The Americas and St Patrick's Day 1965
We arrived back home in England in late August 1964. Baby William was born in Portsmouth, the UK on 30 October 1964. William Andrew Spencer had been conceived in, or more aptly put; ‘Made in Hong Kong’ during a period of weakness in the Spencer family planning department around the time of the Chinese New Year celebrations. Little Willie was our fourth son. Shortly afterwards, I was drafted to HMS Maryland where there were much backstabbings and dissention. It was my last ship, thank the Lord. It seemed I was the only gunnery person on a ship without guns. My main duties consisted of overseeing what small arms there were and pandering to a bunch of stuck-up *dockyard matey’s whims. (*civilian technicians) on this ship was just as stressful as it was on HMS Marylebone. We visited Gibraltar, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, Bermuda, New London, Charleston, and New York. What we did on the ship was classified, so even now it would be prudent not to mention it. The ship was based in Devonport near Plymouth, a long distance from home, so I did not see the family very often.
While the ship was at the US Navy Base in New London Connecticut, a small number of our crew were granted permission to travel to New York in order to experience the parades and celebrations on St Patrick day.
The train journey of 123 miles was most interesting particularly the comfort of the warm A/C Carriages. However, arriving at Pennsylvania station about noon- adjacent to 33rd Street, that was where the comfort ceased. it was freezing cold as we headed for the nearest pub-bar. where a local drunken peasant informed us 'arr to be sure it be me, lads, the bloody pawnbrokers sign down the street just disintegrated'. The activity in the bar full of pseudo-Micks wearing green attire was boisterous to say the least But the Pizza which was on offer which was my first went down well
After leaving the Bar we split up into small groups, our group consisting of the Guys who favoured comfort so we head for a cinema were I nodded off for an hour or so, then back to another bar for food where we met a local doctor who drove us around New York for a while and later let us stay overnight at his high rise apartment..
The following morning the doctor had left home on a call out, but his charming wife made us breakfast and shortly after we headed for Grand Central station for our comfortable train journey to New London.
To advise that Vest (Les Bowyer) passed away this morning. Regards, Chris (Son).
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