When I was a Newbie......


Lantern Swinger
It was August 5th, 1975 when I joined up (16yrs and 2 weeks’ young) by walking through the gates of Shotley. Two years previously, I went to the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Careers Office in Leeds and said “I want to join up, press a button and shoot something down. Don’t know correct term for it, but that’s what I want to doâ€. The Careers Officer looked down at me and said “Hey up, we’ll have to assess if you’re good enough to press button, ladâ€. So they assessed me. They gave me some tests and it lasted all day. When I walked out with a piece of paper to hand to me Dad (ex-RM), he said “What the bloody hell is a Writer?†Something important they told me I said.

In 1974 they invited me to go to Collingwood for a week to make sure I hadn’t changed me mind abaht joining Navy. Soldering bits and pieces, assault courses, day trip on the Cherry B (I was learning funny names even then (Charybdis)), trying me hand at ironing (Mother, ex-Jenny, prepared me for that), also a bit of wiring. I said “Can we blow something up?†Fuk off said a man wearing his cap that made him look like Hitler. “The only thing you’ll be blowing up is your bloody fountain penâ€.

I got ‘ome and started asking me Father some questions. He said “What you on about? Tha’s got a list from Careers office, read the bugger and stick to the bloody thingâ€. Well, what can I expect then? He said “If some bugger asks you for a glass hammer, thump him. If some bugger sends you for some elbow grease, thump him. If some bugger drops his soap, don’t bugger him, stick your size 11’s up his arse. What else does tha need to know boy?â€.

Me Mother warned me: “I was a Wren, so watch out for them loose women, they like young boys and they’ll be teaching you all sorts of naughty thingsâ€. Me Father piped up “Aye, I should know look what happened to me!†At this point, me Mother threw the iron at me Father, the one I wouldn’t be needing to take to Ganges......
I too joined from Leeds careers office. I had to go to Hull for the "cough & drop" medical. Some horrible old sweaty Doc on his knees in front of me with one of my bollocks in each hand.

I thought that was dodgy, even though I'd never been exposed to the likes of Thingy and his ilk.
I too, wanted to be a Gunner, but my old man (gunner in WW2, and then a Crusher later) said I needed to have a career after I left the Mob, hence I became a Dusty - as advised by the Recruitment Bootie in Chatham.

Odd thing is, I ended up in the 4.5" Gunbay (in the Cherry B, Streaky !!) on the cartridge hoist during Action stations and shoots - doing what gunners are supposed to do !!

Joined as a JEM then became OEM* but spent most of my time either bridge watchkeeping or driving the boat.Didnt do much lectrickery stuff as they were trying out a new cross trained system whereby one person did lots of things.
Also did sonar shack and casing party.
They wanted to give me a short draft to another boat as killick of the motor room but I decline as I said I hadnt got a clue what to do as I hadnt got enough time in there.

Went PVR as I got slightly hacked off due to being messed around to much,couldnt do my killicks due to lack of motor room experience.

Should have joned as a medic due to my present job as it would have done me more favours.

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