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Even the original ‘Watch and station’ board is in its place with names of what was probably Otus’s last ship’s company before she paid off.There was another surprise in store when I reached the main mess space.GERMAN AMATEUR RADIOMario Kricheldorf (DJ8NU) would welcome former Otus crew members and ex-RN radio enthusiasts to contact him. AN AMBITIOUS plan to create a state-of-the-art hovercraft commuter service linking Southampton and Portsmouth has been unveiled.
Passengers would be ferried from Southsea to a landing pad near Southampton’s Red Funnel Terminal - but talks are ongoing about further details.
I met two members of the German Amateur Radio Club, Rüdiger Hagemann and Mario Kricheldorf from Neubrandenburg, who were on board with their equipment for a 24-hour worldwide contact session.
They raised 184 stations in 39 countries but at that precise moment Mario said: ‘We are trying to contact HMS Collingwood and HMS Belfast.’They were equally stunned when I told them I lived at Fareham only four kilometres from Collingwood, which until then they believed still to be a warship and not a shore base.
HMS OTUS FACT FILEBuilt: Scotts’ Yard, Greenock Commissioned: 1963 Decommissined: early 1990s Surface displacement: 2,030 tons Length: 295ft Submerged speed: 17 knots Armament: 22 torpedoes Company: seven officers, 62 ratings13 Oberon-class boats were built for the Royal Navy between 1960-67.
Apart from Otus, only Onyx and Ocelot survive, the former as a museum in Barrow-in-Furness, the latter as a museum at Chatham.
In fact, their brochure mistakenly displayed a picture of HMS Hood!