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I an ex member of both 7 and 8 Squadron's of the Rhodesian war spending most of my operational time on Seven Squadron as a K Car gunner. I was credited for shooting down a fixed wing aircraft from a K Car on the 9 August 1979. This blog is from articles for research on a book which I HAVE HANDED THIS MANUSCRIPT OVER TO MIMI CAWOOD WHO WILL BE HANDLING THE PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK OF WHICH THERE WILL BE VERY LIMITED COPIES AVAILABLE Contact her on yebomimi@gmail.com The latest news is that the Editing is now done and we can expect to start sales and deliveries by the end of April 2011

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Thursday, November 11, 2010


HMS Tiger was a conventional cruiser of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the oldest of HM Armed Forces . From the beginning of the 19th century until well into the 20th century it was the most powerful navy in the world, playing a key part in establishing the British Empire as the dominant world power from 1815 until the early 1940s...
, one of a three ship class known as the
Tiger class
Tiger class cruiser
The Tiger-class helicopter cruisers were the first of such a type in the Royal Navy, and the last cruisers built for the Royal Navy. They were originally designed to be Minotaur-class light cruisers...


Construction, redesign and commissioning

Tiger started out as Bellerophon laid down in 1941 at the John Brown Shipyard as part of the Minotaur class of light cruisers. They had a low construction priority due to more pressing requirements for other ship types during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global military conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945 which involved most of the world's nations, including all of the great powers, organised into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
, particularly anti-submarine craft.
Bellerophon was renamed Tiger in 1945, and was launched, partially constructed, on 25 October 1945. She was christened by Lady Stansgate, the wife of William Benn
William Wedgwood Benn, 1st Viscount Stansgate
Air Commodore William Wedgwood Benn, 1st Viscount Stansgate PC, DSO, DFC was a British Liberal politician who later joined the Labour Party. He was Secretary of State for India between 1929 and 1931 and Secretary of State for Air between 1945 and 1946...
, the Secretary of State for Air
Secretary of State for Air
The Secretary of State for Air was a cabinet level British position. The person holding this position was in charge of the Air Ministry. It was created on 10 January 1919 to manage the Royal Air Force...
, and mother of MP Anthony Wedgewood Benn. However, work on
Tiger was suspended in 1946, and she was laid up at Dalmuir
Dalmuir is an area on the western side of Clydebank, in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland.-Location:It is neighboured by the village of Old Kilpatrick, the Mountblow and Parkhall areas of Clydebank, as well as the town centre...

Construction of
Tiger resumed, but to a new design, with Tiger becoming the name ship of the class. The new design was approved in 1951, but construction did not resume until 1954. She would have semi-automatic guns in twin high-angle mounts with each gun capable of shooting 20 rounds per minute, and a secondary battery of fully-automatic guns which delivered 90 rounds per minute per gun. She would have no lighter anti-aircraft armament or torpedo tube
Torpedo tube
A torpedo tube is a device for launching torpedoes in a horizontal direction.There are two main types of torpedo tube:*Those designed to operate below water level, as fitted to submarines and some surface ships...
s. Air conditioning
Air conditioning
An air conditioner is a home appliance, system, or mechanism designed to dehumidify and extract heat from an area. The cooling is done using a simple refrigeration cycle. In construction, a complete system of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning is referred to as "HVAC"...
 was fitted throughout the ship, and a 200-line automatic telephone
The telephone , commonly referred to as a phone, is a telecommunications device that transmits and receives sound, most commonly the human voice. Telephones are a point-to-point communication system whose most basic function is to allow two people separated by large distances to talk to one another...
 exchange was installed. Each 6 inch and 3 inch mounting had its own director, linked to a dedicated radar on the director. Tiger was finally commissioned on Clydebank in March 1959.


The early part of
Tigers first commission was spent, under Captain RE Wasbourn, on trials trying to make her new armament actually work. After workup under Captain R Hutchins Tiger went on a round of autumn flag-showing visits to Gdynia, Stockholm, Kiel and Antwerp. At the end of 1959 she deployed to the Mediterranean for a year as Fleet Flagship, under Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above Vice Admiral and below Admiral of the Fleet/Fleet Admiral. It is usually abbreviated to "Adm." or "ADM". Where relevant, Admiral is a 4 star rank...
 Michael Pollock
Michael Pollock
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Michael Patrick Pollock, GCB, LVO, DSC was a British officer in the Royal Navy who rose to become First Sea Lord from 1971 to 1974...

She took part in operations in the Far East during the Indonesian Confrontation in the early 1960s. In 1966, she hosted talks between Prime Ministers Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, PC was a British Labour politician. One of the most prominent British politicians of the latter half of the 20th century, he served two terms as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, firstly from 1964 to 1970, and again from 1974 to 1976...
 (UK) and Ian Smith
Ian Smith
----Ian Douglas Smith GCLM ID served as the Prime Minister of the British self-governing colony of Southern Rhodesia from 13 April 1964 to 11 November 1965...
 of Rhodesia
Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognised state located in Southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965...
. The latter had unilaterally declared independence from Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
 due to Britain's insistence on the removal of white minority rule. Tiger was placed in reserve in 1966 before undergoing conversion to a "helicopter and commando cruiser" from 1968-72 in HMNB Devonport
HMNB Devonport
Her Majesty's Naval Base Devonport , is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy . HMNB Devonport is located in Devonport, in the west of the city of Plymouth in Devon, England...

Conversion, obsolescence and decommissioning

This reconstruction included replacing the after 6 inch mount and 3 inch mounts with a flight deck and hangar to operate 4 Wessex (and then later Sea King) helicopters. She also had new radar
Radar is an object detection system that uses electromagnetic waves to identify the range, altitude, direction, or speed of both moving and fixed objects such as aircraft, ships, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The term RADAR was coined in 1940 by the U.S. Navy as an acronym for...
s, Sea Cat anti-aircraft missiles, and taller funnels. She had excellent command, control, and communications facilities installed, and found use as a flagship
A flagship is the lead ship in a fleet of vessels, a designation given on account of being either the largest, fastest, newest, most heavily armed or, for publicity purposes, the best known. In military terms, it is a ship used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships...
 to task groups. The refit was very expensive; some say the many millions to convert Tiger, as well as her sister ship Blake to helicopter cruisers drained much needed resources better used elsewhere. She was recommissioned in 1972. Her large crew made her an expensive ship to operate and maintain. When the economic difficulties of the early seventies came around this led to a defense manpower drawdown that resulted in manpower shortages, although Tiger remained in service long enough to take part in the 1977 Silver Jubilee
Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II
The Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other Commonwealth realms...
 Fleet Review in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1978 Tiger was placed in reserve, subsequently being placed on the disposal list in 1979. Both Tiger and sister-ship HMS Blake
HMS Blake (C99)
HMS Blake was a guided missile cruiser of the Tiger class of the Royal Navy, the last of the Royal Navy cruisers. She was named after Admiral Robert Blake, a 17th century admiral who was the "Father of the Royal Navy". She was ordered in 1942 as one of the Minotaur class of light cruisers...
 were listed as part of the Standby squadron, and stored at HMNB Chatham. When the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict/Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...
 broke out in late March 1982, both ships were rapidly surveyed and it was determined both were in good enough material shape that both were drydocked (Tiger in Portsmouth and Blake at Chatham) and recommissioning work was begun, as it was deemed that their 6" guns would be useful for shore bombardment. By late-May it was realized that neither could be made ready in time for deployment and work was stopped. Though Chile showed a faint interest in acquiring Tiger (and sister-ship Blake
Blake is a surname or a given name which originated from Old English. Its derivation is uncertain; it could come from "blac", a nickname for someone who had dark hair or skin, or from "blaac", a nickname for someone with pale hair or skin. Another theory is that it is a corruption of "Ap Lake",...
), this did not get past the discussion stage, and Tiger lingered on tied to a mooring buoy in Portsmouth Harbour. Tiger existed in a slowly deteriorating condition until mid-1986, when she was sold for scrap. She was towed to Spain and scrapping started in October 1986.
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