Hope I haven’t infringed anyone’s copyright but if I have please let me know & I will remove the offending item & apologise.
Send us your Dits (clean please) Swing the lamp
Most Electricians (Greenies) won’t like this …
An electrician (Greenie) at the pearly gate – “Totally confused and a little embarrassed, the electrician sheepishly looks at Saint Peter and says “Saint Peter, I tried to lead a God-fearing life, I loved my family, I tried to obey the 10 commandments, but congratulations for what? I honestly don’t remember doing anything really special when I was alive. Is it because I’m an electrician – the Royalty of all Trades?”
“Congratulations for what?” says Saint Peter, totally amazed at the man’s
modesty. “We’re celebrating the fact that you lived to be 160 years old!
God himself wants to see you!”
The electrician is awestruck and can only look at Saint Peter with his mouth
wide open. When he regains his power of speech, he looks up at Saint Peter
and says, “Saint Peter, I lived my life in the eternal hope that when I died I would
be judged by God and be found to be worthy, but I only lived to be forty.”
“That’s simply impossible son,” says Saint Peter, “We’ve added up your time sheets.”
Courtesy of Brian Killick TCA Member
Trafalgar & Nelson
Not many people know that Nelson was 5ft 8″ in height but that his statue in Trafalgar square is 17ft 4″. That’s a Horatio of 3:1 (don’t blame me, this is courtesy of Joanne Platt, associate member of the TCA)
Crapper the Rat
One of the most endearing ships pets I came across was a famous rat called Crapper (see pictures below). Rescued from a vivisection clinic at Edinburgh Western General Hospital, or so his birthright read, he was recruited into the Wardroom of HMS BELTON, based at Port Edgar (occasionally). I joined as CO in September 1971 and soon became really endeared to our beloved little rodent. Black and white, with dinky little ears, he tended to live in a shoebox up in the trunking in the Navigators cabin. He emerged for his daily forays with Pilot, sometimes on the bridge but generally into the Wardroom. He became a good oppo with the First Lieutenant (one Lt Martin Bennett), and could often be found on his shoulder sipping his favourite tipple, a glass of port.
When I joined, he was so much a fixture that one tended to take him for granted, and only noticed him when he was up to one of his tricks.
One of his forays was in the inside jacket pocket of Pilot’s No5`s, where he apparently was very much at home. We were in Antwerp, alongside the Bag Mealy HMS LEWISTON (David Kemp Potter), where we had been despatched to represent the British interests at the 25th anniversary of the relief of Antwerp from the Germans. The DLG, which had been programmed, had broken down, and so had a replacement frigate – so it was up to the Tons to fly the flag, which included a 24 man guard with White Ensign flying, marching through the streets of Antwerp, without a GI ! (although I did claim to be a Long G). Tons could do anything!
That evening, we held a reception between the two fxles, with our Ambassador from Brussels and his wife on board amongst the guests. Mrs Ambassador was talking to Pilot, G&T in hand, when Crapper made a sudden appearance from inside the front Pilot’s No 5`s, with a cheeky little head poking out from the fold. Mrs Ambassador, somewhat taken aback, dropped her glass on the deck in shock. Steward Pavitt, of the old school, came straight back with a fresh glass, whilst removing the broken bits, and Crapper was produced in all his glory into her other hand. An instant hit until she asked Pilot his name. The second G&T fell to the deck! However his presence was now well known, and Pilot had a great time showing off our little mascot to all the guests, whilst partaking of the odd tipple.
Crapper carried on in the ship, and was another great hit with FOSNI, Vice Admiral Sir David Dunbar Nasmith, who decided that he would like to fly his flag in a Fish boat around the Western Isles for a few days at the end of September. Not only did the Admiral have to share a cabin, as my own dog Bertie was embarked (due to a domestic problem at base when my wife was in hospital), and he lived under the knee hole in my cabin (I went to the Charthouse but no room for Bertie), but he had to get used to Crapper taking meals in the Wardroom where he was victualled. Admiral and Bertie and Crapper became good shipmates!
However a few days after the Admiral left us in Loch Ewe, we had a small problem in the Dodgy B after rescuing a female scientist in a Storm Force 12 from the Monarch Islands, and ended up on the rocks in Loch Maddy ( that is another story!). Not many CO`s have to order Abandon Ship in peacetime, but the animals had to go first. The ships scruffy Scottie, Dougal, went first, but to our horror couldn’t swim. Bertie jumped after him and guided him to the nearby rocks. Then Frannie the budgerigar (named after the Man City footballer Francis Lee), and Crapper, were handed over the side into the waiting Gemini. They were safely landed to the Loch Maddy Arms.
To cut a long story short, after Courts Martial, we were all transferred to the CHAWTON, and carried on fishing. Crapper`s next major event was in Aberdeen, where we were attending the world Fisheries Exhibition (with a Russian purse seiner alongside under arrest). The Lord Provost and his Lady had been at an upper deck reception, and came down to the Wardroom for a warmer. Lady Provost, with a very fetching buffoon of hair, was wearing an expensive mink coat. She had already met Crapper, fallen for him, and the little fellow was nestling on her right shoulder. It was clearly very comfortable for both, and eventually she decided to take her coat off, as the Wardroom was warming up. However the dear little chap had really been nesting and had managed to weave her hair into the mink. She eventually departed with coat and hair in one garment. When the Lord Provost’s driver came down next morning with a welcome bottle of thanks, and I enquired about the outcome; it came clear that in a bedroom tiff, the Lord P took the kitchen scissors to the hair!
I heard eventually that poor Crapper ended his days being booted over the side by a disgruntled AB – I hope he is not a member of the TCA!
Captain, Royal Navy (60-94)
DARTINGTON (63-64), FISKERTON (65-66), BELTON, CHAWTON (71-72)
A ‘DAUNTING’ EXPERIENCE – By Ray West (Ex-CPO Cox’n)
Old MS104 & MS108 hands will remember that the pennant number of WOODBRIDGE HAVEN was P58. In early 1961 the 104th paid a visit to Hong Kong. This was just after the new basin had been opened, and ‘WOOHA’ was secured alongside with the New Zealand frigate ROTOITI on her outboard side. At the time, I was serving on FISKERTON.
After leaving harbour on the way to Singapore, we took up station on ‘WOOHAs’ port side. After a short time, it was noticed from the bridge that the pennant numbers on her port side had been changed to F53. Having been on Cyprus Patrol when UNDAUNTED and MAXTON collided off Larnaca, I remembered this was UNDAUNTED’s pennant number. After confirming this, our skipper (Lt.Cdr R.D.D. Bamford RN) had to find a way of informing ‘Captain IF’ of his problem. After some consideration he had the following signal sent by light.
‘From FISKERTON to WOODBRIDGE HAVEN’ – Are you ‘Undaunted’ on the starboard side as well ?
Consternation followed on ‘WOOHA’s’ bridge. The Captain was seen to arrive, swiftly followed by the First Lieutenant. After some head-scratching, the Chief Bo’s’uns Mate was seen to make his way to the bridge, swiftly followed by ‘No1’ and Buffer gazing over the port side at the pennant numbers. Situation understood, the entire Squadron was brought to a halt whilst a doughty AB, or maybe two, went over the side on a stage and repainted the offending letter and figure.
Remember these ? Duty Free cigarettes for Royal Navy personnel serving in the UK were known as “Blue Liners” because they had a blue line running down the cigarette to identify them as being duty free. The allowance was 300 per month. This privilege was eventually withdrawn towards the end of 1991 when it was recognised these were not a healthy option any more.