When I first decided to write a blog about my project to build every type of plane flown by 800NAS, I never thought anyone would actually read it beyond a few polite friends. I suppose I did it as some kind of catharsis, although over what I’m not sure, maybe to create some kind of tribute to my father as his health becomes ever more fragile.
I really didn’t think anyone would read it who had the slightest idea of the existence of an aircraft carrier named HMS Triumph.
You will be able to imagine my surprise and delight when I was contacted by Andy Laing, creator of the fantastic Aviation Trails blog. He told me that his late father had served in the RAF in Egypt and had photographed many of the warships that had passed through the Suez Canal. He was pretty sure one of the was HMS Triumph, and that it appeared that the whole ship’s company was on deck. He offered to dig it out and send me a copy. Here it is:
This is interesting on many levels. First, it is a photo of the ship I have never seen before. second, most of the ship’s company is indeed crowding the side. Third, the timing (1949) means my father was certainly on the ship, and may well be among those visible.
I know he was on the ship because he recalls getting sunburnt while on deck. About ten years ago he had to have surgery on his back to remove a non-malignant skin cancer. His consultant was sure that the sunburn all those years ago could have led to the cancer arising. In fact, Dad got a pay-out from the MoD because they had, all those years ago, shown a failure in their duty to protect him (they were not actually at war at the time) and there is a special compensation fund sitting in the coffers of the Ministry doing nothing else. Not a massive amount, but enough for a new carpet and for my sister and I each to get a little something (I used it to do my advanced open water diving course).
So, I wanted to make a public statement of my deep gratitude to Andy for digging out this photo. I shall print and frame it for Dad as a present. “Here Dad, here’s a photo of you earning a new carpet…”
In all seriousness, he will love it. Thanks, Andy, for a very special momento for my Dad.