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
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.
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.
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.
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 !
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:
were due to rendez-vous the Bayleaf,
was the pride of the fleet.
would have been all right,
we'd been the right side of Crete."