It was during the spring of 1965 when my ship the HMS VERYLAM had called into Hamilton, Bermuda, After being ripped off being charged three bucks for a haircut and later a meal at the services club, I met the local barber in the Ace of Spades club. Most of the guys in the club were either well tanned or locals. after asking what price he pays for a haircut one local told me I had been seen off. I then told the barber that he owed me a beer at least for being dishonest, he then told me as I was a Honky and as a bloody tourist I was fair game and I had a gall to bail him up in the local indigenous club. The barber on the receiving end of some ostracizing looks bought me a beer at the bar and then I him and he me several times until that sad moment an announcement was made that the singer 'Nat King Cole' had passed away, it was the day after St Valentines day Feb 15 1965. As a mark of respect the bar closed and most patrons finished up drinking at the 'Horse and Buggy'.
About a month later my ship was in the Sub base in New London , Conn. A 48 hour pass gave some of our crew a chance to visit New York. the 123 mile journey was interesting , the main scenery was the garbage strewn alongside the railway track. We arrived at Pennsylvania Station, Near 33rd St and it was a riotous St Patricks Day, green everything including the beer, don't ask what happened later, all I remember is getting the train from Grand Central the following day back to New London , oh before I forget, I learned that day it was also Nat King Cole's birthday being celebrated on St Patricks day too, born I believe in 1919.
Our last port of call was Guantanamo bay in Cuba on April 3 1965. My previous visit to Cuba was April 21 in 1958 while serving on the HMS Ceylon. I am constantly reminded when I hear the song by 'Dragon' circa 70's, 'APRIL SUN IN CUBA'. and wonder how many visitors to Cuba have seen the April Sun more times than David Hicks.
APRIL SUN IN CUBA FOR CASTRO
La Paz: Fidel Castro will return to Cuba's presidency on April 28, Bolivia's leader Evo Morales said yesterday. Castro 80 will resume official functions at the third Bolivarian alternative for the Americas, or ALBA, a co-operation between venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia.
Vest Daily Gaggle.