And we had to do things to keep the ship running regardless. When I was in Dartmouth [Nova Scotia], we had one of our ships sunk by a submarine. And it turned out to be a so-called French one but actually, it was Vichy [belonging to the German-controlled French government]. And then when we sunk her, all our problems stopped. Which isn’t the thing to do, but we did it, because we felt it had to be done.
We did a lot of things which we thought had to be done. That was my Dartmouth days when I was in the Air Arm, aircraft carriers, I was a Squadron Tech. Meaning Squadron Technical Officer. We looked after the aircraft and the landings were pretty hairy and we’d have to be up on the flight deck when the aircraft was landing and that’s how I lost my hearing. Day after day after day, that noise. And it just got to you.
In the Royal Navy, they put the officers in 12 to a cabin, large cabin. And that’s where we stayed, cramped. I particularly remember looking up in the ceiling and to see a rat staring at me. You’re on for four hours and then you’re off for eight. And it keeps repeating and repeating and repeating. I like the morning watch. That’s 4:00 in the morning until 8:00 in the morning. You go up on the deck and watch the sun come up. The sunrises are beautiful. I loved it, which is a terrible thing to say but I was one of the silly asses I guess that enjoyed it. Mind you, you were frightened many times but it sort of came with the job. Sheer fright.
At sea in the North Atlantic I would get seasick, which was a dreadful feeling but it passed and you just did it - because we all did.