- Haynes, Fred
- Ship design and development
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Platypus (Shore Base), HMAS Otway II
- September 2003 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
I found out the full story much later from the Weapons Electrical Officer (WEEO) at that time. He explained that they had been storing ship prior to leaving for a RIMPAC exercise. Provisions were dropped down the hatch in the fin directly into the control room and passed along for storage.
This particular frozen turkey had fallen into the periscope well (after being passed along with some vigour). Not only did it cut the cable, it became wedged between the periscope and the side of the well so that the periscope could not be raised. After some deliberation they decided the best thing to do was to turn on the well heaters and wait for it to thaw.
Meanwhile the engine room staff fashioned a harpoon from a broom handle to skewer the bird when it was soft enough. Once removed the periscope was raised ready for repair. At GID we thought at the time it would have been interesting to have read the Defect Signal.
The WEEO recalled that they had indeed raised a TM179, Report of Defective Material or Design and sent it to Squadron for comment to prevent reoccurrence of the incident. They obtained the stock number for a frozen turkey from the boats’ grocer to keep the record correct. Their recommendation was that in future the turkeys should be supplied in the soft flying models and not the hard no-fly ones. The paper work made it all the way to Navy Office and everyone had a good laugh at their expense.
Perhaps periscopes have a history of being damaged by animals, first whales and then poultry. In the case of the ‘Friendly Frigate’ our submariners probably would have regarded the crew as animals for causing so much discomfort, just like all ‘skimmers.’