Thursday, 20 July 2017

HMS Tartar 4th Commission 1970 11

 As the days passed on leaving Mombasa the effects of our short stay began to show themselves, the Sickbay was right across the passage from the Radio Room and it became a struggle each morning for the Forenoon Watch to get to the door as the queue outside the Doc's got larger and larger filled with anxious Matelots with dodgy privates. Now the shame of getting a 'dose' for me would have been mortifying but for some of our veterans it was treated as of no more consequence than a cold.

Friday the 17th found us off the island of Masirah after dark, all around us were fishing boats involved in what we found out was a turtle hunt, the skipper decided to help by turning our 20" signal lights on the surface of the sea, that is 20,000,000 candle power, a small searchlight in other words.

Two days later we anchored at a place called Khor-Al-Quwai, off the Iranian coast, reputedly the hottest place on earth, there is no doubt that this area was hot and there was no balmy sea breeze to bring any relief when on the upper deck. Our air conditioning broke down a couple of times and if you did not want to sleep on the upper deck you had to lay towels along your bunk to catch the sweat as the mess decks turned into sauna's, extremely uncomfortable. We slipped the anchor and prepared for a Banyan, a large beach party for the ships crew with food and of course beer.

A Banyan.
 The tipple on the ship was small cans of Younger's Tartan in yellow cans, fondly known as Yellow Peril, if you were over 18 you could have three a day, so what happened was that one mess member became the 'Beer Bosun' and a locker was made available for storing the cans, then if you wanted more than three or were under 18 you simply bought them, the money going into the mess fund, sometimes there was so much beer it was stored under bunks or in shoe lockers or anywhere we could find. There was also a tradition with us that if you 'called someone round,' invited them to the mess they were given a can by all in the mess, there were about eighteen of us in the mess, you needed the afternoon off if invited to the RO's mess.

The Banyan lasted only for the forenoon and we were underway again shortly after noon. We sailed past the islands of Tunb and Bu Musa to check which flags were flying as they were disputed territory and it was our job to make sure neither rock had been invaded, not that we would probably have done much about it.

So at 0800 this morning we arrived in Bahrain and tied up alongside Mina Salman Jetty in Manama the capitol. The Royal Navy had a shore base near the port complex, HMS Juffair, which had been there since 1935 and which was a very long walk away if you had to do it and not recommended in the horrendous heat.

Tribals at Mina Salman, not us though. I would get a draft to the Nubian years later.

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