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Monday, 19 October 2015

Reminiscences – Polka-dot parade

Fifty years ago today (19 October 2015) I joined the Royal Navy; I was a few months over seventeen.

In those early days I jotted down occasional impressions, and some of them have already been posted in my blog under the ‘reminiscences’ heading.

Here’s another, from early training days in HMS Raleigh:

The day it snowed we were the Guard. The snow did not lie very thickly, but it whitened the parade ground. Our guard marched at the slope to the rear of the parade. After the ‘Halt!’ command we were ‘into line left turned’.

The entire parade was wearing gabardines. At the ‘off caps!’ order I was confronted by an amusing sight. While the parade stood at ease, their caps (held to their rear) appeared like a series of polka-dots; this was accentuated by the white base of ground snow. And with the varying heights of numerous individuals the caps rose and fell in rows very much like lines of surf. If you can imagine the bounce of a ping pong ball slowed-down, it would look something like these rows of white caps.

Anyway, the polka-dot parade abstracted my thoughts from the cold.

I retired from the RN on 2 August 1989.

First week - new issue of uniform,
including boots;
we had to sew on our branch and name badges;
the car was not mine!

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