Operation Deepfreeze – Weather Picket Ships

Weather Picket ships have been deployed for many years and a short history of these ships which included a number of New Zealand ships has been developed.  To read more please click HERE.  Thanks to Jim D for the contribution.

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11 Responses to Operation Deepfreeze – Weather Picket Ships

  1. Tony Marsden says:

    Not sure if Otago qualifies or not, but in 1964 she went south in response to the emergency air-lift of a sick (or maybe injured) person. Not sure how far south she went, but I do remember it being somewhat cold.

    • Jim D says:

      Just checked one of my books and Otago was indeed sent south of Campbell Island late June 1964 with Pukaki as back-up to carry out urgent picket duty for an American aircraft making an emergency flight to the Antarctic. Will amend original – thanks Tony. Jim

  2. David Wistrand says:

    At the time we were told 60 South the only time the air conditioning was on heat and was not very nice, just after a Longex if I recall correctly, mid winter evacuation from McMurdo Sound

  3. davesyn says:

    Yer right was going to say the same thing it must have been 60S as it was the point of no return. Remember getting the electric motor dropped to us a couple of meters off the stern and the plane having to land at Dunedin coasting in with no fuel.

  4. Jim D says:

    Today (17 October) in 1956, four USN Dakotas took off from Taieri aerodrome at 6PM for McMurdo Sound. Their departure was watched by several thousand people. A USN Neptune and Skymaster had also taken off from Harewood bound for McMurdo on the same day. The two larger aircraft took just over 14 hours to reach McMurdo Sound with the four Dakotas taking over 17 hours.

    • gunther says:

      Yep I can remember it well, me dad took me down to the aerodrome to watch..sometimes they would use jato bottles for assisted takeoffs, jeez what a noise, but bloody spectacular to watch..the only problem living in Mosgiel then, was the bloody Harvards. specially when it was night flying training, the noise those things made climbing into the sky I can never forget..

  5. John Bullock says:

    Yes 60 degs was considered half-way for search and rescue purposes. I remember on the Rotoiti 1962-63 we had a loaned Collins SSB transceiver from the US Navy. You had to be very careful when you spoke into the microphone you got a little “tingle” if your gob touch it. The Comms DO was the Navigator, a Lt. Brown RN. He made us Sparkers (no buntings except for a Yeoman) clean the port and starboard brass cased navigation lights every day whether it was rain, hail, sleet, ice or snow, One particular trip, topside got iced up so much that every available person not on watch had the job of chipping the bluddy stuff off, The CO was a bit scared to turn the ship around, top-heavy and all that crud! What used to peeve me off was decrypting gimungus intelligence reports, which was quite a feat in itself receiving it by CW (ZLP) in a deep south rolling sea , then hopefully able to decrypt the message correctly and so on. The worst part was arriving in Dunedin reading the Otago Daily Times and a lot of the stuff that was in these intelligence reports was printed in the paper before your eyes! Time for a Speights!

  6. Charles Kenneth Taylor DSM says:

    Christmas Day was celebrated on Pukaki at Port Perseverance, Campbell Is on 23 Dec 1963 and we were on station by 25 December 1963. I was the youngest on-board and was “honorary CO” for the day and rounds of the ship. I celebrated my 17th birthday at 60 S in July 1964, we lowered the sea ensign twice to half mast at sea 60 S, for Winston Churchill and John F Kennedy. The picture of Pukaki does not show the balloon hut erected on the after Bofors deck that was used for releasing weather balloons that were tracked on 277 Radar? Ice storms that built up the upperdeck weight and streaming a bathythermascope and using your spare hammock as cover to waterproof yourself turned in from condensation are some of the things I will never forget. Christmas Day in the comms office getting a 3 minute call home, somehow hooked up through the magic of wireless to our parents or wives phone number, shouting into the handpiece to be heard.

    • Jim D says:

      Sorry Charles – didn’t know that Pukaki had a balloon hut. The picture was one of the best of Pukaki that I could find. At least it showed the Type 277Q radar.

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