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   To  find 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    

Davesbit's footnote.

I think what surprised me about my time in reserve, was the amount of first class equipment mothballed. If you think what would be needed to repair a submarine for instance lathes, a fully equipped foundry and boxes of tools, and welding equipment  still sealed and never used. What some Technical Colleges then would have given for that . Instead they sat there mothballed waiting to go to the Breaker's yard. There was no way they would have been used in another War. On my next ship our main air radar had a dodgy transmitter, we were told none where available. In reality I had been ordered six months earlier  to put the sledge hammer through an unused one,  because the ship was going to the breaker's yard.   Through the years looking at the mess the Royal Navy is in today,  The wastage and quite frankly the stupidity of the MOD still continues to astound me.

 

Copyright 2010 www.davesbits.co.uk all rights reserved