Have to agree there John. Of all the places I've been to I think the sight of Gibraltar is the one that most stirs something inside me, especially with warships in front of the Rock. Not as glamorous as some of the tropics but just, I guess, very British and a very glorious history. Always loved my time in Gib.
This photo was taken during ALBION's 1959/60 commission, while we were working up in the Med. before going out to the Far East. This was her last commission as a fixed wing carrier (CVL) before being taken in hand for conversion to LPH.
During the ship's previous commission she had ranged far and wide in the western Pacific and on to Australia, steaming at quite high speeds for long periods between ports, with the result that the embarked 'fly boys' couldn't fit in very much flying. This incurred the wrath of the 'powers that be', and at the start of our commission the new Captain, F. Torrens-Spence, was given strict instructions to ensure that the aviators got in plenty of flying time. So although we visited Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Korea and Mombasa, we also spent an awful lot of our time belting around at about 26 knots (our maximum speed under normal cir***stances) in largely calm conditions trying to find the odd breeze in order to gain enough wind over the deck to give our aircraft flying speed.
As one can see from the photo our air group consisted of Sea Venoms, Sea Hawks, AEW Sky Raiders and Whirlwinds, and the Sea Venoms were especially touchy where wind speed over the deck was concerned.
Incidentally, while transiting the Suez Canal on our way out east we managed to run aground, due I understand to a disagreement between the Canal pilot and our Navigating Officer! Fortunately we did not swing across the Canal and block it, but managed to get clear ok. However, on anchoring in the Great Bitter Lake half way through the Canal to allow the northbound convoy to pass, we sent down divers to have a look at the ship's forefoot and they found it had been folded back about 20 feet by the impact. This then necessitated us making a high speed dash across the Indian Ocean to dry dock in Singapore where the damaged forefoot was cut away and a new one fitted. This incident was especially embarrassing as we had Flag Officer Aircraft Carriers (FOAC) embarked at the time, and he was not best pleased.