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Once Navy - Always Navy





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I joined the Royal Navy on May 7 1957, at H.M.S. St Vincent.  Situated in Gosport, Hampshire on the South coast of England, H.M.S. St Vincent at that time catered for Junior Seaman & Junior Electricians. It had been home to other branches and served many purposes in its long history.

Joining under the category of Seaman, Signalman or Telegraphist, it had been my intention to try for Telegraphist, unfortunately due to an epidemic of Asian Flu, I missed the test. After a very eventful year of various academic and nautical training, I found myself "selected" as a UC rating. [Underwater Control or better known then as ASDIC but  later the trade or branch assumed the American name oSONAR ] ASDIC stood for Anti Submarine Detection Investigation Committee, whereas SONAR was Sound Navigation and Ranging. The most famous submarine hunter of WWII

was Captain Walker RN. Click sub hunting music to listen to his signature tune.

I was drafted for training to the ASDIC Training school of H.M.S. Osprey at Portland in Dorset. After the pretty harsh and austere life at "St Vincent" it was heaven. Weekend leave, movies every night and a much more laid back routine.

On completion of this training, which lasted about two months, the entire class was mustered outside the Regulating Office for drafts (sea assignments or postings). The "selection" process was quite elaborate, an RPO counted off about two thirds of the platoon and barked "Blackpool", remainder "Ulster".  I was in the small Ulster section and very disappointed as the Ulster was very old, whilst the Blackpool was brand new.

However I got the better deal, as the Blackpool spent 18 months in the Mediterranean, whilst Ulster was based in Bermuda and had trips to South America the USA & Canada to open the St  Lawrence Seaway.  We went as far as it is possible to go inland on the Great Lakes to the lake head of Lake Superior, no Royal Naval ship has ever repeated this amazing trip. Some 2000 miles from the open sea and 600 feet above sea level, our Captain [Commander Cameron Rusby, now Vice Admiral Sir Cameron retired] sent off a signal claiming the world altitude record for a Royal Navy frigate! Click HERE to see a facsimile of actual signal]

My first ship went through several unique experiences and, although I went on to tour the world several times, that will always be the best trip and remains very vivid to this day.

Over the years, I found myself a "Jack of all Trades, Master of none" between sea postings.  There's was little use for a Sonar rating in a shore draft, especially a Senior Rate, unless deployed in the training schools.

From Staff NBCDI & Master-at-Arms of Frigate Refit group in Gibraltar to CCF Instructor at a Benedictine Abbey, Manager of a Junior rates Club to a Careers Office.   However, from each I was able to draw new skills and experiences which would benefit me in later life.

At the very end of my naval career, I was recruited by a large North American company who were searching for a person with training experience,  a Sonar & Oceanography background that had served on frigates and destroyers.  It was the chance of a life time.  My immigration and all the travel arrangements were handled by my new employer, who flew my family and I 1st Class to Toronto in Canada and the start of a new civilian life. Initially I was hired and worked as a Senior Support Engineer 1 and worked on the then named Canadian Patrol Frigate Program, [later designated Halifax Destroyers] . Sadly we lost the bid at Contract Definition phase and majority of team assembled for project were laid off.  As the company had invested a large sum of money in relocating my family and I to Canada, they were loath to let me go and therefore offered me a new position in the Logistic Engineering Section of the company.

After 10 years at Litton Systems working almost entirely on military defence projects, I found myself the victim of downsizing.  Before I secured a new position I had temporary assignments training patients in a Psychiatric Hospital and in Car Spares Parts sales.

Moving on to 3 years in Nuclear Safety, my contract was not renewed and the wrong side of fifty I could not obtain a suitable position with salary's I had previously enjoyed. I joined the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires and  worked my way up to Chief Warrant Officer and the position of Detachment Commander for the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board and Senior Security Officer for WSIB Ontario.

I then handed over the reigns to my 2 I/c and accepted the position of Assistant to the Director of Security, which only lasted for a few months, when Director went on LTD and I accepted the position of Manager and joined WSIB.   Once again the dreaded "downsizing" struck.   I was informed that I was being replaced and after several months out of the workforce accepted a new position with Commissionaires as Detachment Commander of the Kings Health Centre. The health centre was based and modelled on the Mayo Clinic in the United States and as a prestigious and one-stop medical facility attracted the rich and famous as well as regular visitors.

My luck running true to form, the owners of the health Centre absconded with all the funds, the facility went into receivership and once again I required employment.

I was offered and accepted the position of Manager Fingerprint, RCMP Police Certificates and Commissioner of Oath Services, with the responsible for five locations and tasked with aggressively marketing the commodity.

Pressure of work taking its toll and involved with too many things, resulted in my doctor placing me on long term sick leave and eventually forced me into early retirement due to my medical condition.  I now survive on small pensions and keep myself occupied with my website which is home to HMS Ulster, The Royal Naval Association Branches, Southern Ontario Branch, Torbay,  Newton Abbot and Brixham.

In 2007 I decided to return to the United Kingdom, where now fully retired I keep myself busy with websites and local organizations which includes Freemasonry. In 2011, at the grand old age of 69, I married my first ever serious girlfriend of over 45 years ago.


That's all for now folks!                            


Ships Served On:
More elaborate ships facts here        Explanation about ships crests click HERE

H.M.S. Ulster

Type 15 Frigate

Crest Detail

SNOWI  [Senior Naval Officer West Indies]
 Based in Bermuda
1958-1960 Full list of ports visited click here

H.M.S. Vigilant

Type 15 Frigate


Dartmouth Training Squadron- Based Plymouth.  Officer Cadets and Midshipmen. Winter cruise to West Indies, Spring Cruise to Scandinavia, Summer Cruise to Mediterranean

H.M.S. Loch Killisport

Loch Class Frigate

Crest Detail

Capt. "F" 3rd Frigate Squadron - Based Singapore and Hong Kong.
Cruises to Australia, New Zealand, Japan and numerous islands in South Pacific, where most landings had to be conducted by native dugout outriggers. Borneo Confrontation 1962-63. Based Awat Awat in Sarawak conducting ambush patrols in conjunction with SBS.

H.M.S. Daring

Class Destroyer

Crest Detail

Home Fleet - Based Plymouth

H.M.S. Rhyl

Type 12 Frigate

Crest Detail

Capt. "F" 23rd Squadron - Based Portsmouth.
Deployed to Mediterranean and Beira Patrol.
Home Sea Service before returning to Mediterranean and Far East.

H.M.S. Blake

Tiger Class

Crest Detail

Based Portsmouth.  Deployed to United States and West Indies 1971.  Transited Panama Canal  for British Trade Fair in San Francisco. Diverted on way home to evacuate British Forces in Malta. Returned to UK 1972 for Home Sea Service.

H.M.S. Zulu

Tribal Class Frigate

Crest Detail

Based Rosyth.  Deployed on 11 month trip to Australia, visiting Gibraltar, Malta, Alexandria, transit of Suez Canal, Colombo on outward cruise and after visiting Bunbury WA, Geelong Victoria, Sydney NSW and  Cairns QLD, returned home via Hong King, Singapore, Manila, Colombo, Suez, Malta and Gibraltar.  Our "Home" sea service consisted of skillfully avoiding our home port of Rosyth and saw us on Fishery Protection duties off of South West coast, "Perishers" in Scotland and tracking AGR's. in Irish Sea.
Shore Bases:

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H.M.S. St Vincent

Boys Royal Navy Training School
1927 - 1968

Crest Detail

Gosport, Hampshire

H.M.S. Osprey

Asdic School
[Later Fleet Air arm Helicopter base]

Crest Detail

Portland Dorset.

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H.M.S. Drake

Royal Naval Barracks

Crest Detail

Plymouth, Devon

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H.M.S. Victory

Royal Naval Barracks

Crest Detail

Portsmouth, Hants (now H.M.S. Nelson)

H.M.S. Vernon

TAS School

Crest Detail

Portsmouth, Hants  ( 4 times)

H.M.S. Cochrane

Rosyth Depot

Crest Detail

Donibristle & Rosyth, Fife (Served twice)

H.M.S. Caledonia

Engineer School

Crest Detail

Rosyth, Fife

H.M.S. Neptune

Polaris Sub Base

10th Submarine Squadron & 3rd Submarine Squadron

Crest Detail

Gareloch,  Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire

HMS Rooke

Shore Base in Gibraltar

Crest Detail

The Rock of Gibraltar is steeped in history and has been occupied by many different races and religions over time.  Sometimes referred to as the "Pillars of Hercules",  evidence of Roman, More and other cultures is reflecting in the ancient buildings.

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Exeter Careers Office

Exeter City



Fort Augustus Abbey School

CCF Training


Loch Ness, Invernesshire
Loan Drafts:

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H.M.S. Gay Charger


More Details

Target Towing Plymouth Areas

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H.M.S. Ramehead

Depot Ship

Crest Details

Towing Crew - Plymouth to Chatham

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H.M.S. Miner III

Small Minelayer

More Details

Diving Trials Ship. Deep diving trials off Cornish coast.


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  This page last modified: 14 November, 2011.  (Web space courtesy of Jim Lynch)