HMS Conway - Click here to return to the menu HMS Conway 1859 - 1974

Alfie Windsor 1998
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Staff - Technicals

As with all military personnel it was commonplace for individuals to gain nicknames. The number and range of a person’s nicknames were directly proportional to the regard in which they were held so John Brooke-Smith must have been highest in our affections. It is interesting how perceptions of some longer-serving members of staff changed over the years as their nicknames indicate. Members of staff are listed below by name and nickname.

Ag see WO Collins.

Phillip Bastow 1st Apr 1876 to 30th Sep 1879 Seamanship Instructor. Previously served in the RN from 1863 to 1876 when he paid off from HMS Liverpool and joined Conway. He was born in Buckfastleigh, Devin in 1833.

Bertie see W H J Chipp.

Big Bill see Lt Cdr W. Hutchison

Wallace Blair, Instructor. The Cadet of May 1897 (page 18) briefly reported his death. He had served in the ship for "more than 30 years" so he  must have been one of the very earliest members of staff.

Bluebelly see W H J Chipp.

Boo Boo see Mr Davidson photo on right

Bold, Leslie 1946 to 1957. "Chief Engineer' in the ship. IN 1946 she was moored off Bangor Pier.  Leslie then travelled through to the new mooring off Plas Newydd and was aboard when she was wrecked on the Platters.  After that, he remained on the staff for a further 4 years or so, maintaining the boilers that heated the huts, classrooms, etc.. In 2010 aged 87 he donated collection of Conway artefacts to the Greenwood Centre in Gwynedd. A short profile is here.

Bossie see T Phelps.

Mr Brenchley (Jelly Belly, aka Flabby Guts) Second Officer from 1861 to at least 1890 when he became Purser. He died in late 1893 or early 1894. A quiet officer not well regarded by cadets, perhaps owing to his "wielding of the cane and birch". He had been recommended for the Victoria Cross during the Crimean War. Presented with a brass compass by the cadets - photo here

Bullshit see Mr Owen.

Bummy see Mr Charles Barton.

Mr Burfitt Instructor in 1914.

Mr Burtitt (Birdy) 1907-14 Instructor ex CPO RN. January 1917 appointed Master At Arms vice Tozer. Bio on page 254 of the December 1917 The Cadet. Obituary & Photo 1917

Captain Allan N Cabot. Instructor during WWII. Obituary 2009       Profile and photo  Canadian MMs

David Carroway (Spare Bags). Instructor at least 1887-9. He served in ther RN  from 1856-85. He then moved up to Liverpool and became an instructor on Conway. The census in 1891 show him as a naval pensioner and his wife as matron of a home for waifs and strays in Birkenhead. The 1901 census show him as "Nav Of Instructor" (Navigating Officer Instructor?).

Charlie see Lt. Skinner.

Charlie see Mr. C.T Nicholls.

Charlie Nick see Mr. C.T Nicholls.

Chipes see W H J Chipp.

W H J Chipp (Bluebelly aka Chipes aka Bertie). Served for 25 years from June 1883 to June 1907, first as Gunner then as Second Offcier. He was very well regarded. He organised evening lectures and spoke himslef on many evenings e.g. Dec 1900 page 274. Obituary

Cdr Peter Clarke RD RNR (Dhobi) 1964 – 1974. Maintop Divisional Officer who took great care to develop the leadership skills of his cadet captains. He joined Conway from the REAN. His nickname was earned one evening divisions when he announced to the assembled cadets that their “dhobi” (laundry) had been delivered and was to be speedily cleared away. The cadets (other than the large East African contingent) were slightly bemused by the term and it naturally became his nickname. Crossed The Bar 2013

Warrent Officer Collins (Ag aka Jumper) 1937-40.

Lt-Cdr Couch RNR (Sarky) Was XO and left in Aug 1939 on Fleet mobilization. “I heard he had command of a minesweeping flotilla on the East Coast and that he suffered a complete mental breakdown.”

Jimmy Crockett was Second Officer in the 50s. He suffered from nerves having had a bad time in the war. was "barmy" not "balmy"! He was a very nice man who was Second Officer and who suffered from a slight nervous affliction, possibly a result of wartime experience, which was sometimes evident when he took Divisions. The cadets, of course quickly latched on to this abnormality, hence the words of the alternative Conway song.

Mr Davidson (25-27) (Boo Boo aka (Mighty) Mouse) Focsle's Divisional Officer in the 60s.

Bill H Davies (1899-1901), Drill Instructor. Exact years not known but early 1900s. he stood ion as 2nd Officer in 1910 while the incumbent was on a course.

Dhobi see Lt Cdr Clarke RN.

Doggy see Wm J Tozer.

Cdr G Douglas RD RNR (1893-95) (Monty) Originally joined as Second Officer in July 1907. Served as Chief Officer 1917 Sep - 1934 Sep when he retired sick. Returned from retirement around 1940 to take over from Douglas-Lane. He served his time in sail before joining Lord Line where he rose from 3rd Officer to Chief Officer.

E Jarge see George Hunt.

Lt H A Edwards RNR taught Navigation & Nautical Astronomy for the senior and RN class from Jan 1902 - 30th Jun1905. Left to become Marine Officer in Lagos.

A H Egerton (OP) seconded to Conway from Alfred Holt for eight months in 1937. Source

Ernie see Lt. Ernie Moore and Mr Owen

Mr Finch Instructor 1914

Flanagan was one of the two Warrent Officers. Years not known.

Lt Frankyn an RNR officer on a year’s secondment in 1955.

Gabby see Lt. G. A. B. King.

Mr Glasspool Previously Second Officer then Chief Officer until Feb 1885 when he left to return to sea.

The Gonk see D.H. Thomas.

Mr Gough Instructor 1914. Killed on active service in 1916.

Mr W L Graham left in 1910 but returned as a temporary 2nd Officer in 1914 to cover for a member of staff serving in the forces.

Gunner see PO Mayne.

Mr. Harrison (Scouse) Chief Engineer 1960 to ??

Mr Hague Mechanical Lecturer to the Navy Class joined Sep 1905.

Michael Hawkins (INstructor) died 1914. Death Notice.

Hilliard (Old Thunder Guts) 1954-9ish

Mr. Hillier (Thunder Guts). Was marching instructor amongst other things 1961-3.

Hoppy see Warrent Officer Lee.

Lt Cdr Edward Howard-Davies (33-35) (Slob)  Member of Technical Staff from at least 1954 to 1967. In 1960 he was Divisional Officer of Hold and Head of Sailing. He was rumoured to have been responsible for the sail design of the GP Dingy (Uffa Fix designed the hull) and owned sail number '1'. All cadet records record his name as Davies with Howard as a Christian name but as a member of staff he was always known as Howard-Davies.

Mr Hunt one of the first Instructor, appointed in 1859.

Mr George Hunt (The Tartar aka E Jarge) retired due to ill health in April 1916 with 36 years service he is our longest serving member of staff. He joined in March 1880 as an Instructor for many years, he became the Gunner in 1889. Until 1912 he was also the Captain's Clerk and became the fountain of knowledge about old boys. "he had a singularly kind heart and was ever a good friend to the weaker and younger boys." His father had been an Instructor in 1859. Reference to him in The Cadet 1902 Dec page 28.

Moses Hunt and James Hunt were brothers - employed as seamen, they were described as “two old man of war men”. Years not known but early 1900s.

Hutch see Lt Cdr W. Hutchison

Lt Cdr W. Hutchison (Hutch aka Big Bill) (36-38) had been on the Arctic Convoys to Murmansk. He joined the staff in June 1955 and was Maintop divisional officer at the Camp until 1962. Very much respected in my time “Held himself very erect and probably used a little alcohol, totally understandable. Have never forgotten him, but he was an enigma.” “His cap always looked way to big for him, great guy, but with demons.” “He was hugely respected and I do not remember anyone ever saying a bad word about him. I had several long discussions with him in my final term, and although he was, as when you were there, sometimes challenged by Johnny Walker, I have nothing but good recollections of his concern and helpfulness.” “He was a totally fair and honest man and personally I respected him hugely. He was someone you could talk to or ask questions of and as far as I was concerned he genuinely tried to help.” “He rode a large motor cycle and was addicted to a little whisky but I have problems trying to think of any of the Conway masters of officers of the time who one could class as "normal". They all appeared to have a few problems or at least idiosyncrasies.” “I always had a high regard for Hutch, he seemed a decent sort of chap. Never seemed to get hugely worked up about things but when he said jump, you certainly jumped.” “He led the return trip on the yacht Flame in the summer of 1959 which I was fortunate to be involved in. We joined her in Holy Loch and after a day of familiarisation on the Clyde, we sailed back to the Menai Strait via Arran, Stranraer, Laxey I.O.M. and Moelfre Bay. We experienced strong winds and foggy calms, anchoring most evenings until the next day. It was a terrific experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. I think Hutch's brother came on the trip as well and possibly the English teacher, but memory fades on who else was there – I wouldn't have missed it for the world.” “He had a strange walk, as if his arms were a bit loose and too long for his liking, good for his motorbike though.” Obituary The Cadet 1964

Charles Ivey (Instructor/Skipper) 1887 to Oct 1904 He had charge of the steam pinnace and his watch word was "sit down in the bows". He died after tripping and falling from the Albert Pierhead - short profile here.

Jacky see Lt Mayne.

Captain Jones OBE (Logger) 1964 - ?? A small, frail, unassuming officer, with red hair, gammy legs and a limp. San Demetrio, London tells the story of his wartime exploits and how he managed to survive in the north Atlantic after being sunk.

"He smoked like a chimney and turned a blind eye to us doing the same (and loved for it). He was an officer who was well liked and immensely respected. I believe he served, gallantly, in the Ohio during the Malta Convoy as an apprentice. Initially he used to appear at Sunday Divisions in an unadorned uniform, such was the man. Eric, on finding out about his service record, ordered him to wear his decorations for Sunday Divisions in the future. The following divisions, a very embarrassed Logger duly appeared decorated with medal ribbons. They stretched from lapel to armpit and shoulder to pocket top with a civilian medal on the opposite side. The number of decorations far eclipsed the rest of the officers (probably all together). If he had actually worn his 'gongs', I am sure the poor man would have collapsed under the weight.”

“He drove a mini cooper with a wide bore >exhaust and after lining us up outside the Kelvin Block with our semaphore flags he would roar off to Llanfair PG for a swift one. This gave us smokers a chance to have a quick fag while he was away and the noise of the exhaust could be heard long before he returned allowing us to get back into line and carry on waving our flags about. After leaving Conway he returned to sea with Shell on their coastal tankers but his arthritis got the better of him.” He passed away in the early eighties.

Jumper see WO Collins.

Lt. G. A. B. King (Gabby – because of his initials.) 1952-3. He was on loan from British Tankers and a young man not a lot older than the older cadets which meant they took to him in a special way. He used to draw the most beautiful cut-away drawings of ships. Coached the Bantam Group rugger 15. Onboard and IC Stern Party during the final transit of the ship in 1953.

Lt Cdr Lane (Loopy)

Lt K D Lane RIM (OC 1907-09) Joined as signal instructor 30th jan 1926.

Laurie see Lawrence.

Lawrence (Laurie) 1943 - Dec 1955. “He used to enter the mess deck (at the House), say nothing but start flashing away reciting his mantra of "E-I-S-H-T-M-O" to get us into the swing of things. He was a great character, a very amusing man and always very decent to us young cadets.”

Mr V G Le Mesurier (? – 1912 - ?) Chief Engineer Instructor.

Lebesque one time second officer of Comway in the early 50s. “As we left the ship for the last time in July 1951 in No 1, we all sang, 'He's my brother, Lebesque, got a row of forty medals on his chest, etc'. I think he was a temporary officer on detachment, and believe he left soon afterwards.” He was appointed salvage officer of the wreck.

Warrent Officer Lee (Tooley aka Hoppy) 1941 -?? who was well liked. Tooley was an army Warrant Officer, seconded to the Conway to teach the new-fangled unarmed combat. Taught Seamanship 1940-43. Famous for pronunciation of ‘rhubarb’.

Mr Cyril Elton Lee (OC 1899-1901) Third Officer from May 1916 link here, then Acting 2nd Lt from 1917 vice Douglas. Biography on page 252 of the December 1917 The Cadet.  he retired in 1942. He had been injured at sea and so walked with a pronounced limp - an odd coincidence when the nickname for the other Lee is read. Obituary The Cadet 1958

Logger see Captain Jones.

Loopy see Lt Cdr Lane

Maggott see Wm J Tozer

Bert Mandeville officer in the initial years at Plas Newydd.

Mr Marchant Joined 1899, retired Dec 1934. The Navigation Master, he was appointed a Senior Master in 1923. he trainmed some 3,000 cadets before rteiring to a "well earned rest". He trained at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.

John Maxwell "Blue Eyed John" RN  Seamanship, Fencing & Cutlass Instructor 1881 to 1907.  Served in Nile and Conway. Interesting Obituary 1941 1 and Obituary 1941 2    Obituary

Lt Mayne (Gunner, aka Jacky) 1950s. Ex RN Gunner. Gunner Mayne was probably the most energetic of all the POs. From him we learned that Whale Island was the axle on which the British Royal Navy revolved. Without it the RN would probably have foundered long before. Everything he did was ‘on the double’. Consequently he expected that everything we did should also be ‘on the double’ As our drill master he taught us not only to march, salute, stand correctly, but also to have pride in our accomplishments. I think that many of us learned from him that, although tasks might sometimes be difficult, they are never impossible. The Whale Island spirit lives on.”

“A splendid man and a true product of all that was best in the Royal Navy”

“He was always on about ‘his Admiral’. “Guns, said the Admiral, Sink me that ship” We were all amazed when, one day some Admiral came to inspect us and, upon seeing Jacky, fell on him like a long lost brother!! Perhaps all Jacky’s tales were true after all! He was a real nut for spit and polish and quite made you feel that it might be worthwhile. ‘Make an evolution of it!’ was another of his expressions.”

Mr McLeod (Ocka Jock) Master at Arms in the early 1960s. He had been in a Sgt RAF in fast patrol boats during the war and delighted in describing his antics. “A very blustery little character (vaguely reminiscent of the Scottish warder in Porridge). Best known for the speed that he drove his Mini Cooper around the estate. I had the dubious honour of being the last person he put on Captain's Report (for smoking) before he collapsed and died (1964?). Well, at least he got the satisfaction of seeing me dis-Rated before he went.” Obituary The Cadet 1967

Lt H McNelle Dibb RNR (Feb 1883-Dec 1884). He was CPO in his last term. He joined Abram Lyle & Sons and rose to First Officer with the White Star Line.For three years prior to rejoining Conway he had been Chief Officer in Beaver Line. On appointment he asked for the defaulters list to be cleared so that "all might start fair".

John Milson left 1907. "A grand olf man, fine seaman and well natured".

Monty see Cdr Douglas.

Lt. Ernie Moore (Ernie aka Pony) 1950s to 1963ish. In 1960 was divisional officer for Focsle in the House. Taught Signals and Shooting. Petty officer. “Great on knots and rope work. ‘A bit of rope or a bit of wire wivout a whipping is like a woman wivout a whatname’ he used to tell us. During the war he apparently escaped from the Japs in Singapore and led a party of civilians all the way round into India. “He lived in the Plas Newydd block and had his wife and a DAUGHTER! I even remember her name Thelma who he kept very much on a tight leash”. Both he and Jacky had more medal ribbons on their chests than would fit while poor old Brookie only had one.” “Ernie was perhaps the most colourful, certainly in his use of language. My first memory of Ernie was when he told us that we were not allowed to have sheath knives with points on. It was apparently against the ship’s regulations. This was immediately followed by a warning that, if any of us were so unsailor-like as to spoil one of a sailor’s most important tools by breaking the tip off a knife, we would have him to answer to. In seamanship class one day he was teaching us how to rig sheer-legs. We had lashed the two spars together at the head and his words were, ‘Now then, pretend it’s your girl, grab the legs and pull them apart.’ Another day, as the pinnace was coming alongside the gangway in fairly heavy weather, the bow man was having a great deal of trouble in picking up the mooring wire with the boathook. Ernie, who was O.O.W. leaned over the top of the gangway and in his nice London accent said, ‘Come on my son, your mother might have waited nine bleeding months for you but I’m not going to’. To many cadets though, Ernie and his wife were father and mother figures. I spent a week in Bangor hospital at one time and Ernie and Mrs. Moore made a point of visiting on at least a couple of occasions.”

Mouse see Mr Davidson.

Mr. Murphy (The Sheriff – because he was for a while the Mayor of Beaumaris, aka Spud) Taught Navigation “Oh he of perfect circles”. “Great sense of humour. Sheriff of Beaumaris pronounced ‘B.E.A.U. (pause) Maris’ He had an ancient car which he called Snowball.” He was one of the very few who held an extra masters ticket in both steam and sail. Cadets' reminiscences

Mr. C.T Nicholls (Charlie Nick, aka Charlie) An engineer who joined from “Blue Funnel” He was I/C fuel for the boats and taught ship construction. Member of staff from, at least, 1943 to end of Octiober 1963. “In 1951-2 I remember that the band at 'divisions' would play Charley Nick as we marched away. The words of the song formed the opening lines of his dictated notes for his first lecture. The words were something like:

Up to thirty years ago

Ships' machinery consisted mainly

Of triple expansion engines

Which rarely used to go.

Chase me Charlie, Chase me Charlie

Tighten up the bolts

Chase me Charlie, Chase me Charlie

Join the Alfred Holts.”

Mr J Oakley Sep 1905 became Engineer Instructor to the RN Class with responsibility for the machine shop. Previously Engineer. Obituary 1930

Ocka Jock see Mr McLeod.

Old Thunder Guts see Hilliard

Lt. J. Oliver (Taffy) A much liked Petty Officer during the 1950s. In 1960 was divisional officer for Foretop and Maintop in the House. Taught Signals and Seamanship. “Taught me all I knew about sailing. Sometimes was called “Way Ho – Jay Ho” with all the sing song of the Welsh accent. When he wanted to locate some cadet on board he used to hail down the main hatch, “ Way Ho – Smith or whatever” whereupon the whole ship would shout back, “Way Ho – Jay Ho!” John Oliver was the quietest of the three POs. His lilting Welsh accent was always controlled and he never seemed to have to raise his voice much at all. For a couple of terms he was my divisional officer and I found him to be very considerate and thoughtful. The other thing that I remember about him was that his initials JO, and the way he wrote them, were extremely easy to forge. This was a great benefit when one needed a note or a textbook label initialised by your divisional officer. Something I took advantage of on a couple of occasions.” In the last ten years of his life he ran the cafe at PD.

Ollie see Mr. A.R. Ollerton

Mr. A.R. Ollerton (Ollie) in 1960 was Focsle divisional officer. He always wore a real flat as a plate white cap which looked too big for his thin face and head. Link here.

Mr Owen (Bullshit aka (Spike) 1960 Bosun. “The Dock was the domain of the bosun and his mate, “Bullshit” Owen and Ernie Ball respectively, who lived in a snug room above the bosun’s store in a stone building that also housed the seamanship room. Mr Owen, a small wiry North Walian, regarded us with shrewd circumspection, given to the utterance of homilies on anything from the handling of rope to the hazards of cold stonework: “You’ll get piles sitting on them cold stones, boy. Oh, yes – and then you’ll remember me – “ turning to Ernie, always a pace or two in the offing “ – won’t he, Ernie?” But Ernie – stolid West Country, apple-cheeked and slow-spoken – never answered beyond a slow smile and a nod, and we wondered just how far he saw through Mr Owen’s pose, as we liked to think it. The pose was, of course, old sea-dog. But he was a kindly man, very patient with a cadet’s apparent imbecility, though the patience was leavened with mild sarcasm. “A splice, is it, boy? Well, you could keep a small parrot in it with room to flap its wings. Give me that spike. Now look – “

T Harry Owen RN Instructor at least April 1893.

Lt. Parry (Reg aka Wah Wah) (42-44) Was Foretop divisional officer from at least 1956 to 1970 when he went back to sea.

Mr Patterson employed as a temporary Engineering Instructor in 1914 to cover for a member of staff serving in the forces.

Penfold Instructor late 1880s/90s.

Warrent Officer Jack L Phelps (Bossie) 1943-5. A cockney whose family were Thames watermen for generations. He was a holder of Do0ggetts Coat & Badge.

Pony see Lt. Ernie Moore

William Potter (Quack aka Quacko) Master at Arms 1859/60ish to at least 1894.

Tom Priestley Instructor late 1880s/90s.

Reg see Mr Parry.

Mr Leonard  Reid  "Bunt" Signal Instructor 1915 to 1935 and for a while in 1939., Obituary 1941

Sarky see Lt-Cdr Couch RNR

Mr Scudder Instructor 1914

Mr A S Sivell (Dickie)  Seamanship Master circa 1943 to 1953. Founder of the Ship's Ornithological Society  Obituary The Cadet 1953

Lt. Skinner RN (Winkle aka Charlie) 1950s. Known originally as Charlie but renamed “Winkle” after the loss of the ship. “When we salvaged the sea chests from on board we had to empty them and hose them out. ‘Get ‘em good and clean. We don’t want to find no winkles in there.’ ” He was the PTI and would also cut hair on Saturday morning for a bob! “He had a cheerful sadistic streak using the tannoy, ‘Wakey, wakey, rise and shine, middle of the day and the sun's burning your bleeding eyes out!’ This at Zero Crack Sparrow Fart on a January morning with the horizontal sleet coming down the Straits and we had to do the morning run from the House up to the Figurehead before having a shower!” Was serving in Ark Royal when she was sunk in November 1941 while accompanying a Malta convoy. Took cadets for gymnastics but died quite suddenly in 1959.

Slob see Lt Cdr Howard-Davies.

Mr J W Stacey joined Sep 1924 as a PTI Obituary 1941

Taffy see Lt. J. Oliver

D H Thomas (The Gonk – he was a short, round man with a dark beard so he quickly gained the name of the 60’s children’s TV characters) joined around 1964-5. He had the unnerving habit of bursting into Senior Cadet Captain's cabins, without knocking, on his duty day. This was until the senior rate of Foretop devised the "Anti-Gonk Device". This was simply reversing the door hands to 'Lift to Open'. The device did not stop his unannounced invasions but by frequently reversing the door handles at least it gave us a 50/50 chance of defeating the incursions.” “I remember he suffered from chronic dandruff and his uniforms always seemed ill-fitting. He was a terror for ensuring we were always smartly turned out!” A small knitted and well stuffed gonk became the 1st XVs mascot.

Mr Howell Thomas Mathematics master at least Autumn term 1920.

Mr Thrower Instructor 1914.

Tooley see Warrent Officer Lee

Wm J Tozer (Doggy aka Maggot) Instructor from at least May 1st 1888 (when he was invalided out of the RN). Later Master at Arms from 1893 then promoted Gunner until he retired. As Gunner his duties included physical drill, gymnasium and boxing instruction. A man of 'great personal strength and phenomenal activity". Bio on page 253 of the December 1917 The Cadet. He retired on 30th April 1924 after 36 years service. Observations 1917

Oswald Tuck was born in 1876. He was educated at Greenwich Hospital School. In 1896 he joined Conway to teach astronomy and navigation with the title Naval Instructor. He left in 1899. His Conway diary for January 1898-August 1898 is held in the Churchill Archive Centre.

Lt H Wadsworth RNR (OC 1917-19). He served his apprenticeship in sail and then joined the RMSP. In 1914 he was mobilized. He joined the technical staff in the new post of Lieutenant. He left on 24th July 1924 to join Smith Junior Nautical College, Cardiff. Obituary The Club Newsletter 1976

Wah Wah see Lt. Parry.

Wally an instructor from at least 1877 he died onboard on May 11th 1897.

Warbis W Carpenter Instructor 1904 to 1924. Obituary The Cadet 1932

S T Whetham
(Tommy) Seaman Instructor 19089-1926.      Obituary 1935

Capt JD Weir taught navigation and seamanship. He returned to sea in 1947.

Winkle see Lt. Skinner.

Lt C E Wise RN Chief Officer from jan 1884. Died in service

Mr Wagner Instructor 1915.

William Warbis Sep 1905 joined as Carpenter Instructor from Price’s Candle Works. Left in July 1905 to join Messrs Morgan and Blakeman.

Tommy Wetham Instructor years not known.

Williams, Instructor joined Sep 1904. His "former experience in the RN has given to the ship an expert instructor in that increasingly imoprtant subject signalling, in its various branches".

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