A once in a life's time experience 

1973 - 1974

The  music you hear will accompany you through these pages.  It is the well known and well loved JUPITER  the Bringer of Jollity [Joy], from Holst's Planet Suite.  From a specific part of the Piece, comes the equally much loved Hymn, I Vow To Thee My Country.   Remember as you listen, all those who served in HMS Jupiter. 

Music plays through once only and lasts  for approximately 8 minutes.. If you want to hear it again right click and choose REFRESH,  If you wish to stop it,  mute your speakers!


TIP: Rather than struggle to read try the the following. View in Internet Explorer for best results. Then go to settings, choose DISPLAY and then look for  'Scale and Layout'.   Change the recommended setting of 100% to 125%. There is nothing to stop you staying on that setting period if your eyesight  is ageing!



 Hello and a very warm welcome to my page on the story of HMS Jupiter

with HRH the POW aboard appointed as the

Signals Communications Officer [SCO]

written by Les Taylor at that time HRH's personal

Radio Supervisor

Picture below me [Les] sharing a funny moment with HRH at Highgrove the family home of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall near Tetbury in Gloucestershire during a HMS Jupiter reunion: other reunions were also held at their London residence Clarence House at the top of the Mall metres distant from Buckingham Palace.

This, I am sure you will agree, is worthy of being published in any pictorial record of the Princes' life. It shows a sincere and happy fraternal greeting between HRH and myself. HRH soon to be 70 and me turned 70 enjoyed a full-on spontaneous greeting as shipmates should and do do. We talked about many things and I took along some photographs taken in a pub, the Beehive on the royal mile in Edinburgh, gathered there to say a fond farewell to His Highness as he left the ship for the last time. Some of the lads were well plied and as usual, the Prince took it all in his stride enjoying the fun and banter that royal sailors are known to enjoy. A delightful man, and yes, dare I say, friend, as time has proved, and as loyal as any member of the ships complement!  For all invited guests a day long to remember, but also a day of friendships and proof, were proof needed, that whatever one's rank or experiences, the adage 'once navy always navy' holds true, and it's good to be part of it.



This image lets one know a little bit about our ship in regards to how how the Prince and I worked closely together for a considerable period, all the while covering great swathes of the worlds oceans and seas. 


and not forgetting our home together of nigh on a year shown as built with a twin 4.5" gun turret. The sleek lines of a Leander class frigate.


di dh dh dh di di dh di dh dh di di di dh di di dh di



Next a summary of  HRH's Armed Forces Service stressing that he was a jet pilot trained by the RAF and subsequently a Helo pilot trained by 845 squadron Naval Air Service.


His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales Service in H.M. Armed Forces

Naval Rank History

Admiral of the Fleet 16|6|2012
Admiral 14|11|2006
Commodore in Chief HM Naval Base Plymouth 8|8|2006 *
Admiral of the Fleet for RNZN 3|8|2015 *
Lieutenant Royal Navy 1|2|1973*
Sub Lieutenant Royal Navy 1|9|1971

Decorations and Post Nominals



Branch and Specialisation (pre 2007 style)


Notes:  See three asterisks * under the sub heading of Naval Rank History above.  [1] Each  member of the Royal Family was given a section of the navy over which they would
represent the best interests and PR of the personnel serving in the section. [2] In 2015 Prince Charles
was created an Admiral of the Fleet to the Royal New Zealand Navy. [3] From the 1st February 1973 the
POW remained as a lieutenant until leaving the navy.




Served in :


Total length of Service March 71 to Nov 76 = 5 years and 8 months. Seems a short time, but the Prince was subjected to a whirlwind of experiences nearly all at sea or above it, and in fairness that time period can be doubled when compared with other naval personnel doing similar things but over a much longer period, with many breaks and relaxations in between appointments and drafts. In addition to what you see, the Prince was also given an acquaint in other much smaller sea going vessels as you will read about in my story. Start reading from bottom upwards!


December left the Armed Forces. Back to full time Royal Duties.


9th February until  November 1976, as Commanding Officer,  HMS BRONINGTON Ton Class Coastal Minesweeper 460 tons.


HMS Heron, Royal Naval Air Station, Yeovilton, Ilchester, Somerset 845 Sqd helicopter pilot training operating  from HMS Hermes Aircraft Carrier 23,000 tons


HMS Jupiter Leander Class Frigate 2650 tons until mid-1974,  thence to HMS HERON -


HMS MINERVA Leander Class Frigate 2650 tons thence to Courses in Portsmouth Command establishments including HMS Mercury for SCO acquaint course – thence  to HMS Jupiter in mid-1973 -


HMS NORFOLK Guided Missile Destroyer 5600 tons thence to HMS Minerva -


2nd November joined HMS Norfolk Guided Missile Destroyer 5600 tons


1st September joined BRNC Dartmouth as a sub lieutenant for a 6-week RN acquaint


March to August RAF Cranwell to train as a jet pilot – already trained by RAF when at Cambridge in fixed wing flying


Prince Charles entered Trinity College, Cambridge in 1967, where he read history, archaeology and anthropology and graduated with a 2:2 degree in 1970. This was the first time in history that a British monarch or heir to the throne had completed a university degree.




It would be desirable were each of the ships above to write a summary of HRH's time in them, and possibly that has been done. This page tells only of his time in HMS Jupiter.  The Prince is a good friend as he is to countless others, and we all pride ourselves in that association.

For me, one way he showed that friendship was to make sure I had a personal hand written Christmas Card and here are just a few of them,  They  bear out the very nature of the working arrangement necessary between the RS [and others] and the SCO which in Jupiter was almost unique with the CO and the 1st Lt both Long Course 'C' officers always ready for a helping hand but often unnecessary because the Prince was a quick learner and very much stood on his own two feet very often confiding in the advice given by his senior rates.

They are in order top down as follows:-

1. Christmas  1979 a mixed bag of emotions for HRH culminating in the murder of his great uncle Louis First Earl Mountbatten of Burma at the hands of the cowardly IRA. Here he is seen riding with his grandmother Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.


 2. Christmas 1980 where HRH refers back to the sailing and banyans he share with me and other



3. Christmas 1981 - HRH brought his bridge to be Lady Diana Spencer to Mercury for a most enjoyable day so I gather [I wasn't there] and just days later married his Princess at a splendid St Paul's ceremony to which I was personally invited and attended.




4.  Christmas 1982.  William was born on the 21st June 1982 so is approaching the age of 6 months. Shortly before William was born, on the 14th June,  I in another Leander Class Frigate HMS Andromeda was celebrating wining the war of the Falkland Isles against the Argentinians which started in anger on the 2nd April 1982  so on his birthday were were in celebratory mood anyway, but also more than ever thinking about TRH's and how much they would be celebrating having brought forth an heir to the British throne.  What halcyon days?




5. Christmas 1983. Prince William now almost 18 months old, and that background is clearly Balmoral.




6. Christmas 1984.  Prince Harry was born on the 15th September 1984 so here William is 2½ years old and Harry is getting on for 3 months old.




7. Christmas 1985. Those boys are shooting up with William now 3½ and young Harry up to 15 months old.




8. Christmas 1986. William nigh on 4½ years old and Harry 2¼ year old.




As you know the whole beautiful thing fell apart with Charles and Diana separating in 1992, divorcing in August 1996, and the ultimate dread of dread's on the 31st August 1987 when Diana was killed in Paris.  Few if any held hands with our HRH but we did, he was more or less sent to Coventry because of his supposedly ambivalence, but we had his measure and our support. A little known Plymouth clairvoyant suggested that an 8 and a Monday were deemed 'black' for the Royals for henceforth.  She reasoned  if that's what these weird people do,  that there is a nemesis for the Prince being  BLACK MONDAY's in the month of AUGUST as Lord Mountbatten was killed on Monday 27th and his former wife on Monday 31st, respectively 1979 and 1987 a period of 8 years transposed to the eighth month of the year AUGUST, now an established taboo. Those BLACK MONDAYS were repeated/will be repeated  for Lord Mountbatten in 1984,1990,2007,2010,2012,2018,2029,2035,2040,2046,2057. For Princess Diana of Wales 1992,1998,2009,2015,2020,2026,2037,2043,2048,2054.

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales R.N. was the Ships Communications Officer [SCO] during one half of  this commission.
Lieutenant [SD][C] Jack Case R.N. covered the other half.

This page records  memories of happy times when in Jupiter with the Prince of Wales appointed as the Ships Communications Office [SCO].  HRH served in several ships for short periods {Norfolk, Minerva, Glasserton, Fox, Hermes}, and for a period of nine months in the minehunter Bronington, his most famous ship,  in which he was the Commanding Officer, and in  Jupiter which was the only ship to which he was appointed as a Communications Officer. The Royal Navy is an extremely well organised, disciplined and effective service manifest in its splendid history, its achievements in days gone by,  and in the tasks being undertaken at this very moment. It is based on a DIVISIONAL system where officers and ratings are assigned to departments according to their training [seamen, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, communicators etc] from and in which, they man the ship, which are then divided into divisions depending on the numbers involved.  On a large warship for example, the seamen might be in the forecastle division or the quarterdeck division {and others} according to where they work, but on a small ship, say an inshore coastal minesweeper, all the seamen would be in the same division.   Each division is appointed an officer who is the Divisional Officer, the DO, and if necessary, other officers and/or warrant officers, are appointed to share the load of divisional responsibility.  The DO is directly responsible  to the second in command of the ship, the Head of Human Resources if you want, for the welfare, training, leave, pay, employment, and everything else which goes towards making a man efficient and happy, not just in the ship, but generally in all human associations much of which is often  many miles away.  The second in command is directly responsible to the commanding officer, the captain, for the happiness, contentment and the efficiency of every crew member.  So the DO is a very important officer whether ashore or afloat.  However, on a relatively small ship like a frigate, the men see and get to know their DO more regularly than, say, they might do in an aircraft carrier.  The Jupiter is a frigate, and the men of the Communication's department/division had as their DO, The Prince of Wales.  Jupiter's communicator's would have had daily contact with him [if necessary] concerning divisional matters.  Being a DO was just one of HRH's jobs on board.  First and foremost he was a ship's officer and was therefore called upon to take his turn on the bridge or operations room, guiding/navigating and fighting the ship.  Other communal jobs like being the laundry officer; the sports officer; the helicopter safety officer; the boarding party officer etc., were rotated amongst the wardroom and through these tasks the Prince would have had contact at some time with virtually every member of the crew. And finally, his appointed task, that of being the Ships Communications Officer, brought him into almost constant contact with the three petty officers who were in charge of the day to day functioning of the ships communications with the outside world.  The Prince attended upon the commanding officer in all matters concerning the operational side of the communications branch, reporting defects, malfunctions, errors, and of course, conveying back to the men the captain's pleasure when all had gone well.  It is therefore obvious, that during his time in the ship, the three petty officer's mentioned above in the chain of command, command structure of the ship, got to know him well and perhaps better than any other person in the ship, exempting of course those in the officers mess, the wardroom, who were close colleagues.

Now, one of these petty officer's, the man in charge of the radio communications side of the business was me, and I collected several bits and pieces which are in some way, directly or indirectly, associated with my time with the Prince.  Some of that collection appears in the following sections of this page.  I am naturally extremely proud of this period in my career, which finished in 1987 when I left the Royal Navy as a Chief Petty Officer. Recently [September 2003] , I met up with Jeff Dyes and he suggested that it would be a good idea were I to publish my  collection for the benefit of the general public, who, I believe, would be very interested in knowing about the Prince as a young man: hence this my page. Hope you enjoy it.

One little anecdote worthy telling is when based in the UK, is that most of the ships complement would join the vessel early by whatever mode of transport was available, shanks's pony, dockyard train, bike, taxi, private car whatever and early ready to get the lady ready for sea. The Prince would arrive getting as close to the ships berth as possible in his private Aston Martin sports car self driven with his private secretary sitting alongside on the front passengers seat. After alighting from his vehicle and retrieving any baggage he had brought with him, he bade his private detective farewell, who drove the vehicle back to London or to a suitable and secure lock-up ready to be available for the Princes' use on arrival back in harbour.

Now a little light entertainment

and before we begin this is symbolic of the planet Jupiter which is the ships official badge.

 save it as  sound/music file to play it through as often as you want.

Just in case you didn't know, here's the low down on what Jupiter the planet was to the ancient Romans ergo also for names used for British warships.

The badge represents a force of unprecedented opposing forces and storms of destructive power in this our largest planet so big that it dwarfs all others in the solar system. The flashes symbolise the enormously powerful forces spewing out its continuous eruptions caused by winds colliding with each other each travelling in opposite directions travelling at 224 MPH.  If you had guessed that clouds with possibly thunder and lightening you would be bang on for one of his mythological jobs was the Roman King of the heavens and skies but that's not all  by far!  Not only, as you have read or being reminded about, was Ju piter the largest planet bar none and likewise Jupiter himself [?} the King of all Roman Gods and believe me there were lots of them, but he got that position because he and his family got rid of all competitors. It happened like this according to the chief lower deck buzz spreader,  able seaman Confucius the chiefs mess tanky!

Jupiter's dad Saturn had been told that his children [many] were planning to usurp his powers as the chief of all Gods, so as soon as each sibling was born he swallowed them live to avert the threat. When Jupiter was conceived, the pals of the family schemed that at his birth they would secret him away out of harms way by wrapping a large stone in a sheet which Saturn duly swallowed.  Jupiter attained the age of maturity in hiding and upon getting the key of the door at 21 in those days, all concern in the plot grabbed Saturn by the scruff, gave him a good shake whereupon all of Jupiter's swallowed siblings dropped out of Saturn's mouth, turned on their father who dispatched Saturn into oblivion. Jupiter and the now re-born siblings so to speak decided that the earth would be split into three parts only,  each with a King, Jupiter getting the lion's share and largest portfolio as the King of all Gods, God of the sky and thunder and his two chief brothers Neptune and Pluto sharing the other remaining parts of the world as God of the earth and under world Pluto and God of the seas Neptune.  Remember this was the Roman period which came 900 years after the Greek period with their own Gods. For example For Neptune red Poseidon - for Jupiter read Zeus and for Pluto read Hades but one big snag, the ancient Greeks called Hades [their God] Pluto, just to confuse things. In Roman mythology the equivalent to the Geek God Hades was the God Dis Pater  also well known to Romans as Orcus a much feared God. It does get rather complicated if one tries to compare mythologies which after all is what I am talking about!


Planet Moon Mercury Venus Sun Mars Jupiter Saturn

I guess that you may skip the paragraph above  starting with "Jupiter's dad Saturn....." with the quiz, and I can't really blame you, so now on with the story proper which starts below this dividing line.


These two pictures show the No6 tropical uniform of a junior rating the one I wore before I was promoted to  senior rate, when as a petty officer and again as a chief petty officer I wore the uniform shown below underneath the picture of the warship with its many ceremonial flags flying.

A  poor start I know with this photograph of me lacking a decent resolution for which I apologise.  It does get a lot better so hang in there kind folks.   I am shown wearing my full tropical uniform which is an all white affair including socks and shoes! Officially it is called No 6 Uniform but most of us called it our ice cream suit. It wasn't the best and was very restrictive, hot and sweaty around the over tight neck/collar region. We wore it on ceremonial events and for formal liberty visits ashore for either a duty call or leisure.  In the background you can see at least one but I think two other Leander's at anchor, Behind me almost set as a trap for me to go 'a-over-t' is our portable saluting gun used to salute dignitaries on arrival in a foreign port. By the way I am standing on our quarter deck at the back of the ship. Those frigates are dressed overall as indeed we too are,  manifest in a long continuous string of bunting - small flags - travelling from the jack staff right  forward [on which warships fly their country's national flag] over the top of the ship's masts returning down  to the main iron deck - the upper deck - and secured as far aft as possible usually on or at the ensign staff on which warships fly their country's naval flag or more correctly, its ensign. The back drop to my picture above is  Christchurch's harbour at Lyttelton and looking at the nearest of those two frigates behind me, I can see a lot of blue of the jack meaning that she was either a RNZN warship  [Royal New Zealand Navy] or a RAN [Royal Australian Navy] whose names slips my memory. What is for certain is that one is from NZ and one from the land of Oz - God Bless them both and their crews. 

Grateful to the Curator of the RN Communications Museum and Library web site for allowing me use of the picture below. This pictures, although of a different class and much larger warship with weapon restrictions stopping the line of bunting going any further aft than shown, is indicative. Note in this case almost gilding the lily so to speak this guided missile destroyer  has added the RN Ensigns to gaff's on the front mast [foremast] and again on the after mast [main mast] to make up for the short fall of the string restricted by the guided missile director [what looks like a giant search light] and the guided missile launcher itself further aft. Note it is still a holy tradition to fly that same ensign aft. It's almost like showing off  and all Commonwealth boy's just love doing that.  One can imagine the effect this has on near to civilian crowds of admirers?



For nearly 13 years from [2003] Jeff Dykes very kindly hosted this page and now it is to be hosted at a higher level  [Jeff's words] on this very important site viz the RN Communcations Branch Museum and Library web site.  Enjoy.

 Having successfully completed a professional Radio Supervisor’s course at HMS Mercury (Hampshire, Southern England), I was drafted to HMS Jupiter as the Radio Supervisor, which I joined in Plymouth in June 1973. Her planned programme was enviable and I was proud to join the ship as a brand new Petty Officer. In due course I was introduced to Commander J.C.K Slater [known throughout the Navy as JOCK], the ship’s Captain, by my boss (the SCO) Lt [SD](C) Jack Case. Cdr Slater was promoted out of Jupiter and relieved by Cdr John Gunning in Mombasa mid 1973. The ship finally left Africa, sailing for the Far East, via Mauritius, culminating with a stopover for Christmas 1973 in Singapore.

Prior to relinquishing his Command, the Captain was aware that HRH the Prince of Wales would be joining Jupiter in January 1974, and the First Lieutenant duly informed me that the Prince would be assuming the role of Signal Communications Officer (SCO), in place of Lt Case, and would therefore be my new boss.

Prince Charles and I first met on January 4 in the Main Communications Office on board, and on January 8 we sailed from Singapore for the Commonwealth games in Christchurch, New Zealand, calling in at Brisbane, Australia on the way. The ship spent four days in Brisbane and there was obvious interest from the local populace and press. The Prince had settled nicely into his new role as Divisional Officer to the Communications Department and was getting to know the lads. HRH and I seemed to have an instant rapport and enjoyed many chats together in the sun on the flag deck whilst at sea. Whilst in Brisbane, the communications department suffered a major tragedy. One of my radio operators, Neil Race, had spent a day in Surfer’s Paradise with ‘Grippos’ and friends from the ship, and while hitchhiking back to Brisbane, was knocked down and killed.

The Captain made a sad announcement to this effect early on the morning of sailing, and an air of gloom descended upon the ship. The Prince of Wales was noticeably upset by the news that one of his own department would not be sailing with us.

Jupiter duly arrived in Christchurch harbour looking spick and span having had a lick of paint the afternoon before, and the SCO was greeted by his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, waving from the bridge of the Royal Yacht Britannia. The sight that greeted us was one of much colour, activity and a feeling of anticipation at being here for the games.

The week in Christchurch was magnificent and the ship’s company enjoyed much local hospitality and visits to the games. Jupiter was paid a surprise visit by the Duke of Edinburgh, and he visited the Main Communications Office, impressing the staff with his technical knowledge and questions about communications with Britannia.

During the outward bound journey through the Indian Ocean, the drummer for the ship’s band ‘Staak’ had quit, and as a competent drummer myself, I agreed to take his place and joined the band, performing several times on the ship’s flight deck, including a ‘Sod’s Opera’ involving performances by members of Jupiter’s company. The Prince of Wales put on his own ‘dit’, ending with him getting on the wrong end of a ‘custard pie’. To this day, a friend and I perform as a musical duo called ‘Staaks’.

On completion of the games we left Christchurch and proceeded north to visit various ports, concluding with an interesting visit to Waitangi in the North Island, coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by Queen Victoria. A long programme of cultural displays and dancing throughout the afternoon and into darkness, culminated in a co-ordinated ‘lighting-up’ of Britannia, Jupiter and one frigate from each of Australia and New Zealand navies. This display, which brought gasps from the large audience ashore, was executed by co-ordinated radio between the ships.

Leaving New Zealand behind, Jupiter proceeded north and visited the three wonderful south Pacific islands of Tonga, Samoa and Fiji, all of whose inhabitants entertained the ship’s company and honoured their ‘Royal’ guest par excellence.

On completion of our ‘island-hopping’, we commenced the long journey across the Pacific to Pearl Harbour in Hawaii. Due to a problem with one of the ship’s propellers, the week in Hawaii was mostly spent in dry dock, but the ship’s company made the most of their time in such a wonderful place. The propeller problem was sorted out and Jupiter re-floated.

From Hawaii we sailed northeast and headed across the Pacific towards San Diego. We were in constant communications, courtesy of the US Navy, with Wahiwa in Hawaii and then the Communications Centre in San Diego. The support we received from the US Navy was outstanding and the communicators in Jupiter got to know the operators on the other end by name. The Prince of Wales quite often referred to ‘Ensign Lutterbuck’ with whom I had established a working friendship via radio link to Hawaii, and the Chief Radioman in San Diego had been a great help in arranging to look after the communicators whilst alongside there. One morning, a telephone call to my contact there informed him that ‘the SCO’ and myself would like to visit the Communications Centre, where we duly arrived. I had asked him to keep the visit as quiet as possible (no fuss!) but the staff were outside waiting for us, with their ‘Instamatics’! A worthwhile visit which cemented our friendship with the staff.

While in San Diego, the Prince asked me if I would like to go surfing with him, knowing I was keen on the sport. We spent a couple of hours in the water, but the fun was suddenly terminated because his sister, Princess Anne, had been shot at in London, so we quickly returned to the ship and the Prince made a phone call back to England. Another highlight for me during this visit, was a trip to Disneyland which was just wonderful. Prince Charles and myself had a tongue-in-cheek competition during the trip back to Plymouth, involving girls. This proved to be great fun and I enjoyed introducing several ladies to HRH.

Brief visits to Panama and Bermuda preceded our return to Plymouth, ending what had been a thoroughly enjoyable and eventful circumnavigation of the globe. A spot of leave for the ship’s company, joiners and leavers, then back to the real Navy, off to Portland to re-discover our fighting fitness.

On arrival at Portland, we found that we needed to work extra hard to get back into the routine of being a warship, but with dedication and a fair wind, we worked our way up to becoming a full member of the Fleet again. It was one of my duties to meet the Portland Staff senior communications staff member on the flight deck when they all arrived, and having met Jeff Dykes, I took him to the Prince of Wales cabin and introduced him to the SCO. Jeff was more an old friend of mine from those happy days on course at Mercury, and with his expert guidance, the ‘sparkers’ department flourished and benefited from our time in his care at Portland. Time then to go off and carry out our fleet duties.

September 1974 arrived, and time for a change of boss. Prince Charles summoned me to his cabin and told me he would like to take all the communicators out to dinner whilst on a visit to Rosyth naval dockyard, which was where he would finally leave Jupiter. He told me that ‘Mum would buy the meal’ and that he thought the lads should ‘buy the drinks’. His detective, John McClean and I went into Edinburgh to confirm a venue, and it was agreed that we would visit the Beehive in the Royal Mile. A room was booked by phone, but I did not mention that a ‘special guest’ would be with the party.

On the allotted night, a coach picked us up from the ship and we proceeded to Holyrood Palace, where we were given a guided tour while HRH carried out some archery. After this visit, we turned up at the Beehive, causing a bit of a stir when people saw the future King of Great Britain [but more properly the UK and Commonwealth].  We had a delightful evening and one or two drinks were enjoyed by everyone. Some photographs of the evening are shown here below.

Sad to see HRH leave the ship, we went back to our ‘normal’ way of life plodding the ocean's. He next popped up as the Commanding Officer of HMS Bronnington. HRH relinquished Command of the Bronnington on the 15th December 1976 and the next day he retired from active service in the Royal Navy.

Now for a few pictures of the old warrior


in choppy seas!


at speed creating great turbulence in our wake


Two excellent photographs of Jupiter as a gun-Leander above showing her beautiful lines! A 'greyhound' of the seas.  Jupiter is recovering her Wasp helicopter. Note gun forward, anti-submarine launcher aft of the flight deck, and missile launcher on top of hangar roof. Jupiter's screws thrashing and biting, as she turns to show her stern.



And they say romance is ended! Can any of you think of a better back-drop than this? I am standing on the front end by the gun in what we call "Procedure Alfa" Jupiter passing the Doge's Palace and St Marks Square Venice.

Jupiter was lucky enough to have visited Venice in 1974 with HRH aboard and again in 1978. Talk about join the navy, travel, and see the world.  We certainly did in this commission.


Taken in Mombasa [this time on the flight deck and surrounding areas].  The captain was Jock Slater- 1st Lt was John Dykes and the Prince of Wales had not yet joined.  The SCO was Jack Case - 2nd row from front, 6th from right. Me 3rd row back, as you view, to the right of the captain and left of the 1st Lt.




Jupiter and her complement = ratings [ship's company] and officers.





Jupiter and her communications department taken in the 1973-1974 commission second half,  so in 1974.


Now a slight change for me which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Here I have been drafted to the  FAR EAST to Brunei on the Island of Borneo and for the duration of the draft I have been promoted to the Warrant Rank. 

Imagine my sheer delight on receiving a personal invitation to the wedding of HRH in St Paul's Cathedral. It was an experience which really did shoot the Adrenaline levels sky high.




Brunei [capital Bandar Seri Begawan] on the island of Borneo, 795 miles from Singapore and
701 miles from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.






Life is a rollercoaster!

That’s certainly been the case for this old man of the sea!

By Les Taylor


Educated in the ‘University of Life’ with a smattering of academic achievement in a variety of scholarly establishments, it somehow seemed my destiny to go to sea, and indulge my desire to perform in some form of musical capacity.


On the whim of a school friend at the Gordon Secondary School in Eltham, South London, we both applied to the London Nautical School for a place, at the age of thirteen.  Somehow I was accepted and he wasn’t.  I was in a naval uniform for the first time, having much enjoyed the uniform of the scouting organisation through my young years.  Pulling a whaler down in Surrey Docks on cold winter mornings and learning about navigation, ship construction and everything nautical, engaged me as no other subject had done before.  I found academics difficult but managed to scrape together a few certificates and a couple of GCE’s in Art and English.  Never a wondrous achievement in anybody’s book, but a creditable achievement for me, considering the poor start I had made in the journey of life.


Born into a large production line of children (number 15 out of 16 I was informed), my first memories from childhood were of an orphanage in Haslemere, Kent, called Oak Hall.  My younger brother Robert (number 16), was there with me, and at the age of six it was decided by a lady who worked for the LCC (London County Council) in conjunction with the staff, that it would be beneficial for me to be fostered, as staying at this establishment would probably cause me to grow up backward, as Robert was showing signs of doing.  The lady was Miss Irene Sims, who later had a profound effect on my life.  She visited my new home occasionally to check that I was happy, and later gave me information on my original family.


I met my future foster parents on a couple of occasions and was in competition with another lad for their attention.  Thankfully, they chose me.  I remember hoping with all my heart that Mr and Mrs Taylor would take me away from this most dire of situations for a young lad.  I suddenly had a nice home and a new brother. ‘Mum’ couldn’t have any more children, so they fostered me as company for their son Maurice.  Must have been very strange for him suddenly finding himself with a brand new sibling.  My new life was wonderful and to have people who cared about me was certainly a brand new experience.


Through primary and secondary schools in Eltham, I accumulated knowledge of the real world, and on entry to nautical training in London, I started to feel some direction in my life.  I had a friend who lived in Eltham, and we would ‘bunk off’ fairly regularly and go to his house, where he had a full set of drums in his front room.  Dave taught me to play the drum kit and I developed a thirst to do well at this pastime.


After three years at this school, deciding that a Deck Officer in the Merchant Navy was not my goal, I managed to acquire a place at Norwood Technical College in South West London, to commence a two-year course in radio communications, culminating in entry to the Merchant Navy as a Radio Officer.  More academics!  I completed a year at college and decided that I wanted to get to sea sooner rather than later, so in late 1964, applied to and was accepted by the Royal Navy as a Radio Operator, commencing training at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall, January 1965.  I was in the Navy – what a wonderful thing for me!  At last my life had meaning.  Six weeks later, on completion of initial training, my class from Raleigh joined HMS Mercury, the training school for the communications branch.


Good grief!  Suddenly I had a skill that made me feel very proud.  I could read morse code and type at a fairly exceptional rate. Quickly up-classed to join a group that had been on course for months, I was taught Royal Naval communications procedures (in place of civilian ones), and got my first ship months before my contemporaries from Raleigh.  Joining HMS Chichester in September 1965, I was suddenly enjoying a life on the ocean wave and beginning to see the world.  The Far East beckoned and my ship sailed for this adventure in January 1966.  Radio Operator 3rd Class L Taylor had achieved something special!  A promotion course of two weeks duration at Kranji wireless station in Singapore (famous as a Japanese POW camp during WWII) saw me safely elevated to Radio Operator second class (RO2).  What a happy little bunny I was!


Further ships followed including HMS Undaunted (RO1), HMS Glamorgan (LRO – Leading Radio Operator) which circumnavigated the globe, starting with a visit to Washington DC, and HMS Triumph, a converted Aircraft Carrier based in Singapore, used as a maintenance facility for warships.  1972 saw me back at Mercury for my R.S’s course, knowing that if it was successfully completed, I would have the job of Radio Supervisor on my own ship, a Leander Class frigate, HMS Jupiter.  Incentive?  You bet!


After two and a half years in Jupiter, Mercury beckoned again and the years 1975 – 1979 were spent as a communications instructor for Leading Hand and Petty Officer courses.

In 1978 my name appeared near the top of the promotion signal and Chief Radio Supervisor became my new title.  Life could not get any better than this!  In 1978 I had planned my wedding and sent an invitation to Prince Charles.  My future wife was Welsh, so an invitation to the Prince of Wales seemed right.  My ex-boss wrote me a lovely letter saying he could not attend, but sent me a treasured wedding gift (see photos) of a silver stud box with the Prince of Wales feathers on the lid.  Marriage and a Loan Service draft to the Royal Brunei Malay Regiment saw the period from mid-1979 to July 1981 as a Warrant Officer in khaki uniform.  My daughter Christina was born in Brunei in 1980, and on returning from a final trip to Hong Kong, we were greeted with an invitation from the Lord Chamberlain to attend the wedding of the Prince of Wales and the Lady Diana Spencer.  Good grief! Maybe the Prince had really remembered those halcyon days in Jupiter.  What a proud chappy I was!  We had exchanged occasional communications and a collection of Christmas cards had begun to build up.


Returning from Brunei on July 22 1981, it was a mad rush to purchase a car and prepare for the big day on July 29 at St Paul’s Cathedral.  Christina, at fifteen months, was left in the care of Mum in Eltham.  My rusty old Escort estate seemed very ‘down-market’ as we drove down The Mall towards St Paul’s at 8 in the morning, but what an experience seeing all those loyal subjects patiently waiting for the entourage to pass close by. In St Paul’s we sat next to a fellow NCO in army uniform, and he informed me that Prince Charles had invited one senior rate from each of the three Services.  Ceremonial documents from this momentous event are included here, as are cards and letters.


Back, once again, to HMS Mercury to see what the future held.  My last desire was to have my own ship as the Chief Radio Supervisor but I had to hunt pretty hard as there were not that many available.  Finally I was drafted to another Leander Class frigate, HMS Andromeda, due to deploy to the Far East.  Heaven!  Unfortunately in 1982, on my birthday, the Falkland Islands were invaded by Argentina and British forces were put on a state of high alert.  A fleet was deployed immediately. Andromeda was included in the second wave of ships.  I witnessed my son Sandy  being brought safely into the world in early May, and days later my sea-legs were given a good run-out on the 8000 mile journey south.  The next time I saw Sandy (named after the naval officer in charge of the Fleet, Admiral Sir Sandy Woodward), he was a lot larger.  Our glorious return to Plymouth in September 1982 was a milestone in this rollercoaster of a life.  We made it finally to the Far East in 1983.


Fondest memory of our 1983 deployment was a period spent with the New Zealand frigate HMNZS Waikato, whom we joined in Jeddah.  The two Chief’s messes immediately got on with the business of cementing Kiwi/Brit relations, and my opposite number on there, one Chief Radio Supervisor Bob Ohlson, introduced me to what is commonly known as ‘squirt’, a refreshment lost to the Royal Navy on July 31st 1970.  Waikato, in company with Andromeda, visited Africa and travelled the Indian Ocean for a period of weeks, until Waikato departed for her homeland.  We had made great friends, and parted reluctantly.


Having left the sea again, I found myself back in khaki at an Army camp in Blandford, Dorset, where two years were spent training Army communicators.  My last year, 1986, was spent back at good old Mercury, until discharge in 1987.  I joined a Life Insurance company called Manulife, where I discovered that they had insured the life of none other than King Edward VII.  A copy of this policy can be seen here, and a copy was sent to the Prince of Wales which generated the accompanying response.  See later on down the page.


Unbelievably, I rejoined HMS Mercury in 1990 as a CRS on a Foreign Training contract, and spent just over four years training communicators from world navies.  More halcyon days until finally becoming a ‘civvie’ and hanging up my sea-legs for good.

Now that’s what I call a rollercoaster ride!


Music is still a very large part of my life, but it is now a very relaxed hobby with my duo and entertaining elderly residents of care homes.  An old musician never retires!


Just a few nostalgic photographs of my times in the UK, in New Zealand, in Borneo, Falklands, other ships Andromeda and Glamorgan.



The pantomime ALADIN produced by me and a great number of helpers and performed as shown on the flyer in Borneo in February 1981
My passing out from new entry training HMS Mercury in 1965 with our class forming the Guard for the CSS Captain David Morgan R.N. me on right. My basic training known as Part One was done in Cornwall in HMS Raleigh.
Here I was at a nautical training school training before joining the Royal Navy to become a seaman deck officer in the
Mercantile Marine, but I have already explained the reason why I droppedout.
Pictures 2 to 7 above all relate to a departmental run ashore in Edinburgh the ship having tied-up in Rosyth Dockyard. It involved the booking of a hotel and a farewell meal at  which HRH paid tribute to his 'Comms department  and thanked all the men for a long and tiring hardly-ever off-watch stint in the long trip to the other side of the world. He joked that mum [H.M] would pick up the food tab as long as the lads picked up the  bar bill - it was honoured on both sides, thankfully thought Her Majesty,  knowing  just how  thirsty  these Royal sailors were! The final sadness was the next day when the boss man left us climbing a  precipitous gang plank off the ship rather expected in the mountains of dear old  Scotland, into the safe arms of his private detective and the seats of his Aston Martin sports car, and like him, we all saying safe journey Sir and God Bless the Prince of Wales.
This picture above shows HRH as an invited guest into my petty officer mess at my request which he enjoyed to the full.  We were seen quite often as a me and my pal act, although at all stages and events the Prince was popular with all throughout the ship.   
  The three pictures above we gifts given to me of solid silver boxes used for things like shirt studs and similar. All carried the Prince of Wales world famous badge or crest. The heraldic badge consists of three white ostrich feathers emerging from a gold coronet. A ribbon below the coronet bears the motto Ich dien (German for "I serve"). Gifts like these were sent to me for my wedding day and were very personal and treasured.
The two pictures above were taken on the North Island at Waittangi  during day time and again illuminated at night time. Note the two national flags flying proudly side by side on the large flagpole and in the upper picture the three warships escorting the Royal Yacht Britannia floodlit at anchor, RN, RNZN and RAN, all taking part with Britannia in a coordinated switch on. H.R.H. PRINCE OF WALES
By Karsh of Ottawa
First formal portrait study of Prince Charles at the age of 27, since he was 18. 
He is photographed at the residence of the Governor General of Canada at Ottawa.
The Prince, who was then a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, took part in NATO exercises  in Canada's  Arctic region.
Camera Press. London.


Above you will see my invite to attend HRH's Royal residence Highgrove House in Gloucestershire for a reception, effectively a reunion, of Jupiter shipmates.  It came at a time of previous family commitments already made, ruling out the attendance of my wife and my daughter, so instead my son's wife Kerris joined me, for what truly was a splendid day for all reasons. We were all very proud to be with HRH and he too in his turn, was demonstrably delighted to be back with us again. Much water has passed under all our bridges since those days of some 40'odd years ago!


Shown above,  I dug out this insurance policy taken on the life of King Edward VII when he was 61 for £3000  demanding a premium of £150 paid in full on the 15th January 1902 and sent it to Prince Charles as an interesting historical document. HRH was delighted and what follows is his letter of thanks and acknowledgement.

Many moons before that find,  I had told the Prince by personal letter that I would shortly marry and duly invited him to our wedding. The next three frames show you how he responded, that's left and right and bottom left.

Whilst the Prince couldn't come and therefore didn't,  he nevertheless send my wife and I treasured personal gifts which are shown above as  Silver boxes. And this letter from HRH answers my letter telling him that our second child, a son Sandy, was expected.

The next 23 pictures  are all to do with the Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana throughout. 

Just a get together of the pages in the Marriage ceremony of  Prince Charles to  Lady Diana Spencer.

I recommend that you click on just FIVE  of these Pages viz  10, 11, 12 and 13 from the left and  the two images above or extreme right hand side [same picture] for top one.  The often sad circumstances surrounding the breaking of vows and the supporting [in our case] Christian customs and rites, negates the need to read these other pages other than those of state pageantry,  hence my recommend of what to read ergo what to ignore.

 Click to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlarge

And now for the many add-on's to my stories all important to me and I hope of interest to you which includes Royal letters to me.  This is the penultimate stage of the page which will be finished off by the many press cuttings very complimentary to HRH and our various visits.

Mercury football team me back row second in. 

Taking a swim 
Me in Borneo in army WO uniform testing a voice circuit
Sailing in the far flung? That lady seems very popular and the eventdefinitelydefinitely not an R.N. Beach combing with buddies. Me with scuba divers face mask 
Getting a sports award from CSS HMS Mercury, Captain John Tait RN at the Hyden Wood cricket sports pavilion. Me in naval band - terrible picture but I am in there somewhere I think in rear rank, second from right. Anyway I was a saxophone player. With that big jet aircraft and folded up Wasp helicopter in the rear no guesses that it was HMS Daedalus at Lee on the Solent R.N.A.S. See picture below for a very smart and tidly CRS sax player military parades or gigs.
Indian Ocean Lieutenant Jack Case SCO first half of commission in 1973 seen centre bottom of picture Jupiter in a heavy swell and going at some speed 
Jupiter going at a lick in white tops - force 2 in the  Pacific Ocean Porpoise or Dolphins trying to out do Jupiter in a race! 
Jupiter at anchor  in a calm Pacific Ocean taken from the craft seen in the sailing picture   Ships flight Wasp helicopter approaching ship for a land on closing the port quarter. 
Ships helo safley landed and I am patting her on her face to say thank you  Jupiter in heavy weather shows  her bow way out of sea being tossed about.
HRH on flight deck of Jupiter with UK diplomatic mission discussing with Fijians procedures to be carried out at a forth coming visit  Me with HRH and USN Communicators outside the port commcen in San Diego  
HRH on flight deck of Jupiter at a crossing the line ceremony himseld just recovering from a custard pie in face attack.  RN ships in June 1982 do a Victory sail past the Falkland Islands before heading for home a job well done and executed.  My ship HMS Andromeda sommwhereein amongst them.in amongst them.
HMS Glamorgan one of my former  ships in times nothing to do with HMS Jupiter ar HMS Andromeda [Falklands] past manoeuvring  in Sydney Harbour.  Head back drinking from a coconut 
Disney Land  Me in Muscat in Oman Gulf State 
Navy band in Nav Band passing the entrance to Main House HMS Mercury as a CRS My first marriage 
Me and my oppo on the flight deck of HRH, Oooops Sorry, his nun's ship HMS Jupiter  What a dapper young lad - pity about the folding of arms! 
And to prove that sometimes i am on the end of the camera, here's one I took of dear old Ken Lee in July 19 a big Branch favourite. One of his claims to fame is that he went to the same Grammar School as Jeff Dykes but he once told me many years afterwards!  Need we say more?  Incidentally that writing on the bottom says "Wonderful lunch with  mes parents today, such a sunny day and of course I got to spend time with the two men I LOVE MOST IN THE WORLD Peter Drummond and Ken Lee.  See more. The 1 comment says you, Ken Lee and 54 others.  All cryptic to me!  
  Vice Admiral  Sir James Lamb WEATHERALL with a double knighthood KCVO and KBE ex Naval Euerry to Her Majesty The QUEEN died in March 2018 aged 82. 

Rank History

Vice Admiral 20|5|1989
Rear Admiral 15|2|1987
Captain Royal Navy 31|12|1978
Commander Royal Navy 30|6|1972
Lieutenant-Commander Royal Navy 16|2|1966
Lieutenant Royal Navy 16|2|1958

He was Commanding Officer in HMS ANDROMEDA during and after the 1982 Falklands War. He was a true gentleman and a leader of men than not one person in the ships complement would disagree with, such was his popularity. He maintained the former admiralty, now MOD[N] modus operandi that only the best commanded Her Majesty ships and establishments, and mark my words, he was nothing short of the best.

I know of people in the fleet who have also had the sheer pleasure of serving him for he always responded in full to show his gratitude, and one couldn't help liking him and trusted him implicitly. Although elderly at the time of his death and long ago retired since 1991, he was well respected and I can say loved, truly, and as such will be well remembered and now much missed.

He was a navigator by branch training, and what follows gives one a quick glimpse of his splendid career.


Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, USA


As above


Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation


As above


As above


HMS ARK ROYAL R07 (Invincible Class Aircraft Carrier) 22,000 tonnes, length 210 metres, beam 36 metres, complement 682 plus 366 for air squadrons, Armament Goalkeeper gun system, close range guns. BFPO212. Total Crew 1,051.


As above


HMS ANDROMEDA Leander Class Frigate 2650 tons


As above


As above


Serving in a NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) Appointment


As above


Listed by name & rank, but no appointment indicated in this year


HMS ARK ROYAL, Aircraft Carrier 36,800 tons


HMS OSPREY, Portland, Dorset


HMS TARTAR Type 81 Frigate 2300 tons


Director General Naval Manpower and Training


As above


As above


HMS ULSTER Destroyer 1710 tons


As above


HMS LONDON Guided Missile Destroyer 5440 tons


As above


HMS VERNON, Portsmouth


HMS SOBERTON, Ton Class Coastal Minesweeper


HMS DRYAD, Southwick, Fareham, Hants

And finally to the Oceania Press down under who rightly and properly had a field day with HRH in his own environment as a Royal sailor but as a Royal Prince. They, indeed few newspapers, get headlines like these.  But look also to the Royal personal [and aide sent] correspondences to me which kept the shoreside postal system on its toe not to mention Jupiters postie.


I knew you all as a relatively young man and I'll leave you here today as a proud grandad, and still very young at heart.


This is my youngest grandson  Kaden, taken in the Vineyard at Wickham Hampshire, on the wedding day of my step son Colin and his wife Kerris.


Yours most sincerely Les



Copyright © 2003 Les Taylor . All rights reserved.
Revised: September 13, 2020 .