Wednesday, 4 January 2012

SEVENTY YEARS AGO.




CHAPTER 13

My First Career

On 5 January 1942, I went to Shotley Royal Naval Base for a medical


examination, which I passed despite being under the height requirement

of five feet. I was four feet ten and a half inches, six stone six lbs (42.3 kg),

and fifteen years, five months and twenty days old. I was an under-sized,

under-aged piece of .cannon fodder.. The school received a twenty-five

pound Sterling bounty payment upon my delivery to the Royal Navy.

My body was sold for approximately 55p or Aus $1-15 a Kilo or 30 cents

U/S per lb.

My School the 'Watts Naval Training School'  A Branch of Barnardo's, supplied the Royal Navy each

year with approx fifty children aged fifteen years plus. Frequently war news would arrive at the school

 concerning the death of yet another old boy, the list was long but less than the real figures.

After a gruelling train journey to Fleetwood (near Liverpool,) I

embarked in the early morning on the Isle of Man steam packet, .Rushen

Castle.. It took four hours to get to Douglas, the capital and main port on

the Isle of Man. I hadn't been at sea for four years.

Looking piteously at the first-timers berleying on the boisterous Irish

sea, I was reminded of my first experience of sea sickness on a

Portsmouth to Isle Of Wight ferry in 1938; the .Lorna Doone,. a coal

burning paddle steamer that smelled of beer, egg sandwiches, and tarred

rope. I believe it was put to good use evacuating soldiers from Dunkirk

(Dunkerque) France in June 1940.

The Bible in my possession said, .To John Leonard Spencer on the

Feast of the Epiphany, 7 January 1942.. It was signed by the Rev.

Harling. I often wonder if the Rev. Harling ever made it to heaven.

Some of the other entrants who wore sailors gear like mine were from

other navy schools. Some wore civilian clothes. It was Wednesday, 7

January 1942. I was now a boy, 2nd Class RN. The Americans had beaten

me to this war thing by thirty-one days, but I was better prepared than

most for my next encounter with a new type of authority.

January 1942 . HMS St. George . Douglas, Isle of Man.

5 comments:

C A. said...

jeeze vest are you really an eighty five year blogger?

Rosemary said...

Yes he is CA.

Rosemary said...

Vest will return to blogging as soon as he is fit from his recent surgery.

chris said...

Hi Dad,



Got this message from Elisabeth Coleman via Skype:



Hi thanks for my birthday card and the money. I got my birthday present from my mum today so I can video chat my friends more on Skype. Yay love you lots Elisabeth xxx



I replied:



You're most welcome. We were a bit early, but better early than late... or never :) - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!



Regards,



Chris

Vest said...

Chris: A rare message of appreciation from the many younger members of our tribe.
UK niece Elisabeth is 12 yrs old.

Warning!! a cut of 50% will apply next year to those who do not send a "thank you"
Grumpy Gramps.

Goodbye Dear Rosemary. (Final)

      It was around 3 pm Wednesday March 8 That Rosemary returned from 'Day Care', she looked fine and healthy and bubbly and gave ...