I was the chief engineer on the station ship Athena (renamed earlier from the Avon River) stationed in Copenhagen. I had just returned from a mission at the org in Copenhagen where I was CO until the FEBC trainees returned from Flag which they did. Flag had just sent us a new captain Mitch Spence to replace Stella King who was ill, both have since passed on. This was my 5th captain since joining the Avon River in Valencia in 1968. The captain of the Athena was usually also the continental captain and responsible for the AO and orgs in Europe. As the orgs expanded LRH ordered us to start a FOLO in Copenhagen and appoint one of our crew members as the CO so we appointed my 1st engineer.
Soon after, Flag sent Bill Robertson known as Captain Bill to take over as the continental captain thus relieving the ship’s captain of that duty. My experience on our ship was great having sailed the Mediterranean, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea and visiting so many countries I cannot even remember but I loved Denmark and Sweden. The Athena was not like flag where hard work and stiff ethics was the order of the day imposed by those fanatical idiots who could not think for themselves and followed LRH blindly. They already lost their soul but maybe they never had one to begin with.
After a meeting with the captain we decided to set sail for Sweden and sailed the next morning where I was also appointed as the conning officer. It was a beautiful sailing experience, the sea was calm, the beer tasted good and we arrived in Stockholm at around midnight but it was still daylight. As there are around 24,000 islands in the Swedish archipelago you had to call the harbour authorities to send out a pilot to guide your ship in else you might get lost amongst all those islands. About 2 hours the pilot arrived and guided us in to Stockholm port. Stockholm is beautiful.
The Commodore Queen
After a few days Mitch our new captain received a message from Captain Bill that I must immediately catch a flight to France and meet him in Cherbourg. Well I quickly packed a suitcase and took a taxi to Stockholm airport and boarded a flight to Paris and later a train to Cherbourg. I arrived late that evening and Captain Bill was waiting to meet me and we then took a taxi to the military harbour in Cherbourg where the British station ship “Commodore Queen” was berthed in dry dock. I was immediately appointed captain of the ship and ordered to take responsibility for her refit by the harbour workforce. Bill then left and returned to Copenhagen to carry out his responsibilities but returned every now and then to see how things were going. Then one day a mission arrived from flag consisting of Wally Burgess and Art Web. Wally was one of my ex captains from the Athena and I knew him well, a very nice guy and we got on very well. His first words to me were, “Travers!! what the hell has he done” (referring to captain Bill). I asked why and they informed me that Captain Bill had gone over to England and hijacked the boat sailed it across the channel to Cherbourg and there was hell to play on flag. Now the reason the ship was in dry dock was because while captain Bill left the harbour in England, the ship started taking on water and started sinking as there were holes in the hull, so he radioed the port authorities in Cherbourg to prepare the dry dock. I was relieved of my command by Wally who took over the captaincy and we then refloated the ship.
I then returned to Stockholm and Wally and Art were instructed to sail the ship back to England where the authorities confiscated the ship. Captain Bill was ordered back to flag where he was to be comm eve’d by orders of the staff captain. In his write up Captain Bill said he had to take the ship out of England as it was his responsibility as Continental Captain EU after hearing that the authorities were going to confiscate the ship.
LRH was not aboard the flag ship at the time and got to hear about this situation, apparently he was not very happy with the Staff Captain for whatever and so he wrote a flag order saying that captain Bill was one of the finest officers in the sea org and promoted him to 3rd deputy commodore and then instructed him to comm ev the staff captain which he did and assigned her to the RPF. I really thought this entire experience was a gas, just another one of the funny experiences I had.