Jim Donaldson (Webmaster) wrote when he first published the website in 2004 that along with around 47 others he flew out to Aden in a VC10 to join the ship in early July '66 as first phase party of the new commission. The Regulating Staff at RNAS Lossiemouth had told me that I'd be flying to Nairobi then onward by rail to join the ship in Mombasa so it was disappointing to find on reporting to the check in desk at Gatwick Airport after the 500 mile rail journey from Lossiemouth that the actual destination was Aden.  On arrival there late in the evening we were met by Chief GI Roberts who was armed with a pistol (as well as a loud voice) then bussed to Waterloo Lines Barracks as the ship was in quarantine following a serious outbreak of salmonella enteritis.  Seeing an armed matelot was a strange sight as only  4 or 5 hours earlier we had been downing pints of Watneys Red Barrel at Gatwick Airport!   Our temporary home belonged to 45 Cdo RM who were away on patrol in the Radfan Hills.   Next morning the first phase party were easily recognisable by their lily white bodies and the fact they weren't carrying plastic boxes around with samples of their latest bowel movement for analysis by the Doc!  All sorts of things were racing through my mind when I saw the first plastic box and had no idea what the contents were.  It was even worse when it did dawn on me what was in there!   When the ship had been fumigated we moved back onboard and were in Mombasa for England's victory against Germany in the World Cup Final on 30th July 1966.  Our SRE couldn't pick up the World Cup Final commentary but I managed to get a boat across to HMS Eagle and listened to it in 800 NAS mess with George Pennell who was a Killick Writer with me in my first draft to RNAS Lossiemouth.   After Mombasa we transitted the Suez Canal then alongside at  Parlatoria Wharf, Malta (which was far too close to the Corradina Canteen) for a couple of weeks then Gib and arrived back in Guzz mid September.  The old Ship's Company paid off and the ship re-commissioned on 6th October 1966.  The ship underwent a docking period and we were accommodated in the Nissen huts beside Drake parade ground throughout a freezing winter with only a pot bellied stove for heating.  If your bunk was near that you were reasonably warm but never slept as the lads used to gather round that to eat their fish and chips and have a natter after a run ashore.  We moved back onboard early in the New Year and began our sea trials off Guzz.  The last phase party joined on the 4th February 1967 just in time to undergo work up at Portland which was interrupted over the Easter weekend of 18th/19th March 1967 by the Torrey Canyon disaster.  There was a general recall and the Naval Provost nipped round Portland and Weymouth picking up all matelots (or people who looked like matelots) unfortunate enough not to be away on the long weekend and returned them to their ships (or any ship).  We sailed immediately with a makeshift crew including some lads from Osprey who spent several days with us and only had the gear that they were wearing when they were picked up by the patrol.  Gradually our own Ship's Company filtered back and we managed a few good runs ashore in Falmouth (The Grapes - who can forget Jimmy Green's songs in there) and Newlyn near Penzance.  

As a footnote I had hoped someone else would add their memories for this commission.   Come on lads - I've started it off - fill in the rest of the stories.  I've already covered about 8 months here but there are still about 2 years worth left including the Far East trip.

Jim Donaldson - 2004

Six years later in 2010 - it's eventually happened!  Dusty Miller has penned his memories of the commission and it has been worth waiting for. Absolutely brilliant Dusty and thank you very much for much for taking the time to write such a comprehensive ditty.   Can anyone add any more???