Monday, 29 May 2017

HMS Tarter 4th Commission 1970 6

We left Simonstown this morning, although many of us were hoping against hope that we would stay a bit longer, a small hole had been found in the hull but it had been patched and we were on our way to do a stint on Beira Patrol, the morning was spent running up and down just offshore while the engineers checked everything was in working order, we of course were back to keeping watches, no more slacking for us. We had left three crew members behind but thanks to the trials they managed to join us before we left the area.

The Beira Patrol was supposed to stop Rhodesia, which had declared unilateral independence from the UK getting oil, now I have read the Wikipedia entry on the patrol and it sounds intense but take it from me we didn't stop very much getting to Rhodesia. In fact it was quite easy for ships to hug the coast inside international waters and we couldn't touch them, the only ship I remember stopping was one which let us to exercise the boarding party.

We hit heavy weather on the journey around the Cape and it separated the boys from the men, the Tartar had two small 'wings' or stabilizers on either side of the hull which could be deployed in rough weather, but when goffers came over the bows we had to cling on regardless. We met up with RFA Resurgent to top up with supplies for the many weeks ahead at sea, at least six by all accounts, HMS Hermione was also on patrol but we were only to see her occasionally for a sporting event called 'The Beira Bucket'. This was literally an old bucket which went to the winners of several contests which could be held at sea or on flight decks, tugs of war, deck hockey, volley ball, etc. needless to say being the unsporting type I was not fazed by these antics and kept a low profile or was on watch.

Beira Bucket

RFA Resurgent
  All of us of course were overjoyed to see mail drops by Shackleton's, who, contrary to what I said earlier were RAF and not South African, flying from Madagascar. It was going to be a long summer.


  1. A small hole patched and on our way - these days on a Type 45 it's a complete main propulsion failure and back home for a £5Bn re-build.

    1. Thankfully different days and a different navy.