On a Sunday morning back in March 1956 I was the guard commander of the class guard. Every Sunday morning at HMS Ganges we held Divisions, followed by Church parade. Every boy, instructors, officers, and the Royal Marine band formed up on the huge parade grounds. There would have been approximately one thousand boys formed up in their various divisions and wearing immaculate dress uniforms. Each division was inspected, and in the case of the guard the Captain himself would inspect. My job as guard commander was to march smartly up to the Captain and saluting with my sword invite him to inspect the guard. Once the inspections were completed, I returned to the Captain’s dais and asked for permission for the march passed. This was probably the most exciting moment of my time at HMS Ganges. On my command the whole parade turned left, and when I gave the order “By the left quick march” the Royal Marine band struck up and the parade began marching with me at the head. At the top of the parade grounds I ordered the guard from column into line and that was how we marched past the dais. I gave eyes right and again saluted with my sword. It was an amazing but equally nervous moment filled with tension and the constant fear of making a mistake. Hard to imagine today, but there I was giving the orders and a thousand boys following them, and not forgetting the Royal marine band . It was one of the proudest moments of my young life, The guard was provided each Sunday by the senior class in turn from each division. It was the last major task for each class before graduating and going to sea to begin life as a sailor in the Royal Navy. I had the honour of being guard commander almost sixty years ago, yet it is as vivid in my memory today as it was on that exciting morning. I still remember the drill and correct use of saluting with the sword, however, I might be a bit slower marching passed these days??
Great memories of a wonderful part of my life.
God Bless and keep reading.