Posted at 05:12h
in Guest's Post
7th April 2022 is the 50th anniversary of the decommissioning of HMAS QUEENBOROUGH (VLNZ).
As the last Communicator (ABRO) aboard, I spent the last few weeks destoring the comms department, returning the CBs and other confidential/valuable items. LCDR H.C. Findlay was the Skipper, but I reported to LCDR Graham Rohrsheim DSC, who was the XO. LCDR Rohrsheim had been had been awarded the DFC for his service with the RANHFV Vietnam. A really nice gentleman and a pleasure to work for.
Technical advice and help was always on hand from the MSO Staff at HMAS Kuttabul. The team in the MSO were a great help, as I had a couple of challenges. One was to produce a "Gin Pennant" for the Wardroom drinks. I'd never heard of such a thing up until then (I was an RO remember). However, the LTO at Kuttabul (sorry - can't remember his name) was wonderful. He knocked up a Gin Pennant for me in a couple of days. Sadly, on the day it was flown, it rained and the Pennant hung very limply from the yardarm for the remainder of the day.
A couple of weeks prior to the Decommissioning, I was piped to the Gangway and met a PO and a couple of "Greenies" from one of the DE / Type 12's. They wanted to knock off some parts from our AN-URT 23-V (HF Transmitter). I told them that I didn't mind what they did to the insides of the Txer, as long as it looked the same on the outside!
Then about a week prior to Decommissioning, a Lieutenant and a couple of Petty Officers (SA-C's?) arrived from HMAS NIRIMBA to say that they were going to remove the 23V. When I asked what they were going to do with it, they said that they were taking it to NIRIMBA to use a a "Training Aid". I'm sure that they would have been quite surprised to find that when they opened up the cabinets, they would have found several key components missing.
As part of destoring the Ship, I removed the wooden plaque carrying the ship's radio callsign VLNZ from outside the Wireless Office. I showed it to the Chief Shipwright and asked him what I should do with it. He didn't offer any suggestions, so I kept it in my possession for a couple of years and then donated it to the Navy Club in Hobart. Sadly, that Club folded a few years ago and I sometimes wonder what happened to all the Naval memorabilia that lined that walls of that good old club in Davey Street, Hobart. I did hear that some of the memorabilia found a new home at the Anglesea Barracks in Hobart.
On the day of decommissioning, I hauled down the Commissioning Pennant and handed it to the Buffer. I thought it was all a bit sad that such a fine ship that had served the Royal Navy in WW2 and the RAN in the post-war years, just went out of service without any fanfare.
At least I can say that I remembered the day, fifty years after the event. I must be getting old (JR's do grow up - it just takes a bit more time).