Christmas 1954. Royal Navy Bound.

It was a time of excitement but not because it was Christmas, I was awaiting word from the Royal Navy to hear if I had been accepted. I hoped to get word early in the new year of cover_0001image005[1]


For the moment my confidence was restored and my outlook was positive as I awaited Christmas and the coming year. The winter’s cold and wet weather had set in making our lives a little more unpleasant. Pop complained of the cold in summer, so imagine his demeanour during the winter months. His usual comment arriving home from work each night was, “B`jaysus it’s cold out there”. He was more irritable in cold weather, and for Anna it was a constant struggle to keep him happy. One evening, while waiting impatiently for his supper, my sister gave him a cup of tea.   Tasting it, he contorted his face. “You didn’t put sugar in this tea,” he said.. “Yes, Daddy, I did,” replied Anna. Another sip, another face, “Then you didn’t stir it,” he complained.

We often teased him, saying his mother had spoiled him and now he expected his children to do the same. He never agreed with our conclusions, nor saw much humour in them. I couldn’t imagine how he would have survived if he’d lived alone. His dressing routine on Sundays while preparing for the weekly visit to Aunt Cassie was something to behold. It was a routine impossible to complete without Anna’s patient administrations. He fussed while she installed his collar studs, helped with his tie, fastened cufflinks and held his jacket. I simply can’t describe it on paper; you just had to be there.


Christmas passed without much excitement. Baby John was too young to understand, and the rest of us too old to hang up our socks. We had a small tree in the window, cards on the mantelpiece, and streamers hung across the ceiling. For my part, I celebrated by going to dances and the pictures.

I looked forward to the New Year and what it might hold in store for me. I secretly hoped and prayed I’d successfully be accepted into the Navy this time. My prayer was answered quite unexpectedly two days after my sixteenth birthday. I arrived home from work to find another official brown envelope waiting for me. The bold letters across the top “On Her Majesty’s Service” told me it was from the recruiting office. Outwardly I displayed no excitement while opening it, but inside I was bursting with anticipation. I was instructed to report to the recruiting office at 1300 hours on February 7. The letter stated, “for evaluation of entry into the Boy Seaman training program at H.M.S. Ganges.” The next intake was scheduled to leave on Tuesday March 14, 1955. It looked like I was Navy bound.

God Bless 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 HM Submarines, HMS Cockade, hms ganges, The Royal Navy & Me, veterans and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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