Norman Lee and Bob Macintosh - Typhoon Ruth

Running time
2 min

Department of Veterans' Affairs


NL: We were in Sasebo and there was a difference in philosophy between the United States Navy and the Royal Navy. The Americans would stay in harbour if it was a secure harbour, you know, [in a] typhoon, whereas the Royal Navy, you went to sea. We went off to sea, lashed everything down, double lashings on all the aircraft in the hangar et cetera. We were caught in it.

The ship was rolling about 30 something odd degrees. The flight deck was 44 feet above the water. We lost a tractor from for'ard of the island, taken off by the wave. We lost a boat after the island. 44 feet, you know. Paint was stripped off the ship's side and the aircraft in the hangar were all secure. There was no damage at all in the hangar but on the flight deck because of the wind and waves and God knows what, aircraft were damaged and one firefly went over the ship's side, leaving its wing tips still attached to the deck by cable.

Amusing story, one of the problems is, you get numerous little fires because water going down, trunking into electrical motors and there were broadcasts being made all the time about fires in such and such a place but they were only little flash fires. Then there was a fire pipe, "Fire, fire, fire. Fire in the bomb room". The bomb room, we were sitting above the bomb room and we looked at each other, and thought, "Well I'm gonna deal another hand of pontoon", because it was all you could really do.

And the following morning we got up and we'd cleared the typhoon and the flight deck was an absolute mess, aircraft damaged. Yeah, it was an experience, I can tell you.

Was this page helpful?
We can't respond to comments or queries via this form. Please contact us with your query instead.