Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cedrus deodara

While you are reaching for your Latin dictionaries or Google as the case may be, this post came from reading about the newly launched police boat.

Annette King, MP took her poodle Howard for an outing in the sun to (Westhaven?) marina to watch the GG's better half pour champers over the gunwale. The carbon footprint of that affair will match the huge footprint 18.5m of aluminium hurtling at 25 knots around the Gulf and beyond. Nice toy, I am sure the boys in blue have the boat booked for extensive fishing sea-trials over the leave period. Can I recommend these guides to find where to anchor?

No, the reason for this long post was not the political capital reaped or not by Annette and her team but about the new tin can's name. Seems Deodar has been used since the first one was launched in 1960, being named after a minesweeper. I can well remember the original, having been towed in an old Z-class sailing dinghy by it.

The Latin name above reflects the name of a cedar native to the Himalayas, commonly known as Himalayan Cedar, which can grow to an exceptional 60m. More can be found here about the Sanskrit 'timber of the gods'. It is from where the minesweeper was named.

Tree class minesweeeper HMS Deodar was ordered by the Admiralty in 1939, gave service during WWII, was sold out of the Royal Navy, being converted for commercial use and eventually foundered in 1965. The sweeper was built in Goole, Yorkshire by the Goole Shipbuilding and Repair Company. Goole today is noted for it pool of drug users. Was used in spring 1946 for mine clearing in Norway. After service the ship was variously named. Some detail and a picture is here.

The NZ connection is through the RNZNVR (Rockies) Second Echelon 2 NZEF sailors who went to Blighty in the war and became part of the 24th Minesweeping / Antisubmarine Squadron. One two and a half ringer PG Connelly, Lieutenant Commander was placed in command on the newly launched Deodar, along with a few of his mates, on ten in all of the minesweepers. It is from here the long association with the name started. Mr Donnelly appears to have named Deodar I in 1960.

Amazing what can be dredged up from one name.

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