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Topics - stokerstan

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Lost Oppos / Royal Tournament 1960
« on: December 06, 2020, 04:48:36 PM »
   Stan Mclellan, was a member of the rope climbing and Window ladder display team in 1960.I was a "Swallow".
   I have some pictures of the training and the whole crew outside Earl's Court, and some snaps of member,(sixty plus men).

      I can be contacted on the Victorious web page, or by Googling HMS Victorious. or direct

    Love to hear from anyone.

A run ashore / Belated Reunion 2020
« on: August 27, 2020, 03:58:26 PM »
  Had a two night stay at the North Euston Hotel 24th /26 Aug.2020 to have a check on the current situation re pandemic The hotel has been checked out and is open for business.
  Hand cleanser, (gallons of it). Staff maintaining social distancing, in bars and restaurants (very professionally) politely, but firmly !! All restaurants have spaced tables, (the hotel has plenty of floor space). Bedrooms sanitised, and have no staff entry in place. Have a full detailed breakdown of all details concerning the subject of corona cleaning. All meals are waiter service, and the dinners first class still, and cooked to order.
   Had a couple of private meetings with manager, and the only restriction now in place is group numbers. He has permission to hold wedding parties etc for groups of no more than thirty(30) persons.
and seating must adhere to the social distancing rules.   
   We are good to go. I has spoken with the committee members who agree with me that the reunion is over due. I have contacted the hotel and requested availability of a three night  slot in October.
   More details when I get info back from hotel manager.
      Take care. Stan.

Naval History / Nelsons Navy.
« on: June 17, 2020, 05:44:34 PM »
   Press Gangs.
Much has been made in stories and films of the "press Gangs",that roamed after dark round the bars and taverns of the naval ports of England in the eighteen hundreds.
Most of the tales are myths, although not all.An act of 1744 had allowed magistrates to send the Service "rogues and vagabonds",together with "idle and disorderly persons.
However it seems that at that time the Navy was extremely reluctant to take any class of prisoner,except smugglers and debtors.The handling of a ship was not a simple matter, and the vast majority of the crew would need to be men skilled at working sails at a great height often in gale force conditions, and be skilled in the manning of heavy guns and the use of side arms.
Pressure put on the Navy during the American war when more war ships were needed to be manned,led to a further act being passed in 1795 which widened the scope of those who might lawfully be sentenced to naval service,to smugglers, embezzlers of naval stores and men of no lawful trade.Some county magistrates made a practise of sending thieves and petty criminals to the Navy, but it is unclear how many of these "landsmen" the navy actually accepted.
      I rather think that the title of man with no lawful trade, could be gainfully applied today quite widely, must drop a line to the recruitment office to see if the '95 act still holds good.

A run ashore / Isle -of-Man.
« on: March 28, 2020, 04:10:49 PM »
  Went to Isle -of-Man. Place just gone into lock down, mostly shut up. except this place. Little church yard Where Norman Wisdom is buried. Got off the island on the last boat home, thought we might be joining Norman

The lighter side / How to get through lock downs.
« on: March 24, 2020, 05:10:54 PM »
 Lock downs are not a new thing. I do not mean "Lock In's" where you get to sip drinks all night, but what we have to do to try to dodge THE LERGY, without getting twitchy.

  First really great idea. Widely used if your stuck down the engine room plodding up and down the Persian Gulf, doing a steady 96 rev's for six weeks.Note this is good down the boiler room as well.
Take one pussers torch, every one has one >:( Dismantle it down to its absolute basic parts, and lay them down on the bottom of an up turned doby bucket, easily acquired if you have not got one.
     Check who the dimmest stoker is on your watch, and show him the dismantled torch, being amazed how many bits it needs to make it work. Next discuss how assembling these torches must be quite difficult, and suggest it must take an awful lot of time to get it right. Have difficulty putting your torch together,and accept his help in in putting it back together.Be amazed how easy he made the reassembly appear, get him to take it apart so you can time him in the task. Be very amazed at his speed.Next watch. Advise him you have been practicing assembling a torch, and you think you may be faster than him. Have a race. Be a little annoyed that he wins so easily! He wins the next three tries !!! you are obviously very annoyed and you challenge him !! staking your tot.!!!
         If your nice you let him have sipper of HIS tot..  Beware however there are stokers who are real experts at Pussers Torch assembly! Lots of practice gets you through through long watches.
 p.s. Of course the torch must light up to claim the win, the expert by sleigh of hand can easily nobble the torch spring etc.  ;D

A run ashore / 2020 Victorious Reunion
« on: November 11, 2019, 08:57:34 PM »
   I realised at our October reunion that we all had got a bit older. Stairs have got a bit steeper,time between naps quite a lot shorter, hotel chairs not as comfortable, queueing up to be served with dinner much less fun, bar staff much less polite, needing to walk distances to car parks getting out of the question.

     I could go on, and it might only be my opinion, but I am doing some indepth scientific examination of this issue, and will report my findings back to you.
 I find that I still do like tradition, rum, but not quite as much as in yesteryear, and a comfortable lounge where I can tell my sea stories (without shouting).holds some real attraction !!
      I find that I now look at the weather forcast in detail, and events in the depth of winter tend to be a bit of a drag. Christmas is ok... but  well Coventry in October no longer fills me with
excitment, and I have a feeling that an evening walk round Coventry after dark ...... well not for me anyway.
    I think at our age we are entitled to somthing a little better. I will report back soon, as to what is available, and at what price. I hope I can surprise you. If not there is always the Britannia.
    Comments very welcome.

Today's Navy / Type 26 Frigates under construction for the R.N.
« on: August 17, 2019, 05:32:55 PM »
An article in the Times Newspaper (Tuesday August 13) reported on the New Type 26 Frigates currently being built on the Clyde by BAE Systems. The ships described as the being Versatile, agile and quiet are proving to be a massive export success. The R.N. had place a preliminary order for eight of these vessels, three are currently under construction, the first ship to be named HMS Glasgow is expected to go into service in the mid 2020's. The main substance of the article, is the remarkable interest that is being shown in the ships all round the world. The Managing director of BAE Naval Ships,  Mr. Steve Timms acknowledged that they initially thought that they would build eight vessels,but, today they have on their books orders for thirty two ships.
   The Type 26 is expected to be able to perform a multitude of tasks.The main jobs sited in this report, is searching for Russian submarines, and defending our nuclear-armed submarines. The 26 will it seems also play a role in looking after our Carriers and can be equipped to carry out humanitarian missions if called upon.
   Australia has signed up to BAE's Type 26 designs and will build nine of the ships in as combat vessels in BAE's Adelaide yards,and Canada are to build 15 of the ships under licence in Nova Scotia'
Mr Timms who is in charge of Type 26 production at  Govan, said that this ship is the most complex warship ever designed or built.In oceans where it does not wish to be seen or heard the 150m frigate can  claim a sonic footprint of a small fishing trawler  .P.T.O.
Article written by Robert Lea.

A run ashore / The Highlanders' museum.
« on: August 04, 2019, 02:06:52 PM »
 The Highlanders Museum is located in the very impressive Fort George.The fort was built on the instructions of King George, following the Jacobite rebellions,and covers a large area( about the size of 40 football pitches). The fort itself is interesting to see, probably the best preserved fortification of its sort in Europe. The forts ramparts are still fully maintained, and those fit enough can walk around them, (more than half a mile). Whilst the fort was built soon after the battle of Culloden, it has remained manned by the Highland regiments ever since. The museum sections are quite remarkable in the amount of memorabilia collected there, and the well displayed details of the regiments who have been billeted within the castle. During the recent amalgamation of the various Scottish regiments, a great deal of history could have been lost, but Fort George seems to have found a place to keep the hard won and truly unique collections alive, and still provide a home for the 4th Battalion of the Royal regiment of Scotland.
 The place has to be visited to fully be appreciated,but a Google on "Fort George Inverness" gives some idea of the place and its location.

    Very well worth an extended visit.

A run ashore / Culloden
« on: July 28, 2019, 10:12:26 PM »
 Many of us had heard about the battle of Culloden, and how "Bonnie Prince Charlie" came over from France to take the crown of Scotland from the "English", a lot of exciting novels have been written about the subject,but it seems most of them were not too historically accurate.
   A New Visitor Centre close to the actual battlefield of Culloden tells a story that has been well researched,and presented in a way that does not seek to attribute blame, but explains how the battle came about. The centre has a remarkable display of artifacts, and a brilliant high tech surround cinema that creates the effect of being stood in the middle of the battle at the height of the " hand to hand"conflict. The film is only of a few minutes duration,but the sights and sound can have quite a disturbing effect !
        There is an hourly battle field walk with a guide who points out the battle field in detail, and answered every question in a very interesting way. A lot of research seems to have been conducted into the detailed aspects of this battle, and a remarkably balanced story has emerged.
    The battle lasting about an hour and in a small area, cost the lives of 1600 men, 1500 of them Prince Charies Jacobites.

A run ashore / Scotland
« on: July 24, 2019, 08:52:05 PM »
      Had a couple of weeks driving round the Scottish Highlands recently,and found a some interesting places.
 We had a three day stay over in Tobermory, on the Isle of Mull. We were advised that the Royal navy had in times past made much use of an anchorage in the bay just round from the town.
 We were told that a freshwater waterfall,that fed into the bay had during the Napoleonic period been used by numerous ships to top up their fresh water stocks.The ship could stock up in relative security,and particularly during the long periods that the Navy was maintaining the long blockade on the French, this must have been a welcome break.
    Over a hundred years later, during the second world war, the same site was used for exactly the same purpose by numerous naval ships, particularly those involved in the long task of escorting
convoy, vessels during the worst periods of the Uboat war. I have been unable to find any pictures of the activity,but we eventually located the actual waterfall about a mile up the coast from the town. There is a pier, still standing from the war period, but how water would have been taken onto the ship, seems to have  now been lost. It was suggested that in Nelsons time the ship would anchor in shore, and barrels were taken and filled using oar power.I would guess in the 1940's some form of pumps must have existed, but however it was done, it seems it saved a lot of sea time, and the water still rolls down the waterfall clear and cold.The waterfall flows out from an area called Aros Park,the fall can be found by walking round the coastal path, or by following the main road out of the town. (well sign posted).
Have some good pictures, but cannot get them to download.....working on it. ???

Odds and sods / New Flat Top Mag.
« on: July 02, 2019, 09:39:16 PM »

    The latest F.T. is currently being printed, and will be circulated when I get back from my holidays. !! No moaning please, I am doing my best. !!

    I note that the current editor has asked for items of interest to be forwarded to him. Please think up some thing for him to edit, or I will have to return to my tales of three drum boilers, or stokers tales, and they will be mostly a pack of lies.... but it will serve you right. !!

 While I am on.... get booked for Coventry, anyone who has lost their booking form contact me or the Hon Sec  Topsey.  >:( >:(

Today's Navy / Submarines and BAE Systems
« on: June 01, 2019, 05:12:37 PM »
  I recently came across an article in a Cumbrian free magazine,(in cumbria April 2019 edition),explaining why the magazine had voted BAE Systems number one organization of the month. I was surprised and very impressed with what I read.
Our new super carrier has had considerable publicity over the past couple of years, (not all of it good), but as far as conversions about our service goes,it does tend to have hogged the lime light some what. The submarines being constructed in Barrow-in Furness today, are said to be, in terms of complexity akin to the building of space shuttles.There has been massive development in the old dockyard areas,and there is currently in the region of 10,000 people either directly involved in the building work, or in the 98 Cumbrian companies involved in the supply chain. BAE has constructed a twenty five million Skills and Knowledge Academy to produce a highly skilled work force, for the future. Their recruitment adverts advise that they need at least 280 apprentices this year alone, offering long term jobs for both apprentices and graduates. The article is too long to be fully reproduced here, but Googling Bae systems, opens up another side of our (Potential) Modern Royal Navy.
   It should not be overlooked

   A finished boat rolling out . An Astute I think.    (wonder which end the boiler room is ?)

A run ashore / Booking at the North Euston Hotel 13th May
« on: April 10, 2019, 11:21:40 PM »
        A number of members have now booked for the mini-meet at Fleetwood. There does not seem to be any problems, so would advise that anyone wishing to join us should phone the hotel.

   Remember to advise the receptionist that it is the Victorious meeting rate. They take a card number from you to reserve a room, but no money is taken until check in.
               Phone Number....01253 876523.  Anyone needing more details, ring Stan on 01132 555562.  or email as above.

A run ashore / Fleetwood possible mini meet 2019
« on: March 06, 2019, 04:18:38 PM »
 Fleetwood. for those who do not know, is a town on the North West coast about ten miles north of Blackpool. I am not sure that many(any) really famous people come from the town,but George Formby, I happen to know, did perform at the Marine Gardens Pavilion soon after the war.
  However, Fleetwood was once the third largest trawler post in the U.K. like Hull and Grimsby, and as we saw at Lowestoft at last year's mini-meet, fishing has all but died in the port..Fleetwood did have a very vibrant holiday trade, with visitors primarily coming from the industrial areas of Lancashire and Yorkshire, filling the town every summer during the "Wakes Weeks"when whole populations of cotton workers arrived into the town mostly on the railways.Like the Trawler fleet, the railway stations have long since gone.
    On our visit to Sparrows nest last year, I learned a great deal about the Royal Naval Patrol Service, and discovered that the town of Fleetwood along with all the larger U.K.ports had their ships and crews requisitioned at the outbreak of war, many of them never came back. The small Fleetwood museum has some sad records, listing some of the losses,  as they say "Keeping History Alive"
  Fleetwood is for the most part a quiet town, but it does still retain much of the infrastructure created in its heydays of the 1950's.A place where we could I feel, have a decent mini-meet if sufficient members feel up to the trip.

Naval History / Rum.
« on: February 14, 2019, 08:13:07 PM »
                 A notelet was attached to the neck of a bottle of Pusser's rum I was opening. Whilst I know that very few of our membership registered as "T" I fancy that some bits about making rum may not be fully known to all. I will admit, that reading about rum may not be as popular as drinking the stuff, but education is never wasted (and neither is good rum).

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