Just in case you missed the BBC's Britain's Biggest Warship Series
Leaving for the States
and someday soon
NMA Plaque Update & Rescrub
If you have ever visited the National Memorial Arboretum NMA you will
probably have seen the Aircraft Carrier memorial complete with the Met Branch plaque. The plaques have proved very popular with Ships and Association so, with an eye to the future, a second row of, as yet, unmarked plaques has been established.
Please see below some images taken by Natural Cut Stone, the company that built and maintain the memorial, earlier this week at the National Memorial Arboretum, following the cleaning of the Fleet Air Arm memorial.
For those that saw the discolouration of the stone after the flooded ground last winter (difficult to imagine now), I think all will agree that the transformation is fantastic. The stones are almost as new again.
A sealant has also been applied, and this should help to protect them against ingrained dirt and algae growth for the next few years.
The cost of the cleaning, sealing and some repairs to the grout was £540. Although this is very good value, and is covered by previous donations to FNF funds, any contributions to top-up the Federation account for future cleaning/restoration will be greatly appreciated. This way we will not need to do a specific call for funds when the next work is required.
This is a plea to all FAA Associations on behalf of the Fly Navy Federation (FNF),
Bungy will be parading the Bude Royal Naval Association Standard again this year as he works towards 30 years as a Standard Bearer.
From Brian Gleeson
In early June Denise and I went to southern Norway with Fred Olsen cruises on Black Watch to 03005 (very windy and boring) then Bergen, Flam and Olden all fabulous we had a great time with beautiful weather and more importantly the free drinks package !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Our final cabin bill for the trip being. £25
Never happen again I’m sure !!
On the next table to us in the dining room we met former Met Wren Barbara Spraggs as was (she apparently was one of the famous/infamous Halfa bunnies in 1965 !! Just had to have a piccy.
Such a strange world and life is so strange at times.
And it wouldn't be pusser without one in the Nozz ones
Remembrance Sunday 2018
Cenotaph Ceremony and March Past 2018
The RBL(Royal British Legion) have brought forward the allocation of tickets for this event.The cut off date for applications this year is 20th August
All tickets will be named and are non-transferable. Photographic ID and proof of address will need to be shown on the day. In the meantime, if you intend to attend this year then please contact the Secretary with details of your date of birth, place of birth, service number and your selected category from the following:
Category 1 - Ex-Service Personnel holding a campaign medal
Category 2 - Civilians deployed on operations in support of the Military (includes Police, Fire Service, Ambulance Service, Civil Servants)
Category 3 - Ex-Service Personnel with no campaign medal
Category 4 - Bereaved Spouses (who died on operations)
Category 5 - Veteran association representatives
Category 6 - Military Charities and associated Civilian groups
Apologies for the short notice and no guarantee that we will get anything like the coverage that we received in 2017.
Remembrance Sunday 2017
The Association of Wrens had a healthy attendance at this years parade in London and many members of Cloudobservers turned out to support their local events. We have a picture of John (Bungy) Williams with his Standard at Bude, some footage of Andy Hales marching with the FAA Field Gun Association in London and footage of the BBC piece on Cloud Observers featuring Arthur Charles.
This is the latest picture we have of Brian Gleeson, not 2017 however, if you have any pictures of Remembrance events we will be happy to feature them here.
is anyone in your association who may be able to cast some light on the location and date of the attached embalmed Hawker Sea Hawk photo.
The aircraft carrier in the background is HMAS Melbourne and I suspect the location is the Sembawang Naval Base at Singapore, circa 1959/60. As the aircraft is embalmed it suggests (my guess) it has been shipped from the UK and is awaiting collection by HMS Bulwark or HMS Albion. The Sea Hawks were not part of the RAN FAA so there is no connection with Melbourne. The only other location that is a possibility is Hong Kong, but that is a distant second as the wharf features, the tractor and Land Rover, seem to indicate Singapore.
Unfortunately a serial number is not recognisable or any other distinguishing feature that might provide a clue.
The reason for the request is that the photo is being added to the RAN FAA Association archives and it would be of great assistance to be able to provide as much information about the situation is possible. Should any of your members be able to provide any information I would be most grateful.
The Sea Harrier lives on
A chap in the USA likes Harriers, so he bought one, a Sea Harrier no less! The video below is one of a series about getting the Harrier back in the air and then it's time on the Air Show circuit. At one point the owner says in one of the videos that he cannot fly it in the UK. Will that change?
HMS Ocean (VI) 1998 – 2018 The Mighty ‘O’ by Richard Johnstone-Bryden
ISBN: 978 0 9932984-1-7
Publisher: Royal Navy Decommissioning / Commissioning Books
Author: Richard Johnstone-Bryden
Foreword: Captain R G Pedre RN
No of images: 401
Available Exclusively from:
Tel 01628 947 740
Drawing on official records and interviews with a cross section of those who have served in Ocean, including the majority of the former Commanding Officers, this book is the first account of the Royal Navy’s only purpose built helicopter assault carrier HMS Ocean, from her origins in the early 1950s to her paying off ceremony in 2018. This book follows in the long line of commission books that have been published by the Royal Navy’s warships for over a century and is intended to serve as a lasting record of Ocean’s rich heritage for members of the final Ship’s Company. The HMS Ocean Decommissioning Committee, which instigated the production of this book and invited the naval historian Richard Johnstone-Bryden to write the story, wanted to share the ship’s action packed history with a much wider audience and decided to make part of the print run available for sale to the general public via Navy Books.
The completion of the sixth ship to bear the name Ocean in 1998 represented the dawning of an exciting era for the Royal Navy when she became the first of a new generation of amphibious ships to join the Fleet. Designed from the outset to project the Royal Marines by air and sea, Ocean marked a considerable step change in capability compared to her converted predecessors. This was swiftly put to the test during her hot weather trials when she provided humanitarian assistance in the Caribbean to the victims of Hurricane Mitch. This dramatic, unexpected twist to the ship’s programme set the precedent for an action packed career in which Ocean has rarely completed a deployment in accordance with the original plans.
During two decades of high tempo operations, Ocean has been deployed across the globe from the Arctic Circle to the West Coast of Africa, from the Mediterranean to East of Suez and both North and South America, while fulfilling a diverse range of roles including supporting the 2003 invasion of the Al Faw Peninsula; launching helicopter strike missions to protect Libyan civilians in 2011; supporting the security operation for the 2012 London Olympics; counter piracy operations, intercepting drug smugglers; delivering humanitarian relief; trade promotion; defence engagement with key allies and serving as the Fleet Flagship. Ocean has also earned the affection of Sierra Leone’s people who refer to her as the ‘Angel of the Seas’ due to her repeated deployments to the nation at pivotal moments in its recent troubled history. Ocean’s primary purpose throughout all of these operations has been to enable the embarked air and land forces to fulfil their missions. The ship’s versatility has been clearly demonstrated since 1998 by the routine embarkation of units from all three services, as well as, detachments from the Armed Forces of other nations.
The ship’s story came full circle during her final deployment when she was diverted from the Mediterranean to deliver humanitarian support to British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean and the wider region in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Afterwards, Ocean returned to the Mediterranean to conclude her operational career at the heart of international defence activity as the Flagship of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2.
Painting a vivid picture of life on board one of the Royal Navy’s most important warships of the 21st Century, the author brings Ocean’s story alive using interviews and first-hand accounts. As part of his research the author has interviewed a representative cross section of those involved in the ship’s rich heritage from junior sailors, Royal Marines and members of the embarked squadrons, to nearly all of the former Commanding Officers, as well as, those involved in the events leading up to her construction, the development of her design and completion by VSEL’s Barrow-in-Furness shipyard. The book is fully illustrated throughout with a rich selection of photographs, the majority of which have been reproduced in full colour, and as such it is sure to appeal to all with an interest in the Royal Navy and its warships.
New for 2018
Exclusive FAA Watch by Elliot Brown =Update
The FAA Watch detailed below is now available to order at the following link which include full details, photography and options: https://www.elliotbrownwatches.com/faa
An exclusive FAA Watch only available to serving and former members of the FAA. Priced at £495 it is hoped that it will appeal to those who would wish to celebrate their service in the FAA with a quality time piece but perhaps could not afford or justify the expense of previous watches supplied by Breitling and Bremont. For every watch sold Elliot Brown will donate £50 to FAA charities, FAA Benevolent Trust and Navy Wings.
Dining with Divers
On the face of it the book, Dining with Divers has little to do with Cloud Observers however, one of the divers and co author of the book is non other than David Strike.
David had an interesting career as a Stoker then diver before training in Met. I served with David on HMS Albion 68-69 Far East Commission.
David continues to dive to this day, tells a good yarn and is a bit of a celebrity down in OZ where he is based and elsewhere.
Memories closer to home were stirred as well this last week. Those who know me will know that I dabble a little in Model Railways.
Whilst looking for suitable vehicles I came across this model of a Bedford Tilley and so memories of transport to and from the Tower
and other such journeys sprang to mind.
Wings over Glasgow
Douglas Rough, a Fleet Air Arm Historian is writing a book called 'Wings over Glasgow' that includes the history of RNAS Abbotsinch/HMS Sanderling, can you help please? Douglas is looking for information and images relating to aircraft, gliders, buildings and people that were there from WW2 until the base closed in 1963? Does anyone recall the crash of a glider that killed Lieutenant Commander Kenneth Charles Winstanley in 1948? The 54 Sqn Tempest II crash in 1946?
If you hserved ther or have memorabilie then please contact the secretary so we can put you in touch with Douglas..
RNAS Anthorn, HMS Nuthatch - Proposal for a Memorial
The Anthorn Community Association proposes to set up a memorial to personnel and families who served at the Royal Naval Air Station Anthorn, HMS Nuthatch, on the grassed triangle in front of the original main airfield gate, using a local “Erratic” stone (murrain boulder) with an illustrated plaque.
December this year, 60 years since the last official flight from the airfield, is our first target date for an unveiling, with a secondary of March 2018, 60 years since closure and decommissioning of HMS Nuthatch.
With support from the Royal Naval Association and local authorities, memorial unveiling is planned with a parade including Veterans, Sea Cadet Corps and Air Training Corps.
Solway House Airfield betwixt Anthorn and Cardurnock was initiated by the Royal Naval Air Service in early 1918 but lapsed after WW1 and the amalgamation of the RNAS and RFC to become the RAF. At the start of WW2 the RAF restarted the grass airfield site as a satellite to RAF Silloth. Back under Admiralty control in 1939, the Fleet Air Arm commenced lodging here in 1940 and fully took over the site in 1942. Subsequent to completion of the 3 hardened runways, RNAS Anthorn was commissioned as HMS Nuthatch in 1944. It was primarily the base for No.1 Aircraft Receipt and Despatch Unit, taking aircraft from manufacturers and preparing them for service by fitting role equipment, radios, guns etc. Various Naval Air Squadrons operated from here as well as one of the first helicopter Search and Rescue units.
Most of the houses which make up main residential part of the village of (new) Anthorn were were constructed in 1952 as Married Quarters for personnel of the Air Station.
The Air Station shut down in late 1957, decommissioned and put to “Care and Maintenance” in early 1958, subsequently the MOD/NATO VLF Radio installation commenced in 1961 becoming operational in 1964.
Since 2007 the National Physical Laboratory (MSF) Radio time pips have been transmitted from here.
Contributions of stories, photo’s and/or memorabilia would be appreciated, especially from those who were based or worked at the Air Station (or their descendants). Contact given below.
Fundraising events will start soon.
Shipping Areas Quiz's
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Ashley Price has set up a Facebook Group for all Midlands Metocs. Looking to add a few more members. Click on the picture to visit the page.
Look Back to Summer
War comes to Bude 2017 was a large and sucessfull event for this popular seaside town.
Readers will already know that John (Bungy) Williams hails from there along with a few other Cloudobservers.
Bungy's RNA Stand. Along his popular Tot Gear (All genuine and in regular use) Bungy displayed, with a little help from head office, the weather charts and story for the D Day landings.
Navy Wings was launched by the FNHT (Fly Navy Heritage Trust)at Yeovilton Air Day, with the assistance of the author Frederick Forsyth.Navy Wings is an exciting development, which brings together the aircraft of the RNHF (Royal Naval Historic Flight) with civilian owned historic naval aircraft, ranging from biplanes to helicopters and the iconic Sea Vixen.
A brand new website www.navywings.org.uk has been launched, and all are requested to add a link to this on their own web pages or a like on Facebook, mention on Twitter etc would help. The FNHT website now only redirects to the Navy Wings site.
Good support for Navy Wings is essential for keeping the histori flight aircraft airborne as MOD funding reduces. Please encourage everyone to look at the site and to sign up as supporters if they are not already.
Combined Reunions Update
Both the SE (RNSESA) and Phot (RNPA) Associations have agreed to go ahead with Joint Reunions. The First combined reunion will be in 2020 in Bristol hosted by the RNSESA.
HMS Curlew St Merryn 1950's
Does anyone remember a Wren Molly Atkin in the Met office1953 to April 1954? We were originally told that Molly served at Culdrose but her service records show as St Merryn.
Her Grandson is researching family history so would welcome any memories that you may have. If you know anything about Molly or even the workings of St Merryn (HMS Vulture 1940-1953) in the 1950's then please contact the webmaster.
Yes folks Steve Howard is off on his travels again. As part of his preparation he has rebuilt his Travel Blog. For those of you who are not up to speed with Blogs, why should you be? A Blog is a techy term for a website that has pages as paragraphs but also contains pictures, links and videos. In other words its an electronic book or story thats been americanised!
Anyway just click on the banner above to visit Steve's Blog (website) where you can read about his trips to the US of A and Turkey. There are lots of photographs and videos taken by Steve and Rosina to keep you entertained and informed.
You will also be able to follow the intrepid pair on their current travels.
Halfar and Kete memories
Brian Collins was a Killick Met in 1958, he was drafted to Halfar 1958-1960. Brian tells us that G A Bell, Bryn Telfer, John Randel, Pete Rossington, Dereck Marshall were some of the ratings that were also there during that time. The American base was down the road going towards Birzebuggia and they used to get all their flight briefings from us.
Brian trained at Kete in 1956. Pete Rossington was the kellick there at that time. The male ratings were outnumbered by Wrns, something like 2 to 1. You didn't have to wear your hat unless there was a reason to do so Divisions on a Friday was to the accompaniment of a record playing. The roofs of buildings were held down by ropes tied to metal spikes either side of the building.
On completion Brian joined the cruiser HMS Superb at Chatham, that went to the East Indies and was involved in the Suez Crisis The MET officer on board was LT Cdr Adams. Brian returned to Kete again at the end of 1957, that was when they were wanting ratings to change from other branches to MET.
All this history came about because the Halfar page contained errors which just goes to show how important it is to record facts before they are lost. If you have an anecdote about the branch then please get in touch. We do not guarantee it will be published, indeed some of the best material is from someone called anon. When we ask questions about the Met Branch the usual reply is...We were going to ask you!
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