1973

A once in a life time experience

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.  I apologise for the so-called musical input, but 'decent music' takes up a lot of space whereas, this, a MIDI file, much less. So a MIDI is much more preferable than a very short piece of orchestral music which would be too short to enjoy. To listen again, click REFRESH above. 
[you will lose the music when you go off to view sub-pages] click here on the Commanding Officer's stripes for details of the ship.
[you will lose the music when you go off to view sub-pages]] click here on the Admiral's stripes for a few details of our C.O.S.T., sea-riders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales was the Ships Communications Officer [SCO] during one half of  this commission.
Lieutenant 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 lengthy periods 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 onboard.  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, one Leslie Taylor, collected several bits and pieces which are in some way, directly or indirectly, associated with his time with the Prince.  Some of that collection appears in the following sections of this page.  Leslie [Les] is quite naturally extremely proud of this period in his career, which finished in 1987 when he left the Royal Navy as a Chief Petty Officer. Recently [September 2003] , I suggested to Les that it would be a good idea were he to publish his collection for the benefit of the general public, who, I believe, would be very interested in knowing about the Prince as a young man.  Les does not have a web site, and what better way to achieve a public domain audience than to publish it on the internet.  I do!  Les has agreed to place his collected pieces on this page until such times as he chooses an alternative method. More about that in a minute

Name of Ship Nationality Name of Ship Nationality
Jupiter UK Schleswig Holstein  West German
Sheffield UK Karlsruhe West German
Norfolk UK Lubeck West German
Antrim UK Z5 West German
Kent UK Z3 West German
Wotton UK Z2 West German
Hecate UK
Londonderry UK Name of Ship Nationality
Beagle UK Rotterdam Dutch
Hecla UK Van Speyk Dutch
Andromeda UK Evertsen Dutch
Bacchante UK Van Galen Dutch
Falmouth UK Van Nes Dutch
Plymouth UK
Diomede UK Name of Ship Nationality
Brighton UK Le Gascon French
Exmouth UK
Salisbury UK Name of Ship Nationality
Argonaut UK Larak Iran
Mermaid UK
Llandaff UK Name of Ship Nationality
Leopard UK Madaraka Kenya
Ariadne UK Jamhuri Kenya
Leander UK
Eskimo UK Name of Ship Nationality
Berwick UK Condell Chile
Galatea UK Lynch Chile
Ashanti UK
Nubian UK Name of Ship Nationality
Gurkha UK Independencia Venezuelan
Tartar UK Constitucion Venezuelan
Danea UK Patria Venezuelan
Ajax UK
Dido UK Name of Ship Nationality
Zulu UK Canterbury New Zealand
Mohawk UK
Cleopatra UK
This a list of ships in which I carried out my
 duties as a sea-rider. In the above list, all the
 ships are frigates/destroyers except for  the
 WOTTON [minesweeper]; the HECATE,
 BEAGLE and HECLA which are survey
 vessels belonging to the hydrographer of the
 navy and affectionately known in the navy
 as "droggies" {they are painted white instead
 of warship grey}; the LARAK which is a
 landing craft and the vessels from Kenya
 and Venezuela which are small patrol boats.
 The largest destroyers were the NORFOLK,
 ANTRIM and KENT, and the smallest
 frigates were the GURKHA, TARTAR,
 NUBIAN, ASHANTI and ESKIMO
 {the tribal class}and the MERMAID a
 one-off ship without sister vessels.

This is a map showing the  island of Portland [most southerly point - Easton and Fortuneswell} and the sea area is the English Channel.  The port of Southampton can be seen top right and the seaside town of Bournemouth centre middle. The main naval port of Portsmouth is off to the right and Plymouth off to the left.

Whilst a Portland work-up was the finest on offer in Europe, it was restricted by lack of sea-room in the narrow and shallow English Channel.  For that reason, plus others, like the extended naval defence budget [too many bases] and the need to exercise modern weapons, it was decided to move the work-up facility to Plymouth with ready access to the Western Approaches.  Now Plymouth offers the finest work-up facilities in Europe.  Portland closed in July 1995 when HMS Argyll sailed for Plymouth  flying the flag of FOST.

Before I go I thought that you would be interested in a little 'heavenly body' exposure - one of my favourite subjects, specifically of course for our friend JUPITER.

 

 

 

 

Goodbye and enjoy Les Taylor's page. 


THE PORTLAND WORK-UP [BOST]/[COST]
[Basic Operational Sea Training]/[Continuity Operational Sea Training]

In 1972/3, whilst in HMS Mercury, at that time the navy's communications training school near Petersfield Hampshire, I and my boss, Lieutenant Commander Rodney Cave R.N., had certain responsibilities for the training of officers and men about to go to sea in their various ships.  The training, called PJT [Pre Joining Training] told the members of the various courses what equipment was fitted in their ship, with a brief overview on how it worked, and more importantly, the handling results they would be expected to achieve within a very short time of arriving in the ship.  The course assumed that the attendee had the basics, and all that was necessary was to blow the cobwebs off.  Thus, the courses were very short and it was up to the individual to refresh what had been forgotten from formal learning courses or from previous experience in other ships, albeit usually at a lower level.  HRH The Prince of Wales was one of the officers PJT course members learning about what to expect in HMS Jupiter.

In 1973, I left HMS Mercury and went to Portland, Dorset, to join the Flag Officer Sea Training staff.

Here, with others staff members listed above on the Rear Admiral's Flag, it was my job to make sure that what was learnt on the PJT above, was put into practice on the ship actually at sea.  The list to the left shows all the ships I helped to train at sea in 1973/74. Note the Jupiter.  Ships spent six weeks at Portland being put through their paces at sea, being taught/learning about everything from fire, collision damage, severe bleeding/high level first aid, nuclear and biological warfare, riots, civilian disaster co-ordination/help, helicopter deck landings and crashes on deck/ditching, and finally, fighting a war against all comers.  It was an exacting six weeks for both the ships companies and for us on the Admiral's staff.  We  boarded ships in harbour*, by boat and by helicopter winching on to the deck.  If the sea was calm it was just tolerable; if rough it was bloody terrible.

*When Jupiter was alongside at Portland, usually on 'Q' Pier, HRH would arrive in his blue Aston Martin sports car with his private detective.  The Prince would join the ship without ceremony, the detective would drive the car away and the ship would slip and proceed to sea.

My job in the Jupiter was to check that all in the communications branch, including the Prince, knew their jobs in the routine operational sense i.e., with no raging fires to distract them.  Then came the "funnies".  I either carried out, or knew that it was to be carried out by others on the Admirals staff, a distraction.  This was designed to test the crews  reaction to combat or deal with an unforeseen event of such magnitude, that demanded an immediate resolution, otherwise the created problem could have escalated into a problem for all of us - staff and ship!  Smoke bombs were frequently used.  Electrical power would be taken down deliberately. Sea water hoses would be employed for leak simulation. Steering failures would be realistic.  Real men on the Admirals staff would jump overboard leaving other staff to shout out "man overboard port side aft" just as smoke bombs were exploding on the bridge.  Staff, wearing plastic bags under their arm pits filled with a red coloured substance and a tube leading down the arm to the wrist, would shut a metal heavy watertight door and scream out in agony as though their hand had been chopped off by the weight of the door, blood pumping from the wrist all over the deck.  In rough weather and wearing blast protection gear [anti flash], even those who had been 'through' Portland before tended to be squeamish.  When signals came into the ship coded, it was the job of a communications ratings to enter the code into a machine from which came the plain language.  However, when the code represented a plain text which was sensitive, it was the Ships Communications Officer who retrieved the plain language - HRH.  Prince Charles sat down to this task under my glaring [but very kind] eye just when the ships helicopter crashed [for exercise] on deck.   He dashed away, but still had to come back soon to continue his code breaking task.  We, the royal one, put HRH, the Royal one, through his paces at several points during the six week period, and true to form, he dealt with them all as well as any other officer did.  Each week at Portland we had a war at sea which was always on a Thursday.  The ship about to complete its time at Portland was always the OTC [officer in tactical command] and all eyes were on her to perform her control functions without losing the war. How could she fail? Jupiter was the King of the Gods and therefore had control over Mars the God of War, and anyway, Thursday is Jupiter's day! {see below in Les Taylor's section}. Little wonder then that Rear Admiral James Eberley  gave Jupiter a V.SAT [very satisfactory] for her work-up and released her to her duties in the Fleet.  I will not tell you anymore otherwise I could be visiting THE TOWER!!

Just before I say goodbye, one of my bosses on the Admiral's staff, Lt Jack Case RN had been Les Taylor's boss on the Jupiter before HRH: the second in command of the Jupiter [First Lieutenant] Lt Cdr John Ewart Dykes became my boss in 1975 in Kelly Squadron HMS Mercury as K1 - an excellent boss and a happy time for me.

 

 

 

 

USEFUL LINKS ABOUT HMS HMS BRONINGTON

http://www.historicwarships.freeserve.co.uk/

 Well worth a visit. 

 

 

SOME IMPORTANT POINTS ABOUT PRINTING WEB PAGES

Do not just press the PRINT command and hope for the best.  You will not get it! Instead, go to FILE and choose PRINT PREVIEW.  This window is easy to use with tools to help you navigate. You will see exactly what you will get if you were to press the print command [WYSIWYG].  If the text is off-screen, try changing from portrait to landscape and try sizing the page in PAGE SET UP, an icon in the preview window. When you are happy click on PRINT. Print piecemeal because each and every page can be different depending on the contents.

 

 

 

If JUPITER, NEPTUNE and PLUTO were loners, [they are of course by sheer distance] offset from the other known [2004] planets, what collective
name would the remaining planets [anagram] be known under?

 



 

Hello, I'm Les Taylor, and thats me over to the right in my best tropical uniform - we call it an 'icecream suit'.  I am going to tell you about my time in Jupiter and especially about 1974, which, for most of that year, my direct boss was HRH The Prince of Wales.  

But first, a small introduction to the name Jupiter courtesy of Keith Edkins from his wonderful web site  on Roman Gods at http://www.gwydir.demon.co.uk/jo/roman/

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Jupiter or Jove

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Title: King of the gods Greek name: Zeus
Relations: Son of Saturn
Grandson of Uranus
Husband of Juno
Brother of Neptune and Pluto
Many children
Day of the Week:

Solar system:

Wonder of World:

Thursday

planet Jupiter

Statue at Olympia

English words: Jovial means jolly.

Jupiter Jupiter means Father Jove (Father in Latin is "pater"). There was a big temple in Rome dedicated to Jupiter Optimus Maximus (which means Jupiter Best and Greatest). The Romans thought that Jupiter guarded their city and looked after them.

thunderbolt Jupiter was king of the Gods. His weapon was the Thunderbolt (thunder and lightning). All other gods were terrified of him, although he was a little scared of his wife Juno! Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto were the three sons of Saturn. They divided up the world between themselves. Jupiter took the air, Neptune had the sea and Pluto ruled under the earth, the home of the Dead.

Autobiographical

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 onboard, 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, co-inciding 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. 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.

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 propellor 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 Clutterbuck’ 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 England among our group. We had a delightful evening and one or two drinks were enjoyed by everyone. Some photographs of the evening are shown here.

Sad to see HRH leave the ship, we went back to our ‘normal’ way of life plodding the oceans. 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.

Two excellent photographs of Jupiter as a gun-Leander. Above, beautiful lines! A 'greyhound' of the sea, or is it a BMW? Jupiter is recovering or launching her Wasp helicopter. Note gun forward, anti-submarine launcher aft of the flight deck, and missile launcher on top of hangar roof. Left, screws thrashing and biting, Jupiter turns and shows 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"

Just up above, I have recommended that you visit the LEANDER site:  Jupiter is a Leander class frigate. Once there and having clicked on F60, you will see an identical picture to this one which tells you that it was taken in Venice in late 1978.  The picture to your right was taken in 1974.  Lucky Jupiter to visit at least twice in four years.  But is the picture the same?  No, it is very different! This one has a figure 6 on the funnel which has the top painted black. 

On the Leander site, the funnel has a black broad band around the top and the figure 7 on the side. This denote that the commanding officer is a Captain R.N. and the ship is a leader:  it is F7, in charge of all ships in the 7th Frigate Squadron. Note also the boat on the port side midships swung out on its davits ready for lowering.   NOTE.    In 1984, CINCFLEET ordered that all black bands painted on funnels to be removed.   On the 10th January 1986, Squadron Commanders were ordered to wear a Squadron Command Pennant which was a short, white, swallow-tailed pennant with red edges worn by all Captain 'D' and Captain 'F' as well as by Leaders of MCM Squadrons.

Ships Company taken in San Diego early 1974. HRH 7th in from the right 2nd row back.  The R.S., 5th in from left 4th row backA smile to foretell many days to come swanning around in the ports of Singapore and Hong Kong

 

Visions of the future. Trying on my brand new far east tropical suit.

HMS JUPITER'S COMMUNICATIONS STAFF WITH ME SITTING ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE OF HRH, CY RON THOMPSON TO HIS RIGHT AND RS[W] LOU KNILL ON THE END.
When I received this wedding invitation I was serving as a warrant officer in Brunei 

Click to enlarge

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

 

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.


Tell me what you think about my  web page concerning  HRH The POW and HMS Jupiter. I would  welcome all of your comments and suggestions.

Hello and a warm welcome.  If you have a moment to spare, I would love to hear from you especially if you were in Jupiter during my 1973-1974 commission. I have closed my GUESTBOOK because it takes too many "bad hits" from sicko's but see below. My email address is <staaksxvirginmedia> but before you use it please remember to delete the letter 'x' and add the symbol '@' in its place,  and then add 'dot com' to the end of what I have shown you.

You can see what other visitors said prior to the closure of the guestbook  by CLICKING HERE


Copyright © 2003 Les Taylor . All rights reserved.
Revised: October 14, 2015 .

My first naval uniform. London nautical school in 1960 when I was 13.                         Captain's Guard. Passing out parade after having completed basic communications training at HMS Mercury in 1965. Me on the right.

  

Edinburgh run ashore. HRH [the DO] enjoying a drink with members of his division. September 1974. HRH relaxing after dinner at the Beehive hotel Edinburgh, after he had dined-out his communications staff Cheers boys! HRH in relaxed mode.
Edinburgh 1974.  What a few drinks can do? The lads returning onboard after their run ashore with  HRH. Edinburgh 1974.  The SMART communicators of HMS Jupiter enroute to Holyrood Palace [and subsequently to the Beehive - Edinburgh hotel] for a farewell run ashore with their DO, HRH The POW. Note their clean tidy and orderly appearance. An almost duplicate from the picture above centre - whatever, the drinking continues.
HMS Jupiter in Rosyth [Scotland] dockyard September 1974. HRH  Lieutenant The Prince of Wales Royal Navy, leaves his ship for the last time.
HMS Jupiter, at sea September 1974.  HRH dined-out by the Petty Officers Mess Waitangi Bay NZ  early 1974.  This photograph is at night time and the photograph to the right is daytime, of the same event.  Antipodeans dancing display. In background, three Leander frigates illuminated [simultaneously by command sent by radio].  HMS Jupiter with an Oz and a Kiwi ship. Waitangi Bay early 1974.  The daytime event [see picture to left] of celebrating the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by HM Queen Victoria.  HM Queen Elizabeth can be seen to the right wearing a red hat.  In the distance, we see the Royal Yacht Britannia and the frigate HMS Jupiter.

Silver stud box given to me as a wedding present by HRH.  This view shows an elevation with the lid removed.  Note the POW feathers and his motto ICH DIEN.  Used as the motto of the Prince of Wales, adopted with the crest of ostrich feathers after the battle of Crécy (1346), from John of Luxembourg, King of Bohemia, who was killed in the battle. So concr. for the Prince of Wales himself, and allusively.See photograph opposite.  Silver stud box, looking down on the top of the lid.See picture above left.  Silver stud box, shown laid on its side, with lid in place.

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The following Christmas Cards are in SLIDE-SHOW mode below and to view them, once the background is aligned, there is no need to use your [right] horizontal scroll bar. It will help if at this point, you click on your REFRESH button for best viewing.

                                         

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Life is a rollercoaster!


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

Les Taylor - Autobiographical Part Two

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 Click to enlarge 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 Click to enlarge 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.

 

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!

In dry dock having a propellor problem sort out.  Place, Oahu, Pearl Harbour, Hawaii. Middle crouching is Lieutenant Jack Case Royal Navy our first Divisional Officer.  Taken on flight deck of Jupiter when in the Indian Ocean Heavy weather. The sea crashing over HMS Jupiters bow in the Pacific Ocean.
Leaving  the land mass behind, HMS Jupiter races off to her duties in far off places. If it is not flying fish, it is dolphins or porpoises which are the regular visitors to the bows of ships.  Whilst on the subject.  What is the difference between a dolphin and a porpoise? Answer in next picture to the right. HMS Jupiter at anchor in calm and peaceful Pacific waters.  Answer. One begins with a D and the other, a P
An excellent picture taken from our helicopter [a Wasp] approaching the port quarter of the ship ready for landing on. Me taken on Jupiter's flight deck next to our flight [a Wasp helo] In rough weather with bow high out of the water.  Leander frigates are good sea boats and this is a good action shot of HMS Jupiter going about her business on the high seas.
 
HRH with me plus two Americans taken outside the Communications Centre at San Diego Naval Base California USA On the flight deck of Jupiter. HRH chats with Fijians about matters of local ceremonies. Flight deck of HMS Jupiter.  HRH undergoing his ordeal during a cross-the-line ceremony.  He has just survived a custard pie in his face - amongst other things!
Nothing to do with this subject really.  I was in Andromeda during the 1982 Falklands War and this shows her leading the ships which took part in a VICTORY sail past off the Falkland Islands. Again, just another of my ships, this time Glamorgan manoeuvring in Sydney harbour

In the carousel below, I recommend the following for a proper viewing. With respect to the LEFT HAND panel only, put your right hand horizontal scroll bar near to the top of its range and then click on your REFRESH button. That way, you will see the long portrait picture of me as intended. Then lower the scroll bar to its centre position, and again, click on the REFRESH button. Now you will see the other pictures in the carousel centred in the panel. To clear the panel of photo-overlap at any time just click on the REFRESH button.

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