Having picked up my third badge the previous year, I was considered an "old b*****d", but certainly didn't feel old! Just returned from twelve months FES, came back off leave to find all my Chinese cooks had turned into Maltese and the ship was all set for a year in the Med.
Based in Malta, I was able to fly Mrs Mango and the three kids out for the duration (borrowed £186 from the brother in law for their fare).
The "£1000 a year serviceman" headline appeared in the Daily Mirror a couple of years later, but we felt quite well off with what we earned in those days. Rented a house in Birzebuggia for £11 a month, drew RA and LOA, and was entitled to a generous duty free issue of spirits from NAAFI every month. Fresh fruit and veg were unbelievably cheap, the kids went to the Naval school at Verdala and we had a wonderful time.
Pure unadulterated joy was that year! October I walked out of Victory barracks with a demob chit after wandering in 2 hours adrift and the MAA couldn't charge me!
Ten years of enjoyment/piss ups,leg overs and fury ended with an almighty piss up and wondering what the future lay in store.
The Jimmy told me he could not recommend me for any employment outside!
Stupid twat! I told him I'd be earning more than him and a captain in a year or two and I did.