Not Your Average Draft


Have any of you received your draft notice and thought "What the f*ckin 'ells that?"

HMS Collingwood, Sultan, Defiance or Nelson were obvious but in 1983 I was given "DNR Wroughton" when I finished on the Brazen.

DNR Wroughton?? Let me explain for those who don't know:
DNR (Director of Naval Recruiting) and Wroughton was an Airfield near Swindon where The RN owned a few Hangers. I was on site "SA" supplying Recruiting Literature to all the careers offices and also helping to tart up the Wagons that went round the country during the summer.
The whole jolly was run by Careers service Officers/CPO's/PO's over me and a bunch of Guys from the FAA.
Berets were not required, Afternoons were a fact it was like being in some obscure Will Hay film.
We were barracked at the nearby RAFPA Hospital Wroughton.
Yes...Lots of Nurses, gagging for it!! Thats not sexist...thats a fact. Not that I indulged....much! 8O
I did 18 months there and enjoyed every moment......Great Fun!

Anyone else serve there? Or anywhere as good??


War Hero
Well I imagine HMS Caledonia is a good draft as there is absolutely NOTHING there. (Hence no work to do.)
I went through there on Friday night and the place is so quiet I had an entire accommodation block to myself (Anson block - 100 or so bunks). It was a cold, dark and windy night, no lights were on but the door was open 8O so I just wandered in. Caledonia is eerily quiet - nobody is there except a few permanent staff. I happened to meet one of them in the Naafi (the only other guy in there) - a very strange creature 8O 8O 8O , a bearded 3-badge AB with an RO branch badge ("so you're not an OM then?" I asked, the answer was no, he refused to change). Chest full of medals, nearly done 22 years. Few and far between they are (3-badge AB RO's I mean). I was stunned to actually encounter someone who works at Caledonia, I'm sure you could go for a week there and not see anyone else. It was obviously built when the navy was much bigger than it is now. I find there is an atmosphere about the place that it's living on borrowed time, just imagine what Ganges is like now but without all the undergrowth, plus a few MoD plod on the guardhouse - that's what it feels like. So... Caledonia. Enormous and desolate save for a handful of staff like the bearded RO, probably boring to be drafted there.. but easy by the looks of things.
I was there doing trade training in the sixties . Busy place then .

I visit now and again and still see ghosts when I go through, as you say its a big place and always seems deserted.All the old training buildings are still there but they have been gutted of instructional equipment.
I think the swimming pool and gym areas get well used by the various civvy clubs .

The changing Navy .


War Hero
Swimming pool has recently been re-opened after being closed for a while (in order to remove asbestos from the walls).
What is still called "the factory" (or barrackmaster's building as the GI's say) is now a drill shed-cum-car park.
You can see some decommissioned boats sitting in the harbour below, I wonder which ones they are?
The Submarines are all Nuc ones --run out of time .
They still haven't made up their minds yet on what to do with them!
Not sure about any others -grey funnel that is .I don't go in the Dockyard at all now .
Thats another place full of ghosts !!!


War Hero
I love how the RNR unit within Calley's website says the unit is situated in "modern" accommodation.
No it's not, it's situated in what look like WW1 era buildings and every corridor is covered with pictures of ships the navy used to have... :lol:
It's a ghostly place all right.


Book Reviewer
Greenie & dunkers said:
Memories of Caledonia

Hmm, the swimming pool - I learned to swim there back in the early 70s when the Repulse (my Dad was a CPO OA working in the Bomb Shop) was on her first refit. The Repulse crew were also instrumental in setting up the "Sub Club" in one of the then redundant buildings which, if my fading memory serves me right, is not too far from where Scotia is now.

I next went back to Calley in the late 70s on a career's acquaint for tiffs while still at as a school - I spent three days living in an old barrack block, Hawke, which coincidentally had been where my Dad had been billeted in the early 50s! During this visit we were introduced to the workshop facilities (I still have the aluminium dice I made somewhere) and sports facilities as well as that wonderful tradition of rail-warrants and subsistence from the Career's Service.

My next visit to Rosyth was in the late 80s on a 10MCM visit - Calley was being run down with all resources being dedicated to Cochrane; then during Op Fresco a couple or three years back, I went up to Rosyth again to assist the Penzance during refit (her crew were off playing at being Fireman Sam!). This time, Calley was open once again, Cochrane was long gone and converted to a civvy port, the dockyard had been handed over to Babcocks, the married quarter patch was now housing association homes, my old school had been burned down in an arson attack, and the old WW2 pre-fabs (aka Dolly-Town) had all gone, along with the extensive playing fields that had once belonged to Pusser.

Nostalgia, just ain't what it used to be!