Persian Gulf Commission 1956 - 1957
The last Cruise of the 8th ship
THE STORY OF THE COMMISSION . . . . . . .
H.M.S Superb returned from the America and West Indies Station in October 1955, and had been undergoing dockyard refit since. At last, at the beginning of February, the refit was nearly finished and the dockyard wanted the ship to go to sea for trials. Thus, with a strong team of dockyard ‘maties’ on board, the ship passed through the lock, sailed down the Medway and put to sea in some of the worst weather met in the entire commission. Despite this, trials were successfully completed, but as we prepared to return to Sheerness, two S. O. S’s were received. Superb turned about and prepared to render assistance. In the event no help was required, but the tide to get up to Chatham was missed, and as this prevented us from returning before the weekend Superb stayed in Sheerness until the following Monday.
At long last Commission day arrived and, following tradition, the Ship’s Company ceremonially marched from R. N. Barracks led by the Barracks’ Band. As the long column of men wheeled right in the dockyard all eyes sought the towering superstructure of the Ship which was to be their home for the next year. Certain key officers and ratings had joined prior to 14th February, including the Captain who had joined two months earlier, but here at last, was the main body of the Ship’s Company. When everyone was settled in, lower desk was cleared and the Captain gave a talk to the assembly on what the future held and what kind of Ship he wanted. From that time on Superb started to come to life after being in dockyard routine so long. Fresh paint gleamed in place of lead, brightwork sparkled and on “leap year’s day” the ship slid out of the basin to Folly Point buoys ready to ammunition.
The first three days of March had been allowed for this, but using several new devices, all was completed at the end of the second day. On 3rd March, passengers and freight for Malta were embarked, and at 1600 on Sunday March 4th, having been delayed for a few hours by a defective C.O2. machine, the ship slipped and proceeded down river on passage to Malta and, for many if not most, their first “foreign”.
At first light the following day, the ship arrived off Portland and having embarked noise-ranging and degaussing officers from shore started trials. Whilst these were going on, surface action stations were exercised for the first time. By evening, everyone had had their fling and the ship sailed for Plymouth anchoring in the Sound early on Tuesday forenoon.
Having shattered the morning’s peace with a salute to the C-in-C., Superb quickly gathered an oiler, fresh-water boat and lighters around her, and shortly after Gambia steamed out and anchored nearby to take a look at her relief.
No sooner had she .............................
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