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Old Salts, do you remember Celia on the Tyne?


Gentlemen of our sea-based forces, I have to admit that I was of the cam-cream and green fraternity, and hence a form of interloper here.
However I would like to address those of you with some experience under your belts who may remember Celia S. who looked after the RN and NATO ships that came into the N.E. coast a few years back. She happens to be my well-loved aunt and whilst living quietly in retirement in Whitley Bay near to two of her three grandsons, she is still the same character that she always was. I know that it was a huge wrench to leave her job and the association with the Navy, both of which she loved.

Although she still claims to be 30 years old, there is actually quite a gap between declared and real age, and I thought that it would be a nice present to give her a reminder of those days. So I would like to ask that those of you who knew her to send a few personal words or post a story about her here, for personal messages you can simply PM me. I will then take the stories and messages and put them into a book/folio form which will be presented to her as a keepsake.
Should you have a friend who knows her please ask him or her to contribute, because obviously the more the merrier.

If you could recommend Naval associations or clubs which I could contact then that also would be a great help.

Celia often regales us with stories about you, and it would be nice to return the favour.

Thank-you for your help and time.
I only met Celia a couple of times but often talked with her on the phone when arranging ships' visits. Her reputation was legendary and I believe she was awarded the MBE for her services when she retired from NRO's staff. If she ever runs for PM, I will support her because there was nothing she couldn't do. I will put out some feelers.
I am forwarding this contribution from retired Boatswain Lt Cdr Doug Barlow RN:

"I well remember Celia - we worked and socialised together when I was the RN Staff Officer at HMS Calliope (Newcastle RNR) 1976 -78.

A couple of incidents: Celia on the jetty in pelting rain surrounded by sacks of spuds, groceries, drinks, etc to deliver to a ship that had been diverted. Then the occasion of an unhappy girl's voice on the phone, "HMS Nonsuch sailed away yesterday, do you know where to?" Celia - "When ships are here they are my responsibility. When they leave they are no longer my business." "Well, you should make it your business because I think my sister is still onboard."

Please convey my very best wishes and happy memories - Doug Barlow"
Celia rightly has a tremendous reputation, and part of it was the welfare of the sailors, quite a bit of her problem solving never came to the attention of the Navy as such.
One classic example happened when a young woman and her mother came to her office, the mother informing Celia that her daughter was pregnant, and that her daughter had allowed a matelot to take advantage of her whilst under the influence one Saturday night. Celia said that the sailor would be contacted and took down the relevant details which would then be passed on. Once this was done she chatted to the two women and apparently casually, as a mother herself, asked a few questions about babies, when it was due, and so on. The young woman inadvertently gave out that the baby would be born in April, which by a swift application of mathematics made her three months gone as opposed to the claimed two when the relevant matelot was in town.
Celia then invited the pair to leave her office, a job well done, and a young sailor rescued from what could have been a disastrous liaison with a young woman of questionable virtue.

With stories like this Celia I think deserves a few words from the men whose welfare she placed paramount, so if you know people please tell them about this, I will be grateful, and I know that Celia will be overwhelmed.

How could anyone forget her!! I was standing by Bristol in Swan Hunters for two years plus and met her on loads of occasions. Always immaculate and with all of the facts at her fingertips. Got more thatn one phone call to see if I could take visiting ships personnel out to some out of the way spot in the tilley. Glad to hear she is still well, tell her Nobby 'Clark from Bristol days wishes her well!!!

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