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Items from The News, Navy News and Warship World are reproduced by kind permission of David Brown, Sarah Fletcher and Steve Bush respectively.  Click on the thumbnails to enlarge them.


21 May 19 - Recent tweets    

 

Click on the linked dates to see all associated photos and videos.  

 

HMS Bangor (MCM1 Crew 8)

 

4 May 2019 - We’ve been proving our Gunnery skills and drills during Operational Sea Training. Here’s the 30mm in action.

 

Rob Hinton

 

14 May 2019 - Scotland, what are you doing to me?!  Are you trying to make me not want to leave?!  Standing by a resplendent HMS Bangor this morning.

 

HMS Blyth (MCM1 Crew 1)

 

20 May 2019 - HMS BLYTH’s Gunnery Officer enjoying an intense training session.

 

18 May 2019 - Our crew are able to use the fantastic facilities at the UK Naval Support Facility to keep Fighting-Fit and to justify eating all that great scran!

 

16 May 2019 - During the F1 event in Bahrain, Williams Racing came to visit us. Whilst we do not go as fast as the Formula1 cars there were plenty of similarities between the expertise, dedication and Team Work of all involved.

 

16 May 2019 - Our Gunnery Officer was having a go at some virtual F1 at the Bahrain circuit between races.

 

14 May 2019 - Two of HMS BLYTH’s Divers enjoying the racing at the Bahrain F1 weekend.

 

14 May 2019 - Our Chefs serving up another great meal for the ship’s company.  This is Halibut.

 

9 May 2019 - HMS BLYTH and some of the ship’s friends took on HMS MONTROSE at Rugby in Bahrain

 

9 May 2019 - BLYTH’s sea boat is dwarfed by the USS LEWIS B. PULLER.  One of our officers was loaned across to them for a week to work with the embarked French Navy forces, for his experience and his language skills as a liaison.

 

HMS Grimsby (MCM1 Crew 3)

 

20 May 2019 - Lt Cdr Dan Herridge and MCM1 Crew 6 have handed over HMS Grimsby to Lt Cdr Adrian Visram and MCM1 Crew 3.  Crew 3 are looking forward to making the Ship their new home as they conduct Operations and Exercise around UK waters.

 

HMS Middleton (MCM2 Crew 4)

 

18 May 19 - What fantastic photos!  Thank you Paul!

 

Paul Paterson

 

17 May 2019 - HMS Middleton (M34), passing through the West Kyle of Bute and the Kyles of Bute, as seen from Tighnabruaich and the Kyles viewpoint. Friday, 17th May 2019.  HMS Middleton is a Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessel of the British Royal Navy.

 

17 May 2019 - And that’s a wrap!  Crew 4 and the Mighty MIDD have completed training at FOST after a simulated patrol of contested waters.  Air attacks and narrow waters all combined into a challenging workout for the team. (Thank you daveswanpics!).

 

17 May 2019 - The narrowest part of the day was a careful transit through the Kyles of Bute - a tight fit!

 

17 May 2019 - A great day to finish, along with the fantastic passing out of our affiliated HMS Raleigh division the Gould 35s.

 

17 May 2019 - A huge congratulations to all of the Gould 35s on their passing out today.  Welcome to the next stage of your naval careers, and we hope to see you in the Fleet, and our Crew, in future! BZ! 

 

HMS Raleigh

 

17 May 2019 - For the final time here are our Gould 35s.  We hope you and your families enjoyed the day and best wishes for your future careers.

 

15 May 2019 - Nearly there Gould 35s!  Keep up the pressure and stay focussed - we’ll both be finishing on Friday, ready for what lies ahead.

 

HMS Raleigh

 

15 May 2019 - Last Ganges points for the Gould 35s for the assault course and they achieved the fastest time so far this term.  Two sleeps to go.

 

15 May 2019 - Week 5 and our last week of sea training!  Seamanship is a perishable skill that needs constant training - today we completed a towing serial with HMS RAIDER.

 

13 May 2019 - Training continues into the small hours.  Thanks HMS Bangor for the photo!

 

6 May 2019 - Teamwork will get you through even the toughest challenges.  None of us stand alone!  Well done Gould 35s, cracking effort!

 

HMS Raleigh

 

6 May 2019 - The Gould 35s came up against a few obstacles today, but proving nothing can stand in their way, they worked through them as a team.  Obstacle course complete.

 

4 May 2019 - This training is absolutely essential, but marks just the first step!  We have been undergoing the battle damage scenarios here at FOST, where the basics are taken on and up to a new level of integration and teamwork!

 

HMS Raleigh

 

2 May 2019 - If a fire breaks out at sea the Royal Navy are on their own, that’s why sailors are taught to deal with all sorts of emergencies. Here’s the Gould 35s learning to be ocean firefighters.

 

3 May 2019 - A beautiful evening sharing the Campbeltown Loch with CalMac Ferries.

 

HMS Ramsey (MCM1 Crew 2)

 

15 May 2019 - HMS Ramsey joined by a couple of extra sea riders while conducting MCM operations during Ex Open Spirit.  We not sure how much they can help us but they are welcome to take a break on our starboard GPMG!

 

12 May 2019 - No words needed.

 

11 May 2019 - HMS Ramsey launching Seafox while conducting live mine clearance operations during Ex Open Spirit.  SNMCMG1 MCMVs are clearing areas of the western Baltic Sea which were mined during WW1/WW2.

  

11 May 2019 - Congratulations to both of our ET(CIS) ratings who have been selected for Leading Hand.  Nicky and Cammy have worked extremely hard during their time with Crew 2 and fully deserve their promotion.  BZ both!

 

6 May 2019 - HMS Ramsey sails from Klaipeda for Exercise Open Spirit with SNMCMG1.  The task group is made up of units from NATO countries aiming to clear historical live ordnance.

 

6 May 2019 - Nearly 1500 people have visited HMS Ramsey alongside in Klaipeda this weekend.  SNMCMG1 and HMS Ramsey are promoting stability in the area and building on relations with our Lithuanian partners and allies.

 

MASTT (Maritime Autonomous System Trials Team commanded by MCDOA member Dave Stanbury)

 

21 May 2019 - This is the UK/FRA MMCM L3 ASV Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) launching the new SAAB ROV called MuMNS, on Trials in Sweden.

 

21 May 2019 - MuMNS is Saab’s next generation mine disposal vehicle.  With its on-board sonar and cameras it locates the target, when the mine is identified, the pilot attach a charge to the mine and release it from safe distance.  Read more here.

 

21 May 2019 - The MNS Live firings, witnessed by MASTT 2IC, were in support of MMCM.  Here is a link to the proposed MMCM ROV, manufactured by SAAB.

 

21 May 2019 - MMCM Acceptance Event (AE).  This week, MASTT 2IC attended the latest Mine Neutralisation System Shaped Charge (SC) and Nail Gun (NG) AE, at the Alford’s Broadmead Range Facility.  You can see the characteristics of the Nail Gun and Shaped Charge during live firings.

 

20 May 2019 - MASTT along with members of SEABYTE software engineers are engaged in M500 ROV Co-Pilot Autonomous Trials today in Portland Harbour.  The aim of the Trial is to conduct Autonomous Underwater Surveys on the hull of (ex) Sir Tristram.

 

19 May 2019 - MCM2 Officers Pull for Oarsome Chance.  OIC MASTT and MCM2 SEO are 2 of the 5 man team that make up Team Seahorse.  Rowing across the finish line of the Portsmouth Pull in 3rd place, they completed the 10km course around Portsmouth Harbour in 1hr 27minutes.

 

16 May 2019 - It would be remiss of MASTT to say that Trials run without faults, defects or lessons learnt.  After all, that’s what Trials are all about and that’s how we develop SOPs and EOPs.  An Engine Bay open, this evening, can only mean trouble for Trials, after another pre-sunrise start.

 

16 May 2019 - Glorious mornings this week as the Sweep Demonstrator System is deployed for Optimisation Trials.

 


20 May 19 - MCM2 Officers Pull for Oarsome Chance

 

From MCDOA member Dave Stanbury:

 

"Rob,

 

Lt Cdr Dave Stanbury (OIC MASTT) and Lt Paul Proctor (MCM2 SEO) are two of the 5-man crew that make up Team Seahorse.   Lt Proctor is a veteran of Team Seahorse, competing in last year’s Oarsome Chance, Portsmouth Pull competition. 

 

Team Seahorse: Dave Stanbury second right

 

Lt Cdr Stanbury joined family and friends to complete the 2019 Team line up to raise money for this great cause.  The May 2019 Portsmouth Pull Competition was the first opportunity to conduct a training row for Team Seahorse, as they prepare for this year’s main event, in September, a 10km row, around Portsmouth Harbour in a St Ayles fixed seat coastal skiff.  Team work is a crucial factor in this sport and was evident within Team Seahorse, from the start of the warm-up.

 

     

 

Setting off well, the team made steady and determined progress, returning to cross the finish line in a respectable third place.  It completed the 10km course around Portsmouth Harbour in 1 hour 27 minutes.

 

 

Oarsome Chance is a privately funded charity, established in Oct 2015 and granted charitable status in June 2016.  Oarsome Chance aims to develop programmes to benefit educational and route to employability outcomes using vocational education and training; focusing on young people aged from 9 -21 years old who are disengaged from mainstream education and are at risk of exclusion and suffering disadvantage. 

 

You can help Oarsome Chance build its programmes by making a financial donation, either a regular monthly donation, or for a one-off amount.  Plus, if you are a UK tax payer, Oarsome Chance can claim back 25p for every £1 you donate.

 

Making a donation is easy and secure via our Virgin Money Giving page.

 

Yours,  

 

Dave Stanbury"

 


19 May 19 - That's Blown It!

 

The Portsmouth News website contains this article (including video) reporting the safe detonation by members of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2) of the Second World War German ground mine trawled up by a fishing vessel off the Needles yesterday..

 

 


18 May 19 - SDU2 deals with German sea mine off Isle of Wight

 

The Portsmouth News website contains this article (including video) reporting that members of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2) have been called to deal with a Second World War 7 ft-long German sea mine netted by a fishing vessel off the Needles this morning.

 

 


16 May 19 - AORNFCD Social

 

I am grateful to former CPO(D) Brian 'Troy' Tempest for this announcement:

 

The Association of RN First Class Divers (AORNFCD) reunion on the 7 June at the Royal Maritime Club in Portsmouth is open to all ex and serving MCDOs/CDs.

 

If you wish to attend, please contact Troy via this email address so he can sort out the food for members and guests.  The social commences at approximately 1945 after the AGM in the Nelson Lounge.  Members and guests usually meet in the main bar prior to the AGM start at 1900.

 

The deadline for contacting Troy is 28 May 2019.

 

I usually attend this function and it is always a cracking opportunity to chat with old friends and colleagues in the Branch.

 

Remaining survivors of the AORNFCD Reunion in June last year

 


14 May 19 - Latest LS&GC Awards

 

Congratulations to CPO(D) Kev Amaira and CPO(D) Ken Smith on being gazetted for the award of the second clasp to their Naval Long Service & Good Conduct Medal, to CPO(D) Richard Ellis on being gazetted for the award of the first clasp to his LS&GC and to PO(MW) S. Dixon, PO(MW) J. J. McCloy, PO(MW) D. P. Pearce, PO(D) D. R. Watt and LS(D) G. D. Williamson on being gazetted for the award of the LS&GC.

 


12 May 19 - RN Minewarfare Heritage: New book now published and available to order

 

'Enemy Waters', the capstone to the trilogy already comprising 'Home Waters' and 'Nightraiders' co-authored by your humble webmaster (Rob Hoole) and Cdr David Bruhn USN, has now been published and is available to order.  Apart from the significant part played by minewarfare forces during the Second World War, it includes much about HMS Vernon, the 'P' Party port clearance divers and the ancestry of the RN Clearance Diver branch.

 

.

 

Enemy Waters: Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Norwegian Navy, U.S. Navy, and Other Allied Mine Forces Battling the Germans and Italians in World War II

Cdr David D. Bruhn USN and Lt Cdr Rob Hoole RN  

 

When Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939, the Royal Navy was deficient in minelayers needed to try to hold enemy forces at bay and out of its home waters.  Turning first to the Merchant Navy, it requisitioned a liner and two ferries for this use, and a dozen destroyers and submarines were also converted to carry mines.  Later, six fast minelaying cruisers joined the force.  

 

When Italy entered the war on the Axis side in June 1940, the situation became dire.  As U-boats continued to sink shipping in the North Sea and around the British Isles, the Italian Fleet and German and Italian Air Forces controlled the central Mediterranean.  Royal Air Force Bomber and Coastal Command planes took up mining, as did old Swordfish bi-planes of the Fleet Air Arm. Joining in the fight were units of exiled navies, including the Dutch minelayer Willem van der Zaan, Free French submarine Rubis, and the Norwegian 52nd Motor Launch Flotilla. 

 

U.S. Navy mine forces supported the invasion of French North Africa in late 1942, subsequent landings in Italy, and the invasions of Normandy and southern France.  The Canadian 31st Minesweeping Flotilla was at Normandy, and joined in later operations.  Enemy Waters puts readers in the heart of the action. 

 

One hundred and forty-five photographs, maps, and diagrams; appendices; and an index to full-names, places and subjects add value to this work.

 

6x9, paperback, index, 434 pp

Heritage Books (9 April 2019)

ISBN-10: 0788458728

ISBN-13: 978-0788458729

 

MCDOA past-President Rear Admiral Paddy McAlpine CBE, the most senior ever RN Minewarfare & Clearance Diving officer, has kindly written one of the forewords to 'Enemy Waters' as he did for 'Home Waters':

 

"Enemy Waters, the third book in the excellent Mine Warfare trilogy by Commanders Bruhn and Hoole will evoke many memories for those who have served at sea and experienced the challenges posed by sea mines, whether they are modern and newly laid or still highly dangerous WWII relics.

 

Having joined the Royal Navy to dive in an attempt to emulate my childhood hero Jacques Cousteau (that amazing military leader, scientist, film maker and inventor of the aqua lung), I eventually found myself as a newly qualified Mine Clearance Diving Officer (MCDO) and Operations Officer on board HMS Chiddingfold, a Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessel.  We were preparing to deploy to the Persian Gulf in a small task group that included HMS Berkeley, commanded by co-author of this excellent book, Rob Hoole.  A hugely experienced and capable MCDO during his active service, Rob has gone on to thrive as a successful author as well, a widely acknowledged and a highly respected naval historian, specialising in mine warfare and diving.

 

Working up in the middle of the English Channel before we deployed to relieve the other RN Minehunters that were keeping the Strait of Hormuz open at a time of increasing tension, we started the day off as we usually did with System Operator Checks or “SOCs.”  A chance to turn all the gear on and test it with the maintainers ready to finely tune it up was always welcome.  We slowed down to mine hunting speed, turned on the 193M Sonar and, purely by chance, discovered a very solid sonar contact on which to run out the submersible.  As soon as the Chief Petty Officer Mine Warfare saw the sonar contact, his mine hunting antenna was immediately raised. “That’s a mine!” We launched the submersible, got it into position and with about ten metres to run, turned on the searchlight and video recorder. Into view came a fully intact, German WWII mine.  After the usual reactions and preps, the divers went down to neutralise the threat.

 

As interesting a start to the morning as this was, it was not the first and certainly was not to be the last intact WWII sea mine found in the English Channel during that year and in every year since.  They continue to turn up today during similar chance encounters, or in trawlers’ nets, or are uncovered on the beaches at extremely low tides; and mine warfare and diving specialists from the navies on both sides of the Channel continue to regularly deal with old WWII ordnance.

 

Mines, old or new, remain a potent weapon in wartime and a threat to all shipping once the shooting ashore has ended.  During WWII the Channel was strewn with them and for very good reason.  This relatively cheap-to-manufacture weapon always achieves a high return on investment if offered a target.  Countering the mine threat must be part of every amphibious plan to open the approaches to chosen landing areas for the amphibious forces and provide access to the ports and harbours for supporting shipping and follow-on forces once the battle has moved inland.  This book not only reinforces this point but also reminds those designing the navies and amphibious forces of the future that ignoring the lessons of the past would be folly.

 

Paddy McAlpine CBE

Rear Admiral Royal Navy (Retired)"

 

 

Home Waters: Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, and U.S. Navy Mine Forces Battling U-Boats in World War I

Cdr David D. Bruhn USN and Lt Cdr Rob Hoole RN  

 

In WWI under a crippling naval blockade of its North Sea ports which ultimately resulted in the starvation of thousands of its citizens and as land warfare in Europe drags on, Germany endeavours to counter-blockade Britain via U-boat attacks on shipping and by mining waters round the British Isles.

 

Hundreds of fishing vessels from every port and harbour in Britain are pressed into minesweeping duties and minelayers sow fields to restrict and destroy German vessels.  Their efforts allow the powerful Royal Navy to hold the German Navy in port — except for occasional skirmishes, including the Battle of Jutland.  American destroyers hunt U-boats in British waters, while minelayers create a barrier between the Orkney Islands and Norway, to try to deny the enemy entry into the Atlantic.

 

Desperate, Germany mounts a U-boat offensive off North America in the summer 1918, to induce the U.S. to bring her destroyers home.  Although nearly one hundred vessels are sunk, this action fails. Germany surrenders in late autumn 1918 and allied vessels are left with the deadly task of removing thousands of mines laid in the war.

 

One hundred and fifty photographs, maps, and diagrams; appendices; and an index to full-names, places and subjects add value to this work.  

 

6x9, paperback, index, 428 pp.

Heritage Books (1 April 2018)

ISBN-10: 0788457985

ISBN-13: 978-0788457982

 

 

Nightraiders: U.S. Navy, Royal Navy, Royal Australian Navy, and Royal Netherlands Navy Mine Forces Battling the Japanese in the Pacific in World War II

Cdr David D. Bruhn USN and Lt Cdr Rob Hoole RN  

 

As war with Japan was imminent, the British laid minefields off Hong Kong and Singapore; the Dutch in the Netherlands East Indies; and the Australians off New Zealand and Australia, in an attempt to prevent enemy invasion.  Ships hastily converted to this task were referred to as “night raiders.”  Duty aboard a “floating ammunition dump” was hazardous enough; missions carried out under the cloak of darkness increased the odds of survival in enemy waters.

 

As MacArthur, Halsey, and Spruance’s forces advanced toward Japan, minesweepers worked with “night raiders”—clearing waters off landing beaches, while minelayers strove to deny the enemy freedom of the sea.  Australian seaplanes (“Black Cats”) flew long, perilous night-missions to mine Japanese harbors, and British submarines and planes joined in the attack on shipping.

 

Late in the war, USAAF bombers ringed the Japanese home islands with thousands of mines.  When hostilities ended, war-weary “sweep sailors” remained in Asian waters—ridding the sea of “shipkillers.”  The little-known efforts of these valiant men are illuminated in this rare look into history. 

 

One hundred and forty-four photographs, maps, and diagrams; appendices; and an index to full-names, places and subjects add value to this work.  

 

6x9, paperback, index, 416 pp.

Heritage Books (9 November 2018)

ISBN-10: 0788458434

ISBN-13: 978-0788458439  

 

Signed copies of these books can be ordered via the Project Vernon website's shop for £30 each (including UK p&p and a £10 donation towards the Vernon Minewarfare & Diving Monument:

 

www.vernon-monument.org.uk/shop

 

The entire trilogy covering Royal Navy and allied nations' minewarfare operations during the First and Second World Wars totals almost 1,300 pages of detailed text, images, maps and diagrams.  It can be ordered from the same source at the discounted price of £75 (including UK p&p and a £20 donation towards the Vernon Minewarfare & Diving Monument.

 

 


11 May 19 - EOD incidents for SDU2 in Littlehampton and on IOW

 

The Littlehampton Gazette website contains this article reporting a call out for members of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2) to deal with a suspected grenade, later deemed safe, discovered at Littlehampton in West Sussex.

 

The Island Echo website contains this article reporting today's detonation by members of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2) of an item of ordnance found at Totland Pier on the Isle of Wight last night.

 


10 May 19 - Launch of 'Crabbgate'

 

 

Today I was privileged to attend the book launch of 'Crabbgate' by Dr John Bevan on board the historic 'HMS Warrior 1860' in Portsmouth.  This was a particularly fitting venue as the ship was one of the hulks forming HMS Vernon afloat from 1904 until its move ashore to the Gunwharf in 1923.  She is currently berthed only a few hundred yards from where Cdr Lionel Crabb OBE GM RNVR (who was known as 'Crabbie' to his friends and colleagues - the nickname 'Buster' was foisted on him by the media) mysteriously disappeared while diving covertly under the Soviet cruiser 'Ordzhonikidze' when it brought Nikita Khrushchev and Nikolai Bulganin on a diplomatic mission to Britain in 1956.

 

 

John Bevan is not only the founder of the Historical Diving Society (HDS) and its excellent museum at Stokes Bay but is also a trustee of Project Vernon, the campaign to erect a minewarfare & diving monument on the former site of HMS Vernon in Gunwharf Quays.  In 1970, he and fellow Royal Naval Scientific Service member Peter Sharphouse established a new world diving record at the Royal Naval Physiological Laboratory's Deep Trials Unit (DTU) in Alverstoke by spending 10 hours at a simulated depth of 1,500 feet of seawater (457 metres of seawater).  This dive was 300 feet beyond the predicted maximum of around 1,200 fsw (366 msw) and was described by American colleagues as “a hyperbaric moon landing”. 

 

 

Ann Bevan spoke on behalf of John, who is weakened by his current medical treatment.

 

 

     

 

However, the main talk was given by former Daily Mail journalist Peter Marshall who broke the story of the event and the subsequent bungled cover-up in 1956.  He bought his first house from the proceeds.

 

 

 

It was good to see my old friend and fellow MCDOA member Julian Malec and Lionel 'Buster' Crabb's god-daughter Claire Harris (daughter of the late CDO Sydney 'Jackie' Warner MBE DSC) as well as such HDS luminaries as ex-CD Mike O'Meara, Kevin Casey, Mike Fardell, Nigel Phillips and Henry Yelf.

 

 

 

 

Thanks as well, Ann, for the delicious refreshments we enjoyed on the green afterwards.

 

'Crabbgate' is a greatly expanded version of 'Commander Crabb - What Really Happened', also by John Bevan (see entry for 11 Sep 14 in News Archive 47).  Copies of 'Crabbgate' are available via John's Submex website at: 

 

http://www.submex.co.uk/pages/commander_crabb_new.html

 

Postscript: The Portsmouth News website contains this article reporting the launch of the book.

 


8 May 19 -  NDG members conduct ice-diving in Canada

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article reporting that Royal Navy divers from Faslane-based Northern Diving Group (NDG) have joined their Canadian and American counterparts in frozen British Columbia to practise the dangerous art of diving under ice. 

 

 

 

The article features WO1(D) Si Crew.

 

 


7 May 19 - NDG called out in Scotland

 

The Oban Times website contains this article reporting Sunday's call-out for members of Faslane-based Northern Diving Group (NDG) to Caol near Fort William after a local angler landed a suspected unexploded wartime device while fishing in Loch Arkaig, near Spean Bridge.   The item was removed to a safe location destroyed yesterday morning.

 


6 May 19 - First International CDO Course

 

Following my publication of articles about Overseas LMCDO courses (see entry for 19 Mar 19) and listing of students, I received this email from MCDOA member Mike Gillam who qualified as a CDO in September 1955:

 

"Many thanks Rob,

 

A list that brings back many memories.  I note that it includes a few from other navies.  Should it not also include those on the course that I was detailed off to run September to December 1955 at HMS Defiance, the old Wilcove Camp on the Cornish bank of the Tamar?

 

 

I may have their names somewhere among my files but, from memory, those standing are (from left to right): a Portuguese Navy diver whose name I have totally forgotten; two Royal Netherlands Navy divers surnamed Barrelds and Schaap; me; Course Instructor CPO Bungy Edwards; and finally Lieutenant Valkert Vilkins Royal Netherlands Navy.  Those seated are (from left to right): Lieutenant Willi (can’t recall his surname) Royal Norwegian Navy; Lieutenant Juan de Carvalhosa Portuguese Navy; CPO Bas de Konig Royal Netherlands Navy; and Mr Shah Pakistan Navy Bosun.

 

As I remember, the course members insisted on being photographed fully fitted and finned!

 

Yours aye,

 

Mike"

 

Thank you, Mike.  This is indeed a historic photograph of the first International CD course trained by the Royal Navy.

 


5 May 19 - Death and funeral of Ailsa Martin

 

Ailsa Martin on Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth

 

Many MCDOs of a certain vintage will have had the pleasure and privilege of knowing Bunny's Hall landlady Ailsa Martin (aka 'Mrs M') in Falmouth and her four wonderful daughters: Sarah, Tina, Vicki and Lucy, all of whose weddings I have attended.  She lived just along the road from Alison at Penpol.  MCDOA member Hamish Loudon MBE, my CO when I was navigating HMS Laleston (HMS Vernon's diving training tender), first introduced us in 1973 and Mrs Webmaster and I have enjoyed many visits since.

 

Ailsa died at home on Monday 29 April at the age of 92 and a thanksgiving service will be held at St Mylor Church, where Vicki's husband Jeff is the vicar, at 1500 on Friday 17 May.

 

I am sure all members will join me in extending our deepest condolences to Ailsa's many friends and relatives.

 


From MCDOA member David Bartlett MBE:

 

"Dear Rob,

 

We were very sorry to hear the sad news of Ailsa.

 

Ailsa was such a lovely person who was a very close friend of the Lalestons and visiting MCDOs.  We will always remember our visits to Bunny's Hall and the excellent hospitality we always received.  The girls will be in thoughts on the 17th.

 

Regards,

 

David and Dorothy"

 


2 May 19

 

SDU1 deals with pyro in Somerset

 

The West Somerset Free Press website contains this article reporting the collection of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1) of a live military parachute illuminating flare washed up on the beach at Minehead in Somerset.

 


SDU2 deals with ordnance on IOW

 

The UKNIP 247 website contains this article reporting a call-out for members of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2) to Arctic Road in Cowes on the Isle of Wight to deal with a dredged-up items of ordnance. 

 


1 May 19 - Recent tweets    

 

Click on the linked dates to see all associated photos and videos.  

 

Royal Navy

 

1 May 2019 - The Navy’s leaders of tomorrow were shown the possible future of minehunting when the remote-controlled Apollo sailed into Dartmouth.  Cadets from Britannia Royal Naval College were able to have look over the futuristic Anglo-French marvel.

 

 

HMS Bangor (MCM1 Crew 8)

 

5 April 2019 - We’ve been training with HMNB Portsmouth-based HMS Middleton and NATO partners practicing keeping the seas safe from the threat of mines, keeping trade routes open for business.  Here she is in some rare Scottish sunshine.

 

HMS Blyth (MCM1 Crew 1)

 

16 April 2019 - A Ships Clearance Diver holding the fire fighters tallies controlling their air and timings.

 

16 April 2019 - HMS BLYTH conducting internal training of firefighting down hatches and ladders.  The ship has its own specialist Damage Control experts and trainers who keep topped up with individual training at HMS PHOENIX and collective training with FOST.

 

14 April 2019 - The seaboat returning alongside ready to be hoisted after a good training serial.  Mine Warfare and Diving ratings train to operate the seaboat along with many other skills on board.

 

9 April 2019 - HMS BLYTH’s Crew maintaining their high level of training by conducting damage control exercises at sea.  The I/C is briefing the re-entry team about to reclaim the Galley.

 

8 April 2019 -  Working with coalition partners to recover their exercise drill mines and lost sweep gear.

 

1 April 2019 - We went to Abu Dhabi see what we did below.....

 

31 March 2019 - It's F1 race day!  Good luck Williams Racing from all of us onboard.  Thank you for coming to see us and returning the favour!  We will be cheering you on from sea all season!

 

22 March 2019 - Watch HMS Blyth's video about the crew.

 

HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 8)

 

2 April 2019 - We welcomed Hon Group Captain Carol Vorderman for a visit following the Bahrain Grand Prix.  Half the Crew were able to see the qualifying session & Lewis Hamilton.  Thank you to Tickets For Troops for making the arrangements.  Great way to celebrate RAF 101.

 

 

HMS Chiddingfold (MCM2 Crew 2)

 

13 April 2019 - We sailed this morning for Sea Safety Training with the help from our world-class training team at FOST.  We’ll see them again for an extended period of training in the Autumn.

 

12 April 2019 - Ready for Sea Date Inspection...HMNB Portsmouth.

 

HMS Hurworth (MCM2 Crew 7)

 

1 April 2019 - Sun's out, guns out.

 

HMS Middleton (MCM2 Crew 4)

 

1 May 2019 - We might be 35 years old, but through continuous upgrades and comprehensive training the Hunt MCMV is still one of the most capable minehunting warships afloat.  But the next stage in minehunting evolution is nearly with us!

 

30 April 2019 - When you need to practice finding mines, but there are none available, we lay our own!  Just a practice version though, and we’ll be picking it up later.

 

21 April 2019 - Wishing Her Majesty a very happy 93rd birthday!  As per Naval tradition, our duty watch have ‘dressed’ MIDDLETON from bow to stern on a glorious day in HMNB Clyde.

 

14 Apr 2019 - As the sun sets up here in the Gareloch, Crew 4 are still hard at work getting Mighty Midd ready for our first FOST inspection tomorrow.  Five weeks of intensive training await, and we finish about the same time as our ‘twinned’ HMS Raleigh Gould 35 recruits.

 

10 April 2019 - BZ Starboard!  But to both you and Port remember - our ceremonial training is a huge part of our image, and is key to successful Defence Engagement overseas.  Show us how it’s done!

 

10 April 2019 - It’s been a busy JOINT WARRIOR for the Maritime Reservists getting their sea time with us.  Mid Gumbley, LS(MW) King and AB(MW) Goddard have integrated brilliantly with Crew 4 and have gained considerable experience.

 

 

10 April 2019 - As we say in Crew 4, if we don’t know what’s broken we can’t fix it!  This is a really valuable way of understanding how Naval life impacts our families and friends.

 

6 April 2019 -  Our small size means that we sometimes need a specialist repair expert, so we are supported by the team from the Forward Support Unit (FSU).  Yesterday we were able to send one of our outboard engines ashore to be repaired, and it’s back already!

 

5 April 2019 - Another run-out for our Sea Fox Mine Disposal System - only a lump of concrete this time but it could easily be legacy bombs or mines from conflicts past.

 

2 April 2019 - The Mighty Middleton is back to her primary role with Crew 4 - driving lines and finding mines in a sunny but breezy Scotland.  Joint Warrior 191 is a huge and complex multinational exercise that is perfect for our training.

 

1 April 2019 - Half way through training, the beginning of a brilliant experience in the Royal Navy.  Keep at it Gould 35s!

 

29 March 2019 - Good morning the Fleet Flagship!

 

26 March 2019 - On Families Day we had the opportunity to recognise the hard work being put in by our ship’s company this year.  Congratulations to LET(CIS) Foakes for his sterling efforts in keeping our communications, IT and signals systems in good order!

 

26 March 2019 - Congratulations also to Leading Seaman (Mine Warfare) Jacobs, for his hard work during our regeneration and move from HMS CHIDDINGFOLD to HMS MIDDLETON.

 

26 March 2019 - Good morning RFA Wave Knight, a glorious start to the day!

 

25 March 2019 - Good morning HMS Forth!

 

22 March 2019 - What a great day!  Thanks to all our family and friends who enjoyed Families Day with us today, and to RNRMC, RNRM Welfare and The NFF who sailed with us to help our families prepare for deployment.

 

 

22 March 2019 - Our Sailors have the smartest uniform in the British Armed Forces - bar none!!  Wear it with pride!!

 

20 March 2019 - Delighted to host UK ACSC onboard today, a chance to show off the capabilities of the the Royal Navy’s smallest warships.  We hope you gained a useful insight into how we do business!

 

HMS Ramsey (MCM1 Crew 2)

 

1 May 2019 - HMS Ramsey sails from Gothenburg with SNMCMG1 to conduct operations in support of NATO.  Over the next 4 months she will key a part in building relations with our allies whilst providing security at sea protecting British interests overseas.

 

23 April 2019 - What a beautiful evening as HMS Ramsey passes under the Skye Bridge.  In keeping with RN tradition, if a lorry passed over the bridge while the Ship was underneath, the Navigator would owe the Wardroom a bottle of port.  However his money was safe tonight!

 

22 April 2019 - AND THEY’RE OFF!  HMS Ramsey deploys from HMNB Clyde for NATO tasking with SNMCMG1.  She will be part of the operational task group for the next 4 months providing security at sea and working closely with our NATO Allies.

 

29 March 2019 - Welcome aboard Captain MFP from HMS Ramsey.  The Navigating Officer was caught off-guard with the camera as he positioned the Ship ready to conduct the boat transfer with HMS Bangor.

 

28 March 2019 - Hands to flying stations on board HMS Ramsey today as we were joined by the team from HM Coastguard based at Prestwick.

 

27 March 2019 - HMS Ramsey and HMS Tracker have spent the day conducting navigation and seamanship training together including a towing exercise, coordinated pilotage and OOW manoeuvers in preparation for our upcoming SNMCMG1 deployment.

 

26 March 2019 - A great day of gunnery for HMS Ramsey in the Scottish Exercise Areas.  Fair winds and following seas to our friends in HMS Defender who passed us as the sun set over Scotland.

 

25 March 2019 - Royal Navy MCMVs work best in a pack.  This week HMS Ramsey has operated alongside HMS Grimsby and HMS Hurworth whilst conducting exploratory mine hunting.

 

23 March 2019 - The sun sets on another great Navy day.

 

23 March 2019 - HMS Ramsey continues MCM training near Campbeltown.  This time it was the turn of the mine clearance divers to be front and centre with diver conning runs and a simulated diving emergency.

 

 

23 March 2019 - “Final mission checks correct request permission to carry on and launch the vehicle.”  “Carry on and launch!”  HMS Ramsey conducting Seafox Mine Disposal System (MDS) training ahead of her upcoming NATO deployment.

 

HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 7)

 

14 April 2019 - The Crew of HMS SHOREHAM work into the night to ensure that the sea lanes remain open all the time.

 

3 April 2019 - We conducted an exercise to contain and extinguish one of the biggest hazards at sea - FIRE.

 

2 April 2019 - The wet weather didn’t rain on us or HMS BROCKLESBY as we hosted several Qatar Navy Officers during our 2 day stopover in Doha.

 

 

1 April 2019 - The bonds formed during BRNC Dartmouth training know no bounds as SLt Ryan Price and SLt Mohammed Ali Almarzouqi Qatar Navy were reunited on board as we conducted Defence Engagement in Qatar.

 

MASTT (Maritime Autonomous System Trials Team commanded by MCDOA member Dave Stanbury)

 

3 April 2019 -  A MASTT exhibit all set up for the 1SL Retired Admirals’ and Generals’ Conference.  On display (L-R) IVER3 AUV, Mk1 Mine Shape (floor) M500 ROV (table) Rn Sweep (on video) Mission Planning/Analysis Laptops and finally REMUS 100 AUV.

 

3 April 2019 - Another MASTT exhibit, earlier in the week, for the SoS Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE, at QinetiQ. Displayed - REMUS 600 S and M variants, REMUS 100, IVER3, ATMP, RNMB Hazard, M500 ROV and Mk1 mine shape.

 

2 April 2019 - What a difference a day makes!  Glorious sunshine to thunder and hail storms, on RN Sweep Trials in Weymouth.

 

 

29 March 2019 - Future RN.  RN Sweep being shadowed by T45.

 

29 March 2019 - RN Sweep basking in the March sunshine, as the System continues Sweep Validation Trials off Weymouth.  The 3 Coil Auxiliary Boat (CAB) configuration is being towed by RNMB Hussar, the yellow float at the rear has an acoustic source suspended below, which also marks the end of tow.

 

28 March 2019 - RN Sweep Demonstrator Validation Trials, Weymouth.  These ensure modifications and upgrades have not affected the performance of the system and are also providing new members of MASTT with a perfect training opportunity, vital for future UK Trials.

 

28 March 2019 - All packed up and ready to roll!  Some MASTT preparations for a ‘Show and Tell’.  RNMB Hazard can be seen fitted with a Launch and Recovery System (LARS) and dummy REMUS 600.

 

25 March 2019 - Royal Navy Motor Boat Hussar is joined by 2 new Vahana boats, for a photo opportunity at AEUK Bincleaves, Weymouth.  ARCIMS6 (11m) will initially go to Project Wilton, with the larger (15m) boat (HEBE) going as an Autonomous solution.

 

Navy LookOut

 

20 April 2019 - HMS Middleton and HMS Hurworth heading into Faslane.

 

 

RN in Scotland

 

28 March 2019 - Command ship & minehunters from Denmark, Germany, the UK and Norway make up SNMCMG1, one of NATO MARCOM's permanent MCM high readiness groups.

 

Commander SNMCMG2 (Standing NATO MCM Group 2)

 

29 April 2019 - From 29th April 2019 to the 10th May 2019 SNMCMG2 will participate in the Spanish Minewarfare Exercise.  Welcome in the SNMCMG2 to our new member TCG Ayvalik.

 

25 April 2019 - Diving exercise, diving exercise!  SNMCMG2 conducted a diving incident exercise in order to practice the medical procedures of crews from both ships.  Later SNMCMG2 met ESPS TORNADO for some manoeuvres in the western Mediterranean.

 

17 April 2019 - SNMCMG2 and the Moroccan ship El-Lahiq left the port of Casablanca together on 15th April 2019 to conduct an exercise, which included a boarding exercise on board of FGS Werra.

 

15 April 2019 - From 12th April 2019 to 15th April 2019, SNMCMG2 was in Casablanca, the major port in Morocco.  Through some official appointments and also a football game, both navies improved and enhanced their cooperation and connections.

 

4 April 2019 - Today SNMCMG2 celebrated NATO's 70th Anniversary with a Table-Football-Game with our German and Spanish colleagues.

 

21 March 2019 - SNMCMG2 took part in exercise Ariadne 19 with the Greek Navy and other allied navies, to improve expertise on minewarfare procedures and training of MCM Forces.  We welcomed ITS Termoli to our group to support SNMCMG2 during this time and we now say goodbye to TCG Akcakoca.

 


29 Apr 19 - HMS Ramsey joins SNMCMG1

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article announcing that HMS Ramsey (MCM1 Crew 2) is sailing from her base at Faslane to relieve Portsmouth-based HMS Cattistock (MCM2 Crew ) in Standing NATO MCM Group 1 (SNMCMG1)

 


26 Apr 19 - Promotions to Commander

 

Hearty congratulations to MCDOA members Dave Louis, Keith 'Mabbs' Mabbott, Dan 'Doc' Morris and Ben Stait on their selection for promotion to Commander with effect from 1 June 2020.

 


25 Apr 19 - SDU1 detonates ordnance in Essex

 

The Brentwood Live website contains this article, including video, reporting today's detonation, presumably by members of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2), of "an unexploded device" found near a yacht club at Leigh-on-Sea in Essex.

 


22 Apr 19 - Completion of Exercise ARTEMIS TRIDENT

 

The UK Defence Journal website contains this article announcing the completion of Exercise ARTEMIS TRIDENT 19 off Bahrain in the Gulf.

 

“The exercise involved over 700 personnel, 10 ships, and five helicopters from the three nations.  The ships included the U.S. Navy expeditionary sea base USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3), fleet ocean tug USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168), Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Sentry (MCM 3), Island-class coastal patrol boats USCGC Maui (WPB 1304) and USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332); the United Kingdom’s  RFA Cardigan Bay (L3009) and minehunters HMS Shoreham (M112) and  HMS Ledbury (M30); and the French Marine Nationale’s minehunters FS L’Aigle (M647) and FS Sagittaire (M650).”

 


17 Apr 19

 

SDU2 deals with EOD incidents on IOW

 

The Isle of Wight County Press website contains this article reporting a call-out for members of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2) to deal with two items of ordnance discovered on the Isle of Wight including a shell on the cliff path between Chale and Whale Chine.

 


SDU2 deals with ordnance in Kent

 

The Kent Online website contains this article reporting today's detonation at sea by members of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2) of an item of ordnance found on the beach at Dungeness in Kent.

 


16 Apr 19

 

Latest Awards of LS&GC

 

Congratulations to CPO(MW) E. C. Dudley on being gazetted for the award of the Long Service & Good Conduct medal and to PO(D) Nige Froude on being gazetted for the award of the first clasp to his Long Service & Good Conduct medal.

 


SDU2 deals with mortar round in Hampshire

 

The Portsmouth News website contains this article reporting today's disposal by members of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2) of an 81 mm mortar round discovered in a bin at Havant Household Waste and Recycling Centre in Hampshire.

 


15 Apr 19 - Start of Exercise ARTEMIS TRIDENT

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article reporting the start of Exercise ARTEMIS TRIDENT 19 off Bahrain in the Gulf.  Participating forces include HMS Ledbury (MCM2 Crew 1) and HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 7) supported by RFA Cardigan Bay plus US Navy and French Navy units.  The article features AB(D) Ryan ‘Mac’ McMenemy of HMS Ledbury. 

 

 

(Royal Navy images)

 

 


14 Apr 19 - NDG destroys pyro in Scotland

 

The Aberdeen Evening Express website contains this article reporting yesterday's destruction by members of Faslane-based Northern Diving Group (NDG) of a phosphorus marker found on St Cyrus beach near Montrose.

 


12 Apr 19 - NDG attends EOD incident on highland road

 

The BBC News website contains this article and the Aberdeen Press & Journal website this article reporting a call-out for members of Faslane-based Northern Diving Group (NDG) to deal with a "suspected unexploded device" discovered on the B9006 between Ardersier and Fort George.  The road was subsequently reopened to the public. 

 


9 Apr 19 - SDU1 call-out in Devon

 

The ITV News website contains this article reporting yesterday's call-out for members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1) to investigate "chemicals and items" found at a property in Newton Abbot after the death of the householder.  Approximately 40 homes were evacuated but the area was later declared clear.

 


5 Apr 19 - SDU2 destroys 19th century shell in Essex

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article describing yesterday's destruction by members of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2) of a 29kg projectile, thought to be a British rifled muzzle-loaded shell, discovered 30 meteres from the pier at Southend-on-Sea in Essex.  The article features CPO(D) Andrew Marshall. 

 


21 Mar 19 - Latest issue of Rope Signal from the HDS

 

 

I have adjusted the latest issue of Rope Signal, the newsletter of the Historical Diving Society (HDS), for ease of reading here (click to expand).  Helen Rutherford is married to MCDOA member Maj Les Rutherford RE, a retired Sapper diver and EOD specialist.

 

 

The newsletter announces a significant milestone for the society's Diving Museum in being recognised by the Arts Council as a fully accredited museum.  The origins of this magnificent achievement are mostly down to the museum's founder, MCDOA member Dr John Bevan, who is also founding Chairman of the HDS, a record-breaking ex-Royal Naval Scientific Service* diver, prolific author, editor of Underwater Contractor International magazine and a trustee of Project Vernon, the non-profit charity adopted by the MCDOA and endorsed by the AORNFCD, TCA, RANCDA and, most recently, the RNCDA** to erect a Minewarfare & Diving Monument at Gunwharf Quays on the former site of HMS Vernon.

 

These photos show the challenge confronting us in No.2 Battery at Stokes Bay in 2010 with John Bevan pictured in the first (see entry for 22 Aug 10 plus others in News Archive 31):

 

     

 

It certainly looks different now.

 

 

Apart from John Bevan, much of the credit for this latest coup belongs to the HDS's hard-working band of volunteers and supporters, especially to ex-CD Mike O'Meara, Vice Chairman of the HDS, who performed the lion's share of the complex paperwork needed to convince the Arts Council that the museum complies with its exacting standards.

 

Mike O'Meara with John Bevan at an MCDOA Dinner

 

     

Mike O'Meara plus other HDS Museum volunteers

 

Congratulations, Mike, and thank you for your selfless efforts.

 

I was personally saddened to read of the death of Capt Jim Vorosmarti MD USN, a world-renowned specialist in underwater medicine.  Exceedingly witty and intelligent, he was a true gentleman whom I greatly admired and respected.  I had the privilege of sharing a platform, and later a dinner table, with him at the HDS Conference in Poole in 2011 and again in 2015. 

 

Jim Vorosmarti presenting at HDS Conference

in Poole in October 2011

 

Yours Truly (Rob Hoole) with Jim Vorosmarti at HDS Annual Dinner

in Poole in October 2011

 

Jim Vorosmarti (near right) at HDS pre-Conference Speakers' Dinner in Poole

in October 2015 with John Bevan, Mike O'Meara and Yours Truly (Rob Hoole)

 

When the late John Hendrick, a former MCDO, suffered a stroke at the HDS Annual Dinner in Southsea in November 2010, Jim sprang into action and gave him the treatment he needed until the paramedics arrived.  John subsequently recovered and Jim's prompt action may well have prolonged his life until he eventually crossed the bar in July 2017. 

 

I am sure all members of our community will join me in extending our sincere condolences to Jim's family, friends and colleagues.

 

* The Royal Naval Scientific Service

 

"The Royal Navy had sponsored and carried out a good deal of scientific research in the nineteenth century, and a number of establishments such as HMS Vernon and the Admiralty Experiment Works had been set up, but the forerunner of the Royal Naval Scientific Service was the Board of Inventions and Research, established in 1915 to initiate, investigate and advise on proposals for the application of science and engineering to naval warfare, including inventions sent to the Admiralty by members of the public.  In 1918 it became the Scientific Research and Experiment Department and in 1946 the Royal Naval Scientific Service...

 

With the formation of a unified Ministry of Defence in 1964 the RNSS was replaced by the Department of the Chief Scientist (Navy) and the constituent headquarters directorates gradually lost their separate identity..."

 

** RNCDA Endorsement of Project Vernon

 

As minuted on its website, the RNCDA unanimously agreed at its Third AGM, held on 14 October 2017, that it "...would support the Vernon Project and help raise funds towards its completion.  These amounts would be on a case by case decided by the committee."

 

 


20 Mar 19 - Recent tweets    

 

Click on the linked dates to see all associated photos and videos.   

 

HMS Bangor (MCM1 Crew 8)

 

11 Mar 2019 - A rare bit of Scottish sunshine gave TweetO a chance to snap HMS Grimsby with the snow capped mountains in the distance.  Our sister ship is currently training with FOST to make sure they’re ready to fight and win.

 

HMS Blyth (MCM1 Crew 1)

 

14 Mar 2019 - One of our crew keeping watch.  We remain vigilant on operations at all times in the Middle East.

 

HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 8)

 

15 Mar 2019 - Red noses have invaded today!  The ship's company spent time raising money for Comic Relief with a cake sale.

 

11 Mar 2019 - With a Ship's Company from across the UK and Commonwealth, we are  in Bahrain celebrating  Commonwealth Day,

 

11 Mar 2019 - Thank you to the Learning & Development team for sending out language resources for Ship's Company.  Being able to speak another language helps our Sailors to interact with our allies across the world.

 

5 Mar 2019 - Chefs reunited in the Royal Navy.  Two Ex Gurkhas now chefs serving together within HMS BROCKLESBY's Crew.

 

HMS Chiddingfold (MCM2 Crew 2 commanded by MCDOA member Daniel 'Doc' Morris)

 

7 Mar 2019 - Basin Trial successful.  Well done the marine engineers. Still some work to do;  Crew 2 are working into the weekend to get the job done.

 

HMS Hurworth (MCM2 Crew 7)

 

8 Mar 2019 - Happy international women’s day from HMS Hurworth!  Our XO who is also the ships Mine Clearance Diving Officer having fun as she brings the ship in.

 

HMS Ledbury (MCM2 Crew 1)

 

15 Mar 2019 - What a tremendous and proud achievement as we accomplished rowing a total of 710 nautical miles and raising a staggering £4200 for SANDS: Stillbirth and neonatal death charity.

 

A special thanks to 'Dickie' Davies for organising such a great 24 hour event.

 

15 Mar 2019 - Watch below as we counted down the end of 24 hours of rowing, all for the SANDS charity. Its still not too late to contribute at the Just giving page. https://bit.ly/2u4rSIM 

 

15 Mar 2019 - Almost finished the Row challenge when Vice Admiral Malloy can over to support our SANDS charity row.

 

"Sir, Thank you for your support"

 

14 Mar 2019 - Over half the distance covered already.  Go Ledbury.  All in aid of SANDS.  Help our great effort.

 

Just Giving page. https://bit.ly/2u4rSIM 

 

14 Mar 2019 - We are raising money for SANDS the stillbirth and neonatal death charity. 

 

You can contribute through the Just Giving page.  Search: Joshua Beale - Row the Gulf.

 

HMS Middleton (MCM2 Crew 4)

 

18 Mar 2019 - Looking forward to welcoming you onboard the mighty MIDD!  We may be small, but we bring a lot to the party.

 

ACSC 22

 

18 Mar 2019 - As part of MCP19, UKACSC will visit a number of Royal Navy ships to learn more about their capabilities and what life is like on-board. You can find out more about the RN Fleet here: https://bit.ly/2z4V2v9  

 

14 Mar 2019 - Great to see our new sailors getting to grips with basic military skills.  No matter whether chef, engineer, warfare or aviator, these basic skills underpin our professional Royal Navy.

 

HMS Raleigh

 

14 Mar 2019 - Military training week and the Gould 35s have been getting to grips with how to safely handle, clean and fire a SA80 assault rifle.

 

6 Mar 2019 - Although we are still finishing up a maintenance period,- there’s plenty of time to hone our other skills before heading to FOST.  We’ve been in the simulators at HMS Collingwood practicing day and night pilotage.

 

6 Mar 2019 - A great opportunity at an early stage to learn teamwork and leadership, essential no matter what branch you join - well done all!

 

HMS Raleigh

 

6 Mar 2019 - We’ve also selected the Gould 35 management team.  Congratulations to the newly appointment class leaders, deputy class leaders and mess bosuns.

 

HMS Ramsey (MCM1 Crew 2)

 

18 Mar 2019 - Dressing lines rigged?  Navigation lights on?  All departments ready?  Final cleaning complete?  HMS Ramsey ready for her Material and Safety Check with FOST MPV.

 

15 Mar 2019 - It was a great pleasure to host Admiral Lanba, CNS Indian Navy, on board HMS Ramsey today as part of his visit to the UK, strengthening the relationship between the Royal Navy and the Indian Navy.

 

11 Mar 2019 - Happy Commonwealth Day to all 53 member states and more importantly our friends.

 

8 Mar 2019 - Celebrating International Women’s Day on board HMS Ramsey.  AB(MW) Halsall is one of our team who ensures we deliver on operations protecting the UK’s interests at home and overseas.

 

6 Mar 2019 - HMS Ramsey exchanging her ID with HMS Hurworth.  Flashing light signals were the Royal Navy’s secondary means of communications after flag signals and are still used during times of radio silence or spoofing.

 

6 Mar 2019 - “SHIP IS IN POSITION - LET GO!”  HMS Ramsey anchoring in the Scottish Exercise Areas.  This is our Navigating Officer’s favourite seamanship evolution.

 

5 Mar 2019 - “CARRY ON WITH THE SWIMMER!”  Action shots of HMS Ramsey conducting a man overboard exercise.

 

MASTT (Maritime Autonomous System Trials Team commanded by MCDOA member Dave Stanbury)

 

15 Mar 2019 - Another successful week for MASTT!  Four new Operators and one new Operator/Supervisor in the Fleet!

 

14 Mar 2019 - Gusty winds may have hampered R100 training for MASTT this week, in Portsmouth Hbr, but it has not dampened spirits or the desire for knowledge!

 

13 Mar 2019 - MASTT heavily engaged in the R100 L1&L2 Maintenance module of the Course today, at HYDROID Europe, Portchester.

 

11 Mar 2019 - Another week, another training course for the members of MASTT!  REMUS 100 Operator/Maintainer Course.  More news to follow!

 

HMS King Alfred

 

19 Mar 2019 - Congratulations to everyone awarded their Initial Minewarfare Course certificate this weekend! 

 

Well done to reservists from HMS King Alfred, HMS Calliope, HMS Wildfire, HMS Vivid & HMS Flying Fox.  Welcome to a Reserve career in a great branch supporting Royal Navy mine clearance!

 

Grey Funnel Line

 

13 Mar 2019 - HMS Penzance [MCM1 Crew 4] has completed a 10-month refit.

 


19 Mar 19 - Yet more memories of Overseas Long Minewarfare & Clearance Diving Officer (OLMCDO) Courses

 

I am grateful to Rear Admiral Allan du Toit RAN for this addition to the entry for 16 Mar 19:

 

"Good morning Rob,

 

Here is the 1971 OLMCDO course photo from Andrew Rennie as promised.  The course included officers from Burma, India, Iran, Norway, Singapore and South Africa.  Andrew tells me that Lt Rosengrew, or 'Rosie' as he was known, was by far the best diver on course - a true Viking!

 

 

 

Only too pleased to help.  I served in SAS Pretoria (1975) as a midshipman under training,  SAS Windhoek as Gunnery Officer and subsequently SAS Durban on two separate postings as Navigator and First Lieutenant.  I was subsequently relief CO of SAS Durban for three months in 1984.  All my minehunter time in the SAN was spent as MHCO and then First Lieutenant in the brand new German designed River class minehunters which were fitted with Thomson 2021 sonar and PAP MDVs.

 

Keep up the great work.

 

Best wishes,

 

Allan"

 

More discussion of OLMCDO '71 is available in the entry for 30 Jul 14 in News Archive 47.

 


From MCDOA member David Burstall:

 

"Hello Rob,

 

Re the 1971 Overseas LMCDO Course, you have a lieutenant from the Imperial Iranian Navy, Lieut Nayeri, but I did not know him.  He was long after my time as I left Iran in about 1961 after two years there, having taken over from Mike Gillam.

 

Whilst I later had time as I/Diving in 1969, again I left before Nayeri joined.  We did however have a Petty Officer from the IIN undergoing training as a CD1.  He was the victim of a horrendous accident when the portable chamber, in which he was decompressing suddenly blew its door off, subjecting the diver to explosive decompression.  The poor chap died.  I can't remember his name, nor what the final finding was of the Board of Enquiry.  At that time I believe I was either the First Lieut of HMS Vernon or involved in re-writing the Diving Manual, shortly before retiring.

 

Regards,

 

David" 

 


18 Mar 19 - Cover art received for latest minewarfare book

 

Your humble webmaster has received a preview of the cover of 'Enemy Waters', the third and final book of the trilogy I have co-authored with Cdr David Bruhn USN that covers naval minewarfare during the First and Second World Wars.  'Home Waters' and 'Nightraiders', the first two books of the trilogy, have already been published (see entry for 9 Jan 19 in News Archive 65).

 

 

This is the text on the back cover:

 

Enemy Waters

 

Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Norwegian Navy, U.S. Navy, and Other Allied Mine Forces Battling the Germans and Italians in World War II

 

When Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939, the Royal Navy was deficient in minelayers needed to try to hold enemy forces at bay and out of its home waters. Turning first to the Merchant Navy, it requisitioned a liner and two ferries for this use, and a dozen destroyers and submarines were also converted to carry mines.  Later, six fast minelaying cruisers joined the force. 

 

When Italy entered the war on the Axis side in June 1940, the situation became dire.  As U-boats continued to sink shipping in the North Sea and around the British Isles, the Italian Fleet and German and Italian Air Forces controlled the central Mediterranean.  Royal Air Force Bomber and Coastal Command planes took up mining, as did old Swordfish bi-planes of the Fleet Air Arm. 

 

Joining in the fight were units of exiled navies, including the Dutch minelayer Willem van der Zaan, Free French submarine Rubis, and the Norwegian 52nd Motor Launch Flotilla.  U.S. Navy mine forces supported the invasion of French North Africa in late 1942, subsequent landings in Italy, and the invasions of Normandy and southern France.  The Canadian 31st Minesweeping Flotilla was at Normandy, and joined in later operations. 

 

Enemy Waters puts readers in the heart of the action.  One hundred and forty-five photographs, maps, and diagrams; appendices; and an index to full-names, places and subjects add value to this work.

 

MCDOA past-President Paddy McAlpine has kindly written one of the forewords to 'Enemy Waters', as he did for 'Home Waters':

 

Rear Admiral Paddy McAlpine CBE

 

Foreword

 

Enemy Waters, the third book in the excellent Mine Warfare trilogy by Commanders Bruhn and Hoole will evoke many memories for those who have served at sea and experienced the challenges posed by sea mines, whether they are modern and newly laid or still highly dangerous WWII relics.

 

Having joined the Royal Navy to dive in an attempt to emulate my childhood hero Jacques Cousteau (that amazing military leader, scientist, film maker and inventor of the aqua lung), I eventually found myself as a newly qualified Mine Clearance Diving Officer (MCDO) and Operations Officer on board HMS Chiddingfold, a Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessel.  We were preparing to deploy to the Persian Gulf in a small task group that included HMS Berkeley, commanded by co-author of this excellent book, Rob Hoole.  A hugely experienced and capable MCDO during his active service, Rob has gone on to thrive as a successful author as well, a widely acknowledged and a highly respected naval historian, specialising in mine warfare and diving.

 

Working up in the middle of the English Channel before we deployed to relieve the other RN Minehunters that were keeping the Strait of Hormuz open at a time of increasing tension, we started the day off as we usually did with System Operator Checks or “SOCs.”  A chance to turn all the gear on and test it with the maintainers ready to finely tune it up was always welcome.  We slowed down to mine hunting speed, turned on the 193M Sonar and, purely by chance, discovered a very solid sonar contact on which to run out the submersible.  As soon as the Chief Petty Officer Mine Warfare saw the sonar contact, his mine hunting antenna was immediately raised. “That’s a mine!”  We launched the submersible, got it into position and with about ten metres to run, turned on the searchlight and video recorder.  Into view came a fully intact, German WWII mine.  After the usual reactions and preps, the divers went down to neutralise the threat.

 

As interesting a start to the morning as this was, it was not the first and certainly was not to be the last intact WWII sea mine found in the English Channel during that year and in every year since.  They continue to turn up today during similar chance encounters, or in trawlers’ nets, or are uncovered on the beaches at extremely low tides; and mine warfare and diving specialists from the navies on both sides of the Channel continue to regularly deal with old WWII ordnance.

 

Mines, old or new, remain a potent weapon in wartime and a threat to all shipping once the shooting ashore has ended.  During WWII the Channel was strewn with them and for very good reason.  This relatively cheap-to-manufacture weapon always achieves a high return on investment if offered a target.  Countering the mine threat must be part of every amphibious plan to open the approaches to chosen landing areas for the amphibious forces and provide access to the ports and harbours for supporting shipping and follow-on forces once the battle has moved inland.  This book not only reinforces this point but also reminds those designing the navies and amphibious forces of the future that ignoring the lessons of the past would be folly.

 

Paddy McAlpine CBE

Rear Admiral Royal Navy (Retired)

 

'Enemy Waters' will be printed and published within the next couple of months.  Watch this space.

 

As with 'Home Waters' and 'Nightraiders', the £10 profit from the sale of each personally signed copy of 'Enemy Waters' will be donated to Project Vernon, the installation of a monument in Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, formely the location of HMS Vernon, to commemorate the establishment and celebrate the work of members of the minewarfare & diving community - past, present and future.  Proceeds to date have added £1,500 to the kitty (over £250k raised so far) but more is needed for Phase 2, the means by which the monument's full significance will be explained to the annual footfall of 8 million visitors who will see it.

 

         

 


17 Mar 19 - Exciting News for Project Vernon

 

 

Talented sculptor Mark Richards has been awarded the commission to design, create and install the Vernon Minewarfare & Diving monument and a contract has been signed with a “Ready for Installation” date of 1 March 2020. 

 

Mark’s one-and-a-quarter scale structure will take the form of a British Mk 17 moored mine complemented by two divers wearing equally iconic CDBA (Clearance Diver Breathing Apparatus).  Respectively, these elements will represent members of the mine warfare & diving community and celebrate their work - past, present and future.

 

The sculpture will stand proud of the surface of Pool B which is the middle of the three basins leading from the main gate in Gunwharf Quays, the residential, retail and marina development in Portsmouth.  This was previously occupied by HMS VERNON, the Royal Navy’s alma mater of mine warfare & diving and base for mine countermeasures vessels.  Here, it will be seen by a footfall of 8 million visitors per year.  An artist’s impression of the monument in situ will be released shortly. 

 

Mark Richards 'measuring up' in Pool B at Gunwharf Quays in October 2018

 

It is intended to dedicate the monument next spring in the presence of a VVIP.  In the meantime, fundraising continues for Phase 2, the means by which everything the monument signifies will be explained to the public.

 

Mark Richards has started publishing a blog to update supporters on his progress which will be available at: http://vernonmonument.blogspot.com

 

Other examples of his work can be seen at: www.markrichards.eu

 

Project Vernon has been adopted by the MCDOA and endorsed by the AORNFCD, TCA, RANCDA and, most recently, the RNCDA at its AGM in October 2017.  As chronicled on this website, it has been a long slog to coax the money out of people but the end is finally in sight.  A huge thank you to all Project volunteers and other supporters. 

 

Postscript: The latest newsletter is available here:

 

Project Vernon Newsletter 24 March 2019

 


16 Mar 19 - More memories of Overseas Long Minewarfare & Clearance Diving Officer (OLMCDO) Courses

 

I am grateful to Rear Admiral Allan du Toit RAN for this response to the entry for 21 Feb 19 in News Archive 65:

 

"Dear Rob,

 

Trust that all is well with you.

 

I just read the MCDOA 'Latest News' with much interest as always.  I noted the OLMCDO course photos, in particular the photo of OLMCDO Course ‘66, which featured Lt L.J. (Woody) Woodburne, SAN (arms folded), who topped the course.

 

After serving as OIC of the Diving School in Simon’s Town on his return from the LMCDO course at HMS Vernon, he went on to command two Ton class minesweepers [SAS Mosselbaai and SAS Johannesburg] before volunteering to become a submariner, commanding the second of the SAN’s new French-built Daphne class submarines, SAS Emily Hobhouse, on her commissioning in 1971.  While in command of Emily Hobhouse, Woody became one of only two South Africans to ever be awarded the Van Riebeeck Decoration, the highest South African decoration in the field, which he received for conducting Special operations. 

 

Woody went on to have a very distinguished career in the SAN, culminating in his promotion to Vice Admiral and appointment as Chief of the Navy from 1990-92.  He passed away in 2013 after a long battle with a degenerative disease.

 

Additionally, I have also reviewed the QDD, CDO, MCDO and MWO List to see if there were any obvious SAN officers missing.  There are two that I am aware of.

 

Firstly, Lt M.A. (Andrew) Rennie (Capt SAN and subsequently Cdr RAN) who did the OLMCDO course in 1971.  Andrew tells me that the course started in Oct 1971 and finished in Mar 1972.  He also had Iranian officers on course with him.  He then did two months as MCDO in HMS NURTON operating out of Rosyth.  He will see if he can dig out his course photo and I will scan and send it to you.

 

The second is Lt Paul Nicholas (later Cdr SAN) who did the OLMCDO course in either 1974 or 1975, the last South African to attend the course before the termination of the Simon’s Town Agreement in June 1975 and the onset of political isolation because of apartheid.

 

Of note, Richard Lowther (LMCDO '69) transferred across to the SAN in the early 1970s and subsequently ran local LMCDO and MWO courses in Simon’s Town.  By this time the SAN was in the process of converting two of its ten Ton class sweepers to minehunters with Sonar Type 193 and PAP 104 MDVs.

 

Hope this all helps with the Branch history.

 

Best regards,

 

Allan"

 

 More information about 'Woody' Woodburne is available on Wikipedia here:

 

Vice Admiral Lambert Jackson 'Woody' Woodburne DVR SD SM SAN

 

Vice Admiral 'Woody' Woodburne DVR SD SM SAN

 

Allan du Toit, who originally trained as a PWO and MWO, had a fairly eventful career in both the South African Navy and the Royal Australian Navy, too:

 

Rear Admiral Allan Kendall du Toit AM RAN

 

Rear Admiral Allan du Toit AM RAN

 

He was appointed Chair of JFD Australia on 1 March 2019:

 

JFD Australia announces new chair as it further strengthens its local commitment

 


15 Mar 19 - Navy divers blow up Welsh wartime 'bombs'

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article reporting the routine clearance of ordnance on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales by Southern Diving Group (SDG) members of Plymouth-based SDU1 and Portsmouth-based SDU2.  The article features MCDOA member Sean 'Central' Heaton and CPO(D) Andrew ‘Tex’ Marshall.

 

 

Royal Navy images

 

 


14 Mar 19 - HMS Ledbury's 'Row the Gulf' in memory of Harry

 

By Josh Beale of HMS Ledbury (MCM2 Crew 1), currently serving in the Gulf on Operation KIPION:

 

"The Crew of HMS Ledbury will row the entire Gulf [today] using five rowing machines combining each distance.  A minimum of 650 nm is the goal in 24 hours.

 

My wife and I lost our son Harry after 22 weeks due to a condition called hydrops fetalis which, sadly for us, was incurable.  Harry was born on 7th March 2015 and shortly died in our arms after.  Whilst we were in hospital we were provided with a SANDS [Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Support] memory box which enabled us to create and keep precious memories.  This provided us with much comfort as we left the hospital heartbroken with empty arms.

 

This is just one of the ways SANDS support parents going through this tragic time.  Losing a baby at any stage affects millions of people every year and so providing funds to SANDS will help those who require bereavement support as well as promote research in antenatal practice that could help to reduce the loss of babies' lives.

 

Baby loss can happen at any stage of pregnancy and each family has its own story and pressures that come with it.  Funding this charity means supporting health professionals to improve the quality of care and services provided to bereaved parents and their families as it did for us."

 

Just past the halfway mark

 

 

A visit by Vice Admiral James Malloy USN (Commander US 5th Fleet)

just before the end of Ledbury's SANDS charity row

 

Postscript:  Ledbury completed her row at about 0830 GMT on Friday 15 March but a few donations are still required to reach the £2,000 target via Josh's Justgiving webpage here:

 

Fundraising for SANDS, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity

 

Josh Beale (right)

 


13 Mar 19 - RN Minewarfare Heritage: The Southsea Connection 

 

The next time you are wandering through Southsea, ponder this man

 

Sir Charles Frederick Goodeve OBE FRS

 

Charles Goodeve was born in Neepawa, Manitoba in Canada on 21 February 1904.  He was the son of Frederick W. Goodeve, an Anglican clergyman, and spent his early childhood in Stonewall, Manitoba, but grew up in Winnipeg.  He attended the University of Manitoba, passing his B.Sc. exams in 1925 in chemistry and physics, and received an M.Sc. in electrochemistry in 1927.  In the same year, he was awarded a Research Fellowship to study at University College London where he was appointed a Lecturer in Physical Chemistry in 1930 and Reader in 1937.  He was awarded a D.Sc. from the University of London in 1936.

 

Goodeve had joined the RCNVR (Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve) in Winnipeg in 1923.  After arriving in England, he joined the RNVR (Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve) and was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 1936.  On 6 September 1939, he started work at HMS Vernon, the Royal Navy’s torpedo and minewarfare establishment in Portsmouth (on the site of what is now Gunwharf Quays) specialising in ways to counter the threat of mines.

 

In the opening months of the Second World War, shipping around the UK was almost paralysed owing to so many vessels being sunk or seriously damaged by mysterious underwater explosions; 200,000 tons of shipping were sunk in November 1939 alone.  The mystery was solved on 23 November 1939 when Lt Cdr (later Cdr) John Garnault Delahaize Ouvry DSO RN rendered safe a German 'GA' magnetic parachute mine that had inadvertently been dropped on the mudflats at Shoeburyness without the self-destruction mechanism functioning.  Unlike conventional moored mines set off by contact with a target, it was discovered that this ground mine lay on the seabed and was activated by the magnetic effect of a ferrous ship or submarine passing over it.

 

For their actions, Lt Cdr Ouvry and his team were decorated by King George VI on the parade ground of HMS Vernon on 19 December 1939, notably the first RN decorations of the war.

 

     

 

The mine they rendered safe is exhibited on board the cruiser HMS Belfast, now a museum ship on the Thames in London, which was taken out of the war for three years by an identical mine on 21 November 1939.

 

 

       

John Ouvry's son David with Rob Hoole and the late Lt Noel Cashford MBE RNVR

beside Ouvry's mine on board HMS Belfast on 7 July 2009

 

To counter the magnetic mines, Charles Goodeve proposed the “Double Longitudinal Sweep” (Double L) comprising charged electrodes at the ends of two cables towed behind a minesweeper.  Canoe Lake in Southsea was chosen to trial his system.  Goodeve thought up an ingenious cover plan.  In the deepest of confidence, the sailors and police were told that a new secret device for detecting enemy ships was being tried. 

 

On a bitterly cold winter day, ice had to be swept aside before the trial could start.  Sailors began towing their model ships backward and forward across the lake as a decoy operation, watched by an overgrowing crowd of housewives, small boys and policemen.  Separate from this, Lt (later Cdr) Raymond Geoffrey Manning Collins RN of HMS Vernon’s Minesweeping Department (the officer in charge of the project) and two sailors rowed a dingy, containing the mechanism of the German magnetic mine recovered by Ouvry, across heavy ‘Double L’ insulated sweep cables laid across the bottom of the lake.  At a signal from the dinghy, an electrical current, provided by Army searchlight generators, began flowing through the submerged cables and a spasmodic flickering on a dial in front of Collins announced the firing of the German mine’s mechanism at all the corners of the sweep.

 

Making his way through the crowd still staring fascinated at the little wooden models, Goodeve hurried back to HMS Vernon.  On his desk lay an envelope marked "Top Secret", and he extracted a brief, emphatic memorandum with a Whitehall note-heading:

 

"You should discontinue any research on the lines you have indicated in your latest report.  It is clear to me that the method you suggest will prove self-cancelling and cannot work".

 

Goodeve’s ‘Double L’ magnetic mine sweep was put into production and rapidly achieved results.  The first, by now buoyant, cable was delivered on 18 January 1940 and over 1½ million yards were manufactured by the end of the war.

 

By February 1940, the first magnetic mines had been swept by the 'Double L' sweep, its electrodes suspended beneath what many of our community will remember as inflateable 'Double L' floats.  Special wooden motor minesweepers (MMS aka 'Mickey Mouse'), modelled on Yarmouth trawlers, were commissioned and they operated most effectively: 74 mines were swept by March 1940 and nearly 300 by the end of June.

 

Married buoyant cable and electrodes of 'Double L' open loop magnetic sweep

 

     

 

Goodeve also developed methods of ‘wiping’, 'deperming' and fitting degaussing coils to reduce the magnetic signature of warships and merchant ships, thus rendering them safer from the threat of magnetic mines.  He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1940.

 

Goodeve’s other wartime accomplishments included the 1940 British production of the Swiss-designed Oerlikon 20 mm cannon for anti-aircraft protection on warships and merchant ships.  In 1942, the Third Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Sir William Wake-Walker, appointed Goodeve Assistant Controller Research and Development, with broad oversight of the Navy's research and development efforts.  His group, renamed the Admiralty’s Directorate of Miscellaneous Weapons Development (DMWD), then worked on developing plastic armour and the ‘Hedgehog’ anti-submarine spigot mortar.  By the end of the war the weapon had accounted for some fifty U-boats.

 

Goodeve was appointed an OBE in the 1944 New Year Honours for his work in weapon development.  In 1946, he was created a Knight Bachelor and awarded the US Medal of Freedom with Silver Palm.  His work on degaussing ships to counter the magnetic mine was recognised by the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors in 1957 when he received an ex gratia payment of £7,500 which he generously shared with those who had helped him.  Further information about his wartime work is available in The Secret War 1939 – 1945 by Gerald Pawle.

 

The scope and scale of Charles Goodeve’s post-war achievements are too great to describe here in full but he was a director of the Industrial and Commercial Finance Corporation from 1965 to 1974, of Technical Development Capital Ltd from 1966 to 1974, and of the London and Scandinavian Metallurgical Company from 1968 until his death.  He was Vice-President of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee from 1950 to 1962, a member of the Lord President's Council on Scientific Policy from 1953 to 1956 and a member of the National Industrial Fuel Efficiency Service from 1968 to 1972. He was a Vice-President of the Royal Society from 1968 to 1970, Scientific Adviser to the British Transport Commission from 1948 to 1958 and a Governor of Imperial College from 1961 to 1973.  He was Master of the Worshipful Company of Salters from 1958 to 1959, President of the Chemical Section of the British Association in 1956 and a Member of Council of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations from 1967 onwards.  He received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Manitoba (1946), Sheffield (1956), Birmingham (1962), Newcastle upon Tyne (1970) and Salford (1974). 

 

Charles Goodeve was stricken with Parkinson’s disease towards the end of his life but carried on with characteristic fortitude, never losing his sense of humour.  He died on 7 April 1980 and his memorial service, arranged by the Metals Society and held at Holy Trinity Church in South Kensington on 19 June 1980, was attended by many friends from every phase of his life.  Lord Sherfield gave the address and concluded with these words:

 

“This is not really an occasion for sorrow. It is rather one for expressing gratitude for the great and varied achievements of a full life and for giving thanks for Charles's humanity, his services to our society and his friendship with us all.  We cherish his memory.”

 

I have consulted several sources to compile this biography (e.g. Navy List Research, The London Gazette, The Torpedomen – HMS Vernon’s Story 1972-1986 by Rear Admiral Nicho Poland CB CBE, etc.) but the best internet references are:  

 

http://naval-museum.mb.ca/people/sir-charles-goodeve  

 

http://www.goodeveca.net/CFGoodeve/cfg_bio.html#vernon  

 

Contrary to the information on the webpages above, it transpires from Rear Admiral Poland’s book that the Canoe Lake trial was actually conducted by Lt (later Cdr) Raymond Geoffrey Manning Collins RN of HMS Vernon’s ‘Minesweeping Department’ although Goodeve was the mastermind.  After HMS Vernon was heavily blitzed on the nights of 9-10 March 1941 when 100 personnel were killed by a direct hit on Dido Building, Collins went on to head its ‘Future Sweeps Section’ in the Albert Hotel in Southsea.     

 

Interestingly, the ‘Future Sweeps Section’ was joined by Vernon’s ‘Acoustic Sweeps Section’ after its previous home on Clarence Pier, off which an acoustic signature range had been laid, was bombed.  The ‘Acoustic Sweeps Section’ was later re-located in Kimmerghame House at Fettes College in Edinburgh.  In the meantime, Vernon’s ‘Controlled Mining Department’ was split between the Lennox garage in Southsea and Hillside House in Purbrook.   Vernon’s ‘Instructional Book Production Department’ was first evacuated to 5 South Parade in Southsea (until recently the Rose Lodge Nursery School owned and run by MCDOA co-founding Chairman David Sandiford) before moving to a country house called Ryecroft at Ropleigh near Alresford.  

 

All in all, it seems that Southsea was strongly connected with HMS Vernon’s successful trial and development of mining and minesweeping systems during the Second World War.

 


12 Mar 19 - Far East Fleet CD Team presento

 

I am grateful to former CPO(D) David 'Jimmy' Bond for these photos he was passed by a friend who has a shop in Weymouth called Books Afloat:

 

 

 

It seems the bell was recovered by Jock Allardyce of the Far East CD Team in the early 1960s.  Does anyone remember the occasion?

 

This photo of members of the Far East Clearance Diving Team in the early 1960s was sent to me by ex-CD1 Leo Whelan who crossed the bar on 9 October last year.  He took it on the beach at Pulau Tioman and it shows Jock Allardyce kneeling on the left:

 

 Back Row: Ginge Turton, Pincher Martin (Brum), Trevor Gibson

Middle Row: Dave Coote, Bungy Edwards (Boy Seaman on board HMS Repulse),

Ginge Bishard, Lt Cdr David Burstall (MCDOA member)

Front Row: Jock Allardyce, Stafford Cripps, Jesse James

 

Also see ‘The Far East Fleet Clearance Diving Team’ by Mike Gillam in the MCDOA website’s Dit Box.

 


From MCDOA member David Burstall:

 

"Hello Rob,

 

What a wonderful set of memorabilia.  I regret I can't help much.

 

Re the FEFCDT - We visited Pulao Tioman for a beach clearance exercise with the Fleet when the photograph was taken with Jock Allardyce & Co in it.  He did not dive on the SS YUNG HAO in my time.  I note from his dates that he was with the Team from '61 to '63.  I was there from '62 to '64, so the dive must have been in Mike Gillam's time.  I took over from him in December '62.

 

There was an incident I had with Jock Allardyce (dates I can't remember), when he was on the bottom on the end of his life line, when suddenly the attendant yelled out: "Diver not answering!  I've lost the diver!" and he pulled up an empty life line.  There was a strong tide running, so the whole team looked all round to see if he had bobbed up to the surface.  We spotted him about 50 yards away floating on the surface.  The gemini was sent off pdq. 

 

Jock was hauled in and brought back to the MFV.  He had had to cut himself loose on the bottom as his life line had got tangled in the wreck.  He was given a bollocking for frightening the living daylights out of us, followed by a tot.  I can't remember what we were diving on at the time, but it was not the YUNG HAO.

 

Regards,

 

David" 

 


From MCDOA member Mike Gillam:

 

"Very many thanks, Rob, although the team photo was taken shortly after my time (we left in December 1962).

 

On the beach at Pulao Tioman brings back many happy memories of warm sea, giant clams and coconuts.  D. Allardyce CD, FECDT 1961-63, as shown on the plaque, has to have been one of my lads but I cannot now recall much about him – the perils of age!

 

I have no recollection of the SS Yung Hao or its bell.  It must have been after my time.  David Burstall should know more.

 

Yours,

 

Mike"

 


11 Mar 19 - PCDT Members in 1982

 

My old LMCDO '76 course mate Bernie Bruen MBE DSC, who superseded me as Boss 2 on the Plymouth Clearance Diving Team (PCDT) in early 1982, has passed me these photos of team members during his tenure:  Boss 1 was MCDOA member John Wiseman.

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

     

 

 


10 Mar 19 - SDU2 deals with unexploded shell at Portslade

 

The Brighton Argus website contains this article reporting a call-out on Wednesday, presumably for members of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2), to dispose of a dredged-up unexploded shell at Portslade in East Sussex.

 


9 Mar 19 - RN Diving Heritage: Plymouth Clearance Diving Team premises and FDT Datchet

 

 

I am grateful to my old LMCDO '76 course mate Bernie Bruen MBE DSC, who superseded me on the Plymouth Clearance Diving Team (PCDT) in early 1982, for these black and white images.  They show PCDT's old premises, including the waterfront, in the corner of HMS Drake in January 1973.

 

 

From my album: PCDT Redwingers in 1980

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

The original RN Diving School at Devonport was accommodated on board the hulks of the floating training establishment HMS Defiance.  These photos are from the collection of the late RN diver Ernie Croft and were supplied by fellow Historical Diving Society (HDS) member Phil Thurtle (see entry for 20 Jun 09 in News Archive 26):

 

     

Left: The vessels making up HMS Defiance in the Tamar until the mid-1950s comprising front left

HMS Vulcan (originally a small torpedo boat carrier) with the old screw frigate HMS Inconstant

 alongside her.  Bringing up the rear is the old 1st class protected cruiser HMS Andromeda. Just

visible behind them is the battleship HMS Howe with an RFA in the distance.   The minelayer

 HMS Ariadne is on the distant trot.

Right: Ernie Croft with George Wookey and team at Devonport Navy Days in 1953

 

A few key dates to the best of my knowledge:

 

Jul 1969: Post of CinC Plymouth replaced by Flag Officer Plymouth.  CinC Plymouth's Clearance Diving Team became FO Plymouth's Clearance Diving Team (PCDT).

 

Nov 1986: PCDT renamed Plymouth Clearance Diving Unit (PCDU), still under the Command of FO Plymouth.

 

Sep 1995: PCDU renamed Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1) and joined SDU2 (ex-FO Portsmouth & Medway Bomb & Mine Disposal Team, ex-Portsmouth & Medway CD Team, ex-Portsmouth CD Team, ex-Portsmouth Area Clearance Diving Unit (PACDU)) to form the Southern Diving Group (SDG) under the Command of the Deputy Superintendent of Diving (DSofD) as a newly badged CINCFLEET officer.

 

Feb 1996: Post of Flag Officer Plymouth abolished.

 

Mar 1998: Southern Diving Group and Northern Diving Group joined with the Fleet Diving Group (FDG) to form the Fleet Diving Squadron (FDS) commanded by CO FDS directly under CINCFLEET (Navy Command's Fleet Commander since April 2012).

 

PCDT conducted Ships' Diver aptitude tests into the late 1980s.  It moved into its new premises in 1987.

 

PCDT's fleet diving tender circa 1980 was FDT Datchet which came from HMS Vernon in exchange for FDT Ixworth.

 

From my album: PCDT Datcheteers in 1980

 

FDT Datchet was built by Vospers (Singapore) in 1968 and brought to the UK when Sembawang Naval Base closed in 1971 after serving with the Far East Fleet Clearance Diving Team (See 'The Far East Clearance Diving Team' by Brian Braidwood in the website's Dit Box).  After working with HMS Vernon and then PCDT from 1979 as the only RN-manned vessel wearing a blue ensign, she was sold to Severn Seas Shipping Ltd of Appledore/Bideford, Devon in 1994 and is pictured as MV Datchet in several of the website's News Archives.  On 4 April 2008, she was involved in a collision with the motor yacht Lady of Rudding while towing a barge off Tintagel in Cornwall.  This is the official report on the Government website:

 

Collision between motor yacht Lady of Rudding and dumb barge, towed by workboat Datchet, with 1 person injured  

 

     

 

Early last month, former CPO(D) Cris Ballinger BEM sent me this photo he took while rowing on the Penryn River in Cornwall.  It shows Bideford-registered MV Datchet in a decrepit state.

 

 

More photos and information, not all of it accurate, can be seen on this page of the Captain's Voyage Forum:

 

MV Datchet

 


From MCDOA member Jon Chapple in Canada:

 

"Hello Rob,

 

Greetings from the west coast (left coast, best coast, etc.) of Canada!  

 

Wonderful to see the old photos of PCDT/PCDU/SDU1 (aka “The Guzz Team”).  

 

Just to contribute to part of “A few key dates to the best of my knowledge”.  

 

01 Sep 1995: PCDU renamed Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1) and joined SDU2 (ex-FO Portsmouth & Medway Bomb & Mine Disposal Team, ex-Portsmouth & Medway CD Team, ex-Portsmouth CD Team, ex-Portsmouth Area Clearance Diving Unit (PACDU) to form the Southern Diving Group (SDG) under the Command of the Deputy Superintendent of Diving (DSofD) as a newly badged CINCFLEET officer.

 

In fact the then-incumbent of the post of SMCDO to FO Plymouth, dual-hatted as OIC PCDU, took command of the newly formed SDG.  I know this as it was me!

 

On forming, the SDG was brought under the Superintendent of Diving and thence CINCFLEET.  I have attached a photo of the CO SDG Board from SDG headquarters in Plymouth.

 

Board showing COs of Southern Diving Group

(Enanced to make names more legible)

 

The reorganisation of the diving branch that led to the creation of SDG and NDG was spearheaded by Charlie Wilson OBE (SMCDO, CINCFLEET Northwood), ably supported by Chris Davies (FOSNI SMCDO / OIC SNICDU) and myself (FO PLYMOUTH SMCDO / OIC PCDU).  I recall that this task was dropped on us by Fleet with very little notice as apparently nobody had considered what would happen to the area clearance diving units when the posts of FO Plymouth and FO Portsmouth were abolished.  

 

I am still with the Aqua Lung group, presently the Vice-President of Aqua Lung Canada, Victoria, British Columbia.  Although many miles and 8 time zones from the UK, I am an avid reader of the 'Latest News' on the MCDOA website.  Keep up the great work!

 

Yours aye,

 

Jonathan (Jon) Chapple

Lt Cdr RN (Ret’d)

Last Officer-In-Charge, PCDU

First Commanding Officer, SDG"

 

By Webmaster: Very happy to set the record straight, Jon.  It was the Fleet Clearance Diving Team (FCDT), later the Fleet Clearance Diving Group (FDG), that was originally headed by DSofD when the area CD Teams were administered by SofD.  Area CD teams even had to send him their monthly ROPs (Reports of Proceedings). 

 

Back in the day it was all very convoluted if highly centralised.  Although the area CD teams operated under their respective Flag Officers (often under the auspices of CINCNAVHOME (CinC Naval Home Command)), SofD at HMS Vernon was responsible to CINCNAVHOME and CINCFLEET (via FMCDO - the Fleet MCD Officer)) for all RN diving issues including domestic and global operations, diving safety standards, experimental and deep diving trials, training standards, diving & EOD systems & equipment development & procurement (via MOD DOR(Sea)), equipment allocation (by no means consistent across the teams) as well as inspections of diving units (CD and Ships' Diving Teams) and their equipment, often hand in glove with CWTA (Captain Weapons Trials Assessment).

 


8 Mar 19 - First Issue of 'The Squashed Beetle'

 

I am grateful to Lt Ewan Blackburn RN for this email:

 

"Sirs, Ma’ams, Ladies and Gentlemen,  

 

Let me introduce myself.

 

I am Lt Ewan Blackburn, the Staff engineer officer and Media officer for the Mine Warfare Battle Staff currently on generation prior to our deployment later in the year.  As such I will be leading on all media releases and products for the staff.

 

Please find attached to this email, the first of our quarterly newsletter “The Squashed Beatle”.  This will follow our generation from formation, generation and through our deployment.

 

 

If anyone would like to reach out to the staff regarding media, I am always available on this email and will endeavour to answer your questions as soon as possible  

 

Hopefully this will be of interest for you and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.  

 

Kind regards,

 

Ewan Blackburn

Lieutenant Royal Navy

Mine Warfare Battle Staff White"

 


Postscript to a fairytale ending

 

In April 2016, a request was received by former WO(MW) Dixie Dean MBE, Chairman of the Minewarfare Association (MWA), from a lady called Gill Shaddick in Australia.  She wanted to know the identity of the CO ("the most awesome guy") of the Ton class minehunter HMS Hubberston in December 1969 when her British family's yacht was seized by Communist Chinese forces and then released into Hubberston's care (see entry for 25 Apr 16 in News Archive 54).

 

With the help of Mike Coombes, custodian of the Association of RN Officers (ARNO) Navy List database, I was able to identify the CO as Lt Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Christopher 'Kit' Hope LAYMAN CB DSO LVO, a former Gentleman Usher of the Green Rod.  Our information enabled Gill to track down Kit Layman via St James's Palace and thank him personally when she visited the UK last October.

 

Gill Shaddick and Kit Layman

 

Kit Layman joined the Royal Navy in 1956 and served for 35 years in many parts of the world.  He commanded five ships of different sizes from HMS Hubberston based in Hong Kong to the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible.  In 1982 he was commanding HMS Argonaut and the Seventh Frigate Squadron in the Falklands war when his ship suffered damage and casualties but came home safely.  As a Rear Admiral he spent a happy time as Commander British Forces Falkland Islands.  His last appointment was at NATO Headquarters for three interesting years during which time the Soviet Union and its empire collapsed.  On retirement he worked for various companies and charities and his local Community Council, was appointed Gentleman Usher of the Green Rod (an Officer of the Order of the Thistle) and wrote two books. 

 

Gill intended chronicling her Hong Kong experiences in a memoir and has now sent this email:

 

"Dear Dixie [Dean], Rob [Hoole] and Mike [Coombes],

 

As promised I am letting you know that my memoir, 'The Hong Kong Letters', has at last made its way to print.  We are having a launch in Sydney at the end of the month, but it is already available on Amazon or through The Book Depository.

 

Thank you so much for all your help.

 

Gill Shaddick"

 

Here is the Amazon.co.uk listing for Gill's book:

 

The Hong Kong Letters: A Memoir by Gill Shaddick

 

 


7 Mar 19 - US Navy developments in Expeditionary MCM

 

The USNI website contains this article, including a video, describing recent US Navy developments in expeditionary mine countermeasures.  It focuses on unmanned systems like those being investigated by the RN's MASTT (Maritime Autonomous System Trials Team commanded by MCDOA member Dave Stanbury).  Such systems keep the man out of the minefield while speeding up the MCM operation and offer clandestine solutions to exploratory and possibly clearance operations.  The article also contains some interesting facts about the manning of the units.

 

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The Navy is investing in its explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) force, doubling the number of unmanned systems platoons in the community in the next couple years and improving the technology on their unmanned underwater vehicles. 

 

The increase will add about 100 personnel to man the new platoons and the EOD Mobile Units they report to.  The investment in these unmanned systems platoons – along with the expeditionary mine countermeasures (ExMCM) companies that command and control them – is helping the Navy’s EOD community have a greater presence around the globe. 

 

ExMCM companies include unmanned systems platoons that use the Mk 18 Mod 1 Swordfish and the Mk 18 Mod 2 Kingfish to search bodies of water for potential dangers; an EOD mine countermeasures platoon with highly trained EOD techs that can reacquire a threat and either neutralize it underwater or safely bring it out of the water for study; and a five-person post-mission analysis cell that analyzes sonar and video data and makes recommendations on how to proceed to the ExMCM company and the higher headquarters at the EOD Mobile Unit.

 

ARABIAN GULF (Aug. 2, 2016) From left to right, Machinist Mate 1st Class Micah Patterson,

Boatswains Mate 1st Class Stephen Wodraska, Engineman 2nd Class Richard Meyer,

Mineman 1st Class Coy Tully and Mineman 3rd Class Pete Calvert, assigned to

 Commander, Task Group 56.1, launch a MK 18 MOD 2 unmanned underwater vehicle

 from a rigid-hull inflatable boat during Squadex 2016.

(USN Combat Camera photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Blake Midnight/Released)

 

ExMCM companies have been particularly active recently, developing procedures to operate on and employ platoons from a variety of U.S. and international navy ships and aircraft.  Along with the upcoming increase in the number of companies, they are making themselves more adaptable and capable of handling threats as they evolve.

 

EOD Mobile Unit 1 – based at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego, and the only West Coast unit with ExMCM companies – invited USNI News to join a demonstration mission with an unmanned systems platoon to better understand the community and how it is growing. 

 

EOD Mobile Unit 1 commanding officer Cmdr. Jeremy Wheat told USNI News that the ExMCM companies have been developing embarkation plans and tactics to deploy on the Littoral Combat Ship, cruisers and destroyers, amphibious and auxiliary ships and even partner-nation warships.  A recent push has been developing tactics to take the unmanned systems platoons and their UUVs from a ship and employ them forward via helicopter instead of via the platoons’ 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) to give them more range...

 

CHINHAE, Republic of Korea (Oct. 18, 2016) Lt. j.g. Jonathon Ferris, assigned to Explosive

Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 1, reviews the mission data from a MK 18 MOD 1

Underwater Unmanned Vehicle (UUV) with participants in Clear Horizon (CH16)

in Chinhae, Korea. CH16 is a live-action exercise which enhances cooperation

 and improves capabilities in mine countermeasures operations, with participating

nations including Republic of Korea Navy, United States, Australia, Canada,

New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

(USN Combat Camera Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Rolston/Released)

 

The Navy has eight unmanned systems platoons now and will grow to 16 in the next three years.  Each platoon has six smaller Swordfish and six larger Kingfish UUVs, as well as RHIBs and auxiliary equipment to operate the UUVs.  Unlike other parts of the EOD community, the men and women in the unmanned systems platoons are not EOD techs but rather pull from a range of fleet ratings... [see the linked article for more]

 

These photos were also taken during recent CLEAR HORIZON MCM exercises off South Korea.  It would appear that such exercises with the Republic of Korea have now been curtailed by US Presidential edict.

 

CHINHAE, South Korea (Nov. 21, 2009) Mine counter-measures ships USS Guardian (MCM 5)

and USS Patriot (MCM 7) are moored in the port of Chinhae for Exercise Clear Horizon.

Clear Horizon, an annual exercise conducted with the Republic of Korea Navy,

 is one of the largest, international, mine counter-measures exercises in the world.

(USN photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Richard Doolin/Released)

 

WATERS SOUTH OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA (Oct. 23, 2014) The Avenger-class mine

 countermeasure ship USS Warrior (MCM 10) participates in Exercise Clear Horizon 2014

 off the coast of the Korean peninsula. Clear Horizon is an annual bilateral exercise

 between the U.S. and Republic of Korea navies designed to enhance cooperation

 and improve capabilities in mine countermeasure operations.

(USN photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Frank L. Andrews/Released)

 

WATERS SOUTH OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA (Oct. 23, 2014) The Avenger-class mine

countermeasure ship USS Chief (MCM 14) participates in Exercise Clear Horizon 2014

off the coast of the Korean peninsula. Clear Horizon is an annual bilateral exercise

between the U.S. and Republic of Korea navies designed to enhance cooperation

and improve capabilities in mine countermeasure operations.

(USN photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Frank L. Andrews/Released)

 

CHINHAE, South Korea (Nov. 5, 2015) Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technician 2nd Class

 Andrew Dixon, right, assigned to EOD Mobile Unit (EODMU) 1, demonstrates the functions

of the DNS-300 underwater sonar system to Republic of Korea Navy UDT/SEALs during

Clear Horizon 2015 on Commander Fleet Activities Chinhae. Exercise Clear Horizon

is an annual bilateral exercise between the U.S. and Republic of Korea navies that

focus on increasing capabilities and coordination between ships, and aircraft in

 mine countermeasures in international waters surrounding the Korean peninsula.

(USN photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Rolston/Released)

 

CHINHAE, Republic of Korea (Nov. 12, 2015) Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician

3rd Class Corey Barker, right, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Seaman

John Dirks, both assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5,

 perform water entries during Exercise Clear Horizon on Commander Fleet Activities

 Chinhae. Exercise Clear Horizon is an annual bilateral exercise between the U.S.

and Republic of Korea navies that focus on increasing capabilities and coordination

between ships, and aircraft in mine countermeasures in international waters surrounding

the Korean peninsula. EODMU5 is assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 75,

 the primary expeditionary task force responsible for the planning and execution

 of coastal riverine operations, explosive ordnance disposal, diving engineering

 and construction, and underwater construction in the U.S. 7th fleet area of responsibility.

(USN Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Rolston/Released)

 

CHINHAE, Republic of Korea (Oct. 19, 2016) Members participating in Clear Horizon (CH16)

conduct live demolition operations in the waters south of Korea. CH16 is a live-action exercise

which enhances cooperation and improves capabilities in mine countermeasures operations,

 with participating nations including Republic of Korea Navy, United States, Australia,  Canada,

New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

(USN photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Rolston/Released)

 


6 Mar 19 - Latest Awards of LS&GC and VRSM

 

Congratulations to WO1(MW) A M Coles and PO(D) T S H Lawrence on being gazetted for the award of the 2nd Clasp to the Naval Long Service & Good Conduct Medal and to PO(D) D McGrath RNR on being gazetted for the award of the 2nd Clasp to the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal.

 


5 Mar 19 - Recent tweets  

 

Click on the linked dates to see all associated photos and videos. 

 

Commander SNMCMG2

 

4 Mar 2019 - SNMCMG2 is now taking part in Exercise POSEIDON off Romania and we welcome ESPS TAJO to the Group.

 

3 Mar 2019 - We celebrate today Bulgarian National Day alongside Constanta.

 

 

HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 8)

 

26 Feb 2019 - It was a pleasure to welcome Rear Admiral Bath, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff to our mess to discuss future ops & feedback experiences in the Middle East.  Congrats to LET(ME) Griffiths, McKnight and ET(ME) Gammon who were presented with Good Conduct Badges.

 

18 Feb 2019 - Busy and successful time conducting training and Maritime Security Operations suppporting CTF152.

 

17 Feb 2019 - Another busy and successful period conducting training and Maritime Security Operations working in company with HMS Shoreham in support of CTF152.

 

HMS Chiddingfold (MCM2 Crew 2)

 

26 Feb 2019 - SITREP: with a little over two weeks until our Ready for Sea Date Inspection, Crew 2 crack on with essential exercises.  Much to achieve. team focus and resilience.

 

20 Feb 2019 - Nearly home...

 

HMS Exploit

 

20 Feb 2019 - Welcome back!

 

HMS Ledbury (MCM2 Crew 1)

 

28 Feb 2019 - Getting personal – Crew from the French Destroyer FS CASSARD embark in HMS Ledbury at sea for 48 hours to see how the ‘Small Ships’ do it during Ex KHUNJAR HADD 2019.

 

26 Feb 2019 - ‘The Fighting Aces’ at sea participating in Exercise KHUNJAR HADD 2019.  Getting straight to the business of Mine Hunting operations, recovering a Seafox Mine Disposal System after investigating simulated underwater contact.

 

HMS Middleton (MCM2 Crew 4)

 

3 Mar 2019 - Fantastic - 3000 followers!  Thank you for following us.  We’ll try to keep you informed and entertained!  Have a photo - one of our officers under training snapped this shot in between showers the other day.

 

 

1 Mar 2019 - Sea survival is one of the basic skills every professional mariner needs to be familiar with.  But we’ll always come to the rescue of any shipmate who falls overboard!  Well done on completing your first week Gould 35s!

 

1 Mar 2019 - Storybook Waves, run by the brilliant Aggie Westons charity, is a wonderful way to support parents and children when their sailor is deployed away from home.

 

27 Feb 2019 - Thanks to the Royal Navy Historical Branch we have confirmed HMS Middleton’s motto: Verite sans Peur - Truth Without Fear.  We think it’s a good leadership perspective as well!

 

27 Feb 2019 - Like the Gould 35s, HMS Middleton is on a journey - ours ends with FOST Final Inspection in the same week that our newest sailors pass out into the Fleet.  We’ll be wishing you well every step of the way!

  

22 Feb 2019 - Congratulations to LET(ME) Patterson, who has received his General Service Medal 08 (Gulf of Aden) - a well earned recognition of a busy deployment.

 

20 Feb 2019 - Welcome back to 2 Basin HMS Chiddingfold!

 

HMS Chiddingfold (MCM2 Crew 2)

 

20 Feb 2019 - Glad to be back!

 

19 Feb 2019 - Back onboard - hurrah!!  Congratulations Crew 2 and BAES Maritime, good luck for harbour trials and looking forward to seeing you back in 2 Basin.

 

19 Feb 2019 - The enterprise between BAe and the Royal Navy is bringing HMS Chiddingfold out of her refit.  The Ship’s Staff are moving back on board and bringing her home to 2 Basin.  A busy year ahead.  We’ll keep you posted.

 

HMS Ramsey (MCM1 Crew 2)

 

27 Feb 2019 - Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.  Beautiful evening in Scotland.  The day may be over however operations continue on board HMS Ramsey.

 

27 Feb 2019 - What a beautiful morning in Scotland with perfect sailing conditions.  Great to see HMS Cattistock from MCM2 during the pilotage.  Safe watch all and all the best from HMS Ramsey with your future tasking.

 

25 Feb 2019 - Great sunset over Arran tonight.  If you look closely you will see RFA Tideforce conducting her sea trials in the Scottish Exercise Areas.  From HMS Ramsey all the best and have a safe watch.

 

HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 7)

 

25 Feb 2019 - HMS Shoreham accompanied by HMS Ledbury with vessels from Oman, USA and France have taken part in Exercise KHUNJAR HADD’s 2019 MCM Protection Phase.

 

 

MASTT (Maritime Autonomous System Trials Team commanded by MCDOA member Dave Stanbury)

 

4 Mar 2019 - In early 2020, MASTT will commence training and trialling the MMCM UK/FR Project’s Systems.  Here you can see the L3ASV Maritime Mine Countermeasures Unmanned Surface Vehicle (Apollo) on trials, off Plymouth, Devon.

 

27 Feb 2019 - Future of the Royal Navy, AUV, T45 and QE, basking in the record breaking February 2019 temperatures.

 

21 Feb 2019 - Dial 1 for REMUS..... Lack of GPS fix was a brief issue for MASTT’s COXN, as he tried to send the Mission Start Command to a reluctant REMUS 100, during the SeeTrack Training Course.

 

21 Feb 2019 - The team from MASTT brought some welcome sunshine back with them from San Diego, while testing Comms with their IVER3 during the SeeTrack Traing Course.

 

21 Feb 2019 - Cox’n at the Helm.  SeeTrack Training Week, with SeeByte, in Portsmouth Hbr.

 

Navy Lookout

 

4 Mar 2019 - HMS Grimsby on the Clyde this morning.

 

 


4 Mar 19 - Another satisfied customer in Australia

 

Mick Parker is an MWO in the Royal Australian Navy.  A few weeks ago he ordered copies of Home Waters: RN, RCN and USN Mine Forces Battling U-Boats in World War I and Night Raiders: USN, RN, RAN and RNLN Mine Forces Battling the Japanese in the Pacific in World War II, both co-authored by your humble Webmaster, to present to a fellow MWO on his retirement from the RAN.

 

I was gratified to receive this email from Mick on Saturday:

 

"Hi Rob,  

 

Just an update on the two books I ordered and presented to David 'Lefty' Wright after 35 years of service.

 

All his fellow minewarfare officers in the office signed the books and we presented them to him last week.  He was very impressed and really loved them.  He especially appreciated that you had signed both books.

 

The timing of the presentation was perfect and he admitted that he was going to order the books the next day.  

 

Thanks again for your help with this order.  Would you be willing to let me know when your third book is published?  

 

Kind regards,

 

Mick Parker"

 

         

 

Enemy Waters, the third volume of the trilogy, will cover the minewarfare battle against Germany and Italy during the Second World War including naval bomb & mine disposal at sea and on land.  It is due to be published in a couple of months.  I am donating the £10 profit from the sale of each signed copy to Project Vernon, the campaign to erect a monument in Gunwharf Quays to celebrate the minewarfare & diving heritage of HMS Vernon, which previously occupied the site, and those involved in minewarfare & diving - past, present and future.  £1,500 has been added to date with more expected.

 

On a related note, I have recently had cause to correspond with MCDOA Honorary Member Vice Admiral Russ Crane RAN, former Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, regarding a forthcoming book by my sometime co-author Cdr David Bruhn USN'On The Gunline' will be devoted to the 270 USN and 4 RAN ships that served on the gunline in Vietnam.

 

Vice Admiral Russ Crane AO CSM RAN

 

I received this reply from Russ today:

 

"Rob,  

 

Wonderful to hear from you...

 

The Australian commitment to Vietnam beyond the CDs and Helicopter Flight is not well known in Australia.  Vietnam is seen largely as being very Army or should I say land-centric.  Our three DDGs and Vendetta did a great job on the Gunline and mirrored the commitment and professionalism of other Australian forces in the same conflict.  It’s a story that needs greater attention here in Australia.    

 

Lots happening in the MCM and CD space as well over here at the moment.  Besides a number of book releases in which Jake [Linton], Hec [Donohue] and Mike Turner feature prominently, there is a developing appetite in the historical podcast environment for the Navy MCM and CD story to be told.  Jake, Hec and I, plus a few others, will be working with one podcast to tell some of the story early next month.  Also I am facilitating a small fundraiser for the Navy Clearance Divers' Trust (of which I am a Trustee) here in Aus where we’ll be talking with one of our CPO(CD)s who was heavily involved in the Thai Cave rescue [see entry for 24 Jul 18 in News Archive 63].  Basically a chat about his life as a CD culminating with the Thai Cave job.  Looking to educate Corporate Australia and hopefully get them to part with some of their hard earned cash in support of the CD Community through the Trust.  So a bit going on.  Clearly you are keeping very busy as well.  

 

Please remember me to the guys in UK.  I often reflect very fondly on my time in the RN both when under training and during my exchange time.  Good times and lots of great memories.  

 

Russ"

 


3 Mar 19 - Celebrating friendship with former CPO(D) Clive 'Taff' Thomas

 

I called in on Taff Thomas today and can report that he is hale and hearty. 

 

Taff Thomas and Yours Truly (Rob Hoole)

 

More than forty years ago, Taff was one of a succession of coxswains we had from the ERP (Emergency Relief Pool) during a dire shortage of PO(D)s while I was XO of HMS WILTON.  Our other coxswains included MCDOA member Jon Cox, Trev Kirton, Michael 'Harry' Harrison QGM and the late lamented Dougie 'Basher' Briggs and Bill McGovern.  This was in the days when only Ldg Divers and above were allowed to dive deeper than 42 metres so I spent much of my time underwater or as standby diver, with Taff as supervisor, whether or not I was on watch as MHCO (Minehunting Control Officer). 

 


From former CPO(D) Cris Ballinger BEM:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

Saw your photo of Clive and yourself.  Here's one when he had hair.

 

 

Where did the years go?

 

Cris" 

 

By Webmaster: Where indeed, Cris.  Where indeed.

 

 


2 Mar 19 - RN Minewarfare Heritage: Memories of Lt Cdr Mike Gillam RN

 

I have just received this email from MCDOA member Mike Gillam and thought its contents should be shared:

 

“Many thanks, Rob, for reminding me of Brian Braidwood’s long and interesting account of his time as FCDO of the Far East Fleet CD Team.  I re-read my copy and it brought back many memories.

 

I feel fortunate to still be soldiering on towards my ninetieth (another couple of years to go) and am still asked to spin a few ‘salty yarns’ and tell how it used to be.  However, I have finally removed myself from the local circuit telling the story of my great uncle who opened up the Upper Yangtze Gorges to steam navigation having now been video-recorded for posterity.

 

I was so interested in reading Home Waters that I jotted down a few thoughts, but I never got around to sending them to you.  On receiving my copy, I looked forward to dipping into it as I invariably do with books of reference.  However, I found myself so interested that I have been reading it in full, right from the start including the three forewords.  

 

So, I started to ask myself the question why.  Why I am reading ‘Home Waters’ like a novel?  Then I thought back and remembered the extent of my experience of Minewarfare.

 

I was made aware of the damage a mine can cause early on in my career when, as an acting Sub Lt, I spent a few months in HMNZS ROTOITI off the west coast of Korea.  Having ventured behind the lines up the Han River to drop a few 4” shells at 10 to 10 each morning just outside the demilitarized zone to concentrate their minds on making peace, we returned to Kure, Japan for some routine maintenance where we secured along one side of a large pontoon with a destroyer, the USS ERNEST G SMALL on the other side.  She had lost her entire bow having struck a mine off the East Coast, said to have been one of those left over from the Russo/Japanese war of 1904.  We both remained alongside with some difficulty when the eye of a particularly bad typhoon passed over us, losing the brow and parting many wires.  Being that close to a ship with no front end certainly concentrated our minds but the ship’s company still referred to her as the ERNEST G SMALLER!  

 

Gearing class destroyer USS Ernest G Small on 17 November 1950

(US Navy photo)

 

USS Ernest G Small steaming astern while on passage to Kure, Japan after losing

her bow to a mine off the east coast of Korea on 7 October 1951

(US Navy photo)

 

I gained my watch-keeping ticket as a confirmed Sub Lieutenant while serving in the Algerine class MSO HMS FIERCE, leader of the 2nd Minesweeping Squadron, the last such squadron in the Mediterranean Fleet, where I served as ‘office boy’ to Captain MS2 and deputy sweep deck officer to the First Lieutenant.  The squadron also included HM Ships PLUCKY, CHAMELEON and RIFLEMAN.  Thus, I experienced deploying single and double Oropesa sweeps; ’A’ sweeps with two, three or four ships in tandem; the complicated loop sweep that superseded the ‘L’ and ‘LL’ sweeps; and the Acoustic Hammer and Displacer acoustic sweeps.

 

On one major minesweeping exercise we carried the Med FCDT with FCDO Pip Piper and CD1 Sam Stanley, my first acquaintance with Clearance Diving.  This led directly to my application for the CD Officers course.  This was supported by both Pip Piper and Morty Drummond who was Squadron MCM Officer to the other MSO squadron that just happened to be in Malta passing through on its way home from the Far East.

 

Later on, I relieved the Staff TASO in MANXMAN as SOO/SMCDO to the Inshore Flotilla FES conducting joint MCM exercises with the US, Malaysia, Thai, Japanese and Philippine navies where we were having to devise the tactical use of a mixed force of MS and MH vessels in a variety of scenarios.  On one occasion I spent ten days in a USN ship helping to run the exercise for the US Commodore i/c as his staff officer was not sufficiently senior or experienced.

 

In my First Lieutenant’s time in the Dartmouth Training Squadron we acted as guard ship to the RNR Coastal Minesweepers on Exercise ROCKHAUL, their annual jolly to Gibraltar, and my final appointment in the service was back at HMS VERNON as IMW responsible for all MCM training.

 

Thus, having spent most of my naval career associated with Minewarfare in one respect or another, it is no wonder that I have been fascinated by your account of the early days and the involvement of the USN of which I was unaware.  I look forward to reading the next two books.  

 

My apologies for cluttering up your in-box with my reminiscences but I thought you might be interested.

 

Just one addition; my term-mate and same house at the RN College, JMN (John) Walton who I still meet at our annual term lunch (there are only about a dozen of us left) was the first, I believe, First Lieutenant of the first ‘Ton’, HMS CONISTON.  We will chat about your books when we next meet.

 

Yours,

 

Mike”

 


1 Mar 19 - MWA Southern Area 'Dit Session'

 

Last night's highly enjoyable Minewarfare Association (MWA) monthly 'Dit Session' took place in The Crown in Fareham.  Attendees included Dixie Dean, John Gunter, Peter Hitchcock, Peter 'Taff' Reader and Peter Whitehead plus joint-MCDOA/MWA members Bill Kerr, George Turnbull and 'Yours Truly (Rob Hoole). 

 

 

George Turnbull claimed it was the first time Peter Hitchcock had bought him a pint in over 40 years.

 

 


 

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