Naval History Net Link HMS Londonderry Badge

HMS Londonderry
1st Commission
1960 - 1962

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3rd West Indies & South America
Special Squadron Cruise

Special Squadron South America Cruise
Click on chart for larger version
Place Arrived Departed
Bermuda   8th Dec 1961
Trinidad 12th Dec 1961 12th Dec 1961
Crossed the Line 14th Dec 1961 14th Dec 1961
Buenos Aires 21st Dec 1961 27th Dec 1961
Rosario 27th Dec 1961 1st Jan 1962
Madryn 4th Jan 1962 7th Jan 1962
Magellan Straits    
Valparaiso 13th Jan 1962 17th Jan 1962
Guayaquil 23rd Jan 1962 27th Jan 1962
Panama Canal 29th Jan 1962 29th Jan 1962
Cartagena 31st Jan 1962 4th Feb 1962
Puerto Rico 7th Feb 1962 10th Feb 1962
Bermuda 12th Feb 1962  

Back at Ireland Island, Bermuda, our time in the RN Dockyard was spent painting ship and carrying out necessary maintenance prior to our forthcoming Goodwill Tour with the Special Squadron, which consisted of the cruiser HMS Lion, the anti-aircraft frigate HMS Leopard, and the Battle Class destroyer HMS Dunkirk.
HMS Lion - Flag Ship Vice Admiral Sir Nicholas Copeman
HMS Dunkirk and HMS Leopard

We departed Bermuda on the 8th December, refuelling at our ever-ready pump in Trinidad, then sailing to rendezvous with the RFA Blue Ranger, refuelling once more and transferring some stores.

On the night of 10 December we were challenged by King Neptune's herald, having entered his domain, our Captain inspecting the guard of honour, and after being informed that His Watery Majesty would himself board us the following morning to hold requestmen and defaulter and renew old acquaintances, we were allowed to proceed. Accordingly with all due pomp and ceremony he arrived the following day, together with HFH Queen Aphrodite, and his entire entourage. Court was set up on the quarterdeck, and among the defaulters was the Captain himself, who incidentally had never crossed the line before, the First Lieutenant charged with failing to carry out his liaison duties properly, the Supply Officer for making chips from Pom, the Electrical Officer for keeping a landborne form of transport onboard a seagoing vessel, namely one motorised bike, and our one and only Freddy Faircloth for dropping a paint pot in the rum tub. Everybody got soaked, old-comers and new-comers alike, and everybody enjoyed themselves.

Entering King Neptune's Kingdom
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NEPTUNE'S COURT

Four-and-twenty matelots were brought before the court,
Some came along quite quietly, but others they were brought,
The Captain made obeisance, and was ordered by our Joe,
To kiss the Queen - "Don't be obscene, I'll settle for her toe."
The Paybob with his bag of chips appeared to answer his case,
"It's just not on, making chips from Pom - show Mr. Salmon his plaice."
Chief Mech. Earp had a request - award of eighteenth stripe,
He looked a fool in the swimming pool, trying to light his pipe.
The CBM was then dragged up for all the court to see,
'Twas a fair cop, no paint in the shop, it was all under lock and key.
Wiggy Bennet our ancient tanky, had never crossed 'til then,
With his rude notes suspended, he was gently upended and baptised by King Neptune's men.
Wiggy's DO, Loot Layman, appeared dressed up as a Sheikh,
"With that hair round your mush you look more like a bush - commend him to the deep."
Doctor Wightman came up too, a worthy case to note,
"For curing all ills, with one sort of pills, cut his ruddy throat."
SPO Stringer couldn't prove he'd got a shove wood in his store,
"Your allowance ran out" he was heard to shout, 'til the waters drowned his roar.
Croft our youngest made his debut, then hurtled headlong in,
Said a friendly bear as he rose for air "Ain't you got a lovely skin."
Tar and feathers really made Fred Faircloth feel quite faint,
"That's what you git, you silly nit, for mixing rum and paint".
Then along came Canteen Tony, defence for his case to offer,
Said Queen Grace with a grin, "Working hard's a sin, oblige this young lad with a goffa."
Liaison Jim, our number one, was laughing up his sleeve,
'Til the Queen doffed his lid, forward skid, he did - fourteen days dunks - no reprieve.
Our Tiny TASO, draped hisself nonchalently around a mortar,
Said the Seaweedy King, your flipping ping makes my ear'oles ring - hurl him into the water.
For telling on his oppo, the Killick Scribbler then got caught,
As they damped his beard he was overheard: "You'll all get ten bob short."
TASI was dragged from his bunk, and accused as a dodging sinner,
"A rose is a rose is a rose - but it's all right we don't dress for dinner."
Dave Beech, another unfortunate on to whom the Sherriff did cotton,
Was quickly subdued, but we thought it quite rude, him showing us all his bare bottom.
Nearly the entire ship's company ended up by having a bath,
Some took their soap, and we really do hope that 'everyone had a laugh.
But one man got missed in the hullabaloo, damn his infernal luck,
Alma Pater, Electrician's Regulator, Chief REL, Ken Cook.

Leading Writer M. Hartenfeld

Crossing the Line Certificate


On 21st December we berthed port side on to HMS Lion at Buenos Aires. Meeting the remainder of the Squadron was an opportunity to greet a lot of old pals, and traffic between the ships was heavy at most times of the day and night. Buenos Aires is the largest city in the Southern Hemisphere, and is noted for having also the widest road. Crossing this is hazardous and not a little frightening because the cars come at you eight abreast. Very little hospitality was offered to the ships on Christmas Day, probably because there were so many of us and so Christmas was celebrated in time honoured fashion on board by most of us.

Buenos Aires

Boxing Day was spent getting over the hangovers, and the following morning we sailed for Rosario. 230 miles up the River Parana. This visit was far more enjoyable and New Year was seen in on board by the youngest member of the ship's company ringing the ship's bell, "Auld Lang Syne" on the quarterdeck, fog horn blowing madly, a conga line dancing throughout the ship, over the brow, on to the wharf, and back on board again, before community hymn singing on the foc'sle to a large, cheering audience on the jetty. Perhaps it is as well that they only speak Spanish ashore, Cerveza is once more the drink.

Rosario

We sailed on New Year's Day and after joining HMS Lion both ships anchored off Madryn. Originally settled by a small band of Welsh people, Welsh is still spoken by a few. The only real entertainment ashore was a singer and guitarist from HMS Lion, Madryn being only six streets long and four wide. The remainder of the Squadron joining us we made passage through the Magellan Straits and spent 27 hours in the Patagonian channels.

South Winds Certificate

On entering the Pacific we met up with Chilean Naval units which included the cruisers O'Higgins and Prat and the destroyer Almirante Williams, plus the submarine Thomson with whom we successfully exercised before entering their home port - Valparaiso. A delightful run ashore at Valparaiso, Cerveza being the drink once more. One was struck, when awaiting the liberty boat back to the ship in the cold light of dawn, with the similarity between their navy at home and ourselves in Portsmouth. All the RAs queuing up to catch their boats, complete with little brown attache cases.

Chilean Cruiser O'Higgins  The destroyer Almirante Williams underway in the Strait of Magellan

Leaving Valparaiso on the 17 January we again exercised, evoluted and manoeuvred our way to Guayaquil where, although it's a politically unstable place, a good time was had by all. The Mayor of Guayaquil presented the Captain with a copy of the Constitution and later joined in the festivities at a dance organised by the British residents. Our next port of call was Cartegena, a little quieter run ashore than the previous couple of ports, and will be remembered for our game of football against the rather toffee-nosed HMS Lion's team, beating them one-nil. It is doubted if the ship's company has ever performed as a team as well as they did with the Special Squadron. You name it, we were the best at it. It brought out a terrific competitive spirit, and we showed them that anything they could do we could do better. Winning our football match against HMS Lion was a pleasant finale to showing them just how good we were. Ask anybody on board.

San Juan, Puerto Rico.

A rabbit run at the San Juan PX, a bombardment exercise, and then back to Bermuda. Our life isn't one of complete relaxation. In the short time between leaving Bermuda and getting back we had completed 97 exercises and drills.
*It's a hard life if you don't weaken! *Webmaster



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