All the nice girls love a Sailor...


HMS ASHANTI - Tribal class Frigate

After my training I, together with 3 of my mates were taken to Gatwick to catch an old BUA Britannia for ADEN to join our first ship HMS ASHANTI. This was a whole new experience for me, we spent time helping the Aden withdrawal and on patrol off Africa. We then went India where I spent some time on a Sub and then to Bahrain as our base where I spent some time onboard HMS PARAPET a tank landing craft with the Royal Marines boarding Dhows in the Persian Gulf. I flew home after nearly a year onboard to pick up my next ship - which couldn't have more different!!

HMS PARAPET Assault landing craft on which I spent some time in the wireless office on Dhow Patrol.
Odin class sub - I spent some time aboard in the wireless office on exercise. Subs are a bit like Minesweepers but a wee bit claustrophobic for me!


HMS BLACKWOOD type 14 Frigate - a rotten ship at sea!!

After the 'Gulf' I was sent to ROSYTH where I picked up my HAMMOCK and joined HMS BLACKWOOD a type 14 frigate that was part of the FISHERY PROTECTION Squadron. This ship spent most of the time at sea off Iceland and the North of Scotland. This class of ship is known for it's very poor handling in rough weather...why on earth they put them all where the weather was worse? Some of this class were even 'Open Bridge' that is the Bridge is literally in the open - boy that within the Artic Circle is something to be experienced - fortunately Blackwood had an enclosed bridge!! However the Wireless Office was right up forward beneath the Brigde, which meant you got the worst of the weather and within the Artic circle it could be rough.  So within 2 ships I had crossed the Equator - getting my 'Crossing the Line Certificate' in the heat then the next ship I got my 'Blue Nose Certificate' within the Artic Circle!


Around 67 I joined HMS AGINCOURT a Battleclass Destroyer. Again she was another ship with HAMMOCKS and also SKUTTLES, which whenever the ship turned if not closed could fill the Mess with water! This was a beautiful looking ship with it's large 'Bedstead' radio (she was an anti-aircraft Destroyer that sits out alone from the fleet picking up approaching aircraft).  During this Commission we did a thing called 'meet the Navy' in which we went around Britain inviting local schools to visit - it was really a floating recruiting station! This was not particularily exciting.


HMS DIDO Leander class Frigate

Ah the Dicky Dido. I joined this classy lady in 67 and spent 2 years in her service. The crew were great and I made so many lasting friends. We travelled everywhere - South Africa, Mombasa, Bahrain, Singapore, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, then joined STANAVFORLANT a NATO joint force comprising of ships from many Nations and went across the Atlantic to the US and Canada. We exercised with Aircraft, Surface vessels and Subs all over the world. I think was the nearest you could get the what people imagine the Navy is like! We drank, sang and...well we did most things together on that old tub. During that time I spent some time with the Royal Marines training in Gunfire Support Control And further training in Electronic Warfare Counter Measures.

Mombasa whilst seconded to the Signal Station
3f Mess Tug o' War team at Gibraltar - I am 2nd left back row.
Singapore Far East patrol


The 'Soby' Wooden Minesweeper

My last ship, if you can call it a ship, was a 350 ton wooden Minesweeper (so as not to attract magnetic mines) - It was a saying in the Navy that in Nelson's time the ships were made of wood and the men of little ship was made of wood!  HMS SOBERTON ('The Sobbie) was based once again at Rosyth Scotland and was for the second time part of the FISHERY PROTECTION SQUADRON. I was the in sole charge of the Radio Office and had to do all the radio watches. it was a great responsibility but a great job. Once again we went into the far North, I had several jobs on this little ship. I was Postman,ships unnoficial 'Vicar'. sometime dog handler - all the Fishery Minesweepers had dogs, ours was MUTLEY a delighfully cute Mongrel, who got sea-sick often. I was also on the boarding party to board trawlers and arrest them if they broke the law. I served in Northern Ireland for some time chasing Gun running ships and boarding and searching (they gave me an SMG and 2 clips of ammo and said 'away you go son' - It was active service. The crew was only 35 Officers and men. Just prior to joining this ship I became a Christian. During the first year of this ship I married my wife May and we spent most of our first couple of years apart snatching time together at weekends as my duties allowed On this little ship I won the 'Herbert Lott' award for outstanding service and got 25 pounds! This was my last ship as I left the Navy in 1972 and enrolled in the Fleet Reserve, to be called on if needed.

Soberton on Northern Ireland patrol. I did a funeral at sea, lowering the urn into the sea.
Actually conditions are not that extreme - just a Scottish summer for Fishery Protection Squadron!

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Latest comments

12.12 | 09:27

Is that you ‘Scratch’? - I think we starred in it it - no idea what happened to the Yorkshire TV film. Probably banned nowadays due to the title!!
John (Joe)

12.12 | 02:36

any one know about the film Show Me Your Cod end

31.07 | 21:38

Hi John

Thanks for the mention...really pleased you like my ties. I have also designed a range of boutonniere's and waistcoats to compliment my ties.

24.12 | 12:44

Hi Neil
Can you please send me your e-mail so I can send you a PDF

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