Today, my Dad tells us about how the Navy decided on his role in World War 2 via the Navy Selection Board.
Selection board at Glendower for further training was a farce.
When I volunteered at 17 years of age, I said I wanted to be a Wireless Mechanic. A couple of my school friends had gone into that branch and there was talk of them being immediately made Petty Officers (with an increase in pay) as soon as they finished training. (This turned out to be correct)
Naturally but somewhat naively I had thought that if I had volunteered on that basis, the Navy would be dying to turn”. me into a Wireless Mechanic (and promote me). Not so.
I ought to have known that if they were putting me through five months seamanship training I wasn’t destined to be a Wireless Mechanic: they were not trained in seamanship.
With the European war drawing to a close there was less need for a conventional Navy. By that I mean a Navy where the heavy guns of battleships and cruisers were to be prime weapons along with the submarine launched torpedo. Thus there was a surplus of men trained to fight in that way (hence the conversion of sailors into soldiers).
War had developed in the last two years in the Far East where aircraft carriers were the capital ships and aircraft their weapons. Thus the emphasis was on training men who would man the new carriers and the Fleet Air Arm that operated from them. The Navy knew what I and others like me were going to be long before we did.
We took psychological tests near the end of the training. These took a couple of hours and consisted of answering on paper some logic questions and identifying pictures from a mass of coloured dots.
“You’re ideal” said the psychologist “to train for the Safety Equipment Branch.” I was no wiser as to what that entailed until I left Glendower and after seven days leave was transferred to HMS Raven based on the former Southampton Airport at Eastleigh in Hampshire.