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Dave Oakes' Memories

This section is the best of Dave Oakes' memories as presented to me as a big bag of photos that he brought with him when he attended the P&O Reunion in Perth 7th March 2008. They're not in chronological order but are just as I took them out of the bag but I have made an attempt to arrange some of them and I did manage to get Oakesy to add what he can remember about each photo, some are brilliant photos like the Uganda series at the beginning. Don't forget to click on each image to see that full high res shot. So, here we go!

 

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Uganda entering Gibraltar Dry Dock for her Falklands service preparations.

 

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Here she is having her Helideck fitted.

 

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Here she is being towed out freshly painted and ready to serve.

 

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Under her own steam.

 

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What a beauty.

 

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Absolutely brilliant photo this, click on it to see the full size image. 

 

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Uganda photo cover.

 

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Dave Oakes, Jim Walton and Martin Skinner.

 

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Oakesy & Jim Walton.

 

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Canberra - Oakesy and Brian Firth aka Bullet and Dave thinks the lady is Bullet's wife.

 

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Oakesy, Geoff Kimber and Michael Blaskewicz aka Blaster.

 

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This the famous Oriana "FO" day. Basically the story was that I was on local leave in Perth when the O came into Fremantle so I hired a light plane to watch and film the O leave and asked Mark Sawyer to get as many of the lads on the aft deck as possible to wave at me.  

L-R:

We think the first is Barry Dover, Mark Sawyer, Dave Oakes, Les Diffey (Deceased) filming Oakesy, Mike Eltham (we think), Steve Musson, Geoff Heap also filming and Martin Drake (we think).

 

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Unfortunately she was very late leaving and the lads were missing dinner so they formed themselves into a couple of large letters which were F and O. From the sky I thought they were making P&O but soon saw FO which suddenly dawned on me they were telling me to fuck off so they could go to dinner. As dusk was approaching and the pilot didn't have a night licence that's exactly what we did.

L-R:

??, Barry Dover, Martin Drake, Mark Sawyer, Mike Eltham, Steve Musson, Dave Oakes, Les Diffey, Charles Oxley, Kevin Timms, Groucho.


 

You can see the actual film footage as I saw it from 1000ft up here.

 

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Canberra in a spot of bother. 

 

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Oriana in the same spot of bother.

 

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Dave believes this may have been the time when he was on watch and stopped the traffic on Sydney Harbour Bridge.

 

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Chris Freeman aka Mutley, Geoff Kimber and Michael Blaskewicz (Blaster). We're pretty sure the person on the right with his back to us is Tony Mazonowicz.

Geoff Kimber adds;

We were on Uganda at the time, but if in the background with his back to the photo is Tony Mazonowicz, and we are in full blues then I can only assume the photo was actually taken in Oriana wardroom on a day the two ships met up in Haifa around 1980/81. Uganda would have been in port for more than 24 hours and so the steam plant was shut down so nearly all engineers went en-mass over to Oriana. I recall someone senior from Oriana did a quick headcount of all the Uganda engineers present and exclaimed “Who the heck is running the ship?” – to which the answer was “a cadet of course!”. I think Moso booted us all out of the wardroom eventually and we all congregated in TT’s cabin for “one for the road”.

 

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That's Jim Walton flashing the goods and about to end it all with Laurie Bradley at the door.

 

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Uganda - I just love the look on Oakesy's face. They'd just put him in charge of the wardroom store, that's like putting the fox in charge of the chicken coup!!!

 

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Uganda - The shoes were Dave's deck shoes that he used when he was maintenance engineer. They were about to go for a swim in a fitting burial at sea in the middle of the South Atlantic.

 

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Oriana - Groucho, Oakesy and Martin Drake.

 

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Canberra - Jim Powell (aka Jungle Jim) and Kenny Gillespie next to the broken starboard alternator.

 

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Canberra - Dave giving the broken alternator a big hug to make it feel better.

 

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That's John Elder with something he shouldn't have in his hand and John has now told me the gentleman with the fear in his eyes was called Wiz. Dougie Beveridge is in the blue boilersuit and John tells me the other guy is Alan Plummer aka Plumbob (AELO). John also recalls that there are so many good stories about Douggie that it’s a shame that no one has told any yet. I wonder if anyone can remember the Xmas tree or the exploding Orange juice can. I think it’s about time Dougie came forward.

 

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Dave Oakes trying to look very casual about having his arm around the gorgeous Sue Jones.

 

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Oakesy & Miss Jones again ... is there something you want to tell us Dave? 

The guy on the left is Julian Pressey and the girl standing behind Miss Jones is Sheree Lynch.

 

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Dave checking out the spoils of war, an Argentinean 30mm Anti-Aircraft gun.

 

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and now Dave with an Armoured car.

 

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Uganda 

L-R:

??, Tony Minards aka Atomic Rooster, Jim Walton, Peter Johnson, Dave Oakes, ??.

 

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Canberra - Dave Oakes and Jim Ploughman.

 

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Uganda Gearbox.

L-R Back:

Bob Brunyee, Roger Marshall, ?? (cadet), Andy Webb (aka Radar or Mr Da) in front of cadet, Garry James (Taff), Peter Johnson. 

L-R Front:

Rob Murrison, Oakesy, Jim Walton, Maurice Skinner, Mike Eltham.

 

More information about the above names has been supplied by Geoff Kimber.

 

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Dave with the same people.

 

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L-R:

Mike Eltham, ?? (Jokers 7), Oakesy, ??, ??, Andrew Webb aka Mr Da.

 

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Canberra Wardroom - We can only name the front row.

L-R Back:

Andy Scott, Chris Lawton

L-R Front:

Andy Jackson, Oakesy, Alan Flather, Julian Barwell, Mike Eltham.

 

Don Cole adds;

Chris Lawton is at the back with jacket on and in the front middle with the VB can is Alan Flather. I am struggling with the lad on the far left but only remember he was from Carnforth in Lancashire.

 

Again Geoff Kimber has kindly supplied the last names.

 

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Dave Oakes and Graham Santi.

 

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Uganda - I can name some of the people in this shot but not who's who. There's John Howell standing in blues (the news of John's passing can be seen here), Alan Newby, Roger Marshall, Andy Ball, Richard Buckley, Alex Jameson, Laurie Bradley, Billy Whits and Malcolm Dann. If anyone would like to do a 3 row L-R for me I'd appreciate it.

Geoff Kimber adds;

L-R Back:

??, Oakesy, Sam Thomson, Andy Ball, Radar, Richard Buckley.

L-R Middle:

John Howell, Neil Rodgers (“Jimmy Tarbuck”), ??, Malcolm Dann, Julian Barwell, Alex Jameson, Alan Newby, Roger Marshall.

L-R Front:

Fitter, Fitter, Laurie Bradley, Serang.

 

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This is my favourite group. We believe it was at the port side of the Monkey Bar but can't imagine what it was about.

L-R Front Table:

Alan Conlin aka TT, Dave Oakes, Dave Whitehand aka Blackfoot, Geoff Heap aka Groucho. 

L-R Back Table Left:

2 Nurses (the one on the right from Scunthorpe, my home town, if I remember right.

L-R Back Table Right:

??, Nigel Cook aka Tiny, John Speed with his back to the camera, Les Diffey, Glyn Dodson also with his back to the camera, ?? Deck Cadet and Celia Cowan.

 

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Michael Blaskewicz (Blaster) and Oakesy leaning into a upper deck cabin window. Oakesy with a coke! What the!

 

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Garry Stewart and Dave Oakesy in the famous Red Garter club in San Francisco.

 

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Uganda - A very sick child being urgently transferred to hospital by the Danish Air Sea Rescue guys somewhere in the middle of the English Channel. 

 

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Alan MacKenzie adds the following;

I thoroughly enjoyed perusing Dave Oakes' memories; many of these pictures are contemporary with my own. I can in fact add a small piece of information to his pics - the ones showing the medivac from Uganda and the mistaken despatch of the ship's safety equipment were taken on 6th July 1980 - that was during my one and only month spent aboard the "Ugtug" and I have a series of similar photos. The person responsible for sending off the safety cases was a very junior electrician whose name I can no longer remember (honest!). He appears on the right of the attached photograph, holding the cases ready to send them up to the helo, thinking they were the patient's baggage!

Geoff Kimber adds;

Is the white boilersuited electrician with the “suitcases” actually Jim Walton??!! I think the shiny headed chap may be the late David Lumb who was Chief Officer at the time.

 

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The cases waiting to join the girl were unfortunately not her luggage but vital survival gear belonging to Uganda that needed to be available on deck for just such a rescue. I'm sure that's the late Captain Peter Love on the far left.

Geoff Kimber adds;

I think the guy 4th from the left is surgeon Bruce ? (with hands on hips). On the far right next to Dave Lumb is (hands on hips) Bryan Norman (Spiney) (SAP).

 

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Bye bye Uganda's survival gear.

 

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Brilliant job guys ... where the hell was the RAF?

 

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Michael Blaskewicz (Blaster) and Calvern Newby (aka Pixie).

 

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There's Oakesy and Mick Everson at the back and John Elder in the middle and I've written down Trog was one of the others.

 

John Elder adds;

Island night on the Canberra in 1978. 

Back Row is Rotor Blades, Oakesy, Me, Robin ?, Andy Rees.

Front Row is Paul Orr (Organ), Jim (Scottish Engineer), Steve Arnold.

 

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Canberra - Dave Barraclough.

 

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Canberra's Tunnel entering the Engine Room.

 

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Uganda comes home from the Falklands. Good job guys!

 

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Jon Milner (aka Ginger Jon) and Oakesy in Old Portsmouth. You can tell this was taken after the Falklands ... look at Oakesy's face, like the rest of them he went a boy and came back a man.  

 

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Just an average Sydney Departure and a fitting end to this fabulous account of a great man's experience at sea. 

 

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