Have just been reading e mails from ex Scorpion ratings I served in her
in 1962 & whilst I remember going through the Black Sea to Trabzon I have no
memory of the hospitality of those Americans. I do recall however we were
challenged to a game of football there. It was only after we had been
trounced 8-0 it came to light we had been playing the city side who were at
that time in the 3rd Div. of the Turkish league!!
Tony Middleton (REM)
I served on the Scorpion from 1947 to 1949/50
I was a radar plot merchant
also bouyjumper as amongst other things
I was in no.4 mess fxl.and during
that time theLimbo and Stags were fitted
the X guns were removed and a
ten ft high screen fitted to hide this secret weapon.
morning the ships company were mustered on the jetty
to sighn th secrets
act then a train came along with this thing covered by a tarp.
dockies stripped off and hoisted it up in the air before swinging it
then the whistle blew and all the dockies whent home
secret weapon was left swinging in the breeze all weekend
for all the
visitors to see.
on monday morning they all came back and swung it
inboard behind the screens
I belong to the Surface Warship Association
and have built a1.72 scale working model
off the Scorpion.
like to hear from any old crew members from that period if there is any left
from me I am now 83yrs
In response to the very interesting article by Stanley R
I was a young bunting tosser straight out of training joined in
Gib, enjoyed Cape Verde laying in wait….and then Icelandic Patrol.
Fantastic memories of my first ship. wish I could remember the name of the
Went on then to the Bulwark . Chichester. etc.
My father 'Bill' Wotton served on HMS
Scorpion from February 1943 to October 1944 during the Arctic convoys and
was involved during the battle and sinking of Scharnhorst in December 1943.
He was a Supply PO and I remember him telling me that he had to supply
clothing to the 30 Scharnhorst survivors that Scorpion rescued. I also
remember dad telling me how the crew had to chip off the ice on the upper
deck to prevent the ship becoming top-heavy and rolling over. Sadly my
father died in 1987 aged 66. Maybe Eric Turner was on Scorpion at the same
time as my father.
I was Cpl in the 1st prince of
wales own Scorpion was in for refit, we took 5 of the crew on to our ration
strength for the time she was in refit, and became good friends,
crew had at that time no passports, we with tales of all the BAD goings on
in LA Lina and to further army navy relations took 3 or 4 of Scorpion
sailors on borrowed passports days of Franco if caught to think we
would out still in gaol.
At sea trials to return our hospitably we the
soldiers had 2 days at sea photo enclosed
Great time many years ago still
remembered with affection
Me second from left.
football researher writing you from Tukey.
I have read in a newspapers
article, that HMS Scorpion visited Trabzon, a Turkish city in the Black Sea
coast, in 1963.
The crew of the warship played football against a Turkish
I'm looking for further information, abaout this issue. Anecdotes,
memories or photos.
If somebody can help me it will be great.
Hello. Am considering myself fortunate on coming across comments about
my first sea going draft on the web and would like to add details about my
I joined in 1950 as a Boy
Telegraphist fresh out of Ganges. The Captains name was Mallinson but
I think it was C.U.D.E. Portland who was really in control with his legions
of scientists. The Limbo idea had just been fitted and was
undergoing intensive trials. They first started off by Scorpion being
tied up alongside the remaining Mulberry at Portland and lobbing the dummy
concrete projectiles into the foreshore just where the air strip is now
located. When it had been decided on what strength the explosive
propellant should be we steamed up to the north of Scotland and the trials
Areas favoured were around
the islands of Raasay and Rona. In company with us, housing the 'Boffins and
scientific apparatus was a commercial vessel called Lasso with black hull,
white superstructure and yellow funnel. In time gone by I have
tried to find out more about this vessel but without success. Every day
there would be live firings at differing depths and angles. Whilst in flight
the projectiles would shed their compression rings and if they were ranged
to pass overhead these rings would festoon the mast head which Boy Tells
were detailed to retrieve from time to time !
When working in tune with
the ASDICS the accuracy of LIMBO was most markedly shown when working with a
submerged submarine which it found on surfacing to have a dummy projectile
lodged in it's conning tower.
Steaming through the Kyle
of Loch Alsh was quite a scenic event and during the weeks doing trials
there were visits to Portree, Tobermory, Rothesay, Campbeltown and for some
trial reason we were situated at Lochgoilshead. This was a fortunate
location because a coach tour was laid on to visit Loch Lomond. When
returning South it was Summertime and there were visits made to Lyme Regis
and Torquay. Going into dry dock at Portsmouth happened two or three
times during 1950. This was mainly to carry out work on the ASDIC Dome
and also to carry out repairs and modifications to the spiders web
structures in place in front of the propellers which were supposed to cut
down on cavitation noise.
remembered was the practise firing of a torpedo which didn't go exactly as
planned. Most of the crew were there to watch and nobody noticed that the
guardrails had not been properly cleared so that when the torpedo left it's
tube it collided with the stanchion which upset its control mechanism
causing it to 'frolic' like a porpoise during it's run.
Another time when just
having entered the breakwater at Portland it was decided to give a MMS a tow
for 'exercise'. Scorpion went astern to pick up the line, too abruptly
causing a huge wave to cascade down onto the quarterdeck party causing some
injuries but nobody went overboard except several hats were floating around
and having to be collected.
After 12 months onboard I
became an Ordinary Telegraphist and received a draft to HMS Hornet to join
MGB 5008. Several months later I heard the sad news that the Boys
divisional Officer, Lt Charles Armour, a relative of the Canadian meat
packing company had committed suicide by using his service revolver.
So, do hope that will fill
some little gap and maybe there is someone out there that served at the same
time and there will be a contact made.
Cheerio, Keith Robinson,
P/JX then P/SSX 864938
Scorpion and Broadsword 1961
The two boats came into Gib in 1961 to prepare for a NATO ex. The Royal
Engineers had a special relationship with the Navy since the siege of
Gibraltar circa 1704. A Lucky 4 or 5 of us sqaddies were invited to spend a
day on board during a NATO sub hunting ex in the Med. It turned out for us
land lovers to be one of the most memorable days in our whole lives. We were
signed on as crew for the day and were treated like royalty, watching every
fantastic part of the ships performance ----Refuelling at sea, the engine
room, boiler room, Gun drill (a 3.5 inch I believe), the Radar /Asdic
control room. And then what I consider a unique experience for soldiers we
were allowed by the Quartermaster to steer HM Scorpion for 20 minutes each,
taking instructions from the bridge and relaying to the engine room and I
can tell you the Nato craft behind us had great difficulty following our
erratic course and strange alterations in speed. To anyone who helped us to
be pretend sailors for a day my hearty thanks—a highlight of my life
During our time in the Med.,in 1962, we have had visits to
Malaga,Barcelona,Napels Salerno, Ancona,Theselonca & Corfu.I missed the trip
to Haifa as I went for my Cillick'Course, jioning back in mid Septermber
whilst a short maintenanc at the other side of Manoul Island
(HMS.Phenoicia),Ta'Xbiex Creek.One incident I remember, in one particular
storm the ship went sideways by a large wave for a distance
I joined the HMS Scorpion in mid-December of 1960,
whilst she was on refit in Gibraltar. We were billeted at HMS Rooke.
To a certain point, I agree with Stanley Bradshaw up to Alecante. So,
we returned to Malta for the last 2 months stationed in the Mediterranean.
Halfway through March, HMS Scorpion left Malta with the rest of the 7th
destroyer squadron, arriving at Chatham and not Plymouth, having gone
up to Iceland fishing Patrol paying off and recommissioning. Our
home-port became Davenport. Again, our first deployment was fishing
protection up at Iceland, being the first RN Ship to visit Reykjavik for
refuelling and a short visit.
1961 saw our first leg with the home fleet, exercising
mainly in the North Sea based at London Derry. We had visits over to
Amsterdam and Antwerp. In March of 1962, we started our second leg of
the commission in the Mediterranean Sea. Our famous visit to Trabzon,
which is the last sea port in Turkey, I quite agree with what the others
have written but, the moment we left the Bospherus and entered the Black
Sea, we were in company of our friends the Russians. First thing each
morning, they used to give us their 'Good morning' by asking us to switch
off our radar (the big cage), wanting to know our destination.
Obviously, the further in we went into the Black Sea, our friends' presence
was increased, so when coming to leave Trabzon, we found them waiting for us
and they were with us until we left the Black Sea. Having spent 1962
in the Mediterranean waters, with having Sliema Creek, Malta as our home
port, we left Malta in March of 1963 paying off to return back to Britain.
Sadly, I had missed this trip back as I had been drafted to HMS St. Angelo.
In between times, we had also visited Brest in France
which in my opinion was one of the worst places I had visited as I felt that
we were not welcomed. When on land, not even a local policeman helped
to direct us back to the docks. When I joined, Cdr. Burton, from Cork
was in command. On recommissioning, Cdr. (Dusty) Miller took over, who
later on was to become the youngest flag officer of his time as Rear
Admiral. As regards to being the junior ship of the squadron (gush
boat), definitely we were one of the best destroyers in the Mediterranean.
Our Junior Officer, then Sub. Lt. Mike Harris, remembering as we came back
to the Mediterranean having taken the whaler plus some ratings from
Gibraltar to Palma Bay, Sardegnia, where we found them waitng for us.
Sub. Lt. Harris revisited Malta whilst in command of HMS Ark Royal as
Captain, having taken part in the Falklands crisis, ending his carrier as
I hope you find that this information is useful.
My story continues from that of Stanley Bradshaw, my time on “Scorpion” was
from 30th May 1961 until two years later in May 1963 and I well
remember the visit to Trabzon at the far end of the Black Sea and Ray Wyatt
is right when he says that it was the first time a Royal Naval vessel had
visited that port.
We were all in the dark about what it would be like and from what I can
remember there was no information given by the officers. What I do remember
was that when we looked at the place on arrival it did not have the
appearance of a ‘run ashore’ so we decided to sty on board and have a couple
of Whitbreads. He ship arrived alongside in the forenoon (I think) and we
were all in the mess at ‘Tot’ time (Tiffs Mess) starboard aft, off the aft
seamen’s mess, when the Bosuns runner knocked on the door and said that
there were several American Air force Sergeants looking for the ‘Chiefs
Mess’. We shepherded them down to the mess and fed them a ‘tot’ each plus a
few cans of Whitbread beer. After couple of hours they left and said that
there would be transport coming to collect us at 19:30 to take us up to “The
Peak” which was an early warning Radar Installation on top of a small
mountain. When the transport arrived, a few of us took up the offer and we
were taken to the NCOs Club, the only snag was that the guys who invited us
were nowhere around. Eventually we urged someone to find them for us and we
were led to their ‘billet’ where they were all curled up with their heads
down! Once we woke them it was about a half an hour before they joined us,
their explanation according to one of the them was “After a glass of that
Rocket Fuel (Rum) and those tins of English beer we had had it!”
Well, they entertained us with the usual splendid American hospitality and
by the time the transport arrived to take us back at midnight, we were ready
to go. This pattern was repeated each night we were there. The craziest
thing was, on the day we sailed, just before the gangway was removed three
or four of them rushed on board with ‘goodies’ for us Potato Chips, and
other snack items but to cap it all a case with four each 40 oz bottles of
Bourbon Whisky and Scotch Whisky “Just to make sure
you don’t have a dry trip back”. They did not know we were not allowed to
have such booze in the mess, what a game we had hiding that away.
The ship spent two or three months on Iceland patrol during which she was
nearly capsized when a freak wave hit the Starboard side and nearly rolled
the ship over. Very scary.
All in all quite a good ship, with a good crew but a miserable Captain,
Commander “Make & Mends Miller” like there was none.
Hope this of interest,
Ex Mech 1
whomever can help,
My husband's late father Peter S Richardson (1914 -
1969) was a Gunner (two stripes - not sure this meant equiv of Corporal or
not)on board HMS Scorpion on the Arctic Convoys and was at the Battle
whereby the Scharnhorst was sunk. We remember him clearly telling us that
HMS York was over the horizon when the other Destroyers finished of this
German Mammoth. Are the any surviving men that remember him Pete's
middle name was Selwyn, reason that I am trying to research his War Service
history and not knowing his RN WWII service number is proving difficult as
one can imagine. I know he was on or at HMS Obdurate ow nothing of
this base/ship. Pete was on the Murmansk runs and also in the Channel (not
sure if Dunkirk rescue or D Day) he was among a volunteer group that went
ashore to rescue a high ranking officer when he fell into a crater and
severely cut open his face just below eye level and his fellow volunteers
got him to a german lady doctor who stitched him up under duress of being
killed if she made a fatal error. Pete was twiced ditched into the Arctic
his boat having been sunk beneath him plus he did one tour aboard a
Submarine but requested and was granted transfer back to ships and it was
reported that the very next outing this submarine went on it went missing
with all crew. IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE THAT CAN
VERIFY ANY OF THIS. Please email to
Thank you very much your info will be appreciated.
My name is Colin Watson, I served on Scorpion from 1947 to 1951 in No.4 mess
up the front end
I was a radar and plot merchant and the skipper was
Cmdr.A Hezlet, the first Lt.had a Large beard and drove an open tourer
belong to the S.W.A. Surface Warship Association which is national and
We build scale models of Warships old ones and later ones
I have built the Scorpion 1.72 scale with the guns,radar,asdic,morse
We exhibit all over the country and Germany
like to be in touch with any crew especially that era.
cheers mates its tot time
My wifes farther did is name is John miller porter we
have a photo off him on the ship H.M.S SCORPION. we are trying to fined out
what other ships he served on.
Just read your site re scorpion
My father was on this ship during its engagement with the Sharnhorst in the
battle of the north cape .He was a forward gunner, and helped rescue some of
the german sailors from that ship after it had sunk.He stole one of the
sailors caps and although my father died some years ago the cap is still in
He served on the scorpion for several years and made many trips to Murmansk
My Father did his National Service on Scorpion, and often mentions that his
Skipper was an ex-submariner, which made Scorpion a ‘must sink’ exercise
target for all his Skipper’s former colleagues still on subs. Dad spent
most of his time aboard as Jimmy The Ones Flunky, and after the Weapon class
failed to prove its worth as an anti-submarine class in major exercises, had
a very nice tour up the coast of the UK stopping off at holiday resorts and
showing the flag. Is there any way I can put him in touch with any of his
In reply to Nancy Anderson re the visit of HMS Scorpion to Trabzon 1962-63.
I was an Electrical Mechanic on the Scorpion at that time and although I
only have a vague recollection of the hat swapping incident, I can certainly
confirm that we tried very hard to drink the US base dry on our evening
visits, and I would like to express our gratitude to the Americans' for
being such good hosts at that time. Indeed Trabzon seemed to be at the back
of nowhere and only important for playing host to the US base and it's early
warning system installed up a mountain above the town. The base personnel
were kind enough to send the ships company an open invitation and provide
buses to transport our thirsty off duty crew up the mountain and back to the
ship each evening of our short visit; and I guess we made the best of a most
welcoming reception from personnel at the base club. Many of us were young,
on our first ship and good at enjoyment, ( I was about 19 or 20 ). The
Scorpion was probably the first British war ship to visit Trabzon in modern
history?? or ever even!, but I feel sure that all the crew will recall being
there, and all the US personnel will recall the occasion with some mirth.
My partners grandfather served on the HMS Scorpion during the war and wanted
to know if any crew had survived his name is
Hi Broadsword Webmaster.
I served on HMS Scorpion during Exercise Mariner (1953) as a Radio
electrical Mechanic. My memories of her include the attempted rescue of the
crew of a fishing trawler name of "Hasset" (unsuccessful being almost
joining the trawler on the rocks) We put in at Stonehaven afterwards & were
treated very well by the public of the town. During Exercise Mariner
Scorpion was rolled on her side by a huge wave & reported sunk. HMS Diamond
was in collision with the cruiser Swiftsure (32 casualties). We were
confined to hammocks unless on duty for three days. Scorpion attempted a
R.A.S. from the American Battleship Iowa but the fuel hose became detached
from Scorpion's deck fitting with disastrous results. Scorpion struck an
iceberg & damaged her asdic dome, it was said that we struck the worst
weather that many three badge AB's had ever seen. HMS Eagle was dipping her
bows. This was my first time ever aboard a Destroyer but certanly not the
last. I hope this information is of interest.
Denis Broadbent. P/mx
In the late 1950s HMS Scorpion was brought out of reserve along with her
three sister ships and refurbished - the original midships torpedoes were
replaced by a new mess for the radar specialists as part of a conversion to
Radar Picket Destroyers with surface to air radar capable of 200 mile range.
See photo of Crossbow who succeeded her in the Med in 1961. These ships were
intended to operate 200 miles ahead of the main fleet thereby providing a
maximum of 400 mile warning of impending air attack - assuming of course
that they survived the first wave etc. In 1960-61 the "new and improved"
Scorpion and Broadsword were stationed in Malta as part of the 7th Destroyer
Squadron. Her skipper, a newly promoted Commander, was the junior skipper
in the fleet and hence she was the canteen boat - a 33kt top speed in her
speed trials also helped. During a jackstay transfer exercise with Captain
"D's" destroyer while under the "watchful" eye of the Jimmy, Lt. Commander
H. W. Drax, ( a relative -son or nephew? of another noted Drax of war time
note) she failed to maintain station and proceeded to tear the Jackstay
pillars out of the deck causing the loss of the other destroyer's jackstay
equipment and lifelines as they were swept over the stern. In the November
1960 after completing her tour of duty in the Mediterranean she underwent a
3-month refit in Gibraltar followed by a "call to action" in the Cape Verde
Islands in an international attempt to apprehend a group of hi-jackers
(probably the first of the modern day hijacking trend) who had taken over a
Portuguese cruise ship off the Caribbean. Along with a Spanish cruiser,
three Portuguese destroyers and a British frigate she spent a pleasant two
weeks at anchor in St. Vincent waiting for the pirates to reach the
mid-point of the Atlantic. Fortunately the pirates surrendered to
authorities and she went un-blooded als no medals awarded. This was
followed by a brief visit to Alicante, Spain where unfortunately she lost a
member of her crew due to an accident while preparing to give a film show to
children of the local orphanage. She returned to Gibraltar overnight in an
impressive 10 hours - check the distance. In the spring of 1961 she returned
to Plymouth, her home port, and after the usual leave for her crew was
assigned to the Icelandic Fishery Patrol duties approximately 35 days. She
returned to Plymouth in April-May and decommissioned.
Hope this gives
a little more information
Stanley R. Bradshaw Scorpion 1960-061