Cavalla Crew Interview

R.F. Dow

I think it was ET Hesse mentioned the Scotland trip in his memoirs. If memory serves that was sometime in '55 or thereabouts. I was in my 2nd year in Cavalla then. TM3 George "Red" Putnam and I had by then become regular liberty mates by then and were sowing our wild oats at every opportunity (good sailors duty, I'm told). 

Anyway after departing New London and doing some gaming in the Beautiful North Atlantic we pulled into Reykjavik, Iceland to be resupplied before heading to Scotland--leastways I think that was the reason. The Old Man never did confide in me too much, sorta went places without asking or telling. When we got there we moored out in the bay alongside of a British sub tender. Two sections got liberty, but not Red's and my section. Not to worry. In the process of on loading some ships stores we somehow managed to befriend one of His Majesty's sailors, and wrangled an invite out for a grand tour of his ship including cocktails. 

He started us off with a ration of rum, which since we were all petty officers consisted of a coffee mug of straight rum. ratings below petty officer got something called GROG which that tell me is watered rum. After that he took us way below decks where he had some beer stashed, English beer and piss warm but what the hell beggars, can't be choosers. 

Sometime later, how much later I don't have a clue, we decided it might be a good idea to get back to our boat. When we got back topside we were on the other side of the tender from where Cavalla was tied up. And as we looked out at the setting sun we saw an SSK underway and heading away from us. Red opined "must be the one we gave the Swedes". He was dead wrong. That SSK was Cavalla. Man did we sober up fast. Wound up Cavalla was just moving to an anchorage because some weather was kicking up and being tied to a tender in rough seas was not a good plan. Well, our limey buddy took us to the quarterdeck and turned us over to the OOD,( He wound up losing his crow). The OOD put us in a small boat and shipped our sorry asses home. Our duty officer cut the 2 of us some new you-know-whats and that was the last we heard of it. We figure since the higher ranking officers were all off ship, the duty officer found it easier to cover it up than to explain our little adventure.

January 2000

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