Friday, 5 May 2017

HMS Tartar 4th Commission 1970 3

On 5 May as we left the shadow of the Rock behind the crew were somewhat jaded after several days of over indulgence and sporting activities, sport was very popular but even way back then it was not my idea of fun, nor any of the other radio ops either. The cobwebs were shaken off with some exercises that afternoon with two RAF Hunter jets and the firing of the anti-submarine mortar, although these were not live bombs.

The temperature rose the further south we went and some nights found crew members seeking air on the upper deck as we were having trouble with our air conditioning which up until then had not been tested. It took a few days to get sorted, the Tribal Class were built for tropical waters but when the A/C broke down it was like living and working in a sauna. To alleviate the boredom we had a Beer-B-Q and floodlit horse racing on the 'arse end' with wooden mock-ups and a huge pair of dice which took two arms to throw.

At  0600 on Monday 11 May we met RFA Dewdale, a very smart looking tanker to refuel, the Dewdale would sail with us for a few days, it was not all pleasantries however, as we practised several exercises with her, including firing dummy rounds at her. We also transferred crew so that some of our people could use her swimming pool, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary was not the RN.

On the 13th we crossed the line and held the traditional ceremony with King Neptune holding court and anyone who had not been across the line before being rough handled, lathered and dunked in a makeshift pool, hoses were now and again turned on the joyous, beer swilling, onlookers. I received a certificate at the end of the fun and games. We part company with the Dewdale tomorrow after once again refuelling and should be at St. Helena tomorrow for 'Bungy's' family meet up, he will have about fourteen hours before we have to be on our way again.


  1. You can almost smell the sea!
    I've crossed the line several times, but always by air so no fun and games, though I do have my dad's certificate from his navy days in WWII.

  2. Always a big occasion for ships, Not so sure it still is, PC has probably killed it off.