H.M.S. GANGES ASSOCIATION (QUEENSLAND DIVISON). INC.
Welcome aboard everyone,
Welcome to the June newsletter, my first topic is to ask your assistance, I have been putting together a complete up-to-date members list with limited success especially regarding the members below whom I believe my contact details are out of date, emails to these folks have been sent back as undelivered, phones disconnected etc. if anyone is in touch with any of these fine people, could you please ask them to contact me, so I can send them these newsletters.
AGM As you are all (hopefully) aware, the AGM will be held on 24th June 2017, if anyone has any motions, or things they wish to put forward / suggest / discuss can I ask you to either forward it to myself or to Lorna (Sec) so we can put some kind of agenda together (closing date for items will be 20th June)
MEMBERSHIP The number of members currently is 26 (including the list above of course)
CONSTITUTION I have been asked by a member if we have a Constitution, I have investigated this thoroughly and discovered that as we are “Incorporated” (which we have to be, to raise money through annual dues, raffles etc, under Queensland State Regulation), we are covered by a generic standard Constitution that covers all small clubs and associations throughout the State.
NEWSLETTER QUIZ Each month I will try and entertain you and maybe test a memory or two, this month for the history experts..
Name the Ship and class (answer next newsletter)
VISIT TO HMS GANGES (2016) – featuring Mr Ian Critchley (President WA) Found this video on YouTube for anyone interested – https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-IPC2xtK-4. It runs for 25 minutes and I was shocked at the decay that’s has occurred. I do hope you spot some old shipmates in it.
May was a fairly quiet month so not a lot to write about, as this is YOUR newsletter, if you would like anything added then please contact Scotty (details below). In keeping with History (and particularly Royal Navy Historical facts) I would like to present monthly a few items from history..and something from today’s Royal Navy.
1509 – 1660 Historic Periods
Aware of the growing importance of naval power, Henry VIII built up his own standing fleet, known as the Navy Royal. This enlarged fleet required a more developed administration which eventually saw the establishment of the ‘Navy Board’. When Civil War broke out, the Commonwealth regime created the most powerful and effectively run fleet Britain had ever seen. When King Charles II came to the throne in 1660 he inherited a huge fleet of 154 ships; this was the beginning of a permanent and professional Royal Navy as we know it today.
2017 Today’s Navy
As of January 2017, there are 77 commissioned ships in the Royal Navy. 19 of the commissioned vessels are major surface combatants (six guided missile destroyers and 13 frigates) and 11 are nuclear-powered subs (four ballistic missile submarines and seven fleet submarines). In addition the Navy possesses a landing platform helicopter, two amphibious transport docks, 15 mine countermeasures vessels, 22 patrol vessels, four survey vessels, one icebreaker and two historic warships (Victory and Bristol). The Royal Navy currently operates three bases where commissioned ships are based; HMNB Portsmouth, HMNB Devonport and HMNB Clyde. In addition, a number of commissioned vessels belonging to the University Royal Naval Units (URNU) are stationed at various locations around the United Kingdom. The total displacement of the Royal Navy is approx 337,000 tonnes (641,000 tonnes including the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Royal Marines). Besides the Royal Navy, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and the Royal Marines operate their own flotillas of naval vessels which complement the assets of the Royal Navy, however they are not included in this list or the above figures. In addition, the naval training vessels Brecon and Cromer can be found based at the Royal Navy shore establishment HMS Raleigh and the Britannia Royal Naval College, respectively. As a supporting contingent of Her Majesty’s Naval Service, the civilian Marine Services operate a large number of auxiliary ships (including coastal logistics, tugs and research vessels) in support of Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary operations. All ships and submarines currently in commission with the Royal Navy were built in the United Kingdom, with the exception of icebreaker Protector which was built in Norway.
This month’s humour..
This month’s humour comes from …well doesn’t matter where it come from, suffice to say if it doesn’t have you in stitches you should have joined the RAF..
As fans of films like ‘The Cruel Sea’ will know, ships used to be controlled by an officer standing on the bridge and shouting orders into metal tubes. This wasn’t some form of early, computer voice recognition. They were just metal tubes that ran through the ship and appeared somewhere that orders needed to be heard.
One of the tubes led to the ‘wheelhouse’ – an armoured, windowless compartment in the middle of the ship containing the ship’s steering wheel, a gyro repeater to show the ship’s course and absolutely nothing else. Except, that is, for a poor b@stard with the worst job in the world: staring at the gyro repeater for hours on end and making small adjustments on the wheel to keep the repeater showing the ordered course.
If you were unlucky, you’d get the middle watch – from midnight to 0400 – in the wheelhouse. If you were really unlucky your ship would be transiting the Pacific and the course wouldn’t change for days at a time. Well before the times of auto pilots.
On one occasion, at about 0300, the wheelhouse was occupied by the trusty leading coxswain who handled the wheel with a masterly grip, and a cook of ill repute who was at a loose end while the batch of tomorrow’s bread he was baking was in the oven.
Despite having a combined IQ that was lower than some of the marine invertibrates fouling the ship’s hull, this pair were easily bored. As they say, the Emperor makes work for idle hands and they soon discovered that the bolt securing the ship’s wheel was loose. Not only could the bolt be unscrewed, but the entire wheel could be removed – thus leaving a 2,500 ton warship doing up to 20 knots and containing 300+ mainly sleeping matelots totally out of control.
A new form of entertainment was born (no ipods, playstations or DVDs in those days). The pair of loons took turns unbolting the wheel and then bolting it back on again. The ‘winner’ of the game was the one who needed to apply the smallest course correction after reattaching the wheel.
Like all games, this one soon became boring. To spice things up a bit, they decided that they would run round the wheelhouse, carrying the wheel, before reattaching it.
Of course, this also became boring. To cut a long story a bit shorter, they ended up unbolting the wheel and running round the entire upper deck (that’s the main, outside ‘deck’ of the ship that has the big guns, superstructure and helicopters parked on it) while carrying the wheel before returning to the wheelhouse and reattaching it.
As I said, they were not burdened by the ravages of intelligence. It didn’t occur to either of them that, at all times when the ship was at sea, the bridge was occupied by an officer of the watch who was selected for having near perfect eyesight and whose powers of observation were honed by years of training. Naturally, he was somewhat perturbed to see some foul creature scurrying across the fo’csle (the pointy bit at the front) in the small hours of the morning carrying a large object of indeterminate origin.
Three swift steps and the OOW was on the bridge wing (an open ‘balcony’ at each side of the bridge). With the flick of a switch he activated the searchlight and illuminated the miscreant, who froze like the protagonist in a comedy jailbreak. The shouted conversation went like this:-
OOW: Who the fcuk is that on the fo’csle. LSCOX: Nobody sir. OOW: Is that you coxswain? Jesus Christ! Who’s steering the ship? LSCOX: Err … OOW: What’s that you’re carrying? LSCOX: Nothing sir. OOW: It looks like …. JESUS FCUKING CHRIST – IT’S THE SHIP’S WHEEL.
The ship’s company were promptly roused to their emergency stations (the bits of the ship where they go in an emergency such as a fire, a hull breach or a mad b@stard nicking the main steering gear).
The Captain, on hearing the pipe for emergency stations, promptly ran up the bridge ladder in his pyjamas, fearing that his ship had been torpedoed by a rogue Nazi submarine that didn’t know WW2 had ended or a rogue commie submarine that didn’t know WW3 had yet to begin.
The ship’s wheel was reattached, the off duty crew returned to their bunks and calm returned to all parts of the ship. Except the part occupied by the Captain, who was crazed by a furious rage.
At that time, the Naval Discipline Act still allowed the death penalty in some circumstances. The regulators (military naval police) were kept up all night investigating whether this was one of those circumstances and whether the Captain could, through some obscure legal loophole, award a death sentence at the end of a summary trial (where the Captain is the judge and jury and usually hands out a fine).
Not wanting to damage the ship’s newfangled radar and sensitive antennae, the Captain quickly ruled out hanging and made enquiries among the Fleet Legal Team about the possibility of a firing squad on the quarter deck (the flat bit at the back of the ship – usually occupied by a knackered, 25 year old helicopter on modern RN ships).
Sadly, the Captain’s hopes of conducting the first summary execution aboard ship since Pte John Dalinger RM met his maker in 1860 were to be dashed. He had to make do with Courts Martial, discharge and hefty jail sentences for the hapless coxswain and hopeless cook (whose bread ignited during the aftermath of the incident and brought the crew, once more, to emergency stations).
With that I will bid you farewell, until the next newsletter..
Regards and Stand Easy
To contact Scotty Graham Slaney 3/12-14 Musgrave St, KIRRA, Qld 4225 Phone 0434896017. e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org skype: G50raham@hotmail.com
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..
PPS For those living on the Gold Coast, if you would like a lift to the AGM please let me know..