South America Commission 1952 - 1953

Looking rather sorry for herself, with large patches of red lead and a thick coating of dockyard grime, the ship left Chatham early in September, 1952. The journey down the grey-green stretch of the Medway- to Sheerness was punctuated with large splashes as the incredible miscellany of junk which collects in any ship during a refit was consigned to a perpetual stowage. Ammunitioning at Sheerness completed in wet, miserable weather, we sailed for Portland and discovered that leaky steam joints were to drive us back into the arms of our loved ones in Chatham; and so, on the 16th September, Superb reluctantly entered the South Lock. The reluctance was so marked that she jammed herself firmly in the lock for twenty hours and refused to budge despite the ravings and entreaties of the large number of officials both naval and dockyard who attend such mishaps.When the time initially came to leave again there was no fuss and once more we set out for Portland (expecting to sail for Bermuda on the 4 October).

 

Our hopes were once more-in landlubber parlance dashed to the ground, and after feverishly spraying large quantities of paint and rain water on the ship's side we sailed for Rosyth, arriving there on the 12th October.More "mateys" came onboard, dragging large pipes with them which disappeared into the bowels of the engine room; this time their efforts were rewarded with success, for we left to join the Home Fleet at Invergordon without further incident.Our stay with the Home Fleet was memorable for the Regatta held in the cold waters of Invergordon. All our boats seemed glued to the starting line and we put this down to too much soft living at Chatham. The only winner we had was the skimmer in the " all comers " race, and even the disqualification of that boat failed to dampen our enthusiasm; in fact, if anything, it tended to dry us out, for when the ship returned to Rosyth on the 29th October the beer sales at the fleet canteen broke all records.

 

On a windy, grey morning in November the ship finally left the UK for the West Indies, and as we passed under the Forth Bridge the train crossing it at that exact moment gave us what seemed to be a farewell whistle.We had an unbelievably smooth passage through the Pentland Firth and the headed out into the Atlantic for Bermuda.

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