Islas Malvinas, from 1770 until 1820, Spanish Islands
from 1820 untill 1833, Argentinian Islands
Then came a British warship, left a note in a Bottle
The Falklands Islands were Born and protected
against all Foreigners by the world’s largest Navy.
That was then….what comes next?
Democratically elected President Morsi has shown the world
that, Force Majeure is the final Cross on the Ballot Box.
ditto The Falklands……..ditto Gibraltar.
In the few short months I have written a Blog, I have had 264 responses, most of them written in foreign tongues.
The one I am able to translate is from a Mr. Don Grey, who wishes me well, I return his good wishes, J.Cook
Our beloved Country has sold off all of its Harrier Aircraft fleet for just over 100 million pounds, which sum goes towards our shopping spree of purchasing 14 Chinook helicopters at a total cost of more than a billion pounds. What on earth would Mr Micawber have said about that?
Apropos my note on the Tea Party I attended last week, I was seated at the same table as Mr Peter Webbersley and his Good Lady.
During conversation, he let it be known that he is writing a History of Aircraft and a History of Speed. I gave the Gentleman my card
after Tea and left. Imagine my surprise and delight when I received a Package through the Royal Mail which contained his writings
on the subject thus far.
I have read everything already and telephoned Peter to pass on my congratulations for a great story so far and my promise to send him
A Jane’s 1943, book (tome) on Aircraft and engines available during that part of the War. I was happy to say “yes” when he asked me to deliver the book and have a further chat, which we will do on Tuesday.
My next job is to contact Mrs Olive French who has been kind enough to lend me her Late Husband’s Papers. That Gentleman was a
Pilot Officer at the beginning of the War, he quickly became a Test Pilot, testing no fewer than 73 Different TYPES of Aircraft.
But not content with that he wrote about his experience, wrote, what it was really like to take off in a Spitfire, he also kept records
of the fate of many of those planes he tested, one of those records of Spitfires Tested contains the monologue, spit no 1, crashed on take off
no2, crashed on take off, no 3 crashed on take off, no 4 crashed on take off, also no 5 and 6… no 7, Mid air collision, no8, mid air collision
It goes on and on……He also tells about Rolls Royce, he tells about Castle Bromwich and its workforce, lets us know what really happened resulting in the supply of Aircraft being years behind schedule, and so on, and so on…
Peter Webbersley reminds us that “The Best of the Few” were of course the ‘Hurricane’ fighters, he says “the Hurricanes shot down more enemy Aircraft than ALL other Fighter Aircraft and all other Guns and Defences, put together”.
The most asked question by visitors to MTB 102 is; Has she still got Spitfire engines, the same question is asked about our WW2 Patrol Boat, from now on I will answer; No! “ours were Hurricanes”
Just had a missive from Sandwich Council, telling me they applaud my intention to fire a Ten Gun salute from the boat as soon as
our future Monarch is born. The bad news is that the Council takes no responsibility for the ‘firing’ and if any one of the Town’s residents
fall in the River Stour, or swoon over their G&T in the heat, it will be ‘down to me’, however they still think it is a great idea for the Town!
Went to Church last Sunday, hadn’t been for about five weeks, met the ex-Mayor there for a brief chat, he was the only one holding
that office who visited the boat on a regular basis, he could be seen doing his ’rounds’ almost every day, alas now I rarely see the current Mayor, so feel completely left out of things.
On Thursday went to a Garden Party, in Porchester. nr. Portsmouth, had an address to follow but no Post Code. I drove around for about an hour, thought of giving up and going home for a cup of tea, suddenly I found myself at the end of a lane leading to some factory premises, some road workers were sweeping up and putting their tools in a van, I asked them for directions to this mysterious place
I was given three different opinions, each with about six or more ‘turn right, sixth left, you’ll see a white road, but don’t take it……
That decided it, home for the cup of tea…Follow Me said the driver and we drove off in a most circuitous route but eventually, I found
Porchester, found the Road ,and found the house. A charming eighteenth century cottage with about a quarter acre garden. Chairs and tables were gaily scattered, I found a seat, someone announced it was John Cook, the “guy” with the “Boat”. It was a wonderful
afternoon, as much Strawberries and Cream with sandwiches and cake as you could eat, all washed down by Tea and cool White Wine.
All of this was to be had for £6, I drove home delighted. Thanks to the Van Driver who had saved the day.
Yesterday drove to Sandwich to meet an impatient Harbour Master, anxious to fire off The Town Cannon. We were ready at Noon for the event, but first I walked the hundred yards to the Church to inform the Vicar of the Hullaballoo to come. There was a Funeral at 12-30pm so we delayed firing ’till Two pm. I had previously warned passing Dog owners of our intentions, the Lady who runs the Quay Toilets had made me a welcome cup of tea.
The Harbour Master moved his vessel carrying the Cannon to a mooring in front of our boat, where there was a small crowd of people waiting for the ‘off”. The Cannon was loaded as was the Blank Firing Gun on our boat…. the H.M. hit the cannon with a hammer and an ‘Almighty bang rolled around the Town’.
Thirty seconds later I fired our ‘weapon which had a smaller, but still adequate ‘Bang’. We continued every half minute until the twenty first charge was fired by me. It didn’t fire, it was jammed in the breach, the HM came to the rescue and fired thelast shot, he also warned me about “losing a hand” if the charge went off accidently……
I waited ’till he had left on his craft then cut little holes in the charge and watched with relief as I saw the gunpowder trickle from the twelve bore blank which soon became inert.
Before I left for home, I checked that the Children’s ‘Potty’ tied with a blue sash, was still ‘flying’ from the Mast and the picture of William and Kate was attached tothe Wheel House…. not just a mark of respect from RASC 34 GARTH, but as s reminder to all those passer-by’s who asked me “What Baby”?
May 10, 2013
MTB 102 Spends 400 miles at sea to attend the Southampton Maritime Festival
On Thursday I drove from Southampton to Lowestoft, spent the night in a side cabin on the Motor Torpedo boat, it was cold. In the morning the Skipper Richard Basey and three other people who would make up the party joined me; we soon left the Boatyard and found ourselves in the North Sea heading South towards Dover. In ten hours we arrived and spent the night in the Dover Marina (I had spent about five hours at the Wheel). On Friday after breakfast we headed for Southampton, the weather got steadily worse; I again took the wheel with about sixty five miles to go; gradually the wind increased becoming force six and the seventy six year old boat crashed from wave to wave. One of those on board had been sea sick since we left Lowestoft. The sickness continued until we arrived at The Old Docks at Southampton. I had a glass of wine and went to my bunk. Being the same age as the MTB, I found it hard going, today Sunday I came to my Flat and rested leaving the rest to meet the visitors to the Festival.
On Tuesday I will take my turn again as we head back to Dover, hoping to arrive there about 7pm and stay again in the Dover Marina.
On Wednesday evening we hope to reach Lowestoft before dark, but again the weather looks bleak….the others will all go their ways, I will stay the night on the MTB then leave for Southampton by car the next day.
Whilst at the event, I had the pleasure of going on board the Royal Navy ship Medusa, a beautifully restored vessel, I was shown around by the ever
helpful Alan Watson. I then went aboard the High Speed Launch and had a chat with Richard Hellier who now looks after probably the most beautiful
WW2 vessel ever built.
I was invited to an evening get-together by Jerry Lewis and the Dunkirk Little Ships Team and had a most enjoyable time, with a large selection of
fine food with wine. I was shown over some of the Team’s Restoration Work by Dennis Cox, who was also the Harbour Master for Festival.
Wednesday 22nd May
Tomorrow I will take Mrs. Elizabeth Ridgway ( Miss Elizabeth Scott-Paine) to tea in Brockenhurst, Hampshire
At the weekend I will drive to Suffolk to look again at the 1937, Seaplane Tender which is being offered to our
Coastal Motorboat Heritage Trust for the sum of one penny.
When we receive the vessel, we will hope to take it by road to Hampshire where I and others can set about installing the two engines and steering gear.
My Son Nicholas has invited me once again to nice Nice in the South of France. He feels that an Old Man
will appreciate sitting by the Pool and sipping Lemonade, he could have even have said “sipping lucozade”
Whereas I will probably sit in the sitting room sipping Red Wine and watching the T.V.
Friday 10th May
Today; called on Miss Elizabeth (Scott-Paine) Ridgway for Tea. But first the lady, now well into her Ninety’s needed to do some shopping in the nearby Town. My offer to drive her in my car was turned down so I jumped in beside her in her vehicle. She backed out of the garage, rather more quickly than I would have liked, turned round and sped down the short road toward the Dual Carriage. Craning my neck to see the speedometer I remarked that she was traveling at a good speed…”I normally keep to sixty” said the old lady, “but I’ll do Ninety if the roads warrant it”. Then it came to me, this Lady is the daughter of Hubert Scott-Paine, a man who probably had more influence on speed in the Air and on the Water, than any other man on the planet!
“Its in your genes” I remarked, “like Father like Daughter”. I think Elizabeth liked that remark, she didn’t slow down, but my heart rate did.
We had Chocolate Cake with our Tea….
The Seventy Six Year Old World War Two Motor Torpedo Boat, has left Southampton and returned to Lowestoft her home base. Running as we did in front of a Full Gale.
I had assumed when agreeing to be one of her crew, that we were going to a Maritime Festival in the famous Port of Southampton but instead we, the
Maritime element, were tucked away at the extreme end of a Cruise Terminal, whereas the ‘Pettycote Lane’ element of stall holders, traders, and Ice Cream sellers were the easily
accessable and by far the largest element, and as far as I could see the real reason for this Money Making Jamboree.
Earlier in the year I recall the same vessel going to another Maritime Festival at Great Yarmouth, only ten miles from our Home Base. At that event the Mayor as well as
many Councillors came to see us on the Torpedo Boat, as did the Lord Sheriff and his Lady. Quite different to Southampton where after travelling
two hundred miles by sea we were totally ignored by the Southampton ‘Big Wigs’, Press and Television.
MTB 102 used 1,000 litres of fuel to respond to the Town’s request to attend, it is the only example of a WW2 Torpedo Boat; it led The Evacuation of Dunkirk, took on board Royalty and many famous people, including Winston Churchill and General Eisenhower. In a more frivolous vein took on board
the Actor Michael Caine during the film making of The Eagle has Landed.
Forget the ‘Titanic’ she is still at the bottom of the Atlantic; this boat is the REAL THING.