Remembering our Past – Jim Dell

The following Chapters record Jim Dell’s life in the Royal New Zealand Navy.  He tells me it has been a very worthwhile experience remembering and documenting his past.  I am sure when you read the chapters you will be very impressed with the result of him walking down memory lane.  He puts the challenge out to other Communicators to also commit their memories to writing.    A great effort Jim and thank you for sharing your life in the Andrew.

Chapter 1 – Before the Andrew

Chapter 2 – Training

Chapter 3 – The Cherry Boys

Chapter 3 part 2  – The Cherry Boys

Chapter 3 part 3  – The Cherry Boys

Chapter 3 part 4  – The Cherry Boys

Chapter 4- NCC Wellington

Chapter 5 part 1 – ENDEAVOUR

Chapter 5 part 2 – Promotion at Last

Chapter 5 part 3 – Homewood Bound

Chapter 6 – A Windy Posting

Chapter 7 – Formica Frigate

Chapter 8 – IRIRANGI

Chapter 9 – OTAGO

Chapter 10 – TASMAN

Chapter 11 – IRIRANGI (Again)

Chapter 12 – Part 1 CANTERBURY

Chapter 12 – Part 2 OP ARMILLA

Chapter 13 – IRIRANGI & Biloxi

Chapter 14 – TAMAKI

Chapter 15 – Fleet Comms Officer – The Final Chapter

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53 Responses to Remembering our Past – Jim Dell

  1. Christine Commons (nee Mitchell ex LWren (sigs) says:

    I can see this has the makings of a bestseller. I’m already hooked and awaiting Chapter Two.

  2. Paul Murray says:

    A very interesting read Jim, looking forward to the next addition.

  3. Bill McLauchlan says:

    I was interested to note your contact with Paul Tasker. I remember him well from Waiouru W/T in the late 40’s (1948 I think) where he was the MAA – a good guy.

  4. John Bullock says:

    Jim …What chapter is the story about doing a radio watch on the Endeavour in the nuddy?

  5. Chook says:

    I am in awe of your memory, or did you have a diary, I was on that trip and remember about 5 percent of the things you mentioned, and that’s being generous….. well done Jim, I have one of the copies of the last edition of Royalists newspaper or magazine or whatever you like to call it.

    • Jim Dell says:

      Thanks Chook. Everytime I write a chapter, I remember something else. Frank must be getting fed up with my corrected versions.

  6. Jan Ainsworth says:

    BZ Jim a very interesting read indeed, can’t wait for further pages. Cheers Skin Ainsworth

  7. John Bullock says:

    Didn’t you know, Jim’s other retirement role is writing the “Hansard” for our NZ parliament … all true stories!

  8. Pete Robb (one of the Twins) says:

    What great recollections and even greater reading…lots of names I can remember and signposts of your time on different ships with guys I was ships company with….I await the next Chapter.

  9. Mike Catlow says:

    A real good read Jim and an amazing recall of memory which has spurred me on to write down all snippets of memory that i suddenly recall at times. I hope your story inspires others to do the same for Comms history. It was a pleasure to have served a commission with you.

  10. Lawrence Hunt says:

    Hi Jim when Klunk and I arrived on board Waikato I remember TAM Kingi, Les Rabone, TK Maru as the other sparkers Bruce Kenyon Blue Thompson and Rick Mathie as buntings

    • Lawrence Hunt says:

      Also Lindsay Brooking. We shared the Officers heads as cleaning stations

      • Jim D says:

        Thanks Biggy – that brought back memories. How could one forget Les Rabone with his long eyelashes… I remember that when Jeff Still was asked for two names for Stores Party, etc, it was always Blundell and Hunt. When asked for three, he would include Lindsay. I have amended Chapter 7 to include the extra names.

  11. Jim Dell says:

    I see John Rowles is now a Sir. Forgot about when I was on Waikato that he was performing in Waikiki. The ships company were given free admission and one Maitai drink. This was over two nights so that all onboard could go. The Blue Rinse Brigade in the front row threw their hankies on stage (thank god it wasn’t their knickers) and he would pick them up, wipe his brow, then throw the hankies back. We met him after the show and we were surprised to see how short he was. This was disguised by his stacked shoes and high hair style. Excellent show with a couple of matais under the belt.

  12. David Wistrand says:

    I was on Waikato during the fire in the Hauraki Gulf and think Long John Bruce was the CPOEW. Much the same experience with smoke in the EWO came out of the ventilation in a rush. Two EW Leading Hands (Myself and ???) were then transferred to Taranaki by seaboat for the remainder of the exercise. Returned back to Devonport to find Waikato tied up and a ghost ship but I also have a vague memory of coming back on board at sometime and when we went for our tot the OOD who was the SCO (Ferris the Big Wheel) had already drunk it. Also in Hawaii a bunch of Comms Killicks went up to the Upper Chiefs at Bonga’s (or was it just an invasion?) invitation and drunk the place dry and then we had to fork out our share of the costs as it had mounted up

    • Jim Dell says:

      Don’t remember you on that trip Dave. Bonga definitely wasn’t on there in 71. Jeff was the PRD. Red Scanlan and Tui were the two LEWs that I remember on there in 71.

      • thinking back the fire was not 1971 it was prior to that fron memory 1968 Waikato was in Pearl Harbour in april 68 when Wahine sunk remember that being on the news then back to NZ and the Longex/Auckex when the fire occured 1970 got married then 1971 was a PO Course and posted to pick up Canterbury in UK.

      • David Wistrand says:

        Oops did a bit more memory recall after my last reply last night and need to do some more so cancel that – was on for the fire though

    • Tiwha Hakaria says:

      I was on duty in the EWO at the time of the fire, I remember the black smoke coming out of the ventilation, I took off up to the Flag deck, despite somebody yelling at me to grab some of the confidential documents.

  13. Tiwha Hakaria says:

    Yes, I remember that trip Jim, our Kapa Haka group all got up on stage with JR, in fact I’ve got a photo of us on stage, sadly some of those in the photo have CTB.

  14. Jim D says:

    I think Geoff Gentle was an Ord on there too in 71

  15. Jim D says:

    I’ve redone Chapter 7 as I have remembered some more bits and pieces, including a piece on the power of navy rum.

  16. Geoff Butturini says:

    Hey Jim, I remember Tony Locke and yourself as my instructors at North Head. After training finished my first posting was Irirangi, so we caught up again there. I do remember baby sitting for you one night. You provided steak and beer which was much appreciated. I have lots of fond memories of my first draft to Irirangi, and of the great meals we used to cook at receivers. Had a great crew to work with that looked after us OD’s. Shared a room with Geoff Gentle and Glen Brady, and they gave me heaps, a great learning curve.

  17. Frank Lewis says:

    Enjoying reading your recollections Jim – it is great that you can put this down on paper for future generations to read. Well done. Perhaps a few more of us should do it – all be it a little shorter.

  18. Chris Precey says:

    Hi Jim – your recollections are amazing! However, re your Chapter 8- vice-versa ball – my brother-in-law’s surname was Stade (not Staid).

  19. Bruce Kenyon says:

    Hi Jim
    Great work. Yep the fire on Waikato was indeed 1971, I was the LSG on her at the time and in the Ops room on watch when it happened. Got trampled in the rush up the officers flat ladder. Stuck around on her for a while in dock then got siphoned off to the Royal Tour office as a general flunky.
    Otago 1975/76 — fond memories which fortunately you have remained silent about — I think it was very close the highlight of my time. I still look back with great fear on my first OOW manoeuvres as a Yeoman — I think we had Plymouth, Minerva and one of the Tide class. I ran into one of the SG off Minerva a few years ago in Pomgolia, he was acting as a guide on HMS Victory — cushy number eh. Anyway BZ and thanks for the memories

  20. Lawrence Hunt says:

    Jim, I remember (most of it anyway) the 76 trip on Otago. on the 8th September 1976 you summoned me to your mess. You handed me a glass of liquid refreshment which I disposed of and then you handed me a telegram announcing the birth of my first daughter. Geez Jim, was it really that long ago. Great memories and has been a pleasure to have served with you in 3 different postings. Keep Well Jim. Regards Biggy

  21. Jim D says:

    Thanks Biggy. From memory, I think you (we) banged your head on the hatch coaming as we lowered you upside down into 3E Messdeck with Bob Paul waiting to catch you.

  22. Jim D says:

    Just remembered another event from Otago. The leading hands on Otago formed the “Corporals” Club and in Singapore they went down the channel to one of the small islands to have a banyan. Before they left, Bob Paul came to see me and asked if they could take one of the Squadcals with them. Sure! A few hours later there was a knock on the Mess door and there was Bob looking rather hesistant. “The Squadcal got dropped into the harbour as I was climbing up the ladder Chief” I said no problem as they were supposed to float – apparently this one sank. A ship’s diver went down, retrieved the transceiver and was immediately taken apart by the LRM who had maintained it and had forgotten to tighten up the screws when he had finished the maintenance checks a few days earlier. The inside and outside of the set were thoroughly washed out in fresh water, dried, tested. Worked fine.
    During the workup, the ship went to Jervis Bay to do a Distex (Disaster Relief Exercise) and Bob took a Squadcal ashore with him to be able to communicate back to the ship. For some unknown reason there was a problem transmitting back on voice, so Bob switched to CW whilst we stayed on Voice. Worked very well and the RAN observers were most impressed with the versatility of the set. During that busy period, Bob even managed to find time to call up North Head on 3192kHz CW and have a chat! Great little sets.

  23. Lawrence Hunt says:

    Hi Jim, Me again, In the Otago Comms photo the Golly between Jap Wano and Karl Sankey is Robin (sp?) Cooksley (SP?)

  24. Jim D says:

    Just remembered another episode from Waikato. During Rimpac, we received a signal from the US authorities that a container of beer for us had been landed at the commercial docks in Honolulu. If we didn’t want to pay high storage fees, we should go and get it. We duly detached from the exercise and picked up the precious cargo, courtesy of Leopard Breweries.

  25. gunther says:

    remember after vic fifield had left and dia davies had taken over, within about 4weeks the cry was
    “come back vic all is forgiven” had a great senior rates crew (comms) with urself neal and the rest of us po’s.. for a few months it was a really good time to be in waiouru..

  26. gunther says:

    in regard to lt cdr fifield, i remember when i posted to irirangi and he was the captain. I had been there a couple of weeks and i had come thru the main entrance and was called aside and he said weve met before. I said yes at the reunions of achillies and leander. (this was back in the late 60’s and early seventies when their reunions were held in auckland and they used philomel as their base and the senior rates mess for their after church father had served on leander and achillies) So we had a fine talk about this and that, never to be repeated again.

  27. Jim D says:

    You could always tell if Gunther got to the victuals before Mick Kereti. Gunther would cook lunch and invariably throw in good measures of Tabasco Sauce!

  28. gunther says:

    yes right there james.. rock hudson would also contribute, we would stand by the fridge and stove wondering what else to throw into the mix, but have to say there was never anything something was working

  29. Geoffrey Kelly (Ned) says:

    A rival for Ernest Hemingway, great reading Jim. Look forward to your Canterbury comments.
    Ned K.

  30. Jim D says:

    Thanks Ned. I would have thought that the similarity would have been to Enid Blyton and not Hemingway

  31. gunther says:

    not bad james, not bad at all.. an inspection at irirangi, i hopes u was ard on em lad…

  32. John Bullock says:

    Hey Jim … your writings should be turned into a BR as a “must read” for new communicators.
    One disappointment, no photo of your “feral dwelling” where yourself and Vicki lived in Waiouru, where I managed to survive after JD sessions. I really enjoyed sharing the bath water, due to the lack of hot water. You should have been paid “Isolation” allowance for not being allowed to live in Park Lane with Vicki.!
    A big, big Bravo Zulu. No ZBM2’s here!

  33. Paul Murray says:

    Jim, thank you for your huge effort and detailed contribution in Remembering our Past. Certainly reminded me of some of our connections at Irirangi being in your watch and socializing. Les and our girls also really enjoyed living in the environment at 2 Park Lane. Lasting memories.

  34. Geoffrey Kelly (Ned) says:

    Your call Jim,
    Hemingway wrote about drunken sailors,hunting and fishing and other good stuff, and Enid Blyton got banned for daring to write about ‘Gollies’

  35. Wings says:

    Exceedingly well recollected there Warrant, me ole bucket, and sure rekindled the memories of our time spent in that tropical paradise with the green machine…yeah right..

  36. James D says:

    In Chapter 7, you may recall that myself, Kevin McNamara and Glenn Brady, were up the Foremast replacing the Main Roof aerial system whilst the 965 radar was operating. As a possible result, All three of us were afflicted 30 years later (give or take 12 months) with Prostate cancer. Additionally, Kevin also had bowel cancer. I have also been recently diagnosed with the same disease. Go figure.

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