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Why is Ganges so emotive?

pompeyexpat

War Hero
It seems a lot of people remember the place fondly, despite the hardships.

My Father was a Ganges boy, he's just turned 55 this year so would've been there in '68/'69. Growing up I'd always thought he'd enjoyed himself there too, based on what he'd told me of the place. It would seem from what he's said and what my Gran told me that his year there changed him considerably.

He certainly used to claim that all the best matelots had been through Ganges, not like those Raleigh losers (myself, obviously, and his little brother). However, a couple of years ago he told me that, as much as he appreciated what the training did for him, he hated the place. Anybody else feel that way?
 

Waspie

War Hero
Topstop said:
FLAGHOIST said:


On the subject of Ganges Ghosts. When I was there 67/68, there was the story of the ghost from the lad who fell off the Mast and went through the roof of the Post Office. Does anyone remember this story.

Those were the days

Regards, Chris




I remember there was a patch of different coloured slates on the Post Office roof,about 8`by 5` . We were told it was a PTI who was p*ssed and tried to climb the mast and stand on the button for a bet and got it wrong.

The netting when wet was taught and was like a trampoline, when dry it was saggy with no give so you were suposed to come through like thick chips.

I was there 67/68 and that is the story I was relayed. Still never stopped Barry Webber jumping off the yardarm into the net. (Certifiable) :rambo:

I think the Ganges thing is emotive as unlike basic training today - it was one year. A lot can happen, especially to spotty youfs like wat we wuz!!!! To emerge at the end was an achievement in anybodies books. Proud to have survived Ganges.
 

tedbungy

Badgeman
June 71 to this day i cant work out why i stuck it, but glad i did. there was a roof runner and green gilbert. and there was bullying but it did change you for the better
 

UncleAlbert

War Hero
I went to Ganges as a baby stoker …Benbow 29 mess …I met and made good friends and survived it all with a few no 9s and a couple of Shotley routines ….some were not so lucky ..I witnessed bullying and to this day I wonder why to my shame I stood back and let it happen …
A young lad from Southern Ireland was a bed wetter ..so one night the mob turned on him after a kangaroo court in the drying room and stuck him in a dustbin half full of cold water ..then brushed him off with yard brushes….I can still hear the howls and cries from him ..but worse ..the sobbing coming from his bedspace the rest of the night…..

The navy of the 60`s had an insatiable appetite for recruits and as they couldn’t send 15 year old school leavers to sea they needed somewhere to incarcerate them till they came of age …Ganges in the form of a boot camp provided this ….the whole concept was of a prison that instilled discipline and blind obedience into young lads before they found their feet…

….Celebrate the pride of marching behind a boot neck band ….celebrate taking part in sports and interdivisional rivalries …… celebrate cutter sailing on the Orwell and first time at sea in the MFV….celebrate manning the mast ceremonies with your proud parents in the spectators stand…..celebrate friendships and bonding that took place cemented by hardships ….

But never celebrate the establishment and the reason it existed …namely to take school leavers and labothamise them into the ways of the Navy …..not through respect but with fear….


....... that’s why Ganges is so emotive
 

Scran_Bag

War Hero
UncleAlbert said:
I went to Ganges as a baby stoker …Benbow 29 mess …I met and made good friends and survived it all with a few no 9s and a couple of Shotley routines ….some were not so lucky ..I witnessed bullying and to this day I wonder why to my shame I stood back and let it happen …
A young lad from Southern Ireland was a bed wetter ..so one night the mob turned on him after a kangaroo court in the drying room and stuck him in a dustbin half full of cold water ..then brushed him off with yard brushes….I can still hear the howls and cries from him ..but worse ..the sobbing coming from his bedspace the rest of the night…..

The navy of the 60`s had an insatiable appetite for recruits and as they couldn’t send 15 year old school leavers to sea they needed somewhere to incarcerate them till they came of age …Ganges in the form of a boot camp provided this ….the whole concept was of a prison that instilled discipline and blind obedience into young lads before they found their feet…

….Celebrate the pride of marching behind a boot neck band ….celebrate taking part in sports and interdivisional rivalries …… celebrate cutter sailing on the Orwell and first time at sea in the MFV….celebrate manning the mast ceremonies with your proud parents in the spectators stand…..celebrate friendships and bonding that took place cemented by hardships ….

But never celebrate the establishment and the reason it existed …namely to take school leavers and labothamise them into the ways of the Navy …..not through respect but with fear….


....... that’s why Ganges is so emotive

It has been a while since I've seen you post U.A. so if it's appropriate, welcome back.
I did not do time at Ganges, but when I did my basic training in the late 60's, I too saw and sadly took no action in acts of bullying. I think that at the time I was just glad that it wasn't me.

I believe that we were all indoctrinated into service ways to respond without question. Just as you say because of fear.

We were mentally conditioned, I've no doubt about it.

Edited to remove knobbish statement posted after too many Stella's on Poet's day. Apologies to any offended.

J.
 

tasape

Midshipman
I believe that we were all indoctrinated into service ways to respond without question. Just as you say because of fear.

We were mentally conditioned, a term that later became associated with brain-washing techniques as used in Korea and Vietnam.

What a complete load of b%$$o£*s
i believe you are totally out of order with that statment shipmate
how can you even think of basic training for the Royal Navy being likend to the Awfull conditionds our and us troops were put thro in Korea and Vietnam
Yes it was hard and Yes we were pushed to the limit but it made us into Matelos
 

Waspie

War Hero
Well I certainly didn't feel like I was indoctrinated. FFS I was a WAFU. How could a place predominantly set up for main stream sailors, brainwash Woo's into all things Nautical!!!

Ganges was like an extension of school with compulsory PT and church on Sundays.

No! I think the word Indoctrinated was way too strong and out of order.
 

Karma

War Hero
Scran_Bag said:
I believe that we were all indoctrinated into service ways to respond without question. Just as you say because of fear.

On the basis of what I saw over the course of my career was that many of the ex ganges boys were just that, so thoroughly indoctrinated there was no concept that anything else could compare. And for what its worth I don't think anything else could compare. However, from the ex ganges boys I did see a disproportionate number of bullies. Those who saw fear as an acceptable leadership tool and saw nothing wrong with intimidation and harassment as ways to get things done.

I'm sure that most of the usual suspects will criticise my view that bullying is not an effective way to do business, because it worked for them, and look how they turned out ;) Therefore it must be ok.

The place served a purpose, it was very much of it's time, although many think it outlived its usefulness. Society moved on, and left Ganges behind. The Navy is culturally several years behind society anyway, as an inherently conservative body, but sometimes the training establishments exacerbate that.
 
Nicely put Waspie.

I joined September ‘54, and it is worth remembering that, at the time, the Country was broke,
there was Rationing and the shops had even less than they had during the war.

At Ganges I was given four meals a day plus a sticky Bun and and a mug of Kye.
It was the first time in my life that I can remember going to bed without feeling hungry.
And where else, at that time, could a fifteen year old lad have free access to a rifle range,
swimming pool, sailing and numerous other sporting activities.

For me, the icing on the cake was the additional education and Trade training to become a Sparker.

Regrets? None, and still look back on it with a degree of fondness and pride.

Jerry
 
Waspie said:
Well I certainly didn't feel like I was indoctrinated. FFS I was a WAFU. How could a place predominantly set up for main stream sailors, brainwash Woo's into all things Nautical!!!

Ganges was like an extension of school with compulsory PT and church on Sundays.

No! I think the word Indoctrinated was way too strong and out of order.


Totally and completely right in the second paragraph but you should have added the fact that it was on a Naval theme :lol: :lol:

Indoctorinated ---------------no we weren't . We were taught to recognise our limits and how to look after ourselves in life .We grew up as responsible adults aswell. The system worked and I'm glad I did my time as a Junior .
Still remember it all -with a degree of fondness .

St Vincent 1956-57


G.
 
When I was at school PT and Mass were compulsory, thoughnot at the same time :lol:

Great tales lads, er I mean MEN :thumbup:

Welcome back UA :)

I've always remembered UA's recollection of joining his first ship fresh from the G-Spot. He made a long and adventerous journey to join his first ship all on his own at the tender age of 16. It says something about both UA and the training he received, that he the self assurence to undergo this journey on his own. How many of our newbies today would have the self confidence? Even at 18 I should not have had that self confidence. It is a pity UA removed his story from RR as all newbies ought to read that to show them what to aspire towards.
 

lesbryan

War Hero
I do remember a few bad things about Ganges(anyone who says they dont is a Fu45ing lier )But on the whole it taught me a lot and put me in good stesd for my life in the mob and all the years since .It made me what i am today :D
 

ANGWISH

Lantern Swinger
tedbungy said:
June 71 to this day i cant work out why i stuck it, but glad i did. there was a roof runner and green gilbert. and there was bullying but it did change you for the better

Hi "ted", i joined in june 71 as well, ended up in Benbow 36 mess, comms class, where did you end up?
 
Was an Instructor there in '72' and a great draft it was too. Almost made me want to sign on for 22....but not quite....had one more sea going draft before going outside in '74'.... 8)
 
I fall into the Ganges supporters camp of thought as I in retrospect enjoyed my time in the Short Covered Way (Drage 39 Mess) and did not hate it while there.

These words (in italics) were written in 1973 by an ex ganges boy..

Quote

"I still look back with gratitude and admiration to the Royal Naval Training Establishment at Shotley. As was to be expected, it strengthened me physically, but above all it provided a firm moral basis and wide mental vistas which no other school for a boy of my class could have given. If, after almost 40 years' absence, I visit or return to Britain, I shall go pay homage to the school I believe to be - in-fact am absolutely convinced is - the best in the world"

A tribute from one of those exceedingly rare flag officers who began their careers as Boy Seaman? Not quite. It was written in valedictory mood by one ex-Able Seaman Len Wincott, Communist and leader of the notorious Invergordon Mutiny, from exile in his Moscow flat at the age of sixty six.

End of Quote. Band of Brothers, by David Phillipson, Sutton Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0 75091976 0

Now if a communist leader of the most serious mutiny of the last 100 years give the place his stamp of approval then I can happily put the detractors comments to one side.

Nutty

TROG and proud of it.
 

lesbryan

War Hero
Ganges learned a lot .I did not cime from a bad upbringing .Infact my father was an RSM and very strict with me >But ganges taught a hell of alot .They were thing i hated sometimes i wish i had never jioned .but when i look back i would not have swapped that year for all the tea in china .Dont get me wrong there were some right barsers cruel bullies some got there come uppence some got away with it .I sdo look at trhat yeare with a lot of fondness and very good memories .ther are allso a few bad ones as well and a few i would gladly see dead for what they did (not to me )to other boys .But it made me what i am today :D :D :D
 

tedbungy

Badgeman
ANGWISH said:
tedbungy said:
June 71 to this day i cant work out why i stuck it, but glad i did. there was a roof runner and green gilbert. and there was bullying but it did change you for the better

Hi "ted", i joined in june 71 as well, ended up in Benbow 36 mess, comms class, where did you end up?

Opps Frobisher 150 class near the bottom of the long covered way
 

WreckerL

War Hero
Super Moderator
I was in Fearless division halfway up the long covered way, enjoyed my time there but always remember having to run up and down the long covered way in my (mandatory) jimjams with a matteress on my back for being caught "slack hammocks" and having to sew my pockets up for being repeatedly caught with my hands in my pockets. It was 40 stitches to the inch and the barsteward counted them as well :lol:
 
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