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January 08, 2006

Painting for pleasure

One of my hobbies, for which I have far too little time these days, is to paint. I am not an artist, I daub, others paint, others may produce works worthy of the Turner prize or the like, I daub. The thing is, I find it fun to plan a painting, to try and find ways to create the image I want to produce and to get it to look like something realistic.

For some time now I have been pondering the idea of trying to reproduce as a painting a rather nice photograph from a book of a ship most South Africans would know and recognise, the SAS President Kruger. She was a Type 12 Anti-submarine warfare Frigate built on the Tyneside for the SAN in the 1960's and was, with her sisters, SAS President Pretorius and SAS President Steyn, the pride of the South African fleet. Sadly she was sunk in an accident off the West coast of South Africa on 18 February 1982 when in collision with the large Fleet Command and supply ship, SAS Tafelberg. Sixteen Petty Officers and other ranks were killed in the accident when the Kruger cut across the bows of the Tafelberg, and the Tafelberg's ice re-inforced bows smashed into the Kruger's Portside exactly on the Petty Officer's Mess, located below the motor launch slung on davit's in the picture.

My painting (Acrylic on artist's board) of the SAS President Kruger putting on speed during an exercise.

The two surviving frigates did not fare much better. President Steyn was decomissioned in 1980 and canabalised for spares for the other two and the President Pretorius had to be decommissioned in 1985. They swung around bouys in Simonstown as rather sad reminders of what might have been for a number of years and have only recently been broken up and the hulks sunk, as is naval practice, as targets for the new weapons and warfare systems on the ship's which have replaced them. The four new replacement ship's are from German Yards and are based on the joint European MEKO design. The PK, as she was affectionately called, was always known as a "happy" ship to her crews and her loss was a serious blow to morale and to the fleet as a whole since there could, at the time, be no prospect of replacing her.

Why this picture? Well, I just happen to like the look of the ship, the setting and the apperance of efficient preparedness that she presents as she builds up to her full power.

Posted by The Gray Monk at January 8, 2006 01:49 PM

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Hallo Pat, congratulation! I like your painting very much, especially the clouds. I didn't know about this hobby of yours.
But one question: How do you find the time for all your activities? Do you have a special contract with the FATHER, that your days have more than 24 hours?

Posted by: fuexel at January 8, 2006 10:24 AM

Hello from the USA! That is a very lovely painting. While I am not in the Navy, I have always been fascinated by ships and the sea. What you said about the "PK"s place in the SAN was interesting, too. Thanks very much for everything.

Posted by: Charles at January 31, 2006 04:06 AM

love the painting i was on pk 75-77 quite a skajie as she was called, love to all the souls lost.....leading seaman ammann

Posted by: larry at May 2, 2007 05:45 PM

I will never forget the time that I spent on the "PK" ......from 1976 - 18th Feb. 1982,
we where so proud to be part of the 120 crew.
Still today I now and again meet up with sailor's that I served with and our memories go back to the "good times" we had on her.
I was Chief of the Watch in the Boiler-Room when the collision took place .I can still recall climbing up the stairs in the boiler-room after doing a emergency shutdown and the water was already rushing down the hatch, and from the top of the boiler-room I was "walking" on the bulkheads port side to get to the fwd. hatch which took me to the upper-deck just behind the 4.5" guns as the ship was already on a heavy list.The Jupitor was at that stage already half in the water.
My thought's will alway's be with my fellow sailor's that She took down with with "Her".
Looking at your painting I can still recall standing on the "quarter-deck " with speed trails
watching the huge wake it used to make aft.and now and again "a puff of smoke " that escaped from the funnel as more burner's where activated on the boilers.

Posted by: Nick De Villiers at December 28, 2007 02:52 AM

I forgot to mention that I am ex Navy .......left in 1995.

Posted by: NJ De Villiers at December 28, 2007 04:20 AM