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© Alfie Windsor 1998
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The Hutted Camp 1953 - 1963


21 October 53

Moved into temporary huts and tents at Plas Newydd on Trafalgar Day. This was announced in The Cadet as follows:

"Other than in memory, the tents and mud of the summer term (see 1953 Tented Camp) were things of the past when tern began, and Staff and Cadets alike were amazed to see the transformation the builders had evolved during the summer leave. Ten dormitories, a dining hall, a recreation room, additional classrooms and staff accommodation had grown like magic in what had previously been a paddock. All were ready for occupation when term began and before such cool weather set in, as this un-natural term brought forth, were centrally heated too! They had grown, not like a rash of mushroom buildings, but like a miniature garden city; the fine trees had been left untouched and broad walks intersected pleasant squares of grass that day by day grew more lawn-like. A miracle had occurred, and everyone recognised it and paid tribute to the architect who had planned it and the contractors who had so speedily followed his directions.

The Ship's system of Divisions was maintained, two dormitories being allotted to each top, one for port and one for starboard, with the Senior Cadet Captains occupying cabins of their own at the entrance to each of the dormitories. The pride taken by Cadets in their accommodation is only equaled by the pride they formerly took in their decks and though all without exception would gladly forsake the spaciousness and convenience of life ashore for the cramped inconvenience of the Ship, if she could again be restored, there are many advantages in the present set-up.

There is a well-known, saying that the last ship is always the best, and this is a truth that all Conways will find if they follow the sea as a career, and while we still have Cadets who commenced their training on the old Ship it is not always easy to realise the advantages thrust upon us, but nevertheless, they do exist. The mid-day rush for classes being taught ashore but living on board has gone, the light in the dormitories far surpasses that on board with less resultant eye-strain, the long waiting for a boat before and after games is no more, but perhaps the greatest advantage is that the executive officers, instead of running the Ship's routine, now have more time to exercise personal supervision over Cadets in their divisions and to teach them the craft of the seas.

The change from a ship to a shore base has, meant many changes in daily routine, not all of which have been as successful as anticipated, but faults have been commented on and rectified as they became apparent so1954 should see a great step forward. Although all were bitterly disappointed when the Admiralty decided to abandon the wreck of the old

Ship where she lies on the Caernarvonshire shore we were grateful to the Old Boys for their generosity in having the figurehead removed and transported to Plas Newydd for re-masting; grateful too, to the shipwrights of Messrs Alfred Holt & Co., who undertook the ticklish job of removing it from the wreck. At present it is recumbent at the approach to the new camp, but before long we hope to see it erect and inspiring as when in the bows of the Ship.

1954 is close upon us, and it is to the future we must look. The year that is drawing to a close has been an eventful one for everyone in the Empire, but to most Conways, past and present, the wonder of the Coronation has been dimmed by the loss of the Ship. A New Year, however, is a time for looking forward, not for glancing back, and it is with confidence we look ahead just now to the new "Conway" emerging from the wreck of the old, sloughing off the faults of the old system, but keeping ever bright the glory and strength of our heritage."


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The hutted camp at Plas Newydd was established after the wreck of the ship to house those cadets who would normally have been accommodated on board and who had been living temporarily in tents. These were cadets usually in their 3rd term onwards who, if on a 2 year course, would therefore spend 4 terms at the camp.

The huts were close to the main road just inside the estate boundary wall on the south side of the driveway. They were laid out in a rough quadrangle with paved pathways between grassed areas. Ten, army-type, wooden huts housed about 200 cadets. Two huts per Division (Foc's'le, Foretop, Maintop, Mizzentop and Hold) one each for Port and Starboard watches. There were also huts housing some of the officers and teaching staff in single cabins; a mess deck and galley; a games room with snooker tables etc.; and a hut containing the Captain's office, the Gun Room and the Duty Cadet Captain's guardroom where the logbook was kept and where a messenger was on call. The figurehead and ship's bell were mounted in front of the guardroom. There was also a canteen housed in the old stone-built dairy (now the National Trust cafe) where cadets could purchase tea, coffee, soft drinks, snacks etc. Adjacent to the canteen were several classroom huts. Additional classrooms were in the Kelvin Block down the driveway next to the gym hall, science lab. and showers.


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The huts were very spartan and each housed 20 cadets. A row of 10 iron bedsteads ran down each side with each cadet's black, wooden sea chest at the head of his bed. The sea chests were rented from the Sailor's Home in Liverpool and had seen countless years of service. The cadet's name was stenciled in large white letters on the front. The sea chest was the only place to store clothes and personal belongings. There were no curtains on the windows. Near the doorway there was a small oilskin locker/cloakroom with a single toilet. On the opposite side to the oilskin locker was a tiny, single-berth cabin for the Divisional Senior Cadet Captain.

The huts in the camp were non too warm in the winter. Remember ....every other window open and the hot water pipe boiler turned off at 2100hrs. Just great big bundles of oilskins, duffle coats etc heaped on top of cadets' beds trying to keep warm for the duration of the night, waiting for reveille and a very swift dash to the Kelvin Block to wash.

The camp was closed down and the huts were removed following the opening of the New Block in 1963. By the summer of 1964 there was absolutely no trace of the huts - even the bases had been grassed over. One hut was relocated next to the New Block as the chapel. The former camp area is now occupied by the National Trust car park and cafe. The cadets' lavatory is no more than a concrete base lost in the trees.

The Captain was housed in an apartment in the Marquis's house. Extensive use was made of the dock. Gigs, cutters and other sailing boats were moored on the Straits.


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  At the same time a number of rooms were remained available as dormitories for new junior cadets, sick bay, billiard room and staff accommodation in Plas Newydd. There was, of course, also the Mess Deck where young ladies would also attend Dancing Classes.
Daily Routine

Morning reveille at 0630 was by bugle call (who was that poor bugler ?) followed by the Duty Officer going the rounds rousing everyone out of their beds. Due to the lack of facilities in the camp, morning ablutions were conducted in the shower/toilet area of the Kelvin Block which meant a brisk run down the driveway and back, winter and summer, rain or shine. The Duty Officer would scour the huts to make sure no shirkers were left behind but there were always a few who would escape the net and remain unwashed for that day and probably several more.

I know that ' Newy' Kingsford was in the officers cabins which made up one of the sides of the grassed quad and was opposite the mess hall. Everyone else was in the row of offices cabins.

Meals were eaten on the mess deck in one sitting. 200 hungry cadets plus officers and resident teaching staff seated at trestle tables. "Cooks to the galley" was sounded about 15 minutes before each meal as a signal for designated cadets to proceed to the mess deck to lay out the tables, collect water, tea, food etc. Seating on each table was strictly in order of seniority. Food was passed down the table from seniors to juniors with the inevitable shortage at the foot of the table. Galley staff were employees of Alfred Holt's shipping company with a few locals. Food was mediocre in quality and not very appetising but every last scrap was eaten. Three full meals per day were provided plus "supper" (glass of milk and a piece of cake) just before turning in at 2100.

On weekdays morning "Divisions" were held in the quadrangle area in front of the huts. The Chief Cadet Captain would report to Eric who was present and who was not; the Padre (Rev. Turner) would lead the prayers and hymns; each Divisional Officer would inspect his cadets drawn up in files of three and the band would lead a short march-past during which the salute would be taken by Eric or "Brookie" in front of the guardroom. Following Divisions, cadets were dismissed to attend school lessons or join other activities. On Sundays a full reefer-uniform Divisions was held followed by a church service in the temporary chapel set up in the gym. The full ship's complement could not fit inside the gym so every Sunday a different party of about 40 cadets would march 2 miles down the road to Llanedwynn church to join the Marquis of Anglesey. The Welsh lady organist, dressed in a long, sheepskin coat and woolen hat (winter and summer) would entreat cadets to sing up by raising her hand palm upwards. Cadets would start to bellow at full volume and she would frantically try to quieten things down again only to be met by whispering voices. One cadet was detailed to hand pump the organ often with drastic consequences - either a force 10 or a flat calm.

The Conway band plus marching cadets were in great demand at this time. Parties of cadets would be sent to Liverpool for the annual Battle of the Atlantic commemoration parade; Lord Mayor's day in Bangor; investiture's at Bangor Cathedral; visits by dignitaries to local towns such as the Duke of Edinburgh's visit to Holyhead etc. The band was very smart and professional in spite of its reputation amongst cadets for being full of "shags" (untidy, lazy fellows).

All cleaning, painting, minor gardening, path-sweeping etc. in and around the camp was carried out by cadets plus the usual scrubbing and polishing of decks and cleaning windows etc. Everywhere, including all the boats, was inspected on Saturday morning "Captains Rounds". Cadets would stand in fear and trembling alongside their area waiting for Eric to run his glove over the surfaces. Hold Division cadets operated an incinerator at the back of the huts nearest the road. This was a big wire cage for burning leaves, garbage etc. with a standing area for dustbins. The Menai Bridge Council bin lorry once caught fire after collecting Conway bins from the camp causing acute embarrassment to Eric who meted out severe punishments to everyone in sight.

At one time there was a system of "duty signalers". One stationed at the camp, one near the "cromlech" and one at the dock. There was also a new-chum signaler on the ramparts of the Marquis"s House. In theory it was possible to send a message by semaphore from the camp to the dock via the House or vice-versa but in practice it was quicker to send a runner.

The longitudinal bed for the JCC was on the port side of Port Hold as you entered. I can still see in the mind's eye the Clout can just inside on the starboard side too. I thing the JCC was at the door end to keep an eye on any potential night time departures (although of course the heads, as has been pointed out, were off the little entrance lobby so going out and back that way was a necessity and must have been a real pain to the JCC). In our time lead seals and wires were instituted (all same H.M. Customs bond style) on the fire door push bars at the far end of the huts. Unscrewing the eyelet screw on the doorframe that the wire went through did however allow a few nocturnal escapades as QB's without the need to break the seal. But more of that another time!

Talk of sleeping arrangements and the CCC reporting Round to Eric reminds me of all those nights where we waited for the Duty Officer to make his way towards the hut for evening Rounds. Being in Port Hold you could see him progress up and down Starboard Hold (usually) with his small entourage and then there was a last minute scramble into bed to lie to attention (did we really do that!!) as through the stillness one heard the muffled voices as the CC reported the Hut (x present, y in sick bay etc or all present and correct) and a shout from the doorway of 'Rounds'. Then the advancing loud footsteps as the team marched the full length of the hut. I think we all learned to use the full powers of our peripheral vision to try to see who and what was going on, particularly if the footsteps stopped. The frozen moment in case it might be something on your shelf that had been spotted that shouldn't be there on view. The sigh of relief when it turned out to be someone else who was for the high jump once the Duty Officer had departed. This was, as we all remember, followed by that brief period of relaxation before the sound of the Last Post drifted across the Camp, and then, precisely on the last note, all the hut lights were switched off (by, I think, always the Chum in the bed next to the entrance door) in unison. A certain amount of whispering (reading with a torch under the bedclothes - a punishable offence) before the JCC exerted his authority with a few judicious shouts down the hut and then silence descended and sleep ensued.

 Dec 13th/14th 53

Stage Show at Plas Newydd (a report from th Cadet magazine)

"Zzzip go the Stars" (or "A 'Master's' Dilemma"), a multi-act phantasy portraying a rocket journey to Mars and other planets in the Universe, was presented in the gymnasium at Plas Newydd on the 13th and 15th of December. This confection was written, produced, and acted in by Mr. Miller and a band of Cadets, and they are to be congratulated on the performance they gave.

The theme of the play was the story of an expeditionary force of "Conway" personnel setting out in a rocket to visit Mars. On arrival there they meet a mysterious character called "Mastermind" who has been broadcasting pseudo-scientific information to Earth, some of which has been overheard by members of the expedition.   "Mastermind" reveals himself as a notorious "Conway" I character banished to Mars for persistent inexactitude in mathematics and expresses his pleasure in their company by providing each with equipment to aid them in their further exploration of the Universe. A navigational miscalculation lands the party at the Pearly Gates, where St. Peter is on watch and maintaining the heavenly routine. St. Peter is of little assistance-he directs them by way of the First Point of Aries, but they have lost the formula for restarting their rocket and, while they search for this, the Devil himself tries to seduce them from the path of rectitude. Eventually the formula is found in a Scotsman's sporran and the party express satisfaction at the prospect of going home for Christmas, before the fourth finally lands in the cutter, to be commandeered by the strokes. The Cadet Captain falls into the sea between the cutter and gangway, and although suffering multiple fractures, climbs into the stern sheets.

To write, produce and stage such a complex show was a most ambitious project considering the limitations of time, space, materials and personnel, and it is to the credit of the producer and his cast that the show went off so well. More scenery would have been a distinct advantage, but again limitations of time and material made that impossible. Mrs. Moore is to be congratulated on her design and tailoring of the costumes. The artistes' make-up was ably looked after by Mrs. WiIliams and Sister Szumska, and the stage lighting by Mr. Oliver and his staff of Cadets.

Mention must also be made of the staff contribution to the Concert. This took the form of a sextet singing such vintage songs as "Silver Threads among the Gold," "In the Twi-twi-twilight," and "T'was only a Beautiful Picture." The three "ladies" were tastefully dressed in the height of late-Victorian fashion while their partners wore white flannels, blazers, straw boaters and Dundreary whiskers with full cavalry moustaches. This act received vociferous cheers and counter-cheers, but an encore was impossible as the sextet had rehearsed only the bare minimum of pieces.

We would like to express our appreciation to Mr. Miller and those Cadets who took such an active part in the production of the Concert. It would be invidious to single out individuals when all played so well, but we note that there is a wealth of talent in the junior terms which will still be available next year."

1954

How many of the post 53's remember the song:

žIf you ever go across the Straits to Conway,

And be it at the closing of your days,

You will hear old Laurie on the gangway, saying

"Get that bloody cutter out of here"

We had a class with Brogue one Thursday afternoon, and for some reason or other he marched us off to the tennis courts and soon had us marching back and forth like chocolate soldiers. He then revealed his great plan, namely to teach us how to make quarter turns, while marching. Indeed you sometimes see demonstrations of such things on television on grand occasions like the Queen's Birthday. However, I don't think we were particularly receptive and he eventually had us doubling from the tennis courts to the Kelvin Block and back. After a while of course we got fed up and started chattering to each other. It was all right for him as he was following on his old black boneshaker. Anyway as we were going back to the tennis courts for the umpteenth time I was saying something like "How long's the silly old bugger going to keep this up?" When I glimpsed a movement out of the corner of my eye and ducked. The result was moderately hilarious as Brookie failed to connect with the back of my head, lost his balance on his bike and fell off. We of course not observing anything just doubled up to the tennis courts turned round and got back to the Kelvin Block in time to be dismissed by a slightly dusty Brooke-Smith.

It wasn't only the cadets who suffered - we did a fair old number in mental torture on poor old Cupid (maths teacher, can't remember his real name) which in retrospect was a pity, as he wasn't too bad a bloke. Amongst some of our finer stunts were...

As each cadet stood at his desk to get a project marked, the cadet would surreptitiously insert a drawing pin through his gown and into the wooden floor. The end result was spectacular, as Cupid finally arose from his chair, he reached the end of his gown tether, and with a resounding ripping noise crashed over the back of his chair. Similar spectacular results were achieved at a later date (after the dust had settled) when between lessons, an intricate web of black (near invisible) cotton was wound to and fro from the desks at either side of the centre aisle at a height of about six inches above the floor. Poor old Cupid strides into the classroom, books under arm, and immediately staggers around dropping books, entrapped and dragging desks like some kind of scholastic ball and chain amongst an appreciative uproar. I'm afraid he gave up on attempting to teach us in the end, which is entirely what we deserved.

Our classroom in the Kelvin Block was adjacent to the gym, and another spontaneous idea between lessons, came when an unlucky cadet was demonstrating his prowess on the wall bars. He proudly hung with arms outstretched halfway up the wall, whereupon his wrists were immediately seized and lashed to the bars. All hands then retired to the classroom leaving him in situ. The poor lad lasted to about twenty minutes into the next lesson before his howls of pain had the teacher gasping in disbelief through the windows at his predicament. We were young then.....seemed like a good idea at the time.

Once, when coxing No 1 power boat and coming alongside one of the cutters, the bowman was a tall thin new chum and Frank Bolton (engineer)yelled "Jump - you'll make it in two!" The poor lad jumped but hadn't noticed that the painter was snagged. I shall never forget the look of astonishment on his face as his forward trajectory changed to a vertical descent! 'Happy' Bateman the stern man came rushing out of the fore cabin at the splash (and laughter) but didn't remember to take the cigarette out of his mouth until after we had completed the rescue - fortunately no one noticed.

When towing other boats back to their moorings it was not done to let the other boat pick the buoy before slipping the tow line. One approached the mooring at full power and depending on tide etc, the line was slipped short of the buoys. There was a lot of hooting and jeering (at the power boat cox'n) if the other boat had to get out oars or be picked up for a second attempt!

Summer 1954

I remember a prize giving day in the mess hall in my last term,.  The guest of honour was an old boy, Douglas V. Duff, a famous author of (healthy) adventure stories for boys.  He began his speech by saying Capt and Mrs Hewitt, distinguished guests, members of the staff and gentlemen of HMS Conway.  This was greeted with raucous laughter.  He went red in the face and threw his notes down on the table, and proceeded to give us a twenty minute lecture on the theme that we would emerge from the Conway as gentlemen, whether we liked it or not.

1955

The Silent 200

"It was the last but one day of the summer term 1955 and Lt Frankyn (an RNR officer on a year's secondment) , found his car wouldn't start - there was a cupful of sugar in his petrol tank. That evening at divisions in the camp Eric said that if the culprit didn't own up then summer leave would be delayed from 1000 to 1800. Nobody owned up, and nobody split so we were all held back. There must have been a dearth of national news that day and the Daily Express (or perhaps the Liverpool Post) ran the headline "Silent 200 gated for 8 hours" with lots of pictures and journalese! We all assumed that the culprit was one of my term who had been punished by the oficer a couple of days earlier but he denied it even though we kicked his backside!"

“The chap who actually did it was in my term (a very untrustworthy character!)”

An Encounter With A Steam Train In The Tubular Bridge A group of us had been climbing Snowdon for the weekend and on our return to the Rectory in Llanberis learned we were snowed in with little prospect of return to Port Dinorwic in time to catch the launch back the Conway on Sunday evening. We agreed to walk back via Caernavon and Menai Bridge, a distance of 21 miles. We set off on Sunday evening and all went well until about 2 am when tiredness and the bitter weather were beginning to tell on some of the group. By this time we had reached a position on the road adjacent to Uffa Fox’s estate and faced with the conditions, tiredness and the distance ahead, decided that a short cut through the tubular railway bridge might ease all these difficulties.

Having cut across the estate we stood in the moonlight facing the tunnel entrances where a choice had to be made. Which tunnel should we take, the left or the right? The stillness was suddenly broken when from the right hand belched forth a train heading towards Bangor. Mistakenly, albeit at the time, the choice of which tunnel was made, the left hand one! We split into three groups, the lead off group as they approached the halfway point in the tunnel would flash their torches to indicate that all was well. The sight of the torch flashes set off the second group who would follow the same procedure. I was with the third group who once again set off on seeing the flashes from the second group. For the first few yards, at both ends of the tunnels, the two tunnels inter-connected, thereafter they singled up into their own tubes. It was pitch black inside with no light whatsoever and all there was to guide us through were timber planks running alongside the rail track. It was an eerie and claustrophobic atmosphere, the rhythmic sounds of feet upon timber planks and the sensation of someone in front or behind, as we moved at the double. After what seemed an age there was a sudden change in our rhythm and a pressure on the ears; there was a train in the tunnel behind us!

A cold feeling of fear gripped us. I stumbled and fell across the railway track striking my head upon something hard. Momentarily I lost all consciousness and with it all sense of foreboding. In those few seconds I lay there, then I saw this bright light bearing down on me and a loud rumbling sound. I threw myself sideways and lay perfectly still, the wheels of this the 3 a.m. Holyhead express, passing within inches of my head. Seconds passed, I raised my head and saw the reed lights of the last carriage in the steam and smoke which outlined a silhouette of the tunnel exit within yards of where I lay. I went to raise myself, placing my hand on a warm and moist object. Cadet X had been in front of me and for one horrendous moment I thought it was him without his head! I moved to lift him and found to my relief that it was a kit bag with warm engine oil at the neck of the bag. I remember running from the tunnel and jumping over a wire fence and rolling down the embankment where I rejoined the others. There were as many as 15 of us. We arrived back at Plas Newydd exhausted just after 4 a.m. on Monday morning.

This short cut was still in occasional use in the 60s. I wonder how many Cadets traversed that tunnel! Ed.

Summer 1956

The Huts

“We were definitely spoilt by having a very nice tarmac road leading from the huts to the washrooms. It was also a hell of a lot closer! The central heating in the huts though was something else. We had about a 3 inch circ pipe running around the hut which was filled with luke warm water. During the winter months when every other window had to be open, I used to sleep on my stomach with hands wrapped around the pipe. I have never to this day complained about central heating!!”

“I have never been very keen on camping, and after reading all the reminiscences of the time before the huts, I can see why! Give me the cold dry huts anyday, although many a day I used to wake up covered with a fine blanket of snow - bliss! Maybe that's why I am not to keen on skiing either!!”

Gigs

Two new identical gigs were built by Dickies Yard of Bangor and completed in the summer of 1956. They were towed in tandem from Bangor to Plas Newydd by the pinnace with a crew of cadets from Hold Division under the watchful eyes of officer Howard-Davies. The existing gigs continued for a few more years but were in a very bad state. The new gigs were eventually transferred to Indefatigable before being rescued by The Friends Of The Conway (see Relics).

Staff

Our signals instructor was M.H.(Lawrie)Lawrence who retired in Dec 55. 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.

The other Warrant Officer I remember was "Charlie" Skinner. He was the PTI and would also cut your hair on a 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!

Charlie Nicholson was the Chief Engineer who taught Ship Construction and engineering. There was a poem in the "Cadet" entitled "Conway through the Alphabet". I don't remember all the verses but "C" went: C is for Charlie with his Massive Slide Rule, Everybody agrees it's the Biggest in School! He had a slide rule about 3 feet long which he used to carry on his shoulder like a rifle!

1958

QBs & Bullying

During my first term at the House there was a big stink (and quite rightly so) as the bullying by some QBs was really bad. The details escape me, but I think it was a QB hanging by the arms from a beam in one of the huts on to a prone Chum's chest which I believe caused (not surprisingly) some broken ribs and it brought the matter to a head. This was the extreme, but there was some other bullying. The story was that it was a game of chicken which went wrong. The idea I think being that the QB would open his legs sufficiently wide just before landing for the feet to miss the petrified chum who had been made to lie there and not move for fear of some form of unofficial punishment.

I suppose a degree of QB tormenting of Chums in the huts could also qualify as bullying today, but that seemed part of the way of life back then. I can just about remember the joy of the power I felt as a new QB of shouting `’CHUM`’ down the length of the hut and the last one to arrive (sliding on clouts of course) ended up with some shoe spit and polishing to be done. QBs didn't clean there own shoes if it could be avoided. Very often it was the same rather slow reacting Chum who ended up with most of these tasks. I suppose we all thought, well we had to do it as a Chum so they can too. How good it felt when you were in your second of your term's up at the camp and the shout of CHUM no longer applied to you.

There was a fair bit of bullying by certain sadistical QBs - one in particular, who I suppose should remain nameless, returned to visit after leaving the ship. Unfortunately for him, his victims were now QBs themselves, and he encountered loud and vehement slanging wherever he went - I remember Lt.Cmdr Hutchinson looking on from the porch of his quarters with a wry grin. The QB in question was even, "offered out" by one of his previous victims, but he declined and slunk off. There was also some fairly inventive forms of cadet, "torture" - I recall one poor cadet from a different "Top", who's crime was not asking for, "hut" before entering a rival top. The poor victim was seized, hands tied behind back, stood on an upended yak bin, a noose made up, put around his neck, and the end thrown over the hut beam above him and made fast. He was then blindfolded, someone played, "The Last Post", and at the last note, the yak bin was kicked out from under him. The line had been let go after his blindfolding, but the terrified cadet didn't know that. To our young minds, QBs were all powerful, and if they felt like a bit of hanging - so be it! The entire hut thought it was a great joke - but no doubt the poor victim wandered off suitably emotionally scarred!

One aspect of bullying was being " Put in the Derby" This was organised bullying arranged by the QBs in the form of a race. Various obstacles were set up on the sports field at Plas Newydd a tradition supposedly from the hold on the Ship, over and under which you had to crawl while the QBs beat you with sticks, knotted towels interspersed with well placed kicks. To get around the course could take some 10 mins in the process of which you got mud on your SB's which was a logistical problem as you had no change of clothes. Then if you didn't perform in the " Derby" well enough or if their appetite was not satisfied, they put you around again presumably to ensure that you moved at a greater speed. When you were knocked flat they closed up and beat you on the ground to motivate you to continue. This was all accompanied by frenzied blasts on the bugle to encourage the fainted hearted in this very organised affair. To be told by a QB that you were "In the Derby" for some imagined infraction to his dignity was sufficient to create the utmost dismay in the recipient. When I was Deputy CPO down at the House later on Hewitt received a letter from the General Botha school in South Africa as they were seeking his advice on the subject of "Organised Bullying." He therefore called a meeting at which Brookie attended and I was invited in my official capacity. Hewitt asked me what bullying was going on to my knowledge and I was able to explain the shenanigans of some 3 terms earlier. Throughout my explanation Brookie said repeatedly that no bullying had ever existed either on the Ship or at Plas Newydd until Hewitt told him not to politely to shut up. It was my belief at the time as it still is ( now perhaps to be shattered) that in my 6th term there was no bullying per se going on, as I kept a close watch to head such hysterical behaviour off at the pass. However, I was the DCPO at the time and maybe care was taken by some to hide such goings on from my eyes as the ethic was not to report anything.

1959

Personally I was a Hockey and Gym team activist. I couldn't get into a Rugby team so went after a while to Mr. Fozzard's Hockey to try (successfully) to make any team and escape Conway for a bit on away match days. Junior Leader's Tonfannau (near Tywyn, later a hostel fro Ugandan Asians, now closed) was a bit tough (asphalt pitch I seem to remember and the food was not dissimilar to Conway grub), Bangor Normal College (Ladies,) boy they took no prisoners, and RAF Valley with Vulcan bombers doing touch and go landings (runway too short for landing / takeoff) alongside the hockey pitch stand out. The highlight of the Gymnastics team year was an exhibition display at the Llangefni summer show. There were real people, especially young ladies in close proximity which made a pleasant change form the cloistered world of Plas Newydd. I joined the Snowdon Group as an escape tactic too. The Friday evening motor boat to Port Dinorwic and then off by bus to Llanberis Youth hostel with our Peak cigarettes was a real joy. I even followed the Beagles (Mrs Hewitt's hobby) once or twice for a chance to get out on other occasions. It also provided some smoking opportunities which was a very important challenge for me and quite a few others back then. Come to think of it all the books I had read before going to Conway about prisoner of war camps and what the inmates did for escape and evasion tactics stood me in good stead during my couple of years.

Cross Straits Swim

There was a major jelly fish problem that year, also. Several swimmers were badly stung – one Harris from Hold got into so much trouble, he was hauled out, brought to shore and rushed to Bangor Hospital. He was in severe shock and could not easily breathe, which was, of course, a real concern. I did not swim that year. Next year I did and mercifully encountered no jelly fish.

The swim across the straits and back was okay once you got started. Usually swum at slack water on the low tide. I remember getting back to the slip and finding it difficult to believe how heavy my legs felt when getting out of the water.

Sick Bay

One Saturday afternoon, I was on First XV stretcher party at the top rugby pitch and was gripped by considerable abdominal pain. I ended up being carried to the sick bay at the House on the stretcher I was supposed to be helping to man. Medical methods at the sick bay were somewhat limited and Sister gave me laxative tablets (on the assumption I presume that any pain in the lower body region was bound to be due to constipation) which exacerbated my condition into peritonitis. I actually didn't get sent off in an ambulance to Bangor C&A until the Sunday morning, after the Doctor had seen me and had become somewhat concerned at my condition. By then it was a matter of some urgency. My absence from the school was extended beyond the expected fortnight with a stay at the Caernarfon Cottage hospital due to there being a chicken pox and scarlet fever epidemic 'onboard' which was knocking people down like nine pins at the time. When I did eventually (after a month) return I had a magic note, signed I think by Eric, which excused me from all games, all doubling (white doubling posts marked out the spots between which cadets always had to double i.e. run), and best of all, all punishments. Boy, did I enjoy that brief interlude, but then made up for it later.

1960

Expulsions

Two cadets borrowed Hutch's motorbike, visited Bangor and acquired 75 pairs of shoe laces and a window latch - this led to a magistrate's court appearance and subsequent expulsion.

Extract: 'At the police station xxxxx admitted taking the motor-cycle for a dare. In a statement he said he was a fifth term cadet at H.M.S. Conway and added "At Conway it is a tradition to do things that have not been done before and I suggested that we should borrow Commander Hutchinson's motor-cycle, but that was meant more as a joke then. At about 11 last night we took the motor-cycle from the cricket pavilion and we pushed it for about two miles before starting the engine." At the back of the High Street they admitted to stealing the shoe laces through an open window and the window latch through a broken window.'

The lawyer said on their behalf in mitigation that "They are subject to impersonal discipline and naturally look for an outlet for their vigour and spirit.' I can identify with that, having participated in forays across the fields to the back door of the pub in LlanfairPG after lights out amongst other illicit adventures. One had to have a little light relief!

Punishments

We were punished by Hilliard one weekend. He had us carrying the rifles off the rifle range around the courtyard in the Kelvin Block. The only thing was that we had to walk in a squatting position and hold the rifle above our heads. We did this for about 10 minutes and then he dismissed us.

A Murder

I remember a murder down Beaumaris way - she was 21 year old Margaret Hughes and over 2000 males were fingerprinted and palm printed. She was sexually assaulted and strangled ( which was first I don't know) but it had to have been committed by someone strong enough to move the body - I think from outside the house to inside her bedroom or something like that - from memory they caught a Dutch seaman in Liverpool and he was charged with her murder. As to the outcome of his trial I don't know - does anyone else know the outcome - I am not sure if the death sentence was still in force at that time - swinging Albert from Oldham would have remembered - ( I am referring to Albert Pierpoint) who ran the "Help The Poor Struggler" beerhouse in Manchester Road, Albert had the distinction of being the last official Public Hangman. All the cadets were fingerprinted - they returned the prints to us after they'd been checked - I kept mine for a few years, then lost them (the same fate as some of my brain cells).

Overseas Cadets

Many of the Cadets came from overseas or they were UK born and their parents lived overseas. The cadets would then be flown home for leave etc and many used BOAC (now British Airways) and many of the bookings would be made by Capt Hewitt.

I was on leave around ' 65 and went to a club in Liverpool ( called The Gas Light if anyone knew it at that time) which was owned by the Uncle of a friend of mine. This blood connection allowed us to get into the place without being members. They were very strict on membership criteria and they charged like a wounded bull to gain access. One evening we met a couple of girls etc etc and eventually I married one of them (Maureen). It was some time before it came out that she was the main contact for Capt Hewitt at the BOAC office in Liverpool. He would ring to make various bookings and would always ask to speak to Maureen and it was her responsibility to get the Conway cadets ticketed, booked etc and when required, an escort - the younger cadets in the airline industry were called UMs - Unaccompanied minors. The escort may have been the Chief Steward on the aircraft or a Ground hostess, to make sure the Cadet was on the correct plane etc. Maureen tells me that our beloved Captain was very demanding as he cared that BOAC would be doing the right thing by his Cadets. She liked dealing with him as he knew what he wanted and appreciated the effort she made for the Cadets.

Don't forget that at this time the B 747 hadn't arrived and the main stay of the BOAC fleet was the B 707 & VC 10s on the intercontinental runs. After leaving the sea I ended up working for BOAC at Manchester Airport in their cargo department.

Boxing

I know there was considerable pressure to do the swim, but I also know that only a few from my hut (Port Foretop) went. I reckon that there were between 40 and 50 swimmers although I agree that all the splashing looked very impressive. I particularly remember this as in the next term, when I was pressured to join in the boxing tournament, which I disliked (being no good at it and having a large hooter), I successfully pointed out to several non-participants keen to get me into the boxing that they had chickened out of the swim. Needless to say this did not make me popular, but it kept my nose intact.

QBs & Bullying

Bullying in 1960 was a part of the 'culture' and when I joined Conway, along with a few others who were largish in size, ( and some of us from Merseyside) it started to die out. I remember a mini riot one evening as an attempt was made to turn a few of us into 'slaves' or what ever they called it at the time. After we had thumped a couple we were hauled up in front of the CCC and labelled Liverpool Teddy Boys and they (the CCs) were going to sort us out. I remember getting six cuts across the backside with a ropes end (had the bruises for sometime even after wearing additional clothing as protection) and the person giving it really enjoyed himself and I then had to shake his hand as a 'no hard feeling' gesture. It was unfortunate for this CC as he was in the 2 nd XV and the following Saturday. He was in the team to play against the 1st XV for a hard practise match for both teams. Let's just say I had a good match in the scrum. It is funny but the Liverpool Teddy Boys were never bothered again – we also had Wake (Joe) Simpson, who was always a gentleman from Down South, and he was big enough for me to hide behind!

I like to think that as the 1960 intake grew in seniority, we stamped out most of the bullying, but unfortunately it appears to have returned after the new building was opened.

Slash Creek

A great place - a group of us would take a gig on a Sunday for 'practise' rowing, and row down to Slash Creek which was on the Anglesey side of the Straits. Pull into the 'creek' which was a sandy inlet. The gig would be grounded in the creek, and it would be out of site of the House or anyone across on the mainland. Swim, sit in the sun, chew the fat etc etc - row back in time for tea. A great afternoon on a hot summers day.

The Haig Trophy

I have in front of me as I type the September 1960 Cadet magazine with a one and a half page report on that summer's Haigh Trophy, which I participated in for Hold Division. I still remember it well, it was a scorching hot day and we had no water with us. Although, according to the report in the magazine, it took place on Saturday 2nd July and 'the weather was near nearly perfect' . Maybe it was for the officers at the bases, but not for us going up hill and down dale. The few mountain streams had to suffice for quenching our thirst when we found them and then luckily we found a milk bottle which we took, filled as opportunity arose, along some stages with us. I am sad to say that despite our sterling efforts Hold ended up with the lowest score of 50.6 points, Forecastle were first with 78.8.

Apparently the task at Base A set by Geoff. Drake, was 'to remove a heavy boulder from the body of "Charlie" without further damage to his anatomy.' I expect we killed the poor dummy.

At another base the report shows our attempts were not too impressive "Hold arrived at 1155, but planning beforehand was not a noticeable feature. Turner climbed up one tree quite well but had no clear idea of what he was to do when there'. As Turner and I were used to climbing the tree between Port and Starboard Hold for a smoke, we could have put it to good use that day if no officers had been around!

But after all, being in the Haigh Trophy was not just about winning, it was the taking part. At least that's how we consoled ourselves to the bottom position in the final scores, even after the House who had a team. Still having a day out from school was worth the effort.

The Prince

He apparently had high connections in, "White Russia" (as he used to describe where he came from) he used to get the Michael extracted fairly regularly though, and as you say, had the knack of always getting things wrong. It's just as well he took it all in good heart though, as he was a bit of a gentle giant, and if he'd gone ballistic, I'm sure he could have hospitalised a few of us. I remember when he became a bugler - his renditions were atrocious, and it was a bit like, "guess the command" when he was duty bugler. He'd roam the musical scale looking for "G". To his credit, he totally ignored all jibes, and stuck with it, 'til you could eventually at least make a good guess at the calls. One memorable day, when he was the bugler in the morning "colour party", someone had stuffed a rag up his bugle. The division that held those in the know, rippled with suppressed laughter as the party marched out to the flagstaff, Galitzine blew furiously into his sabotaged bugle as the ensign was raised, only to have a confused cadet who was hoisting the ensign stop in mid hoist, whilst Nicholas removed the offending rag. His red face was visible even at a distance. Fortunately, no action was taken on the incident. They probably thought it was just Galitzine forgetting that he'd stuffed a cleaning rag up his bugle, and left well enough alone!

Church Parade

From time to time a duty part of the Duty Top (e.g. Port Hold) was designated to march out from the Camp on Sunday morning via the main gate, turn left (smartly of course) and onwards to the Marquis's private church/chapel on the edge of the walled estate. Left again down the road (I think) to Moel-y-Don ferry. It was quite a tiny church and I suppose not more than a dozen of the Marquis's family and retainers present, making for a congregation of about thirty in total. I can only remember going twice but perhaps the following would explain why that was.

I might as well confess to my being pretty much converted to an agnostic/atheist by the then padre Rev. Turner. I am not particularly proud of the fact, but some of his discussions moved me to make a rather disparaging remark towards the Padre during a Religious Instruction (R.I.) lesson. I was sent for by the Headmaster TEWB and put on a warning as to my behaviour. There was for a brief period somewhat of a cloud over me and then my parents were summoned to the school some days later. After an apology from me it was agreed that I would be henceforth excused from all Sunday Services and R.I. lessons (extra physics in the hut on these occasions). This non-appearance for Church and R.I. was the envy of many of my mates, as you can imagine.

My only contact from then on with the Padre was at the handing out of pocket money, was during Prep (was it on a Friday?). As all will no doubt remember, he brought it round a lot of loose change in a small blue cloth drawstring bag, tightly clutching the pocket money account book under his arm. How precious that shilling (or maybe two for the better off ones) was for the canteen; a slice of buttered toast or two, beans on toast and maybe a Murphy, but that only for a special occasion or to ward off real hunger.

Roman Catholics & Muslims Fall Out

During morning Divisions at the Camp, R.C.s fell out at prayers and stood in the doorway of either Hold or Mizzen huts, I cannot remember which, together with the cadets on sick parade. (Unable to march) At the end of prayers, RC's fell in again for the march past. It caused consternation I remember at the beginning of one term because Syed Abu Bakar and Suhaimi bin Su who had just joined were Muslim and they stayed put for prayers as the order did not state 'RC's and Muslims Fall out!' The situation was soon rectified.

1961

Can you remember the culture shock of the first few weeks in the ship? The sea of unknown faces, the confusion of where to be or where to go, the sounds of amplified orders, bugles and whistles!!! To me it was quite head spinning and only stabilized partly by the relative sanity of the classroom but mainly as some of the faces became people with names which happened first in my house dorm "Nestor". Two of the new names belonged to quite memorable characters. There was Cyril who would entertain us after lights out with exotic stories of life in what was to me very far away Northern Rhodesia  (a little different from my life in Altrincham) and Johnny who with his amazing repertoire of enjoyable stories ranging from humorous to ghostly would help us all to forget our homesickness and relax us into deep sleep. Does anybody remember Johnny?? He was a Liverpudlian and very proud to have met the Beatles in the cavern!! Anyway I think I owe a lot to Cyril and Johnny for making the first few weeks bearable and even fun and it would be the latter word that applied to the rest of my days in the Ship.

I don't recall my antics with any great pride, but it was fun at the time. I remember one teacherl actually taking a swing at me from behind his desk as I stood in front of him imitating his collar pulling, jaw moving, idiosyncracy to his face. I also remember spending hours hollowing out a new piece of chalk and filling it with match heads. It was Cupid who managed to set it off when writing with it on the blackboard ! His reaction was priceless. A puzzled expression came over his face when confronted with a piece of chalk erupting like a roman candle. Then it dawned on him that he had been had, just as it went out. "Yes ! Very clever", he said, "Now can we get back to Pythagoras". I also managed to pin Cupid's gown to his chair while he wasn't looking, and set off a penny banger in his desk. The bits of plastic set squares in the heating elements of the class fan heaters used to give off vast amounts of black smoke too. God, he was a good sport, was Cupid. He always took it in good part. I think I am marked down for some terrible karma at the hands of school boys in some future life ! The"soft mark" teachers must have dreaded classes I was in, along with Cyril. As a typical coward, there was no way I would have dared try these stunts with Hutch or Geoff Fozard.

1962

Slash Creek  

Never mind all the winter memories what about six in a gig rowing down to Slash Creek on a Sunday afternoon pulling the boat on to a sand bank and just sitting in the sun. Yellow sand and warm water is a fond memory. A spot of paddling or a quick swim - all out of sight of the dock and the house. But we had to be back for tea at 4.00 pm so as not to miss the cake. I remember some of the group who used to row down there - Pete Nesfield, Jo (John Cuthbert), Mike Maunder, Arthur Wood, Nick (John) Champion, Mike Mitchinson and John English.

Mr Parry

I was in charge of the dock one day when the phone rang. I picked it up and said, "Yahaa ! Lt. Commander Parry here" in excellent imitation of him. The reply came back, "That's damned funny ! Lt. Commander Parry here, too". And it was !!! I put the phone down, and started worrying. By the time I saw him later in the day he just gave me a long hard look. Another good sport ! He never ever mentioned it.

Parry did have a sense of humour alright, I went out the back gate one day and donned my Yellow jumper and blue jeans to meet my girl friend who picked me up in her motherœs car. We went into Bangor and collected her dog and went for a walk. Blow me away Parry walked up the main street towards me. He looked me in the eye and he turned away up a lane way very quickly, I went the other way up another street, I thought thatœs it I'm gone here !!! Monday morning in class he bounced in and drew his hankie from his sleeve and asked whether we had all had a good weekend. He said the weather was lovely ideal for taking ones dog for a walk. He looked at me and that was it. Everyone else thought he was off his trolley.

Visit To The House

In ' 62 we were offered the chance, for a shilling, to view the mural paints by Rex Whistler in the Marquises area of the House. I thought I'd better go, although I was not one for art unless it was the Reveille. The mural, of the view over a village looking down on to the harbour has stayed with me since then. The 3 D affect of the steps with the cigarette smoldering, which had been left on the step, gave one the impression that it could be picked up and smoked. The Greek columns looked so real that we ran our finger across the columns in an expectation of feeling the sculptured design. It was pointed out to us that if we looked at the sky we would see the impression of a sailing ship which had been painted over by the artist and was to be finished on his return from the war, but sadly he was killed at D Day.

The Haig Trophy

What was it called when we used to climb about three or four of those hills and have to complete various exercises - such as diving in to ice cold water to place a panel over a hole and then pump out the water. Supposed to be a submarine which had sunk and the idea was to see if we could work out how to raise the 'sub'. Also had to build a bridge across a small river / stream or build a raft from 45 gal oil drums and float your team across. Four in a team I think. At each point where we had to do one of the 'challenges' there would be a very cold officer or teacher waiting to make sure all teams played the game and to allocate points etc. The day would start very very early - by coach to starting point - and it would be well after 6 or 7 pm before we got back to camp. Did we all have bars of Kendal Mint cake (like a chocolate bar & bought with our own money) to eat for sudden input of energy. It was either at Conway or I was daft enough to do hill climbing with someone else and we ate the cake then - help me out ! I feel tired out thinking of those mountain days - but great fun even at the time.

I remember taking part in the Haig Trophy one year. One of the tasks I recall involved Geoff Drake standing beside some deep Snowdon pool, and you were required to work out how deep it was using a bit of kit, (who's name escapes me), had a glass tube fitted to a length of line, just above the weight, a tube was fitted, which was coated with a chemical inside, that changed colour when it was in contact with salt water, so you determined the depth by how much of the tube changed colour. The problem was that this particular pool was fresh water, and the trick was to ask Geoff for some salt to smear over the bottom of the tube, at which point Geoff would produce some Saxa from a pocket, Tommy Cooper like.

I think I was in that same group with you - trying to determine the depth of that pool. Then I think we went on to climb a mountain into the mist and didn't we come across the remains of a plane crash? Then to get down, I remember us climbing down some very steep "chimneys" - very scary!

Bonfire Night

I remember that a bonfire had been built for Guy Fawkes night. The event had been rained off and the following day our class had Geoff Drake. As I seem to remember that the works on the new block had already begun it was probably November 1962. Anyway the bonfire was totally waterlogged and Geoff Drake sent two of us down to the dock with instructions to bring back two buckets of TVO each. Once we got back we were allowed to pour two buckets of TVO over the bonfire. He lit a newspaper and stuck it in the bonfire, which of course started to burn.

Once the fire took hold he told one of us to chuck one of the remaining buckets over the bonfire, which was done immediately. The result was a colossal black mushroom of smoke and flame. Fortunately we were upwind of the fire, but maybe he'd thought of that... The second bucket went on too, but we were already getting blasť about it.

Cross Strait Swim

Jelly fish were a problem every summer but the summer of '62 (Sounds like a song title?) was the year of the Portuguese Men O'War and cries of 'Je-ee-e-ll-eeee Fishhhh' could be heard frequently. I believe the participants were almost all from those that had started into the 2 year course; with the exception of those chosen for their prowess in skiving who acted as coxes/strokes etc for the rescue boats which were manned mainly with junior cadets. It was a grey day ( Low water slack) and there was nothing at the other end in the dock except a towel and uniform and a swift double up the hill to the camp. (Doubling after that?) I lived in Cyprus at the time and had become a reasonable swimmer (No racing snake but could at least manage the distance.) I came in shortly after the first group of super fit chummies like Fish Simpkins, who if I remember actually was in first?

I remember the last swim over from the dock Summer term 62 - it seemed to take a heck of a long time ( not a very fast swimmer on long distances) and then wade ashore and do it all again - the problem was that we had to contend with a large number of ( I think) Portuguese man of war jelly fish with huge tentacles. The boats were out picking up people who either got stung or were just tired out. By the time I got back to the dock thinking I was the last one, the tide had changed. I looked back over the Strait there were groups of cadets still in the water trying to avoid the jelly fish. The disturbance caused by a group seemed to keep the jelly fish a bay. I didn't enjoy that day one bit.

"The cross strait swim was something I had totally forgotten until it was raised the other day – however things come back and your recollection of the day matches mine - cold and grey! I don't know if it was everyone although quite a few took part but I think there was some element of choice involved. Was it not the senior few terms only? Laughably our "training" for the big event of course took place in the pool, only available after high water 'cos o the leaks, which I feel was not the old ships most successfully planned match between training and the real thing all I ever did was try to make the biggest splash. I can't remember where I came in the actual race although I think by the sound of it I probably finished ahead of your good self! One of those things that at least when you had done it gave a sense of achievment no matter how long it took. I think I must have missed the jellyfish on the route I took as I don't remember being stung. As far as nostalgia goes I make no excuses. I hated school before I went to Conway and I only ever had the best of recollections from there both in terms of enjoyment and what it gave us and made us as people. I believe that it was a tremendous training for the start of out adventures at sea and certainly left me with lasting standards and attributes. I also loved the sea and still do even though I left the MN a long time ago. So long live nostalgia no matter the comments of the women folk (who as I point out to mine haven't got the faintest idea what we're on about anyway, so no change there)! I remember the jellyfish thing. That summer a chap dived off Bangor pier stright into a jellyfish and died. I think we had to swim round one of the rowing cutters on the other side of the strait. If I remember rightly it was rather a grey day. Upon getting out of the water we were all chivied up to the seamanship room to dry off and change back into uniform. You'd have thought they would have given us a warm cocoa or something. I think I came in at an inglorious 28th having breast-stroked it there and back."

"I think I got back in time for tea - just. I think I started all style and cross channelish and ended up after about 100 yards, doggy paddling there and back. It was a grey day and I think it was a Sunday afternoon as I seem to remember doubling up from the dock to keep warm for tea & cake. As far as I can remember the whole school took part ( or those considered fit enough) - from memory there were a lot of us in the water at the start all full of vigour and churning the stuff to white"

"I seem to recall that each Divisional Officer had to assess the capability of the cadets to do it and if in doubt, as I was in the first summer, had to do a trial in the pool. I obviously passed the trial as I was probably too scared of the consequences of failing. I believe that there were no consequences for failure in the straits swim as putting in the effort was considered satisfactory."

Rugby

"One of the big things that sits in my memory was the training for rugby. Every winter morning at 0600 hr double down to the wash area in the House and then training with Mr Bayliss cold & wet for the start of the day. If it was heavy rain then we were allowed to sit in a room in the House area and we would discuss tactics. The best part was the breakfast - thick slices of fried bread and eggs - very none PC in today's world but it was great. More training at 1600 hr and matches Wednesday, Saturday & sometimes on Sundays - I got to see a lot of the country via the local coach company and I can even remember all the Elvis songs we would sing on the coach. The funny thing is, since leaving Conway and going to sea I have grown to hate sport."

"I left in May of '63 and was on the I XV for about a year and a half before that - got capped in the Autumn of '62. I remember Chris Gilbert was a wing and could out run almost any opponent"

Entrepreneur

"The buses were fun. I rented them (2) - twice a term - for 2 guineas (is that how you spell them) each and charged one and three pence for each cadet to travel to Bangor. I could cram over 50 cadets on both upper and lower levels, so you can see the return on investment was considerable. The ship only hired buses to bring us back from Bangor - so to get there was a very long and tedious walk/hitch hike. Guess they didn't provide the buses to dissuade us from going. This went on for 3 terms 'till the staff started asking who had actually made the arrangements. Eric lambasted me when he found out that I was making a profit out of my fellow cadets - and the deal was outlawed!"

 1963

Brookie

“One warmish day in the early summer he took it into his head to give us parade ground drill on the tennis courts. I cannot for the life of me remember why, but as far as I can remember the entire 5th term took part. Anyway we spent what seemed like hours on the boiling hot asphalt of the tennis courts trying to learn how to execute quarter turns, and then move off on the diagonal.   As you can imagine the whole process was chaotic. And we gradually became increasingly bolshie. With people deliberately getting it wrong. After a while Brookie turned red and eventually got angry, which of course is what we wanted. He marched us single file out of the tennis courts and made us form up. We then spent the next half hour doubling up and down to the Kelvin Block with Brookie monitoring affairs from his bike. Well of course there was a fair bit of muttering in the ranks and I remember imitating his voice and ordering "Qua-orta TURN" as we were doubling back towards the dock. There were a fair few giggles at that, but suddenly I had a sense of impending doom, and ducked to miss its swoop. Brookie's hand whizzed over my head, making my cap drop off, but which I caught and quickly restored as we doubled along. However as we pulled away from we became aware that Brookie's mad swing had caused him to lose his balance, landing him in an ungraceful heap at the top of the Marquis's lawn. We doubled back down to the Kelvin Block and back to the top, where we were dismissed by a slightly disheveled Brookie for the rest of the day. Not a word was ever said again about quarter turns.”

Brookie doing Rule of the Road. 

“What's a rapid ringing of a bell followed by a white light followed by a red light?? Of course we all knew the answer but kept quiet and then said What sir??? The famous Brookie grin would appear he would give the answer “Me passing by on my bike at night.”

The New Chart Room

"Much of the gear previously in the ship's Chart House was now kept in the Seamanship Room on the dock. There was also some rather antiquated electronic equipment (Loran presumably) that I never saw being used. The Kelvin depth-sounding equipment with its many fathoms of high grade steel line was set up on the side of the dock. I am not sure if my memory's playing tricks or not, but as far as I can remember the binnacle with its brass cover was in the seamanship room and there was another less impressive binnacle set up outside so that you could fit an azimuth ring to it to practise taking bearings. There was also a dry card compass set up diagonally opposite Eric's office in the Camp." 

The Ship's Company Climbs Snowdon

"I think it was my last term at the house before going up to the camp and on April Fools Day Brooksmith's bicycle was up the flag pole near the canteen with some flags. He was actually good about it with his large smile. He took the 2nd XV I think. One start of an Easter term the weather had been so cold that the away matches were cancelled due to the hard ground so we all went to climb Snowdon - up the back way and down the railway side. We climbed Snowden in wellington boots and greatcoats. Brooksmith and Kingsford said at the summit that if any cadets beat them down they would buy a beer for them. I think 6 or 10 cadets beat them down."

 

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