members, A Merry Christmas,

Prosperous and Healthy 2018.

If anyone has any questions about finances, I’m only too happy to answer them via email,

I thank you for your continued support.


Phil Bridge 5832. Hon.Treasurer, Duncan 1965

HMS GANGES WA Division Newsletter Nov 2017




G’day all,

At this time, I am trying to get some semblance of order back into my life following the recent death of my wife Gail. It was our 50th wedding anniversary on Trafalgar Day. Putting this Hoist together will hopefully help me on the journey to bring some normality back into my life. The messages and condolences I have received are much appreciated.


Well it looks like this may not be the final Hoist as we have nominations for the management team to be presented at the AGM. Please note further nominations will be accepted prior to 1700 on 15th November. If there is more than one nomination for any position an election will be held. The management team for 2018 will be confirmed at the AGM. At present it looks like the Management team will consist of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and four committee members. The WA Division Rules will need to be changed to reflect decisions made at the AGM.


I am reading “Great Naval Blunders” (History’s worst sea battle decisions from ancient times to the present day) by Geoffrey Regan. First published in 1993 but republished in 2017 the book does not contain some of the more recent naval blunders, none the less it is well worth a read. The author roams the seas of two thousand years of naval misdemeanors, providing in-depth analyses of what went wrong in key naval battles and offers many intriguing and bizarre anecdotes. I have included a couple of cases in the Hoist; Chinese Navy and Ships that torpedoed themselves.

Remaining Gathering for 2017

Committee Meetings

3rd Thursday of odd month

Commencing 1200 @ FNC

Division Meetings

4th Thursday of odd month

Commencing 1200 @ FNC

Social Sausage Sizzles

4th Sunday of even month

Commencing 1200 @ RNC

16th November AGM 23rd November
Christmas Lunch

1200 Wednesday 13th December at FNC


Social Coordinator Paul’s Hoist;        

Social Sausage Sizzle Rockingham Navy Club Sunday 8 October 2017.

A lovely Spring day with early rain clearing nicely. Approaching 30 attendees enjoyed Gary’s cooking and the various accompaniments (thanks to all concerned). It was nice to see Hilary and Morag joining in as they recover from their ills. The food went down, the rum flask passed then on to Cathy’s raffle with Ganges marginally ahead on receiving prizes. Unlucky 13 won a bottle of Pusser’s for me. Some Lamp swinging and time for home.


Trafalgar Dinner.

I believe Les Simmons attended the Trafalgar Dinner and may be kind enough to brief us. (That does not mean attend in your underpants Les).


Quiz Night

I also believe Ganges provided a table for the Quiz night. Perhaps an attendee could let us know how we got on. Anything better than last or second last would be an outstanding result.




Christmas Lunch.

When                     1200 Wednesday 13 December.

Where                    Fremantle Navy Club.

Details                    Cost will be around $30 with a similar format to previous years.


Names soonest to me by email further details regarding payment etc. will be provided later.


We should all be aware of the recent growth of the Chinese Navy as evidenced by China’s first operational aircraft carrier PLAN Chinese Ship Liaoning, commissioned in 2012.

However, in the last years of the 19th Century under the influence of Admiral Ting Ju-chang (Ding Ruchang), the Chinese Navy appeared to be making enormous strides towards modernization. Unfortunately, appearances were deceptive, the war with Japan which broke out in 1894 exposed severe limitations in the efficiency of the Chinese fleet.


            PLAN Chinese ship Liaoning

Discipline aboard Chinese warships maybe judged by the curious form of gambling at pitch and toss which took place, usually involving the sentries. The ships themselves were in a filthy state; the watertight doors were never closed, and the gun barrels were used by the crew as dumps for pickles, rice and chopsticks. One Chinese battleship went into action at the battle of the Yalu River minus one of its heavy guns because Admiral Ting had pawned it. The shells used by the Chinese were sometimes found to be stuffed with charcoal and the gunpowder sold and replaced by cocoa powder. Chinese officers were so terrified of torpedoes that they fired them at twice the proper range with the result that the torpedoes always sank before they had covered half the distance to the target.

Ships that Torpedoed Themselves:

Weapons systems are generally designed to operate within a range of climatic conditions and if they are exposed to conditions far beyond the norm there is always a danger they will malfunction. If the weapon is offensive in character, then the worst which can usually happen is a failure to strike the enemy. However, there have been two recorded occasions of weapons turning on their masters, and, in one case, inflicting decisive damage. The weapon was the torpedo and the victim the British cruiser HMS Trinidad. On 29 March 1942, Trinidad was escorting convoy PQ13 in Arctic waters when it was attacked by three German destroyers. It was so cold that day that spray froze instantly as it landed on the decks. After an exchange of gunfire Trinidad fired three torpedoes at the Z26, but two of them were so iced up that they failed to leave the tubes. The third torpedo malfunctioned when the oil in its motor and gyroscope froze, causing it to change direction, swing around and return the way it had come. The torpedo hit the cruiser amidships, damaging her severely. It was only with extreme difficulty that Trinidad limped into Murmansk for repairs.

Luckier than Trinidad was the Peruvian ironclad Huascar, when it tried to torpedo the Chilean corvette Abtao in 1879. The Huascar’s commander, Admiral Grau, closed to within 200 yards of the unsuspecting Abtao and fired a torpedo. It travelled straight for about 100yards before suddenly turning to port, making a wide semi-circle and returning straight back towards the Huascar. Lieutenant Diaz Canseco, alive to the danger, leapt overboard, swam towards the torpedo and forced it to change direction with his hands. Admiral Grau was so disgusted with the new weapon; for it was the first time he had ever fired a torpedo; that he took his remaining supply and buried them in a cemetery.

Lloyds Register of Shipping

Towards the latter part of the 17th Century, the commercial community interested in shipping, met at a small coffee house kept by a man named Edward Lloyd, first of all in Tower street and later at the corner of Abchurch Lane and Lombard Street in the City of London. The coffee house became the primary gathering place for merchants, seafaring men and marine insurers.


Edward Lloyd was a man of wisdom and enterprise and founded a system of commercial and maritime intelligence and a newspaper which he called Lloyd’s News. However, Lloyd fell foul of the House of Lords over an article he had written; he was censured and his newspaper suppressed and it was not until 1726 that it was re-established under the name of Lloyd’s List. Lloyd’s List now claims to be the oldest continuously published newspaper in the world.


In 1770, the frequenters of the coffee house, whose particular business was underwriting marine insurance formed themselves into an alliance, ultimately established as the Corporation of Lloyd’s. The underwriters of Lloyd’s found that they needed complete information on the construction and condition of ships in order to ensure them and so was established, Lloyd’s Register of Shipping.

Were they Decoys?

Seventy-five years ago, in November 1942, Britain and America launched Operation TORCH, the ambitious invasion of French North African colonies of Morocco and Algeria. To convey 70,000 troops and their equipment required 350 merchant ships crossing the U-boat infested North Atlantic from the USA and 250 more sailing south from British ports.

The need for a high level of protection for these meant withdrawing large numbers of escorts from the routine trade convoys. Amongst those left without adequate defence were RB 1 and SC 107, both eastbound from America, and SL 125, northbound from Freetown. All three were at sea at the same time as the TORCH convoys. Predictably, Admiral Donitz threw the full weight of his 140 Atlantic U-boat fleet against the now vulnerable trade convoys, which between them lost thirty-one ships and 792 men.

While this unprecedented massacre was in progress, the troop-carrying convoys slipped miraculously through entirely without incident. There is nothing on record to say that the trade convoys RB 1, SC 107 and SL 125 were sacrificed to ensure the safe passage of the TORCH convoys but one can’t help but think this would have been the case.


Australia’s Future Frigates:


The Commonwealth Government recently released Australia’s first Naval Shipbuilding Plan (NSP), outlining the nation’s largest programme of naval shipbuilding and sustainment. Below are the 3 options being considered for the nine future frigates. The chosen option will be promulgated this year, with building to commence in 2020 and delivery of the first frigate from about 2027.

      Option 1: The Italian frigate Carabiniere

Option 2: Spain’s ESPS Cristobal Colon

   Option 3: The UK’s Type 26 Frigate







RN Snippits:


Flagship Going:

HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy’s flagship will be decommissioned in 2018, her role will be taken by the two new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.


Type 31 Frigates:

According to The Times, BAE Systems and Babcock International are expected to bid against each other for a £2bn contract for six Type 31 Frigates. The £2bn contact suggests a cost per ship of around £330m. The new class of frigates will be more affordable than the Type 26. The Type 31 plan is expected to follow a similar pattern to that of the Queen Elizabeth carriers and early Type 45 Destroyers with blocks to be built in yards around the UK and assembled on the Clyde. An independent report into the National Shipbuilding Strategy by Sir John Parker has recommended that the new Type 31 Frigates be built across the UK, with blocks being constructed in yards in both Scotland and England.


Type 26 Frigates:

In July the UK Government gave the green light to BAE Systems to build three of the new Type 26 anti-submarine warfare frigates in a £3.7 billion deal. The contract is for the first batch of a promised fleet of eight such ships to replace the current Type 23 frigates as escorts for the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers and to protect units of the nuclear submarine fleet as they arrive and depart from their base in Scotland. The first Type 26 is now scheduled to be accepted by the RN around the late 2020’s some years after the first Type 23 frigate, HMS Argyll, is planned to be paid off.


Point to ponder!

Be respectful of all opinions, unless they’re wrong, obviously



That’s all folks;


Cheers aye – Ian 









HMS GANGES Queensland Division – Newsletter Sep-Oct 2017



Queensland Division

Newsletter No 60


September – October 2017


 Welcome aboard everyone,


Unfortunately I start this newsletter with sad news of the passing of ex Ganges man Gerry Hughes, I have been advised by his partner that Gerry passed away earlier this year. RIP Shipmate


Also apologies for the lateness of this newsletter, I have now moved to Burrum Heads and purchased a new computer as my old one was KIA on the way up here.



For those wishing to renew their membership the following details were provided by the Treasurer

Account is H.M.S.Ganges Association Queensland.

Westpac Capalaba  034080 380466.


Members $20.00.    Associate members $5.


Last newsletter Ship Quiz.


Only correct answer was Geoff Dann of Cairns Qld. As Geoff correctly emailed me it was HMS NELSON departing Portland.

Due to the lack of support I won’t be including this segment in future newsletters. Thanks to all those who participated. Instead I will highlight one of our amazing members.




This month: Richard Richardson


Richard was born in Hastings Sussex on the 21st July 1938, and lived throughout the war and right up to when I joined the navy in a little village called Ringmer, about 8 miles East of Brighton.

He joined HMS Ganges on the 13th October 1953 and served for 25 years, retiring on the 21st July 1978. I was a “from here to the right” communication rating in that at one stage in the annexe the whole recruitment was fallen in and informed that they required more volunteers for communications. Several people volunteered but not enough so they decided to detail some of us off.  An officer went along and said “3, 6, 9, 12 from here to the right communicators’. I wanted to be a gunner!!!

I am glad that it worked out like that though as it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. As a visual signalman I was always on the bridge and always knew what was going on.  I felt sorry for the stokers stuck down below and always in the dark and I tried to keep them in the picture as far as legally possible.  Of course a lot of the stuff that I dealt with was secret and definitely not allowed to be released to anybody.

My sea going started with an 18 month commission in HMS Newfoundland and was probably the best commission that a young boy could possibly have. We left Portsmouth and did our work up in the Med. based on Malta. Then through the Suez canal and on to the Far East, visiting Singapore, Australia, Japan, Korea, Subic Bay, Hong Kong and several places that I can’t remember now. At one stage I was loaned to HMS Comus when some of her people were on advancement courses.  When it came time to come back home we were the first cruiser to recommission by air, 14 flights out and 14 flights back.  I was on flight 10 and we crashed at Karachi.  The pilot couldn’t get the wheels down and so we left a lot of the aircraft strewn along the runway. It was a Handley Page Hermes belonging to Britavia.


I also spent a couple of years at Whitehall wireless station and nearly a year with 43 CDO Royal Marines. Our watch had just gone on for the all night on at Whitehall Wireless and the chief of the watch came round just to make sure that everyone was there and suitably briefed during the takeover.

When he got to my desk he said


“There you are Dick, there is a draft chit for you”.


When I said “Where to Chief” he replied, “43 Commando Royal Marines”.  I just laughed and said, “O.K. where is it really to” As it turned out he was absolutely right and he wasn’t joking.  I complained bitterly and slapped in to see the boss but he pointed out that the Royal Marines are part of the Navy and if they are short of personnel they can draw on the Navy to make up numbers.  I had to go, needless to say kicking and screaming, but the funny thing is that after I had been there a few weeks I didn’t want to come back to gens again. I thoroughly enjoyed myself after I got over the initial shock. When they had enough people again I had to go back to the navy and I didn’t want to do that either.It’s a strange thing, human nature …


Other ships include Liverpool and Boxer (HMS Bellerophon reserve ships Portsmouth) which then moved on to HMS Vanguard, a wonderful ship, then HMS Agincourt for a commission in the Med.

Several times I went to HMS Mercury, the signal school at East Meon, for advancement courses and finished my time there as a Quartermaster. Shore bases included Commodore Naval Drafting at Lythe Hill House, Haslemere, Windmill Hill Signal Station, Gibraltar married accompanied, HMS Mauritius married accompanied, and Ricasoli Signal School, Malta for Killicks course.

I served in HMS Nurton as a killick and HMS Carron as a killick (yeoman) I did another commission in the F.E.S. in HMS Dido (the fourth of the Leander class) and served two years in HMS Apollo (the 25th of the Leander class) which we collected from the builders yard on the Clyde and took away on her first commission. I also served a short spell in HMS Dolphin MSO.


Richard’s hobbies include model making, here is a quick history and his current project..

My interest in model making started about ten years ago with aircraft, tanks and armour and ships.  Since then my trophy cabinet has steadily filled up and some of my models have already featured in the news letter. It keeps me out of the pub …….(and broke!!)

HMS Compass Rose

Just before the start of WWII the Admiralty in London realised that in the event of a war they were going to be desperately short of escort vessels.  They needed something that could be built quickly and cheaply and mainly in civilian dockyards.  They had six options and the one chosen was based loosely on a whale catcher called the Southern Pride that was already in existence at Smiths dockyard.  It was a strong, sturdy little ship designed for use in the Southern Atlantic and the Antarctic.  With a lot of modifications this would do admirably for coastal escort work.  As it turned out the flower class served in every theatre of operations, including on the notorious Russian convoys in some of the worst weather in the world.


They were operated by many nations including Britain, France, Canada, America, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, India, even Germany.

The British ones were all named after flowers and the first one was HMS Gladiolus launched on the 24th. January 1940.  269 were built during the war, 42 in Canada, 4 in France, although the French ones were captured and operated by the Germans after the fall of France.

The flower class were not only used for convoy escorts, at least 54 were fitted out as minesweepers and some even served as ocean going tugs to bring damaged merchant ships into port. 25 were lent to the U.S. Navy.


 As the design evolved many variations came into being and no two were exactly alike.  Some differed slightly, and some had major differences like longer forecastles, more sheer and flair to their hulls for better sea keeping, forced draft ventilation instead of mushroom vents and many other improvements such as putting the mast behind the bridge instead in front of it. Six different variations of bridges were fitted starting with the merchant ship type on the early ones.


 This model is of HMS Compass Rose from the book and film “The Cruel Sea” by Nicholas Montsarrat who served as an officer in corvettes (HMS Campanula) during WWII.




To contact Scotty

Graham Slaney

1 Harlequin Close, Burrum Heads Qld 4659

 Phone  0434896017.





P.S. If you no longer wish to receive newsletters from sunny Queensland, please advise and I will remove your details from the list. Until we meet again, fair winds to you all..



Autonomous Navy ships

By Roger Bower


I thought that you might be interested in this article.   Moving on from driverless cars, it seems that we may be getting autonomous navy ships!

Rolls-Royce has designed a completely autonomous naval ship

Not content with its tech-filled Phantom, Rolls-Royce has announced it has plans to make a 60-metre-long truly autonomous navy ship.

Packed with sophisticated sensors, artificial intelligence and “advanced propulsion” technology, Rolls-Royce aims to sell to the world’s military forces. It’s set to have a range of 3,500 nautical miles (which is over 4,000 regular miles) and operate without human help for over 100 days.

The ship, revealed by Rolls-Royce on Tuesday, is designed to tackle navy jobs around patrolling routes and to undertake surveillance tasks. Rolls-Royce also says it could take on fleet watch or sea mine detection duties, with supplementary drones able to assist in more complex missions.

There was no mention of using the ship for naval combat, and that’s probably okay – I don’t know if I fancy the idea of giving an AI-controlled ship a gun. Thankfully, Rolls-Royce agrees with me, explaining that it’s already conducting “significant analysis of potential cyber risks” to “ensure end-to-end security” so its AI doesn’t get hacked and go rogue.

“Rolls-Royce is seeing interest from major navies in autonomous, rather than remote controlled, ships,” said Benjamin Thorp, Rolls-Royce general manager of naval electronics, automation and control. “Such ships offer a way to deliver increased operational capability, reduce the risk to crew and cut both operating and build costs.”

Interestingly, for an autonomous vehicle, Rolls-Royce’s naval ship will be powered by a gas or diesel engine. There are solar panels on the ship, but they’re simply there to harness energy for standby power usage.

Currently, there’s no concrete release set for the naval ship, but Rolls-Royce did say it “expects to see the introduction of medium-sized unmanned platforms, particularly in leading navies” within the next ten years.

Only last month we heard that a private military technology development company had created a drone that could wield a gun. Combine that with the Rolls-Royce ship and we could be well on the way to having a truly autonomous military force over the next decade.

It’s debatable if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but we’ve all seen – unless your name is Alan Martin – how The Terminator starts.



Minutes of Meeting held at
The Shipwreck Shotley Gate, Ipswich, IP9 1QJ 6 September 2017

PRESENT: Colin Gent Chairman Cliff Snelling Secretary Phil Bridge Treasurer Ken Bushnell Membership Secretary Des Kerrigan Events & Standards Tony Willders Reunion Co-ordinator Shep Woolley George Barnham

Observers: Ron Carr, Mick Newstead, Paul Pearce, Jim Goddard, Mike Barton, Chris Park, Brian Beaton, Ted Hammond, Peter Taylor, Leonard Butcher, Peter Talman, Barry Bonnamy, George Athroll, Jim Gitsham, John Adams, Bill Bowmer, Barrie Scott-Webb, Dennis Cracknell, Dave Wesley, Annette Bushnell, Christine Snelling, Derek Davis (Chairman, Museum), June Lawford-Randall (Secretary, Museum), and Museum members Roger Cushing, Dave Andrews, Pat Jones, Callum Beaney.

Meeting opened: 1200

The Chairman, Colin Gent, asked those present to stand and observe a minutes silence to remember those members who have CTB since AGM 2017.

Prior to the start of the meeting a 70 year certificate was presented to George Athroll, Shotley Division, by the Chairman, Colin Gent.

1. Chairman’s Opening Remarks The Chairman Colin Gent welcomed everyone to the meeting and said he was glad to see so many members had been able to attend, as well as members of the Museum.

Colin said he also wished to thank all the Committee members for their hard work. He requested that observers not interrupt during a Committee Member’s Report, questions would be taken after each Report.

2. Apologies Florrie Ford (Certificates)

3. Minutes of Previous Meeting The minutes of the previous meeting held on 3 May 2017 at RNA Uxbridge were approved as a true record and accepted.

Proposed: Phil Bridge (Treasurer) Seconded: Des Kerrigan (Events & Standards)

4. Matters Arising  TS Royalist – Shep stated that due to ill health he had not been able to finalise this, but that it would be completed in the next couple of months. ACTION: Shep  Flags – Des said that some flags were still missing. Shep will contact Joyce Higgins as Tony may have had some. It was agreed that all flags should be collected together for an audit, then a decision made on whether we needed to purchase more. ACTION: Shep and Des

5. Secretary’s Report Secretary Cliff Snelling said that the Raleigh Coins had been ordered and should arrive in the next few weeks. They will be sent directly to Phil Bridge who will then co-ordinate with HMS Raleigh for their delivery and presentation.

Page 2 of 5

Cliff said that he had written to DIPR regarding continuing use of the HMS Ganges crest, but to date no response had been received. David Parry, Fulham & Chelsea Division, had approached the Committee as he had received a donation of 120 specially produced oval lapel Badges / pins showing HMS GANGES crest on a white background; over top of the crest is WISDOM IS STRENGTH, under the crest ASSOCIATION. They have been produced and donated by Tom & Tony Fellows, sons of Thomas James Fellows who trained at Ganges 1933-34. They wished to assist in raising funds for our association. The Committee agreed that these pins would be made available to members at Reunion 2018, at a small cost.

Cliff stated that he had received a proposal from the Chairman, Colin Gent, for an addition to Rule 11. Anyone submitting a proposal for voting at AGM must attend or be represented at AGM, and all proposals must be supported by a Statement of Rationale, explaining the reason for the change.

Proposed: Colin Gent (Chairman) Seconded: Cliff Snelling (Secretary)

6. Treasurer’s Report Treasurer Phil Bridge said that as normal, the Committee members all had copies of bank accounts and his Profit/Loss spreadsheet in front of them – please look at them!

We are half way through this financial year and the Association is in an excellent financial situation, Phil’s responsibilities are for a total of: £63,983.84 – made up as follows:

Community Account: £3,057.73 Reunion Account: £589.85 Tracker Account: £60,000.00 Petty Cash: £62.42 Fixed Assets of: £273.84

All figures are correct as of 5 September 2017.

Phil stated that when he took over as Treasurer, he stated that he needed a working balance of £36,000.00; this amount would underwrite 2 years’ worth of Gazettes and Association running costs. Members will notice from the AGM and now, we are currently some £28,000.00 over requirement. This does not mean a ‘Let’s Spend’ attitude nor does it mean ‘Let’s Hand It Out Freely”.

So far this year, Running Costs amount to: £17,684.45 – this includes the following donations:

£600.00 to Ivan’s SCC Fund (Double amount in memory of Ivan) £225.00 to RN/RM Children’s Fund £225.00 to RN/RM Charity £200.00 to Wells next the Sea SCC set up fund £100.00 to Royal Marines Poole, Tribute to CPO E.H. Pitcher VC DSM £100.00 to Chelmondiston Parish Council, Chaplin Lizabeth £100.00 to Meningitis Charity (Runner from Gunton Hall staff)

So far this year our income amounts to: £14,418.00 thus indicating a loss of £3,266.45 in the first six months. No need to ‘Flood Q’ there is not a problem here, this is normal for half way through the year. Our major income will be in December when between £8,000 – £9,000 of subscriptions come in.

Phil said his prediction was that at AGM 2018, he would be reporting another Profit over Loss of some £10,000 approx. It is a huge responsibility looking after members money and the Committee will hold a meeting to discuss the Association Finances, with recommendations to be brought to members at AGM 2018.

 Member Jim Goddard suggested that the Grand Draw be discontinued. Shep Woolley replied that the Grand Draw was good for the morale of members. George Athroll agreed, and stated that no member was obliged to buy or sell the raffle tickets sent to them in their Winter Gazette.  Jim Goddard asked the Committee if members could have Membership Cards. Treasurer Phil Bridge said this was being looked into.  Brian Beaton asked if the Association would provide funds for the Museum move. Chairman Colin Gent responded that the Association is not responsible for the Museum, which operates as a Charity. The Museum currently has its own contingency fund for any move, but that should the Museum approach the Association for assistance then of course this would be considered.

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7. Membership Secretary’s Report As of 3rd September 2017:

Active Members 1269 Life Members 785 Associate Members 76

New Members 16 Lapsed Members 342 (187 Life Members) CTB 13

Membership Secretary, Ken Bushnell, said that soon after taking over the appoint of MemSec (AGM 2013) he discovered a number of anomalies, which needed to be addressed to achieve his aims and objectives.

One of these aims was to have the database as accurate as possible. The introduction of the “return to sender” on our gazette envelopes has helped in a substantial way and further has shown certain features of our membership. In nearly every case of a Gazette being returned, the member will be a Life Member and in nearly every case he will not be contributing financially to the GA. I raise this second point to highlight the fact it illustrates little or no contact is being made.

The ‘return to sender’ envelopes received by Ken are because there is no current address for that member and therefore he must lapse them to prevent further gazettes being sent out. Since the delivery of our last Gazette, Ken has received 21 “return to sender” envelopes, 5 of which were marked “deceased”. Having given this a great deal of thought, there is no easy resolve, suffice to say, it’s sad to think some of our members who may find themselves residing on their own will reach their final destination unannounced.

Therefore, Ken will request Dick to put an announcement in the next Gazette, larger than normal, imploring all members to inform him of any changes to their circumstances.

8. Certificate Secretary’s Report Phil Bridge said that Florrie had informed him that so far he has sent out approximately 30 certificates since April, and that he already has 20 certificates to be presented at AGM 2018. Members are reminded that applications for certificates to be presented at Reunion 2018 must be received no later than 31 March 2018.

Phil said that so far Florrie had banked donations of around £105.

9. Events & Standards Report Des Kerrigan said as always he was deeply grateful to all the Standard Bearers that make the effort and turn out. Please remember these Boys that give up their own time, both at Reunion and locally. Attendance at Funerals throughout the UK by our National Standard Bearer, Tony Cooke, supporting the Ganges Families in their time of grief, remains paramount. Paddy Minns, other Local Divisions’ Standards and Des support where they can which is all part of our Association’s being. Please remember that Des now holds a stock of HMS Ganges Wreaths; if a Family specially request one for a Member’s funeral, just shout. Speaking of Paddy, he has not been the best for the past few months, but has still managed to turn out when he can.

On a brighter note, Des said he had had a big event in his life and managed to convince his lady, Susan, to tie the knot. They had a fantastic day back in June and were supported by some good Ganges friends, friends and family. Two honeymoons ensued, or was it three? Rome, Ireland and Lourdes were all visited, and they really have got off to a fantastic start. There is life, and indeed happiness, after lunacy!!

As previously indicated names for the Cenotaph Parade and the HMSGA Platoon in London this year are being co-ordinated by Topsy Turner from Aylesbury, who has taken the reigns of this function and is making a good job of it. There has been a link published on the website, and meanwhile Topsy’s number is 07599 914410. By the time of publication of this in the Gazette, the list will have been closed and, due to increased security measures, it will officially be too late to apply for a ticket. Please contact Topsy direct if you would like to discuss, and have the opportunity to march with the Ganges Platoon.

Sadly there was not much enthusiasm shown for a HMSGA Platoon for the Biennial RNA/Combined Naval Associations Parade in London on Sunday 17 September 2017. We have managed a good turn-out in the past and Des said he was sure that any who did make the effort had a fantastic experience with likeminded ex-matelots.

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Here is hoping that wherever you are in the country that your Ganges blazer will be shaken out and worn with pride on Armistice Day. For me, the normal Parade and Service will be held on Saturday 11th, as always with Friends and Colleagues at the RNA in Uxbridge, where all are welcome. Des said he has chosen to travel up to Shotley for Remembrance Sunday and be with Jim Gitsham and the Shotley Crew for this very poignant day of Remembrance and Parade.

With regard to the Shotley site some work seems to be in progress. More on that in the Museum Report.

If there are ever any issues which you, as a Member, wish to discuss, please feel free to call or email Des.

10. Webmaster’s Report Webmaster Phil Bridge said that the website is working well, there are no problems. We currently have 821 members online. All the donation money has now been used and the annual costs would now be paid for by the Association.

11. Museum Report The Museum volunteers were pleased to welcome members of HMS Ganges Association back to Shotley for their Committee Meeting and were pleased to be able to accept the invitation to join them at the Shipwreck.

Well, we’re still housed in Enright block, awaiting official confirmation of an 18-month lease. We are subject to 3 months’ notice should the Marina decide to commence the proposed work on the remainder of the building. We have options concerning moving the museum out temporarily which we’re pursuing, with the possibility of returning to Enright block into the smaller space on offer when the refurbishment has been completed.

The Trustees are very pleased to welcome Mr Pat Jones to the team, who is a newcomer to Shotley. Pat has been able to step in to help us with the archiving, bringing with him wide experience, including security and accreditation, from the Essex Fire Brigade Museum. His pragmatic study has helped us to take a fresh look at most areas of the museum which has been most helpful. With a number of additional new volunteers having come forward recently, from both Ganges and locally, we now have two teams responsible for new acquisitions and clearing the backlog which will be an important factor in our accreditation application in January 2018. We have been able to offer an internship to our newest volunteer, fresh from University, who is hoping to become a Curator and needs relevant experience. We are working with Mentors to help him progress his career.

We have been very fortunate to receive over 2,500 visitors since opening so far this year, with individuals and groups visiting by special arrangement outside of normal opening hours which we are happy to do.

Manning the museum at weekends has become more of a challenge. We have some new volunteers who are being trained and they will hopefully become openers for the new season. However others, such as Dave Andrews, are doing more than their fair share to prevent any weekend closures and it would be beneficial to the whole team to be able to spread the cover more evenly. Anyone who feels they could be of assistance should please contact us.

To adorn the museum, we were very pleased to acquire a silver bugle in great condition which was donated by the last Bandmaster before the closure. Another rare find was the museum’s latest acquisition of Princess Mary’s Christmas gift to the troops for WW1 which was a tin containing a sealed packet of tobacco and a partially opened pack of cigarettes. It also contained a Christmas card, written by the hand of Princess Mary. We are expecting to receive the New Zealand standard for laying down following the closure of their division, and an offer to receive some Ganges mirrors found in France and dated 1800s was too tempting to resist but they haven’t reached us yet.

Museum Chairman, Derek Davis, spoke to the members about the Ganges site, explaining that Babergh District Council had applied for a considerable infrastructure grant to help the development which brings the possibility of the Museum moving to Nelson Hall closer. The developers recognised the significant heritage of the Mast and were likely to bring the 143ft restoration forward. The viability of the swimming pool, however, was in doubt. Work on clearing the site and pipe laying has commenced.

It is heartening to know that the Association and the Museum are able to work more closely together for the benefit of all, and we appreciate the warm welcome we always receive . If you’re thinking of visiting the museum, we’re open between Easter and the end of October each season, from 11am until 5pm. We are now open every Wednesday morning throughout the year from 10am to 2pm. If you need to make a special visit outside of normal opening, please let us know. The email address is or Tel: 01473 788723.

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Keep in touch and view our online collection of photographs by going to the website Click on the Artefacts section and then try the search options. For those of you on social media we’re also on Facebook as HMS Ganges Museum. It’s also worth taking a look at YouTube for videos – and there are several Ganges clips to enjoy – and don’t forget to take a look at Trip Advisor for our excellent reviews – so proud!

 Member Brian Beaton asked if the any of the original material would be used in the restoration of the mast. Derek Davis responded that the bottom part of the mast would be original, the remainder, and the rigging would all be new material. Brian asked if there would be an opportunity for the Association to make use of some of the original material. This will be discussed with the Developers.

12. Reunion 2018 Update Reunion Organiser, Tony Wilders, said that all was progressing well and that we currently had 363 confirmed bookings. 2019 Venue – IOW Tours have been requested to look at possible venues for the 2019 reunion. With the declining levels of attendees (for various reasons) it is doubtful that we can expect to get sole exclusivity at a holiday camp type venue without a raised increase in costs to members to cover empty rooms. That being the case IOW are looking for suitable hotel venues with about 200 rooms to fulfil our needs.
 Jim Goddard said the cost of Reunion weekend was expensive and why couldn’t members have the option of one, two or three nights when booking. Shep responded that bookings for a threenight weekend guaranteed exclusivity of a venue, and the cost also covered extras, for example free tots, booking a specific group for the Saturday night entertainment, and having a third-party organiser. However, the Committee said that they would look into having the options for future Reunions.  John Arbon (Museum) said he had organised events similar to those being discussed and that it involved an horrendous amount of work. It was imperative to use a third-party in today’s world and that they offered value for money. The Chairman thanked John for his support.  Des Kerrigan suggested that an Advert for the Reunion be submitted to the Navy News and the Royal British Legion magazine. ACTION: Des

13. Any Other Business  Des Kerrigan said that only Solent Division, West London Division and the Mercantile Marine had shown any interest in the insurance of Standards. Shep stated that the offer was from CONA and that Des should submit the information he has to Andy Christie. Phil Bridge would be responsible for the payment. ACTION: Des  Ken Bushnell suggested that we hold a Summer Draw as well as a Christmas Draw; to be drawn at the May Committee Meeting. The Committee agreed that this should be discussed at the financial meeting.  George Barnham said that he and Carole had taken over the Grand Draw from Dick Binch, and tickets were available today if anyone was interested. He asked that all stubs, completed with name and address, be sent to him – not other members of the Committee. The Chairman suggested a large notice be included in the next Gazette as a reminder to members.  Shep stated that he was visiting Mylor next week to discuss the Ganges ‘Garden of Rest’. There is a small plot of land next to the Mylor Memorial which could be used. He will discuss cost with our gardener and report back to the Committee.  Shep mentioned that the Veterans Bereavement Support Services was a group which had been set up to ensure that all those who serve or had served in the Armed Forces or Merchant Navy and their families have full access to a specialist bereavement support network in their time of need. He asked if we could promote and support this group. It was agreed to discuss this in depth at the next full Committee Meeting.  Shep suggested that the Association might approach the local Premier Inn for a deal so that more Ganges boys would be able to visit or support the Museum. Derek Davis, Museum Chairman, said that the Shipwreck now offered B&B.  Chairman Colin Gent said that in the past many members of the Committee did not claim expenses for their many duties. However, in order to reflect the true running costs of the Association he said that Committee Members should now claim expenses

HMS GANGES WA Division Newsletter Sep 2017




G’day all,

Just finished the book ‘Admiral Collingwood – Nelsons own hero’ by Max Adams, a great read highly commended. Besides all the naval stuff there was comment on the origins of “Geordie”, Cuthbert Collingwood was a Geordie. I am often mistaken for a Geordie because of my NE accent, so I looked it up. The Oxford dictionary confirms that Geordies were originally ‘Georges Men’ because the men form Newcastle supported King George I & II rather than the Stuarts. However, the name spread to those in the Newcastle area who were involved in the various mining ventures. Further south in Sunderland, Makems is the name for residents, from Makem (make them) and Takem (take them), the expressions date back to the height of Sunderland’s shipbuilding history, I find that I, and Brian Thompson, as Teessiders we are Smoggies, a nickname for people from Teesside that was coined because of the industrial nature of the area. It was first used as a derogatory term, but now many people proudly call themselves Smoggies. Given that Brian and I now live in the region of the Kwinana Industrial Area, the largest industrial complex in the State, we can probably claim to be Western Australian Smoggies?


Signal Stuff features largely in this hoist, I seemed to have awakened the inner communicator in Paul, interesting stuff all the same.


Remaining Gathering for 2017

Committee Meetings

3rd Thursday of odd month

Commencing 1200 @ FNC

Division Meetings

4th Thursday of odd month

Commencing 1200 @ FNC

Social Sausage Sizzles

4th Sunday of even month

Commencing 1200 @ RNC

21st September 28th September 8th October- Changed to 2nd Sunday to avoid any Trafalgar Day clash
16th November AGM 23rd November
Christmas Lunch

1200 Wednesday 13th December at FNC


Social Coordinator hoists;        


Black Tot Lunch Fremantle Navy Club Wednesday 2nd August 2017:

A nice sunny winters day made for pleasant traveling conditions for the 20 members who enjoyed the annual commiserations to the ‘The Tot’. We held the very successful 2013 Reunion here with members from across the Country and Overseas joining us. The Black Tot Lunch is a much smaller affair and the Fremantle Navy Club is to be thanked for stepping into the breach when Anzac House closed. The Committee assisted setting up as usual and on time at 1215 President Jim called ‘Up Spirits’ and the joyful commiserations commenced (should we be thankful to Lefanu?). The pumpkin soup was accompanied by some particularly nice bread. Everyone enjoyed their roasts, which as far as I was concerned was excellent, the one complaint I had, I only managed to get my hands on one duff. After lunch we had the usual toasts and then Cathy ran her successful raffles with Morag taking out the bottle of ‘Pussers’, Again!!! Some socializing over the ‘Queen’s’ and it was time to head for home. Another successful lunch.

Jimmy Houston was just back from Bali with a dose of ‘the Belly’ and was unable to join us this time.






Visit to Malibu School Wednesday 16 August 2017:

A sunny day with a chill wind but as most of our visit was indoors we were spared the icy air stream for most of the time.

A good local turnout of Kathy, Brenda, Charlotte, June, Jim, Ian, Brian, Buster, Karl, John, Peter and Paul with Anne and President Jon from the RRNA. Thank you all very much for making the effort. We were welcomed by the Principal Noelene and Specialist Teacher and Advisor Gordon who told us they were very appreciative of interaction between the school and local groups. John Lewis (thank you John, an excellent idea) had framed a picture of the manned Ganges Mast and June presented it to Principal Noelene. John also handed over a picture of the original wooden Ganges and one of the Mast as it was last year. Peter Godfrey said he would email some details regarding HMS Ganges and the mast, especially as he was one of those manning the mast in the picture. Noelene thanked us on behalf of the school and Gordon took a number of photos, which I believe will be on their Facebook page.

Gordon was our guide for a comprehensive and information filled tour of the school. He expanded on the information I provided regarding the school explaining how all the various functions and teaching skills came into play.  The student’s many and varied needs are identified and specific programmes formulated on an individual basis. We stopped at the school café on our way round for a coffee. Noelene joined us providing yet more information. The café is in actual fact a classroom providing life skills for the students. The tour continued via the veggie garden where things are grown, harvested then taken to the kitchen classroom for cooking. The kitchen is fitted with electronically controlled height adjustable cook tops and ovens. Teacher/Student ratio is from 1/1 upwards according to requirements. The emphasis is on making the school experience a happy one. An interesting and informative visit.

Lunch at the Swinging Pig Bistro at the Leisure Inn was enjoyed by 10 of us. The food from the senior’s menu was reasonably priced and enjoyable. I thought the bar prices were a little on the high side but then I don’t get out much. There was however a ‘Special’ on Carlton Draught at $8 a pint which is quite acceptable. Food and drinks enjoyed it was time for home.


Social Sausage Sizzle Rockingham Navy Club Sunday 27 August 2017:

Yet another fine winter day 24 degrees for this one. Ian on the BBQ producing his usual tempting offerings? All accompanied by a fine offering of dishes. Thanks to all concerned. A very good turnout from both Ganges and RRNA with around 30 attendees. It was nice to see Brian’s wife Ann joining us. Les back from his travels and Tony B-T also caught up with us. The food must have been particularly good as it went very quiet for a while until we were interrupted by President Jim calling ‘Up Spirits’ and ‘Rum Bosun’ Alex doing the honours. Knocker conducted the raffle and I think Ganges got a fair share of the prizes this time round. The bottle of ‘Pusser’s was won, again, by the new RRNA President Jon. Once as a sort of congratulations on becoming Pres win is OK but twice and not opening it – well. Engine room – enough said. It was nice to see a lot of conversation taking place amongst those present, enjoying the very pleasant afternoon. President Jim did an excellent job cleaning up and tidying away with others helping out. A very pleasant few hours.



Quiz Night.

Where           Rockingham Navy Club.

When            Saturday 14 October 2017. Doors open 1800, Quiz 1900.

Details           Tables of 6-8 persons at $10 each. Tickets available RNC Bar.


Trafalgar Dinner.

Where           Rockingham Navy Club

When            Saturday 21 October 2017. 1800 for 1830.

Dress            Lounge suit, Mess undress or Blazer.

Cost.            $45 per person.

Bookings.       RNC Bar with Name and Initials of each attendee. Cut-off date Sunday 15 October.





On a thickly wooded sponson where the last projector stands

The museum pair of signal flags hanging idly in my hands.

With my jargon half-forgotten my stock in trade bereft

I wonder what’s ahead of me, the only bunting left.


The relics of my ancient craft have vanished one by one,

The cruiser arc, the Morse flag and manoeuvring lights have gone

And I hear they would be as useless in the final global war

As the helio, foghorn, and the masthead semaphore.


The mast is sprouting gadgets like a nightmare Christmas tree,

There are whips and stubs and waveguides where my halyards used to be

And I couldn’t hoist a tack line through that lunatic array,

For at every height and angle there is a dipole in the way.


The alert and hawk-eyed signalman is rendered obsolete

By the electrically operated Optics of the Fleet,

And the leaping barracuda or the charging submarines

Can be sighted as a blob upon a fluorescent radar screen.


To delete the human error, to erase a noble breed

We rely upon a relay and we pin our faith in Creed

So we press a button, make a switch and spin a little wheel

And its 100% efficient – if we’re on an even keel.


But again I may be needed, for the time will surely come

When we have to talk in silence and the modern stuff is dumb

When the signal lamps are flashing or the flags are flying free

It was good enough for Nelson, and its good enough for me.


Thinking of ‘Joining Up’!!!???:

I have received this email, from the RN Recruitment Office, twice this year, dinky die.

Dear Ian, Life in the Royal Navy is like no other. From supporting our society to fostering ties with the global community, you have the opportunity to act as both guardian and diplomat. Not only that, you’ll travel the world, broaden your horizons and receive world-class training while you’re doing it. Scroll down to find out more about life in the Royal Navy and the roles available

THERE’S FIT, THEN THERE’S NAVY FIT – Physical fitness is a key part of life in the Royal Navy. You’ll need to pass several fitness assessments, the first of which is the Pre Joining Fitness Test (PJFT). During the PJFT you’ll need to run 2.4km on a treadmill within a target time that’s based on your chosen role.

CONSIDER THE SILENT SERVICE – When you join the Royal Navy as a Submariner, you’re part of an elite team. That’s why you receive a £5,000 bonus when you earn your Dolphins – the mark of a qualified Submariner. This is in addition to a post-training salary of £18,000 for Ratings, and £30,000 for Officers.

NAVY LIFE MEETS FAMILY LIFE – A career in the Royal Navy doesn’t have to mean long periods away from your family. Our Welfare Team is on hand to offer support and guidance if you are deployed, and as your career progresses there are even more options to balance work and home life.

“Since I joined the Navy, I’ve learned more than I ever imagined” – Pippa, Engineering Branch. (I take it Pippa is a lady stoker, interesting to hear just what she learnt? – Ian)

DID YOU KNOW? Our new Aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is longer than the Houses of Parliament and taller than Niagara Falls.

If you are interested the email address is and the phone number is 0345 607 5555.



Liberty Ships:

One of WWII’s maritime success stories is that of the shipbuilding programme undertaken on the American continent. Due to the heavy losses suffered by the Allied Fleets during the early months of the war, a shipbuilding programme on a tremendous scale was implemented on the American continent. From 1941, Canada commenced building the ‘Fort Ships’, of which 198 were built and given the pre-fix ‘Fort’. Whilst another 182 ships were given the pre-fix ‘Park’. These ships were all steamships of 10,000 dwt, mainly coal fired and around 425 feet long.


By 1941 US had commenced to expand its shipbuilding industry, commencing with 60 ‘Ocean’ class for the UK, a forerunner of the ‘Liberty Ship’. The ‘Liberty’ was the most famous wartime built merchant ship; a staggering 2,710 were completed between 1941 1nd 1945. All of the above ship types were based on a design by UK builder, JL Thompson, but welded construction revolutionized the speed of construction. The first ships required about 230 days to build, the first ship SS Patrick Henry took 244 days, but the average eventually dropped to 42 days.

The record was set by SS Robert E Peary  (pictured) which was launched 4 days and 15½ hours after the keel was laid, although this publicity stunt was not repeated: in fact much fitting-out and other work remained to be done after the Peary was launched.



A successor to Liberty ships were the Victory ships, a faster improved cargo ship, of which 534 were built by War’s end. Apart from saving the day during the darkest days of WWII, most survived the War to become the post-war transport workhorses, the last working until 1980.



A lone sniper was just about to assassinate President Trump.

At the last moment, one of the President’s bodyguards spotted the sniper.

He immediately shouted “Mickey Mouse!    Mickey Mouse!”

A shot rang out and Trump fell dead.

As his aides gathered round the body, one of them asked the bodyguard why he had shouted “Mickey Mouse”?

‘I’m sorry” he said “I panicked, I meant to shout “Donald, duck!”

One for the rum rats:

From Tony Richards, who is on holiday in the UK, he found this little treasure while rummaging in a family cupboard. Tony sends his regards to all the crew.



HMS Gloucester: (also from Tony Richards)

On the seabed, three dozen miles northwest of the Crete coast, lies the wreck of cruiser HMS Gloucester, sunk 76 years ago by German dive-bombers in the ferocious battle for Crete. Three quarters of a century later, the crew of mine hunter HMS Ledbury decided to honour the 722 men killed when the cruiser – known as the Fighting G for her spirited conduct in battle – with a service of commemoration over the wreck. Tony Richards father was one of the crew who went down with the Gloucester.

Two RN divers, Lieutenant Tom Foley and Able Seaman Harry Poole from the Mine hunter HMS Ledbury, unfurl a White Ensign before dropping the flag on to one of the Navy’s most hallowed sites one mile below on to HMS Gloucester wreck site.


The ship stopped in the water and shut down her engines to pause and remember the lost sailors as Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander James Harkin led a memorial service and read a moving account of the cruiser’s last fight, before the two divers entered the warm waters of the Ionian Sea with a specially-weighted White Ensign.

“It is not often that we get the opportunity to pay our respects to those who died many miles away from home,” said Lieutenant Foley, Ledbury’s Diving Officer. “We are a junior team and a lot of the crew had never been part of such an event. It was humbling to think of their sacrifice 76 years ago.”





“This was our opportunity to remember the courage, bravery and sacrifice of our forebears,” said Lieutenant Commander Harkin. “We know that it is the ethos, professionalism, courage and war-fighting spirit of our people, cross the centuries, that binds us together with our history. We today should be immensely proud to belong to this naval heritage.” His crew are nearing the half-way point on their epic 6,000-mile voyage from Portsmouth to Bahrain as they replace their sister mine hunter HMS Chiddingfold after more than three years on patrol in the Gulf as part of the UK’s permanent naval presence in the region.



There was, and probably still is, a superstition among sailors that to sail on Friday brings bad luck. The following is from “Incidents of a Whaling Voyage” by Francis Olmsted, published in 1841.

‘I have been told, that several years ago a ship was built and sent to sea to test this superstition, and convince the craft of its folly. The keel of the ship was laid on Friday; on Friday her masts were set; she was completed on Friday, and launched on this day. Her name was Friday, and she was sent to sea on Friday; but unfortunately for the success of the experiment, was never heard of again.’







Another one for the ‘Bunting Tossers’

When I decided to rename the Newsletter ‘The Hoist’ after Paul had (I thought) explained to me the significance of the pennant he used with his report (pennant shown above) I listened with a stoker’s ears. Paul has explained it in bunting speak for our edification. (Note: I will still call the newsletter the ‘Hoist’). The attachment Paul refers to forms part of the newsletter header.


From Paul:

“New subject – Flags. As you probably already know all the flags have a meaning, both Naval and International. When a flag is flown by the navy it’s meaning is contained in the Allied Naval Signal Book (ANSB) when flown internationally in the International Code of Signals (INTCO).When a naval ship wishes to indicate that the flag(s) flying have the international meaning they will be preceded by the Code pennant. . When a naval ship wishes to indicate that the flag(s) flying are to be interpreted literally they are preceded by the Desig pennant  .

e.g. One ship I was on every time the captain left the ship and the first lt. took over command he ordered that        be hoisted. The Foxtrot Oscar to be taken literally. My use of the Desig pennant in my hoist (report) was to signify that the hoist consisted of plain language. The additional flag I included was the Division flag used to address a Division – hence Division plain language to follow.


Attached ‘HMS GANGES’ and ‘Division WA Desig’ spelt out in flags.  I have used Division WA as opposed to WA Division as that is the how divisions are addressed by flags. A purist may argue that it should be Division Desig WA tack Desig etc etc. I will let them.


Here endeth the lesson. Probably too many flags taking up valuable space, I can’t help myself when I get going, old buntings never die, they just get tatty.”




New Off-Shore Patrol Vessel

The first of the Royal Navy’s next-generation patrol ships, HMS Forth, made her debut as sea on 30 August as she sailed down the Clyde for the first time. HMS Forth, leads a class of five state-of-the-art warships which will act as the RN’s eyes and ears around the UK, help to safeguard fishing stocks, reassure and protect Falkland Islanders and deploy to the Mediterranean and Caribbean if necessary.

Designed for a crew of just under 60 (but needing only 38 crew at any one time to go to sea), the ship departed Scotstoun, where she’s spent several months being fitted out, with a maximum number of 110 souls aboard. Although she’s classed as a Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel, Forth, and her sister ships – Trent, Medway, Tamar and Spey are a big leap forward from Tyne, Severn, Mersey and Clyde, vessels which were designed and built 15 years ago.

HMS Forth






A couple for the ex-Submariners among us:


First Torpedo Launch:

The first time a submarine launched a torpedo while submerged was in 1890 by an electric powered submarine of the Spanish Navy.


An oldy but a goodie!

Taiwan currently has four submarines in its navy. Two of these, Hai Shih (ex USS Cutlass) and Hai Pao (ex USS Tusk), were built in the USA prior to the end of WWII.  It was announced that one of them, the Hai Shih, or Sea Lion, would be refurbished at a cost of US$19 million so that it will last until 2026. It would then become the submarine with the longest active career, 81 years. Life expectancy varies between ships, but U.S. submarines generally stay in service for around 20 or 30 years or so.


The Hai Shih


Point to ponder!

The best cure for sea sickness, is to sit under a tree. (Spike Milligan)


That’s all folks;


Cheers aye – Ian 









HMS GANGES WA Division Newsletter Aug 2017


Held 27/07/17 at Fremantle Navy Club


PRESENT: James & Cathy Sharkey, Ian Critchley, Patrick Moore, Pete Greenfield, Paul Chapman, Brenda Chitty, Alex McKinnon, Brian Thompson, Buster & Charlotte Keating, Karl Campbell.


APOLOGY: Jan Faulks, Tony & Hilary Richards, Peter Godfrey, Gary Foley, Dave Parry, Rattler Morgan, Gail Critchley, Morag Campbell, Mary Anthony,



President James welcomed attenders and called upon Rum Bosun Alex to “Up Spirits”. He then called on Paul Chapman for his lamp swinger.



Paul Chapman chose to forego his tale given the low attendance. He did however share some of the content of his proposed topic for the next meeting and allow members to live in anticipation, it will be “Life in the RN – Tots, Drugs and Alcohol”


  1. ACCEPTANCE OF MINUTES (25/05/17):

Moved: Alex McKinnon: Seconded: Buster Keating: “That the minutes of the general meeting held 25/05/17 be accepted as a true and correct record.” Carried.


3.1 Business arising:

  • Black Tot Day lunch (Paul Chapman-Social Report)
  • RNC quiz night (Reported in Hoist)
  • Visit to Malibu school (Paul Chapman-Social Report)
  • Future rum acquisition (Ian Critchley-Secretary Report)



President James reported the present sick list situation with members Peter Godfrey and Mary Anthony, both are on the mend.

James also spoke on the circulated proposal for ‘Management of the Division’ document and asked members to consider the implications of a failure to nominate for management positions. Comments and/or suggestions to the Secretary prior to the September committee meeting.



5.1 Correspondence


  • Various information emails
  • South African Division Newsletter “Masthead”
  • Queensland Division Newsletter.
  • South Australian Division Newsletter.
  • Devonport Division minutes
  • Solent Division minutes
  • RSLWA Sub-Branch Signal newsletter


  • WA Division March Minutes and May Newsletter.
  • Inward newsletters & minutes to Division members email list.
  • Various information and notification items to members.
  • Email to Jimmy Houston re rum supplies and BT Lunch.


5.2 Report

·         Jimmy Houston will be checking on future Rum supplies

  • Ian tabled a number of older Ganges Gazettes passed on by Ken Read, taken by Patrick Moore. He also tabled details of Navy Books (UK) publications passed on by Buster Keating.


Treasurer Brenda tabled the Bi-Monthly (25th May to 23rd July) Financial Report.

Balances are: Bank $1812.95, Petty Cash $348.12 and Outstanding $85.


Moved: Buster Keating Seconded: Cathy Sharkey: “That the Treasurers Bi-Monthly Report be accepted as a true and correct record.” Carried.


6.1 Report

  • With the management outcome at the AGM uncertain, it was suggested, and agreed, that Division subscription invoices will be delayed until after the AGM.


  • No further contact has been forthcoming from Richard Sims.


  • All is in hand for the Black Tot Day lunch at FNC on Wednesday 02/07/17
  • Paul asked for some indication of who will be attending the Malibu School on Wednesday 16th July, a number of members indicated they would be attending.


  • A request has been received from Rockingham RNA to hold the 2018 Sausage Sizzles on the third Sunday of the even month. This was agreed to in the affirmative by a show of hands.



Raffle master Cathy ran another successful raffle raising $58. Winners were; James Sharkey, Karl Campbell, Peter Greenfield, Peter Greenfield (Redraw) and Charlotte Keating.

Cathy thanked those who had donated prizes but pointed out that the number of prizes available is dwindling and asked members to consider donating further prizes.


  • Visit: Malibu School Wednesday 16th August – 1000 at School
  • Social Sausage Sizzle: Sunday 27th August – 1200 at RNC
  • Committee: Thursday 21st September – 1200 at FNC
  • Division: Thursday 28th September – 1200 at FNC







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