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Thursday, 3 February 2011

My First ship

It’s the one at the bottom on the Port (Left) side of  HMS Hermes in the Indian Ocean back in 1967. The good ship RFA Retainer (Royal Fleet Auxiliary). The ship on the other side of Hermes is RFA Tidereach.


Retainer was replenishing the Hermes with ammunition, whilst Tidereach was topping her up with fuel. Incidentally Tidereach was my second ship.


  1. Hermes still at work. Invincible all but scrapped. Britain is the pits!
    Both built in my home town Barrow-in-Furness. I served a large part of my apprenticeship in marine plumbing on Invincible.

    Remember one day going round the ship with a Navy engineer who was part of the forward crew on Illustrious being built on Tyneside and he couldn't believe the difference in the quality of the work.
    All of Illustrious's pipework was held up with rope as opposed to Invincible where we finished the plumbing compartment by compartment and every pipe clip was welded in before the pipes were fitted.

    Guess we were just better shipbuilders!

  2. Your photo dates from about 15 years before Falklands 1. The Hermes was anchored in beautiful Villefranche bay. One of the benefits of the Cold War for those of us forced out by the likes of Wilson, was that all of you NATO lot came to visit us for R&R, and the biggies parked in Nelson's old hang-out. "Best anchorage in the Mediterranean" he said. So my kids were wind-surfing around the Hermes, providing much innocent pleasure for the matelots, and when it was my turn, I did a hull inspection, and took in the total lack if interest in me from the matelots, and also the masses of painted-over rust and thought ruefully, "I guess the turbines are OK, anyway, they only have to last until the Gilette factory, which was it's projected itinerary". Then along came the famous comedian, John Knott, who took away the Falklands service ship. And the rest is history.
    Peter Melia

  3. Hermes was my first sea going ship, but a happy ship which was more than could be said about the squadron that I was on I will not mention that it was Wessex HAS1. I was one of those who got the boot thanks to governments that have not got a clue about the defence of the country. The boot came in ’72 when I was on Eagle until the dock yard maties had taken every thing they wanted and I was left to sort out AED and return what had been left.


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