West Indies Guardship - an appreciation


Lantern Swinger
West Indies IMHO the best deployment I had the pleasure of getting paid to do. Leaving Pompey on a horrible, dreek November day and getting back the following July with 8 months of fornication (payed for and gratis), alchohol and lying around like a languid lesbian on the upperdeck and countless golden beaches in between - and some b*stards still dripped! As a killick of the mess I remember us getting 5 sprogs the day before we sailed, a couple of them not to chipper at being away from mum and the pash at xmas time, 'Never mind that young feller-me-lad tell me you're missing them while we are having a seafood BBQ for christmas lunch on a Barbados beach' and they didn't. It was worth the severe battering we took getting across the pond in winter, all the write-offs from puking their rings for a week and a half suddenly recovering as Bermuda hove into view. As stated it was xmas in Barbados, Hogmanay in St Lucia and then 'party on dude' on every Island you could think of from then on in. If it wasn't pissing up onboard at sea, it was pissing up in every beach bar, hotel and knocking shop in the Caribbean. I definitely recall that the laid back (f*ckin horizontal) attitude of every West Indian that was slighty annoying at first was soon being displayed by everyone in the ships company when you realised that no one who lived in the Windies could ever have had a heart attack - they didn't ever move fast enough! Theres something to be said for only ever wearing pussers sandals and pussers shorts for months without having to pull a pair of trolleys on. Could seriously write a book on the goings on....shagging stories aplenty, run-ins with various police forces, meeting of c list celebs (Huggy Bear, Phil Daniels, Timothy Dalton (mistaken for Pierce Brosnan, which got on his tits), two complete muppets from that crappy BBC documentary about cruise ships who had had their 15 minutes of fame but thought they were due more..) mornings waking up on beaches, brothels and sometimes even in the mess! Think we only missed one or two Islands (Grand Cayman being one) but on joining submarines visited Martinique, one of the ones I'd missed - cheers pusser. Bad points, only minor, running out of the usual onboard ales and as it was an American chandler, living on canned budweiser for many months but was in a tin and was alcohol. I came back with an all over tan and frostbite on my drinking hand. Gentlemen a toast - the Windies!
Yes, must agree with you Mac.
Sailed from a rainy Guzz in October, ten days later sunning it in Bermuda, then five days each in Baltimore, Washington DC, and Philadelphia, back to Bermadoo for Christmas and New Year, down the Windies for a few months, visiting 25 islands, (some more than once) and one of them WAS Grand Cayman, plus Venezuela, Columbia, and British Honduras, back to Bermadoo for a self maintenance period and a week's relaxation for each watch at Warwick Camp, Commodore's inspection, then RV with Britannia (HM The Queen and Phil the Greek embarked), to open the St.Lawrence Seaway. Visited Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, Fort William, Port Arthur, Detroit, Chicago, and a dozen and more less well known places. Farewell steam past the Yacht (and splicers), then back down the Islands for a few more visits, a final week in Bermadoo, and back to Guzz in October for large chunks of leave just to get over it all, before paying off and draft.
That's how the Royal Navy used to do it - and yes we DID enjoy it!

2BM (HMS Ulster 1958-60)
My trip to the Windies was in 1980 it appears somethings never change, long maty it continue.

Some differences however was on arrival in Oho Rios it was p*****g down, they had flooding, and again on entering Ft Lauderdale (proceedure Alpha) it rained again.

One of our chefs drove a mini-moke off the quayside in Jamaica

Still a good time was had by all, I'd love to do it all again.

Frustrated ex matelot


Lantern Swinger
I suspect that things aint what they used to be - they never are! I do agree, a marvellous station, two goes on the Tartar in 1965 and 1966. Visited countless islands and ports from Antigua to Washington (I can't think of anywhere starting with X or Z). Screaming deaths hurtling into the oggin on Ireland Island - some managed to stop in time. Left a PO El in Grand Cayman, unfortunately in a grave.
Yup the Windies - a great run.

I was on the Dartmouth Training Squadron for a wee while, States - Med, States _ Med etc. The States trip always started in the Windies.

And all the young sirs, (or OUT's) to give em their correct title, had to organise the entertainment. Sit back and down them Rum Punches!!!! :lol: Each day a different beach to snorkel off and no silly exercises.

Windies - heaven!! :lol: :lol:
Waspie said:
And all the young sirs, (or OUT's) to give em their correct title, had to organise the entertainment.
The best name they ever had was SLUTs! The acronym for Sub Lts Under Training! But I think a few were outed - any comments Thingy?


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Is it wrong that, at one time, I got blase about doing WIGS? I used to piss off the Missus when she would ask me where I had been, and I'd reply: "Oh, just another tropical island..." :lol:

Having said that, I'm getting itchy fingers - perhaps it's time for another deployment? :wink:
My Windies trip was also 1980. Little did we realise after doing the Portland DISTEX, we'd end up doing it for real. Cayman Brac had been totalled, so we spent a week getting it back in some sort of order, then we were invited to Grand Cayman for 7 days.
Everyone onboard got a first day cover of the Queen Mum's 80th burthday as a thankyou. I've still got mine, I wonder if it's worth anything.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Dit: Triumph's cadet cruise to the WI Jan-Mar 1955 (chiz chiz just before I joined her & got Leningrad instead) Varyl Begg was run aground, high and dry on a coral reef in his motor boat by his coxswain (a sailor, VCB didn't quite trust the cadets enough to be driven around by them!) in full fig, ice cream suit, sword & medals. Stuck until help arrived (driven by cadets).

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