At Least We Didn’t Sink
This lighthearted and occasionally hilarious view of carrier operations is unique and difficult to put down. The Aussie characters are larger than life but true to life.
HMAS MELBOURNE was a Majestic Class Aircraft Carrier. In 1972 the ship set off on a four month cruise around the Far East or, to Australians, the Near North, visiting Hawaii, Japan, Singapore and the Philippines. Nothing that happened in this ship seemed to be routine.
While the three squadrons onboard, Grumman Trackers, Skyhawk fighter bombers and Wessex helicopters were engaged in various international exercises, life onboard ranged between the bizarre and the tragic. Everybody worked hard and played even harder. The ship caught fire at sea, an attempt to climb Mount Fuji turned into a fiasco starting with a broken down U.S. Navy bus.
Runs ashore to the fleshpots of Manila, to downtown Singapore and to the PX stores in Hawaii sorted the men from the boys. Class warfare between the senior officers and the aircrew was never far below the surface and the mystery of how a grand piano was smuggled onboard was never solved.
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Real life adventure on the high seas. This journey around the Pacific in the early 70’s gives a real insight into life on board the ship. An account that can be enjoyed by anyone. The author presents an environment that will be unfamiliar to most in an engaging and accessible way that will have you flying through the book, from one port to the next, through a series of misadventures, often with amusing consequences, and sometimes with more serious outcomes.
A second book from the author of “Spoofy” which was just as enjoyable. Set during his Navy years, Anthony Holt tells a good story, with a nice mix of the facts and a wry sense of humour. Very interesting, easy to read, and left me wanting more.