Memoirs

On re-joining as a CPO within the first month I had an Instructional Technique course.  For someone who had never been instructing this was a lifesaver and I guess an eye opener.  I suddenly realised that you may think you know a subject but actually teaching it was a different ball game.  It was also a great confidence booster being able to stand up in front of a group of people and educate them as well as yourself at the same time.  I would have to say that I thought I knew most of the engineering subjects I was required to pass on to young crew members but through teaching in the school I certainly learnt a lot more and also learnt some things about myself. I taught the Leading Hands Professional Course and also the Advanced Diesel Course.  So there was a bit of variety and depth of kno...

A NAVAL CAREER IN THE EYES OF COLIN ROSS – Pt. 39

On re-joining as a CPO within the first month I had an Instructional Technique course.  For someone who had never been instructing this was a lifesaver and I guess an eye opener.  I suddenly realised that you may think you know a subject but actually teaching it was a different ball game.  It was also a great confidence booster being able to stand up in front of a group of people and educate them as well as yourself at the same time.  I would have to say that I thought I knew most of the engineering subjects I was required to pass on to young crew members but through teaching in the school I certainly learnt a lot more and also learnt some things about myself. I taught the Leading Hands Professional Course and also the Advanced Diesel Course.  So there was a bit of variety and depth of kno...

A NAVAL CAREER IN THE EYES OF COLIN ROSS – Pt. 38

At the end of 1984 it was time to hand over and post off CANTERBURY.  I was posted back into the Fleet Maintenance Unit to complete my naval service.  Being discharged at the end of March 1995 having completed twenty years and three months. Having joined the navy straight from school I had no experience of looking for a job.  Luckily I heard through the grape vine that North Shore Hospital were looking for a shift engineer, so with CV I applied and was pretty relieved to win the position. So after a farewell from Devonport I started the following Monday at the hospital.  It was a job I loved and the best times were when all the day workers had left the site you became the go to person.  It was also a revelation in that you were in a sense working for or with women. This was a huge change f...

At the end of 1984 it was time to hand over and post off CANTERBURY.  I was posted back into the Fleet Maintenance Unit to complete my naval service.  Being discharged at the end of March 1995 having completed twenty years and three months. Having joined the navy straight from school I had no experience of looking for a job.  Luckily I heard through the grape vine that North Shore Hospital were looking for a shift engineer, so with CV I applied and was pretty relieved to win the position. So after a farewell from Devonport I started the following Monday at the hospital.  It was a job I loved and the best times were when all the day workers had left the site you became the go to person.  It was also a revelation in that you were in a sense working for or with women. This was a huge change f...

A NAVAL CAREER IN THE EYES OF COLIN ROSS – Pt. 36

We sailed for RIMPAC with the other fifty plus ships and had been divided into two opposing forces.  In the fleet were included the Japanese Navy and I believe this was the first time they had participated.  The Japanese Navy at the time was a purely defence force but their vessels were modern and pretty impressive. For the next ten or so days we powered around the Pacific carrying out all sorts of actions.  The most impressive feature was being plane guard to one of the American nuclear aircraft carriers.  To take up and remain in station we were almost at full power for extended periods while they flew off their aircraft. Watching the carrier spit out aircraft was really mind-boggling.  No sooner did one take to the air than the next was being fired along the flight deck in its wake. Pow...

A NAVAL CAREER IN THE EYES OF COLIN ROSS – Pt. 35

CANTERBURY departed Devonport at the beginning of the colder weather in NZ and was good to be heading north to a warmer climate.  The first day was full of the usual leaving harbour drills and from then on it was various exercises to get everyone up to speed for the expected RIMPAC requirements. We stopped off and fuelled at Pago Pago which I was starting to feel was almost a second home with the number of times I had been here to fuel.  We left Pago Pago and were to join up with the Australian Navy ships also going to RIMPAC. The day we expected to join them the ocean was clear, no ships.  The CO decided they must have been around behind the island we were just transitioning past so flew the Wasp off to go round and check behind the Island.  Just after the Wasp departed we altered course ...

A NAVAL CAREER IN THE EYES OF COLIN ROSS – Pt. 32

Once we had fuelled and departed from our tanker escort we had a long drag down to Pago Pago to ensure we continued carrying out the required pre-refit trials.  The weather as I recall although calm and flat was mostly overcast with high cloud obscuring the tropical sun. One of the things that remains focused about this part of the trip was the obvious sudden realisation in NZ that we may get this additional ship home to join the fleet as all of a sudden we started getting increasing signal traffic about our arrival home. The outstanding event that occurred was the saga of the helicopter.  The original intention was that on arrival alongside the Wasp would be lifted off onto a truck and transported to Hobsonville. Some bright spark had a sudden idea of flying the chopper off as we came up ...

A NAVAL CAREER IN THE EYES OF COLIN ROSS – Pt. 33

Returning from Xmas leave everyone was refreshed and ready to tackle the refit and conversion.  By mid January the crew had been pared down to a minimum manning level to safely accomplish the requirements of the refit. The first task for ships staff was the marking and removal of all the boiler internal gear.  The registration off all parts being removed from the ship was recorded on master sheets with where it came from and where it was being removed to.  This becomes really important when you are trying to find equipment that has been removed to either overhaul it or later in the refit to replace it on board. The other issue we had to tidy up was LACHLAN.  It was being utilised as the ship staff refit facility for the first time so we had to spend time setting up the workshop on board as...

A NAVAL CAREER IN THE EYES OF COLIN ROSS – Pt. 28

In early August I was doing all the preparation to post to PUKAKI, this is the time to basically get your life in order and sort out bill payment etc. to try and alleviate some of the issues your wife would otherwise have to do. I was sent for by FMEO and was concerned about what I hadn’t done right or what I could have done better when out of the blue he asked me if I would be happy to go to UK again and be the Warrant Officer to bring the replacement Leander out to NZ. As you will have noted I had spent all my previous frigate time on Y100 ships. To go and pick up an Y160 Leander was going to be a step up. As a bit of background the Y160 Leander’s were Batch 3 of the class. The first of the Leander’s i.e. HMNZS SOUTHLAND was batch one which were basically the same hull and machinery as t...

A NAVAL CAREER IN THE EYES OF COLIN ROSS – Pt. 25

The trains were a great way to travel, they were fairly frequent and of course you got to see the countryside.  As in most cities the train tends to expose some of the more unsavoury areas or back sections but never the less gives you a better idea of the city inhabitants than sometimes you get from only traveling by road. We arrived in Colchester around lunchtime on a Sunday.  We were billeted in the Sherbourne Hotel for the length of the course.  The Manager was most apologetic, as I had to be accommodated in one of the attic rooms but advised I could shift on the Monday when another room became vacant.  As it turned out I was happy with the cosy little room I had so remained in the attic room for the duration of our stay. The hotel was one of the very old buildings in UK, however it was...

A NAVAL CAREER IN THE EYES OF COLIN ROSS – Pt. 23

The day we left San Francisco we carried out a programmed full power trial. This is a requirement to confirm that the machinery plant is operating or capable of operating up to its designed full power. It always required a lot of setting up to ensure all the records were taken at the right time and from the right place. As Chief of the Watch there are a lot of things to ensure that they are happening and that the plant is being operated in a safe manner. This one didn’t go to plan as we lost an extraction pump at full power. This sets off a series of issues and everything happens quickly. The main feed pump over sped from lack of water and straight away the water level in the boilers quickly drops, so one boiler is shut down immediately and the other you try and recover the water level. Ef...

A NAVAL CAREER IN THE EYES OF COLIN ROSS – Pt. 20

So our trip to the West Coast of the USA came to a close and we returned to Hawaii and set our sails for home. However there were still some trip requirements to achieve on the way home. Prior to our deployment the Navy had decided to phase out khaki uniforms. The Friday before we deployed a truck arrived on the jetty and all Senior Rates were issued No8’s and one set of white shorts with two trop shirts. Of course we only had the weekend to try and adjust these mannequin marvel uniforms fit our normal bodies. There were some very unreceptive wives when we arrived home that night and requested they make the uniform fit their loved ones. So when we left Hawaii we were sailing south to stop off in Tuvalu for their independence celebrations. We were to provide accommodation for Princess Marga...

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