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 









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