I started as an Ordinary Seaman at Victoria Barracks in Portsmouth where 4 weeks was spent on basic training such as drill and boat work and undertaking tests for officer suitability. I passed these and was drafted to HMS Indefatigable as a National Service Upper Yardsman, a sort of lower deck officer cadet, for four months training.
As part of the training here and during the subsequent period as a Midshipman, we had to complete about 3 foolscap pages a week of a Journal describing doings of the week and other nautical matters usually with some sort of sketch or drawing. I have been encouraged to scan my journal and post details on the web due to a lack of available history of RN ships on the net.Most of the training was class work covering navigation, flag and morse communication, weapons, regulations and so on as well as practical boatwork and visits to other ships and shore establishments.
The ship was based in Portland Harbour and the summer cruise covering Scotland and Denmark made a pleasant change. The highlight was being invited one weekend by a Danish acquaintance to the opening of a new pub in Aarhus.You can view or download the part of my journal covering this period. It is about 4Mb in size and is in DJVU format. Those unfamiliar with this format can download a free viewer from the DJVU web site.
You can view or download my journal covering this period. It is about 5Mb in size.
You can view or download my journal covering this period. It is rather larger than the others, about 12Mb in size.
My remaining few months in the navy were spent on a Torpedo and Anti-Submarine (TAS) course at HMS Vernon in Portsmouth as a Sub-Lieutenant.This went well though I wasn't much good as an Asdic operator since my hearing wasn't sufficiently good musically to interpret the doppler shifts in the return echoes used to determine the direction a submarine was moving.
Most sea training was as a supernumerary aboard merchant ships as the training officer had very good business contacts with shipping lines. On board one usually stood the morning watch with the mate and had a relaxed time with plenty of time ashore at ports. Trips included a Scandinavian voyage to Denmark and Sweden with Ellerman Wilson, a short run to Holland with General Steam, a coastal to Antwerp with P & O cargo and a part ocean leg from Genoa to Sunderland with Port Line.
One year was different, when two weeks were spent with the German Bundesmarine aboard the Seeadler class S-Boot "Bussard" (illustrated) of the 2nd Schnellboot geschwader, based in Willemshaven. The boat exercised daily with two side trips, one overnight to Heligoland, by this time turned from a WWII fortress into a holiday resort, and the other via the Kiel Canal to Eckernforde in the Baltic Sea. She had four MAN diesels giving a maximum speed of 42 knots and was unable to keep within the canal's 6 knot speed limit even with one engine at minimum revolutions! The canal authorities turned a blind eye to this as they had no wish to provide a free towing service.Top
Count since 1/11/10.