departed UK for Mediterranean, with embarked units and at least S-55 WV223 for delivery to 728 NAS C Flt at Hal Far.
6 Whilrwind HAS.7 of 820 NAS embarked for Mediterranean operations until Aug 1958
Scimitar upgrade refitair search radar Type 965 Refit at HMD Devonport, removed deck edge lift, added Type 965 radar (replacing Type 293). Fire broke out 9 Apr 1959 during the refit, delaying completion to 28 Dec 1959.
Phantom upgrade refitair direction radar Type 982 until Dec 1969, strengthening the flight deck and angling at 8.5 deg, water-cooled Jet Blast Deflectors, perforated cylinder Direct Acting Gear for the arrests, installation of Type 982/3 radars, replacement of the Type 963 radar by the SPN-35 CCA radar, Corvus chaff and fitting the Seacat missile launchers. Re-commissioned on 25 Feb 1970.
until 15 Apr 1971 in refit at HMD Devonport, including repairs to holes above waterline from damage by Kotlin in Mediterranean collision.
departed HMNB Devonport for 2 month Caribbean and North Atlantic deployment, returning 30 Jul
HMD DevonportNavy Days 1971Ship open to visitors at Plymouth Navy Days 1971.
Exercise Royal Knight participated in Royal Knight in Norwegian Sea and off North Cape, with USS Independence and USS Intrepid carrier groups and USS Newport News (CA-148), until 4 Oct.
departed from HMNB Portsmouth for a 5 week Mediterranean deployment, returning to HMNB Devonport 7 Dec
departed HMNB Devonport for 6 week Caribbean and North Atlantic deployment, returning 9 Mar
Bermuda areanear Bermuda detached from exercise with US Navy and ordered towards British Honduras, together with HMS Bacchante as escort. On 26 Jan she launched 4x Buccaneers of 809 NAS at extreme range to overfly the capital to deter Guatemalan ambitions.
Wessex HAS 1 XS875 suffered complete engine failure due to shedding a blade in the 7th stage of the compressor. It was in the English Channel, about 60 miles West of the Isle of White in a storm force 9. It had launched to rescue the crew of a small coastal ship carrying gravel which had shifted in the heavy seas and capsised, the crew of 5 had taken to the life raft. I know this because I was the pilot involved!
Accident SAR Flt Wessex HAS.1 XS875 / 047-R crashed on deck on take-off, while off Scotland. Wreck air-lifted to RAF Lossiemouth by Sea King.
Wessex HAS.1 XP112 assigned as SAR Flt/047-R until 17 Sep 1975.
Fort Lauderdale200th Anniversary Present for week of 200th Anniversary Independence Day celebrations, until 6 Jul.
HMD DevonportNavy Days 1976Ship open to visitors at Plymouth Navy Days 1976.
refit at HMD Devonport, with works on catapults and focus on sub-surface improvements, until Feb 1977
Royal Fleet Review - HM Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee
Tasked with manning the side, as the Royal Yacht Britannia and escort reviewed the line, Ark Royal was the last in that line.
I reported to the bosun who said, we ve no more space on the flight deck, just go and stand on the cable deck mate...
The cable deck was two decks below the flight deck (2A0) and I was the only person assigned to that deck, not sure where I should stand, I decided it was probably neat and appropriate to stand on the anchoring platform that jutted out of the stem of the ship, accessed by a deck portal in the stem. I was standing on a 4 x3 grating held in place by its hinges and two chains, the view down the ships stem to the Solent below. I decided I could not remove my cap, (as every other rating was doing above me, due to the limited space and concerns over losing my cap in the drink, so as the Britannia hove into view and passed, I stood to attention and decided to just salute instead.
I would have been the only rating to salute the monarch as they passed, on any of the ships present.
Somewhere, someone probably has a picture of this and maybe wondering who that chap was on the nose of the ship - appearing as her figurehead . Well it was Radio Operator First Class D.B West. 6J2 Mess, HMS Ark Royal - 1976 to 1979, My final job being destore team , prior to joining the Silent Service where I finally left the RN in 1981.