Pendant Number: D05
Cdr. (X) J. De Beaufort-Suchlick (In Command) 01/08/1966
Lt. Cdr. (X) D. Pentreath (1st Lt.)
HMS DARING was a 'Daring' class destroyer (2,610 tons) built by Swan Hunter on Wednesday 10th August 1949 and was completed in 1952. Her design was loosely based on the 'Battle' and 'Weapon' class destroyers built in the early forties. Daring was about the size of a small cruiser. I served on her from Wednesday 2nd November 1966 to November 1968.
Daring was a "happy ship" with a good crew.
At the end of March 1967 HMS Daring was one of a number of warships that were involved with the 61,263 ton oil tanker, called the Torrey Canyon. She had grounded and broken up on the Seven Stones Reef between Lands End and the Scilly Isles, spilling 34,986,000 gallons of oil. Torrey Canyon was the first of the super-tankers to cause such an ecological disaster. Our task was to keep shipping well away from the tanker. The Fleet Air Arm and Royal Air Force were ordered to sink her and set fire to the huge oil spill off of Lands End. More than a 100 miles of the west country's coastline were polluted in this ecological disaster.
Spent a year (July 1967 to July 1968) abroad, sailing around Africa, the Far East and Australia. We had Christmas Day in Singapore and New Years Day in Hong Kong.
Daring was allocated to the 1st Far East Destroyer Squadron in July 1967 and later, in January 1968, she was transferred to the 2nd Far East Destroyer Squadron. In reality Daring was operating independently for administrative purposes throughout her commission, even though she was part of a larger formation and rendered her Reports of Proceedings to the appropriate Captain 'D'. In June 1968 she sailed back to the UK, where she was one of a pool of destroyers and frigates available to C-in-C Western Fleet, and was not allocated to any particular formation.
HMS Daring did several stints on the Beira patrol, boarding ships to make sure they didn't have any cargo for Rhodesia which had declared Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. Longest stretch on the patrol was 6 weeks. Mail used to be dropped by a Shackleton bomber in a canister which then floated on the sea and was picked up by the sea-boats crew; this invariably meant that our mail got a soaking. Getting mail back home was the difficult part. We never had a helicopter to fly it ashore and had to rely on the goodwill of merchant vessels to take it ashore for us.
Our leisure time onboard was spent in devising ways and means to stop boredom. Kite competitions (George Davidson's brainwave), horse racing using the throw of the dice to decide winners, tombola and a 'Sod's Opera' were just some of the activities we enjoyed.
With the help of Sew-sew (the Chinese tailor) I successfully kept my kite flying the longest. I'm sure that this was due to the ingenious design using the waxed Irish linen, the intended purpose was to make plotting charts, and the use of powdered glass glued to the string rather than any skill on my part. The 'unique' string made shrift work of other kites, setting them free from their handlers!
Before and after patrols the ship had a 'short maintenance period' in Mombassa. We took the opportunity to use the superb beaches for swimming and relaxing, some of us even had time to go on a safari.
Before returning to the UK Daring did further duties as Guardship at Gibraltar. The Spanish warship that we used to keep an eye on was an old coal-burner that "Jack" used to call "Smokey Joe". After a while it became another monotonous chore and we were used to this after the previous Beira Patrol duties.
HMS DARING unfortunately had an open air bridge; being a signalman I was exposed to all weathers as well as the painfully loud gunfire, which is now causing me hearing problems. The biggest headache for all onboard was the 'soot problem'; she would never pass any environmental test if she were around today! When she flashed up before leaving harbour and whilst manoeuvring, she always emitted huge amounts of soot everywhere. This meant lots of scrubbing down before and after leaving harbour.
After arriving back in the UK a year later, July 1968, we all had our leave owing to us and then more exercises, followed by a few days in Stockholm during October. To say it was cold would be an understatement. Definitely "Brass Monkey" weather.
On Wednesday 9th October 1968 Daring entered Devonport dockyard to commence reducing to the Disposal List.
Eventually Daring was sold and arrived at Blyth on Tuesday 15th June 1971 for breaking up.