Memoirs

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...

A NAVAL CAREER IN THE EYES OF COLIN ROSS – Pt. 17

OTAGO had returned from a trip to the States just prior to my joining her.  On the trip back she had suffered from condenseritis.  This is the leakage of salt water into the boiler feed water.  This is a real issue for steamships and after a maintenance period it was hoped the issue had been fixed. We sailed for a shakedown, patrol and visit to Wellington and very soon after getting to sea the condenseritis returned.  This meant that when we go to Wellington we were forced to investigate the source of the leak.  In each main condenser there are hundreds of tubes carrying seawater that cools the steam exiting from the bottom of the steam turbine, so finding which one is leaking is a challenge.  The method is to fill the steam side with water and add fluorescence dye, then climbing into the ...

A NAVAL CAREER IN THE EYES OF COLIN ROSS – Pt. 16

The trip north was the usual slow 14-knot passage.  This was the normal passage speed on the type 12’s to get maximum fuel economy and therefore range.  We transited through the Lombok Passage and on up to Singapore.  It was a time for watch keeping, simple maintenance and the odd time refreshing oneself on the upper deck.  It was also interesting during the daily downpours that seem to happen in the tropics.  One minute steaming along in the wide blue sky and ocean and the next minute it would be teeming with rain and the ocean whipped up to a dull grey.  There were also the flying fish and was a sight to watch the distance some of them could fly, especially when they seemed to get the benefit of the updraft of breeze around the bow. At this time I was living in the Midship PO’s mess.  Wh...

A NAVAL CAREER IN THE EYES OF COLIN ROSS – Pt. 15

So it was another joining routine on TARANAKI and no respite.  No sooner had I got all the ticks on the bit of paper and it was off to see the Warrant Mechanician for my directions and the way ahead. Oh Boy I have boiler rooms in charge as a Petty Officer, and as there were only three CPOMEA’s who were in three watches at sea I was informed I would go straight to the engine room double banking for my Unit Watchkeeping Certificate to enable the Chiefs to be in four watches at sea.  Not a problem I thought until Yorkie informed me that my passing out practical exam would be the afternoon watch of the final battle problem in Australia. Somewhat shattered my dream of going to sea and easing back into watchkeeping.  The normal practice would have been a spell in the Boiler room ensuring I was b...

A NAVAL CAREER IN THE EYES OF COLIN ROSS – Pt. 9

Hong Kong was a place I just loved.  It for me had more life and was exciting.  It was I think the colour and the sheer number of people, it always seemed busy no matter what hour of the morning you were out and about.  We arrived alongside and to have shore power was always a blessing for the engine room branch. Whilst we were here I took part in a trip to the Shatin Valley.  This was a ferry over to Kowloon then a small bus with about fifteen of us I think.  We travelled through the New Territory, which was part of the Hong Kong protectorate.  Again the sheer number of people in Kowloon was mind boggling for this green kiwi.  We went out of Kowloon to the Shatin Valley and we were able to look over the border into the real China.  Was not much to see really as the border was delineated b...

A NAVAL CAREER IN THE EYES OF COLIN ROSS – Pt. 8

1970 started off slowly, it was back to work and the ship (Taranaki) was dry docked in January prior to deployment.  Looking ahead was exciting with my first deployment to the Far East.  This however may have been exciting for me but my fiancée was of course not quite as pleased. After the docking we had a short time of trials before deploying at the beginning of February.  As we steamed north we passed the Bay of Islands and had thoughts for the naval vessels that were in at Waitangi for Waitangi Day.  We were going directly to the Far East from NZ which was a little unusual as normally ships would spend time in Sydney working up or go the other way to Hawaii an then across to Singapore or Hong Kong. We first stopped in Brisbane on the way north for fuel and weekend leave.  Unfortunately ...

Rear Admiral J.E.N. Welch RNZN CB

Chief of Naval Staff: April 1994 to April 1997 Admiral Welch joined the RNZN in 1959 and received training as a cadet and midshipman in the United Kingdom at the Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth.  He returned to New Zealand in the newly commissioned frigate HMNZS Taranaki and continued service in her on the Far East station until joining the submarine HMS Tapir in late 1963. He was one of a very few New Zealanders to have served in Royal Navy submarines. He was then posted to the frigate HMNZS Pukaki and back to Taranaki as the navigating officer.  He was posted to HMNZS Inverell as First Lieutenant.   Admiral Welch received specialist training as a gunnery officer at Whale Island, the Royal Navy’s gunnery establishment in Britain. After completing the course he was posted as a G...

A NAVAL CAREER IN THE EYES OF COLIN ROSS – Pt. 4

Joining INVERELL was both exciting but also daunting as it would be my first experience of the big blue ocean and at the same time would be actually expected to work.  As soon as we had our kit on-board we were introduced to the Boiler Room as that is where our watch keeping experience would start. The Bathurst Class minesweepers were built in Australia during the Second World War.  Of some 800 plus tons they were gifted to the RNZN in the early 1950s.  Early in the 1960s with the paying off of the Loch Class frigates there was an obvious shortage of dedicated training billets.  At that time all four Bathurst Class sweepers were in mothballs and a decision was made to recommission INVERELL and KIAMA to be converted into training ships and also to assist with the fishery protection tasks ar...

A NAVAL CAREER IN THE EYES OF COLIN ROSS Pt. 3

After Xmas leave I returned to Auckland and joined ROYALIST.  It was easy to identify those posting as you had your kitbag on your shoulder and had your respirator bag slung from a shoulder.  There were quite a few of us coming out of Training Division and posting to ROYALIST on the same day therefore the posting in routine took some time. ROYALIST was by now berthed on Calliope West Inner, White bait corner as it was affectionately known. Originally we were to be accommodated on the Stokers Mess and all thought we were now Ships Company, however further disappointment awaited us that day.  It was decided for whatever reason we would all be accommodated down aft and treated as trainees.  This of course went down like a lead parachute. As Training Division we were turned to at 0600 scrubbin...

Vice Admiral Sir Somerford Teagle RNZN KBE

  Chief of Naval Staff: May 1987  – May 1989 Chief of Defence Force: 1991 – 1995   In December last year I advised the Minister of Defence that I was my intention to abolish the daily spirit allowance. While recognising the historical significance and service traditions associated with the tot, the rationale for the spirit issue as a compensation for poor food and living conditions no longer applied in today’s [sic] navy and the daily issue of strong spirit is simply not appropriate in a high technology service which places increasing emphasis on individual responsibility. Recent tragic accidents, whilst not in themselves bearing directly on my considerations have nonetheless served to emphasise the need for a sensible approach towards the consumption of alcohol. Accordingl...

A NAVAL CAREER IN THE EYES OF COLIN ROSS Pt. 2

Posting into PHILOMEL was a whole change of differing experiences.  There was still the discipline, which continued to ensure we toed the line.  Some of this became second nature such as Marks of Respect i.e. saluting.  There was also the expectation of being on time and working as a group, these are traits that have served me well over the following fifty plus years. One of the biggest differences was the first exposure to the Engineering Branch.  We spent a lot of time both in the workshop and at school.  School encompassed both engineering and schoolwork.  The MES ( Marine Engineering School) was behind where the new Galley now is situated and adjacent to the swimming pool.  In those days all engineering and workshop was conducted there.  This is prior to the machine workshops being bui...

Rear Admiral Lincoln John Tempero RNZN CB

Chief of Naval Staff: February 1986 – May 1987 Lincoln John Tempero joined the Royal New Zealand Navy on 16th September 1953. He trained in the Royal Navy and progressed rapidly through the ranks. He commanded the minesweeper HMNZS Stanton, based in Singapore, before commanding the frigates HMNZS’ Taranaki and Canterbury. He was then Commodore Auckland before assuming the position of Chief of Naval Staff in 1986. He died suddenly in 1987 and, after a full military funeral at St Christopher’s Chapel, HMNZS Philomel, he was buried at sea from the frigate HMNZS Wellington. He was posthumously created a Commander of the Order of the Bath. Rear Admiral Linn Tempero was a gunnery officer; he died in office (as CNS) and so was entitled to a full naval funeral, including burial a...

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