I joined C Section in 1971. Although today the Ferranti 1600B is a museum peace, it  was then cutting edge. I was asked to work with a team on writing a manual for operating the new CAAIS, a small ships action information system.  Part of the time I worked on trials of the new system which would be eventually  fitted to Type 21, 22, and the 23 frigates. It was also the time it was decide by their Lordships to let non-commissioned officer become helicopter controllers.  My boss decided that I should  take one of the first HCO courses, so I would be able to work with the CAAIS team at the Admiralty Surface Weapons establishment, on helicopter integration. It was very exciting work, and I really thought I could contribute to the advancement of the new computer system.  Then the round peg into square hole bashers struck, and I was drafted, to HMS Berryhead, a WW2 submarine Repair Ship, which was in reserve in Plymouth, and although my boss tried to stop it.  The wheels of the Royal Navy continued to grind on and I found myself in Plymouth. The philosophy of 'if  can't take a joke you shouldn't have joined', was now  wearing thin.  Still being  someone who will go  with the flow, I stuck the solitary digit up at drafty, he was never worth two and moved to Plymouth. Frustrated but certainly not angry.  I joined the guys 'Up The Creek.'

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Of course today more than forty years later, the computers like the Ferranti 1500 and 1500B  series with  less computing power than today's mobile  phone are now museum pieces. (Along with me.) On a supplementary note all the systems came under the general acronym ADAWS. The  picture  below was HMS Eagle's upper operation room.  Fighter Controller 1 assistant's  position.  The person in the picture is a very young me showing a WAC officer how the system worked.  (Oh for those long lost halcyon days when things stayed up without any effort.)   

 
 
 These were some of the aircraft I controlled in their role of surface search, and anti-submarine warfare.  It was one of the most exciting jobs I did in my career in the Royal Navy, and the only regret  I could not do it in Civvy Street.

 

www. davesbits.co.uk  2010 all rights reserved 

 

www. davesbits.co.uk  2010 all rights reserved