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





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


The contrast between my first ship and my last.  You either loved it or hated it.  Here it was the latter.  I had lost complete confidence in the Royal Navy after this ship.  I won't mention some of the officers by name.  Even now I could use a number of expletives on a certain officer who was both arrogant and incompetent.  Unlike the  Captain, who could handle Fife like a racing car, and was respected by myself and  the entire crew. Did I get anything out of those two years on Fife, I passed for Petty Officer, and helped with a plan  to use helicopters to  decoy sea skimming missiles like the Exocet.  Which was classified to quite a high level.  Eight years later an officer by the name of Windsor  would tell the world how it was done. In the end I was glad to leave that awful ship and few months later I left the Royal Navy, along with thousands more. Do I regret  a  career thrown away.  Yes for the first few months, however with the hindsight of today no. It wasn't for me.  With a young wife, my pay had been frozen for three years, and my promotion was at least a year away.  Working in Civi street my pay doubled and within six months trebled  with half the responsibilities and a considerable reduction in hours and of course  I went home every night. I retired from the factory 35 years later. A transport  coordinator,   I  took    early retirement  at  59  and left with a

The County class destroyer were designed and built  around the GWS Sea Slug, a beam riding anti-aircraft missile system. A variant of the land based Blood Hound Missile.  It was the Royal Navyís  first generation surface to air missile intended to hit high-flying nuclear-armed bombers. As such it had a range of some 27 km with a ceiling of around  65,000 feet travelling at a speed of over 1,000 km/h. Everything about the Sea Slug was on a grand scale, from the missile itself (six meters long and weighing two tons) to its handling arrangements and electronics systems; even fitting a single system aboard a ship the size of the "Counties" was a challenge. The enormous missile was stowed horizontally in a large magazine that took up a great deal of internal space. On the last four ships, some of the missiles were stored partly disassembled in the forward end of the magazine to enable the complement of missiles to be increased. These missiles had their wings and fins reattached before being moved into the aft sections of the handling spaces and eventually loaded onto the large twin  launcher for firing.

The electronics required for the Sea Slug were the large Type 901 fire-control radar and the Type 965 air-search radar. These required a great deal of weight to be carried high up on the ship, further defining the design. Sea Slug could also be used in the surface to surface role. The concept of building around the weapons system, would eventually reduce the effectiveness of this class of warship over its operational life.  To the point Seaslug in the Falklandís campaign,  would be unable to take out low flying aircraft, and would be reduce to punching holes in the runway at Port Stanley.  A sad waste of a fine ship. The flawed designed of building a warship which could be operational for thirty years, around a weapon system which would be obsolete in ten.
descent  final salaried pension, and good  memories not only of the place but the people. Later I would buy a holiday home in Exmouth and finally move from Frome after 45 years to live by the sea. On the Royal Navy I leave to others to tell their tale.