A Disabled Veteran


For sometime now I have been striving to see some positive results from Dominion Command and they just are not coming. One reaches a point where there is little else to book cover_0001say on a particular subject. So folks until I hear of some new developments I thought I should change the subject.

With all the legion talk I came across many members who were disabled. It has just occurred to me I’m technically a disabled vet myself. I have never thought of myself that way but I do receive a disability pension from the Royal Navy. Its a rather funny-interesting story even if the injury was not funny at the time. When I joined the Royal Navy in 1955 most ships used steel wire cables for securing alongside, wire was dangerous and difficult to use. Around the beginning of 1960 nylon rope was replacing much of the steel wire cables. The new white nylon was a welcome improvement in both usage and safety. At least that was the thought at the time. However, nylon put under excessive stress was every bit as dangerous as wire. If a nylon rope parted it could whip though the air severing body parts just as well as wire did. In 1964 I was Second Coxswain aboard the submarine Alcide and we were undergoing repairs on the slipway at Dartmouth NS. On the day of completion we began lowering the boat slowly back into the water. I was on deck manning the capstan with our nylon head rope keeping the boat straight in the cradle. Suddenly a heavy gust came up and the boat moved to the left of the cradle. We immediately heaved in on the capstan to correct the shift. The wind kept blowing and the strain on the rope greatly increased. There was little we could do, if we let go there was the danger of the boat slipping off the cradle. I just hoped we’d be afloat soon so we could ease the rope and lessen the strain. It was becoming quite frightening, the rope was bar taut and making nasty creaking sounds. In the blink of an eye the rope jumped the capstan and flung me onto the deck, the shipmate helping me landed in the escape hatch well. We were both lucky we’d not been thrown overboard. It took me a minute to realize what had happened, I wasn’t in any pain just a bit dazed. Crew members helped me below deck and 24883alcide_auriga_halifax_63that was when I noticed the middle finger of my right hand was laying across the back of my hand held on only by the skin.

I was in shock hence not in any great pain or stress, however the Coxswain, he doubled as medic-doc etc was quite stressed by the obvious injuries. It was not something he could bandage or give me a codeine for! The obvious first treatment in true Naval fashioned was rum!! The Coxswain dashed off and returned moments later with a large glass of rum. I needed help drinking because neither hand was working. In the meantime the boat was half way across the harbour and an ambulance had been call from the Stadacona Naval Hospital. By the time we were tied up on the Halifax side I was roaring drunk and shipmates were trying to keep my hands still,  like many, I used my hands when expressing myself,  in shock and drunk I had become very expressive. When I arrived at the hospital the doctors must have despaired, they couldn`t rush me off to the operating room in my condition. Not totally sure what they did do, but I work up the next morning with a dreadful hangover and both hand in splints and hanging from overhead supports. I could not rub my sore head, and was gasping for a cup of tea. The nurse gave me nothing as I was about to go into surgery. Fingers on both hands were broken the finger on my right hand was the most difficult to repair. After the first operation I could not move it at all, and it looked like it would have to be amputated. However the surgeon decided to give it another go. This time it worked, but only after months of physio. I never realize how much I depended upon and used my hands until that accident occurred. I wont go into too many details about that, but with both hand in plaster casts to the tips of your fingers try to imagine wiping your own arse!!!!!!I guess I`m  entitled to call myself a disabled vet! even rum issue 2though these days I can wipe my you know what with no difficulty.

Oops gotta go Rums up!!!!

God Bless and keep reading

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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, veterans and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Disabled Veteran

  1. Ira Peters says:

    Great story!

  2. irishroverpei says:

    Thanks Ira

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