HM/SM Alcide

My last boat, the Alcide stationed with the 6th Canadian Submarine Squadron in Halifax Nova Scotia. 1963-66

71 Responses to HM/SM Alcide

  1. Jim Dandie says:

    Hi
    My Name is Jim Dandie, I also served in Alcide, and brought her home to Plymouth in 1966 (I think) , then spent two years in the Tank, then emigrated to Australia in May 69,
    Whilst in Canada I married a lovely blond canadian wren, still married,
    We may have met
    jdandie@hotmail.com
    Cheers
    Jiom

    • irishroverpei says:

      Hi Jim the name doesn’t ring a bell?? did you do the complete commission? I join Alcide in Aug 1963 and left in July 1966,I shipped home via Cunard line my twelve years were up. I don’t think Alcide came home until 1967. I remember a few new crew arrived as I was leaving, were perhaps one of them. I was the second coxswain and RP3 during my time aboard.
      Yours Aye Ben

  2. I was on the Alcide, (she had a gun and a conning tower) based at Halifax HMCS Anbrose was our base 1957 – 1959. I was also a second Coxswain. It was very interesting to read the stories above involving a bit of nostalgia. When we returned to the UK we were employed as a target ship for the then new technology of homing torpedoes and as a training vessel. Then we went into refit at Plymouth dockyard for a long time while the boat was given an extra 30 feet of hull and a tower and she was then known as a Super A. Just on the off chnace does anyone know the whereabouts of a guy named Kieth Prue. I have lived in Australia for many years now but I do mis my belove England..

    • irishroverpei says:

      Hi Tony good to hear from you. However your comments are confusing, as far as I know it was only the “T” class boats lengthened by 30 feet, you are thinking of the super T’s they could do 18 knots dived, but not for long would soon drain the batteries. Alcide refitted at Rosythe, a two year refit that is probably when her gun was removed. I joined her in August 1963 as she was completing refit, After work ups we sailed for Canada in January 4th 1964. I was also on the Taciturn (no gun but we did have a gun layer) for two years and left her in Plymouth in 1962, where as far as I know she went into refit then sailed for Australia. I also served briefly in Totem (now on the bottom in the Med) Alliance Otter and Amphion. Sorry I can’t help with Keith. I was in Australia for the Olympics in 1956 aboard HMS Cockade

    • Hi Tony, my dad (Derek Stanley or Tim as he was sometimes known) was the ships Cook on the Alcide from 1957-59 – do you remember him? Unfortunately, he passed away in 2000, but he always had very fond memories of the navy.
      Take care Adam

  3. My history of the Alcide from the middle fifties to 1960 is as follows.

    I transferred to the S/M service in Nov 55 leaving HMS Chaplet for Dolphin. In Feb 56 I joined HMS Tiptoe based in the Isle of Bute and attached to HMS Adamant a submarine depot ship. She was of course a Super T boat. Having volunteered for the 6th S/M Squadron I moved back to Portsmouth and from there on the 30 May 57 I went by train from Portsmouth to pick up the Alcide from Camel lairds along with the rest of the crew. The gun layer was a Scouse who was quite a character and he had many stories to tell of when he was a guest at Whale Island. We sailed for Canada and arrived in Halifax on the 16th July 57 and were based at HMCS Ambrose. I passed for L/Sea while there. We returned to Portsmouth on the 2nd Dec 58. For a while we acted as a training boat and as a target boat during the development of homing torpedos with a much reduced crew. From the 2nd Nov 58 to 9th Nov 60 we were at Plymouth dockyard being stretched and having our gun and conning tower replaced with a fin. You are right about one thing the stretch wasn’t 30 feet it was 33 feet. My first two boys were born in RN married quarters in Wilkinson Street, St Budeaux. I spent some training time at HMS Osprey in Portland during this period and although the distance between there and Plymouth is minimal it sometimes took agesto get home for a weekend. I reluctantly left the navy for family reasons in Sep 62 a decision I frequently regret. The above dates are taken directly from my demobilisation records which strangely are made of cloth.

    • irishroverpei says:

      Hi Tony I had to check because I was never aware of A boats being lengthened and I sailed in three, the Amphion-Alliance and Alcide. I also sailed in Taciturn and Totem both stretched boats known as Super T;s. I will attach the reply I received from the Submarine Museum
      Dear Mr Rodgers,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      The A class boats were never lengthened and I have never heard the prefix “super” in connection with the class.

      All A class boats except Affray and Aurochs underwent modernization similar to the T class limited modifications.

      They retained the original propulsive outfit such as Diesels, electric motors, the batteries. The modernization programme started in 1955 with Artful and was finished in the early 1960’s.

      Hope this helps.

      Yours sincerely,

      Mr George A Malcolmson

      Archivist

      • Mervyn Monk says:

        Hello anyone ex-Alcide; HMS Ambrose Halifax NS. Canada
        I joined Alcide in Rosyth in 1963 with Ken Butcher and Ray ‘The screaming scull’ Metcalfe
        We left Pompey for 6th S/M squadron Halifax via St. Georges, Bermuda when JF Kennedy was shot. We all left Canada in 1967. Anyone wanting to email me can do so at this email – chabal.jaring@gmail.com I live in Hua Hin Thailand.
        LME Merv Monk

      • irishroverpei says:

        Hi Merv
        Great to hear from you and I do remember you well, I remember your very pretty wife guess that is ex wife now. I remember the car you drove a Ford Consul Capri I think. I remember you suffered from seasickness too. I’m in touch with Ray, it was probably him who told me you were living in the jungles of Malaya???. I remarried in 1972 and my wife and I have lived on Prince Edward Island for the past 44 years.
        Take care old shipmate.
        Yours Aye Ben — Scratcher Alcide 1963-66

  4. Bryan wylie says:

    Hi
    My name is Bryan Wylie.I also joined Alcide at Rosyth during refit .
    I well remember Ray Metcalfe and a few fellow stokers. I also remember the hairy passage across the pond to Halifax! I
    I got severe Dermatitis and was sent back to General service . However managed to stay on “small ships”.
    Can anybody put me in touch with Ray Metcalfe,I think he was keen to stay in Canada.
    Regards,
    Bryan Wylie.

    • irishroverpei says:

      Hi Shipmate good to hear from you, I was scratcher on Alcide 1963-65. I’m in touch with Ray occasionally and believe he lives on Canada’s West Coast BC. I have an email address but not sure it still works, if you don’t make contact with Ray contact me again. His email hernibz@hotmail.com I seem to remember he was hacked a few years ago so may have change this address. I will also try to pass your email on to him
      Yours Aye Ben Rodgers

  5. Bryan wylie says:

    Thanks for your reply Ben,I sent mail will wait and see.
    Was Darkie Glover Cox’n on Alcide or am I mixed up with the Walrus?

    • irishroverpei says:

      Hi Bryan Darker was the Cox’n on Alcide, he married a local girl and later when he left the navy settle in Emsdale NS, I believe he was the Town Clerk or maybe it was some other title, He crossed the bar several years ago. he was a good guy and is missed. I he mailed Ray with your email address and he responded so I expect you will hear from him soon. Wonder if you have any contact with Sam Morris chef on Alcide? have been looking for him. Yours Aye Ben

      Author of LILY & ME , and THE ROYAL NAVY & ME Visit blog and website http://www.irishroversbooks.com

      > Date: Sun, 12 May 2013 19:30:37 +0000 > To: irishrover1@live.com >

  6. Bryan wylie says:

    Hi Ben,
    Sam the chef,I think is well pickled. Lovely guy,never saw him sober! Did some good mess dinners. Sorry,can’t help with contact .
    I must Mail Merv,you are right he did suffer the Mal De Mer.
    Cheers,Bryan.

  7. Mervyn Monk says:

    Hi, Wylie, Alcide’s Casanova! Good to hear from you. Ray’s email is:-
    Windows Live
    I live in Thailand now and any time you’re out this way come and visit. We live in Hua Hin, a beautiful beach town 150 miles south of Bangkok.
    My mobile # : 66 (0)87 881 4767
    Let me know your news and we can follow up on things.
    Monk

  8. Mervyn Monk says:

    You’re right, I did suffer from Mal de Mer, but as everyone knew, much of it was bullshit – I WANTED OUT! Swinging-the-lead I think it’s termed. Anyway, I’m still in touch with my ex who you remember was Judy, so there are bad feelings. When I left UK in 1968/9 I joined Shell Tankers Singapore and did 10 months supplying JP4 to the effing Yanks in Vietnam. Life is very good and I’m glad I made the impulsive effort to contact Irishroversblog and now in touch with some of you. Always feel free to get in touch – you have my email.
    Ray Metcalfe and Cathy moved to Norfolk and opened a very successful B&B.
    “Oh we don’t give a damn if we never….Well, you know, let’s stay in touch.
    Merv Monk

  9. Bryan wylie says:

    To Merv,
    Where the hell does the Casanova bit come from? Please remind me.
    We were in K.L. Last January. We may be there again before our friends get transferred,so you never know! We lived in singapore 1980-82,I worked S.E. Asia.

  10. irishroverpei says:

    Come on Bryan!!! don’t you remember the days when you were considered a dashing and handsome young sailor, just like me!!!The girls went weak at the knees when they saw us.

    • Bryan wylie says:

      Now I remember,I had to fix you sad b’s up with dates…….mostly with women!
      Thanks for the memory! Could’nt do anything for Yacker.

  11. Mervyn Monk says:

    If I remember, all the Canadian girls had the hots for you!
    Merv

  12. Mervyn Monk says:

    Hi Guys, in my previous email I mentioned my ex. Judy, but an omission of the word ‘no’ suggested some bad feelings. But there were and are none, and we both remarried, me to a Siamese girl, and I am on very good terms with Judy and her new husband John, of some thirty years now, and we are all good friends. We, Judy, her husband, and Fraser – mine and Judy’s son – went to visit Ray and Cathy when I returned from the Dominican Republic where I used to work. Just wanted to clear that up.
    Merv

    • irishroverpei says:

      Hi Merv I seem to remember you and Judy were planning to return to Canada when you left the Navy. You left your car ( Ford Consul Capri I think) and furniture with a Canadian family to store for you? I did not know your sea sickness was too work your ticket!!damn, I felt sorry for you at the time. Take care old shipmate its good to hear from you, our Alcide crew have surely spread far and wide. Yours Aye Ben

      Author of LILY & ME , and THE ROYAL NAVY & ME Visit blog and website http://www.irishroversbooks.com

      > Date: Wed, 15 May 2013 03:29:31 +0000 > To: irishrover1@live.com >

  13. Mervyn Monk says:

    MOSTLY with women? Whom, may I ask, did you did you have to ‘fix up’ with a bloke?
    Come on, spill the beans Wylie, was sit Yacker????

  14. Bryan wylie says:

    Merv, yacker used to wind me up but I was JOKING!

  15. Mervyn Monk says:

    So was I Wylie.
    Merv

    • Bryan wylie says:

      Yes I know but what if the man himself looked in?
      Ray is keen to see us,so we’re going early June for a trip to Norfolk.
      Cheers,Bryan W.

  16. Bob Barnes says:

    Hi all, my name is Bob Barnes & if you want to contact me my e-mail is bobbarnes5444@gmail.com

  17. Bob Seymour says:

    Served on Alcide 1966 to 67 as Scratcher LSea Uc2 with Barry Hutton and Yorky Schofild all of us from Grimsby, Oh happy days

    • irishroverpei says:

      Hi Bob you must have been my replacement, I was Scratcher 1963-66, and I remember well Yorky Schofield stoker! Good to hear from you.

  18. Neil Chamberlain says:

    Hello All
    I wonder if any of you knew my father Neville Chamberlain. He served on HMS Alcide from the mid to late 1950s. I have a brass colored tankard from the Canadian tour in ’57-’58 as well as a newspaper clipping from the Lancashire evening post dated 1955 featuring my father and Thomas Holden. I can be reached at neilchamberlain@hotmail.com
    Neil

  19. Bob Jones says:

    Hello, I joined up with Barry Hutton from Hull. He went into boats and I need to get hold of him if possible. Bob Seymour mentioned him. Does anyone have contact?
    Bob Jones. (Skimmer) 64-92

    • irishroverpei says:

      Sorry I can’t help you Bob, you should add dates of joining and which ships/boats served in etc, might help in locating Barry
      Yours Aye Ben

  20. Bob Seymour says:

    Barry or Len as we knew him is living in Lincolnshire not sure where but I will find out and pass info on. I was on Alcide with two townies (Grimsby) Len our forendsman and Yorkie Schoefield the outside wrecker, I was the second cox’n (scratcher) and UC2.. Any information gained will be handed on
    Yours Aye Bob Seymour

    • Alan {jan}Beresford says:

      I served on Acheron in Canada 65/ 66.Joined Alcide in66 where i met Yorkie Schofield. He came to see me in Cornwall when we left the navy.A good bloke.

      • irishroverpei says:

        Hi Jan I remember Schofield well, stoker!!!but I never held that against him!!!Did you know a Wiggy Bennett on Acheron he was a stoker too I think?

      • alan{jan} beresford says:

        Vagley remember Wiggy.Most memorable oppo,s were Mike Hurley and Dickie Lloyd.The best skipper ever sailed with was Doc Holliday on Alcide. Gasoline Giggs was in command of Halifax boats when I was on Acheron.A Canadian who really sorted us out on inspection after maintainence at Dartmouth dry dock.Even got the chef to take charge of snorting.A complete disaster!!!

      • irishroverpei says:

        The good old days.

  21. Bob Jones says:

    Many thanks Bob. We joined the RN at HMS Raleigh on 4th October 1964. 50 years ago this year. We have located 5 of the class and we are now struggling. Any help would be gratefully received.
    Best wishes.
    Bob Jones.

  22. Paul Morrell says:

    My Father “L.M.E Sydney Morrell” served on the Alcide in the late 50’s early 60’s and spoke often of bringing the Alcide across the pond to Halifax. I was just researching some old articles from “The Crowsnest” that mentioned the Alcide. My dad passed away on Aug 28 this year and I’m sorry we didn’t have a chnace to see your site.

    • irishroverpei says:

      Hi Paul please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your father. I never knew him as he was in Canada before my time. However I know the Crows nest well and visit every time I’m in St John, it is a special place and a wonderful history. Perhaps your dad was involved in the installation of the German U Boat periscope at the nest. It was shipped to St Johns on a RCN ship and several submariners from the 6thSqdrn went with it to do the installation. Cheers Ben

  23. Anthony Sorge says:

    I knew your father, not well because he lived in the back end with the Electricians, Stokers and aft Torpedo blokes. I memory he was a large man and his favourite joke was the distance between the cooking range and his midriff. Once he was required to go on a course and I was “volunteered” to cook breakfast. Your dad taught me how to cook multiple eggs and bacon for the entire crew and I was really proud of the results. until that is when I was called to the ward room to get an accolade, or so I thought only to have Jimmy the One throw his rubber egg at me and forbidding me to go anywhere near the galley again.

    That’s about all I can remember about Tim.

    Regards, Tony

  24. Hi Tony

    Many thanks for your words. Yes, he was a large man! I have a new clipping of him that says something like, ‘creates wonders in a small kitchen’. I used to joke that he still did that many years after leaving the navy. Take care and have a great Christmas!

    Adam

  25. matthew peake says:

    Hi not sure if anyone new my father Maurice Peake, he was based in Canada in the middle 60’s I think at that time he was a po steward. He was known as Mick Peake most of his navy life. Whilst in Canada he Married Anna Peake.

    • irishroverpei says:

      Hi Matthew I knew your dad very well we served together on Alcide I sail in her from Aug 1963 to Aug 1965. We knew your dad as Stu because he was the wardroom steward. He was not a PO back then but a Leading Steward. I believe he remained aboard into 1966 and may have been promoted after I left, I left in 1965 because my time was up. I recall he had a girl friend in those days but don’t know if she became his wife after I left. Your Dad and I had one very close connection. In late summer the boat was on the Dartmouth slips (Ship Cradle) for repairs. It was during a leave period so we only had a few hands aboard. Your Dad was detailed to help me on the casing as we were coming off the slips. He and I were holding the head rope via the capstan to keep the boat centered in the slip as we lowered into the water. A sudden gale came up and the boat began to lean to starboard dangerously. Stu and I heaved the line for all we were worth. The nylon rope suddenly snapped and throw both of us across the casing, we were lucky to not go overboard. I landed down the casing and your dad disappeared into a hatch well. Both my hands were badly broken, the middle finger of my right hand was hanging just by the skin, the bone completely broken. By this time we were in the water and heading to the Halifax side. Submarines have no medical staff so the coxswain gave me a large glass of rum. I was in shock and drank the rum like it was a glass of water!!Naturally by the time we tied up on the Halifax side I was a roaring drunk when they put me in the ambulance. Next morning I awoke with a huge hangover and both hands in plaster. Stu apparently didnt appear to be hurt and went ashore that evening to see his girl friend. However the next morning as my head cleared and my eyes focused there was Stu in the next bed with his leg in plaster.By the time he’d reached the dockyard gate on his way ashore he couldn’t walk, his leg was broken and beginning to swell painfully. We had to laugh, although it wasn’t really funny, Stu thought it funny when he asked me how I planned to wipe my ass with two hand in plaster!! He was a good friend and shipmate and I’m sorry I missed his wedding day. I assume from your email that he has crossed the bar. RIP old friend and shipmate
      Ben Rodgers 2nd coxswain HM/SM Alcide

  26. matthew peake says:

    Thank you for the reply . Yes he married the g.f and spent over 50 years together. He passed away in January this year. my mistake about his rank he did not get p.o until 70’s.. He often fondly talked about the navy and submarines …. Submariners are a different breed of men ..

  27. My brother Matthew sent me your message .. Oh how I loved reading this, dad told me all about when he got his leg hurt and a lot of other stories about his naval life .. My dad was such a great man and oh how we miss him but just hearing from you has really made my day .. I have tried finding His friend Sam Cook I have photos of Dad in Canada with four of his friends.. Thank you so much .. Thanks Matthew that made me feel so good xxxx

    • irishroverpei says:

      Hi Kathleen so pleased you liked the story, we had great times all those years ago. Strange you mentioned Sam but I think you mean Sam Morris not Cook? Sam was the the chef aboard Alcide so easy mistake calling him Cook. He is a mystery seems to have disappeared, several shipmates including me have tried to locate him without success. I would love to see the photos you have if you can email to me at irishrover1@live.com. Fond Regards Ben

  28. Tracieanne says:

    Hi…my Dad served on Alcide ..he was in Canada in 1965. He brought my Mum out from Malta, where she was serving, to get married! Roger Stentiford married Jennifer on 30th December 1965. They have been married 50 years this December coming ..they are trying to find their two ‘bridesmaids’ Howard Riley Morris (Sam) and Brian Richard Hodgkinson (Ernie)…any help would be much appreciated xx

  29. Bob Seymour says:

    Been a while since I last wrote but I thought you might be interested in the fact that I am now the proud owner of the portrait of HM the Queen that hung in the wardroom aboard Alcide. An old shipmate of mine took her to the breakers yard and on his last walk through saw it on the balkhead and rescued it. I now intend to look after it for future generations.
    Yours Aye, Bob Seymour ‘Scratcher’ Alcide 1966-67

  30. irishroverpei says:

    That is quite an artifact to have, you should write a brief history of Alcide and how you came by the portrait, place it in an envelope and attach to back of the picture. Then some day in the future others will know the origin.

  31. irishroverpei says:

    In years to come people will marvel at the photos of two historic figures from the past.

  32. astonvilla567 says:

    I was on Alcide in Canada 1957 to 1959 after which she went into refit at Plymouth. I remember our gunner rescuing a picture of the Queen just before the Dockyard maties descended on us in dry dock. I wonder if it is the same picture.

    • irishroverpei says:

      As it was the gunlayer, and as we know they are notoriously light fingered as any dockyard matey, that portrait probably landed in a local pub for the cost of a free pint.

  33. Bob Seymour says:

    I am sure it was the same one as written on reverse side it has the lettering HMs/m Alcide and dated 1956. This particular portrait was commissioned by Pietro Annigoni in 1954, and by the state of the frame many gunlayers have had their hands on it during the passing years. So glad it has stirred up some interest.

  34. irishroverpei says:

    So you have a real piece of history

  35. astonvilla567 says:

    John Stamp from the land of the Liver Birds was the lad he was a giant, could drink a Gunnery Instructor under the table so perhaps you are right in your comment

  36. irishroverpei says:

    A Liverpool Gunlayer is indeed a rare bird!! almost as rare as Aston Villa winning the cup.

  37. astonvilla567 says:

    Only the fourth highest successful club in history in Britain, (Winning the cup seven times) amongst other honours. Eh! Eh!

  38. irishroverpei says:

    Actually I was just teasing, we have friends in Droitwich and their elderly aunt a long time Villa supporter sent the club an old match program that her father had purchased years ago circa 1915=16. The club responded that it was worth 3000 to 4000 pounds and wanted to pay her. Instead she agreed to VIP parking on the grounds. She later said Oh dear!! do you think the Rolls/Bentley crowd will object to my little KA. Go Gunners

  39. astonvilla567 says:

    I served with John for 4 years in Canada and in refit and he was a raving lunatic but well worth the friendship. I saw him wipe the floor with three Americans in Lisbon with no effort. When we went into refit we had a gun and a connning tower but we left, two years later with no gun and with a fin. We still had our gunner with us. His wife Phil was a nice lady too and I mean Lady. Those were the days.

  40. irishroverpei says:

    The only boat I sailed in with a gunlayer in the crew was Taciturn, not sure why, we had no gun???

    • astonvilla567 says:

      I have just remembered I was on the Tiptoe and that didn’t have a gun either unless you think of our drunken No. 1

      • Bob Seymour says:

        I was scratcher on Thermopylae and would you believe it No gun, but then we didn’t have a gunlayers either

  41. irishroverpei says:

    Wondering who was your skipper on Thermopylae ?? Out jimmy on Tactiturn, a really nice guy was given command in 1960 approx, his first command and shortly after this the boat struck a ship while surfacing. never heard what happened after that. Apparently after the collision the Thermopylae was unable to dive below periscope depth. Never heard what happened to the skipper his name was Pope

    • Bob Seymour says:

      Don’t know about the limited to periscope depth story I served on her during 1965 and we dived well below that. Re your skipper didn’t he get a quiet number in the Vatican.

  42. Ray davis says:

    My dad,was also,on this boat in Canada. Unsure of the years. But he was,also at dolphin in Portsmouth in the tank. He was off Malta back in the 60s when they were testing escape suits

    • irishroverpei says:

      Without a name can’t say. If we were shipmates or not. I remember the escape trials in the Med, I think some were done from 300feet.?

  43. Neil Chamberlain says:

    I asked before, but was wondering if anyone remembers my father Nev Chamberlain. He was on the Alcide in the late 50s based in Canada. I have a copper tankard with the dates 1957-58 and the name of the boat. My father was also based in HMS Dolphin in Gosport around that time and in the early 60s. I do realize that many on this blog served later, but thought it worth asking again.

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