Dit sesh.

#1
Over Christmas I had lunch with the wife's uncle, he's a well to do chap in his 80's, CBE, director of various companies etc. basically an all round decent bloke. Anyway we got chatting about his Navy days and he spun me the dit about his career.

By virtue of the fact that his uncle was a Captain in the FAA he was lucky enough to do his National Service as a Naval Airman instead of a gopping pongo. After 6 weeks basic at Lee on Solent, he was posted to Yeovilton. From Yeovilton he was posted to HMS Vengeance and went on deployment.

While onboard he was typically beasted and treated like shit, as all National Servicemen generally were. Being a crafty fucker and well educated, he managed to wangle a job as a clerk of some sort and perfected the tried and tested art of walking around the ship looking busy with a clipboard. Eventually it got to the stage where he was so good at this that he actually had fuck all to do and got really bored.

One day while exploring the ship to stave off the boredom, he found a large pile of junk in the back of the hangar, that was left over from the war. Amongst the pile was a totally fucked American Jeep, he pulled it out and decided to use his time to restore it. Over the course of 6 months, he blagged favours from the stokers, chippies and pretty much every other person onboard to get the thing running and looking sweet. By the end of the deployment, the Jeep (with a variety of handmade bespoke parts) was gleaming and painted in RN blue with black wheels and white seat covers which were hand stitched by the sail maker. He even had hand painted ship's crests on it.

So splendid was his Jeep, the Commodore saw it and decided to use it as his personal runabout and made my uncle in law, his personal driver. He received a chit which entitled him to requisition fuel on behalf of the Admiralty and was tasked with delivering the Jeep from Scotland to Culdrose. After a 5 day drive, he was made official driver for the unit and spent the rest of his National Service, cruising around in the Jeep, nicking fuel out of planes at various air stations, using his chit as authority.

This was just after WW2 so few people could afford to run cars and fuel was strictly rationed. Having a vehicle at his disposal obviously made it much easier for him to trap and by all accounts a pretty banging time was had during those 18 months driving around the south coast.

Eventually he was offered a commission on the condition that he signed on for another 3 years, having a decent job waiting for him with the family firm, he fucked the offer off and demobbed, but not without being first arrested by the reggies and investigated for stealing fuel and driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle. Luckily the Commodore who signed his original fuel chit managed to fuck the reggies off and vouched for his good character and he got away with it, unfortunately they didn't let him keep the Jeep.

Any of you old fuckers on here remember a ginger chockhead driving about Cornwall in a handpainted blue Jeep around 1947 or 8? Anyone know what happened to it? I assume it was registered and continued to be used as a runabout.
 

Blackrat

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#4
That dit is a thing of beauty which even us gopping pongos appreciate. This man sounds like a legend. I'm certainly feeling the love.
 
#6
Nice phots Sol, could very well be the same Jeep before he restored it. I can't imagine there were that many cars knocking around on Vengeance.

He painted his Navy blue with black wheels, the sailmaker made a new hood for it in blue canvas and white seat covers stitched with naval crowns. It also had the squadron crests of the 40th (I think?) carrier group hand painted either side of the windscreen, one of which was 814 squadron. If the thing ever turns up it would be quite distinctive, it had lots of non standard parts that were fabricated onboard, including double windscreen wipers.
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#7
(After being lent to the RAN) Vengeance eventually clewed up as the Brazilian Minas Gerais. Sol's pics relate to the Light Fleets' maiden trip, to the Far East arriving just in time to miss the war. But without the atom bombs she and her sisters would have been pretty busy.
 
#9
No registration when he had it, it was literally a pile of junk that he and some other lads put together, no one ever thought about doing the paperwork. It was one of the reasons he was arrested eventually, the main point being that you aren't allowed to requisition fuel for a non military vehicle. Since the Jeep didn't officially exist on the RN's books, he was breaking the law.
 
#12
2DD

As he was in Helston have you tried asking Flambards? In their blitz bit there's a jeep although painted in pongo-ish colours, there's also a crab WW2 museum at Davidstow airfield that has vehicles and there's an historic vehicle museum around those parts as well.
 
#13
2DD

As he was in Helston have you tried asking Flambards? In their blitz bit there's a jeep although painted in pongo-ish colours, there's also a crab WW2 museum at Davidstow airfield that has vehicles and there's an historic vehicle museum around those parts as well.
Nice one, cheers for the info, I'll check it out. It would be cool to reunite him with his Jeep (or a similar one) if by some slim chance it still exists.
 
#14
My old man once gave me a book to read called the "Stone Frigate", basically it told the story of several matelots during WWII who managed to stay ashore for the whole war and never go to sea. They were based at HMS DRAKE and they managed to make themselves so indespensible to whoever they were employed by (Padre, Mail Office, Sickbay) that their bosses pulled every dodge in the book to keep them in their shore jobs while thousands of matalots were sunk during that period many of them more than once.
I think what happened afterwards is they married and had babies and many of these children themselves became matelots and are similar sea dodging Westo janner fcukers who are serving now.
 
#15
My old man once gave me a book to read called the "Stone Frigate", basically it told the story of several matelots during WWII who managed to stay ashore for the whole war and never go to sea. They were based at HMS DRAKE and they managed to make themselves so indespensible to whoever they were employed by (Padre, Mail Office, Sickbay) that their bosses pulled every dodge in the book to keep them in their shore jobs while thousands of matalots were sunk during that period many of them more than once.
I think what happened afterwards is they married and had babies and many of these children themselves became matelots and are similar sea dodging Westo janner fcukers who are serving now.
And there was me thinking that Stan will on soon saying its in the back of his shed!
 
#18
My old man once gave me a book to read called the "Stone Frigate", basically it told the story of several matelots during WWII who managed to stay ashore for the whole war and never go to sea. They were based at HMS DRAKE and they managed to make themselves so indespensible to whoever they were employed by (Padre, Mail Office, Sickbay) that their bosses pulled every dodge in the book to keep them in their shore jobs while thousands of matalots were sunk during that period many of them more than once.
I think what happened afterwards is they married and had babies and many of these children themselves became matelots and are similar sea dodging Westo janner fcukers who are serving now.
Reminds me of when me and the chief ran a pirate tea boat with rolls and egg banjos better than the naffi. We were coining it in and he contacted his oppo at drafty and got me off a draft chit, it lasted another six months before the canteen damager put the spoke in.
 
#20
I was randomly flicking through the Internet as one does and in amongst the shite I discovered this gem:

In September 1938 the ship in which I had been serving was paid off and we were in barracks awaiting further drafting. The winds of war had begun to blow and ships that had been in reserve, most of them in low care and maintenance, were being reactivated. I and a few others were sent to the dockyard to be gainfully employed as care and maintenance crew for these ships.
As we were few in number and only one ship’s galley was working we were on canteen messing. The fact that no canteen had been provided seemed to have escaped the notice of the powers that be and here I must digress to explain this peculiar anomaly: the Navy feeds, or as the term goes, 'victuals', the ship’s companies in different ways, depending on the size of the ship or, in some cases, on the ship’s situation. The officers have a separate galley where their food is processed. In Cruisers (and above) the term 'broadside messing' is used. In this method there is a central galley where all the cooking is done by professional cooks. Broadside refers to the way the individual messes are laid out. Long tables normally sit broadside in the ship and depending on the number of men in the mess the number of tables allocated can vary, but it is rarely more than two. The members of the mess share an affinity, that is, the stokers have a mess, the communication people have a mess and so on. These messes can be on different decks depending on the ship. The food for a mess is allocated based on numbers and the galley staff issues the food to a couple of members of the mess who take it below where it is shared. Then there was - I say 'was', because this system has thankfully died - 'canteen messing'. This was a botched system where the supply ship or depot supplied certain basics, such as meat and vegetables. A very small money allowance was given to each man in the mess and this was pooled to purchase other food. Despite gross inefficiency, this system persisted in Destroyers and smaller ships until at least the end of the war.
It was totally inefficient because on many occasions there was no supply ship or base available and the pitifully small allowance never covered the main meal requirement from commercial outlets. We were constantly under-funded and found ourselves having to subsidize out of our own pay the amount necessary to make up the difference. One person in the mess had to coordinate and be responsible for the purchasing of the basics to make a meal, but no one wanted the job so it was assigned on a day-to-day basis. It doesn’t take much imagination to see the disasters this led to on many occasions.
We struggled along, getting a ration of meat, some green vegetables, if available, and potatoes (which usually stank) from the dockyard stores. With this we could put together a main meal at noon but for breakfast and supper we were strictly on our own. There were twelve of us scattered between the ships, one or two from each branch. We all gathered in one mess on one of the destroyers for eating and sleeping. There was no heating and the moisture from cold condensation ran down the steel bulkheads. The situation was ridiculous and if this happened today it would make headline news and someone would suffer, that is if anyone would believe it and I still have difficulty believing it myself.
On one occasion, a Saturday, we had eaten our midday meal some hours before and had to think about supper. We had purchased some tinned corned beef, tinned sausages and that good old navy staple, tinned Pilchards. None of these appealed to the majority so we had to think of something else. One of the members of the group was a signalman called 'Birdie' Wing. In the Navy an artful dodger is known as a 'Bird'. This signalman was well named, according to both name and character. He should have had three good conduct badges, which were normally awarded to men who had completed over fifteen years plus of service. Birdie had none: in fact it was his proud boast that he had never had one they could take away, which was a common practice with those that transgressed. He was a big man, with the most devilish laughing blue eyes I had ever seen. He dressed immaculately even in our present sordid surroundings and in the tales I had heard there was not a signal staff on any ship who wouldn’t welcome him. He was apparently the best at his job.
Birdie came up with the suggestion that we should have lobsters. He knew a fishmonger who, on Saturdays, cleared out his stock of lobsters at half price. We thought it was a great idea so we all chipped in the amount he said he would need and off he went. It was raining and getting dark. The rain hadn’t let up all day and as he set off it seemed to get even worse. In Devonport and Plymouth the streetcars (or trams as they were called) were the main means of transportation. They passed right outside the dockyard gates, making it easy to get around. One problem however was that the top deck of some trams had no roof. Anyone riding up there was exposed to the elements and on a night like this it was misery.
Birdie picked up the streetcar right outside the gates and went inside, but someone had put a roofless car on service without regard for the weather. The conductor said, 'Sorry we are full up, you will have to ride on top.' Birdie gave a resigned shrug and went to climb the stairs when suddenly he stopped, 'Hey,' he said to the conductor, 'There is a dog in there on a seat.' The conductor pointed out that the owner had bought an animal ticket and the rules were it had to ride on a seat. 'But,' protested Birdie, 'I am the only one that needs a seat, surely…?' He didn’t get any further. 'Either go upstairs or get off,' was the answer. Birdie did not have much choice. If he got off he would be standing in the rain for fifteen minutes waiting for the next streetcar but if he went upstairs he would be at his destination in the same time. He went upstairs. When he arrived at his destination he was soaked.
He bought twelve lobsters, all alive and kicking, and carried them out in the basket provided by the fishmonger. He knew the terminus was only a little way on so he walked through the still pouring rain to where the streetcar started its round trip. He got onboard and bought a ticket for himself and twelve animal tickets. Under the astonished gaze of the conductor he proceeded to put a lobster on each seat with a ticket jammed in its claw. The conductor protested, 'You can’t do that.' Birdie looked down at him, 'Try and stop me.' The conductor looked him up and down and decided he had better get going. He rang the bell and the streetcar started for its first stop, which was outside a cinema. The performance had just finished and the queue in the pouring rain was very long.
There was a concerted rush to get on, but Birdie, standing on the platform, made sure that only the number to fit the empty seats were allowed into the bottom deck. When he reached this number he physically blocked the entrance for anyone else and pointed upstairs. It didn’t take long for someone to spot the lobsters and the riot started - mainly among the queue outside as the limited space at the entrance permitted only two people to be on the platform and it seems there weren’t two people prepared to try and physically remove Birdie.
The police car with Birdie and the lobsters arrived on the dock. Two policemen came onboard with Birdie and it was from them we got the story. Only by promising him a ride home had they managed to convince Birdie to collect his lobsters. While Birdie boiled the lobsters, the policemen had an illegal tot of rum. As they tried to explain Birdie's escapade they laughed until they cried, and we had difficulty getting the full story. They said they would dine out on the tale for the rest of their lives.
 
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