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ex-USS PCE833, ex-HMS Kilham, ex-Sognefjord, ex-Orion, ex-Orion II, ex-Corona, Orient Explorer /+ sisters

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    Ralf, my sentiments were certainly not echoed by many veterans who saw terrible action during those dark days and I had to acknowledge they were not times to have repeated. Most of those same veterans are now, of course, deceased, as my father was one of the youngest involved in the forces at the time.

    As for myself, I was a post war baby, and my friend and I were kindly rescued and aided by a lovely German couple from Berlin when on a student interrail holiday in Yugoslavia back in 1975. They thought as were fellow Germans at first but then offered us beers, a lift and then to translate for us to the police when we were robbed. We remained as pen pals for many years after.

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      Having just read Ralf's remark I was so delighted at his kind offer to me to stay with them for a few days earlier this year. I was in the Netherlands for several days enjoying some lovely visits with Thijs, then Ralf and his wife Regine joined us briefly before taking me back to Stuttgart. There I was made to feel one of the family - except that I was not allowed to help with the washing-up! When the three of us first met in 2011 there were no country boundaries. There we were, a German, a Dutchman and an English woman having the time of our lives together.
      I was 13 when the war ended and, being keen on having penfriends, was studying a penfriend magazine about a year later when I saw an entry from an elderly German. I immediately wrote to him and will never forget the opening words of his reply: "My dear little friend".
      Ivy

      "To thine own self be true.......
      Thou canst not then be false to any man."

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        Nice, Ivy, although you are revealing your age there! Not that I will divulge it to anyone, of course!
        Glad you had a good time Chez Ralf.

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        • wherrygirl
          wherrygirl commented
          Editing a comment
          Oh, my d.o.b. is on my profile Paul, so the age comes up on the birthday for all to see. I have no problem with age .

        Welcome back to this fantastic thread to brother Barry!

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          The power of the internet strikes again! Our father never told us the following, but surely the following must be true and should also be of interest to brother Barry:

          Our father told me it was tradition for most ratings on board to be given nicknames, and his own was, of course, 'Smokey Stover'. Now, I never felt the need to ask what I felt was the most basic of questions, ie why that name, as during the War he was a chainsmoker, ie smoked like a chimney. I have just discovered that there was an American screwball comic strip that featured a wacky fireman which was drawn from 1935 until 1973 when the artist and creator retired. This comic strip was called, would you believe. 'Smokey Stover'

          Smokey, short for Smokestack, Stover the foolish 'foo' firefighter rode in his 2-wheeled, single axle 'Foomobile' fire engine. His wife, Cookie, son, Earl, cross-eyed boss, Chief Cash U. Nutt, the chief's wife, Hazel Nutt, and firehouse Dalmatian mascot, Sparks, all featured in the strips. 'Foo' was a catchphrase coined by the scriptwriter, poss from the French 'Feu' but more likely from the Chinese character 'Fu', meaning good luck. Smokey calle himself a 'Foo fighter' rather than firefighter. During WWII images of Smokey Stover were painted as nose art on several American bomber aircraft. 'Foo' was then taken directly and used by the US 415th Night Fighter squadron as the 'Foo Fighers'. It was also use to describe UFOs in WWII. Then, famously, a Seattle Rock band took the term for WWII UFOs to become the 'Foo Fighters', although ultimately, the name obviously also originate the comic strip.

          Now, here's the interesting bit: even if, as an American character in American comics, Smokey Stover never found his way to a pre-war corner of the Weoley Castle district of Birmingham, England, our father, Dennis, was obviously in need of a suitable 'moniker' when he went to the US in 1943, initially to New York and then to Chicago to pick up his new ship, HMS Kilham.. Guess where the 'Smokey Stover' comic strip was distributed through? None other than the Chicago Tribune!

          Coincidence, or what? This HAS to be the source, yet he never told us this. There is now a 'Smokey Stover' website through which it is possible to order reprints of many of the comic strips.

          Don't get me on to the next website I have found from the 1960s about another comic strip character influenced by the James Bond stories. No joke whatsoever, the name of the character was 'Dennis Cobb, secret agent, SS180!'.

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            Lovely story, Paul. Me like!
            Ivy

            "To thine own self be true.......
            Thou canst not then be false to any man."

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            • Paul Cobb
              Paul Cobb commented
              Editing a comment
              Well, finally we have a date for Dennis Smokey Stover' s funeral, which will be on Friday 14th November. Barry and I have arranged for a piper to be present and he is asking for a list of appropriate pieces to play. Dennis liked Londonderry Air (Danny Boy), Barry likes Flowers of the Forest. Any suggestions re nautical laments would be welcome. Thanks.

            Strange to think that the ship lasted longer than her crew. May she go on and on to serve as a memorial to them all.

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              I changed plane at KK Airport earlier this week and tried to see if she was still at her usual anchorage. Unfortunately we came in and left in the "wrong" direction so I got only a little glimpse of the anchorage area.
              I did not see her, but that may be because I couldn't twist my neck enough. No time to go to the Marine for a better check either. Return flight not via KK, so no real news to report.

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                Looking for something about a newer ferry I came across this rather jumpy video from the sister ship to Sognefjord, the Sunnhordland: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4PbM_eBg-8

                Here she is as Kristina Brahe. Now only Brahe, IMO no. 5345065
                Still going strong:
                http://www.saimaatravel.fi/en/ms-brahe-en

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                  Thanks for keeping the thread going, Ombugge. Anything you can add is always welcome.

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                    Just checking in once again for updates.

                    Hope all are well.

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                      Hi, Ombugge. Any more updates on the ship?

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                      • ombugge
                        ombugge commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Sorry, no. I haven't been to KK or Labuan for while. I don't know if she is still there, or gone to Indonesia as was rumored some time ago.

                      Hi, just checking in on the thread once again to see if there are any updates.

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                        If I remember correctly, was the ship listed for SALE a while back, and if so, is it still listed as for sale?

                        What is the asking price?

                        I find it strange that nobody here in Norway have tried returning this ship to the fjords as a .... private charter vessel or something.
                        With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                        Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
                        Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com

                        Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

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                        • ombugge
                          ombugge commented
                          Editing a comment
                          The hull and machinery appears to be in good condition. She had a major overhaul a few years ago and has not been used very much since.

                          I would not recommend sailing on her own keel from S.E.Asia to Europe though. Not because she cannot handle it after docking and overhaul in a local yard, but the cost of fuel and crew for such a long voyage, incl. several stops and the cost of Suez passage, would probably be nearly the same as cost of transport on a barge, or by a dock ship at favorable rate.

                        • Tommi
                          Tommi commented
                          Editing a comment
                          What amount of money will the annual service and maintenance be? And the consumption of fuel?

                        • ombugge
                          ombugge commented
                          Editing a comment
                          There cannot be a sum put on this.
                          Totally dependent of what the vessel is used for, where and how much it is actually steaming in a year.

                        Just peeking in once again to see if there is any news. Glad the thread is still there, at least!

                        Regards to anyone also checking in.

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