history of

hms ark royal




HMS Ark Royal's (R09 GKXS) second commission commenced on 1st November 1956, and after working up in home waters, paid a brief visit to the Mediterranean before returning for the Review of the Home Fleet by Her Majesty the Queen at Cromarty in May 1957. The sight of the carrier group, unlikely to be seen again, was enough to stir the hearts of many old salts!  You can see the pictures in the HMS Ark Royal Albums.

I arrived on the Ark Royal as a Leading Telegraphist, and after doing various jobs in the department began working in the VHF Team under Leading Telegraphist (subsequently promoted to Petty Officer Telegraphist Donald “Taff” Humphries.  The team was responsible for the tuning of the VHF Transmitters and Receivers with which the Operations Room communicated with the Aircraft, and we needed to maintain close liaison with the Operations Officer.

                             Some time later, “Taff” Humphries was drafted and left

                             ship, while I was promoted to Acting Petty Officer, and

                             took responsibility for the VHF Team with my friends

                             Willie Brown and Jock Morris, all three Scots together.

It was this Willie Brown who was instrumental in bringing me along to the Gospel Hall in Malta and for my subsequent conversion.


The Second Commisssion


The pictures above are: Main: myself on the ferry en route to the Statue of Liberty, New York;  Top Left: HMS Ark Royal about to pass beneath the Forth Bridge; Bottom Left: The Royal Barge with HM the Queen and Prince Philip leaving Ark Royal after a visit.