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


I joined HMS Puma one grey day in August 1964, in the non tidal basin in Portsmouth.  She was in a very sad state after a fire on the 18th June in the  forward engine room caused I later found out by a dockyard  welder  catching some oily rags alight. It was not a very good introduction to my first ship. With of course nothing to do.   I was relocated to HMS Rhyl on loan.  A few months later we were once again ready for sea trials, and shake down proceeded by a trip to Portland for a work up. In April 1965 we were sent on a recruiting drive called “Meet the navy.  This would be the first voyage of the 1965 - 1967 commission. Filled with goggled eyed, and excited school children going to sea for the first time on Royal Navy warship. 


HMS Puma second voyage across and around the South Atlantic was a young man’s dream. Of course to show you anymore faded black and white pictures, (if I had any that is,) would  certainly not give you the beauty of the places and the people.   If of course you instantly  notice the video's are of today not nearly 50 years ago, well just think of it like this. Those girl's grannies looked just like them.  Finally if you feel there are too many girls in the videos, let me reiterate I was 18 and what would you think a young heterosexual male would  look at on his travels. Museums?  So here you can look at the commissioning book.  Some African country's have hardly changed since we won what was its name all those years ago?



On the ship she was strangely a well thought out design, with its long range and shallow draft, it would  have fitted well in the Falklands campaign especially in naval bombardment. The crew you could write a book about - maybe I should?  Just  change the names to protect  a couple of us who would always be innocent.  She was a great ship with a crew of piss-heads.  Some  from the lower deck,  would later go on to become  the Captain of  Bulk carrier,  a Concert Pianist, a multimillionaire,  a well respected economist, author, artist  and even a Porn Star.


Post script - I suppose every sailor in the Andrew will have his  favorite ship.   For me on board HMS Puma, it was like watching the sunset on the empire, and a crew of diverse misfits who you would want to be with in any conflict.  Something in truth all these years later I was glad to have seen  and experienced.  

Here are some of the places we visited


Gibralter, Cape Verde, Recife, Monrovia, Buchanan, Freetown, Lome, Cotonu, Abijan, Ascension Is, St Helena, Tristan de Cunna, Simonstown,  Durban, Beira, Mauritius, Diego Swarez, Tanatave, South Georgia,  Falklands, Puerto Belgrano, Mal de PlataRo de Janero , Salvador, Dakar, Gibralter, Plymouth.


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