David Lingard, RN

Tags:  histories written 
Author: David Lingard
Published: Aug 5th 2017
Updated: 4 months ago

Preamble: David was invited by the Webmaster to consider offering an oral or written history of his two-year exchange appointment where he served on the staff of the Ships Readiness operation in the Atlantic Command HQ. After his arrival, he quickly arranged to meet with key Command personnel and important Command organizations such as the Fleet Maintenance Group(A) and the Ship Repair Unit Atlantic. The CNTHA Webmaster was working in the SRU(A) at that time and found David to be an effective and knowledgeable officer with strong interpersonal skills. David responded positively to the invitation and provided the following written history.

The original document has been reformatted for this website posting and every effort has been made to faithfully record the original text. Several updates have been incorporated to make changes or add details and are indicated by placing the change in [ ] followed by ed.


1974 August - arrived Halifax having spent a few days briefing in the High Commission in Ottawa. Relieved Lt Cdr (later Capt) Alan Johnson RN.

Met new boss, Cdr Jack Chisholm. Came to know him as one of the finest in two Navies. His first question - ‘I guess you will be saving your leave and driving across Canada next year?’ Section was Readiness Section of COS (SEA). Jack was also CO of the FMG (Atlantic). I had a reasonable learning curve though the overall task was fairly familiar. The main point was the usual one - to meet a new great team of people. My immediate (and only!) staff was CWO Ray Lawrence who was an ex-Ordnance Artificer (Technician) who was truly outstanding (later recommended him - and he got - the MMM). We really got on well and shared most of the problems that arose in the next two years! The overall boss was Capt. (later Admiral) Jim Wood. Later boss was Cdr Jack Littlefair who I took to sea later when he was in the High Commission in London.

Other names remembered. Capt Nigel Brodeau [Brodeur, ed.] (Com CANDESRON 4 I think), Cdr Joe Cunningham (Squadron engineer of one of the Destroyer Squadrons) also the engineer of the other one, John …(? a German origin name?). Cdr (later Capt) Don Wilson became a good friend there and we are still in contact. Stan Rimek, Chuck Thomas were others, also Jim Smith (a Pusser) who attended Rob’s Christening in Dulwich, UK whilst he was working in the Canadian High Commission. There was one of the COs of a ship (Nipigon perhaps?) with whom I had breakfast one working day - very traditional. Sadly his name escapes me [Cdr Jim Sine, ed.]. Cdr Norm Smyth (name recently brought back - thanks Don) was a CSE based in NDHQ who appeared from time to time and seemed a fine officer and likely to go places.

Was called on by RAdmiral Doug Boyle (COMMARCOM) to raise the capability and profile of the relatively newly created CSE Officer. This was a privilege and I do feel that we ­and there so many contacts that I made in the process, notably LCdr Gerry Tarum - did achieve a few useful things during that time.

Cdr Cam…(?) [McIntyre, ed.] oic of a trials and experimental section (CSD?) on the Dartmouth side, was also a very strong leader with considerable influence on policy.

I also well remember Cdr (later Capt) Rex Guy who was QHM Halifax and later CO of HMCS Protecteur when she came into Devonport a while after I returned to UK and I was able to get myself made Officer of the Guard for the visit.

I took a day at sea in HMCS Skeena (Francophone ship) and discovered that there was not a lot of French spoken as so many of the sailors joined the CF (now back to RCN Thank Goodness!) because they wanted to become fluent English speakers.

When trying to source particular spares for ships and not finding things through the normal route I went (with Ray Lawrence) up to a Stores Depot in NB [Moncton, ed.] and had a really interesting day with the CO of the place who - with his dog -seemed to be about the only occupant. An investigation of the stores system - necessary to help organise the repair of CASREPs was enlightening for us both as important Naval Spares - for example for fire control systems - were in places like Edmonton!

One Friday pm a ship (non-280) called for help with their 3" 50 gun control system. The PO in charge had sworn all was well and gone off at lunchtime. The Weapons Officer, or perhaps the CSE then, found that was not true. Ray and I went down and fixed it!! Very proud of that as it was not a system that I was directly familiar with but with Ray driving the turret we got it tuned and ready for the ship to deploy on the Monday. No idea what happened to the PO!

‘Weepers’ (I think) on a Friday in Stadacona was only attended by me for Trafalgar Day! Made several model ships (including a WW2 Tribal and a 280 in the original configuration) which went on display in the Marcom Museum. They could still be there - Niobe and a modern frigate were others.

Another ‘extra’ day was a Saturday when I managed to persuade the underwater weapons section of FMG(A) to fix/tune the Mortar Mk 10 system in preparation for deployment on the Monday morning - I don’t think I was popular ‘cos I shamed them into it by saying ‘I will be there’! We fixed it!

LCdr Jim …became a good friend. I believe he died some years ago.

We did do the trip across Canada on the Trans-Canada Highway and returned via northern US States. Have made a decent DVD of that trip. More to say on this! We took masses of film during the 2 years and it is now properly converted into proper DVD’s with commentary and music etc. Future generations might be more interested in that than a bundle of 8mm silent movies.

Elder son Rob (now 41) was born whilst living in Bedford - he was born in Dartmouth NS and his younger brother Chris (39) was brought up in Dartmouth, Devon, UK.

Outstanding final shorter holiday to North NS (Cabot Trail, Louisburg, Bras D’Or lakes) with a very frustrated youngster who was determined to walk everywhere having just discovered this new means of locomotion!

Excellent Mess Dinners and Ladies Nights, plenty of other, less formal entertainment.

Tried (Ice) Hockey and was a member of an RN team that played HMCS Shearwater Air Engineers - we did borrow one of them - and we won!! Our borrowed Canadian scored all goals! Photo of team held.

Visited every Canadian Province except PEI. But neither (2 only then) Territory. Shortly before we returned to UK, I (with another) drove up to Gander to get our camping trailers taken home by RAF Hercules on a routine flight. We sampled Newfoundland Screech…

Went over - in 1st week of May 1976 on business - to Esquimalt. Flew to Vancouver with one stop in Montreal by 747 (I think) and the last bit to the Island in a very small plane; I was amazed to find that my one checked-in bag had also arrived there! Excellent and v. valuable week - or so it seemed to me. The instructions from MARCOM were to introduce the purpose of the CSE using personal experience from the RN. I started by saying to the assembled group of one or two COs, XOs, and others such as Weapons and Ops Officers - but no CSEs that I can remember - that I had a Bridge Ticket despite being a professional Weapons Electrical Engineer Officer, and hoped that they would therefore listen to an officer who could do part of their own job. I hope I had some success - at least there were no complaints back to Halifax! It was a wonderful week and I borrowed a Chevelle Malibu from LCdr (later Cdr) Ken Barton who we knew well in HFX and who became Rob’s Godfather. As a result I was able to see something of the Island - terrific. I had written some generic CSE Standing Orders based on my previous two ships and seem to remember visiting all the larger - frigate size - ships in Esquimalt during those few days. The weather difference from Halifax was remarkable. Before leaving Jack Chisholm had suggested I should take summer rig (Khakis then) which I did having left Halifax with ice still on Bedford Bay [Basin, ed.](outside our house) and rather miserable weather. Esquimalt conversely was beautiful, wall-to-wall blue sky with lawns being mown and daffodils out.

Two official visits (one a year in May) for an Exchange Officers Conference based on the British High Commission were really enjoyable and we spent a good few hours getting to know a bit of Ottawa. One year that included drinks with the High Commissioner in the splendid residence in Sussex Drive - much sought after by the Canadian Prime Minister I understand!

I did not have much to do with the 280s but did get to know LCdr (later Admiral) John Anderson (XO of Athabaskan I think) who later became Canadian CDS and who sold me his - by then - redundant uniform and which I wore for years! He later became the first VIP visitor to the very newly arrived (not even any furniture in place) Canadian Defence Attaché (Col. John Miller) in Ankara (in 1993) where I was the British Naval and Air Attaché. My wife and I arrived early for the reception and helped entertain the VIP! John and Jean Miller have remained good friends who we have visited at their home in BC in recent years.

Dartmouth, Devon
July, 2017