This is Amy, my honorary Granddaughter, I have know her since she was a wee baby. In one photo you see her wearing her cloud PJs and my cap, even way back then she was destined to be a sailor in the Royal Navy. In the other photo Amy dropped in(a few years later) for a visit on her way home from California, shortly after this trip she enlisted in the navy. Since then I have followed her adventures mostly via Face Book. I have to face the fact the Navy has changed since my time. For one thing Amy seems to get home more often than I ever did. I have to put that down to air travel, not something I ever contemplated in the 1950’s or 60’s. I must ask her if the Navy still provides three travel warrants per year as they did in my time. Of course my travel warrant was always by rail and ferry. Now days I imagine Amy can hop on a plane and be home an hour or so later. We received 14 days leave three times a year, Christmas, Easter and Summer (August) with each 14 days we were also allowed two days travel time coming and going. Starting my leave I’d depart from Portsmouth on Monday (could be any day) morning at approx 0800 hrs and catch the train to London. I waited around the station (Euston I think) until about 4 pm then board the train to Heysham and the Belfast Steamer. We arrived at 11 pm and after a ten minute walk with hundreds of other passengers hauling luggage we reached the ship. Unless we were fast by the time we got down to the lounge all the best seats were gone. I usually found a quiet corner of the deck to plant myself and try to sleep/doze? but didn’t do much of either. The ship arrived at 7 am the following morning, I was tired grubby and unshaven, clothes wrinkled and I was hungry. Next thing was to find a bus and get home at approx 8 am, my leave had officially begun. It was the same procedure in reverse when returning from leave. The last time I was in the UK it appeared air travel was the most popular means of travel and certainly cheaper and faster than rail. I once used one of my three travel warrants for a long distance weekend adventure, I was madly in love with a WREN (Womens Royal Naval Service) stationed in the north of Scotland. I spent approx 24 hrs on trains heading to Edinburgh, roughly 20 hrs in the city and then 24 hrs on another train returning to Portsmouth. My excuse, it was my 21st birthday, a special day back then, the day I got the key to the door. Some way to celebrate a birthday, spending 48 hrs in grubby and uncomfortable carriage compartments of British Rail The things we do when we are young!!!!or should that be the things we do when we are young and in love. History now. So Amy my advice to you on your Birthday (don’t think its your 21st) is this, enjoy your time in the Navy for it will be gone in the blink of an eye. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAILOR!!!!
God Bless and keep reading