Odds and Sods of
This dit involved the Diving Team at HMS Terror in Singapore in the 1960's. They had pissed into the sword scabbard of the Mine Clearance Diving Officer. Six months later on divisional march-past, the order to draw swords was given. The MCDO was staggering all over the parade ground trying to get his sword out of his scabbard. When he finally did get it drawn the sword was covered in rust and the scabbard looked like a used condom.
Early in 1942 we took five special agents on board P42 (she had not yet been named Unbroken). Their leader was Capt. Peter Churchill, a tall Army officer. We were to land them at Antibes in the south of France where they were to carry out their dangerous work. Churchill was billeted in the Wardroom and there were two in the PO’s mess and two in the Tiffie’s mess. Apart from Churchill the other four were uncommunicative but he used to wander around the boat talking to all and sundry. When I was on the wheel at night he used to come and sit beside me and have a good yarn. When it came near to the time for them to land we used to see them taking labels off their items of clothing as I suppose things like that would have given the game away. Passing the Wardroom at one point I saw bundles of French francs being doled out to them.
Jimmy Bramhall, the Wardroom flunky, saw Churchill drinking from a small flask and asked him what it was. Churchill said it was brandy laced with a potion that would keep them awake for several days. He saw Bramhall was sceptical about this claim and offered him sippers. Bramhall being a greedy sod took gulpers and for a week after whenever we were all turned in our hammocks, he would sit at the mess table playing patience, completely unable to sleep. Churchill was married to Odette the special agent, awarded the George Cross. When they were captured by the Gestapo, the name Churchill saved both her and Peter from execution in the concentration camp they were subsequently held in. (The Pig Bosun's Log by Mick Jones)
It’s not often I write about religion or the good book but during a spell of incarceration on Manoel Island, Malta, the latter gave me great solace. I had a small amount of tobacco, a lighter and a few cigarette papers. The papers ran out after a few days and this is where the ingenuity of the British submariner comes to the fore; the Bible in my cell was printed on very fine thin paper and, although not gummed, it was ideal for rolling ticklers. By the time my sentence was served I had smoked my way through Genesis and half way through Exodus – ‘Holy Smoke’.
Here’s a strange one for all you etymologists and factoids out there; everybody knows about the naval weapon 'torpedo'. But not a lot of people are aware of the connection of this word with the fish world though the torpedo was often called a 'tin-fish', a 'kipper', etc. The word 'torpedo' is a metaphorical transfer from the name in Latin of an electric ray from the family Torpedinidae, which possesses a peculiar organ, enabling it to stun its prey with a massive electric shock. Stick with me kid, it ain’t much fun but it’s educational.
It’s the early 60’s when one of Her Majesties sleek black messengers of death enters Portsmouth dockyard for dry-docking. ‘Deeps’, the Tanky, an able assistant to the Coxswain and oppo of the Leading Chef is instructed to run an errand to Victory Barracks by the XO.
Resplendent in his battery acid honed number 8’s trousers, salt encrusted steaming boots, off-grey submarine roll neck sweater and nicely yellowed cap with bow strategically placed over his left eye, our hero enters Barracks. He strolls across the parade ground contemplating lighting up a cigarette when the strangulated cry of “That creature there!” rent the peace and quiet.
A Chief Gunnery Instructor, testicles tightly bound with black ducting tape to obtain that required high pitch, stands quivering on his mirror like boots with inch thick soles and 200 polished hobnails. ‘Deeps’ thinks, ‘Naargh! Can’t be me I ‘m only a visitor’ and ambles on.
The Chief of the Parade, who, as we all know never runs any where, walks at great speed, pace stick clenched firmly between the cheeks of his arse - well no - under his arm really. When he gets in front of our hero he places the tip of his pace stick on ‘Deeps’ chest to prevent any escape and disdainfully eyes him up and down. ‘Deeps’ having suffered the wrath of various submarine Coxswain’s and Chief Stokers in the past, is totally unfazed by this apparition and calmly awaits the next move.
Chief of the Parade, “There is a bit of s**t on the end of my stick”
Deeps, “Not at my end Chief."