Home' Navy News : June 10th 2010 Contents L EN N ERR E Y L / R H R LU ON RO ER ES • OU NV LLE S REE , NU
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June 10, 2010
Tiger, Tiger burning bright
In the forests of the night
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symme-
WITH ALL due respect to William
Blake, Miss May was not HMS Tiger
... as CPL Chris Russell from Defence
Establishment Orchard Hills submitted
at some length in response to the pic-
ture published in the May 13 edition of
Jim Warren of Woodcroft, SA,
who's one of our subscribers, says: "I
believe the photo of Miss May to be
that of HMS Hood. Although this may
be my first attempt at this project, I
hope it won't be my last."
I hope it won't be your last either,
Jim.You say: "The reason behind
my choice is that I am a member of
TASKFORCE 72, which is a scale
model shipbuilders association, and
one of our members here in Adelaide
is building this model, from scratch,
in timber, and it resembles the picture
Unfortunately, this is not HMS
Regular Mark Biega reckons Miss
May is the County class/sub-class
London class cruiser HMS Sussex. No
sir. Mick Humphreys, CMDR Stuart
Kaye, ex-CPOUC Rob Sweet and POB
Craig Haggerty all plump for HMAS
Shropshire. No, but this is getting quite
a bit closer to the truth.
HQJOC's MAJ John Vetuna was
close too. He says: "I believe this is the
Royal Navy cruiser HMS Kent."
Even closer were SAPOL
Intelligence Officer Alan Baddams,
SBLT Steve Dunne, ANC, CPO
Owie Maloney, the 83-year-old salt
Mike Pollard, Sandy McNab, Mark
Edmistone and CPOA(AH) RN Pete
Cassar -- all of whom reckoned Miss
May was HMAS Canberra.
And that grizzled old sea dog
-- Ancient Mariner David J. 'Guns'
Manolas -- was spot on but, as usual,
having a bob each way and a whinge.
(He could whinge for Australia and
would certainly be a starter if it ever
becomes an Olympic sport.)
He says: "While I am comfortable
with my belief that the 'May Mystery
Ship' is either HMAS Australia (II) or
HMAS Canberra (I), I remain uncom-
Hold that tiger
fortable with what I suspect is another
example of the use of the 'dreaded air-
brush' by the editor.
"From other photos it can clearly be
seen that both ships wore their name
on both quarters and as we see here the
port quarter is clear, or rather, has been
cleared of the name plate.
"As I have previously argued;
where the evidence presented has been
altered to the point where the picture
could reasonably be presented as being
one of a number of ships, there ought
to be more than one possible answer.
For your consideration 'Mr Brush'."
First in was the same as first cor-
rect for Miss May. Chief Engineer
MEWSPO Richard Jones produced a
lightning-fast response, saying: "An
easy find this month. May's offer-
ing is the County class heavy cruiser
HMAS Australia. She's in the floating
drydock in Alexandria, Egypt, around
August 1935 undergoing maintenance
en route to Australia having attended
the Silver Jubilee review at Spithead."
Well congratulations Richard, the
name of the ship is definitely cor-
rect ... as you can see from the photo
reproduced with the name intact. But
I'm not sure about the rest of the infor-
Gordon Branch thought it was
easy too: "HMAS Australia (II) in
dry dock at Malta in December 1935.
(You gotta love the new Navy Heritage
Gallery on the RAN website!)
"By the way, how early do
you have to get in to be first? I
thought with the Taisei Maru (Miss
March) being such an esoteric ship and
finding the answer the day the ecopy of
the Navy News was published would
be quick enough... But no."
To answer your question, Gordon,
perhaps you should ask Richard Jones.
Navy News is printed in Canberra and
hard copies usually go into boxes in
Russell Offices (and possibly in other
Canberra Defence facilities) on the
Monday before publication date (which
is the pay Thursday).
For the record, HMAS Australia
(II) was a County class cruiser. Within
the County class there were three sub-
classes -- the Kent class (within which
HMA Ships Australia II and Canberra
(I) fall); the London class (which
includes HMAS Shropshire) and the
So 'County' correctly identifies the
overall class, Kent correctly identifies
the 'sub-class' and she could have been
either Australia or Canberra ... but not
Apart from Richard Jones and
Gordon Branch, Rodney McBay
(whose dad served in her 1939-45),
LEUT Shane Wiseman, Dave 'Crows-
addicted crow-eater" Rickard, ex-
Defence civilian Reg Bonney and
SQNLDR Jimbo Stewart and SGT
Thomas Moss all managed to correctly
Dave Rickard has some misgivings
about continuing to follow Mystery
Ship saying: "I can hardly see the point
in playing anymore though, since that
doyen of ship identification, the now
retired Vic Jeffery, is apparently com-
peting for the Mystery Ship crown."
I wouldn't worry too much Dave
-- got a few tricks up my sleeve that
might foil Mr Jeffery.
The only untidy end is where
HMAS Australia was in dry dock. I
had nothing to go on apart from the
fact that the pic was the only one from
the section of the Saxon Fogarty col-
lection that I hold with information
that identified the ship.
I didn't know at the time the pic
was also in the Navy Heritage gallery
-- a fact that Gordon Branch seized on
saying: "(Australia) in a dry dock in
Malta in December 1935."
Other suggestions included "... in
the floating dry dock in Alexandria,
Egypt around August 1935 undergoing
maintenance en route to Australia hav-
ing attended the Silver Jubilee review
at Spithead" (Richard Jones), Garden
Island Dockyard, Sydney, and "...in
the UK" (LEUT Wiseman).
Now have a look at Miss June
(she's from a small print so is a bit
pixelly) and email your best efforts to
au by June 21.
-- LCDR Antony Underwood
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