HMS GANGES ASSOCIATION
Newsletter No 61
August / September 2018
Welcome aboard everyone,
The first newsletter in over a year, my apologies to all, no excuse just slack….
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.
In an effort to find material for this newsletter I have been scouring the pages of modern Naval magazines and hopefully you will find these interesting …
HMS Victory ‘collapsing under own weight’
Britain’s most celebrated warship needs 136 metal props fitted to stop it slowly collapsing under its own weight like a “squashed football”, a hi-tech structural survey has found.
HMS Victory’s deck is sinking towards the keel by a fifth of an inch (0.5cm) each year, while the warship’s sides are bulging out. Two years of precise measurements have found Nelson’s flagship at Trafalgar is also falling backwards, away from the bowsprit and water is getting into the hull.
Metal struts will now be put in to hold the 251-year-old ship up at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard as part of a multimillion pound project to stabilise the deteriorating structure. Once the sagging has been halted, work will start on a £35m conservation project set to last 12 years.
Andrew Baines, head of historic ships at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, said: “For the past 40-odd years, the ship has been slowly moving.
“The upper deck has been getting close to the keel at a rate that currently stands at around half a centimetre a year and as the upper deck moves down, the ship’s sides bulge out like squashing down on a football. “The whole ship herself is falling very, very slowly backwards away from the bowsprit, the front end of the ship.
“Half a centimetre doesn’t sound a lot, but when it’s been going on for 40 years and it’s accelerating each year it’s concerning. “Eventually it will get to a point when that’s unsustainable. No one is sure if that’s next Tuesday or in 100 years.”
Mr Baines said: “We now have a structural model of Victory and from the model we have been able to understand what is causing the ship to move – to collapse, if you like.
“From that finding we know how to stop the problem and arrest the movement and that is where the 136 new struts come in.
“Once we have got her stabilised on this new support system, the conservation programme is going to take us about 12 years and cost £35m. “The most important thing for us to do is work on the ship’s structure to stop water getting in, stop the rot and stop us losing any more really valuable historical material in the ship.”
Wartime submariner George honoured for missions off occupied France
Veteran submariner George Crawley became the latest member of our greatest generation to be honoured by the French for his deeds 75 years ago.
Crew from today’s HMS Victorious and Vengeance joined the 93-year-old and his family at HMS Calliope in Gateshead, where the wartime ‘deep’ was presented with the Légion d’Honneur by Brigadier General Herbé Bizeul on behalf of France’s President Macron. George, who lives in nearby Whitley Bay, joined the RN in 1941 at the age of 17 and joined battleship HMS Rodney after completing his training as a signaller at HMS Collingwood. He subsequently volunteered for the Submarine Service and underwent a two-day crash-course – very different from the intensive 25-week training taken by 21st-Century submariners – before thrust into action with HMS Talbot, based in Malta, in October 1943.
He subsequently switched to the Free French Submarine Curie. The boat – complete with canine mascot Radium on board – patrolled off Nazi-occupied French ports in 1943 and 1944. These were, understandably, highly-dangerous missions; Curie was depth charged and, on the surface, engaged enemy vessels with her gun, which George helped man.
Later in the war, he returned to British boats, serving in HM Submarines Universal, Medway and Upstart. He was also posted to HMS Elfin at Blyth where, over Christmas 1944, he got to know Freda while delivering signals to her office. In August 1945, the couple tied the knot.
He received the French decoration for his service aboard the Curie – and like most men of his generation is modest about his wartime service. “This honour is not just for me, but for all of Her Majesty’s Submariners,” he told everyone present, who loudly applauded the veteran off the Calliope parade ground as he left for a private celebration with family, friends and fellow submariners.
“We are in awe of George’s achievements as a submariner, as were all who attended. It was also a great opportunity to meet the people of Tyneside and raise the profile of the Submarine Service,” said Lieutenant Commander Simon Barr of HMS Vengeance, who formed part of the ceremonial guard for the medal presentation.
And.. to all our stokers (notice I didn’t say ‘ex stokers’) as I am of the belief that once you’re a matelot, your always a matelot…
Happy Birthday !!!!
Yes July 2018 is the anniversary of RN Marine Engineering
HMS Collingwood celebrates Engineering birthday
Personnel from across HMS Collingwood came together recently to celebrate the ‘birth’ of the Engineering Branch of the Royal Navy.
Although steam propulsion was introduced to the Royal Navy in 1812, the early ships were manned by civilian engineers employed on an ad hoc basis.
By 1837 with 27 steam vessels in the Fleet it was clear that more formal management arrangements for engineers were needed and so early that year the post of Comptroller of the Steam Machinery and Packet Department was created.
Then on 19 July 1837 an Order in Council was issued placing engineers onto a permanent footing, “with such rank and pay as appears to be fitting for persons charged with the performance of such important and responsible duties.”
It was felt appropriate, especially in the Year of Engineering, that the Engineering section within HMS Collingwood, join with other bases to celebrate the 181st Birthday of the Engineering Branch on 19 July 2018.
The Year of Engineering is an initiative of the Cabinet Office to counteract the potential future shortfall of engineers and specialists in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects and these birthday celebrations seek to raise the profile of engineers and engineering careers within the Royal Navy.
“I’m really enjoying my course and I’m proud to have been chosen to cut the cake. I’m delighted to represent the Royal Navy today and I’m looking forward to a rewarding engineering career”
AB Elliott Baird
Lieutenant Commander Tim Laurenson organised the event and said, “The UK, home of the Industrial Revolution, finds itself facing a potential shortage of engineers and the Royal Navy, as a main trainer of engineers, has aligned itself to the Year of Engineering initiative. “HMS Collingwood is the main school for Royal Navy Weapons Engineers and this is just a simple little acknowledgment. Today is a celebration of the formation of the Engineering Branch within the Royal Navy and an acknowledgement that these engineers need to be recognised. Let’s celebrate our birthday!”
The event was marked with a splendid cake iced with Engineering sections’ badges and it was cut by the youngest trainee present.
The event culminated in a rousing chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’
And to finish on more good news (don’t get used to it)
Royal Marines cuts U-turn: 1,500 troops and assault vessels SAVED
BRITAIN is to retain its ability to land troops on enemy shores by sea after plans to cripple the Royal Marines and axe two amphibious landing craft were shelved.
PUBLISHED: 00:01, Sun, Apr 8, 2018 | UPDATED: 12:16, Sun, Apr 8, 2018
The plans, leaked last year, would have seen the Commando regiment reduced by up to 1,500 troops and assault vessels Albion and Bulwark scrapped as part of £20billion cost-saving measures. According to senior sources, Ministry of Defence mandarins have now accepted a new plan, endorsed by Admiral Sir Philip Jones, which promises to deliver the same savings but result in only 450 Royal Marines being axed.
Last night a senior source said: “The Royal Navy has found a way of ensuring the Royal Marines can maintain their operability and amphibious vessels remain in service, for the time being.” The cost will be high, however, and will include the withdrawal of six warships, three of them Type 23 frigates, from frontline service.
These Duke class frigates will be put into “operational readiness” awaiting early retirement, while their critical components are stripped and fitted to the new Type 26 frigates replacing them. A leaked memo seen by the Sunday Express laid bare the extent to which the Royal Navy is having to “make do and mend” due to budgetary constraints.
In one example, it cites the Northumberland, currently in the final stages of a multi-million pound service. Because the upgrading of its weapons systems has taken priority, there has been no money to fix defects in its four diesel engines.
“As is typical of our refits, headline upgrades to weapons systems use the bulk of the available budget,” said the memo. The budgets are so constrained a lot of engineering defects are largely ignored purely due to a lack of funding.
That’s it for this newsletter my fine collection of matelots wherever you are in Queensland or the rest of the world, stay safe and somewhat soberish….
To contact Scotty
1 Harlequin Court
BURRUM HEADS Qld 4659
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..