A happy 50th to all 47ers

Ed Cole


I must admit that my thoughts did dwell on that day 50 years ago.  I remember getting off the train to be met by a very polite PO(GI) who conducted us to a coach and pointed out the delights of Plymouth and Torpoint as the coach took us to Fisgard.  The true situation only dawned as the coach drew to a halt inside the now closing gates and the same PO(GI) stood up and bawled “Right you bastards get off and fall in you’re in the Royal Navy now!!”

Peter Payne-Hanlon


Was that not after the lovely Afternoon Tea  we got before we signed on?? And that 1st haircut! Terry Warburton discovering a mole on the back of his head he'd never seeen before…

Rex (Dodger) Long


My own recollection, being a Guz local, I had made my own way to the ferry and had the luxury transport in the back of a pussers 3 tonner for my journey up to Fisgard and then on to the NAAFI. We were met by what seemed a very nice Gunnery Officer, who offered us tea and politely invited us to read our contracts and almost immediately told us to sign at the bottom.

But I must say after 32 years in the mob I have no regrets - maybe a few on those first few months on the freezing parade ground!! I can remember not being able to close my fingers together for saluting practice.

Yours aye,

Ed Cole.


I seem to remember catching the Steam train at Birmingham New Street sometime in the afternoon to go to Plymouth, but due to the weather we spent an uncomfortable night stuck in snow around Ivybridge and didn’t arrive at Plymouth till the next morning. Seems a few of us were late and ushered into a hall to sign on before we were quite awake!I remember a couple decided to go home straight away and left sharpish


Peter Payne Hanlon was in the same Hut and he had a job sewing his name on everything with the red silk, as his name ended up on his sleeve as it was too long to go the space provided!


Roger Dawkins


Peter Payne Hanlon was in the same Hut and he had a job sewing his name on everything with the red silk, as his name ended up on his sleeve as it was too long to go the space provided!

Weren't half as bad as poor Shufflebottom! I recall him getting an extra two weeks to complete…


Rex Long


Don't recall a Shufflebottom in Frobisher. I do remember being ribbed for putting my name on my name type.

 Tony Egerton

Its funny how memories differ.  I caught the steamer from New Street as well and don't recall any problems.  However I do remember coming back from our first weekend leave in March intending to catch the 1350 from New Street and the weather was foul.  By 1530 I was getting nervous and thinking about getting an affidavit from someone in authority then a train pulled in.  Is this the 1350 I asked the guard?  No mate he said it's the 1250, the 1350 is still in Derby!  So I got on this one and made it in time.  I remember the train was crowded and I was expecting to be joined by a whole bunch of guys at Bristol Temple Meads and tried to save a compartment.  A big civvy wanted to get in and when I said it was reserved he responded with "I'm not going to argue with the navy!" I dined out on that for ages.


Clive Percival


50 years ago. My my how time does fly. Memories : embroidering name on the back hem of a seaman's jersey, so that I could be easily identified by any GI, RPO, Schoolie or ship's company AB, as I tried to make a quick exit. Stamping my name in white or black paint on seaman's shirts, (presumably for same purpose of easy identification of miscreants). Also memory of being chased around a boxing ring by someone who knew how to box properly, (me never but once hitting anyone in the face before in my life). Ah happy days?   :  Chris Medway Exmouth, (47 entry - dipped back sick 1 class)


Hello guys

I'm sure we had a Shufflebottom; didn't we call him "pushbum"

best regards

Vaughan alias "big will"

No - Shufflebottom was Series 49. Frobisher


I remember a lad called Scantleberry and his naming tasks were made all that more difficult when he was convinced that he had to sew his name into the top edge of his boots. The GIs were not impressed either.


John Lunn (Hawke) S 47


I don't remember anything spectacular with my journey but I only had 40 mile to come to Fisgard, I do remember the cold morning divisions where if someone had forgotten their gloves everyone had to take theirs off, the name sewing, "bulling" our boots, then of course who could forget us "sprog" duties.

Best regards

Ian (Soapy) Watson


Who started this ball rolling?
I've got vague memories of a Shufflebottom, but the one that stands out as far as sewing on names goes is Martin-Woodgate. I think he was allowed to shorten it to M-Woodgate.
All the best to everyone. 


Terry Delves


It was bad enough having a 10 letter surname and 2 initials; but what made it worse was the guy in the next bed was Dave Holt a re-cat. Not only did he have a short name and one initial, but most of his kit was already marked and his boots already bulled up. To make matters worse Dick Kefford who was also a re-cat was on the other side of the T3 mess.

We did have someone and I don’t remember who, that tried to sew red silk into the money belt.

Derek Titheridge



Ah yes...."sprog" boxing !!

Managed to windmill my way through the first two rounds, but came up against Roger Field on the semi finals / finals night.......he could box and he absolutely hammered me !!

Tough bugger, he came from Sheffield.....I remember he did the dive from the top of the blast wall to the first beam in the hut, caught it and swung up to the horizontal. He then lost his grip and crashed straight down to the floor, splitting the back of his head open.....blood pissing out and he didn't even think he'd hurt himself !!

Thousands of memories, but very few regrets !!


Ian Churchill, Anson Division


I guess we all remember sewing our names in our uniforms, but spare a thought for poor old Abe.  He was a Nigerian in Anson and obviously something was lost in translation because he tried sewing his name with red cotton into his boots!!


David (Dhobey) Washer


I remember you and Dave Holt well, Derek. 

You're right, I was a recat so joined Fisgard as a JEM2, in uniform amongst all these civvies so I was instantly appointed class leader - an 'honour' I could have done without as I was expected to know everything about the Navy after my few short weeks in Raleigh and Collingwood. I soon managed to resign from that job.

One of my memories of that time was when we had prayers during divisions. We were all asked if we were 'C of E or Catholic' ready for the 'Fall out Catholics' command. One brave guy piped up with 'I'm a Free Thinker Sir.'

'No such thing lad, you're in the Navy now and the Navy will tell you what to think. I'll put you down as C of E.' says the PO.

Happy days!


Richard Kefford


I don't remember the gloves, but I do remember wearing our pusser's pyjamas under everything for Sunday divisions.....until the GI staff caught on and made everyone lift their blue trousers up !

It was "Ambe", the Nigerian in Anson Division.....which reminds me, does anyone else from Anson remember Dick Daws and the paper man, who's name escapes me, stealing Raleigh's Ceremonial Goat ?
His name was Walter, and the whole of Anson had to turn out to take him back on a low trailer the next day. The Division was inspected by the Raleigh duty officer, and he had a face like thunder !
Still got some pictures somewhere !

Anyone got any stories from "The Rendezvou" cafe in Torpoint ?

Ian Churchill





Very interesting to see the replies from various people, some who I have not been in contact for ages. Particularly Ian 'Soapy' Watson who I knew from Collingwood and who left voluntarily before completing training, Dave 'Dhobey' Washer who I have been in e.mail contact with over the past 2 years and now living in New Zealand. I remember Rog Field and the incident Ian Churchill recalls from our Anson days. Clogger Moore who was a good friend of Rog's who came from Nantwich was also in Anson. The name J Shufflebottom has been mentioned and whilst I did not know Jay as he was known, at Fisgard, I did know him at Collingwood. There is also mention of a small chap who was in Frobisher and could have been Ian 'Jock' Cowie who I last saw when he was working in Oman. Again I knew Ian from our Collingwood days.

Dave Washer recalls one of the Nigerians, Vedan Ambe, there were I think three others, Sam Ajayi, Dave Ayeni and ...Raji can't recall his surname. I remember the first time we had snow shortly after joining Fisgard, the Nigerians all thought it was great as they had never seen it before. It soon dawned on them however, that it was also flipping cold and I think they really suffered during the first 4 weeks which seemed to be mainly spent on the parade ground.

Whilst I did not have a long journey to join coming from Millbrook approx 5 miles away, there were at least 2 from Torpoint, Graham Nicholl and Mike Finch.

Like a few others, the most harrowing recollection I have was being 'herded' into the dining hall and being told to sign away 12 years of your life. The pardre, Rev Arthur Nunnerly was in attendance perhaps to convince us that it was the right thing to do!!

The ex Anson's may recall the time when the Raleigh mascot, a goat was kidnapped by some apprentices assisted by the Div Chief (Dickie Dawes) and the guy who deliverd newspapers and magazines (he provided the transport a small van. The goat was 'housed' in Anson's drying room and fed duty free cigarettes. The following morning our class was in the workshops and mid morning a message came via the workshop Chief Stoker that all Anson Div were to fall in outside the division immediately on completion of morning workshops. The whole division, led I believe by the goat and the Fisgard band then had to march across to Raleigh to return the animal. The real downside of the whole incident was that we missed lunch  and everybody was starving hungry all afternoon back in the workshop. I am not sure that Raleigh's Commander saw the funny side of the prank!

It would be great if a lot of our entry could join the Fisgard Association and get to the Green and White in September for a class reunion as there is so much to reminisce.


Best Regards


Trev 'Janner' James



Does anyone else remember the "Mega" snowball fight we had on the parade ground shortly after we had signed on the dotted? I clearly remember returning to the hut freezing cold, soaking wet but very happy.


Roy. Smith (S47 Anson).


P.S. Does anyone have any idea what happened to Joe Pennington, (S 47 Anson), after he left the Mob?



I remember a torrid evening in the Game Cock Vaughan.  I think I proved that my drinking skills were severely lacking, which made for a rather subdued following morning.  Your Dad was a supremely hospitable host.


Hoping to get to the get together, all the way from NZ.

David (Dhobey) Washer



Whato !

My dad's pub was The Game Cock in Worcester Park south London

We had several gatherings there over the years. Sadly dad is long gone but he always remembered with a huge grin those early Navy years, when as young bloods we tried to impress others with our drinking skills.

Cheers all and lets get cracking on a get together

Vaughan Williams