You will see in the photo with this post four Royal Navy Destroyers, in order from top HMS Cheviot – Cockade – Concord – Comus, steaming in line somewhere in the China sea. In 1956 I flew out to Singapore from Stansted airport near London, my first time ever in an aeroplane. I joined Cockade in August 1956 and remained with her until May 1958 when we decommissioned her in Devonport England. During my time aboard I gained more experiences than at any other time in the Royal Navy. In that all too short two years I sailed the other side of the world, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong/China, Ceylon, Suez Canal, Malta, Gibraltar and home. Plus we visited so many islands and other small places that it would be impossible to list them all here. We faced danger and good times, the communists hated us and the local girls love us, Maybe???? Off Australia we fired a torpedo at the Great Barrier Reef, I think we missed? we did lose the torpedo. If anyone tried to do that today they would probably be arrested. I hiked over night to the top of Mt Fuji to watch the rising sun. I travelled the streets of Hong Kong in a rickshaw, and helped blow up a sunken Japanese destroyer off Singapore, it was a danger to navigation lurking just below the surface. I got absolutely plastered drinking Saki for the first time, It looked and tasted like warm water and was served in tiny cups similar to tea cups, at least that’s my excuse. I was a green 17 year old Ordinary Seaman when I arrived and a19 year old Able Seaman when I left, but more than that, an old salt who had seen so much of the world. Common place in the mess in those days were messmates bragging about the many places they had been, I tried not to brag, but few could equal my travels!!! The one thing I have always been proud of was never getting a tattoo, tattoo artist were everywhere especially in Hong Kong. At the end of every run ashore someone came back aboard sporting a new tattoo. I was often teased about having none, shipmates said I was scared of the needle, maybe, but I don’t think so and today I know that was never the reason. The most popular and the most stupid was having your girl friend’s name tattooed on ones arm, a few months later the girl friend writes a Dear John letter and off you go to have a snake or dragon tattooed over the girls name. But that was the Real Navy, a Navy that slept in hammocks, had great pride in our ship, in our service and in ourselves.
God Bless and keep reading