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Spread Awnings

by Derek Lilliman

According to my Service Certificates I left Dolphin on the submarine Amphion on the 14th September 1946 as an Able Seaman SDR (Submarine Detector Radar) to sail to Hong Kong. To join the 4th Submarine Squadron based on the Adamant.

31st August 1944 - the launch of the first of class HMS Amphion
31st August 1944 - the launch of the first of class HMS Amphion

We were to sail all the way on the surface (except for a 'Trim Dive' after leaving each port of call). After calling at Gibraltar and Malta the next port of call was Port Said were we secured 'stern to' to the Admiralty Jetty. It was here that I heard a pipe that I never heard repeated again in my twenty - four years in 'boats'. It was 'Clear lower Deck of Seamen, Spread awnings"

The Amphion in those days had guard rail's down both sides of the casing, extensions were fitted to these with a metal spreader stretching across to the other side, over these the canvas was stretched. We had awnings stretching from just aft of the 'bow buoyancy tank' back to the 4" gun, over the gun and bridge and on the after casing to just forward of the 'After Torpedo Loading Hatch'.


We even had side screens running from the top of the bridge to the outer edge of the 'tanks' on each side to protect the Captain's Cabin from the sun. My only regret is that I didn't have a film in my 'Box Brownie' at the time to take a photo of this event. But somebody in the crew at the time might have done so, I am sure that the 'Keeper of Photographs' in the Submarine Museum would appreciate a copy of it.

The Captain was Ltcdr Gowan (later Cmdr) and the First Lieut was Lieut J Coote (later Capt), with Lieut Sambourne later Capt), as Navigating Officer. The only crewmember's names I can remember are the Cox'n Jones, Lofty Manning, Ginger Wakenshaw, Shorty Bent and our illustrious Chef, Sid Honey



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