It was January 5 1942, I had passed my medical exam, despite the minimum height requirement of five feet. I was four feet ten and a half inches tall, Six stone six pounds (42.3 Kilos) and fifteen years, five months and twenty days old, an under aged and under sized piece of cannon fodder. The Naval preparatory school run by Barnardo's Homes received a 25 Pounds Sterling bounty on delivering me for service in the British Royal Navy on January-7-1942. I was worth Aus$1.15 a kilo or 30 cents U/S per lb.
After a gruelling train journey to Fleetwood (near Liverpool)I embarked in the early morning on the Isle Of Man Steamer, 'Rushen Castle', It took four hours to get to Douglas I O Man and I had not been to sea for over four years.
Looking piteously at the first timers berleying their guts out on the boisterous Irish sea, I was reminded of my first experience of sea sickness while on a Portsmouth to Isle of Wight ferry in 1938 the 'Lorna Doone', a coal burning paddle steamer, which was put to good use evacuating soldiers from Dunkirk (Dunkerque) France in 1940.
The Bible in my possession was signed by the Rev Harling on the feast of the epiphany Jan 7-42,I often wonder if that old sod made it to heaven. On that conspicuous day I became a Boy 2nd Class Royal Navy. The Americans had beat me to this war thing by 31 days, but I was better prepared than most for my next encounter with a new type of authority.
Yesterday January 6-2007, It was sixty one years ago, Sunday Jan- 6, the ship I served on for over two years during WW2,left Sydney for England after under-going repairs. We were the last unit Serving overseas to return to Britain where the war had ended ten months earlier, most Brits didn't know about the pacific war until the first 'A'Bomb on Japan.
Would the person who suggested in a previous post that I was born with a silver spoon, Should you ever find it? Shove it up your Ass.
Sunday, 7 January 2007
To advise that Vest (Les Bowyer) passed away this morning. Regards, Chris (Son).
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