SIXTY YEARS

It was on 24th April 1952 that I entered the Nautical College at Pangbourne in Berkshire, England as a resident trainee for sea service. I was 13 years of age and I was automatically enrolled as a cadet into Britain’s Royal Naval Reserve. The college’s four year training course was to prepare cadets for entry to the Royal Navy as midshipmen at H M S ‘BRITANNIA’ in Dartmouth or as apprentices in the merchant fleet. I had a preference for the merchant fleet – one of only two in my entry of 22 cadets.

Our training was rigourous. We were told that service at sea was so demanding that only the toughest and most resilient might develop successful careers. We were constantly reminded that the sea was a severe master and that we were wearing the Queen’s Uniform…
On my arrival at the school, wearing the Queen’s Uniform for the first time, the college’s master-at-arms welcomed me, as I left the secure cocoon of my mother’s car,  by knocking my cap to the ground  and rebuking me for having some strands of my hair visible on my forehead below my cap’s rim. I was, he assured me, a disgrace. And so my training started – and so it continued.

Full article, ELNAVI, June 2012, Issue 462, Page. 142

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