A Driving Force

The best job I ever had in the Navy was as the ships Jeep driver in Melbourne Australia during the 1956 Olympic Games. I was a mere seventeen years of age and a very junior sailor. So how did I get such a cushy job.??? Well back in 1956 not many people actually held a driver license, certainly not many sailors! I learned to drive whilst working in a garage in Belfast before I joined up.I took the Naval driving test in the Singapore Dockyard and passed. I got my first ever driver license at age fifteen in Belfast, no test was required at the time. However, when I returned home from the Far East in 1958 and my license had expired guess what???Yes, I had to take a test, I was outraged claiming I had my Royal Naval license and had driven in the far flung outposts of the Colonies. I think they thought I drove a boat not a car, because I still had to take a test. It was a nervous time, here I was with my vast driving experience, worrying what would they think if I failed. But like the old famous Naval Battle Cry ‘Rule Britannia” I sailed through with colours flying!!!.
In the 56 years since then I have driven pretty much accident free. I did hit a double decker bus in Scotland in 1967, lost the front bumper off my old Ford Prefect and the bus didn’t bother to stop (must have been on a schedule)but other than that my only accidents have been as a passenger. Now at 73 years of age the novelty of driving has faded somewhat. The thrill always returns when I get behind the wheel of my 1961 Rover but I now take particular care to avoid double decker buses. Memories Eh!!!
Cheers and keep reading.

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
This entry was posted in 1956 Olympic Games, HMS Cockade, vehicles, veterans and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Driving Force

  1. Tony Miles says:

    Hi Ben, I also took my first driving test in a little Italian Fiat in Malta, LHD on the left of the road. I hit the kerb only once, however it was a known fact that a bottle of SRD rum 5/6 at the time given to the Maltese instructor cured all. When I got home my Maltese licence was not acceptable and I had to go through the British test, the first of which I failed due to ‘bad driving habits’. The second I managed to pass. At the age of 56 I had to go through it all again on my arrival in America, but in an automatic it was just necessary to stay on the road to achieve success, I did end up with a Class A with Hazmet, Tandem, and Tanker endorsments.

    • irishroverpei says:

      Hi Tony Always good to hear from you, The jeep was LHD but and as you probably know the Aussies drive on the left . As for automatics My first car in Canada was a 1956 Chev cost $100 and I had to ask the salesman how to drive an automatic. First one I had ever been in!! he thought I was one of those crazy Brit submariners. Yours Aye Ben

      ************* My Books Lily & Me, and The Royal Navy & Me, are now available as E-Books. Go to http://www.smashwords.com Interested in Submarines,Antique cars,VW Westfalia’s, Dogs, HMS Ganges, Royal Navy? then Visit our website and blog at http://www.irishroversbooks.com

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