After sailing from Gibraltar, we day ran for a while and it seemed that we had changed base port as we seemed to be spending an awful lot of time in Gib. So much so, that I even had my own local. The Birmingham Arms was run by a chap called Dennis, who sadly is no longer with us and neither is the pub but we did have many happy hours in there drinking JC’s (John Collins) and eating Dennis’ home made burgers.


Well, after the sea  trials, we eventually sailed for Portland and spent the next 8 weeks doing Basic Operational Sea Training (BOST). This involved putting the ships company through their paces fighting fires and conducting damage control whilst still being able to fight the ship. It was very hard work spending many hours at action stations or ‘fighting’ exercise fires.


The carrot at the end of BOST is usually a deployment as a fully operational ship. This was no different and Ariadne was subsequently deployed to the West Indies. Unfortunately, my time onboard had come to an end and I was drafted off just as the ship sailed for the Caribbean to join the Lagging Section in FMB Devonport.

After moving from HMS Ajax on to HMS Aridane following her refit in Gibraltar, we spent a few weeks checking the machinery, stowing stores and securing for sea before we finally managed to get a flame into the boilers. I was on watch at the time and after raising a full head of steam, we were required to blow soot alongside the wall in Gibraltar. You can see the results from the photograph below.


Leander Class

Primary Role


Pennant No



2,860 tons


372 ft


41 ft




2 x Babcock & Wilcox 550psi  Y160 boilers powering  2 × English Electric steam turbines  driving at up to 30 knots


Mk6 4.5” Gun, 2 x 4 Sea Cat SAM, 2 x 40mm Bofors, Mk 10 Limbo Mortars, Wasp Helicopter