Monday, April 30, 2007

Wednesday 27th February 1936

I arrived late at the President and found the new entries already fallen-in on the gun deck. Dashed to my place in the line, noticing a certain air of tension. “The Admiral’s here”, whispered the next man. Suddenly came the order, “Men who are passing-out tonight, fall in on the right!” Most of us moved over, but Tong said (sotto voce) “I ‘aint a-going to chance it”.

The reason for the hurried change of plan was that an abnormal number of recruits were coming in. I was in the second half-dozen to be examined. Richmond, Cresswell and Eburah (or some such name, - an amusing, casual bloke) were in the first batch, and passed out. Cooper was absent – first time! Foster, Hempstead, Fowler (the shortest in the class), Berryman, Nutting and myself also got through.

Baxter and Smith (who was nervous) were among the failures. We who have passed-out now have an easy time for a few weeks until the rest are ready. Then we are “kitted” and later, “rated”. The exam was ridiculously easy. It seemed that Lieut. “Steamboat Bill” was anxious to get us out! He told our CPO that we were damn good.

One of the new Acting OD’s gloomily explained the reason to his mates. We were needed as fodder for the guns! (Actually, this apparent pessimist was myself.)

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