Copied from journal.
Soon after taking on fuel at Gibraltar, our ship The HMS CEYLON The flag ship of Admiral Biggs RN, sailed to Takoradi on the Gold Coast of West Africa, where we unloaded stores and provisions for the ceremonies that were to take place further down the coast in Accra, the capital. Almost the entire population of Accra was Negro. They were friendly but misguided by their leaders. “Freedom, Freedom” was their familiar chant. On 6 March 1957 the Gold Coast, Ashanti, and Togoland became ‘Ghana.’
There was much celebration and dancing amongst us and the locals, this generated a fair ‘Whiff’ from the gyrating bodies as they shouted “Freedom! Freedom!” and I then shouting “Rexona! Rexona!”
I stayed at the United Africa Co. Guest House. I remember “Reg H", a well-known red-haired professional cyclist from Nottingham England, who was in Accra flogging Raleigh bicycles to the locals; he had fallen down the stairs. He was not at all well from our binge the night before. Fortunately, he managed to find someone who looked like him to take his place. I recall this visit later in an interview in 1964.
October 15- 1964
During our stay in Portland, England, I was wearing civilian clothes and walking along the jetty on my way home for weekend leave. HMS Wiltshire (or was it Lancashire?), one of the latest 5,000-ton destroyers, had just secured alongside when a voice called down to me from the bridge area. “Come aboard! I want to see you.” I replied that I would, and then went up the after gangway of the ship. When the quartermaster approached me, I told him I was the guest of the commander. The quartermaster replied, “He is our CO ‘captain." After I showed him my security pass from HMS Verulam, he told me to carry on.
I eventually found the mysterious commander who I then remembered as my divisional officer on HMS Ceylon in 1957. In a short space of time, the Commander had revealed to his navigator most of my escapades on HMS Ceylon seven years earlier.
The main one he remembered was the saga of Yours truly in Accra, Ghana on 7 March 1957. I had supposedly telephoned the ship at 6:30 am saying I had lost all my clothes and was in a police station naked, and would probably get back to the ship later in the day.
This story was bandied around the ship in many forms. I became the subject of ridicule. The truth was that I had telephoned the ship at six am in the morning to tell them I was staying at the United Africa Co. Guest House. I said that someone had loaned me a shirt and a pair of shorts because a well-meaning houseboy had washed my uniform, and that I would return to the ship as soon as I could get properly dressed.The ship-to-shore telephone line with its distorted sound certainly added to the misinformation. Twenty-four hours later when I arrived back on board looking clean and tidy, I was told to forget what had happened. Commander ‘Queeg’ had not been interested in my most recent debacle (or in me, for that matter.) Despite this, many jokes about this incident circulated for quite a while.
There is more to the story told by John Leonard Spencer in his novel "Waving Goodbye to a Thousand Flies" Published by TRAFFORD, ISBN 1-4120-3384-5
Monday, 5 March 2007
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