Friday, 17 November 2006

FAREWELL ARTHUR ROTHWELL,Not only a good friend but a great shipmate. VALE.

Yesterday Thursday November 17, my wife Rosemary 72 received a phone call from our 84 year old friend and my former instructor as a young seaman in the British Royal Navy. He was unable to attend a reunion party at my residence on the New South Wales, Australian Central coast, with several of the remaining 21 ex British; now Australian and New Zealand former crew members of the British Battleship H M S King George V, who served their final wartime experiences during the last year of the WW2 in the Pacific
Our friends message was that, a former shipmate of ours ARTHER ROTHWELL Aged 87, had passed away at his home in Queensland Australia.
Arthur Rothwell was a former Ordnance Artificer in the British Royal Navy, and we are reminded of the time when Arthur was called upon to perform a task probably never undertaken by anyone before.
During the last days in the Pacific war zone WW2. The larger ships of the U S and British navies were shelling the Japanese mainland at night when the impossible happened. On our ship a 14 inch diameter 17cwt shell on its way to the breech of our 'B'turret left gun decided to return in the hoist to the shell-room magazine, however, the massive Cordite charge was loaded into the breech automatically and then the ten Large 14 inch guns fired in broadside.
At that particular moment in time, I was at my action station in the wide open area of the 'Air Defence Position', The left gun of 'B' Turret distributed about a thousand pieces of burning Cordite all over the ship and crew members. Several pieces of cordite became attached to my face clothing and anti flash gear causing several burns.
The following day it was discovered that the offending gun had a defect within the left barrel.
The solution to the problem was to strip Arthur(The smallest artificer) down to his essentials; grease him all over and shove him with several tools and a light up the breech end of the barrel to clear the defect. On his recovery , the plug bore gauge was passed successfully.
This all happened in July 1945, I was 19 years old. On my birthday, the first Atom bomb test took place, and I had been in the Brit Navy for three and a half years, Having joined 31 days after America was Forced into the war Sunday DEC 7 1941.

11 comments:

Vest said...

It is completely coincidental that this post will draw attention to the comment I received from a gun lover on the[tshsmom..blog] a goon whose blog name is [dirtcrashr]thats right no E
I was stating among other matters that while in the Navy I was often choked by CORDITE fumes. He replied that Cordite is not used any more and as a sailor I should have known that, along with a bit of sarcasm and rudeness. I did reply to his statement, explaining that I was not a serial gun loving freak, as he clearly was, and also when and after I left the British Royal Navy Over FORTY years ago on pension, Cordite was still in use in some weapons. I have not received an official reply from Mr gun lover.

lower deck lawyer said...

ok vest , been over to the serial gun wankhead, his as yousay more than up himself, and even when I left the Australian Navy in 78 guns were still using cordite as a propellant for their projectiles, as a bunting tosser I got lots of the fumes.

kiwi gunner said...

thought I'd let you know what I found in an old 'Jane's Fighting Ships'
U S A Battleships Iowa & Missouri 45,000 tons 16" 40 cal guns, elevation max 32 degrees.

British. King George V class Battleships (5) 38,000 tons 14" 45 cal guns, elevation max 38 degrees.

Wash up, British K G V class guns could out range the newer U S A Iowa class ships, due to their greater velocity and higher elevation.

Iowa class 16" guns modeled on old 1927 British 16" guns of Battleships 'Rodney and Nelson'

Vest said...

A SHOOTERS' rights group has called for tomorrow to be a national buy a gun day, drawing strong opposition from gun control lobbyists. A certain spokes-person from the National Coalition for Gun Control said Victims of Firearms Violence and their relatives would find the idea of a buy a gun day abhorrent.
"they are trying to promote the purchase of guns as if it is the same as purchasing a ribbon for aids victims," he said.

kiwi gunner said...

who said that? I am wondering.

Vest said...

Thanks Kiwi gunner, I was aware of the KGV Statistics, but unaware of the Mighty MO (USS Missouri) being less mighty as I would have thought.
However The USS Missouri did have more space for its crew, better facilities for eating & sleeping, it was air/conditioned, and provided the crew with ice cream, lots of candy and coca cola etc.
While the fleet was at Guam May 29 1945 after 'Op Icebergs' ten weeks of hell' We were anchored next to USS Missouri which presented us with an ice-cream machine, as an unnamed spokesperson on the MO stated, "A gift for our poor cousins".

Vest said...

I have received an excerpt from the book forgotten fleet from an aged Brit sailor living in Sydney who served aboard the Aircraft Carrier 'HMS Indefatigable' during Operation Iceberg off Okinawa 1945.
I Vest can bear witness to this event. All Brit Aircraft carriers sustained hits also did U/S Navy A/c carriers, 4 kamikaze's hit 'Indefatigable'
The last jap aircraft crashed on the flight deck abreast the island superstructure. where its bomb exploded wrecking both flight deck barriers, the flight deck sick bay and the briefing room. The flight deck was dented to a depth of 2 inches. Eight men were killed instantly and the final total was four officers and ten ratings killed and sixteen wounded. The casualties included half of the operations room crew.
The fires were soon extinguished, jury barriers rigged, and the first 'Seafire' landed on the flight deck less than one hour after the last explosion, A great achievement by the ships company.
With its own experiences of the devastation caused by Kamikazes, the United States Navy was profoundly impressed by this demonstration of British Armoured Flight Decks.
As the HMS Idefatigable's own USN Liaison Officer succinctly expressed it:
When a Kamikaze hits a USN carrier, it's six months repair at Pearl Harbor. In a Limey carrier it's a case of sweepers man your brooms.

Vest said...

I had to cut it short otherwise it would have dragged on a bit. Old timer you did not mention about me nearly copping it when my ship 'K G V' was attacked minutes earlier.
I refer to page 120 Para 5 in John Wintons book 'The Forgotten Fleet'.
Out of print, but I have a mint copy. none available even at Amazon.
Ah well such is life. I found the war very boring and life threatening, could not wait to get back to Sydney for R and R and horny female company, Read about it, click onto the icon.

stanley u s a said...

My office has ordered your book Waving good bye to a thousand flies. by J L Spencer from amazon, they had two in stock at US/$21.95 $4.00 shipping.

Vest said...

Thank you Stanley, I hope you derive as much pleasure from reading it, as some of the more exciting experiences I had the pleasure writing about. A review from you perhaps?

Vest said...

My first overseas Xmas card has arrived. Congratulations Billy McGill 82, from Wales, Great Britain, Bill and his wife are leaving at 1315 on Nov 29 for a month vacation to Srilanka(Ex Ceylon). Where he was once stationed during WW2 in the R N Minesweeper Ships. My wife Rosemary and I last met Bill at a British Fleet reunion In Sydney Australia August 2005.
My wife and I hope you both have a wonderful holiday. Vest Daily Gaggle, alias J L S. aka L J B.

BTW, Bill is also a reader of fine literature. W G T A T F By JLS. order it Now.

Goodbye Dear Rosemary. (Final)

      It was around 3 pm Wednesday March 8 That Rosemary returned from 'Day Care', she looked fine and healthy and bubbly and gave ...