Dining with Admirals (Not in my Day)

Trafalgar diner1891138_10152823712263205_5191764216614814254_nOutstanding men and women from across the Naval Service celebrated the greatest sea victory in British history at a unique dinner aboard Nelson’s flagship.

Ninety-four sailors and Royal Marines were invited to join First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas and Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral David Steel for an all-ranks Trafalgar Night dinner on HMS Victory in Portsmouth as a reward for their efforts on the front line.dining with admirals1919636_10152823712233205_7882440764311056902_nNelson flag ship0703681_10152823712248205_1680710045000244792_n

 

Wow dinner with the First Sea Lord!!!never happen in my time in the navy!!! The best that I can come up with was a Sunday dinner with my Divisional Officer at HMS Ganges. Four leading boys were invited to the home (Married Quarters) of Lieutenant Brown and his wife for a lovely meal. Dress uniforms, best manners, best behaviour, and offer to do the dishes (declined). It was an amazing break from the food served at the mess hall, but no Admirals. The times they are a changing eh!!!!

God Bless and keep reading

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Herr Harper!!!

Harris-Harper-featureAfter the recent attack in the Canadian Parliament buildings, much has been said by a variety of politicians. Much praise has been applied to the security teams and in particular the Sargent at Arms. On the news media we have seen the bullet holes in the doors,walls and windows. It has indeed been a time of realization that violence can occur on our home soil. It proves attacks can take place  unexpectedly and in places we’d never think vulnerable. The passed week has been a wake up call and a warning for all Canadians. However, I think it has also been a week where Canadians have shown their determination to stand up without fear to these threats. Nevertheless, I can’t help but think some of our politicians are milking this situation for their own benefits. Does any one really believe that Steven Harper was genuine when he hugged the leaders of the opposition parties Trudeau and Mulcair???????

Regardless of what he tells the people of Canada, Herr Harper is a one man government, he does what he wants not what the majority of Canadians want. He has demonstrated that over and over while stating the exact opposite. This is something we must all consider seriously as the next Federal election draws near. I have added a quote from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, he said this just after being re-elected with a majority government in 2011.

“We are intensely aware that we are and must be government of all Canadians including those that did not vote for us. And friends hear me on this, all the lessons of the past few years of holding to our principles, and listening, of caring, of adapting those lessons that come with a minority government we must continue as a majority government.”

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Food for thought!!! God Bless and keep reading

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HMS Ganges – Boys Training Camp

buttonboymastgangesmastScannedImage-7image005[1]HMS Ganges the Boys training school of the Royal Navy,was the toughest training camp for young boys anywhere. The place where the Royal Navy turned boys into men.  Turned them into the very best sailors in the Navy, they were gratefully received aboard all ships in the fleet because of their training and discipline. I will until the end of my days be proud to call myself a “Ganges Boy”. I will always remember setting foot on the parade square in fear and trepidation for the first time some sixty years ago. I’m sad when I think how Ganges is now gone forever, what a terrible loss this amazing place surely was to the Royal Navy. I departed Ganges in August 1956 and have never returned to the village of Shotley, Suffolk, where Ganges was located. It is just a bus ride from Ipswich and a little more than an hour by rail to London . You might wonder why I writing about Ganges again???surely I have posted many photos and told many stories,  it is perhaps becoming a little repetitive, sorry!!!  However, I must confess until a couple of hours ago writing about Ganges was the last thing on my mind. Then on Face Book I came across this coloured photo of the Ganges mast. I have seen this particular photo before but it was of poorer quality and in black and white.  The Mast was once the proud centre piece of the camp where boys climbed the halyards to the highest points on Sunday afternoons enjoying the only free time allowed.  From high above we looked out across the beautiful vista of the surrounding land and rivers. The photo brought tears to my eyes. To see the sad and derelict crumbling yardarms, the ragged ratlines and spars. To look across the old parade square now barely visible through the undergrowth and weedsganges mast today. What a very sad way to have this grand place end, it truly breaks my heart.

The mast as it barely stands today. Shame on those who have allowed this proud part of HMS Ganges and a unique part of Naval history to fall into such a disgraceful condition. To allow it to rot and collapse into the ground forgotten forever,  is absolutely unforgivable

God Bless and keep reading.

 

 

 

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The Next Federal Election!!!

Mulciarjustintrudeauenbridge10489812_781486318549785_2443952101128403616_n220px-Elizabeth_May_2robertghiz

 

 

 

The next Federal election is not that far off and I’m a little concerned about our choices. I believe the majority of voters want rid of Harper, and therein lies the problem. I would be comfortable if Mulcair became the next Prime Minister, but that is maybe not going to happen. I would be very comfortable if Elizabeth May became the next Prime Minister but unfortunately that definitely wont happen. That leaves Justin Trudeau! but wait!!! why is there a photo of Robert Ghiz included with the potential candidates???? Well its definitely not because I think he’d be a likely candidate. I posted his photo more as a warning, sons that run on the shirt tails of their fathers does not a good candidate make. Ghiz is the son of the late Joe Ghiz, Joe was a reasonable good Premier of PEI, Robert Ghiz was elected leader of the island liberal party simply because of his name. To date he has led the worse provincial government in the history of PEI. That brings us back to the last federal candidate,Justin Trudeau, the son of the late Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Is he really Prime Minister material??? I don’t think so when I look at his policies to date. If I were running as a Liberal candidate here on PEI in the next federal elections I would be a wee bit concerned. Based on what Justin Trudeau has so far stated as the Liberal policy platform  I think I would find going door to door seeking votes very difficult. Some people might ask what are his policies??? because they are indeed thin on the ground. He has apparently just two, and all Liberal candidates have no choice but to follow them. First one is to legalize marijuana, the second, regardless of a candidates personal and moral views they must vote pro choice in the abortion issue. One might say “Son of a Gun” those are tough choices eh!!! Sons of the fathers, not always the best choices when electing someone to lead the country. Anyway we still have a few months to think about this, and maybe in that time a new bright candidate might just appear. There is a son of at least one other PM still out there, who knows? maybe Harper will adopt him. If that doesn’t leave you confused, just wait until election time!!!!!might be kinda like pin the tail on the donkey!!!!!!

God Bless and keep reading

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Peace in our Time

number2Peace in our time is a wonderful idea and it might happen some day. However,while the world continues to produce people like Hitler it will never happen. Yesterday the Island Peace Alliance marched in protest claiming the two recent deaths in Quebec and Ottawa are not reason for Canada to ramp up its military efforts in Iraq. Leo Broderick was one of the Island Peace march leaders and claimed all the usual reasons, big business, the elite who only want the military increased for their own interests. War is all about profits for the rich and does nothing for the poor and hungry in society. Of course there is elements of truth in what he states, war is a dreadful waste, but he fails to tell us how to avoid wars, conflicts and terrorism. The only person that wanted the Second World War was Hitler, and I don’t think I need to remind anyone of the horrors he inflicted. We all want peace, we want justice and the eradication of poverty and decease.  How we might accomplish it without having a military presents is very questionable and certainly elusive. I can’t believe Broderick would advocate we do nothing when Innocent men are beheaded in public and recorded on video for all the world to see. To allow evil to flourish requires only that good men do nothing. So Mr Broderick should we just say “too bad” when two innocent soldiers are murdered on Canadian soil???. I would love to know your answers, perhaps another white poppy campaign to coincide with the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy campaign. That was one of the more disgraceful ideas initiated by the Canadian Peace Alliance and I’m please to say it failed miserably. We all wish for peace but unfortunately it is not possible in the world in which we live in today. Perhaps  one day we will truly achieve “Peace in our Time” sadly it isn’t likely to happen any time soon. We need our Military and we must support them always, they do indeed stand on guard for us and I doubt anyone would trade them for the peace alliance to stand in their place.??????

God Bless and keep reading.

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Another Three Points

arsenal pennentArsenal defeated Sunderland 2-0 on Saturday and gained another three points. However, it was less than a stellar performance, could have gone either way, as the gunners held onto a thin 1-o lead throughout most of the match. They only scored the second goal in the dying minutes on a error by the Sunderland goalkeeper. Still not to complain, a win is a win and Arsenal do have several players injured, particularly in defense players. Manchester United did well to save a tie with Chelsea also in the dying minutes of their game, Van Persie scored the equalizer in minute three of stoppage time to draw even at 1-1 with Chelsea. Go Gunners Go.

God Bless and keep reading

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Funeral Procession From Ottawa!

cirillopatriceFor the greater part of today the CBC have been giving wide spread coverage to the tragic death of Cpl Cirillo. Politicians, one after another appeared on camera to tell of their fearful experiences and to praise the bravery of the security services. They spoke at length about the death of Cpl Cirillo and the cowardly act of Zehaf Bibeau.  The cameras followed the funeral procession from Ottawa to Hamilton. It was indeed a very impressive response to see Canadians line the highway to pay their last respects to this fallen soldier. To hear the many voices singing our national anthem “Oh Canada”. So moving and stirring, the tremendous feelings of emotion, grief, tears, loss and such great pride. Yet it seems to me we have an imbalance here. We are Canadian and we stand with our troops, and while this is indeed how we must and should conduct ourselves over this sad and tragic death, I have to wonder if some of our politicians had the same aims. Cpl Cirillo has become a name known all across Canada,I realize it occurred in our Capital city. Location is important but it leaves me wondering how many Canadians can name the other soldier killed in Quebec? Should our politicians and the CBC not give equal coverage to the death of WO Patrice Vincent?  He was deliberately  run down and killed by another radical Islamist named Rouleau. Yet one really had to pay close attention to the news today just to hear Patrice’s name mentioned. I think it is right to do honour to one fallen soldier, but is equally and  seemingly wrong to forget the other. I doubt everyone will agree with my sentiments, and I do understand, it is a difficult and hurtful subject to broach. Nevertheless, two soldiers died this week and they both deserve to be remembered equally, regardless of how they died. Both were good men both were defenders of our freedom. In the words of the Royal Canadian Legion “We shall remember them”

God Bless and keep reading

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Politically Correct????

twintowerscanada_flagI realize with the recent tragic events that took place in Quebec and Ottawa, that most Canadians are very angry. I’m very angry,  when a man can run down and kill a Canadian soldier, and another can shoot  an unarmed Canadian soldier in cold blood. When these scum can do such deeds in broad day light on Canadian soil. Then rampage through the Houses of Parliament with a loaded rifle intent on killing our leaders, we have good reason to be angry. Enough is enough, it is time we toughened our attitude to such people. Naturally we all agree in the principles of politically correctness, such as referring to our First nations people,treating women with equality and respect, treating the gay community with the same respect, the disabled, the mentally handicaps etc etc. Those are things we should all do. However when someone tells me I can’t say “Merry Christmas” but instead should say Happy Holidays. When someone tells me I mustn’t say God Bless when a person sneezes. When they state the reason given for these rules, is it might offend??? that’s when I draw the line, that is when I’m offended. When I’m being told to change my ways, to stop using terms that have been used for centuries. This is surely taking politically correctness to the extremes. It is time we stood up for our values, followed our traditions, celebrations and beliefs. If that offends some, well they can always go to a country that does not use such hateful terms as Happy Christmas. Finally regarding the RCMP watching 90 suspected Islamic fanatics, its time to stop watching and arrest them. Jail them or deport them, do not wait until they commit a murder of an Innocent person or persons  before we decide to act. We have already done that and two soldiers are dead, no more being politically correct lets stand up for our Nation. We must truly Stand on Guard for Canada.

GOD BLESS and keep reading.

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Not A Great Day 22nd Oct 2014

prince_county_hospitalcanada_flagThe day started out badly and then went from bad to worse. First thing this morning I had to take my wife Linda, to the emergency at the Prince County Hospital with severe abdominal pains. It turned out her appendix was inflamed and she was immediately booked for surgery. The surgery took place at approximately 8 pm tonight, she is in recovery now and I’m told everything went well. While I was sitting by her bed this morning another incident was taking place in Ottawa. A cowardly shooting of an unarmed soldier standing guard duty at the National cenotaph, the young soldier died from his wounds. The terrorist then gained entry to the Parliament Buildings and more shots were fired, the terrorist was gunned down.  It is unknown if other gunmen are still in the area as bits of news filters down through the media. Large parts of the Capital City remain in lock down condition. Quite a dreadful day indeed, we can only hope the remaining terrorists are brought to heal very soon. This is a wake up call for Canada, but I have all confidence that Canada is wide awake and we shall prevail over these cowardly scum. Scum who have been given the privilege to live in this great land and to call themselves Canadians. Send them back to where they came from or to ISIS where they want to belong. As for my poor Linda, hopefully she will get home in the next couple of days. Its time for bed for me, its been a long day, I’m sure things will look    better in the morning. Good Night Sleep Tight.

Next Morning 23rd Oct 2014. Well things do look better today, Linda is doing well and I’ll be off to see her shortly. On the radio I heard that Arsenal beat Anderlecht 2-1 in the European Champions league. So the day is indeed off to a go start.

God Bless and keep reading

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Preface to Lily & Me. In Remembrance.

001002As I prepare to launch my latest book “Chapter XXI. Armageddon” I thought a re-post of the preface from my first book might be of interest to some of my readers. As we are once again nearing Remembrance Day,  and as it was on such a day in 1997 the inkling of an idea to write this first book began. Lily & Me, tells the story of my first sixteen years of life. It tells of the hardships of war, gas masks, ration books, adoption, shortages,  the blitz and bomb shelters, the many schools I attended. The compilation of those sad and sometimes happy moments recorded in the pages of this book. It is a history of my country my city my family and of me.

 

Preface
On November 11th Remembrance Day in 1997, I was a guest speaker at a banquet in the local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. Listening to other speakers, it gradually became clear that we were remembering the Second World War and the Korean War, but almost nothing about the First World War. In fairness, we had no surviving branch members from that first terrible conflict. I thought about my father serving in
France from 1916 until the end of the war. Did I not have a duty to say something about him? Sadly, knowing so little of his war service, I merely made a respectful mention to the veterans about that ‘War to end all wars.’
It was at this moment that I became painfully aware of how little I knew, not only about my father, but my whole family. It was at that moment that the first seed of an idea to write this book was planted. Now, at the dawn of the 21st Century, I set out to draft my first page.
This is a story of my early life and of the people involved in it, from the darkest days of Britain at war to the sunny days on the Isle of Wight, and to the morning I left Donegal Quay, on the Belfast docks, to join the Royal Navy
The story is how I remember the events in my early life. I have tried to make it as honest and accurate as memory allows. I have spent months researching books, digging through government archives, surfing the Internet.  I asked questions, then more questions from family members all over the world. I inquired from New Zealand to Australia, Ireland to Canada and Prince Edward Island to the Isle of Wight.
Ultimately, this is my story told through my eyes, as a child, a boy, and young man. There is no intent on my part to either criticize or lay blame.  That would make no sense. It is the past, nothing about it can be changed, nor would I wish anything to be changed.  Those first sixteen years were far from being the happiest of my life.  Now older and hopefully wiser, I find I still hold a great fondness for both Lily and Ben.
In the beginning, I shall take you back to the birth of my parents, tracing how their lives came together in Belfast, and the hardships, poverty and two World Wars they were to see during those tumultuous years.  I will take you to my birth on January 15, 1939, and my mother’s death on December 26, 1939, then to my first steps into manhood on March 15, 1955. That was the day I marched off to join the Royal Navy as a Boy Seaman 2nd class.
H.M.S Ganges was a place that claimed to turn boys into men, and I would quickly learn the merits of that claim. Forty-five years later, I have to say that the Ganges claim was well founded.  I consider myself a survivor of a most severe system, be it for better or worse, now vanished forever.  I’m left with the memories of those terrible, harsh, cruel and sometimes happy times.  I would never wish to live through them again, but they will forever remain, to the end of my days, a proud and wonderful memory.
Hope you enjoyed the reading of this article.
God Bless and keep reading

 

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