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HMS Chevron working up to full speed off Aqaba, Jan 1950.Once at Aqaba we were back in business with ceremonial work. We were there no doubt to try and impress Transjordan's Crown Prince Talal, and their army under the command of the legendary 'Glubb Pasha', so we were kept busy. A main event was a revue of the troops in the nearby barracks. Jock Dyer and I had permission to photograph the event and on landing were taken by jeep to the parade ground. The pair of us were sitting side by side on the back seat and it became the only time we ever had the soldier at the gate present arms to us. We returned the salute with due aplomb. It was obviously the first time the poor fellow had ever seen a RM uniform. Next day the Crown Prince was taken afloat to witness the efficiency of the RN. The Submarine did an impressive snap surface/bang off three rounds gunfire/submerge. Then it was back to Malta. We witnessed several interesting exercises on the way. Standing on the extreme stern of a destroyer at full speed is very impressive, as the frantically vibrating stern at that speed is well below sea level. At one stage a practice torpedo was fired - and then retrieved. Many will know that such torpedoes possessed a flotation head with a pick-up ring on the end plus a carbide device that emitted smoke to show its position. Then a whaler was lowered for the retrieval. At least that was the theory!

Recovering the practice torpedo. KR's and A.I's stated that an Admiralty whaler could not sink. The Cheviot's whaler crew can be seen testing this theory after the torpedo had shattered its hull. Note the in-boat water-level!We also experienced the old destroyer anecdote where the Captain on the bridge is alleged to turn to his Jimmie One and say "What are the hands doing now, Jimmie?" On receiving the reply that they have just gone to dinner the Captain continues "Oh goody. Coxswain. Hard-a-port" Whereupon everything on the mess tables slides to the floor! The crew of Cheviot were doubtless very pleased to see us and our equipment return to Forth, as the full band crammed into the crew's mess-deck had made us about as welcome as a tray of pork pies at a Bar Mitzvah.

Bandmaster 'Joe' Dixon who had also transferred to Forth, having previously been with the 3rd Commando Brigade was now 'time expired' and departed to be replaced by 'Nazzer' Bone. One of my last trips in Forth was to Tripoli in what was then the kingdom of Libya. Forth was moored nose to harbour buoy and stern to the quayside. One evening there was to be a boxing tournament between Forth and the British Army based there. A full-size elevated boxing ring had been erected in the well deck and prior to the start the band was having a 'bout' in it. It started to blow quite hard at just about the time we started - and grew steadily stronger, until despite our best efforts our sheet music starting disappearing overboard. Shortly afterwards the wind rose to Hurricane force and the entertainment was abandoned. Forth spent the night steaming full ahead in order to avoid being blown into the harbour wall. By morning it was calm and fine again. But 2-1/2" awning stanchions were bent at 90 degree angles and the awnings themselves were possibly somewhere over the Persian Gulf! We were told later that 2 of the 3 heavy mooring cables to the buoy we had been moored to had parted, thus taking Forth very close to disaster.

Nazzer' Bone and Forth band prior to the hurricane in Tripoli Harbour. L-r. 'Knocker' Paine, 'Whacker' Paine, Ted Stigwood, Ron DeLorey, (in front of)' Taff' Lewis, (in front of) 'Tubby' Williams, Ray Woodfield,  self, 'Rattler' Morgan, Headley Paxton, Jimmy Dowling, 'Taff' Evans, Alf Alltimes, Ian Quarterly.

The Tripoli Hurricane turned out be the interesting finale to my time in the Mediterranean, as after three years away, I too had applied to return home. Soon after returning to Malta, my relief turned up and shortly after that I took passage on HMS Triumph, which was on its way back to Portsmouth after service in the Korean war. I arrived back in England on a foggy November evening and went to Deal (for the first time) to be processed prior to a nice long leave during which I got married. After that I returned to Deal and an entirely new life on land. But I'll keep that for the fourth and final batch of my 'Memories of the old RMB'.

Stay tuned . . .

Don Flounders
Ex RMBX2175

Forth' and 'Liverpool' Band Soccer teams, Manoel Island, Malta c.1950 - Light shirts Liverpool, Dark shirts Forth. I can only name our team with any confidence. Can anyone help with the un-named light shirts? Dk. Shirts Front row l-r. Knocker Paine, Ted Stigwood, Jimmy Dowling, Centre row. Whacker Paine, Ian Quarterly, Ron DeLorey, Self, 'Rattler Morgan, Back row. 'Jock' Dyer, Alf Alltimes, 'Taff' Lewis. In light shirts, 2nd from left in the back row is 'Polly' Hopkins, then  B.mster of Liverpool. Also middle row, 2nd from right was 'Farmer' Gleed. Modesty forbids mention of which team (wearing the dark shirts) won, but  the score was 5-2

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