Royal Canadian Navy (Reserve) 1960-1970
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I was always keen to go to sea. I first attended T.S. Exmouth, a navy training school run by the London County Council in 1945. I was there almost 2 years. It was not to the Royal Navy to which I aspired, I wanted to be an officer cadet in the merchant navy.
Cadet № 306 at T.S. Exmouth 1945
It was not to be however and so one cold, dark evening on November 19th 1946, I found myself among a group of other "Nozzers" on a picket boat crossing the harbour at Harwich approaching the jetty of H.M.S Ganges.
Photographs - courtesy of the H.M.S. Ganges Association Museum
There have been a succession of ships bearing the name "Ganges" in the Royal Navy starting in 1799 when a ship, the ex-Bengal, was given to the Royal Navy by The East India Company and renamed H.M.S. Ganges. Ganges, the "Stone Frigate" which I was about to enter, was first opened as the Royal Naval Training Establishment (RNTE) Shotley at Shotley in Suffolk in 1905. It became officially known as H.M.S. Ganges in 1927 and it remained so until 1976. I knew very little about H.M.S. Ganges at the time I entered but I soon discovered Ganges was still being run as if time had stood still for 100 years. The training was intensive and discipline strict - some might say harsh.
Before going on leave for Easter 1947, we were informed our class would be one of several moving to H.M.S. Bruce at Crail, Fife, Scotland. Compared to Ganges, H.M.S Bruce was a holiday resort. The discipline was still hard but not unbearable. The food was good and we ate our meals from chinaware in a cafeteria and not from tin mugs and plates. Bruce was a former Naval Air station, H.M.S. Jackdaw, during the Second World War.
So started my career in the Royal Navy, which was to last thirteen years and nine months. Seen below are the crests of the ships and establishments I served in and when.
|H.M.S. Wrangler||H.M.S. Zest||H.M.S. Solebay||H.M.S. Swiftsure||H.M.S. Alert||H.M.S. Crane|
|H.M.S. Ganges||H.M.S. Bruce||H.M.S. Pembroke||H.M.S. Vernon||H.M.S. Osprey||H.M.C.S. Unicorn|
|Ganges||Boy 2nd Class||None||19.11.1946||4.05.1947|
|Bruce||Boy 2nd Class||None||5.05. 1947||28.11.1947|
|Wrangler||Boy 1st Class||None||28.11.1947||12.03.1948|
|Pembroke||Boy 1st Class||None||13.03.1948||14.03.1948|
|Zest||Boy 1st Class||None||15.03.1948||28.09.1948|
|Pembroke||Ord Seaman||T.D.3||8. 03.1949||6.03.1949|
|Solebay||Ord Seaman||ditto||7.04. 1949||16.08.1949|
0n course for Diver
|Vernon||A.B.||TD 3 on course for TD 2||22.09.1950||13.03.1951|
|Pembroke||AB||TD 2 Embarkation leave||14.03.1951||30.04.1951|
|Alert||A.B. to Ldg. Seaman||UW 2||1.05.1951||28.12.1953|
|Pembroke||Ldg Seaman||UW 2||Dec 28 1953||22.03.1954|
|Vernon||Ldg Seaman to Acting P.O.||UW 2 on course for
Instructing Mines & Mine Warfare
|Osprey||P.O.||UW.1 on course for T.A.S. Instructor||9.03.1957||31.05.1957|
|Vernon||P.O.||T.A.S. Instructor's course||1.06.1957||6.06.1957|
|Royal Arthur||P.O.||T.A.S.I. Leadership Course||4.07.1957||28.08.1957|
|Ordinary Seaman circa 1950||Able Seaman with Hedgehog projectile HMS Alert||Leading Seaman Paybook Photo 1954|
|Petty Officer 1955
|Chief P.O. RCN(R) 1966
HMCS Unicorn Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
|Proficiency Award - March
HMCS Unicorn, Saskatoon