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British Signal - South Atlantic

British Signal - South Atlantic

Returning "South About" with a full cargo of crude from Mina al Ahmadi, L.E.F.O., which turned out to be Rotterdam. Electricty OK and her twin De Laval type steam turbines pushing her along at a good old clip. Fastest tanker I ever sailed on, except when she was broken down of course!

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Alastair,
I did a trip on the British Argosy and despite her size I seem to recall clocking 19 knots somehwhere. She was also a bit slower when broken down too......LOL . Both forced draught fans went dysfunctional on a ballast trip to Nigeria and we anchored off Dakar for repairs . There was a classic moment when one of the deck cadets was sent below to see the C/E for an update.
( & a rarity in those days ,the cadet was "Nina", )...she reported back to the Old man thus : - " Both fans are F***ed, their co**ks have dropped off..."

That girl had balls ! anybody remember her ?? I hope she did well!

regards,
Rick
 

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In case you hadn't seen it, here is a similar view of British Beacon but in more serene surroundings. Taken in 1966:-

http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/3923/password/0/sort/1/cat/500/page/1
 

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Thanks guys and Paul, very nice picture of the Beacon, like John I've never seen anything quite like those huge metal vent pipes, shows I never got to Falmouth for dry dock. Never ran across Nina, pity by the sound of it. We did one 24 hour run, fully loaded in the Signal, where the average speed came out as 20.73 knots! Every one from the old man down checked the calculations but we all came up with the same answer. OK, we had a 2.0 knot current with us but even so! I Remember you couldn't back off the throttle much as you then hit a wide critical revs band and she tried to vibrate herself to bits. My reference to breaking down was because the electrical power failed quite often and then we stopped, of course. The 2/O hated it as he had to get the gyro up and running again when power was restored.
 

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Alastair,
Those Italian jobs used to shake themselves to bits in ballast. All 6 of them were beset with electrical problems. Never any warning when the power was going to fail. If you were on the bridge it was a race to to get the pin in the gyro to stop it falling over before it stopped spinning. Black looks from 2/O if you failed, especially if it happened at 5 am when he had just turned in.
I think the Valour & Honour were 2 of the fastest vessels in the fleet as they had been built to certain Admiralty specifications so that they could be used as fleet refuellers in the event of war. I believe they could achieve a speed in excess of 21 kts when the boilers were fully fired up.
Kind regards,
John.
 

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John, never knew that about the Valour & Honour, very interesting. There were some odd spin offs from being 51% goverment owned. We spent weeks in the N. Atlantic being "a convoy" on the Aviator. Always found it a bit depressing when the "Grey Funnel Line" signalled to tell us we'd been sunk again! Yes I remember well the panic to stop the gyro toppling when we lost all electrical power. I was the 2/0's apprentice on the Signal and shared his watches so knew the drill off by heart. If it happened off our watch I had to help get it going again and, like him didn't enjoy being put on the shake when it happened. He was punctilious in ensuring that if he got called, so did I! Despite that we got along very well, at least we could swear in unison.
 

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Weren't the T/As on some of these replaced with BTH sets? Be that as it may, I was E/C on the Comet, Jan-May 1974, and fully agree that they seemed to be some of the faster ships I was aboard.
For instance, we left Cowes Roads on April 2nd and arrived at RAK on, I think, April 29th, going round The Cape. She still had all the original electrical equipment aboard; we had 3 'situations' in the entire time I was on her, none for more than about 15 minutes.
 

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