Chris Prentis dies.

| March 29, 2024 | 17 Comments

I know, who was Chris Prentis?  “Christopher Prentis, born July 7 1932, died February 19 2024” doesn’t say much.

Chris Prentis  was born a vicar’s son in England. The family moved to Queensland in ’34, and were literally at sea returning to England when war was declared. He entered the Naval College at Dartmouth in 1950. After graduation, he served on two submarines.

Prentis commanded the minesweeper Fiskerton during Konfrontasi, the Communist-inspired armed campaign that raged between 1963 and 1966, instigated by the Indonesian president Sukarno, who opposed the creation of the modern state of Malaysia from the British imperial Federation of Malaya. Fiskerton was one of the more than 100 Ton-class minesweepers built in the 1950s – 440 tons displacement, with diesel engines, a crew of 33, and a hull of double-layered mahogany planking (to reduce the vessel’s magnetic signature).

At dawn on November 16, Prentis was in Fiskerton on patrol in the Straits of Johore, between Singapore and the mainland, when he spotted a suspicious sampan in the half-darkness. When the boat was challenged, hand grenades were thrown and three exploded onboard Fiskerton, but no one was injured.

While sub-lieutenant Peter Blomeley and petty officer George Richardson manned Bren guns on the bridgewings, maintaining a steady and accurate fire, Prentis gave the order to ram – the last time such an order was given in the Royal Navy.

Prentis was awarded the DSC, Blomeley the MBE and Richardson the BEM.

RAMMING?  In a wood-hulled ship? Jeez, did they break out the sabres and muskets?

Okay, so he served on submarines, and then a minesweeper…what could be next?

Having gained sailing experience in the Sea Cadets’ ship Royalist, in 1978 Prentis was recruited into the Sultan of Oman’s navy as master of the three-masted schooner Shabab Oman. It had been built in Scotland in 1960 as the Captain Scott, but since then had been very neglected and had little recent sea time under her keel.

Prentis’s brief was to bring her into service as a training ship for young Omanis. He showed endless energy and enthusiasm, and within a few weeks she had embarked her first crew and sailed from Muscat for a cruise along the coast, displaying her new suit of sails emblazoned with crossed khanjars in red.

With his patience, warm humour, and enthusiasm for the ship, he soon succeeded, and there followed a steady of stream of requests from different Omani government agencies asking to send recruits onboard for training. Other cruises followed, including a transatlantic voyage to a naval review in New York in 1986 to mark the centenary of the installation of Statue of Liberty.

Prentis retired from the sea in 1992 to live in Oxfordshire. He was known for his joie de vivre, natty dress sense and naughty sense of humour. His interests included sculpture, carpentry, architecture, photography and bookbinding, and he sold his paintings at exhibitions in the Wallingford area; he also illustrated his letters to his children.  The Telegraph

The article says he basically did staff duty to end his time in the UK navy before going to Oman.  Not a ton of derring-do… but I’d say anyone whose career included schooners, subs, and minesweepers is someone worth knowing.

Category: Fair Winds and Following Seas, UK

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Jeff

What an amazing life and career

26Limabeans

Probably drove a Dodge Ram.

KoB

What he couldn’t dodge, he would Ram? “Ramming speed…(boom boom boom boom…) Once more into the breach, Lads…Away all boarders…” Hardcore!

Rest Easy, Good Sir.

26Limabeans

You left out “damn the torpedoes”

SFC D

This might not be appropriate, but I believe Mr. Prentis would understand.
https://youtu.be/ct_33t9uuAc?si=No-MGpAowG95zJWM

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

An interesting, well rounded life.

Lurch

I read these things online and think “That’s a person I’d like to have known”. A life well lived.

Odie

I bet that wooden hulled submarine was something to see, especially clad in mahogany. An old Chris craft boat comes to mind when picturing what it may have looked like. To me, those boats are floating art pieces.

It certainly would have been interesting to listen to some of his stories.

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

Did you mean….minesweeper?

I did. Brain fart on my part.

Odie

It was only mentioned twice in the story 🙄

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

Meh. It happens. More & more often as one gets older (ehhh?)

True that.

Jeff

as third hand in the submarines Selene and Ambrose (the latter based in Nova Scotia), and as first lieutenant in Trespasser. However, he failed “the Perisher”, as the make-or-break course for submarine command was known, in 1962. From a Yahoo News Article on his death.

RGR 4-78

Not a ton of derring-do… but I’d say anyone whose career included schooners, subs, and minesweepers is someone worth knowing.”

Considering when he was born and when he entered service, it is amazing that he served on 2 wooden hulled ships.

A life well lived indeed.

MustangCryppie

If you ain’t having fun, you ain’t doing it right…and it looks like he had a lot of fun.

Rest in peace, shipmate!

Hate_me

Is it possible to add a “like” option to these articles?