More Moments in Time

More Moments in Time
Posted on 30th May 2019 by irishroverpei

lieve my first memories began when I was between 3 and 4 years old. The story of my birth and my first three years is mostly a matter of speculation and what other family members have told me. My life didn’t get off to a good start, at eleven months old I lost my mother. She died on Boxing Day 1939, the second world war was just four months old. The loss of our mother created many problems, I had two brothers and three sisters. Two of the older girls were working and my eldest brother was itching to join up, he had to wait until 1942 before he could he join the Royal Air Force. My other brother and sister were still in School. Life was difficult, we had to contend with the shortages and rationing, the black out and gas masks. The latter was not something a one year old would willing allow to cover his face. My eldest sister Lily had been conscripted into the roll of housekeeper/mother/cook/baby minder and everything else that goes with the job. I suppose this worked well for my father, he had to work and needed someone to look after me full time. Things went along smoothly enough until 1941, however, a few nights after the first blitz of the Belfast , lily met a British sailor and a romance ensured. My father was concerned, once Lily married she would probably move to England. He attempted to have one of my several aunts take me on. No deal, in wartime it was hard enough feeding ones own family, but to take on an extra mouth, not too mention the responsibility of a young child. Lily married in 1942 at a registry office in Coventry and moved to Scotland to be near her husbands home port. Not sure what occurred next, but Lily came home and agreed to take me with her back to Scotland. For the moment my fathers problems were solve, but mine were just beginning? More memories to come in later blog.
The photo was our last complete family gathering in 1960 my father died shortly afterward. Back row Me,Jim,Father,Tommy. Front row Lily,Anna,May. Sadly today only Anna and myself remaining.

God Bless and keep reading

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Moments in Time

Moments in Time.
Posted on May 29th 2019
by irishroverpei

I’m not sure this happens to others in my age group, but suspect it might. I’m in my 80th year and find my mind often travels back to the past. To my childhood and those mixed memories of what might have been different. Of the days in Belfast, going to the cinema at least once a week. Selling the Belfast Telegraph on Saturday nights. Afterwards eating fish and chips with the money I earned selling the papers. The importance of going dancing, the most reliable way to meet girls. Spending hours grooming before the mirror, hair slicked back with brylcreem, clean white shirt and colourful tie. Making sure the Windsor knot in the tie was just right. However, before going to dances I had to learn how to dance. Once a week I attended a school of dancing, my aim was to learn the waltz, quickstep and foxtrot, wasn’t too worried about the tango or the more difficult steps. The three basic ones would get me around the floor with a girl. Indeed it was the only dance steps most of the boys my age knew, girls too. I remember the great excitement when the band announced the next dance would be lady’s choice. Sitting trying to look nonchalant while hopefully awaiting a pretty girl to approach and ask me to dance. Or my destroyed confidence when no one ask me, which happened more often that not. On those happy successful nights when I hit it off with a girl, and she allowed me to walk her home. Sometimes, a kiss and a cuddle at the end of the street where she lived. We never walked all the way to the girls front door, the fear her father might see us. On a few occasions after leaving a girl home who lived at the opposite side of the city. I had the long walk home, it was either too late and the buses had stopped running, or I didn’t have enough money for bus fare. But who cared! tomorrow was Sunday and I could sleep in. Sunday too, was a special day or perhaps I should say evening. Many girls attended the evening church services after which usually in pairs they’d walk up the Crumlin Road. Of course, we boys, also in pairs walked the same roads, usually with a couple of girls we knew in our sights. Grand times indeed, but just a long ago memory now. Nevertheless they are good memories that I enjoy thinking about. Unfortunately, not all of my childhood memories were happy ones. I will perhaps write more on this subject in a later blog.
God Bless and keep reading

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Doing Politics Differently?????

Wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a politician say he is going to do politics differently!!!!!. Wish I had a dollar for every time they broke an election promise. Politics has become such an entrenched partisan system, people have grown tired and disinterested. We hear the same old nonsense over and over, but nothing ever changes. When I look at our four Island members, I have to wonder what if anything they have actually done for the island? Indeed, can we even imagine what they have cost tax payers in salaries, expenses and pensions. The figure would be staggering, I doubt few would say it was money well spent. Could anyone say our island MPs really represent they constituents? or do they merely follow partisan lines. The glaring answer is they follow the partisan line. However, today I saw a breathe of fresh air blowing through the Country. The announcements of JWR and Jane Philpot running as independents sounded the first real possibilities of change in Canadian politics. For the first, time we were hearing from two brave female politicians declaring and end to politics as usual. Of course they both have yet to get re-elected in the upcoming federal election. Nevertheless, it is the first signs of cracks within the old party establishment. Maybe, just maybe, we will see politics being done differently.

God Bless and keep reading.

Posted in Family and veterans, politics, Prince Edward Island | Leave a comment

1st Car Show of 2019!

Sunday 26th May was the Annual PEI Antique Car Club Show. This is an event I have been attending for years. Indeed I was very much involved it the first show back in the 1970s which was held at the Kensington arena. We have held subsequent shows at the Towers parking lot, Canadian Tire parking lot. For the lasts few years we are used the PEI Sanitation parking area.. While I did attend this years show, I didn’t take my own car, the weather was not great, cold and showers. Not the ideal conditions for a convertible, nor for me spending a whole day cold and miserable. I took a few photos for your enjoyment, mostly of the few British cars on display, my own particular choice of antique vehicles. However, I did also share a couple of domestic models, the Model A Brougham,  a neat little Henry J and an American Motors sedan.

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Check the Original!!!!!

Check the Original
Posted on May 26th 2019 by irishroverpei

A young monk arrives at the monastery
He is assigned to helping the other monks in copying the old
canons and laws of the church, by hand.
He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript.
So, the new monk goes to the Old Abbot to question this, pointing out that if someone
made even a small error in the first copy, it would
never be picked up! In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.
The head monk, says, “We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but
you make a good point, my son.”
He goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the
original manuscripts are held as archives, in a locked vault that hasn’t
been opened for hundreds of years.
Hours go by and nobody sees the Old Abbot.
So, the young monk gets worried and goes down to look for him.
He sees him banging his head against the wall and wailing.
“We missed the R ! We missed the R !
We missed the damn R !”
His forehead is all bloody and bruised and he is crying uncontrollably.
The young monk asks the old Abbot, “What’s wrong, father?”
With a choking voice, the old Abbot replies,
“The word was ….

God Bless and keep reading

Posted in Just Fooling | Leave a comment

The Poppy.

The Poppy.
Posted on May 25th 2019
by irishroverpei

The Royal Canadian Legion need to be seriously reminded of the origin and purpose of the Poppy. It was never intended as a commercial item to be used to fund the legion. I’m appalled by the greedy merchandizing being used these days. The Poppy is being shamelessly promoted as earrings, umbrellas, coffee mugs, teddy bears, bird feeders and legion lager. Dominion Command clearly need a refresher in the meaning of remembrance.

I am not a badge of honour,
I am not a racist smear,
I am not a fashion statement,
To be worn but once a year,
I am not glorification
Of conflict or of war.
I am not a paper ornament
A token,
I am more.
I am a loving memory,
Of a father or a son,
A permanent reminder
Of each and every one.
I’m paper or enamel
I’m old or shining new,
I’m a way of saying thank you,
To every one of you.
I am a simple poppy
A Reminder to you all,
That courage faith and honour,
Will stand where heroes fall.
A wonderful and moving poem.

Inspiration for “In Flanders Fields”
Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, 1st Brigade Canadian Field Artillery.

During the early days of the Second Battle of Ypres a young Canadian artillery officer, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed on 2nd May, 1915 in the gun positions near Ypres. An exploding German artillery shell landed near him. He was serving in the same Canadian artillery unit as a friend of his, the Canadian military doctor and artillery commander Major John McCrae.
As the brigade doctor, John McCrae was asked to conduct the burial service for Alexis because the chaplain had been called away somewhere else on duty that evening. It is believed that later that evening, after the burial, John began the draft for his now famous poem “In Flanders Fields”.
“We Will Remember” God Bless and keep reading

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Read a Good Book Lately

The Royal Navy and Me
Posted on May 24th 2019 by irishroverpei

This is a story told through the eyes of a young sailor who joined the Royal Navy in 1955 as a Boy Seaman 2nd class, the absolute lowest rank in the Navy. Follow his induction at HMS Ganges, the toughest boy’s training establishment in England, if not the world, and his first assignment to HMS Cockade in time to visit Australia for the opening of the 1956 Olympic games. This is a thoroughly amusing tale, tempered with dark moments of despair, as he visits islands in the South Pacific, tours Hong Kong, Korea and Japan, passes through the Suez Canal en-route to Malta and Gibraltar, helps to capture an Icelandic boarding party during the Cod Wars. He dives in a submarine to play cat and mouse with our Cold War adversaries, surfaces through the polar ice at the top of the world, feel the tension in the submarine as it sinks toward crush depth. Laugh at the antics of his fellow sailors and the strange situations they found themselves in. Learn the meaning of the acronym PASAHB, and sympathize with this naive young sailor as he falls for one of the oldest tricks in the book.
Whether a sailor or a dreamer of the sea, this is one voyage not to be missed.]
Review from the Editor of the Ganges Gazette
Review from the Ganges Gazette
Following on from ‘Lily & Me’ comes another ‘cracker’ from Fred’s pen, but this time covering his time in the Navy. Ganges, surface ships – Far East and Home Fleet. Girls, with Cupid active with his bow. Joining the Submarine Service with a very good description of life aboard diesel electric ’T’ and ‘A’ class boats. More girls and arrows everywhere, tricked into marriage, children, divorce and part of the 6th Canadian Submarine Squadron based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Dick Lloyd Editor-Gazette

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For Whom the Bridge Tolls

For Whom the Bridge Tolls
Posted on May 24th 2019
by irishroverpei

A tale of two bridges, the Confederation Bridge with a $47 dollar toll that cost tax payers one billion dollars to build.. The Champlain Bridge that cost the same tax payers four billion dollars has no toll??This is a clear question of discrimination between the Provinces of Quebec and Prince Edward Island. It seems to me either everyone pays or no one pays, it can’t be some and not others. Nevertheless, we are paying while other Canadians are getting a free pass. That is not how the federal government should be operating. No one knows how much money has been made to date, The Confederation Bridge Corp does not disclose numbers of vehicles crossing or total revenue. However, it would be a safe bet to say they have made a lot of money in the years of operation. This should be a major issue in the upcoming federal election. Islanders should put our four liberal MPs on notice that this will be an election issue.
Maybe they think or maybe hope we islanders have become accustomed to or have forgotten the bridge and the tolls!!! No so, we remember every time we leave the island!
God Bless and keep reading.

Posted in politics, Prince Edward Island | 1 Comment

HMS Ganges – Shotley Routine!

HMS Ganges Boys Training Camp
Posted on 23rd May 2019
HMS Ganges located near the village of Shotely, the proud centre piece of this famous/infamous boys training base was the 143 ft Mast.
I was talking with another Ganges boy the other day and got to thinking of my time in Shotely. I think most classes ended up on what was known as Shotely routine, a severe form of punishment meted out to the whole class and lasted all week. I can’t remember all the details, we were out of bed at 0500 hrs each morning (5am), cold showers, we had to double everywhere (run), during rest periods we had to lay out for kit inspections, or rifle drill on the parade square. I recall one morning a few boys were tardy in getting out of bed and we all were ordered over the mast. When I look back on this punishment, it was to say the least, dangerous and irresponsible. We were in our pajamas and ordered to put on plimsoles (sneakers) and oilskin coats. Oilskins keep you dry but do little for keeping a body warm, they are stiff and awkward to maneuver in. Plimsoles are rubber soled and can be slippery especially when climbing an icy mast. Imagine at 0500 hrs on a frosty February morning. We had to climb out over the devils elbow then back to the ground. Anyone who dodged inside the elbow rather than going out over it was sent up again. The halyards were coated in a film of frost and could be very treacherous. We all survived and today look back on those times with pride, we completed the training and became men of the Royal Navy.
God Bless and keep reading

Posted in Family and veterans, HM Submarines, HMS Cockade, hms ganges | Leave a comment

The Red Devil!

It was about this time way back in 1958, we had just returned from the Far East after roughly two years. We brought HMS Cockade home for her final fateful voyage after serving in the 8th destroyer squadron for several commissions. It was exciting times we had not been home for a long time and we’re about to begin three weeks leave. At the Plymouth station our crew milled around waiting for their trains. I was catching the London train, then onto Heysham and home to Belfast. Myself and a shipmate settled into an empty compartment for the four hour journey to the Big Smoke. Minutes before the train began to move into our compartment crashed the Red Devil. Red was a shipmate, he had a huge flaming red beard. He looked wild and indeed his career to date had been extremely wild. He was a three badge able Seaman although his three good conduct strips were off more than on. He was headed for London with us, but unlike us he had no luggage! Just a small keg of scrumpy (cider) a tap and a glass. He placed the keg on the overhead luggage rack hammered the tap into place and poured himself a pint of scrumpy. That routine continued all the way to London, or to whenever the keg ran dry. I Remember arriving at the station with not too much time to make my next connection. The Red Devil lay across the seats fast asleep! We only hesitated for a moment wondering if we should try to wake him, no! I was anxious to get home, we left him there wondering where he might eventually end up. That was the last time I ever saw the Red Devil, but I’m sure he survived just like he had his whole naval career. He was a sailor from the past from the old navy, the navy was rapidly changing that would surely leave the Red Devil behind. Wonderful times with amazing adventures and experiences looking back all these years later. Yours Aye Shipmates.

Posted in Family and veterans, HMS Cockade | Leave a comment