memoirs

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. 12

The end of 1971 completed a very full year.  From the final weeks of my TARANAKI posting early in the year, to learning my way round the new job at the NBCD School, a baby arrival and moving into our own home it was good to get to Xmas break and just wind down at the new house. January 1972 started with posting into PHILOMEL Men Under Training.  I think it was this period where they separated the school/training side of PHILOMEL from the ship support side and created HMNZS TASMAN.  TASMAN ran all the promotional and trade training although my memory is we still kept duties in PHILOMEL. The Advanced Engineering Course consisted of trade training skills (filing and chiselling a block of steel), some use of machine tools.  Also had school which was designed to sort out those to advance to Mec...

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. 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...

Lost Password

Register