It's the end of an era as ships steam home from Hong Kong '“Â Nostalgia
Seen approaching the Suez Canal in 1997 after leaving Hong Kong areÂ the last three ships in service in the Royal NavyÂ and RFA powered by steam turbines.
At the top is HMS Fearless. In the centre isÂ the Royal FleetÂ Auxiliary Olwen and at the bottom is the royal yacht Britannia.Â
Shortly after this pictureÂ was taken Fearless and BritanniaÂ passed through the Suez Canal heading for home while Olwen went about other duties.
All three ships have disappeared from the world's oceans.
HMS Fearless was decommissioned in 2002 and broken up in 2008.
Olwen was named Olynthus on launching in 1964 but was renamed in 1967 to avoid confusion with RFA Olympus. Olwen was decommissioned in 1999 and laid up in Portsmouth before being Â broken up in India, in 2001.
BritanniaÂ was decommissioned in December 1997 and is now a static museum ship in Edinburgh.
'¢Â I recently asked the why some landing craft attacking the D-Day beaches of Normandy were dropped off 12Â miles from their landing sites.
While visitingÂ the patrol boat HMS Medusa, in Gosport Marina, my guide for the day, Brian Small, showed me this map which shows why theyÂ did not get any closer to the invasionÂ beaches. It shows the ranges of all the German artilleryÂ onÂ the cliffs and inland fields of Normandy. Any ship coming within those arcs of fire would have been hit and seriously damaged if not sunk.
'¢Â Last Thursday I included a photograph of the reserve fleet alongside Whale Island and asked for help putting names to the ships.
I am glad to say that Mike Noonan came forward and this his what he told me. From left to right: the cruisers Liverpool andÂ MauritiusÂ with Dainty and Verulam (F29) alongside them.Â The next jetty along has threeÂ Algerine minesweepers, Lioness, Acute and Jewel, astern areÂ Loch Tralaig (F655) on one side outboard with Rapid (F138) and an unknown destroyer or frigate conversion between them. The three destroyers on the right are Trafalgar and possibly Finisterre or Caprice.
'¢Â Somewhat faded but still recognisable, just, is an Amalon MoD crane, bottom left. It is involved in aÂ parade, possibly atÂ Southsea in 1945.
'¢ LastÂ Friday I asked if anyone knewÂ where the Gales pub the Pack Horse might have been. I thought itÂ might have been hidden away in some secret country lane north of Portsdown Hill or in the South Downs. It turns out the former 17th century farmhouse is in the village of Mapledurham, near Reading. Thanks to Janice Croad and her brother, a former Gales' drayman.