Saturday, 1 July 2017

HMS Tartar 4th Commission 1970 8

 We should have been away from Beira Patrol by now but  HMS Charybdis (Cherry B) is late, so we  have been doing extra weeks, Charybdis was a new ship when I was in training and we all wanted a draft to her, I think at least one of our class managed it, maybe a couple but I didn't. I was supposed to start off on HMS Kent, one of the beautiful but probably impractical destroyers. but my draft was cancelled at the last minute, one of my brothers served on her years later. I spent a couple of months making coffee for the petty officers then got the news I was going to the Tartar.

During the last week we did some fishing, I call it fishing the Navy calls it mortar practice, after the anti-submarine charge went off we launched a boat and collected quite literally tons of fish of all shapes and sizes, even a turtle, all had been killed or stunned by the explosion. The sea must have been very busy underneath the waves, either that or it was a lucky shot. We also blew up an old dinghy for explosive practice, more fish.

Recently we have been training our gunnery crews with pilotless drones, not as sophisticated as those flying today, more like big, radio controlled models. Some crew members got to shoot the Bofors who otherwise have other duties, cooks, stokers, greenies etc. One Stores Assistant hit the floating target 500 yards out, not a bad shot with a Bofors, I had a go with one on the Sheraton and didn't get a shot off, by the time the target (a Canberra) flew over us we couldn't get the gun around quick enough before it was gone. It was flying a target of course.