Monthly Archives November 2017

HMS GANGES Victorian Division – Special Masthead

Victoria Australia

Special Masthead


MASTHEAD Special Get Together Edition

As there was no meeting in October and no Masthead this Special Masthead is for a report on the get together. As Chairman David Lines has prepared an article for the Spring Gazette it will be brief so as not to encroach on the writings of Our Great Helmsman.

The get together was held at the Club Mulwala and accommodation at the Club Mulwala Resort. We were informed by the Mulwala RSL Chairman that although the Mulwala RSL owns the land the establishment is on and has an RSL branch the Club and Resort are owned by Clubs NSW. Which considering the tanks and artillery pieces and the Dakota at the club  entrance was a surprise.

Due to illness and various other reasons there were 21 people attended from Queensland, NZ and Victoria. Bette and Mike Barron from Auckland attended and the Victorian Division organised their transport to Mulwala. It was good to see Bette and Mike after a considerable time. During the deliberations for a location suitable for a get together is it’s accessibility to

Melbourne, two hours driving was a criteria. Ian and Joy Thomson (no P Jock) travel from Rockhampton a round trip of approximately 4, 900 kilometres. Charlie and Lorna Greensmith travelled from Brisbane with medical equipment required by Charlie equal to a medical ward. However all made the effort to get together a tribute to the Ganges spirit and Rudyard Kiplings poem “If” we all remember on the gymnasium bulkhead.

A number arrived on the Sunday and were welcomed with friendly efficiency. There was a get together and a run down by Ian and Joy Tompson who had arrived on the Saturday.

Breakfast was part of the tariff and was a very adequate menu. I understood that a continental breakfast “was a roll in bed with honey” the continental breakfast and cooked breakfast was extensive. Monday evening was a tot and get together in the BBQ area and discussion as to the program for the week. The Victorian Treasurer was on hand with his handbag collecting for the bus trip on the Wednesday.

Tuesday was a day for members to explore the area. Some were detailed off to purchase the food for the BBQ on the Wednesday night others went afield, to such places as the Olive Grove farmshop with provender associated with an Olive Grove available. Others went to Byramine Homestead and Brewery. The homestead afternoon tea is a delight with the largest and tastiest scones available. After the Tot time and drinks it was to the club for a drink and meal. The meals were varied and tasty. A point of interest was that a schooner was cheaper than a middie not many places where it is cheaper to consume large quantities of ale. Life is tough.

Wednesday was a bus trip to Rutherglen starting off with a stop for morning tea at the Corowa Chocolate and Whisky factory the “Head Distiller” was a 23 year old dreadlocked fellow but very knowledgeable as to his craft. One item of interest was that the spirit cannot be called whisky until it has aged at least 2 years in wooden barrels until then it is Bourbon. The first release of whisky is for November/December. This raised an interesting point as people had seen a TV show touting Corowa Whisky.

The Chocolate factory next door was very popular. At least they had samples.

Then it was on to Bullers and then Cambell’s wineries.With a generous samples of their wares. It was the town of Rutherglen next with a wander round the shops and lunch at a well known pie shop. On the way back to the accommodation a stop at a bush pub the Bundalong Tavern was made. With a bus load of thirsty people the bar maid made a frantic call for help to serve. A ute screeched up and the publican fronted up interrupted in his building work. It was then back to the accommodation after a good day things started to go a little awry. It was found that the BBQ’s had been booked by two golf teams knocking the planned BBQ and Trivia night into a cocked hat. The BBQ’s were then booked for lunch and tea on Thursday. After a Tot and discussion it was back the club for the evening meal some went for Chinese others the Diggers restaurant. The fine weather was broken by a deluge of some 46mm of rain overnight with more forecast for the evening. A decision was made for a BBQ lunch which was held and enjoyed. Linda Anderson and Janet lines were presented with birthday cards and some Corowa chocolates by Chairman David. A raffle was held and the first prize went to Bette Barron from NZ and second prize to Albie Cunliffe’s ex neighbour at South Oakleigh now living in Mulwala. All attendees were thanked by Chairman David for making the considerable effort to attend the get together. He assured everyone that consideration for next year would be on the agenda for the November meeting of the Victorian division.

Evening meal some attended the Chinese and seafood buffet and others the Diggers restaurant. Ken and Linda Anderson, Ian and Joy Tompson headed off early the rest said adieus at breakfast. Then it was hands to stations for leaving harbour.

There were a couple of things that did not go according to plan but were dealt with without any dramas. The reception and house staff were helpful and friendly, the housekeepers were efficient and helpful. In all a good place for a group of people to relax and enjoy themselves in a friendly environment. Our Thanks to all who attended and hope to see you all in the future.



Regards Harry Harrison

Vicdiv Secretary         .



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..