Longest career in RN uniform (excluding Admirals)?

Discussion in 'The Quarterdeck' started by Naval_Gazer, Dec 17, 2011.

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  1. This thread on RR refers to the recent retirement of Lt Peter Durrant MBE RN after 49 years and nine months in uniform. Ignoring certain Admirals who never retire, is this a record for an RN officer/rating serving in uniform?

    The reason I ask is that, coincidentally, someone has asked me whether any RN officers can beat the 50 years in uniform of Dennis 'Taff' Sweeney. This article, published in the Australian Navy News in Oct 2009, says he joined the RN as a Junior Seaman at HMS Ganges in 1962 but it must have been 1961 if he had actually chalked up 48 years (perhaps he passed out in 1962?) by the time it was written. I have since heard that Taff, an old friend, was 'dined out' of the RAN as a Lt Cdr on 9 Dec 2011 after '50 years in uniform' (24 years RN and 26 years RAN).

    I am asking Taff for the precise date he joined Ganges and will report back.
  2. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator

    Thinking about it, if you were a powder monkey then seamen etc finally ending up the ships cook or something because you'd known no other life than the navy you'd have racked up the years. No way of ever finding out if anyone did this but there must have been a few.
  3. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    I'm fairly sure there used to be a handfull of 'promised men' in the RN who were guaranteed a contract to 65 (unlike 55 today), so unless I dreamt that one up, 50 years is entirely feasible.

    Not able to 'Google' it further to check, with any ease as I'm using a mobile at the mo'
    • Like Like x 1
  4. You didn't dream it up.

    The last one, CPO Price, retired in 1993, having joined in 1948 and been guaranteed employment until the age of 65 in 1970.

    He served for 22 years in the DQs in Pompey.
  5. I think over the years .there were a few chiefs who were DQs staff who probably racked up that type of service !!.I heared tales over the years
  6. 'Kin 'ell!

    Did he murder someone or something?

    The two longest serving ******* I knew of where Eric H******* the Seadart God who'd done about 40 years and an instructor at the Seamanship School who'd done 38 but this included a stint outside in the Fire Brigade.
  7. There are a few FTRS personnel still serving past age 60, theoretical upper age limit for them is 65 so a 16 year old joiner amongst them could do 49 years service.
  8. Knew of 3 "Promised men"; "Trudie" Trounsen, Norman Hill, both at Dolphin in the 80`s and Martin Geddes at Sultan.
    Dont know when they started but finished at 65.
  9. Probably the Norman Hill of the OMC Simulator - I used to sometimes meet him on the Square until fairly recently but he passed away about 2/3 years ago. RIP.

    There were two others at Neptune Peri-Shop in the late '70s; one was ERA Cassell (reverted at own request from Ch ERA to stay within his circuit) I cannot remember the other.
  10. There was a famous 3 badger in my day who served the same as Mountbatten did or close,we were tied up along side of his ship but I forget the name only that he was the longest serving below decker.
    It's a bit vague but he used to have stiff broom hoistedup the mast for some reason or other.
    It seems him and Mountbatten got on famously but he was a pain to others in the ships he was on.
    I glimpsed him on the ship and had his whole story from another 3 badger.
    It seems no-one could give him orders and he spent all his time in the Bosuns locker.
    I may be wrong on some points but maybe someone will know.

  11. Its longer than you think, try 5.
  12. I joined up in '87 and at Dryad there was some old "actual" GI not a CPO(M) or whatever they are now days (AW(M)??). Legend said they were keeping him on to bury HMQM. By all accounts he buried Churchill. I have had one ot two wines so can't recall his name.
  13. IIRC correctly, his name was Parker (Charlie ?). He retired from the RN in the early 60s, remember seeing him being interviewed on TSW/Westward. Not a broom, but a brass ball methinks. His ship was either ST KITTS or FINISTERRE. When he went outside, he became Mountbatten's gardener at Broadlands. Also believe him and Lord Louis were the last two serving with WW 1 medals ?
  14. A guy who I'd thought never to see again was a shipwright . Was on a destroyer with him 1958-59 I met him again in Faslane in the 1980's
    he was doing non continuous service as a rigger I/c of the heavy gang .
    He was on the Amethyst and the China Station 1949 and I don't know when he joined prior to then -Shipwrights did Caledonia for about
    4 years before going to the fleet.
    He was still there when I left Faslane 1985 not sure how Non continuous service worked -you still wore the uniform but wether you were still entitled to Lsgc etc and pension time --mind you the tax man would have had a ball with full time working -and pension income.

    • Like Like x 1
  15. When I was on the Bulwark ('74 - '77) the buffer was an old and bold FCPO with WW2 medals, he also wore a green beret as he qualified to wear it working with the booties. I'd have to look in the commissioning book for his name though.
  16. George Parker was on the Camperdown in the early 60's, I was on Finisterre at the time. Had to go over to Camperdown to bum some gear and saw George in his caboosh. He was a crabby, smelly dirty old git!

    I have a newspaper cutting about my instructor at the G spot. POGI Roy Smalley joined the RN in October 1945 and was a "promised" man. He left the RN on his 65th birthday. The picture shows him stood outside RNDQ, where he was Chief Instructor, with kitbag and hammock prior to heading off into the sunset.
  17. Navy News published an item about George Parker in its November 2009 issue.

    See page 12, "Heroes of the Royal Navy No. 67 - AB 'George' Parker BEM".

    Navy News November 2009

    Also see page 27 of Navy News, January 2010 issue, "George, a legend in his own locker":

    Navy News Jan 2010
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011
  18. Thank you Soleil. Even George Parker's 44 years in uniform is six short of Taff Sweeney's 50 but please keep 'em coming.
  19. I have now received this response from Taff:

    Russ Crawford Maggie and Taff Sweeney Russ Crane med.jpg
    Maggie and Taff Sweeney flanked by Lt Cdr Russ Crawford and
    Vice Admiral Russ Crane (former Chief of the Royal Australian Navy)
    who both served as exchange officers in the
    Minewarfare Section at HMS Vernon during the 1980s

    The RAN Media Library website contains more photos of Taff's retirement ceremony held at HMAS Penguin on 9 Dec 2011.

    So, has anyone beaten Taff's time in naval uniform or is this a record?

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