Regret

Line70

Newbie
Hi
I thought i would post a thread concerning my experience with joining the Royal Navy as it has been on my mind recently.
I passed the selection process in 1989 at the age of 18 and arrived at HMS Raleigh in October of that year which was the culmination of a long term dream to have a career in the Royal Navy and was accepted as a potential Weapons Engineering Mechanic.
To cut a long story short my arrival at HMS Raleigh was nothing short of a disaster,i was pensive on the way down on the train from the West Midlands and my anxiety grew out of control on arrival at Raleigh.I had little experience of being away from home and from what i recall i was in a state of shock during the initial formalities and when allocated my bed in the living quarters.
I just sat on my bed stunned,frightened,an experience i had never felt before and could'nt comprehend the various requirements needed as a new recruit which the CPO was guiding us through.
I distinctly remember not being able to eat the evening meal and returning to our beds i began to sob particulary when the lights came on and it grew dark outside.The austere surroundings coupled with the seemingly unsympathetic staff and being in the company of dozens of other young men all appearing nonplussed by the experience just served to fuel my desperation and fear,my sobbing now becoming apparent to everyone.
The day eventually came to an end and my memory is a little hazy now but awakening early in the morning the following day my sobbing continued unabated and the same pattern continued through the various formalities and processing,unable to eat and almost paralyzed with a dull thudding fear i remember being spoken to an officer privately,i was adamant that i wanted to leave straight away and such was my condition i was obviously deemed unsuitable for further training and my wish was granted little more than 48 hours after arriving.
The moral to my experience is that i have deeply regretted it for almost 30 years,it is something i have wanted to get off my chest for sometime as i have always felt a great deal of shame and regret as im sure if i had given it a few more days the initial shock would have subsided and i would have settled into an exciting and life changing experience.I deeply regret not being able to make my mother proud of her son and having a successful and rewarding life.I realize it was a pivotal moment in my life which i would never have again due to emotional immaturity and one which has now resulted in a lifetime of unhappy and unfulfilling life choices and decisions.
 

SONAR-BENDER

War Hero
An interesting and very honest post.

I recall when I joined up a couple of the lads wrapped in immediately and I thought what prats for not giving it a go. I do wonder why they did it and what regrets they might have had - only they know.

Sadly for you it is now too late as you must be mid 40s at least, (possibly too old for RNR?) but why not try helping out at the Sea Cadets or similar? They are always desperate for adult instructors.
 
A sobering experience from the OP and all credit to @Line70 for sharing it with us after all those years.

Even back in my entry (1960 Blush/Wink) there were a couple of guys similarly traumatised by their initial shock and who abruptly left us within the first couple of days.

Whilst us oldies might chuckle sometimes at the bone questions posted at RR by today's newbies at least the communication lines are far far better these days - Besides which the current 'opt-out windows' ensure that there are far fewer of those unfortunate souls unprepared for the transition into an itchy blue suit.
 
As a little aside...

My 13yr old G'Daughter returned from RALEIGH last weekend with an accolade from her experience as a participant at a National Sea Cadets Armed Guard Competition.

Should she ever return to RN circles in whatever capacity at least she gained the experience of tromping across that very same Parade Ground that gave me a few blisters back in 1960...
 
Gotta say I felt pretty much the same at Raleigh in the early '60', back in the days when you signed on at just turned sixteen, you were in and that was it. Whilst at Raleigh I often thought of going on the trot but having my old man telling me I had made my bed and must lie in it, and "I told you so".....that and ultimately I didn't have the guts to go on the trot. Hind sight is 20/20 and as it turns out, going into the mob was probably the best thing I ever did in my formative years, laying the bricks for the rest of my life. But different strokes for different folks...sometimes you got to walk in the other blokes shoes to understand/appreciate.
 

fishhead

War Hero
For those of us who joined and survived the separation from family and home the OP's story is barely credible but that is underestimating the power of the human imagination. However much you want something sometimes the little voice is in the back of your brain saying "forget it mate you're not going to succeed". If that little voice gets too loud the rest of the brain joins in convincing you that it is a hopeless cause.
Leaving my family was no big deal as we were never that close and although I had my doubts whether I'd chosen the right course all the way through training and beyond in the end all turned out well
 

Shipspotter

Badgeman
I made the same mistake in 2004, I left at week 6 for a woman and I have regretted it and hated myself for ever since!!

Luckily for me, I’m young enough to correct my mistake and I am rejoining in June, with a wife and kids in tow!!
 

Sumo

War Hero
I made the same mistake in 2004, I left at week 6 for a woman and I have regretted it and hated myself for ever since!!

Luckily for me, I’m young enough to correct my mistake and I am rejoining in June, with a wife and kids in tow!!
Good luck
 

taffscrivs

War Hero
I made my mind up after the first month of basic training at Raleigh that the Navy was not for me.
In those days (1970) you could leave after 6 weeks by paying the princely sum of £20, almost a months pay in training! A few of my classmates left so I asked my old chap to lend me the money to get out. He refused.
His reply? "Stay were you are son The Navy will be the making of you."
Almost 50 years on I'm still unsure if he was right or wrong!
 

fishhead

War Hero
I made my mind up after the first month of basic training at Raleigh that the Navy was not for me.
In those days (1970) you could leave after 6 weeks by paying the princely sum of £20, almost a months pay in training! A few of my classmates left so I asked my old chap to lend me the money to get out. He refused.
His reply? "Stay were you are son The Navy will be the making of you."
Almost 50 years on I'm still unsure if he was right or wrong!
Time to give him the benefit of the doubt I think.:)
 
When I joined in '66, once signed on the dotted you were in with no way out until you qualified for PVR (or D by P as we put it) some years hence.
I took to it like a duck to water and for the first week or so everything was new and exciting.
As for your experience, there's nothing shameful or lessening about it, you just weren't ready to leave home for a completely foreign and, what was to many, a relatively hostile environment.

You should consider yourself fortunate that you had the way out that so many before you didn't have.
Two of my intake attempted suicide and they were discharged very quickly.
A third, a farm boy, had a really hard time adjusting, especially to the drill, which made him a figure of fun. He literally didn't know left from right and was one of those who swung each arm with the corresponding leg while attempting to march. He just couldn't get the hang of it. He was an impressively strong lad but as mild as milk and he was unable to sleep or eat and his health deteriorated visibly. He was severely homesick, too and he only came from about 20 miles away.
This was all noticed by the training staff and after 3 weeks he was gone. We didn't see him go, he was just there one morning, called away from training and when we got back to our hut he was gone.

This is not something you should regret, the mob isn't for everyone. It's unlikely you would have thrived had you persevered through basic, you just hadn't yet developed the emotional resilience needed at that time.
 

taffscrivs

War Hero
When I joined in '66, once signed on the dotted you were in with no way out until you qualified for PVR (or D by P as we put it) some years hence.
I took to it like a duck to water and for the first week or so everything was new and exciting.
As for your experience, there's nothing shameful or lessening about it, you just weren't ready to leave home for a completely foreign and, what was to many, a relatively hostile environment.

You should consider yourself fortunate that you had the way out that so many before you didn't have.
Two of my intake attempted suicide and they were discharged very quickly.
A third, a farm boy, had a really hard time adjusting, especially to the drill, which made him a figure of fun. He literally didn't know left from right and was one of those who swung each arm with the corresponding leg while attempting to march. He just couldn't get the hang of it. He was an impressively strong lad but as mild as milk and he was unable to sleep or eat and his health deteriorated visibly. He was severely homesick, too and he only came from about 20 miles away.
This was all noticed by the training staff and after 3 weeks he was gone. We didn't see him go, he was just there one morning, called away from training and when we got back to our hut he was gone.

This is not something you should regret, the mob isn't for everyone. It's unlikely you would have thrived had you persevered through basic, you just hadn't yet developed the emotional resilience needed at that time.
Totally agree with Bandy, it's not for everyone. So don't look back with regret old pal, it's not a missed opportunity, more a change of direction. And in your case probably for the better in the long run.
 

clonmel

Lantern Swinger
Hi
I thought i would post a thread concerning my experience with joining the Royal Navy as it has been on my mind recently.
I passed the selection process in 1989 at the age of 18 and arrived at HMS Raleigh in October of that year which was the culmination of a long term dream to have a career in the Royal Navy and was accepted as a potential Weapons Engineering Mechanic.
To cut a long story short my arrival at HMS Raleigh was nothing short of a disaster,i was pensive on the way down on the train from the West Midlands and my anxiety grew out of control on arrival at Raleigh.I had little experience of being away from home and from what i recall i was in a state of shock during the initial formalities and when allocated my bed in the living quarters.
I just sat on my bed stunned,frightened,an experience i had never felt before and could'nt comprehend the various requirements needed as a new recruit which the CPO was guiding us through.
I distinctly remember not being able to eat the evening meal and returning to our beds i began to sob particulary when the lights came on and it grew dark outside.The austere surroundings coupled with the seemingly unsympathetic staff and being in the company of dozens of other young men all appearing nonplussed by the experience just served to fuel my desperation and fear,my sobbing now becoming apparent to everyone.
The day eventually came to an end and my memory is a little hazy now but awakening early in the morning the following day my sobbing continued unabated and the same pattern continued through the various formalities and processing,unable to eat and almost paralyzed with a dull thudding fear i remember being spoken to an officer privately,i was adamant that i wanted to leave straight away and such was my condition i was obviously deemed unsuitable for further training and my wish was granted little more than 48 hours after arriving.
The moral to my experience is that i have deeply regretted it for almost 30 years,it is something i have wanted to get off my chest for sometime as i have always felt a great deal of shame and regret as im sure if i had given it a few more days the initial shock would have subsided and i would have settled into an exciting and life changing experience.I deeply regret not being able to make my mother proud of her son and having a successful and rewarding life.I realize it was a pivotal moment in my life which i would never have again due to emotional immaturity and one which has now resulted in a lifetime of unhappy and unfulfilling life choices and decisions.
Don't beat yourself up about it pal.

We all take different paths in life and not all of your choices and decisions will have been negative. I'm assuming you're mid-40s now, it might be worth trying the Reserves or the cadet organisations, this might 'scratch the itch' and prove to you that an involvement or association with the military isn't impossible!!!

Don't spend your time looking back, as the world is ahead of you!!!
 

SONAR-BENDER

War Hero
Don't beat yourself up about it pal.

We all take different paths in life and not all of your choices and decisions will have been negative. I'm assuming you're mid-40s now, it might be worth trying the Reserves or the cadet organisations, this might 'scratch the itch' and prove to you that an involvement or association with the military isn't impossible!!!

Don't spend your time looking back, as the world is ahead of you!!!
Sheesh! It's almost like you cut and pasted my post #2 ;)
 

Anchor Faced

Lantern Swinger
Whilst us oldies might chuckle sometimes at the bone questions posted at RR by today's newbies at least the communication lines are far far better these days - Besides which the current 'opt-out windows' ensure that there are far fewer of those unfortunate souls unprepared for the transition into an itchy blue suit.
An excellent point often forgotten whilst some of us scorn the noobs who dare step into an internet forum for help. It hopefully prevents or reduces the stress of the situation felt by OP.
 

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