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December 28, 2007

Remembering ....

Every so often I find a comment on an entry which makes me realise just how much this and other blogs connect to a wide range of people all over the world. Today I found just such a comment posted to a post I entitled "Painting for pleasure". That post centered on the painting I had done of the SAS President Kruger, a Type 12 frigate in service with the South African Navy until her tragic loss when she was accidentally rammed by the Command and Supply ship SAS Tafelberg.

The comment is posted by Chief Petty Officer Nick de Villiers, who served on her from 1976 until her sinking. On the night in question he was on duty in her Boiler Room when the Tafelberg struck the ship and began rolling her over. I will let Nick de Villiers say it in his own words.

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".

.........CPO NJ De Villiers

Some New Yorker's reading this may remember the only "official" visit of a South African warship to their city early in the 1970's. Well, that was the PK, as she was known to her crews and she was, as I have already noted in the previous post, a "happy ship".

I am sure that sailor's everywhere will join me in remembering those who were lost with her, and the heroism displayed by those like CPO de Villiers as they escaped the sinking ship in extraordinary circumstrances. I am flattered that he could write,

Looking at your painting I can still recall standing on the "quarter-deck " with speed trials 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 The Gray Monk at December 28, 2007 05:42 PM

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