Many years ago I recall standing outside the Royal Navy Recruiting office at Donegal Place in Belfast. In the window was a tattered poster of a happy smiling sailor sitting on a camel with a pyramid in the background. The caption on the poster said “Join The Navy and See the World”. At the age of 15 I did exactly that! What a wise decision for this young boy to make, although at the time my family thought me a bit naive and not giving a lot of thought to what I would be signing on for. I suppose for my first year at HMS Ganges I would have agreed with my family. Life was indeed very tough, the harsh and often cruel but also amazing training that would stay with me my whole life. In August of 1956 I boarded a plane to fly from London to Singapore. How many young men had actually flown in a passenger aircraft in 1956. This was to be the adventure of a lifetime. In Singapore I joined HMS Cockade and in the following two years I saw more of the world than most people would see in a lifetime. I visited Australia-New Zealand-Fiji and other South Pacific Islands -Korea – Hong Kong – Japan -India-Pakistan-Ceylon-Suez-Malta and Gibraltar. Returning to the UK in mid 1958. On my next ship HMS Eastbourne at age 19 I had seen more of the world than most of my new shipmates. Throughout my Naval career I continued to travel to many far off places but the first commission aboard HMS Cockade remains the most amazing. I compare this today with a lovely young Irish girl named Amy. I have had the pleasure of knowing Amy since she was a little baby, she has an equally lovely younger sister, Jill and loving and caring parents, Glenn and Joy. Whiled visiting us on PEI when she was about two years old the photo of her wearing my Naval cap was snapped. I`m not sure this played a role in her later decision to join the Royal Navy, but I like to believe it did. Before she joined she spent time in California with relatives and working for the first time. On her way home she stopped in to visit us, she was full of excitement and stories about California, working was fun and everyone like hearing her Irish brogue. Amy was considering going back to the US to settle and her idea of joining the Navy had become uncertain. I tried without making it too obvious to I urge her to join the Navy. Well a long story short, Amy joined the Navy. She has just returned from a voyage to the bottom of the world. What an amazing opportunity to walk on the ice of Antarctica, to pose with penguins and other local wildlife. The opportunity to see so much of the world in that one brief trip.This will be a memory for life and no matter what other challenges Amy undertakes, Antarctica will always stand out as the most amazing adventure of her Naval career and indeed of her life. It appears that that old recruiting office poster `Join The Navy & See The World“was then and is today, still true. Bravo Zulu Amy so very proud of you.
God Bless and keep reading