Account of HMS Daring's First Commission
by Trevor Rawlings (Tel)
HMS Daring was the sixth ship to bear this name. She was launched on the 10th of August 1949 by Mrs Leonard Hall, daughter-in-law of the First Lord of the Admiralty. She lay alongside until completion by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson, Wallsend on Tyne. She then hoisted the white ensign for the first time on the 8th of February 1952 after North Sea trials.
I joined Daring in January 1952 at Swan Hunter yard on the Tyne. She then commissioned in the February.
During the months of February to May she carried out various sea trials such as gunnery, torpedo, speed and numerous other calibrations.
The first commission was to the Mediterranean Sea from May until August 1954.
It was known at the time that she was not a 'happy ship'. This was possibly due to many blips during the work-up trials and due to the fact most of the ratings were senior e.g. all sparkers were full Tels and all the bunting-tossers were Sigs. OD's were few.
Daring spent most of her time in the Med and from time to time visited most of the countries there, including the Red Sea. She was a prime target for exercises in that era with NATO, the Americans and anyone else who wanted to join in.
It was a practice shoot with aircraft that we lost two men, killed by the 40mm STAGG. Daring fired 3,874 rounds of the main armament (4.5") and 2,373 rounds of bofor shells. 52 torpedoes were fired and all were recovered. 105 bombs were fired from the Squid mortar (3 barreled ASW Limbo) on the quarterdeck.
The next captain, a Percy Gick who had never had a small ship command, took over and turned it all around, in a few months it became a vastly different ship. He retired as a Rear Admiral but is still known to this day by the lads as "Old Percy". We nearly had our commission cut short and returned to UK, but we stayed in the Med, which was one round of exercises after the other, with the odd earthquake and Comet crash thrown in. In 1953 she was the first ship to take aid and supplies to Zante and Argostoli during the Greek earthquakes. A street was then named Daring in recognition of the help given. In 1954 she was asked to search for the first Comet aircraft which had crashed off Stromboli.
The original commission started off with 20 in the Communication branch and ended up with 13, all of whom had passed for the rate. The Comms mess was 11a, two bunks and the rest slinging hammocks.
When we finished the Med commission the ships company remained onboard for a further ten months with the Home Fleet in the Arctic and then back out to the Med again.
Daring returned to Guzz in mid August 1954 whereby the ships company were given back leave and then the ship returned for exercises with the Home Fleet. Following the exercises Daring sailed for Tromso, well within the Arctic Circle.
After the Tromso visit Daring sailed once more for the Mediterranean Sea and the island of Malta for a short period. In May 1955 Trevor finally said farewell to the Daring.
Brief account of HMS Daring's First Commission
by Malcom Cairns (Tel)
I joined the RN for my National Service in March 1951 and did my Telegraphist training at HMS Mercury and following that I went to Plymouth and spent some time at St Budeaux until I was posted to the new Daring.
This did not come about as quick as expected as the other ships in the squadron were late commissioning so in the Autumn of 1952 (I can't remember the date) the four of us were packed off ashore in Malta.
I went to do shore duties in the Radio Room in the tunnel in Valletta and lived in Lascaris Barracks at the bottom end of Valletta city. Incidentally some years later I visited the tunnel before it was converted to a museum and saw the room where I worked still with the stone tables and the
air-conditioning in place but no equipment.
Champion of naval air power who took part
The ashes of Rear Admiral Percy Gick, OBE, DSC, RN (Retd)., were cast on the waters together with a good portion of scotch.
About twenty of the Darings' attended the Remembrance Service.
Neil Blandford (Daring shipmate)