back to article A real loch mess: Navy larks sunk by a truculent torpedo

The weekend is receding, and Monday lumbers into view. Delay the inevitable with a tale of nautical nonsense from The Register's regular Who, Me? column. This week's confession comes from "Colin", and takes us back a good few years to when the Royal Navy was in the throes of validating the torpedo designs of a favoured …

  1. TonyJ Silver badge

    Of course it was going to hit the boat!

    Sod's law and all that!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Similar to...

      "The chances of <bad thing> happening are a million to one" => "It's a dead cert".

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Similar to...

        "It's a dead cert", well, nine time out of ten.

        Obligatory request for a Sir Pterry icon

        1. Holtsmark

          Re: Similar to...

          I am pretty certain that that should read "Obituary request.."

          (Currently making sure that the next generation also gets to grow up in the Discworld)

          1. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
            Pint

            Re: Similar to...

            Have one on me for such a worthy cause.

    2. Nick Ryan Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

      Pretty much inevitable really.

      Many years ago, and before digital photography was even remotely widespread a friend at the time showed the (digital) video of when he and some friends gave their home made rocket powered it's maiden flight. It was large and had to be launched from a height of about six feet therefore was hand launched by a few people carrying it at shoulder height in the quasi-suicidal way that these guys operated. The plane launched successfully, dropped down to near ground height skimming the grass while very slowly gaining height. It was launched on a ranch, with the only things in sight other than grass being some very distant trees and a single, inexplicable, fence post several hundred metres away. Inevitably the plane hit this fence post dead on, not even a glancing blow.

      I've tried searching for this video online, but just can't find it, which is a surprise seeing as these guys were pioneers in all things digital :(

      1. juice Silver badge

        Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

        > Inevitably the plane hit this fence post dead on, not even a glancing blow.

        Back *mumble* years ago at secondary school, we used to play football on some tennis courts, near the back of the school where more truculent pupils would try and sneak off for a ciggy or similar.

        One day, someone[*] absolutely hoofed the ball, sending it soaring into the air in a beautifully described arc. And time seemed to almost stop as we all watched it zoom into the air, practically reaching near earth orbit before then unerringly steering itself towards the dinner lady who'd chose that moment to patrol the verges for miscreants.

        And then, thanks to one of those million-to-one chances which happen nine times out of ten, the ball came down directly onto the top of her head.

        I've never seen anyone topple over like a felled tree before...

        Another time at the same school, we had a relatively young and enthusiastic science teacher, who decided that the best way to teach us about something[**] was a practical demonstration with a model rocket powered by a solid-fuel cartridge.

        So we all duly trooped outside and stood in the school fields to watch this thing shoot up into the air and then float back down to earth under a little parachute.

        But then he decided to go one step further. And so we all stood outside the chain-fence of the tennis courts, as he strapped one of these solid fuel cartridges onto a toy car, which then richochetted across the rough surface of the concrete tennis courts like an amphetamine fueled insect.

        Health and Safety officials would have a heart attack at the mere idea these days; I'm not even sure how he got away with it back then!

        [*] Not me. I was tall, not particularly sporty and bespectacled, so usually ended up in goal!

        [**] Smeg knows; this was a while ago. Might have been rocket science, or it might have just been a sunny day and he wanted to play with a new toy...

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

          If the PARIS flights (and the early LOHAN tests) proved anything, it's the almost magnetic attraction between model planes and wooden objects like fences, posts and trees...

          1. Dagechi tarek

            Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

            Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

            If the PARIS flights (and the early LOHAN tests) proved anything, it's the almost magnetic attraction between model planes and wooden objects like fences, posts and trees...

        2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

          or it might have just been a sunny day

          Also known as technical weather, good weather to do some "scientific" and/or "technical" stuff outside.

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

            When I worked in Swindon we had a nice little jolly out of town. Nice days..... mount up these radio beacons on a trig point (OS Marker) & calibrate them for the known distance between the country & the single radio beacon on the companies roof.

            Few hours out in the sunshine..(Near The Grand Tours home I believe) possibly a pub lunch to boot (Didn't happen for me alas).....

            Then someone (The Utter Bastard) decided it was more efficient to set up each of the 6 beacons on the roof & send one guy out to the country for a hour

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

          My late father had a Jetex(?) car from his youth, it used solid fuel tablet in a container to power it. I wondered if it was still possible to get some of the fuel tablets and make it work again.

          Reading the instructions - went something like

          1) Unscrew canister

          2) Insert asbestos disk (WTF???)

          3) Insert fuel tablet

          4) Seal canister

          5) Insert wick in hole

          6) Light wick - it is recommended to use a cigarette to light the wick instead of a match (sorry, can't remember the reason why)

          This was a kid's toy - late 40's / early 50's? Anyway, I sealed the box up and shoved it back in the loft!

          1. OssianScotland Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Kids Toys

            As late as the 70s, I had a Mamod steam traction engine, which came with dire (and completely ignored) warnings about the dangers of over or under-filling the boiler before you popped the solid fuel tablet in the firebox. As I recall, you could cause anything from wrecking the boiler to a full-on explosion, with a side effect of blowing the safety valve into the next garden if you interfered with it.

            The instructions had some statement along the lines of "suitable for boys* of ages 8 and over"

            *Please remember when this was - girls had Sindy, boys had Action Man With Eagle Eyes (TM), and <deity> help anyone who wanted to play on the other side! Lego of course, consisted only of cuboids of various dimensions. Oh, and Commando Comic was completely politically incorrect - I think I learnt most of my (largely non-existant) German from its pages.

            1. Rich 11 Silver badge

              Re: Kids Toys

              I think I learnt most of my (largely non-existant) German from its pages.

              I learned mine from watching Where Eagles Dare.

              1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

                Re: Kids Toys

                I learnt mine from porn.

                I'll never be lost in Germany as long as I'm in the middle of an orgy.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Kids Toys

              "[...] before you popped the solid fuel tablet in the firebox."

              My parents bought me one of those in the late 1950s. Unless you could afford various scale tool accessories - then all you could do was power it up and watch the piston and flywheel spin. In those days the fuel was meths (wood alcohol) - with warnings not to replenish the metal burner while it was still hot. My nephew finally sold it to a toy collector shop.

              In the UK Bayko was a building "block" toy. You inserted vertical metal rods into a baseboard matrix of holes to form an outline. Then you slid the wall bricks, windows, doors, etc between adjacent rods - finally finished off with a single piece roof. Buildings were its only capability. My set came back to me after two generations of use by my sister's family. It is in a box upstairs as a curiosity to show to modern kids.

              1. GrahamRJ

                Re: Kids Toys

                My gran had a load of Bayko. I used to love playing with that. When she died, it all went to ours and sat in the loft. I raided some of the metal rods for my Warhammer 40,000 figures, because I needed something for the standard bearers' flags to hang on, and it was hard to find 1mm hardened steel rods.

                My son now plays with it occasionally at my folks' place when he visits. Things go around...

            3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Kids Toys

              " I think I learnt most of my (largely non-existant) German from its pages."

              Ah, so, like me, your German language skills are pretty much limited to Gott in Himmel, Schnell, Raus, Fuier!, Hande Hoch, with the occasional "American pig dog" said in a German accent.

              1. OssianScotland Silver badge

                Re: Kids Toys

                "Vor you, ze var is over!"

              2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

                Re: Kids Toys

                Achtung, Schweinhund!

                1. SteveK

                  Re: Kids Toys

                  A few years back we went to Christmas markets in Aachen. Every time they needed to interrupt the music coming over the PA system with a message, it was preceded with 'Achtung achtung'. We all were expecting to be warned of raiding Spitfires each time..,

              3. Rich 11 Silver badge

                Re: Kids Toys

                Fuier!

                It's spelled 'feuer'. Really now, there's no excuse. We've all known this since we were six years old...

                1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
                  Headmaster

                  Re: Kids Toys

                  Jawohl herr Commandant!

                  1. Rich 11 Silver badge
                    Headmaster

                    Re: Kids Toys

                    That's "Jawohl, Herr Kommandant!" to you, sunshine. Verstehen sie?

                    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
                      Big Brother

                      Re: Kids Toys

                      And, of course, to resurrect an old El Reg meme, "Papiere, bitte"

          2. CliveS
            Mushroom

            Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

            Jetex is long gone, along with associated supplies. However there is an online community dedicated to all things Jetex, including the manufacture of fuel pellets.

            https://www.jetex.org/index.php/jetex-forum?view=topic&catid=8&id=4

            1. ricardian

              Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

              https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Boxed-Jetex-Speedboat-and-items/313063103672?hash=item48e403dcb8:g:kAEAAOSwsnpeov~D

            2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
              Alert

              Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

              A "proper" Boffin...

              Dr Edward Jones

              Rocket Science Institute

              Mojave, California

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

            "This was a kid's toy - late 40's / early 50's? "

            My pal put his Jetex engine into the rear of an Airfix Lanchester car plastic model circa 1962. Not quite sure what we expected to happen - but it promptly became airborne in a not very controlled way. In my memory it was on the road entrance to a local park near my pal's house. Just checked on Google Maps and the entrance is exactly where expected.

            The Jetex was also demonstrated (probably in the playground) for the members of the after-school hobbies club - held in the junior woodwork room. The more usual model plane power was either an elastic band or a Frog motor. Every week someone would have one of the latter clamped in a vice - and often a whole session would be spent using a finger on the propeller trying to start it. Occasionally there would be a success and the room would be perfumed with a small of ether - accompanied by an ear-splitting whine. Someone once had a Glo-plug - but that was considered cheating. Battery powered rotation assists were unknown to us.

            I made a balsa rib-skeleton dihedral wing-end glider. Memories of the strong pear drop smell of acetone when liberally doping the paper tissue covering.

          4. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Flame

            Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

            6) Light wick - it is recommended to use a cigarette to light the wick instead of a match (sorry, can't remember the reason why)

            Probably the same reason as using a lighted wick not a match or a lighter on Bonfire Night its not a naked flame.

          5. Tim99 Silver badge

            Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

            Thank you for the memory, although it has reminded me just how damn old I am. I constructed a small balsa-wood/doped-tissue glider in ~1960 which actually worked. I was given a Jetex motor as a birthday present and tried it out. Yes, I noticed that the steel casing was nearly red hot after a static test firing - No, I didn't think that suspending the motor from near the glider's midpoint with wire was a "bad idea". Surprisingly it flew reasonably well for a few yards before landing, the wire bent; and of course, it caught fire. It was quite exciting, and might be one reason why my first "proper" job was with HMG as an explosives/propellants chemist...

          6. hplasm Silver badge
            Flame

            Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

            Ah! The Jetex rocket motor!

            A bugger to light successfully - the wick was notoriously fragile, but most impressive when working.

            As a small me, I did get one of these, and, not being aware of -

            a) The power of the thing

            b) The actual SIZE of a model designed to use one

            c) The POWER of the thng...

            -decided that a suitable vehicle would be

            1) A standard size Scaletrix car, sans motor (abou 150cm, 6" long)

            2) A balsawood racing type powerboat, with sponsons? on the front. Same size as the car...

            In order of success -

            2) Flipped over backwards and sank as soon as it was placed in the water.

            1a) Internal test run - successful ignition*- In The Kitchen(!!) [Experimental Lab of choice for anything inflammatory...] Zoomed into the corner at 10000000 mph and sat with the motor glowing cherry red. Filled kitchen with noxious gas. Melted car a bit...

            1b) External test run- successful ignition* - Outside on flagstone pavement. Hiss! Warp 6! Hit edge of flag - liftoff! Scares dog. Lands. Grass catches fire. Quite successful!

            * Ignition after 20-30 attempts and re-fusing each time.

            Summary - Awesome!! would buy again ( I still have it somewhere... :> ).

            Rumour has it there was a Larger Model that took 3-4 fuel pellets!

            Icon -obvious

            1. hoola Bronze badge

              Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

              This takes me back to when my school friend at the time got a remote control car with some sort of IC engine. This was eons before the age of fast electric things, FM RC and so on.

              We were driving it round his garden and either the transmitter or receiver battery started to go flat. This meant it stopped responding to the steering at which point the car made a beeline straight for the pond and promptly sank.

              There was an impressive amount of steam from the hot engine. I know it did not work when it was rescued from the pond (about 2ft deep) but have no recollection of it ever working subsequently.

          7. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            Jetex, asbestos

            You don't mention if the Jetex car had radium glow-in-the-dark headlamps as well, or was this before headlamps when cars still had to hope for good moonlight to drive in the dark. :-)

        4. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

          My father used to experiment with fireworks. He decided that those ones with the 4' long stick that looked a bit like a fairy tale castle turret would be good for a 2 stage rocket - the stars coming out would surely light the other one to carry on up for a second shower.

          Of course the extra weight slowed the first launch and it only made it a hundred feet or so up and showered everyone my dad with stars. While we were all leaping around as the ground sparkled and cracked beneath our feet and our coats glowed and smoked the second stage, severely wounded by the first dropped to about 6 feet above my dads head before igniting the rocked and payload simultaneously showering everyone but my dad and landing about two feet in from of him like some demented fountain, When it went out and we'd once again patted ourselves out and discovered no one was actually hurt we all burst out laughing till it really did hurt.

          I love the smell of fireworks but to this day I can remember the foul foul smell my scorched woollen duffel coat carried for weeks,

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

            Our back yard was a long narrow corridor. On November 5th my father would set the fireworks up in turn at the bottom of the yard. We would crowd outside the back door at the blank wall end of the yard. One year he bought a Roman Candle. After its first shot it fell over - pointing directly up the yard towards us. There was a scramble to get through the door before the succeeding shots hissed up the yard to explode against the blank wall.

        5. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

          Health and Safety officials would have a heart attack at the mere idea these days; I'm not even sure how he got away with it back then!

          We have to remember that back then Darwin's Law was still permitted. So, model rockets, bicycles without helments, kids going off the local woods without adults, and other stuff that today would be cause for police action. Have to think of the children, right?

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Childcatcher

            Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

            kids going off the local woods without adults

            Probably safer than going with them.

          2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

            bicycles without helments

            Wearing helmets while riding a bicycle??? What will they think up next? Rubber tiles on play grounds?

            My elder son rides a bike to school every schoolday by himself and has never worn a helmet yet.

            1. DuncanL

              Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

              That's not something to be proud of. Rememberr that when he has a fractured eye-socket from falling off (as I did the one time I thought "I don#t need a helmet for this quick trip....") - or considerably worse.

              1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

                Please remember Dutch kids have been riding their bikes to (and from) school for over a century and most of that time those helmets weren't even invented yet. And the one time I had an accident requiring medical intervention (about 40 years ago, so before helmets), a helmet wouldn't have helped, my eye was saved by my glasses and I only needed a couple of stitches to my eyebrow.

              2. jake Silver badge

                Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

                I was taught how to ride my bicycle, not to fall off it. (I was also taught how to land after a fall, but that's another story ... )

                Keeping kids wrapped in cotton wool will only get society to ... well, where we are now, afraid of every "what if" scenario, no matter how unlikely, or even ludicrous.

                Fuck that. I taught my daughter how I was taught ... how to live for herself, not how to live according to some fuckwit on Capirol Hill who is afraid of their own shadow (or worse, afraid of getting voted out of office by similar fuckwits, intent on telling others how to live because they are too afraid to have lives of their own).

                Strangely enough, she has never fallen off her bicycle. Neither have I.

                She has fallen of her horses a few times, though. So have I. Is your daughter even allowed to touch a horse? How about riding one? What else is she not allowed to do because you are afraid to attempt it yourself? Poor little kid ...

                1. Stork Silver badge

                  Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

                  Jake,

                  As described in my other comment there are at times people who help you falling off your bike.

                  You can use the same line of argument against seat belts in cars because you were taught not to drive into things, right?

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

                    I tend to drive very defensively on the street. Some might say I'm paranoid, but the idiots really are out to get me. I suspect this has something to do with the fact that I understand the math(s) involved.

                    My 31 and 32 Fords don't have seat belts. I drive them on the street regularly. They haven't killed me yet. But then, I return the favo(u)r and don't put them into harm's way.

                2. Grinning Bandicoot

                  Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

                  Your daughter is going to have a great future with memories to relate to those that have none because they were buffered from reality and the iron rules derived from thermodynamics. I notice that these comments about childhoods seemed to be activities now frowned upon and in some areas would involve a government official visiting the keeper about the style of rearing the offspring as not suitable.

            2. Stork Silver badge

              Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

              I also grew up cycling without knowing about cycling helmets. Personal experience has taught me they can be useful.

              1) I was cycling along at 10-15km/h, without helmet and the curb suddenly ran out in from of my bike*) and I fell and cracked my eyebrow; 3 stitches and a sore shoulder and hip.

              2) I was cycling at approximately 30km/h, with helmet, when a car did not keep back in a roundabout**) and clipped the rear wheel; braked with my shoulder, needed new helmet. Was checked at A&E but just had a sore neck.

              I am convinced 2) would have been quite different without helmet, at least resulting in a concussion. Bell gave me new helmet when I sent in the old.

              *) I think the bike was drunk.

              **) yes, was too fast, but that is not the point.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

                1) If you are cycling in such a way that you can't maneuver fast enough to avoid an obstacle, you are cycling over your head. No number of personal safety devices will protect you from your own stupidity. Even if the bike ::koff koff:: was drunk.

                2) I was taught to stay out of traffic when on my bicycle. To the proverbial thinking man, Newton's laws of motion quite obviously trump the new-age "share the road" bullshit. Simply put, if you play in traffic, you might die. Helmets don't increase those odds as much as you think they do ... worse, in some it makes them feel invulnerable, which compounds the underlying problem.

        6. ShadowDragon8685

          Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

          > I've never seen anyone topple over like a felled tree before...

          Nor, I presume, have you ever before or since then seen a pack of yoof leg it and scatter to the four fucking winds quite so swiftly?

        7. Sherrie Ludwig
          Mushroom

          Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

          Smeg knows; this was a while ago. Might have been rocket science, or it might have just been a sunny day and he wanted to play with a new toy...

          Best kind of science teacher. Probably in the same mumble of years, I had Mr. Orloff, who gave extra points for the loudest bangs in lab experiments. We were generating hydrogen, capturing it in a small plastic bottle held in tongs, then testing how well we did by passing the mouth of the bottle over a lit bunsen burner (hence the tongs to hold the bottle). It should have just given a loud POP. My lab partner and I did this, and the bottle flew out of the tongs and through a windowpane. We got the highest extra credit.

          1. ShadowDragon8685

            Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

            I'm just picturing Mr. Orloff being all "Well done! Extra credit. And another thing good scientists do is repair their equipment, and own their mistakes. All of you will stay back after school."

            And then after the groans of "awwwhhh." When you arrive, Mr. Orloff is dressed in handyman gear with toolboxes and tools set out, and then continues the lesson, "and another thing a lead researcher must be is responsible for the occurrences in his laboratory, even if he did not personally have hands on what went wrong. So come here, I'm going to show you how we repair a broken window!"

      2. NorthIowan

        Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

        Well the 0.0001% of the time things can go sort of right.

        I worked in mainframe testing in the early 80's. Some of the guys were into model rockets. We had a few Friday lunchtime launches.

        The real memorable one was when the one guy improvised a 2 stage rocket out of a simple 1 stage rocket. He simply put the 1st stage rocket motor on back of the rocket.

        Apparently, the fins on a model rocket need to be right on the end of the rocket. Or there was a fault in the first stage motor. Whatever the problem was, the first stage only sent the rocket up about 10-20 feet, although the rocket traveled a considerable distance doing very tight and fast loops.

        We all had time to duck behind cars. But that wasn't needed as the second stage miraculously was pointed up when it engaged and the rocket flew out of sight. So at least that part went right.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

          "[...] and the rocket flew out of sight."

          Recommended reading - "October Sky". Autobiography of a young boy in a middle of nowhere coal-mining town who starts making experimental rockets with his friends. There was also a film made from the book.

        2. ShadowDragon8685

          Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

          Did Kerbal Space Program teach him nothing? If your center of thrust is not in-line with your center of mass, you are not going to space today!

          He should've used TWO outboard rocket motors.

    3. HildyJ Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

      Better than our torpedo.

      When I was a peon working for what is now KPMG on a contract for the (US) Department of the Navy, I learned all sorts of weasel words to attempt to make the Mk-48 anti-submarine torpedo program look good after one prototype sank to the bottom and another floated. The fact that yours hit something should be credited.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

        one prototype sank to the bottom and another floated.

        Sounds like an unequal weight distribution between the two, third should have hit the Goldilocks zone.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

          I'd recommend more fiber in the diet.

    4. Ivan Headache

      Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

      My brother was always the lucky one.

      While working in the Emirates he mixed with the wealthy and carefree.

      One day he was out with one of his 'mates' flying their Tiger Moth styled microlight. Something they did on a regular (almost) daily basis.

      This particular day they were up in the air somewhere both of Abu Dhabi and the motor malfunctioned and stopped. They were unable to restart it but thankfully the gliding capabilities of the microlight where quite good so they weren't particularly worried. and looked for somewhere relatively level to land.

      A nice stretch of sand came into view and was chosen as the spot and the approach made.

      Just as they touched down they hit a car tyre half buried in the sand and tipped over.

      He said that looking around afterwards that there was nothing else there. Just the one car tyre.

  2. chuBb. Bronze badge
    Happy

    New all time favourite

    Think this is my new favourite who me

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: New all time favourite

      Absolutely! Pure 'Carry on ' gold.

      1. Paul Kinsler

        Re: Pure 'Carry on ' gold.

        Well either that, or "The Navy Lark", as per sub heading and picture;

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Navy_Lark

        :-)

        .

        No, I'm not really that old. I just happened to catch it by accident while trying to record re-run episodes of "I'm Sorry I'll Read that Again" at 3am on NZ radio in the 80's. This was an instructive process, because some times I also got to listen to the NZ shipping forecast.

        1. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

          Re: Pure 'Carry on ' gold.

          leading seaman goldstein chatting:

          I *am* that old and can remember being allowed to stay up late to listen to it one time as it had been put back 3 hours or so due to Kennedy being assassinated.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Pure 'Carry on ' gold.

            Try the BBC Sounds app - they do all sorts of old stuff, Goon show, Hancock's Half hour and the Navy Lark

            1. TonyJ Silver badge

              Re: Pure 'Carry on ' gold.

              As does BBC R4 Extra. Goldmine for old comedy for anyone fortunate enough to get DAB.

              1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: Pure 'Carry on ' gold.

                For those a little more (if not necessarily) much more advance, the BBC Radio website can help.

                1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                  Re: Pure 'Carry on ' gold.

                  Yes, it used to be relatively simple to scrape entire series or collections from the BBC site with curl and awk and some creative scripting, possible some manual editing, but the new, user friendly "Sounds" makes it a lot more difficult.

                  1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

                    Re: Pure 'Carry on ' gold.

                    Yes, sadly the Beebotron is no longer with us - it had a useful function called the Beebodge that would (usually) extract the requested radio programme (based on timings and station choices):

                    https://web.archive.org/web/20161230215329/https://beebotron.org/beebobodgewma.php

                  2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                    Re: Pure 'Carry on ' gold.

                    Search for "get_iplayer"

                2. ricardian

                  Re: Pure 'Carry on ' gold.

                  Another handy site for old radio programmes https://www.oldtimeradiodownloads.com/sci-fi/journey-into-space

                  1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
                    Headmaster

                    Re: Pure 'Carry on ' gold.

                    *cough* get_iplayer *cough*

                    Works just as well for radio as for TV...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Pure 'Carry on ' gold.

            "[...] as it had been put back 3 hours or so due to Kennedy being assassinated."

            The Navy Lark always conjures up the taste of apple pie and custard as we listened to it during Sunday lunch. A reverse Proustian madeleines moment. IIRC that was the same schedule slot as Round The Horne. I have always doubted that my mother - probably along with many others - understood the innuendo.

            I was listening to shortwave Voice of America with headphones on when the JFK assassination was announced. Headphones because my parents were watching a BBC TV programme next to me. Confirmation for them appeared there moments later.

            1. mdubash

              Re: Pure 'Carry on ' gold.

              The Navy Lark, Beyond Our Ken, Round the Horne, The Clitheroe Kid and other Sunday lunchtome programmes I listened to (yes, I'm that old) as my parents near chain-smoked and the living room filled with blue smoke. Ah, those were the days - no such thing as secondary smoking then. <cough>

        2. UK_Bedders

          Re: Pure 'Carry on ' gold.

          I'm not that old but spent many a happy car journey accompanied by such nautical capers.

          This Who, Me? reminds me of the episode where they're testing the new gun targeting mechanism that gets swapped with Pertwee's musical birthday present. ^,^ BOOM right through No. 1's office for the new window!

    2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: New all time favourite

      Agreed, absolutely brilliant! I really needed that after a long day full of zoom/hangout/skype and other on-line meetings of dubious use and productivity.

  3. Symon Silver badge
    Mushroom

    At least the O-ring wasn't frozen this time...

    "A checklist is a type of job aid used to reduce failure by compensating for potential limits of human memory and attention. It helps to ensure consistency and completeness in carrying out a task."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Checklist

    A.k.a. "Yes, of course I've rebuilt it properly. And look at all these parts I've saved!"

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: At least the O-ring wasn't frozen this time...

      Ah! Saving parts; The Ikea principle™.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: At least the O-ring wasn't frozen this time...

      Bloody O rings. It must be a Soviet conspiracy.

      1. jake Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: At least the O-ring wasn't frozen this time...

        Pre late '80s or early '90s Johnson/Evinrude small single cylinder outboards in the 4 to 6.5 hp class (sometimes called sailboat pusher motors) have a copper water line from the waterpump down by the prop up to the powerhead. The connection between engine block and tube is sealed with a simple o-ring. When the engine is run, the o-ring gets wet. When the engine is shut off, the o-ring dries out. Leaving behind anything dissolved in the water. Especially salt, if the motor is run in the ocean.

        These deposits build up over time, gradually putting pressure on the o-ring. Either the iron block, or the soft copper has to give. The copper loses, of course. So eventually, the copper pipe is pinched off, and the engine no longer gets fresh water, and so it overheats.

        The fix is simple. Remove the copper pipe, heat it up, run a mandrel through it to pop out the pinch, replace the o-ring (a 19 cent part) & Bob's your Auntie.

        Unfortunately, R&Ring the pipe involves pulling the entire powerhead, which is just short of a complete engine overhaul. About a 4 hour job. At $165/hr shop rate. Plus any parts that may need to be replaced because they are too worn to be reassembled.

        Bottom line: It can cost well over $1,000 to replace a 19 cent o-ring ... on a motor that is worth maybe $500 if it runs well and looks pretty. And that is from an honest shop.

        Bloody O rings indeed. This round's on me.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: At least the O-ring wasn't frozen this time...

          And the joy of putting the motor once repaired into a dustbin of water in order to check it the tell tale works to indicate all is well.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: At least the O-ring wasn't frozen this time...

            The 1960s radio club had acquired a petrol engine generator for use on field day competitions. It was an Austin 7 engine mounted on a trolley. Somehow it was manhandled up some stairs into the club room where it was started for testing. I don't remember the windows having any opening facilities - so exhaust fumes were a problem. My memory also suggests that cooling was by hoses dipped into a large barrel of water - probably as the car radiator needed an airflow under load.

            ***This memory seems so improbable that even I am not sure of its accuracy.

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: At least the O-ring wasn't frozen this time...

            I use a test tank, not a dust bin. Less chance of the water pump cavitating and destroying itself with a good amount of water in a properly shaped tank.

            Note that in my previous scenario the pisser[0] working isn't necessarily a sign that all is well ... as the tube becomes more and more restricted, it is capable of providing plenty of water to piss, but the amount that actually cools the motor falls off. You can't see the decrease in water flow because the bulk of it exits below the waterline.

            [0] I spent several thousand dollars going to OMC school so I would know when and where to use that technical term.

            1. John Arthur
              Flame

              Re: At least the O-ring wasn't frozen this time...

              The Austin 7 engine used thermo-syphon cooling so no water pump needed. How well that would work with a dustbin I am not sure.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: At least the O-ring wasn't frozen this time...

                My reply was to Tom 7, not Re: the Austin 7.

    3. Wim Ton
      FAIL

      Re: At least the O-ring wasn't frozen this time...

      Another O ring story: I worked for an oilwell service company. The instruments were housed in steel (or titanium) tubes, joined with union nuts. All the instruments had 2 60 mm O-rings to seal the joint, except one joint on one instrument used a 59 mm O-ring.

      One day the inevitable happened, the 2 sized were swapped (they are hard to distinguish visually). Everything went fine till about 3 km below the surface. Then the signal disappeared. When retreiving the instruments, they were filled with water and all transistors and relays were completely flattened by the 300 bar pressure.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: At least the O-ring wasn't frozen this time...

        At some point, someone somewhere will reveal that the name is short for "Oh, no!" rings...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: At least the O-ring wasn't frozen this time...

        Wow, even the nuts were in a union?

        I'll get me coat...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: At least the O-ring wasn't frozen this time...

          Around these parts, all the biggest nuts are in the union.

          Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week. Try the veal.

  4. Pete 2

    Too many return() statements in the code?

    > The impact made short work of the fragile fishing boat.

    And here was me thinking that the story would end with the torpedo performing a U-turn and heading back to "honour" all the naval types on the jetty.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Too many return() statements in the code?

      Me too

      Almost the Royal Navy -->

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Too many return() statements in the code?

        It's a very relevant branch of the RN

        1. Symon Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Too many return() statements in the code?

          In a ship launched torpedo, you don't need RETURN. All you need is GOSUB.

          1. TWB

            Re: Too many return() statements in the code?

            Upvote for GOSUB - not done any BASIC (or other) programming for years now, but good memories.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Too many return() statements in the code?

      I was expecting the extra bunker at Sandwich.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Too many return() statements in the code?

        "[...] the extra bunker at Sandwich."

        So named because of the sand which is there?

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Too many return() statements in the code?

          Yes, Minister reference.

    3. TDog

      In truth

      It wouldn't be the first time - the Huascar in 1879 had the latest infernal device - an automotive torpedo. This was powered by compressed air and rather slow. When discharging this the device slewed through 360 degrees and returned to sender...

      Not all was lost - the ships doctor jumped overboard, swam to the torpedo and pushed it away from his ship - in the middle of a battle. Of such stuff are hero's made.

      https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=aTXKBQAAQBAJ&pg=PA50&lpg=PA50&dq=huascar+torpedo+swam+away#v=onepage&q=huascar%20torpedo%20swam%20away&f=false

    4. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Too many return() statements in the code?

      Back in WWII, the US had problems with it's torpedoes. Some would explode immediately after launch, some would hit the target and not explode unless hitting at an angle. And several subs were lost when tor torpedo did a 180 and hit the sub.

      1. Robert Sneddon

        USN Mk14 torpedos

        Drachinifel, the Youtube commentator on things Naval has a wonderful entry about the Mk14 torpedo and its unfortunate genesis.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQ5Ru7Zu_1I

        "Today we look at what happens when you mix the Bureau of Ordnance with a cost-cutting Congress and a few people pathologically incapable of admitting to making a mistake, then try and get a working torpedo out of them."

  5. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Waving it around wildly and then smacking the side of it

    Left hand down a bit...

    Everybody down!

    1. short a sandwich

      Re: Waving it around wildly and then smacking the side of it

      Who's been playing with Lesley's hooter?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This would have been more believable if the boat sunk had been one of the weapon retrieval boats. The ones that also clear the area before the trial starts.

    Chinny reckon IMO. There plenty of real 'Who, me?' situations, why print dubious ones?

    1. David Robinson 1

      I was with the story until the civilian in a fishing boat. Anyone care to chip in with a reason why the Navy wouldn't have cleared the area of non-essential personnel?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Speaking as a sometime rural fisherman ...

        ... who knows a lot of rural fishermen, he probably didn't get the Navy Memo. And if he did, it obviously didn't apply to him. All he was doin' was goin' fishin', ain't no Navy in this little bit o' fresh water, they hang out in the ocean. Besides, I always go fishing at this hour.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Too secret, Why draw attention by clearing the area?

        1. Symon Silver badge

          Top Secret.

          In Plymouth there's a floating bridge ferry which connects to Torpoint in Cornwall. These things drag themselves across the river on a set of big metal fixed chains.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torpoint_Ferry

          Anyway, just upstream from the ferry in Devonport is the RN's only nuclear submarine repair and refuelling base. Here's a picture with the ferry on the right.

          https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/59/Devonport_dockyard_from_Torpoint_ferry.jpg

          So, years ago, the Navy let it be known that one of its nuclear boats was coming in for maintenance. The actual date and time was meant to be secret, but anyone popping over to (say) the 'Harbour Lights' for a beer or whatever, was greeted by a big sign saying that the "Torpoint Ferry will be closed this Saturday from 2am to 4am."

      3. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        I was with the story until the civilian in a fishing boat. Anyone care to chip in with a reason why the Navy wouldn't have cleared the area of non-essential personnel?

        Because that civilian wasn't a civilian but a flag rank (probably retired) officer from one of the dry branches.

        SNAFU: Situation Normal, Army ...

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Possibly

        If the Americans were responsible for range clearance?

        And before you downvote me to hell, it has happened with live warshots.

        Anon for obvious reasons!

      5. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        Anyone care to chip in with a reason why the Navy wouldn't have cleared the area of non-essential personnel?

        They did clear the area.

        As the tale started, my first thoughts were "I remember that test range, used to stay at the caravan site part way down the loch". I was a bit too young to really get what was going on, but I do recall actually being there when they fired - and my father and older brothers getting excited at seeing the white line whizzing off down the loch. I also recall the PA announcements as they tried to persuade all the camp site users to clear the beach on the headland that jutted out into the loch - presumably "just in case" the guidance went wrong and the torpedo decided it fancied a bit of sub bathing (joke, this was Scotland in Summer !)

        Having said that, I used to have a friend who worked at Eskmeals up on the Cumbrian coast. Even though they put out notices, some of the local fishermen were "of a strong opinion" and weren't going to let the authorities tell them when or where they could fish. Apparently, it was not unknown to drop a warning shot in close proximity to try and persuade them to leave.

    2. DaveDaveDave

      It's an old, old joke that apparently they didn't recognise, or just felt like printing anyway.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oops!

    It reminds me of torpedo trials back in the 70's. My girlfriend's dad was an engineer in the Navy ship design department and involved in final validation of a new torpedo. It was fired from a submarine, shot off forward looking fine but then started to veer off course. It continued in a wide arc for a full 360 degrees, and approached the sub from the rear. Fortunately it wasn't armed and no serious damage was done. The excuse I heard was that its tracking system (sonar) was too sensitive and picked up the sub's own signal. It was sorted and the torpedo entered service but was never trusted - retained a reputation for unreliability and didn't remain in service for long.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This lead to additional requirements

      1) The weapon shall self-destruct if it does a 180".

      That worked well, until one got stuck in the tube and the sub turned round to go home. "Boom!" - this did happen for real :-(

      Further requirements were added...

      1. CliveS

        Re: This lead to additional requirements

        You're probably thinking of USS Scorpion, and while she did sink after executing a 180 degree turn, there was no conclusive evidence to lay the blame at the self destruct mechanism of a "stuck" torpedo.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: This lead to additional requirements

          Much in the same way there was no evidence Hiroshima was bombed as no remains of a bomb were found?

    2. Mast1

      Re: Oops!

      Well macaroni does have a curve in it : seems like they never did manage to straighten it out.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oops!

      An interesting documentary on the discovery channel seemed to indicate that since the sinking of the USS Tang in 1944 (by its own Torpedo's) that all Torpedo's had an in built safety that would deactivate them if they turn 180 degree's

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Oops!

        I cannot confirm nor deny this [which is the standard response for something that may be classified if confirmed or denied]. But in the movie 'Hunt for Red October' the Alpha captain disabled the safeties on his torpedos so that Capt. Ramius could not go in a semicircle to avoid getting blown to smithereens (and then he was later hoisted by his own petard when they came around and hit HIS sub). If the movie has any accuracy when compared to real life, there ya go.

        1. NBCanuck

          Re: Oops!

          The safeties were not disabled because of any maneuvers. Torpedoes need a minimum run distance before they armed. After the Alpha fired Ramius closed the distance before the torpedoes could arm. It was to remove the minimum run distance that the safeties were removed.

    4. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: Oops!

      The RN has form on this. HMS Trinidad managed to torpedo herself while escorting a convoy to Russia in 1942.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: HMS Trinidad

        And if ever a ship needed to be sent into the vicinity of the Arctic Circle, it'd have to be one named after a palm tree infested island in the Caribbean. :-)

    5. CliveS
      FAIL

      Re: Oops!

      USS Tang, in October 1944, was sunk by one of its own torpedoes whilst attacking a Japanese convoy. A similar fate befell USS Tullibee in March 1944. The british WW2 cruiser, HMS Trinidad, managed to torpedo herself whilst on Arctic convoy duty in 1942. While that didn't sink her, a subsequent attack by German bombers included a hit where she was previously damaged, and that finished her off.

    6. swm Silver badge

      Re: Oops!

      During WW2 my father was commander of a submarine base in Australia. He had complaints of torpedoes that would do a 360 and "whoosh" over the firing sub. Turned out that it was due to poor training/maintenance which locked the gyro so the torpedo would make a hard right or left rudder after launch. The technical details of the poor maintenance are interesting but too long to report here.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Oops!

        If it did a 360 it would carry on in the intended direction. A 180 would send it back to the boat it came from.

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Oops!

          This isn't my field, but a missile malfunction that makes it follow a semi circle doesn't seem to endanger the firer. If it keeps going right around, though, it will hit you in the back side.

  8. BenDwire Silver badge
    Facepalm

    What could have been ...

    I was convinced that the tea trolley was going to be taking a larger role in this tale!

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: What could have been ...

      It kept calm and carried on.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: What could have been ...

        Keep calm and carry bomb?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What could have been ...

      Enter Bristow.

  9. Andy Non Silver badge

    "If I tell my wife I was torpedoed while fishing, she'll never believe me."

    You owe me a new keyboard and cup of coffee.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Where as...

      "If my wife told me she was torpedoed whilst I was fishing..."

  10. FlavioStanchina

    Test passed

    I wonder -- the Navy should have been very happy, they got a kill on the first try.

    Was the fisherman of German descent, by the way?

    1. Pete 2

      Re: Test passed

      > they got a kill on the first try.

      I think that would be a first for any modern-day torpedo.

    2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Test passed

      Was the fisherman of German descent, by the way?

      Prince Charles?

  11. David Neil

    I wonder if it was here?

    http://www.abandonedscotland.com/torpedo-testing-station-arrochar-may-2011/

    Right next to the road up to the Rest and Be Thankful, top end of the Loch from Faslane.

    Rather derelict now, but good for a nosey around

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I wonder if it was here?

      Thanks for the link to Abandoned Scotland - we have a couple to add to their collection.

  12. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    "If I tell my wife I was torpedoed while fishing, she'll never believe me."

    Mine wouldn't either :-0)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Version 2...

    The setup was similar, but without the top brass. The torpedo was launched in a similar fashion for a simple control test. Move the lever forward and the torpedo would set its fins to submerge. Pull the lever back, and up it would come. Now, consider what would happen if the lever was wired the wrong way round. Yes, it dived for the bottom and kept going, until it buried itself in the silt at the bottom of the loch. You can’t just put a few red and white cones round it, so the company had to extract it. Hoping it was a cost-plus contract, a big tug from a foreign country was ordered to come with a big crane and recover it ASAP. It was recovered eventually, but I doubt if anyone in the group got a pay rise that year.

  14. Tinslave_the_Barelegged
    Mushroom

    If you enjoyed that, you'll enjoy this...

    For those on Twitter, may I recommend https://twitter.com/Canocola for more naval stories that end somewhat sub(sic)-optimally

    A recent example of his (could be her) style, the start of a thread about the K-class submarines:

    If any of you have ever looked at a submarine and thought "If only they'd whacked a couple of funnels on that" then don't worry, the Royal Navy have your back.

    1. hoola Bronze badge

      Re: If you enjoyed that, you'll enjoy this...

      I read a book about these steam submarines, they really were useless as however you looked at it, they were full of holes.

      Diving was a joke as you had to put the fires out, pull down the funnel , bung up all the holes and hope. I think a crash dive took about half an hour.

  15. Graham Newton

    Being on the receiving end

    When I worked at the Royal Greenwich Observatory we used to send heavy equipment to our observatory on the Canary Islands by freighter. We were very surprised when we were informed that a Harrier jump jet had landed on it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alraigo_incident

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Being on the receiving end

      Some friends of ours had just emigrated to Tenerife where that happened. They had to wait for ages to get their furniture, which was in the container under the Harrier.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Many, many years ago I was sent to the Kyle of Lochalsh where they tested torpedoes. I was walking between two sheds and when I got to the end of the sheds there were two squaddies, or whatever they are called in the navy, larking around. One was sitting on top of a torpedo on some form of transport dolly, aka Major Kong riding the bomb in Dr Strangelove, and the other was manoeuvring the dolly around the yard. They crapped themselves when I came into view but quickly recovered when they realised I was a civilian and not an officer.

    1. Outski

      "two squaddies, or whatever they are called in the navy"

      In this context, I think you could get away with "jack tars", whether jolly or otherwise

    2. WolfFan Silver badge

      They are, or used to be, matelots.

  17. Commswonk Silver badge

    Not Just a Maritime Problem

    Once upon a time, many years ago, I worked for <redacted> Police. One Saturday night a patrol vehicle did a check on a car park that was completely deserted except for (a) the patrol vehicle and (b) a single, solitary car parked more or less in the middle.

    Do I really need to say what happened?

    Well anyway; happen it did, to the merriment of about 3500 people with the certain exception of the Officer who was driving the car at the time.

  18. Jon Smit
    Pint

    Can't beat this

    I heard about this years ago and assumed it was made up.

    There was once a single tree in the middle of the Sahara Desert, some 250 miles away from any others. It had survived for 300 years, until a drunk driver happened along.

    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/the-most-isolated-tree-in-the-world-was-killed-by-a-probably-drunk-driver-5369329/

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Can't beat this

      I heard about this years ago and assumed it was made up.

      Stuff like that you just can't make up. For those interested: L'Arbre du Ténéré.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't beat this

      Didn't it get hit more than once?

      AC - as I did managed to reverse a car into the only lamp post in a car park. Good news - company car so got away with it! Though felt a bit guilty every time I drove past and saw the bent lamp post

    3. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: Can't beat this

      I heard about this years ago and assumed it was made up.

      Quite understandable that, but read on...

      On another occasion a highly experienced (Police) Driving Instructor was driving away from <redacted> and failed to take a fairly gentle bend in the road and finished up in a ploughed field.

      Thereafter said bend was known locally as <Redacted>'s Corner. I don't know what the outcome of the investigation was although I do know who carried it out.

      On yet another occasion there was a disgreement between a Dog Van (no canine occupant at the time) and another vehicle at a clearly marked and properly signed crossroads with clear lines of sight which the driver of the dog van seems to have ignored. Sadly I don't think I can expand on that story because to get the full flavour of it I would have to reveal the location and other factors that add to the overall entertainment value and those would identify the Police Force in question.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Can't beat this

        There is a very slight bend in a road on the South Yorkshire/West Yorkshire border that is known as "Nigel's Bend" to members of a couple of motor clubs due to the distance from the tarmac and depth of penetration into the woodland that was achieved one evening!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Can't beat this

          Seems like "Nigel's Bender" might be more appropriate...

    4. Paul Kinsler

      Re: There was once a single tree.

      Perhaps there used to be more trees once, but the drivers gradually got them all. Once upon a time, whilst in a car full of graduate students heading to Adelaide, but most certainly not one being so careless as to travel faster than the speed limit, a moment's distraction followed by a slight steering error nearly led to a clump of trees on a gradual bend getting countably smaller. Fortunately the corrective swerve only led to a 360+ degree spin in a large cloud of dust, and a knackered suspension; followed by a very much slooooower drive the rest of the way.

      ObShout: Hi Steve! Do you by chance read the Register? And would you like an apple? :-)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why am I reminded of the story of the sinking of the General Belgrano. The then new guided torpedoes weren't trusted, so the attack was instead made with 1930s design vintage equipment.

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Fitting. The 1930/40s vintage cruiser sunk by 1930/40s vintage torpedoes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Aye, amazingly that cruiser was one of the ones to survive Pearl Harbour

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      HMS Conqueror used Mk VIII torpedoes so the Mk 24 tigerfish could be used on enemy sunmarines thay might be nearby.

      Only two submarines have sunk enemy vessels at sea since WW2.

      HMS Conqueror is one.

      I was surprised to discover the nationality of the other.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        North Korea?

        I could look it up, but that’s cheating. Also that incident might be too recent to make the lists, and the DPRK haven’t admitted it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Sunmarines... You must be talking about that sun-loving branch of the armed forces famous for being partial to the white sands of warm Pacific destinations.

      3. Psmo Silver badge
        Pirate

        Wikipedia (yeah, I know) has it as three.

        Interesting mix of nations, as you say.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          I was right in guessing the OP's list had missed North Korea. I also guessed India vs China for the earliest one, so right victim, wrong war. It was Pakistan, with the french submarine in the drawing room.

          There’s been surprisingly little naval conflict since WWII. Compared to the amount of land and aerial warfare that’s happened.

  20. Coys

    This reminds me of the story my father loved to recount of when his crew accidentally released a depth charge into Loch Lomond during WWII from their moored PBY5 flying boat. Luckily (for him and probably me too) it either wasn't armed or didn't go deep enough to detonate. Looking through his log book I reckon it was in July 1943 when he was training from Greenock prior to leaving for the Indian Ocean. AFAIK it's still there...

  21. earl grey Silver badge

    I'm not a smoker, but

    The idea of using a ciggy with the fuse was so that you had a longer escape time before the cigarette burn down and lit the fuse. Cigarettes used to be made so that they would burn completely down either to the end of the cigarette or up to the filter end they didn't go out like the new ones do are supposed to. I believe the change was mostly made to prevent fires with people dropping cigarettes down the back of couches etc. I have it on good word that it works perfectly and setting off a firecracker next door to a crappy neighbor having given the miscreant airport time to get indoors and not be seen.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: I'm not a smoker, but

      I think the cigarette was used to light the fuse not be part of it. What happens is the cigarette generally only lights the end of the fuse so it works as a fuse whereas a flame can light the fuse anywhere along its length resulting in seriously ouchy fingers.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Iranians managed to hit one of their own boats recently. Apparently they didn't allow enough time for a tug to get clear of the target it had just positioned. The test missile chose the tug instead of the target.

  23. HammerOn1024

    Paging Mr....

    Murphy... paging Mr. Murphy.

    Of coarse the thing went after the only object of note on the lake. Anyone who knows anything about first article tests knows that no matter the projected range of a prototype, assume 360 degrees in any given plan, 10x range and nothing of note in the test area!

  24. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I can say without

    a shadow of a doubt that this story is absolutly typical of that un named underwater weapons factory, and that true pTerry style , that the only reason I never say exactly what I got upto working for HM government in regards to the navy is that you would never believe it.

    Did I ever mention the torpedo recovery gear made by <redacted> for those torpedo trials...... that had been machined too small to go over the end of said torpedo to recover it.....

    But the best one of all was the video we had running on the radar display during a said test, that recorded everything the radar operator said about the captain.

    Completely unprintable and very rude, and in true save someone's arse fashion, we were going to copy said video and remove the sound ("mic failed gov.. honest")

    Until the senior bods in whitehall demanded said video on pain of death(or at least canceling our expense claims... I would have preferred death myself.. 2 weeks of away from home fun was serious money)

    Said video then made its way to whitehall with soundtrack intact.

    We never did find out what happened to the rating, but he wasn't there when we took out all our test gear.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: I can say without

      We never did find out what happened to the rating, but he wasn't there when we took out all our test gear.

      More importantly, were any of the rude things he said about the captain true? And if so, what happened to that captain (and his career)?

  25. DaemonProcess

    Not the only one to do that

    I also heard of a stuck giroscope that caused a torp to curl a huge arc off Portland Bill and whizz up Weymouth beach at v.fast knots. Thankfully the beach is a wide gentle slope so nothing was hit.

  26. Glenturret Single Malt

    Surely every husband of any worth washes the dishes from time to time, With the mixed cutlery in the sink and the tap running to rinse off food remains. And why is there always a spoon lying just where the jet from the tap meets the sink surface. Result, water spraying everywhere and caustic derisory comments from certain other quarters.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Landrover torpedoed !!!!

    Hi, but did you know about the Landrover that was torpedoed?

    Those clever scientists down in Weymouth had a torpedo test range in Portland Harbour and one day decided to test a Spearfish heavyweight torpedo in the harbour, with a bit more fuel onboard than usual.

    The gallant Spearfish dashed off and just kept going, going, going ........... very fast due West and straight for the the main Weymouth to Portland road, along which an elderly Landrover noisily trundled. Having shot straight across the beach it torpedo said Landrover amidships, but fortunately without casualties.

    I guess that this one still beats the lightweight torpedo that having fallen from a naval helicopter attacked the first green on a local golf course. The Macaroni company may have taken a little while to live these two incidents down.

    Perhaps, we had better not enquire as to the whereabouts of the Advanced Sea Mine last seen heading for Dorchester!

  28. eionmac

    "O" ring cost to replace

    One time many years ago during 'cold war', I was in Canadian office of a USA pump company when the phones went red hot. Do you have in stock two "O" rings for xx pump. Answer yes and a spare pump. OK, then go immediately to airport with them we will ring police, and airport, a plane will be awaiting you! Thus off to Arctic Lands to replace pump for oil flow to engine which drove generator which supplied a NATO (read US) RADAR installation covering 15 degrees of arc over Russia. Cost of "O ring" about 2 Cda Dollars (at inflated spare parts prices), new oil pump less than Cda $ 300. Cost of personal planes (3 of them, at different airport changes, one a biplane ice lander on sled runners) about Cda $70,000. My salary as a P Eng in charge then was about Cda$2200 for comparison.

    Later I understand the small planes carrying me and "O" rings were given flight clearance and stopped commercial flights for about 2 hours. It was a 'hot line' telephone call from USA to Canada. Lesson do not store elastomers in a dry but unheated hut in Arctic at 45 to 50 degrees below!

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