In the Navy

Andy Laker joined the Navy, here are his thoughts on that experience

Andy Laker looking dashing in the NavyIn April 1974 as a sixteen year old boy I joined the Royal Navy at HMS Ganges in Ipswich. I was woken that morning by my mother who walked with me to the bus stop. When it arrived she went off to work crying and unable to look back while I went into town to catch my train. That was it. I’d left home with no pomp and ceremony and no idea what I was letting myself in for. I’d woken up in Kent as a long haired spotty youth with curly brown hair that reached below my shoulders and by that evening I was in Suffolk with my head shaved being screamed at by a Chief Petty Officer for being a horrible little boy.

It was right in the middle of the glam rock era and I thought I looked good in my purple loons, stack heels and tank top, but the Chief wasn’t so impressed. Things were less politically correct in those days and he told me exactly what he thought of my clothes and exactly what he thought of me.

More than eighty of us had joined up that day and after we’d signed on the dotted line the Chief marched us off to the showers leaving all our clothes on our allotted bunks. When we returned our civvies had been taken away and replaced with a blue tee shirt and overalls. Over the next few days I was issued with numerous pieces of uniform and I didn’t see my civilian clothes again for several months.

By January 1975 I was a fully trained radio operator serving on board HMS Minerva inside the Arctic Circle during the Cod War. My Royal Navy training was a life changing shock, but looking back I enjoyed every second of it and I wouldn’t change it for anything, (well I might reconsider the tank top).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: