We got to Plymouth and anchored off for HM Customs to pay us a visit before we could get ashore and head off on leave, we had to fill in forms as to what we had bought and where then line up for judgement, some got off lightly while others paid over a small fortune, no one asked me about my Omega watch so I was happy enough. Eventually we got alongside and I had my 'rabbits' packed ready to distribute on getting home, a painting from Mombasa, some wooden animals, a salt and pepper set from St. Helena (which I got back when my Gran died), some incense burners from Pakistan and that was about it, something for Mum and Dad and my two Grans. I had my watch and my Sanyo cassette player.
During our time away we had visited fourteen different countries, we had missed out on Australia but I doubt it would have been better than Singapore. Our helicopter flew 18,000 miles, we watched three and a half million feet of film, smoked one and a half million cigarettes and consumed quarter of million cans of beer (that's just the stuff onboard). We were away for 324 days and sailed 51,000 miles.
In April 1971 after we had all enjoyed a few weeks leave we set sail for the West Indies where we were to be the guardship for six months, a long, beautiful summer which was another great adventure for me.
|A balmy day in Hamilton, Bermuda.|
The tally for the full commission was 75,740 miles using 12,000 tons of diesel costing £108,000 in old days money. We fired 1,980 4.5" shells and 4,000 40mm rounds from the Bofors while the anti-submarine mortar shot 60 times. Our full tally of countries visited was 30.