FAR EAST 1967
19th September - 15th December 1967
Round trip : 31,185 Nmiles
Rosyth – Singapore – Rosyth
Distance run dived: 26,545
DR Surfaced: 4,640
This trip began 19th September 1967 when the boat moved round to Faslane to load weapons .
After a two days the boat sailed to conduct a Torpedo Firing Exercise (TFX) in the Clyde areas. The TFX went well without losing any fish. Soon after the boat transited to the 100fthm line off NI where it dived to do a fast deep transit to Gibraltar. Foggy conditions en route made it extremely difficult to take fixes using the periscope and those watch-keepers in the control room hard to be humming “Look for a Star” or “Sunny Boy” within earshot of the Navigator were usually discouraged by the threat of “the rubber microphone treatment!
The long trip was to prove how good underwater navigation can be. On the way there was only brief periods at PD to take a wireless routines and navigational fixes (didn’t have satellites then!)Fixes were nearly always impossible as the weather was nearly always fouls and the boat was to far from land, thus radar was rendered useless too. These conditions made navigation an exacting art. The Navigator relied on instrumentation; bottom contour navigation – a method that became more practical every day; and dead reckoning (DR). In spite of that the boat made landfalls as planned. This was no mean achievement when one considers the distances covered without accurate fixes.
The boat experimented with generating a “daily rag” the “Dreadnought Express”. It was surprising how much talent came to light. Some of the articles were libellous but on the whole it turned out to be a good gossip column and news desk. Here are two extracts:
Dreadnought Express 24 September 1967
Near catastrophe averted in Manoeuvring Room
Prompt action by the Health Physics staff saved the boat from disaster early yesterday evening. The alarm was raised when it was learnt that all personnel in Manoeuvring had passed out (with the exception of one lone bearded stalwart). The kiss of life was used to bring them round and soon all was back to normal. Later it was learnt that the Senior Technical Officer (STO) had passed his cigarettes round. In the interest of ship’s safety, he has promised not to do so again without giving advanced notice.
Dreadnought Express 25th September 1967
Health Physics deny kiss story
A writ was issued today on behalf of the Health Physics Department accusing the Express of libel over an article in yeterday’s edition. They deny using the kiss of life in MR and produced in evidence no cigarettes had ever been handed round by the STO. They do state however, that a box of cigarettes marked “Happy Christmas 1951” is nearly empty.
The boat arrived in safely alongside in Gibraltar on 26th September but only after the fist mishap. During an astern manoeuvre, the “Reactor Scrammed”. This left the bridge with no Main Engines and only quick action by the Captain using the Emergency Propulsion Motor (EPM) and the Casing Party prevented serious trouble.
After a couple of days the boat left Gib and started a long leg to Langkowi off the West Malaysion coast. Once clear of Gib we proceeded to rendezvous with HMS Hermes off the west coast of Africa and gave her helicopters a run for their money but conditions were not good for them.
On completion of playing cat and mouse with helicopters we surfaced and transferred mail to Hermes we had collected for them in Gib. The Executive Officer of Hermes was Dreadnought’s previous land lord Cdr John Fieldhouse and as it was Doughnut he arranged a helo drop of fresh bread rolls to the boat – he always held the boat in high esteem!
The boat was then firmly on its way and could settle down to uckers, crib, and bridge and of course movies. The “middle watchmen” on the 29th were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the lights of Tenerife and Grand Canary through the periscope – they were the last lights until the Cape of Good Hope.
On the 30th another problem set in with high levels of Carbon Monoxide. The CO-H2 burners struggled and one packed up. One answer was to stop smoking when the gas reached a pre-determined level.
At 0630 on the 2nd October 1967 we crossed the Equator – the boat surfaced to allow King Neptune and his court to come onboard (CERA Jan Greet, ERA Grosvenor & ERA Tug Wilson) – in opening up it also gave time to ditch half-a-ton of accumulated dry gash. The boat then dived and King Neptune tried ten transgressors and punished them according to their sins – certificates were awarded to those crossing the line for the very first time. By the 6th the boat rounded the Cape for a clear run across the Indian Ocean to the next surfacing point some 30 miles off Langkawi . This entailed passing Madagascar at a distance of 200 miles.
Dived for long periods means boredom can set in but it was not allowed with lectures, lots of scrubbing out (the deck wasn’t allowed to get dry) the Jimmy saw to that. In order to keep the boat clean, weekly rounds were instigated. The boat got progressively cleaner and middle-watchmen found their forenoon slumber disturbed. The real sufferers were the Marley Tiles in the Control Room which had so much water slopped on them and were scrubbed so hard that it was estimated that any remaining were due for 28 days survivors leave! The food throughout was excellent, with very little to complain about. Some of the more fussy did groan about the amount of rice that kept getting served up but as the Grocer explained “stop grumbling, you’re in training for the Far East”.
At Langkawi we rendezvoused with HMS Minerva, HMS Anchorite (Diesel S/M), and the Australian frigates HMAS Yarra and HMAS Stuart. It says a lot that with the boats limited navigational aids Dreadnought arrived on time ready to play. Whilst at Langkawi various members of the crew took the chance of going ashore to the beach with a few crates of beer for a banyan. Nothing else was available but time was enjoyed from being out in the freshers!
The Captain dropped off CEA Joe French so he could make his own way to Singers. This was by way of being an expedition to see Malaya and call in at “Fraser Hill Rest Camp” as some of the crew intended to go there for their five days station leave. However, some uncharitable person onboard loaded Joe French’s grip with three of the oldest and biggest spanners, just to see how far he went before he had extra luggage. He found them when he reached Penang (reference to this is the cartooned below).
From Langkawi we transited to Singapore, thus after seven weeks give or take a couple of days the boat secured alongside HMS Forth to a Guard and Band reception on the 3rd November 1967.
Coming alongside HMS Forth
Same group visiting Singapore's famous Tiger Balm Gardens.
(L-R) Ck Leitch, Phillip (Jessie) James, Terry Spurling, Joe Towns, Roy Davies and John Purcell.
Here's a group "getting ripped off"in China Town
(L-R) Roy Davies, Joe Towns, John Purcell, Ck Leitch, Terry Spurling and Phillip (Jessie) James