Read some recollections sent in by Malcolm - It may well bring back those lazy, hazy days of your youth !
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I joined Super B in May 1953, when she came home for the Coronation Review, I was a Boy 1st Class and for my sins I was made Leading Boy of the mess. After the Review we set off for Bermuda and then a Cruise up the Eastern Seaboard of the USA and Canada. Our first port of call was Boston Mass, and on the second day there the ship was open to visitors.
My job on the ship at that time was Commanders Messenger, a nice easy job find people then find the Commander and bring them to him, also stand just round the corner and listen to defaulters making their excuses.
Aabout 1330 I was sitting on the Boatdeck waiting for Open Gangway so I could meet up with a couple of American Sailors later that afternoon. A family came up the gangway onto the Boatdeck and asked the Marine Sentry if there was somebody to show them round, looking round in panic he fixed his gaze on me and asked me to help him out, so I said OK.
The man was well dressed as was his wife and daughter, who was about my age, the little brother was typical American, jeans and T Shirt. I should have twigged he was something to do with the Forces by the questions he was asking, but it went straight over my head. Somehow, not intentionally. I avoided going onto the Quarterdeck and so we arrived back at the Gangway. They thanked me and offered to get me a couple of hundred cigarettes; I said that was not needed so they then invited me to lunch the next day at their house, ideal.
The next day I was ready straight after noon to go ashore as they had not told me the time, when the pipe went for me to lay aft to the Quarterdeck, I was given the phone by the QM who said it was for me, sure enough it was ‘Nick’ from the day before, so I said “Hiya”, he told me the car would pick me up in ten minutes and that was that.
When I put the phone down I got some strange looks from both the QM and the OOW. Sure enough the car arrived driven by the daughter, so I jumped in and off we went, I was a little surprised when it turned into the South Boston Navy Yard next door to our berth and the navy sentry saluted.
We drove up to a large house just inside the gates and parked up, when I got into the house we had to wait for father to come home from work. Soon a car appeared and out got a Commander, my face must have been a picture, as when he came in I realised it was Nick and the whole family burst out laughing.
The next morning Cdr Briggs wanted to know how long I had been calling Senior Officers by their first names, I explained but already he had a slightly amused grin on his face. It would appear they had already got a Snotty waiting on the Quaterdeck to show the family round the ship and tea ready in the Wardroom, if I had gone near the Quarterdeck that would have been curtains for my very ‘friendly’ visit to Boston, as it was one up to the Lower Deck.
During our stay in Boston they played host to me, mainly Camilla, the daughter, but each day I went to lunch at various places, the Dining Hall at Harvard university, City Hall, a diner and even the Officers Club where I wore civvies loaned to me by their other son who was a Lieutenant JG, who was at sea and apparently the same size as me.
On the final day in Boston we were due to sail at 1500 hrs, hence there was no leave. About 0900 hrs I was sat by the Commanders office when his phone rang, I heard snatches of his conversation then he put his head round the corner and asked would I like to go to lunch at 1230 Hrs, I answered in the affirmative and he told me to be back by 1430 hrs and NO later.
We lunched once again at Harvard. They got me back dead on 1430, there was only one gangway, aft, and everybody was preparing to put to sea. I kissed the ladies goodbye, thanked them for their hospitality and what a fab time I had had whilst in Boston, then it was up the gangway. Some of the comments are unprintable but put my innocence into great doubt according to the Lower Deck.
My location on the ship when leaving harbour was up above the bridge in front of the Main Director with the Commander, bugler and QM with his call. As we reached the end of the land we passed a lighthouse, standing there was the Nichols family all waving, the Commander looked at me and said “Well” so I waved back, the chuck up I got from the FX crew was quite loud, even the Skipper had a chuckle, looking back up at my embarrassment.
When the ship arrived in Rhode Island, members of the crew were granted 8 days Station Leave providing they had a traceable address to stay at and could be reached by phone, Officer Commanding, South Boston Navy Yard seemed to fit the bill.
"Monty' Milham snaffled an 'uphomers' with a Commander USN when we were in Boston."
So wrote John Willshir a shipmate but read Monty's answer
The story regarding my up homers is true, I had no idea he was a Commander USN, he told me to call him Nick and he was wearing civvies at the time. Lugs Powley was the bane of my life at the time, I had been made Leading Boy when we joined Super B, Lugs was one of the original crew still in the boys mess, I don't think he went much on a Nozzer telling him what to do, when I had to, however his antics could be quite entertaining.