Monthly Archives: October 2011

Final design of Type 26 Frigate unveiled

Today’s Portsmouth News carries an article showing what is believed to be a posssible final design for the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 Frigates.

Apparently the ships are to displace 5,000 tons, will have a top speed of 28 knots, and will have a rear cargo door for launching small boats. They will be crewed by 140 sailors, compared to 180 for the current Type 23 Frigates. The cost is understood to be £400m per vessel – at the moment, the cost will probably skyrocket once BAE systems get to work. BAE hope to start work in 2016, and launch the first ship in 2018. They are needed urgently, as the Royal Navy has prematurely decomissioned its four Type 22 Frigates, and the Type 23′s are ageing rapidly.

The News ‘understands’ that 13 of them are to be built, with eight being based in Portsmouth and five in Plymouth. Expect bleatings from Plymouth based media and politicians forthwith. Of the current 13 Type 23 Frigates, seven are based in Plymouth and six in Portsmouth. Of course, one wonders exactly how many we will get – with almost a decades worth of recession defence budgets to go through, and potentially one or more defence reviews, we will be very lucky to get ten or more.

Notice also that talk of C1, C2 and C3 versions has fallen by the wayside – it seems that we will be getting thirteen identical ships, for cost reasons no doubt. Let’s hope that the Type 26 is more succesful in the export market than some of our more recent shipbuilding efforts. Partnerships have been rumoured with Australia, Brazil and Turkey.

I’m struggling to find much more information, apart from the News article and the relevant page on the Royal Navy website. If anyone finds anything else, I would be very grateful for some links. In particular, I’m sure we would all like to know about weapons systems and electronics. According to the RN web page, they look like carrying a 4.5inch main gun, some kind of vertical launch missile system, a couple of Goalkeeper-looking CIWS, and a very large helicopter pad and hangar. Apart from that, a very clean looking superstructure, for stealth purposes, no doubt.

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but they look very much like other contemporary European Frigates with the bow and superstructure looks, such as the Dutch Zeven Provincien and the Norwegian Otto Sverdrup classes, but with aspects of the Danish Absalon corvettes too.

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Filed under Navy, News, Uncategorized

Update from James

Hi all, I just thought I would let you know what’s happening here at Daly HQ.

Still haven’t replaced my laptop, and I’m waiting for the insurance company to pick it up prior to a replacement. It’s pretty frustrating having to beg steal and borrow Internet access, especially when you have books to write and talks to produce! Not to mention corrections to my book to reply to my publisher!

On a more positive note, I have nine – yes, nine! – book reviews backed up ready to go. Subjects include WW2 propaganda posters, British Army junior officers of WW1, Fromelles, Salonika, wargaming Arnhem, and battlefield guides of the merville battery, the dives bridges, and Pegasus and horsa bridges.

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ANZAC #4 – Lieutenant Harry Gearing

The fourth Australian soldier to be buried in Milton Cemetery presents us with a pretty interesting story indeed. Harry Alan Cheshire Gearing was born in India, on 16 August 1884. Hence he was very much a son of the British Empire. He was the son of Henry George and Mary Gearing. In civilian life prior to joining the Army he was Secretary and Accountant, and his wife was Bertha Gearing.

Sadly, as he was an officer Harry Gearing did not go through quite the same recruitment process as the rank and file. Harry Gearing was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Australian Army Service Corps on 22 April 1915. Prior to embarking for the Middle East, Gearing was in charge of rations at the Brisbane Army base, issuing rations daily for 4,000 men and 1,000 horses.

2nd Lieutenant Gearing embarked from Australia onboard the HMAT Ascanuis (A11), from Brisbane on 24 May 1915. He reached Egypt sometime later, but had been taken ill on the voyage. On 21 July 1915 he was examined by a Medical Board at the Australian Hospital in Heliopolis, outside Cairo, and found to be suffering from Diabetes, his symptoms including glycosuria, unquenchable thirst and asthemia.

On 28 July he left Egypt, onboard the HMAT Ceramic bound for England. By 7 August he was in Britain, and was again examined at the 3rd London General Hospital in Wandsworth. Again, a Medical Board found that he was suffering from Diabetes, caused by service, and that he was unlikely to be fit for any future active service away from home. He was immediately given 3 months sick leave, leaving London on 31 August 1915.

Whilst on sick leave Gearing seems to have been perpetually on the move, taking in vast swathes of England and Scotland in something of a grand tour. His letters to the Australian Headquarters in London passed on his forwarding address, even if he was only staying for one or two days! In September he stayed with a Mrs Stewart at Culgruft, in Cross Michael in Scotland. From there he went to Dollar in Clarkmananshire, and from there on to Lauriestone Hall in Mossdale. In October he took in Corsock, Dalbeatie, Kircudbrightshire; and Balmaghie House, Castle Douglas.

In late October 1915 he was informed that he had to come back to London to sit before another Medical Board, in order to assess his fitness for further service. An argument then ensued, about whether he was entitled to a Railway Warrant for his journey! Gearing also stated that he would be willing to foregoe the rest of his sick leave if he could be garuanteed a post with the ANZAC base depot at Weymouth, but AIF Headquarters would not promise this.

Gearing was finally examined by yet another Medical Board at the AIF Headquarters at 130 Horseferry Road on 26 November 1915 The board found that his weight was still fluctuating, and that he had Polyuric and pains in the limbs, much sugar in the urine. He was found permanently unfit for active service. For some reason he does not appear to have been discharged there and then, but sent on more sick leave.

Between November 1915 and April 1916 his movements are somewhat vague, but we do know that Lieutenant Gearing was finally discharged from the Australian Imperial Forces in April 1916, in London. Although his letters suggest that he wished to return to Australia, for whatever reason he did not do so immediately. Upon arrival in London in April he was staying at Messrs Wallace and Co,Russell Court, ClevelandRow, in West London. In early May 1916 he sent a number of telegrams that suggest that he had been to Marseille in the South of France before returning to London. At some time in early April we know that he was in Gibraltar, making that a likely possibility. Later in May he stayed at Faulkners Hotel, Villiers Street, Strand, before travelling to stay at The Bungalow, Praa Sands, Vis Ashton, Cornwall.

Intriguingly, Lieutenant Gearing does appear to have had a sister in England – Hope G. Gearing, who lived in Culver Lodge, at Sandown on the Isle of Wight – by no means a million miles from Portsmouth. Ironically given his extensive travelling, there is no indication that he visited her during his time in Britain.

It seems that Gearing did not return to Australia. He died of Diabetes on 16 March 1917, almost a year after he had left the Australian Army. He was 31. Death records suggest that he did die in Portsmouth. Perhaps he was in the Military HospitalHe was buried in Milton Cemetery in Portsmouth, alongside other Australian Great War soldiers. Why he was buried in Milton is something of a mystery, but in 1919 his widow, who had been in Australia during the war, was living at Red Lodge, Craneswater Park in Southsea. She was still in Britain during 1920 and 1921, and according to her brother, was ‘always on the move’ – much like her husband, it appears.

Although he did not see active service, Harry Gearing’s experience is another example of the way in which servicemen could become ill during their service, and many sadly died. Although Gearing seems to have been of a slightly different class to most Diggers – an accountant, who seemingly had contacts throughout Britain - like his comrades, he died and was buried thousands of miles from home.

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Filed under Pompey ANZAC's, Uncategorized, World War One

Message from James

Hi folks.!

Just a quick message to let you know what has been going on, and in some cases not going in, in the Daly History HQ recently.

Firstly, I’ve been getting over a nasty cold man-flu that laid me low for most of last week. Then when I thought I’d recovered from that, my eye swelled up like I’d taken a nasty right hook. You know the episode of the Para’s where they do the milling? It looked like I’d done a few rounds of that. Turns out I had the worst case of conjunctivitis the doctor had ever seen!

Now I’ve recovered from that, but sadly my trusty laptop is no more, and has a nasty crack in the LCD screen, from causes unknown. So whilst I investigate the feasibility of battle damagee repairs or procuring a replacement, posts may be intermittent and I may be slower at responding to emails that I would normally like. It’s a shame, as I’ve got a few interesting books to review for you, and some interesting events coming up.

Oh well, as they say, no plan ever survives the first contact with the enemy. Do not be surprised if chaos reigns – it undoubtedly will!

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British Army programmes on BBC iplayer

I’ve stumbled upon a fantastic collection of programmes on the British Army on bbciplayer, some modern, and some archive. Apparently, unbeknown to me, BBC4 have launched an ‘Army Collection‘, many of which are available to view online. Only, I’m afraid to say, to those of you watching in the UK. But to those of us sitting up in bed suffering from a hideous case of man-flu, its a goldmine!

One series I know will be very popular is The Paras, a famous 1982 documentary. There is also a set of 30-minute regimental histories, covering amongst other the Grenadiers and Coldstreamers, the Paras and the Gurkhas. Some of it is a little basic, and as usual with anything Regimental in the British Army, everyone’s own Regiment is of course the best ever bar none. But when you watch the ‘In the Highest Tradition’ programmes, you realise that all Regiments have their own, equally barmy, traditions and claims to fame. I also realise I could never have made an officer – silver service is not my style, give me take-away any time.

The BBC have also made available a great set of programmes from the Silver Jubilee in 1977, including the Scots Guards Trooping the Colour on Horse Guards. My personal favourite is the Queen reviewing the 4th Division of the British Army of the Rhine on the Sennelager training area in Germany. It involved 578 tracked vehicles, over 3,000 troops, and 27 Regiments. Incredible stuff, and something we will probably never see the like of ever again – it would be unthinkable to bring together a division for just a review! 3 Regiments of Chieftan  Main Battle tanks, 1 Recce Regiment, and 4 armoured infantry Battalions in 432 AFV’s, as well as supporting arms, including Gazelle and Scout Helicopters. Abbott 105mm guns, M109 155mm guns, 175mm guns, Lance nuclear missiles, Engineer AFVs including bridge laying equipment, RAMC Field Ambulances, REME in Armoured Recovery Vehicles, Stalwarts, you name it.

Other treats include ‘how to make a Royal Marine officer’, the life of a Household Cavalry Corporal of Horse, the Pathfinder Platoon in training, training in the Royal Marines Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre, Panorama behind the scenes at Sandhurst, and the Army in Belize and Borneo.

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Musician Ernest and Petty Officer Edward Gallagher

HMS Indefatigable one of the wrecks from the B...

HMS Indefatigable sinking (Image via Wikipedia)

Jutland is well-reputed to have touched virtually every family in Portsmouth. But for the Gallagher family, it had a particularly heavy toll.

Petty Officer Stoker Edward Gallagher was 50 in 1916. He had been born in Crawley in Sussex on 4 August 1865. His son Musician Ernest John Gallagher was born in Portsmouth on 8 September 1896. He joined the Royal Marines Band Service on 19 September 1910, when he was just 14 years old. By May 1916, he was 19.

In 1916 Edward Gallagher was serving onboard the Battlecruiser HMS Invincible, whilst Ernest was part of the Royal Marines Band onboard another Battlecruiser, HMS Indefatigable. Both ships were sunk at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May to 1 June 1916. HMS Indefatigable was ripped apart by a huge explosion, with only two men out of a crew of 1,017. Invincible was also destroyed by a explosion, and out of her crew of 1,026 officers and men, only six survived.

Both father and son have no known grave other than the sea, and are remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial on Southsea Common. Mary Gallagher would have received not one but two terse telegrams from the Admiralty in the days after Jutland. She survived them for almost 30 years, dying in Portsmouth in 1946. She was 76.

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A Message from your AWARD WINNING blogger!

I’m rather overwhelmed to announce that I found out this evening that I have been given an award for my blog!

The team at the Veterans Benefits GI Bill website have decided that Daly History is one of the top 50 military history blogs on the whole of the internet, and hence you can see a nice shiny award picture just to the right ——>>>>

Have a look at the award announcement here, to see the team’s very flattering words, and also to see a list of other winners. Other names you might recognise are Ross Mahoney’s Thoughts on Military History, Birmingham War Studies, Airminded and the Australian War Memorial. It’s quite a suprise to be counted amongst such leading lights!

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