Saturday, 21 October 2017

HMS Tartar 4th Commission 1970 16

About a week ago we visited Muscat, an ancient town still with a wall surrounding it with gates which rumour has it get locked at night. On one side of the harbour was a fort, one which could quite easily have been in a Beau Geste movie, but nowadays it is a jail, Jalali Jail, if you get on the wrong side of the Sultan you can find yourself manacled to the walls of a tiny cell for the rest of your days. We were sure we could hear sobbing wails coming from the place at night. I didn't bother to go ashore as there seemed no point, we had been looking forward to attending a public execution rumoured to be taking place but leave was not granted until after the event, so, as I said, no point.

Jalali Fort.

We left our visit to the 13th Century behind and sailed the next day for some patrol duties, we were supposed to be searching for pirates and arms smugglers but as usual we never caught anyone but it gave our Marines something to do. The vessels we stopped were traditional Arab Dhows, although looking very much like a sailing ship, and they had been at one time, they now all had diesel engines.

Searching a dhow.

On Tuesday 20 October we entered Bandar Abbas in Iran for a few hours, we managed to tie up at the wrong jetty and had to move, not a good impression, the sights ashore looked promising and we would be back later. This morning we were in Dubai, a very different Dubai than it is today, Sharjah is only ten miles away and the sporty crowd immediately got in touch with the RAF and Scots Guards for hockey, football and rugby, yes you are correct, we RO's stayed well clear. For us it was the nearest hotel which served alcohol, I think it was the Continental, very posh, much posher than the Moons Plaza, and what has always stuck in my mind from Dubai was the flat bread, lovely stuff. The British forces in the area put on a mini Military Tattoo as the Jocks were heading back to Blighty, I just remember the bread. We missed out on quite a lot of excursions which the rest of the crew enjoyed, OK we didn't need to do as much work on maintenance but we suffered by having to keep watches in ports without communications centres, and there was not a lot of them around the Gulf.

Old Dubai 1970

In a couple of days we are heading back to Bahrain, more maintenance, once again done at a leisurely pace.


  1. Typical RO - can't have a good Run Ashore without a public execution!

    1. There might still be time as they haven't learned anything.

  2. Thoroughly enjoying your Naval reminiscing George. My dad was in the Merchant Navy and sailed around a lot of the same places but 20 years before you did I think.

    1. I would have went that way if I had not joined the RN, my uncle was Merchant Navy, sunk in the Tasman Sea by a Jerry of all things.