HMS Glasgow was on exercise in the Mediterranean.  With fuel running low, a RAS (Refuelling at Sea) was necessary.  The Tanker assigned to the force was HMS Bayleaf.

Weather conditions were poor and communications on HF were difficult.  The Navigator spoke to his opposite number on the Bayleaf and a rendez-vous was set up for the next day.  Latitude and Longitude were passed and the time for rendez-vous set at 1600.

At the appointed time, HMS Glasgow was in position with the ship at a high state of readiness.  But there was no sign of the Bayleaf.  10 min overdue, the Navigator contacted the Bayleaf.  Co-ordinates were checked and it quickly became apparent that the figure for Latitude had been misheard by 1 degree.  

The Navigator realised that this put the two ships apart by approximately 60 miles.  He briefed the Captain that the RAS needed to be delayed by 3 hours while the two ships sailed towards each other.  Unfortunately, he had not checked the chart.

When he eventually did so, and plotted the positions, he realised that the distance apart was indeed only 60 miles . . . . but between the two ships lay Crete !

10 hours later and with fuel reserves dangerously low, the two ships finally refuelled.  The Navigator was not impressed when, at his leaving dinner, the following rhyme was recited:

"We were due to rendez-vous the Bayleaf,

She was the pride of the fleet.

Everything would have been all right, 

If we'd been the right side of Crete."


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