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Frank's Place

My Service:

Royal Navy 1946-1960

Royal Canadian Navy (Reserve) 1960-1970

Please click on the thumbnails

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.

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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.

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H.M.S. Ganges circa 1901 Main Gate 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.

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Boy Seaman 1st Paybook photo Early 1947 HMS Ganges Summer 1947 HMS Bruce

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.

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H.M.S. Wrangler H.M.S. Zest H.M.S. Solebay H.M.S. Swiftsure H.M.S. Alert H.M.S. Crane
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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



Ship Rating Non-Sub Rating From To
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 None 29.09.1948 5.11.1948
Vernon Ord Seaman T.D.3 6.11.1948 7.03.1949
Pembroke Ord Seaman T.D.3 8. 03.1949 6.03.1949
Solebay Ord Seaman ditto 7.04. 1949 16.08.1949
Pembroke A.S. TD 3

0n course for Diver

17.08.1949 29.11.1949
Swiftsure A.B. TD 3 30.11.1949 1.09.1950
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 UW 1
Instructing Mines & Mine Warfare
23.03.1954 8.03.1957
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
Vernon P.O. T.A.S.I. 7.06. 1957 3.07.1957
Royal Arthur P.O. T.A.S.I. Leadership Course 4.07.1957 28.08.1957
Crane P.O. T.A.S.I. 30.08.1958 30.04.1959
Pembroke P.O. T.A.S.I. 1.05.1958 19.05.1959
Vernon P.O. T.A.S.I 20.05.1959 27.06.1960
Victory (Release) P.O. T.A.S.I. 28.06.1960 30.07.1960



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Ordinary Seaman circa 1950 Able Seaman with Hedgehog projectile HMS Alert Leading Seaman Paybook Photo 1954


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Petty Officer 1955
Chief P.O. RCN(R) 1966
HMCS Unicorn  Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Proficiency Award - March 28, 1966
HMCS Unicorn, Saskatoon

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Frank "Lofty" Waterfield

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Copyright Frank Waterfield - 2011
Last update: March 21, 2011