The feature; ‘The Starboard Lookout’ in the January 2016 issue of Sea Breezes, awakened some long-forgotten memories of the wartime convoy system.
About the same time (1944) as Captain Fullarton, I was Fourth Officer of a new S class submarine, Spearhead, in convoy from the Clyde to Scapa Flow and on watch at night going through the minches in filthy weather and, of course, no lights except the shaded stern light of the vessel ahead. At best, it was barely perceptible through the darkness and heavy rain.
At frequent intervals, I could not see it at all and ordered a few more revs to “catch up” as I thought. Suddenly it would re-appear and we were almost on top of it. A hasty reduction of revs until it disappeared and revs had to be increased again. We only did two hour watches at the time, but it seemed like eternity.
God knows how the vessel astern of us coped with our inconsistency, but, thankfully, it did and our skipper did not come up to the bridge to ask us what the hell was going on. He was RNR with many years of seagoing experience, so perhaps he knew.
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