HMS Berryhead was a relic from the Second World War old and forgotten.  Showing  her age, rust and mothballs, she had done the job, which is all you can expect of a ship. Lying in reserve in Plymouth Dockyard.  Inside her hull was  a complete engineering workshop, and repair facility  including even a foundry.  And although we did  minimum maintenance which  included  storing ship, with essentials for a non existent crew. We all knew this old ship was heading for the knackers yard.   This was 'Up the Creek', and 'Further up the Creek.' With a little touch of the Navy Lark, and no chance of any 'right hand down a bit.' Still I had a great time on her.  Looking back now  I suppose  it was an  iconic  period. My first look up Fareham creek in 1963 and seeing the  moored  second  world  war   aircraft carrier,  Cruisers,  Destroyers,  submarines and  depot ships  waiting in reserve for the inevitable breakers yard.

Then this was the final  sunset on the old Navy. Which had contrary to the Americans,  won the battle of the Atlantic.  On HMS Puma I saw the physical mass of the empire shrink.  Of course I was  just missing my wife and having fun in the real  Navy lark.  Still other factors now took over and the square peg bashers struck again and I was drafted back to HMS Dryad.  I suppose I was happy to be going back. Now I wondered  50 years later if staying on the old Berryhead  would have made my life in the Royal Navy so very  different. She was after all  something no one would ever see again. One think which did strike me was how clean and well maintained she was inside.  But packing my kit bag I went back to Dryad   Then there are the  'plans of mice and men,'' or something like that. 


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DAVESBITS 1963-1964 1964-1967 1967-1968 1968-1970 1971 1971-1972 1972-1974 HMS Dryad   Shrinking Navy

Davesbit's footnote.

Although I did not know it, at this point in the time line. The Royal Navy, lost its role as a  world maritime power. Since  WW2 the Royal Navy had based its main offensive capability on the naval aircraft, whilst devoting its main defensive endeavors on anti-submarine warfare.  However when Denis Healey cancelled CVA-01 the replacement for the ageing fleet carriers built towards the end of the war.  The bullion sleeves simply lost the plot.  The thinking behind this decision was logical, with the loss of Empire the RN would no longer have the role as the ‘world’s policeman.  However politicians never stick to their policy and the bullion sleeves faced with a smaller navy, could not get their heads around not having a large fleet carrier in the centre of a task force sailing the oceans blue.  What happened next was a farce which would lead to young men dying in the South Atlantic, for no other reason than arrogant stupidity.


Copyright 2010 all rights reserved