OCR scanned letter to The Royal Naval Submarine Museum. Gosport, Hampshire. From R.J. Mundy All as original letter typed on a very old typewriter & on an old RN Computer in the 1980’s
Photographs taken by Mr Mundy can be seen by click on a photo below
1 was pleased to receive your letter today 1 imagine that you were indeed very busy in Canterbury on your visit, I trust all went wel1 , my own son brian and his wife live in Worcester, and we do not see them as often as we would 1ike, so appreciate the advantages of having your mother close by,, should you have the opportunity to get this way in the future it would be our pleasure to meet you, you probably know our location on a newish estate, on Canterbury road east, about 2OO yds eastof the lord of the manor, no traffic light at that junction with Haine road now. Just 2 whopping great round abouts, but very effective, cutting out the waiting and pile ups
If what i have mentioned about cyclops is of any interest at all barrie by all mean use it, sorry i did not mention the branch i was in, will correct that, not a sparker, thats just a hobby? i was in gunnery, an ordnance mechanic, did my engineering course, at Hounslow, and then to the gunnery course at Chatham, then drafted to cyclops on probation, 0/M 5 and drafted back to HMSPembroke in jan 45 now an o/m 4 P/0 RATE and a good conduct stripe, i may have mentioned to you that i was a trainee in pre-war Vickers Armstrong. in precision grinding, gun components and reached a highly skilled level by the time i was 21 (1941) that was in a reserved occupation? but my father was in the navy as in 1914/18 and naturally wanted to get in the navy too, and found a way round it and got myself called up into the navy, albeit as a stoker, but went into gunnery in a short time
well now i can remember my official numbers no problem C/KX 147201 Stoker 2nd class. C/MX 97544 O/M 4 P/O RATE
Its very interesting to note that your wife Janet is an ex sparker, there are quite a few ex Wrens in the RNARS and of course we get the opportunity to talk to them in our natter nets. i wonder if your wife listened to short wave communication these days, tell her my first receiver was a Murphy B40 C. Wish i had it still won derfu11 b it of equipment.
should imagine Janet may have come across that piece of radio gear in her time,
getting back to the Cyclops barrie , i can recall a few interesting things that i was involved in whilst serving on board, like having completed a service on a submarines small arms, and then her main armament,(the gunnery officer watching the run—out of the main armament when carried out) one would have to go below to obtain a chit, to say the gunnery officer was satisfied with the service carried out, having got that important piece of paper i found i could not leave the boat via the torpedo loading hatch, so had to leave via the conning tower, and casually jumped over the side the conning tower where the foot holes should be but they were not and there i am hanging onto the gun-whale for dear life cannot pul1 myself back , so took a look at just where the hand rail round the conning tower was, took a deep breath and let go and managed to grab the hand rai1v as my feet touch the deck, its a good job i was pretty agile, otherwise i would not have made it.
If that was, not a scare, we had another, on the cyclops going to sea on her Annual routine, as you know, and the main armament was used in training, (2x 4"high angle guns) on one particular day when the guns were 'firing at a target(drogue] there was a misfire on the starboard gun that i was present at. The emergency procedures were followed to fire the gun but that failed, he gunnery officer (rnvr] ordered the loader to remove open the breach and remove the shell, somewhat horrified all the gun crew and myself shouted in unison NO. and believe it or not Barrie. we had to tel1 that officer , that there had to be a waiting period, on completion of the waiting period that gunnery officer gave the order to open the breach, this was done the shel1 caught by the loader , who then got the order, STAND 1T OVER THERE, I will look at it later, and the reply, NOT SO BLOODY LIKELY SIR, and over the side it went. i all ways wonder to this day how close we al1 were on the gun p1atform,to being wiped out through ignorance.
A more pleasant experience, was to personal1y resolves a problem that one sub gunnery officer was having with a VICKERS G.O.G gun 303.they had problems to use it. The magazine would not load and getting permission to dismantle one magazine i found that it was possible for the magazine Louder to wind the magazine tension spring in the wrong direction with disastrous results. I obtained permission to make modifications to the magazines there and then, which was a slipping hub which performed perfect1y.
some considerable time after, a senior gunnery officer, came to cyclops, and i was interviewed about the mod i had made, and some time after that, summer 44,a nice sunny day i was working outboard on a sub and heard the order for me to appear on the boat deck getting there i found present the gunnery officer , now L/t Dussek, the divisional officer and Capt. Conway, on standing where ordered, the order was the piped ALL Officers to the boat deckhand in due time all were present and Capt. Conway proceeded to congratulate me for my work on the said magazine and then was smartly dismissed to continue my outboard work, that was indeed quite an experience, but regretfully there appears no record of that on my papers, it would have been nice to have had some mention, for the record.
That was one side of the coin the other side had many advantages the cyclops swinging round the buoy of Rothesay, the opportunity for a run ashore when not on duty watch, short and long week enders, reasonable home leave, and of course one,s time was taken up off duty with the regular routine of dhobing, hammock scrubbing, boiler suit scrubbing, etc playing uckers, in the mess or housey housey on the spare crew deck a regular activity after the fist dog watch i recal1 and perhaps a bit of toy making for a shipmate, for a sons :xmas present, or even a bit of wool, rug making, Iris still has the rug i made al1 those years ago , how time f1ies.
0ver the week end Barrie , i. searched out a very old negative i had here of a photo that was taken of a group us on the boat deck of cyclops when we were coaling ship. the negative of course is not in very good condition,, and would need experts to get a good photo out of it, but i have an o1d gnome enlarger here about as old as the negative, and the lens is not so good. But i did manage to make a 1ookable print out of it, you will recognize me i am the good looking fellow 3rd from the left, complete with money belt hi. Do you know discipline was such, as p/o,s when hands to dinner was piped, we had to go off and shower , or what ever, change in clean uniform, before being allowed in the mess, snatch dinner, then quick change back to coaling cloths before hands to coal ship was piped, tea time too, did, nt we have fun ???
I have put in a coup1e of photo’s of HMS Sealion that may interest you. early 44 i think it was when she joined us, around the time this was taken. My seaman Q.0 and i were drafted to shore bi11et s for 3 days at port Bannertyne. Where the f1oating dock A F D 17 was, with the order to completely disman11e the 3'' QF gun from the submarine to the last nut and bolt and service it. And we did it with the aid of the crane driver, sights off, gun out of cradle, cradle off the deck, to check the roller bearings and track s, recoil and runout cylinders, all set out on the deck of the f1oating dock. Inspected, checked, cleaned, greased, reassembled, and sights adjusted and set, done in 2 days, as we did not 1ike our bi1lets and wanted to get back to cyclops, never heard of any complaints so i guess our work was ok, being a some what famous sub, i guess we had some pride in our responsibility at that time,
I am putting in a photo taken on board cyclops,of sumarines along side at a time when i was working on n26 the gun is turned through 180 degrees so that we could do a run out test on the recoil and run out system, my Q.O is standing below the gun , all ways wore a woolly bonnet when outboard, doing the gun test was the easy part, getting the wire ropes and blessed old fashion block and tackle out from the work shop and out board and on to the sub was the tricky bit, many a time we nearly lost the gear going over the dancing duck boards and once saw a seaman come across the board with a large sack of sugar from ships stores, by the time he got to the middle of the board he was going up and down like a yo-yo until he and the sugar parted company, and the sugar went over the side, and all we could do was stand and see it happen. I wonder if the seaman got a blast for that" hope the cost did,not come out of his pocket,hi
Well Barrie i imagine that my ramblings have taken up too muchof your time, so will end it here.
i do hope your street party goes well in Colerne I am sure that a lot of oldies like us we enjoy listning to the choir singing the old -Favorites once again, well I am afraid i was not a participant in the street parties, i was out in Gibraltar then, and eventually on to Gibraltar to join the belfast, and thence out to the pacific.
I do hope your project is a success, and i wish you well give me a buzz any time, and it would be our pleasure to see you if you get this way we do not go far,, just shopping and local visits, so just give a tinkle to check the we are here , and it would be nice to see you.
oh yes, one final comment, I wonder if I am the only P/o in the royal navy to pursue a battle cruiser out of Sydney Harbour its true, But its a long story hi hi and i caught it,
cheers and all the best, smi1e and be happy.
Mr R.J. Mundy Died in 1995 aged 75
The above are copes taken off a old RN Computer in 1995.
Other typed documents have been photocopied. Brief details below.
Letter address above March 1990
Reply to letter sent by museum 3 years earlier ( lost in post )
After 44 years and a long campaign by my shipmates & me I have received my Pacific Star for service on board HMS Belfast. I still have 2 long brass castings ( shells made into Candle sticks) + a sub cast in the ship foundry plus my Tool Box.
I also still have 2 box spanners made for me in the forge from Hydraulic pipe.
Going back to Cyclops, The 3rd & 10th Flotilla operated from Cyclops in 1943/5 I remember the T class. As I recall they had a 4" gun forward and a Oerlikon aft of the conning tower and 3 aft facing T-Tubes (2 aft conning tower & 1 astern.
I can remember seeing Xcraft out in bay. It looked like men walking on water. But it was the commander standing on the casing holding a Flagstaff. I bet he got a soaking often.
Mr Mundy also said the following in a letter of October 1986
I see from my service papers that Capt of Cyclops in 1942 was R. Edwards & in 1943/4 was a A.S> Hutchinson, where Capt Conway comes into my memory I am not certain
I joined Cyclops on 24th nov 1942 as a probationary ordnance /mechanic and progressed confirmed 5th class, act 4th class and finally confirmed 4 th class (P/O rank ) and I left Cyclops 18 Jan 1945
There was a time when some of the boats were being issued with the Vickers I.O.G gun. This was a fine Gun, I Know I did the precision machine work on the gun components from 1937 to 1941 at Vickers Crayford. I am pleased to say an uncle of mind was the manager in charge. ( Mr Hayward ) ( also his mother was on the inspection line, his wife Iris assembled the guns and His father in-law was a Machinist on the same production line.
One day a sub returned with its periscopes somewhat battered about. She had a close shave with a surface ship. On surfacing and opening the conning tower hatch the senior officer got a bit of a bump from damaged structures. It caused a bit of a laugh in board.
I have seen one of the Uclass subs come along side her casing packed solid with MUD, from bow to conning tower and her 3 inch gun barrel was solid with mud. I gather the sub had done a step dive straight into the sea bed or mud bank, it must have been a hair raising experience for the crew. The captain must have been brilliant to get his craft out of that situation.
My father also spoke of one occasion when an officer who was not liked, went sailing in a dingy in the local bay, he did not return. Some days later when people started asking questions, one of the xcraft crew said he must have had an accident with one off his group’s craft. No more was heard about the matter.