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  #26  
Old 4th January 2009, 20:21
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Pat Thompson Pat Thompson is offline  
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Greetings,

Ashanti was the first warship I ever went on board. I was an apprentice in West Hartlepool Steam Navigation's Kepwickall and we met up with Ashanti in Bahrein (Mina Suleman Jetty) in June (ish) 1963. I was given a tour around my the duty Middy. Compared to Kepwickhall she was "Star Wars".
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  #27  
Old 4th January 2009, 21:00
Jim S Jim S is offline   SN Supporter
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Evaporators

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Originally Posted by Cooky Boy View Post
I was om Ashanti in 64/65 (2nd commission), at the same time as Slim Whitman. I was an REM looking after the 293 & 965 radars, IFF and suchlike. Remember him and the Navvy, can't remember his name but can still picture him and if I remember correctly, he was married to some titled lady. The skipper was Commander Thackwell and the Jimmy for the first half of that commision was a Timothy Richard Wingfield Mundy (believe I have that right).

I enjoyed my time (my only surface ship, spent the rest of my 23yrs in boats) on her and have some very good lasting memories but she was a bit of a pig at times. The finish on her was not as good as those that followed. ie, doors were grey painted aluminium covered, without architraves, the rest had wooden doors and architraves. The aircon was out of action more often than working, not good up the Gulf and with no scuttles, the stabilisers were not very good and even made conditions worse at times. The evaporators rarely worked so we found ourselves often under rationing (good training for my career in boats) and having to use the salty brackish water from Bahrain.

We had one spell when we were supposed to be transitting directly from Mombasa to Bahrain, so we were only stored for this but on route we were told to stay at sea for another couple of weeks patrolling the Gulf. What then followed was that we ran out of water completely, went on food rationing (two potatoes per man per day and little else to go with it), they Naafi ran short of beer and cigarettes were strictly rationed. To make matters worse, the evaporators and aircon fell over completely, quickly followed by the G6 turbine which attempted to throw bits off, then the shaft luboil was found to be contaminated and we had no more to replace it. We then effectively floated around for a few days whilst waiting for an RFA to replenish us.

I believe it was during that episode that several of us in the electrical branch were seconded to do rounds in the Engine Room, Boiler Room etc, to check temperatures. Being without aircon the temps were up in the 130/140 mark, we didn't stay in there very long, just long enough to check the temps and back out. Needed gloves to prevented burning on the ladder handrails. Very character building.

As mentioned previously in this thread, she lost a few crew members. We lost one, Knocker White an AB I believe (I bought his case at the auction), one of the ships divers, whilst carrying out a bottom search one night at Portland during work-up, July 64. Someone forgot to turn off the cooling pumps and he was sucked onto the inlet grill which pulled his mask off. A Very sad night.
Sorry to hear of your water problems - However the evaporators worked perfectly well when we installed them (says I ex G & J Weir apprentice). There was one set in the gearing room together with an auxiliary boiler. The other set was in engine room.
While in latter stages of fitting out and basin trials at Queen's Dock, Glasgow it was one of my duties to flash up and run the gearing room set of evaporators to make boiler feed water, Of course we did not attempt to distill from the dock water but from the city's fresh water supply which believe it or not is often a more difficult medium to make boiler feed quality distilled water from than it is from sea water.
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  #28  
Old 5th January 2009, 14:47
Cooky Boy Cooky Boy is offline  
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Originally Posted by Jim S View Post
Sorry to hear of your water problems - However the evaporators worked perfectly well when we installed them (says I ex G & J Weir apprentice). There was one set in the gearing room together with an auxiliary boiler. The other set was in engine room.
While in latter stages of fitting out and basin trials at Queen's Dock, Glasgow it was one of my duties to flash up and run the gearing room set of evaporators to make boiler feed water, Of course we did not attempt to distill from the dock water but from the city's fresh water supply which believe it or not is often a more difficult medium to make boiler feed quality distilled water from than it is from sea water.
I don't doubt they were Jim. I believe it was more to do with her having returned from a commission in the Persian Gulf, which gives any ship a bit of a hammering and having only a 3 month refit, things were a bit rushed and we were back to sea, then off to the Gulf again before we were really ready. I remember some of the engineering guys complaining that the maintenance and repairs had been rushed and not fully complete.

Things never change, do they?
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  #29  
Old 5th January 2009, 19:57
Jim S Jim S is offline   SN Supporter
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HMS Ashanti

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Originally Posted by Cooky Boy View Post
I don't doubt they were Jim. I believe it was more to do with her having returned from a commission in the Persian Gulf, which gives any ship a bit of a hammering and having only a 3 month refit, things were a bit rushed and we were back to sea, then off to the Gulf again before we were really ready. I remember some of the engineering guys complaining that the maintenance and repairs had been rushed and not fully complete.

Things never change, do they?
You are spot on with your last line - Long spells of refits/overhauls often created many headaches for the ship when she went back to sea again.
I can only speak from MN experience but RN seems to have similar outcome although in the case of the RN the dockyard has a much longer time to mess things up.
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  #30  
Old 11th March 2009, 11:24
khib70 khib70 is offline  
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Originally Posted by Po stoker View Post
The fire in 77 was the result of an error by a junior engine room rating who, having broken a glass thermometer in its pocket leaving the bulb end still in the pocket decided that the best course of action was to unscrew the said thermometer pocket and tip the bulb out!

80psi at 120 deg C relay oil on a turbo alternator suddenly found freedom..... the oil flashed off and the rest is history. I believe the junior rating was not one of those killed.

Also to reply to the other post about losing people over the side due to a freak wave out of Bermuda, it was 3 not 2 an AB Rodgers, PO Taws and i don't remember the other name, as i was down below in the stokers mess i didn't see the wave but it was said to be approx 60ft high and a couple of hundred feet wide, we very nearly went over, measured to 43 deg i believe.

Dave
Hi. Was an LRO(W) in Ashanti at the time of the freak wave. Definitely was two killed, not three. PO John Taws was a Geordie and a three badge veteran who was taking OS Nigel Rodgers for part of his AB exam on the upper deck. There was a big swell, but the wave was right out of the blue. I was reading in my bunk at the time and ended up hanging on for dear life to avoid ending up on the deck.

PO Taws was a great character, well liked throughout the ships' company. I was one of the ship's SRE operators during the West Indies deployment. On one occasion I played a record for him as a request from his wife on their (I think) silver wedding. Five minutes later, he appeared at the door of the SRE office and handed in a pint of beer.

It had been a great deployment in the Caribbean, including several memorable banyans, and the normal excitement at coming home was muted a bit by the loss of two shipmates in such a sudden and dramatic manner.
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  #31  
Old 11th May 2009, 09:31
Taws B Taws B is offline  
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Originally Posted by khib70 View Post
Hi. Was an LRO(W) in Ashanti at the time of the freak wave. Definitely was two killed, not three. PO John Taws was a Geordie and a three badge veteran who was taking OS Nigel Rodgers for part of his AB exam on the upper deck. There was a big swell, but the wave was right out of the blue. I was reading in my bunk at the time and ended up hanging on for dear life to avoid ending up on the deck.

PO Taws was a great character, well liked throughout the ships' company. I was one of the ship's SRE operators during the West Indies deployment. On one occasion I played a record for him as a request from his wife on their (I think) silver wedding. Five minutes later, he appeared at the door of the SRE office and handed in a pint of beer.

It had been a great deployment in the Caribbean, including several memorable banyans, and the normal excitement at coming home was muted a bit by the loss of two shipmates in such a sudden and dramatic manner.
Hello my name is Brian Taws and PO Taws was my uncle, A friend of mine pointed me towards this forum.
I remember my uncle (Jack) as he was known coming to visit us at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, he always used to turn up in his Naval uniform, a proud man indeed and proud of being in the Navy.
It warms me to read the kind words posted about him here, he was a very kind and generous man, when he visited he always had a big bag of coins with him and we, my sisters and I, were allowed to put a hand in the bag and everything we could grab was ours.
For some reason or other, I have always thought that he died on the Ark Royal while trying to save the life of another seaman, I recall being told that he died in heroic circumstances.
Can anybody shed more light on the exact circumstances of his death.

Thank you

Brian A J Taws
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  #32  
Old 11th May 2009, 10:05
Taws B Taws B is offline  
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I dug up an old photo of PO Taws taken at his home in Portsmouth.

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  #33  
Old 28th May 2009, 11:18
khib70 khib70 is offline  
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Originally Posted by Taws B View Post
Hello my name is Brian Taws and PO Taws was my uncle, A friend of mine pointed me towards this forum.
I remember my uncle (Jack) as he was known coming to visit us at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, he always used to turn up in his Naval uniform, a proud man indeed and proud of being in the Navy.
It warms me to read the kind words posted about him here, he was a very kind and generous man, when he visited he always had a big bag of coins with him and we, my sisters and I, were allowed to put a hand in the bag and everything we could grab was ours.
For some reason or other, I have always thought that he died on the Ark Royal while trying to save the life of another seaman, I recall being told that he died in heroic circumstances.
Can anybody shed more light on the exact circumstances of his death.

Thank you



Brian A J Taws
Brian, it's great to hear from a relative of John Taws. You are absolutely right to be proud of him. I remember him as a real gentleman with a fine, dry sense of humour. He was a real father figure to the younger members of the seaman branch, and his experience and great seamanship skills were passed on to many, not, I'm sure, just on Ashanti. Sadly, it was that aspect of him that indirectly led to his death.

John was taking a young Ordinary Seaman, Nigel Rogers, through his AB exam on the ship's upper deck, when she was struck out of the blue by a huge wave. The ship listed alarmingly, before her Clyde-built quality came to the fore and she righted herself. As far as I am aware John was killed instantly, and OS Rodgers was washed overboard, his body never being recovered,

Maybe not everyone's idea of an heroic death, but he certainly died doing what he loved most, and on the deck of one of HM ships.

It was a desperate shock to the whole company to lose two shipmates at such a time and in such a way. Tragically ironic that one of the oldest and the youngest hands on the ship should have died together.

Thanks for posting the photo, which shows him exactly as I remember him. As I say, you can be very proud of your uncle

Keith Leadbetter
Ex LRO(W)
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  #34  
Old 28th May 2009, 14:14
Taws B Taws B is offline  
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Thank you for your answer Keith and for your kind words.

Cha d'dhin dorus nach d'fhosgail dorus
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  #35  
Old 4th June 2009, 22:00
stoker stoker is offline
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I was interested to read the posts on HMS Ashanti's deployment to the gulf. In 1967 I was 2nd Eng. on MV Irish Ash when we spent 6 weeks up the gulf. Ashanti was on the other side of the jetty to us in Bahrain so we did a bit of ship visiting. I had not been on a warship before, not counting the Irish Naval Service's three Flower class corvettes which I had worked on as a dockyard apprentice in the early sixties, so the size of the accommodation and machinery rooms was an eye opener for both merchant men and RN personnel. Ashanti's Engineering officer couldn't believe the enormous Doxford engine developed only 5500 hp or that we only consumed 14 tons of fuel per day.
On the first morning as we had "smoko" ( stand easy in naval terms) leaning over the rail, watching the comings and goings on Ashanti, a couple of sailors carried empty 5 gal. oil drums down the gangway and left them on the quay under the watchful eye of a Royal Marine officer who roared out "square that lot up there" (meaning the drums), this greatly amused our lot who began taking off the plummy accent. One of our Donkeymen who had been in the British army, told them to shut up because "them Royal Marine officers are a crowd of b----rds and he will only take it out on the men".
We had sold our empty oil drums in Massawa, I wonder how much they would have fetched in Bahrain?.
Good to know some of the crew are well and posting on SM.
By the way the AC was working when I visited, I was envious,we didn't have AC and I still remember the sweat box of a cabin I tried to sleep in.Did some one say happy days?
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  #36  
Old 27th September 2009, 07:33
JeffM10 JeffM10 is offline  
 
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Served on HMS Ashanti 2006 - 2007 as a CEM. Left in Chatham after she was berthed there for repairs after the tragic fire as did most of the ships company.

I was in the SCR at the time of the fire working alongside the Chief of Section (Can't remeber his name) on the 170 Sonar when the lights went out. As I had my hands in one of the sonar draws taking voltage measurements my very first thought was, did I do that! the timing of the lights going out and me putting the prods on the terminals was simultaneous. Stupid however that was my very first thought. Then everything became automatic after that, it pays to have good training.

I seem to remember Tiny Little having just finished his stint as part of the dining hall party and becoming a fully fledged stoker and was working in the boiler room at the time.

I still think from time to time about the guys who lost there lives and also how much worse the incident might have been. It just goes to show how teams who are well trained and committed in very trying situations gell together to prevent what could have been a worse situation. Hats off to all the stokers as they generally are front line experts in these situations.

It was a long and somber day but everyone just got on with the job in hand. 2 deck was awash due to the boundary cooling. I was in 3G WE messdeck which was another of the adjacent compartments to the boiler room. I was one of the lucky guys who had a top locker as the mess also had a fair bit of water spayed on the bulkhead.

After the fire was brought under control the clear up began, remember being on watch in 'H' Switchboard during the 1st watch and looking across at the MCR with all of the deck plates up as the guys were clearing up the water underneath.

It was such a shame leaving the Ashanti as we had not long come out of refit and most of the guys were just really starting to get to know each other well having returned to fully operational and prepping for Portland. The Barry Island trip we were heading for at the time I believe was a jolly.

If there are any former shipmates out there I wih you well.
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  #37  
Old 27th September 2009, 23:35
Cooky Boy Cooky Boy is offline  
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Served on HMS Ashanti 2006 - 2007 as a CEM.
Hope you had good diving kit Jeff, she was sunk in 1988.
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  #38  
Old 17th October 2009, 21:34
Wheelspanner666 Wheelspanner666 is offline  
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Hi there fellow shipmates Pete and Dave

What flashbacks these incidents bring to me, LMEM Tim Burton was to be my relief on Ashanti as I had an appointment with the Submarine School as a volunteer for boats.
The ship seemed jinxed as there had been a fire on the starboard air compressor in the engine room which caused considerable damage then the incident with the goffer hitting the ship out in the Windies and after the refit the run to Wales which was the sad and final fire in the boiler room.God bless those who passed away, my thoughts are with them quite often.
Was a good ship and crew though, probably my fondest memories of the Andrew are from the time I spent onboard, I was a 2 star stoker when I joined and left as a killick for the submarine service. Served on Polaris S and T boats finally leaving the service by going back to ships and serving on HMS Active prior to sale to Packistan.I eventually left the service as a Chief Stoker and had my buttons for over 10 years.
Does any body remember the salvage job we undertook out in the med and ended up hauling half a tanker back to Gibralter, it took us an extra 2 weeks to get back to blighty.I got a princely sum of about 15 in salvage money for that.It came through some years later. The tow kept parting if I remember.

Budgy Budgen
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  #39  
Old 5th November 2009, 00:15
blakey blakey is offline  
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budgy budgen , now that name rings a bell. can`t put a face to it though. can anyone remember the names of other crew members and the officers onboard during 1977.
thanks in advance , steve.
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  #40  
Old 5th November 2009, 21:32
Wheelspanner666 Wheelspanner666 is offline  
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The name rings a bell

Hi steve,

Just a few stokers mess names I remember well, George Denning, Sticky Ricketts, Graham Tonge, Dave Parry,Benny Benson, Terry Thomas, Nobby Clarke, Pete Burridge,Jock Davidson, Ben Lyons to name a few.
The after dabbers mess should remember me for flooding their mess deck accidently when taking on fresh water at 3 0'clock in the morning.Foot valve left open inadvertantly, never did it again!!!
I think I remember you.

Budgy Budgen
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  #41  
Old 10th November 2009, 21:14
blakey blakey is offline  
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Hi steve,

Just a few stokers mess names I remember well, George Denning, Sticky Ricketts, Graham Tonge, Dave Parry,Benny Benson, Terry Thomas, Nobby Clarke, Pete Burridge,Jock Davidson, Ben Lyons to name a few.
The after dabbers mess should remember me for flooding their mess deck accidently when taking on fresh water at 3 0'clock in the morning.Foot valve left open inadvertantly, never did it again!!!
I think I remember you.

Budgy Budgen
Nobby clark and ben lyons i seem to remember . I cant remember the flood , i was bunked in the stewards mess with the killicks .
I intend to create a crew list for ashanti 1977 when i get the time. Have you still got the tankard we were given budgy , date we joined the RN and the date of the fire !.
best regards mate , steve.
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  #42  
Old 17th November 2009, 08:42
JeffM10 JeffM10 is offline  
 
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Cooky Boy

Yep good spot Cooky Boy -No idea why I put those dates must be an age thing. It should have said served between 1976 (Portsmouth Refit) and 1977
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  #43  
Old 20th November 2009, 14:43
Wheelspanner666 Wheelspanner666 is offline  
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Tankard

Dont know if I have it or not, all my momentos are packed away in the loft somewhere, there comes a time when you have to let go and move on.

Budgy Budgen
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  #44  
Old 21st November 2009, 21:56
Latitude Latitude is offline  
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Tribals

I never served on a Tribal but Zulu was in the Far East during 1973 when I was on Antrim.

Indonesia bought a couple of them during the 80s. They also did a deal which included wasp helicopters in the sale. At the time I was an instructor at the Helicopter Control School at Osprey and took several Indonesian officers on the one week transit control course. We were told that they "couldn't fail" the course. After a couple of days they asked for new exercise books and investigating why they had filled up the book so quickly I found that they had written down verbatim everything I had said; dits and sea stories in all! After the course completed the consensus was if you came across an Indonesian ship operating helicopters then hi-tail it in the opposite direction!!
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  #45  
Old 2nd December 2009, 20:53
Ed Harrison Ed Harrison is offline  
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Lost at sea

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Originally Posted by Po stoker View Post
The fire in 77 was the result of an error by a junior engine room rating who, having broken a glass thermometer in its pocket leaving the bulb end still in the pocket decided that the best course of action was to unscrew the said thermometer pocket and tip the bulb out!

80psi at 120 deg C relay oil on a turbo alternator suddenly found freedom..... the oil flashed off and the rest is history. I believe the junior rating was not one of those killed.

Also to reply to the other post about losing people over the side due to a freak wave out of Bermuda, it was 3 not 2 an AB Rodgers, PO Taws and i don't remember the other name, as i was down below in the stokers mess i didn't see the wave but it was said to be approx 60ft high and a couple of hundred feet wide, we very nearly went over, measured to 43 deg i believe.

Dave
It was two, Jan Taws, the buffer and I think O/S Rodgers. I don't think he was an AB I believe they were the oldest and youngest members of ships company. I was CREL on there at the time. Jan was washed over the side from the boat deck by the whaler as he was instructing a group of new entrants flown over to Bermuda for sea experience on our way back to UK and O/S Rodgers was also washed overboard. Jan was washed back on board on the quarterdeck but was too badly injured. O/S Rodgers was spotted in the water but it was too rough to launch the helicopter or whaler and could not be recovered. We returned to Bermuda to land our casualties, there were some other injuries to the visiting sailors and left Bermuda the following morning for a sombre trip to UK. Their names are inscribed on the National Arboretum Memorial Wall in Alrewas, nr Lichfield, Staffs.
Ed

Last edited by Ed Harrison; 2nd December 2009 at 20:57.. Reason: spelling mistake
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  #46  
Old 30th January 2010, 15:38
Swampy Marsh Swampy Marsh is offline  
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Unhappy Ashanti's Black Day in Bermuda

Hi, My name is Swampy Marsh and I have just joined your site, and it makes great reading, especially to the one of HMS Ashanti on return to the UK after her west Indian Deployment, when she was hit by what one can only call a "Freak Tidal Wave".
I was a Leading Steward at the time and was in the Wardroom Pantry at the time, (which as we all know had a scuttle), and we were in there having a chat when we glanced out of the scuttle to see this wall of water heading towards us, then before you knew it we began to heel over, abd you could hear everything crashing about you, the galley's below, dining room, wardroom, you could say if it was'nt fastened down it went, next thing we heard was the ship's alarm going, and first aid partys to the Starboard Boat deck, and I was one of those in the first aid Party, and it was a mess, I won't go into detail but even the first aid party was throwing up.
The new recruits or whatever they were was in shock, crying, throwing up and holding on to anything for dear life.
I remember this day well, as it was the First RN Ship I served on, and that was a black day in My Life but not the last in HMS Ashanti's.
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  #47  
Old 9th March 2010, 13:29
SIMON SMITH SIMON SMITH is offline  
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Simon Smith

I remember that day back in Febuary 1974, and think about them each and every year on the date. Just to add some information, I believe that O/S Rodgers body was recovered by a fishing boat some 2 weeks after the tragedy. Also onboard at the time were a party of sea cadets hoping to enjoy the trip home, sadly I doubt like us they will never forget that day.
I remember going back to Bermuda to leave PO Taws there along with the sea cadets. I wasnt onboard Ashanti in 1977 but I do think from time to time of the men we lost.
I didnt know O/S Rodgers as such, but as mentioned in an earlier posting PO Taws was indeed a really nice person.

( just like to say high to Keith (LRO(W) who I remember well)
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  #48  
Old 27th April 2010, 21:40
hectorheathcote hectorheathcote is offline  
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Exclamation Hector Heathcote, a/b uc2

Just found this site and was interested to see the comments about the two guys lost off Burmuda. O/S Rogers was our mess mate we knew him as Roy or Trigger for obvious reasons, George was at the time our q/deck PO even though he was a gunner not a TAS man. Great bloke he was and young rogers was a really good lad. Some time after this tragic event Ashanti visited Barrow (ship builders) so we in the TAS mess, me, darby allen, cosmo smallpiece, oggy ogier, bill button and fred dawling hired cars and took a brass memorial plaque over to o/s rogers family for them to put in the local church. I didn't think about the actual plaque again untill i saw it again but not in there local church. I was wandering aroung the Portsmouth dockyard church at the last festival of the sea a few years ago and there on the wall amongst some Captains and Admirals plaques was our plaque to Roy rogers i was amazed and pleased to see it. I have no idea how or when it got there but very fitting, i took photos and sent them to the reat of the lads.
The gang i mentioned above still keep in touch and we had have a few great weekends together over the last 20 years or so. Also some one mentioned the oil tanker in the med, it was the "July Star" and we the q/deck gang looked after the rope that broke a couple of times and i also got salvage money about 4 years later to the grand some of about 4.50 after tax, thanks alot. Got photos of that if anyone is interested.

Adrian (Hector) heathcote

Last edited by hectorheathcote; 27th April 2010 at 21:42..
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  #49  
Old 1st June 2010, 13:41
steviecarr59 steviecarr59 is offline  
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Hms Ashanti 1977

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Originally Posted by blakey View Post
hi , i have just joined the site and noticed the ashanti incident. May 77 if my memory serves me right. we lost three MEM,s on that trip, it was a visit to wales and we were apr 1 hour away. Jmem little 16 and a half yrs old, LMEM Woods 21 yrs old, i cannot remember the name of the third MEM. It took apr 7 hours to sort the mess out. I can remember Dundas coming to help us out, a belated thanks mateys . I have been trying to find seamen etc from ashanti during that period for apr 8 yrs but no success so far.
this is the best ex RN site i have found to date, well done .
blakey
Hi Blakey,

I was a JREM at the time of the fire incident,I can remember a few names from the Stokers mess, starting with budgie burrige and scouse griffiths.
The fire was on the 3rd march 1977, just before stand easy at 10.00am.

The ships company had transferred over to HMS TARTAR or 'RATRAT' as we called her by JUNE 1977, as we took part in the Fleet review round about this time.

The names of the stokers were LMEM Tim Burton from Copnor Portsmouth, MEM Dave Little from Sunderland and LMEM Jim Wardle from Carlisle.

If you can come up with any more names, that would be great.


regards

Steve
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  #50  
Old 13th June 2010, 18:51
kingstonvalve kingstonvalve is offline  
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Hello and thanks for all the posts. Great to read the history of HMS Ashanti.

To almost finish her naval career, I was a JMEM (16 years old) at HMS Sultan in late 1985 and Ashanti was HTS at a jetty in Gosport, she was outboard to another ship possibly a Type 12? I spent my first night in a proper messdeck on her. I remember being told ghost stories by the few ships company onboard. We all went and looked down the boiler room hatch, but I can't remember any of us going down just in case.
I remember a large square box type compartment on the upper deck down aft and a open turrent gun!! And sadly lots of peeling paint. I still have a soft spot for her.

Cheers Mark
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