joined the Carysfort on the 4th March 1958 from reserve fleet Chatham
with less than 24 hours notice to join the ships company at Pompey
Barracks, I went aboard next morning with kitbag & hammock.
a L/ Sea RP2 I was the killick of the RP’s mess, starboard side fwd. Names I remember are AB’s Cruttenden
and Wintle. My part of ship
was the foc’sle with PO Garnet.
One piece of kit that had
accompanied me on previous commissions was my racing bike (I had
represented the RN in inter–service competitions) and
Captain Dunlop allowed this concession to continue.
this was to be a commission like no other in my experience.
From day one on board I was informed that I would be responsible
for the Boy Seaman’s early morning PT whilst alongside.
Fortunately we soon left Pompey for Portland for working up
exercises mostly swinging round the buoy each night. any
thoughts of PT soon disappeared.
memory of the period between Portland and Gib is a bit vague.
Did we visit St Jean de Luz or was I thinking of another
arriving at Malta I soon made contact with Army and RAF cycling teams
and joined their training sessions when time permitted. This love of cycling nearly caused a career upset. One
weekend Carysfort was duty destroyer and this meant one watch ashore
only. Off I went, ignoring orders to remain close to the ship in case of
urgent recall. A couple of
hours later high up on the cliffs near RNAS Hal Far I spotted D25 at
rate of knots on a call out. Realising
that I could be in deep fertilizer I reported to main gate at RNAS.
They saw the funny side of my predicament giving me a meal and a
bed in the guardhouse on the understanding that I was gone by 0600 next
(Sunday) morning. I returned to Sliema
Creek and saw the ship at her buoy. When the liberty men came
ashore I returned aboard ready to receive whatever retribution due to
me. NOTHING - no
punishment, no harsh words. I spent the next few days keeping a low
profile (we were en route to Cyprus).
had the middle watch as we approached Morphou Bay to the north Cyprus,
turning in at 0400 only to be woken up by the bridge messenger to report
to the bridge PDQ. I did
just that, meeting a stoker who had been similarly summonsed.
Captain Dunlop called us both and told us that the Army required
a motorboats crew. Apparently
the squaddies were reducing their 40 ft Kitchener geared launch to
matchwood. With a sly reference to my previous weekend antics the
Captain said that I was volunteering together with the stoker to ease
the army’s problem. We were to report to the G.I. on the quarterdeck
to learn (in 10 minutes + 5 rounds) how to be competent each with a
service 38 revolver.
breakfast I explained to my messmates that I was being transferred to
the intelligence corps of the Royal Welsh Regiment. They as one became incapacitated by hysterical laughter.
The thought of me and intelligence was to much for them to
the hour we were both dropped off at a pier in Morphou
and told to wait for the Army to pick us up. We were met about an
hour by a couple of squaddies and escorted through the undergrowth to
their tented camp. Thus began the strangest three months of my career to
date. Our boat duties were
minimal and much of our time was spent with the Army out on patrols etc
as passengers in a ferret armoured car.
way through our “Army service” the R.W.Regiment went home and were
replaced by The Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Stokes & me were the camp “old hands”.
A truly great experience.
returned to the ship and I became the Postie until our arrival at Malta
for a minor refit. We were billeted ashore where I stayed until the end
of August spending my spare time either cycling or swimming with a
“townie” Wren. One of
my messmates accompanied her oppo and we made a foursome. This all came
to an abrupt end when a patrolman collared me on returning one afternoon
telling me that I was being drafted back to Chatham and my flight was in
ended my temporary posting - one of the most memorable .
am now in my mid 70s and other memories of that commission remain with
me although the order in which they occurred is somewhat confused. I
would like to make contact with anyone who remembers “that clown with
Can me and Stokes have a GS medal for our time in the Army gallantly
fighting EOKA terrorists?