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Famous/successful ex-Royal Navy people


Lantern Swinger
I think this thread has been run previously but;

Duncan Bannatyne (dragons den, million pound give away).
Raised in the town of Clydebank and from a relatively poor family, Bannatyne joined the Royal Navy where he served several years before receiving a dishonorable discharge for attempting to throw an officer off a vessel. In his biography he claims this was in part a reaction to this officer's abuse of his authority, in part a dare, and in part a way of getting out of the Navy, with which he had become disillusioned. After the incident he had to serve 9 months in a military detention centre before being discharged .

Anyone know any others who made it big?
James Callaghan was the last Prime Minister who served in the Royal Navy. It is a shame the current incumbant did not have a similar background.


War Hero
phil1972 said:
James Callaghan was the last Prime Minister who served in the Royal Navy. It is a shame the current incumbant did not have a similar background.

Dont think Mr bliar has the backbone mate, and as for Brown, well, enough said


Lantern Swinger
Since found this - very interesting i thought!

Duncan Bannatyne.
By my 16th birthday I'd already left school. I dreamt of being rich one day - I just didn't know how to go about it. The only thing that caught my eye was an advertisement promising a bright future in the Royal Navy. So, a week after turning 16, I signed on for 12 years.

For the first year I was based at a training ground near Ipswich. Then, in 1966, I was transferred to the cruiser HMS Tiger. By 1968, three years into naval life, I was serving on HMS Eagle, an aircraft carrier. I'd got to see a lot of the world, but I was disenchanted. I seemed to be spending most of my time in the boiler room or cleaning toilets. I'd also acquired a record for 14 minor offences including bad timing, drinking alcohol aboard ship and insubordination.

I had a week's leave in September of that year. On the night that I was due back, HMS Eagle was anchored off Lossiemouth, on the northeast coast of Scotland. The rule was you had to be back by midnight, and to get us onto the ship, a liberty boat was used to ferry people between the ship and the jetty. By about 11pm, there were quite a few of us waiting for it to arrive. It was cold and dark. Then we found out the liberty boat was waiting at the ship for some officers who were going to be seeing their guests back ashore after an on-board party.

Eventually the liberty boat arrived with them. I guess I must've been standing by the edge because my commanding officer (CO) got off, saw me and - poking me in the chest with his torch - said: 'Make a gangway.' I could tell he was drunk and he was showing off to the girl who was with him. I didn't like his attitude, so I turned around and said: 'Don't do that again.' He just looked at me. A mate of mine was standing next to me and I said to him: 'If he does that again, I'll throw him over the bloody side.' As far as I was concerned, this CO was a stuck-up public schoolboy with no decorum, no common sense and no guts. In fact, I'd already had runs-ins with him, so you could say we had a history. My mate said: 'I bet you £5 you don't.'

Hearing this, I didn't wait for the officer to say another word. I grabbed hold of his legs, lifted him into the air and literally had him upside down. I was just about to throw him over the guardrail into the water when a group of officers realised what was about to happen and jumped on me. They grabbed my arms and pulled me away. The CO didn't say a thing - he just looked terrified. Then the military police arrived, and before I knew it I was being taken aboard the Eagle and dragged off to one of the ship's cells.

The following morning I was told I was going to face a captain's hearing, then I would be court-martialled. I was kept in the cell for another three weeks until the ship docked at Rosyth, near Edinburgh. Then I was removed from the ship and taken to a room at the naval base, where I stood in front of naval officers and judges. Did I regret what I'd done? The answer was no. And I was prepared to accept the consequences. I was found guilty of showing violence to a superior officer and sentenced to nine months at Colchester detention barracks.

My mum had been particularly proud of me joining the navy, so I didn't want to let her down by telling her what had happened. But the whole affair hit the local headlines and she ended up seeing me on the TV news. I served just over six months of my sentence and at the end, although I was asked if I wanted to go back into the navy, I said no - I wanted out for good. Instead I went back home.

I was 20, I had no references, no qualifications and I was penniless. In one way I was back where I'd started. But in another sense I'd come a long way. I'd walked away from that whole naval experience realising that nobody else was going to stand up for me, or help me realise my potential. If I was going to succeed in life, then everything was down to me. Back home in Clydebank, I woke up realising that while I was not master of the seas, I was master of my own destiny. It was a major turning point. Thirty-seven years later, not only would I have made my first million, but I would have made my first hundred million.
I'd question the succesful/famous bit, I used to be Mr Blobby for BBC enterprises when I left the corps, anyone could have done it. does this count?


War Hero
wet_blobby said:
I'd question the succesful/famous bit, I used to be Mr Blobby for BBC enterprises when I left the corps, anyone could have done it. does this count?

Dear god,tell me youre shittin' me! :shock:
andym said:
wet_blobby said:
I'd question the succesful/famous bit, I used to be Mr Blobby for BBC enterprises when I left the corps, anyone could have done it. does this count?

Dear god,tell me youre shittin' me! :shock:

Sorry shippers, some twat had too :lol:
John (now Lord) Patten... ex-G-Spot inmate along with Dr Rhodes-Boyson. A former Attorney-General in Thatcher's Government, who died of cancer - cannot recall his name, also was immensily proud of his RN dats and having gone from Westminster School to the G-Spot!

Godfrey Winn (the ww2 journo).... also ex-G-Spot

Geoff Capes survived several weeks in the Green Mansions at Shotley before being discharged. Was very unhappy there, apparently.

Then there's Nigel (now Lord) Lawson.....


War Hero
wet_blobby said:
I'd question the succesful/famous bit, I used to be Mr Blobby for BBC enterprises when I left the corps, anyone could have done it. does this count?

Not this time
When I was on Ark Royal 1976 we had loads of Mr Blobby's after a trip to Rio :razz:


Lantern Swinger
John Harvey-Jones (Former Chairman of ICI & star of the "Troubleshooter" TV programme) was an MTB CO in the war, I think.
Can't believe no-one's mentioned Sir Donald Gosling yet. Served in boats as a Chief then left in 1948 and bought up some land in Birmingham which he turned into a car park. Made so much money on that, he bought other vacant inner city plots of land and turned them into car parks too. Eventually sold the company for £290M, you may have heard it - National Car Parks?

Nowadays he spends summer in the Med and winter in the Caribbean on his custom-made 245ft yacht, the Leander II (he retired the Leander after many years faithful service). His yacht is crewed exclusively by ex-Navy types, and when he's not enjoying his retirement, he's popping up unannounced at ships and boats on port visits all over the world with large amounts of beer in tow.

I remember New Year's Day 1992, Desert Shield in full swing, we're enjoying a few days off in Bahrain. Sir Don pitches up with half an hours' warning with a truck full of beer and a comedian in tow, puts on a show on the Flight Deck for the ship's company. Comedian was hilarious, ex Chief Stoker SM.

Fantastic bloke, bless him. Here's to Sir Don!
I heard a dit, don't know if it is true that he bought a load of TVs and DVDs for all the ratings messes, certainly have em on the Ark, when he sold NCP.
Yeah, he does stuff like that. He still has contacts in the Fleet who let him know what's going on, and he regularly donates gear to Ratings Messes when he finds out they're lacking certain items of kit. Not unusual for ships in build or refit to find containers full of gucci gear arrive on the jetty courtesy of Sir Don. The guy is a diamond geezer.
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