I am sharing more of my Dad’s Naval Memoirs
During the night we spent several hours stationary in a railway siding I know not where because of air raids taking place. About 5 o’ clock in the morning the train stopped in Crewe station a well known staging point for rail travellers and we managed to get tea and a wad from ladies serving such on the platform. This was our only sustenance until we reached our destination Pwllheli in NOrth Wales dishevelled and weary to be lorried once more to Butlins Holiday Camp known for the duration of the war as H M S Glendower.
The date was 13th February 1945 and we knew from first off that we had really come under the discipline of the Royal Navy. As before we were allocated chalets, six men to each chalet. After disposing of our kit in the appropriate chalet we then fell in again and marched to lunch (dinner)
Immediately after dinner we divided into squads to form a Division and after being sorted out and straightened out by a Chief Petty Officer and several Petty Officers who were to be our supervisors during the ensuing months our Divisional Officer appeared on the scene. He as a Lieutenant RNVR and was typical of all Divisional Officers in wearing black riding boots, leather belt with sword and cap pulled down close to the eyes. Chiefs and Petty Officers also wore khaki belt and gaiters. It was clear that smartness “spit and polish” were to be the routine at Glendower.
And so began four months of intense training to turn us into physically fit, efficient and disciplined sailors. A good part of the daily routine was taken up with marching and with arms drill using Lee Enfield rifles and bayonets. Interspersed with drills, we had instruction on various aspects of seamanship – semaphore, knots and splices, lead sounding mines, torpedoes and paravanes, ropes and rigging. There was also regular physical training to keep you fit as if all the other activities didn’t do that.
I, personally, as I think did a lot of others, enjoyed the discipline and training. If you learned to jump quickly to any command from the instructors, if you were at the right place on time and kept your mouth shut on parade you could avoid the wrath of the Petty Officers.
Once each week we had boat drill. This meant a journey into the quayside at Pwllhelli where several types of naval boat were kept. Under the eagle eye of a Warrant Boatswain we were taught how to handle the oars of the various boats until we became proficient at getting a cutter or a whaler into the water rowing it round the harbour and getint it back in its davits.