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Topics - stokerstan

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1
A run ashore / The Reunion is on.
« on: June 03, 2021, 04:53:31 PM »


  Following a meeting with the North Euston Hotel Manager on Monday 31/5/2021 we have fixed the date for the reunion.

    Our three night reunion will take place on 26/27/28 July. All details will be delivered to members shortly. But be assured, that

                  THE REUNION IS ON, BIGGER AND BETTER THAN EVER BEFORE
   
 All questions will be answered very soon for you, but be assured our meet will be safe and much improved from anything that has gone before.

                   Stan M.

2
A run ashore / A run ashore to Lowestoft
« on: May 30, 2021, 09:15:13 PM »
   A very good run ashore was had by us at Lowestoft. A particular high light was a meet up with members of the Royal Naval patrol Service. We met a great old chap called Charlie, and gave him a bottle of Pussers rum. we were all happy, but there was one who was sneaking off at the back of the picture, who, fancied a large tot himself. Pictures do not lie !!!More Later. Watch this space.

3
A run ashore / 2021 Reunion Fleetwood
« on: April 27, 2021, 08:35:59 PM »


    An update from the manager of the North Euston Hotel advises me that he has staff returning to their posts. His chefs are producing lunches that are allowed to be served outdoors.

  The manager assures me that in the near future I will be able to meet up with him, and confirm a date for the Reunion.

   I will circulate all details as I get them established. The manager advises me that all the stall are keen to get us there, and we are going to make it a very special reunion.

    Stan. M.

4
A run ashore / A run ashore in Singapore
« on: April 27, 2021, 08:23:30 PM »
 Victorious arrived at Singapore on 29th March 1961. The ship had been to this place many times, but for me it was a first. The ship had had done some exercising on the way,and taken on stores and fuel oil on the trip from from Aden. I see from my 60/62 commissioning book, that we had steamed 21,375 mile in 117 days at sea. Impressive statistics, but my first impressions of Singapore I seem to remember, was rather disappointing. From my vantage point on the starboard for'ard gun deck, the dockyard looked a lot like a very hot Pompey dockyard, except that all the dockyard matey's seemed to be working, and their lunch seemed to get  delivered by a chap on a three wheeled trike with a box on the back.
 I got to know Singapore very well in later years, but that first run ashore, was a magic experience for me and an adventure, that rates highly in my feel good memories.
Garbed in completely unsuitable tight fitting white uniforms, falling in at the gangway, liberty men seeking shore leave. We were  advised that returning back onboard in any manner that might bring the uniform into disrespect, would be regarded as an heinous crime. Drunkenness could lead to dangerous results, particularly if ladies of a certain occupation,(or well disguised men) promised to give us a good time, we could end up outside the sick bay, in embarrassing circumstances. The officer of the day inspecting and warning us, I remember, also advised that we retain bus fare money to get back to Sembawang on the last bus. Being adrift was tantamount to desertion ?? I remember this good advice because, not wishing to be court-martialled for desertion, I secreted a five dollar note in my sock. It had worked down into my shoe by the time we got back onboard. There was indeed interesting persons in the city, but not on our pay rate sailor !! The five dollar note was a real loss, worn to a pulp.

5
A run ashore / A Run Ashore at Aden
« on: April 06, 2021, 05:11:05 PM »

    Seventh of March, 1961, we arrived at Aden. Members of the mess who had been to Aden before advised us not to get excited. An understatement of the first order. I remember I was double banking on Evaps. Tricky job making fresh water that is good to drink, and good for the boilers. I had got the hang of salinity testing, and maintaining a vacuum to keep a steady boil, I was becoming highly trained!  Shore leave had been announced, and i was quite looking forward to my first run ashore in Africa. There was a golden beach quite close to our berth, and some of us proposed we went for swim before we headed into town,so with togs and towels we trooped to the beach. We noticed that there was a structure some sort of netting bounding an area of the sea, with a big sign saying, "No swimming outside the Net "and in foot high letters the word "Sharks, a passing soldier assured us it was true, the area was full of sharks, and he said that the net had not been fixed for months ! We passed on the swimming, and went to an R.A.F club. We had been told that the club sold Tiger Beer, and San Miguel, so having never tasted either we ordered both.
Tiger Topps became my tipple for the commission, but not keen on the San stuff, but told it was better in Hong Kong. (I was felt I was  becoming an expert on beer as well). The club seemed less than exciting, and the couple of members assured us that it was as good as it got. There was a duty sergeant playing darts, and someone asked him  where was the best place to go for excitement. He said your at it, unless you fancy getting your throat cut, in which case go out of the base to Crater City, about a fifteen minute walk.
                 It was agreed that we had numbers to sort anything out, and we went to Crater City with visions of adventure.
   

6
Odds and sods / Flat Top Magazine. Is alive and well,
« on: March 30, 2021, 07:36:31 PM »


     Doug. Jnr.has against all the odds produced our F.T. my computer spit it out when I tried to proof read it, so Mike Humphries took over the task.

   The Memory Stick is now with the Printer,... hey Onward and Upward..

7
A run ashore / A Run Ashore at Cape Town
« on: March 29, 2021, 05:32:23 PM »
 I have just found a carefully preserved news paper, The Cape Times Week-End Magazine, its dated, Saturday 25th February 1961.There is a full page picture of Victorious in Table Bay.
I do remember the visit, but only odd bits. I now read, some sixty years later that whilst we had our Captain Grey looking after us, we also had a Rear Admiral lodging with us, Rear Admiral R.M.Smeeton
he was Flag Officer Carriers. The Victorious took part in an exercise called Operation Shop Window, and gave a demonstration of Air/Sea Warfare. Looking back now, I think that we did a rather good job of
"Showing the Flag". The Magazine also advises us that we had the Governor General on board, the Honourable C.R Stewart, with a picture of the chap wearing a duffel coat and what seems to be a borrowed Naval Officers beret, he looks the part. We also had onboard the Mayor of Cape Town a Mrs.J Newton Thompson, and the Mayoress Mrs. Victor Hugo. We had a total of 150 V.I.P's for the jaunt, but I have to admit that i can remember nothing of it.I have double checked with my records and I was there, and I think that while some people were enjoying the day cruise, I was hard at work as an (Me)1 and was
studying for my A.W.K. certificate, which on passing, did nothing to improve my pay, but was seen as a way out of the boiler-rooms.
   I had done a couple of months down one of the engine rooms, I was now skilled enough to read the temperature gauges located on each Plummer block, not very difficult to do, but I had been advised
that if the propeller shaft seized up, I would be blamed without a doubt ! I had also been "Trained" to strip down and clean a device called an cyclo ? something, it consisted of a rotating stack of metal saucers through which the main shaft oil supply was pumped. I was told that this was also a vital job, actually it was just very fiddly and very dirty!! but my work was scrutinized by the the chief of the watch, who had a particular set of punishments for stokers who did not match up to his very high standards, to which I will return later. We were definitely in South Africa, but I never saw or heard of any of the above Passengers, not even my Captain. 

8
A run ashore / First Good News for a Year.
« on: March 24, 2021, 02:46:24 PM »
  North Euston Hotel web site. Latest message.
We are delighted to announce we will be reopening from Monday 12th April 2021.
However until Monday 17th May 2021 (at the earliest) we will be following strict guidelines.
Food and Beverage will only be served outside, to comply with regulations we will still be completing track and trace, everything will be table service, and masks must be worn when seated.

    Rooms are being made ready for opening, but at this time can only be used for very limited purposes (not for us yet).

    Further details will be advised when available, but the hotel is opening soon !!!!!

   

9
A run ashore / Latest News re Reunion
« on: March 11, 2021, 09:06:23 PM »


    The manager of the North Euston, Fleetwood, the venue for our reunion, has advised me that he is hoping to host our Reunion "Late August, early September".

   We are all aware of the pandemic situation, but within the near future I expect to be able to give all members definite dates, and an outline of what is planned.
 
  I think we all need a break from this current life style, and i can only say we are good to go at this end....   

                   Take care out there.  Stan M.

10
A run ashore / A run ashore at Vigo
« on: February 21, 2021, 05:00:41 PM »
 March 1962, Victorious visited the Spanish port of Vigo. I cannot remember whether we anchored off or went alongside, but I do remember several of us stokers, pooling money for a drinks kitty, and I held the cash. There was a good sized jetty that we walked down, but it was evening, we had no idea of where friendly locals might be found. I remember that orders of the day had advised liberty men, not to get into any form of trouble, as the countries leader, General Franco, did not like Brits, did not like the Royal Navy, and wanted Gibraltar. I now wonder why we went there in the first place.
 We seemed to have walked the length of the jetty, and were about to walk back, when an elderly chap stopped us, and asked in reasonable English if we were Royal navy, we were all in the rig.
He seemed pleased, and told us he had served in the Merchant Navy during the war, sailing out of Liverpool, and seemed very excited to find one of us was a Scouse. He assured us that whilst Vigo was quite a big place, it no longer had anywhere exciting that we would find entertaining, there was a heavy police presence in the place, and a "shortage" of electricity ! no idea why. We cheered up
when the chap told us that he was off to his local bar, and we would be welcomed to join him, warning us, that it was not like the "Maggy Mays" Liverpool bars, but the host would make us welcome.
Nothing to lose, we followed our new found friend to a row of what looked like old cottages, and through a door into a smoke filled room. The place was lit by paraffin lamps hanging down from the ceiling,
and there was various bar games being played with some laughing and shouting. The room became silent as our presence was noticed, but things resumed as our guide made some sort of introduction to
 a little portly chap who we learned was the landlord,  had emerged from one of the card games. He spoke no English, but our guide advised us that we were welcome, six glasses of red wine, were set up for us on the bar. The bar was two big barrel stood on end with planks spanning them, a small barrel at one end contained (we were told) local red wine. and at the other end of the bar was a
biscuit tin half full of salt water and live squids.

11
A run ashore / A Light at the End of a tunnel ?
« on: February 19, 2021, 05:10:30 PM »
  Just to let members know that I have quite given up guessing dates for the Reunion, but in no way have we given up on having the 2021/plus 2020 do. Rather the opposite, we are more than ever
committed to having the best reunion ever put together by anyone anywhere in the world !! (We have had a lot of time to plan). I am aware that at our time of life, waiting about is not something we
want to do, but rest assured everything is in place when the flag goes up, and we will out of the blocks like the proverbial greyhound.
 There has been a number of occasions recently on the television, when half wits have assure us that the light is at the end of a tunnel, and there has not even been a tunnel. However, when I learned
that Brian Tennick had been given his vaccine injection (in Doncaster), I felt that we may be starting to see the New Dawn Breaking. I have mentioned in the News letter, that our hotel booking still holds good, I have spoken to the manager, and he is positive that all will be good.
   I fear that one of the casualties of this pandemic will be the loss of veterans associations. I am aware of a couple of associations who have pulled down their flag. I suspect that depression created
by the lockdowns and miserable media coverage, has a grinding effect on many, but it is a real loss for veterans who will now lose contact with mates who speak the same language as them about events they all remember.
Well Victorious is alive and kicking, we will be there to watch the sun come out again.
        On a serious note  >:( , I need to get out soon. I have re-read Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander series, (21 volumes) and have obtained the 11 volumes of Foresters Hornblower series, and have only one and a half books to go.

12
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   stokerstan675@btinternet.com.

    Love to hear from anyone.
.

13
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.

14
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.

15
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

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