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1977
For 6 months during 1977 HMS Ambuscade was a member of STNAVFORLANT
(Standing Natio Forces Atlantic)

From To Place Comments
thanks to Tony Mizen Lt 1976-78
& Michael Green PO(MEM) 1975-77
Dits by Tony Mizen
At the start of 1977 F172 was in Southampton dry-dock having repairs done to the main shafts. Apart from the duty watch the crew were billeted in DAEDALUS and bussed to and from the ship each day.
Shakedown activities off the south coast before sailing for to join STANAVFORLANT
17th Mar 29th Mar Den Helder During the stay we had a local bar named after the ship and took part in various sports competitions with other squadron ships. I also recall we played rugby against a Den Helder side that comprised mostly ex-pats working in the Dutch gas & oil industry. Other ships of the squadron included NNS OSLO, USS MILLER, KOLN, CNS MARGAREE, NLNS ...... (Flagship), PNS Almirante GIEGO COUTINHO (?)
2nd Apr 4th Apr Kristiansand Everywhere was closed on Sunday!
7th Apr 12th Apr Hamburg Excellent run ashore. Well beaten by the local St Pauli district rugby team.
On sailing we tagged the Russians who were exercising off North Norway - got our Blue Nose
1st May Anchored of Unst -Shetlands Lads went ashore to use landline telephone to home. Some conned Chinese laundryman that there was a large casino on Unst. He was not too pleased on arriving ashore with his case of money to find just a postoffice at Haroldswick!!
7th May 11th May Bremen Crew discovered that 5p pieces could act as German 1 Mark pieces in the local telephones!!!
12th May 19th May Wilhelmshaven
22nd May 23rd May Lista Fjord (at anchor) Wardroom took barge for run ashore (sight seeing!!). RN Photographer joined us to take shots for RN promotion material while we sailed through various fjords.
  25th May Frederickshaven postal deliveries & banking
27th May 30th May Oslo Becks Beer and Acquivit (schnaps/liquor)
3rd June Hardanger Fjord photo opportunities and Navex in confined waters
1st June 3rd June Bergen
4th June 6th June Narvik the 'can man', Frank, managed to swap our Watneys light ale (Urgh!!) for crates of Becks and that the Wardroom managed to get some great wine off a neighbouring French ship
9th-10th June at sea off Lofoten Islands . Disengaged from the squadron so that we could celebrate Queen's Jubilee day. We held a 'Village Green' party on the flightdeck that included: tug-o-war, apple bobbing, fancy dress parade, fancy hat competition, BBQ, and sods opera. It was freezing on deck but we had plenty to do & drink to keep us warm. Fancy dress was won two stokers dressed as Robinson Crusoe and Man Friday while the hat competition was won by the Chief of the Flight with a hat built like a castle (when he pulled a cord the queen appeared on a veranda and waved - brilliant).
11th June Tromso (at sea) - we passed under the harbour bridge but didn't go alongside
13th June 23rd June Rosyth

USS Miller left to be replaced by
USS Richard E Byrd

1977 Family Newsletter 1977 Family Newsletter 30th June St. Johns not planned but Junior Seaman Tingle had suspected appendicitis. Great Wardroom party with local nurses and trip to 'hole-in-the-wall' bar.
7th July 11th July Roosevelt Roads
(Puerto Rico)
Very very hot - lots of limers drunk by gangway party. On sailing we went to do live shoots at Vieques Island and take part in major exercise with US Fleet. In San Juan played cricket against ex-pats - played in park opposite the 'Black Angus' house of ill repute.
20th Jul 23rd Jul Charleston South Carolina Good run ashore....
25th Jul 13th Aug Norfolk Virginia carried out engine change (I think it was the Tynes) had lots of banyans at Virginia Beach. Won the squadron Sports Trophy (included beating the yanks at Basketball). Went to sing-along at the US Marine base at Little Creek. Held ships company dance in the NCOs mess at Breezy Point (in the Norfolk Naval Base) with live band lots to drink and lots of local nurses etc. On sailing we refuelled and munitioned at Jamestown before an another large exercise.
25th Aug 28th Aug Bermuda Squadron tied up at US port while we went alongside in HMS MALABAR. Fantastic island with great beaches.
29th Aug 5th Sep Halifax 10 Cooks & Stewards took part in exped to Kejimkujik National Park (bigger than Wales!!).

Sailed for home. Half way across Atlantic diverted to RFA ....... to pick up 21 year old Irish National shipwrecked on single-handed crossing in dinghy (!). Signal gave name a Edna OKeneen - resulting in ship smelling like Turkish brothel from aftershave, etc. What a surprise when the jackstay delivered a man - his name was Enda O’Coineen. After exercising with submarines off Rockall we went through the Irsh Sea and on to Plymouth. On 25th September we had up-channel night with usual Sods Opera, sing-along and plenty of booze. I recall that we did a 'This is Your Life' for the First Lt., Tom Sunt

"I can remember this episode quite well. It was a bit harry roughers somewhere in the N.Atlantic. Apparently a civvy airliner had picked up a distress signal and relayed it to the Rescue Co-ordination Centre. In turn, Ambuscade received a signal to assist in the rescue describing an inflatable sinking (about 300 miles west of Ireland, I think). I can’t remember how long it took to get to the scene, but RFA ……. got there slightly ahead, and plucked the very wet chap and his part deflated inflatable craft from the oggin. A short time after he was transferred to Ambuscade, complete with his kit and boat. The rubber inflatable which can’t have been more than a few metres long was lashed to the quarter deck, and Enda was accommodated in the wardroom (I believe). I spoke to him down at the back end on a couple of occasions, and he seemed quite a decent fellow. On arrival at Devonport a few days later, he was met by the press, and appeared in the national press and TV."
David Marchant

Well naturally, the usual cracks of the Irish conducting bizarre activities were heard at the time. This evening I though I would see if I could find anything about this plucky sailor and the search lead me to a couple of books offered by Amazon. This is an extract from the synopsis of his biography, The Unsinkable Entrepreneur:

Once a troubled teenager and eccentric sailor, now an entrepreneur and financier - this is the story of how Enda O'Coineen made millions in the telecommunications and information technology sectors of Central and Eastern Europe. Desperate to get off the dole during the grinding recession of 1980s Ireland, Enda discovered a unique approach that allowed him to begin his first publishing business in the middle of a recession - without any cash whatsoever. He describes how he started commercial ventures, publications and charities in the face of incredible odds and in more than a few amusing situations. Since then he has refined his formula into a distinct business philosophy, applying it over and over again to more than 15 separate enterprises. Now an established financier he presides over his own investment banking company and venture capital firm, Kilcullen Kapital Partners.

Arf arf arf!!! I wonder if he wants to join the association?!!

26th Sep Devonport Top of page
 

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