I was born in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK, at a very early age. There were six of us but by the time I came into the world, three of my brothers and sisters had already left home so I grew up with just an older and a younger sister. I started at my first school, Beaumont Street School when I was five years old and moved to the high school, Fartown Secondary Modern School, when I was eleven. My school days ended at the Easter break in 1967.

Two days after leaving Fartown School I started work in the grocery department in Heywoods supermarket on Market Street, Huddersfield. That only lasted for six months though as the store burned down on 2nd November, 1967 after a fire started in Santa's Grotto. By this time the wheels had already started rolling for me to enlist in the navy, but in the meantime I got another job at Cowlings grocers on Shambles Lane.

On 10th December, 1967, I signed on the dotted line and joined the Royal Navy. Now, after nearly thirty years service, fighting for my country, travelling around the world, and living at various places throughout the UK, I have returned to Yorkshire and dropped anchor in Huddersfield. During my time in the navy a lot of things happened, including getting married and having three children. We separated in 2004 and were divorced in 2006 and after twenty eight years of marriage I started living the single life again, (although this time around it's not as much fun as what it used to be).

I'm not interested in the rubbish that is shown on the TV these days so I spend more time than I should in front of the computer. (As a retired ex serviceman who isn't working, I have a lot of time on my hands).

That's how I've ended up here telling the whole world my life story.


And there's the proof - I DID smile once. Back in 1968!


HMS Raleigh
10 December, 1967 - 11 February, 1968
HMS Raleigh is the Royal Navy's training facility at Torpoint, Cornwall. All new recruits complete their initial training here before moving on to specialist training at other establishments.

HMS Pembroke
12 February, 1968 - 13 May, 1968
HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Barracks at Chatham, was the training establishment for ratings of the Supply and Secretariat branch. This is where phase two 
specialist training took place.

HMS Dryad
14 May, 1968 - 26 January, 1969
HMS Dryad, at Southwick Park, Portsmouth, was a shore training establishment where the Royal Navy's Maritime Warfare School was based. (The school closed in 2004).

HMS Eagle
27 January, 1969 - 13 April, 1971
HMS Eagle was an aircraft carrier in service from 1951 to 1972. Along with her sister ship, HMS Ark Royal, she was one of the largest ships ever built for the Royal Navy.

  • Monday, 27 Jan, 1969: Joined HMS Eagle from HMS Dryad.
  • Wednesday, 05 Mar, 1969: HMS Eagle recommissioned at Devonport.
  • Friday, 07 Mar, 1969: Sailed from Devonport for sea trials.
  • Monday, 24 Mar, 1969: Arrived at Devonport.
  • Wednesday, 02 Apr, 1969: Sailed from Devonport for work-up period.
  • Fri, 18 Apr, 1969: Anchored off Lossiemouth. Leave granted but due to bad weather we were stranded in Lossiemouth for two days.
  • Monday, 21 Apr, 1969: The ‘Great Eagle Airlift’: Nearly 1,000 officers and men were heli-lifted back on board and we sailed from Lossiemouth for a ten-day exercise period.
  • Sunday, 27 Apr, 1969: Turned south, bound for Portsmouth.
  • Wednesday, 30 Apr, 1969: Arrived at Portsmouth. Ten days leave granted.
  • Friday, 23 May, 1969: Left Portsmouth. Commenced preparations for Operational Readiness Inspection.
  • Friday, 12 Jun, 1969: Anchored in Plymouth Sound. Weekend leave granted.
  • Monday, 16 Jun, 1969: Left Plymouth Sound, bound for America.
  • Saturday, 21 Jun, 1969: Sod’s Opera on the flight deck.
  • Friday, 27 Jun, 1969: Arrived at Norfolk, Virginia, USA.
  • Saturday, 05 Jul, 1969: Left Norfolk, Virginia.
  • Wednesday, 09 Jul, 1969: Arrived at Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • Monday, 14 Jul, 1969: Left Boston, Massachusetts. Homeward bound.
  • Sunday, 20 Jul, 1969: Arrived at Plymouth Sound. Secured to ‘Charlie’ buoy.
  • Wednesday, 23 Jul, 1969: Embarked Commander-in-Chief Admiral Sir John Bush, KCB, DSC. HMS Eagle moved to Weymouth Bay.
  • Saturday, 26 Jul, 1969: HMS Eagle leads the Western Fleet to sea. Passage to Torbay.
  • Monday, 28 Jul, 1969: H M Queen Elizabeth arrived at Torquay and embarked in Royal Yacht Britannia.
  • Monday, 28 Jul, 1969: HMS Eagle Wardroom Mess Dinner attended by Her Majesty the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Princess Anne.
  • Tuesday, 29 Jul, 1969: Presentation of a Colour to the Western Fleet by Her Majesty the Queen in Torbay. The Yacht led the Western Fleet to sea then turned back to sail past each ship and take the salute of each ship of the Western Fleet. Order to “Splice the Mainbrace” given.
  • Thursday, 31 Jul, 1969: Families day at sea. Entered Devonport. Summer leave commenced.
  • Thursday, 04 Sep, 1969: Sailed from Devonport for Exercise ‘Peacekeeper’. FOCAS embarked.
  • Wednesday, 24 Sep, 1969: Entered Plymouth Sound. Secured to ‘Charlie’ buoy.
  • Thursday, 25 Sep, 1969: Sailed from Plymouth Sound for fast passage to Gibraltar.
  • Saturday, 27 Sep, 1969: Berthed alongside at Gibraltar for 14 days SMP (Self Maintenance Period).
  • Saturday, 11 Oct, 1969: Sailed from Gibraltar. Passage to Malta area.
  • Friday, 17 Oct, 1969: Entered Aegean Sea and commenced Exercise ‘Deep Furrow’ followed by Exercise ‘Ranular’ in the eastern Mediterranean.
  • Friday, 31 Oct, 1969: Entered Grand Harbour, Malta, and secured to buoy for two weeks SMP.
  • Thursday, 13 Nov, 1969: Sailed from Malta. RAS with RFA Olna of the coast of Sicily.
  • Friday, 14 Nov, 1969: Berthed alongside at Naples, Italy.
  • Saturday, 15 Nov, 1969: Ship open to Visitors. HMS Eagle hosts a party for local children.
  • Tuesday, 18 Nov, 1969: Sailed from Naples, bound for the western Mediterranean. We passed through the Straits of Gibraltar and commenced Exercise ‘Decamp’ with HMS Hermes. FOCAS transferred to HMS Eagle then the ship spent a weekend in Gibraltar enabling the crew to do some Christmas shopping.
  • Friday, 05 Dec, 1969: Arrived at Devonport. Christmas leave commenced.
  • Monday, 12 Jan, 1970: Sailed from Devonport. Embarked ‘Eagle Flight’.
  • Thursday, 15 Jan, 1970: Turned south, bound for Gibraltar.
  • Sunday, 18 Jan, 1970: Arrived at Gibraltar. Four hours leave granted to two watches.
  • Sunday, 18 Jan, 1970: Sailed from Gibraltar and commenced a ten-day program of flying exercises. HMS Minerva joined us to act as planeguard, also in company were RFA’s Lyness, Resource and Olna.
  • Saturday, 24 Jan, 1970: Anchored at Iles de Hyeres for two days along with the other ships in company.
  • Friday, 30 Jan, 1970: Arrived at Toulon, France.
  • Thursday, 05 Feb, 1970: Sailed from Toulon for more flying exercises and another weekend at anchor at Iles de Hyeres.
  • Thursday, 19 Feb, 1970: Rendezvous with RFA Regent. Full power trial. Fast passage to Gibraltar.
  • Sunday, 21 Feb, 1970: Arrived at Gibraltar. Four hours leave granted to those who missed out on our previous visit.
  • Sunday, 21 Feb, 1970: Sailed from Gibraltar. Turned north, bound for Liverpool.
  • Friday, 27 Feb, 1970: Arrived at Liverpool. Berthed at Princes Pier. Ship open to visitors on Saturday and Sunday – although thousands had to be turned away as we reached full capacity.
  • Wednesday, 04 Mar, 1970: Sailed from Liverpool, bound for Devonport.
  • Friday, 06 Mar, 1970: Entered Plymouth Sound. Secured to ‘Charlie’ buoy. Weekend leave granted to natives. Embarked the First Sea Lord and 80-plus members of the Imperial Defence College for the ‘Harrier’ trial.
  • Monday, 09 Mar, 1970: Sailed from Plymouth. Commenced ‘Harrier’ trials.
  • Friday, 20 Mar, 1970: Anchored at Spithead for the weekend.
  • Wednesday, 25 Mar, 1970: Entered Devonport and commenced a six-month DED. Ship’s company moved on board HMS Centaur while the ship was in dry dock.
  • Tuesday, 02 Jun, 1970: Captain I.G.W. Robertson, DSC, RN, assumed command of HMS Eagle.
  • Saturday, 26 Sep, 1970: Sailed from Devonport for work-up and Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI).
  • Friday, 09 Oct, 1970: Entered Devonport. HMS Eagle ran aground in Plymouth Sound and had to go back into dry dock for repairs.
  • Monday, 09 Nov, 1970: Departed Devonport for a ‘round Britain trip’. Sea trials in the Moray Firth in company with Cavalier, Malcolm, and the submarines Auriga, Aeneas, Zee Hund and Potvis.
  • Saturday, 21 Nov, 1970: Arrived at Southampton. Ship open to visitors.
  • Friday, 27 Nov, 1970: Sailed from Southampton. Steamed round to the Bristol Channel and commenced work-up with Danae, Chichester and Osiris.
  • Thurday, 10 Dec, 1970: Arrived at Devonport. Christmas leave commenced.
  • Tuesday, 19 Jan, 1971: Sailed from Devonport for work-up and Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI), which was carried out off Gibraltar on 8-9 February, by our previous captain – now Rear-Admiral Treacher.
  • Monday, 12 Feb, 1971: Secured to a buoy in the centre of the Bay of Villefranche.
  • Monday, 19 Feb, 1971: Sailed from Villefranche for more exercises.
  • Thursday, 08 Mar, 1971: Entered Grand Harbour, Malta, and secured to buoy for two weeks SMP.
  • Thursday, 22 Mar, 1971: Sailed from Malta.
  • Friday, 30 Mar, 1971: Arrived Gibraltar.
  • Sunday, 01 Apr, 1971: Sailed from Gibraltar. Homeward bound.
  • Saturday, 07 Apr, 1971: Entered Plymouth Sound. Secured to ‘Charlie’ buoy. Embarked families and sailed up the Hamoaze with them. Berthed alongside at Devonport.
  • Friday, 13 Apr, 1971: Left HMS Eagle to join HMS Dryad.

HMS Dryad
14 April, 1971 - 15 August, 1971
HMS Dryad, at Southwick Park, Portsmouth, was a shore training establishment where the Royal Navy's Maritime Warfare School was based. (The school closed in 2004).

HMS Glamorgan
16 August, 1971 - 07 May, 1972
HMS Glamorgan was a County-class destroyer that was launched on 9 July 1964. She was not handed over to the navy till two years later though, so was a relatively new ship when I joined.

HMS Pembroke
08 May, 1972 - 15 June, 1972
HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Barracks at Chatham, was the training establishment for ratings of the Supply and Secretariat branch. This is also where we went for advancement courses

HMS Glamorgan
16 June, 1972 - 10 December, 1973
HMS Glamorgan had a displacement of 5,440 tonnes. She was built by Vickers-Armstrongs in Newcastle Upon Tyne and named after the Welsh county of Glamorgan.

HMS Osprey (RNAS Portland)
11 December, 1973 - 30 April, 1974
HMS Osprey was first built in 1917 as HMS Sarepta. It was formerly commissioned as HMS Osprey on 24 April, 1959. The Royal Navy closed HMS Osprey on 31 March 1999.

HMS Blake
01 May, 1974 - 03 February, 1976
HMS Blake was a Tiger-class cruiser, the last of the Royal Navy cruisers. She was laid down in 1942 but construction was suspended from 1946 till 1954. HMS Blake finally commissioned into the Royal Navy on 18 March, 1961. From 1965 to 1969, she underwent a major conversion to become a Helicopter and Command Cruiser.

  • Wednesday, 01 May, 1974: Joined HMS Blake from HMS Osprey.
  • May/Jun, 1974: Visit to Gothenburg, Germany, in company with HMS Llandaff. Ship open to visitors, 2,000 people toured the ship. Cocktail party on the quarterdeck for members of the Royal Gota Artillery Regiment.
  • May/Jun, 1974: Visit to Wilhelmshaven, Germany, in company with HMS Lowestoft. Ship open to visitors and 10,000 people came on board.
  • Tuesday, 17 Sep, 1974: HMS Blake left Portsmouth for a nine-month deployment, accompanied by frigates HMS Lowestoft and HMS Falmouth, and RFA’s Olna and Stromness. (Task Group 317.2).
  • Tuesday, 17 Sep, 1974: Rendezvoused with HMS/m Warspite and three more frigates, HMS Achilles, Diomede and Leander, and RFA Green Rover. Set course for Gibraltar.
  • Late Sep, 1974: HMS Blake and accompanied ships visited Gibraltar, followed by a non-stop passage to Simonstown, Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Monday, 14 Oct, 1974: HMS Blake visits Simonstown en route to Far East deployment, in company with other ships from Task Group 317.2
  • Monday, 21 Oct, 1974: Sailed from Simonstown. Passage to Mombasa.
  • Early Nov, 1974: Entered Kilindini Harbour, Mombasa, Kenya for a seven-day visit. Crowds of British nationals lined the shore at Nyali to wave us in. During our stay in Mombasa HMS/m Warspite berthed alongside HMS Blake.
  • Nov, 1974: Left Mombasa and steamed north-east to join US Navy units, including the aircraft carrier USS Constellation. Made course for Karachi, Pakistan.
  • Nov, 1974: Anchored off Karachi. Prepared for ‘Exercise Midlink’ with naval units from Pakistan, USA, Turkey, Iran and Britain, and all countries of the Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO).
  • Early December, 1974: On completion of ‘Exercise Midlink’ we left the exercise area and headed for Singapore for a five-day visit.
  • Dec, 1974: Sailed from Singapore and headed for Hong Kong.
  • Dec, 1974: Arrived at Hong Kong and went alongside for the Christmas and new year period. HMS Blake was given a complete facelift, courtesy of Jenny’s Side Party.
  • Jan, 1975: Sailed from Hong Kong in company with HMS Diomede, Lowestoft, Warspite, RFA Stromness, and HMAS Swan. Steamed back into the South China Sea for operations with the Thai navy.
  • Jan, 1975: During a lull in the exercises with the Thai navy we were able to pay a visit to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia.
  • Late Jan, 1975: On completion of the exercises with the Thai navy HMS Blake and her group paid a seven-day courtesy visit to Bangkok, Thailand.
  • Jan, 1975: After sailing from Bangkok we were ordered to the coast of Cambodia. Cambodia’s war was coming to an end and the communist forces of the Khmer Rouge were laying siege to Phnom Penh. HMS Blake was ordered to stand by to evacuate all non-essential members of the British Embassy in the city and any other British nationals. In the end our services were not required so we left the area and headed north-east for our second visit to Hong Kong.
  • Feb, 1975: Arrived Hong Kong. Vice-Admiral Leach (FOF1) carried out a Harbour Inspection. Ceremonial divisions were held on the jetty.
  • Mon, 17 Feb, 1975: Sailed from Hong Kong and steamed south east.
  • Late Feb, 1975: Arrived at Manila, Phillipines.
  • Mar, 1975: Left Manila for exercises in the Subic Bay area before returning to Singapore.
  • Mid Mar, 1975: Arrived Singapore for a two-week Assisted Maintenance Period (AMP) in preparation for the long journey home.
  • Mar/Apr, 1975: Left Singapore for exercises in the Strait of Malacca with Malaysian and Singaporean naval units. On completion of the exercises HMS Blake and her group set course across the Indian Ocean bound for the Seychelles.
  • Apr, 1975: Arrived Seychelles.
  • Late Apr, 1975: Sailed from Seychelles, bound for South Africa and a short visit to Cape Town.
  • May, 1975: Task Group 317.2 sailed from Cape Town and headed north-west across the Atlantic Ocean to the coast of Brazil to rendezvous with HMS Ark Royal.
  • Mid May, 1975: Exercises with the Brazilian navy, after which Task Group 317.2 dispersed to visit various Brazilian ports.
  • May, 1975: HMS Blake arrived at Rio de Janeiro along with HMS Ark Royal and HMS Falmouth. HMS Blake was open to visitors and 14,000 Brazilians took the opportunity to come on board.
  • Late May, 1975: Sailed from Rio de Janeiro for more exercises with the Brazilian navy before the whole of the UK Force steamed for home, via Gibraltar.
  • Early Jun, 1975: Arrived at Gibraltar.
  • Jun, 1975: Sailed from Gibraltar. Homeward bound.
  • Mid June, 1975: Arrived at Portsmouth for leave and maintenance.
  • 03 February, 1976: Left HMS Blake to join HMS Nelson for release.

HMS Nelson
04 February, 1976 - 06 February, 1976

Premature voluntary release.

HMS Nelson
17 December, 1979 - 18 December, 1979

Re-joined the Royal Navy.

HMS Seahawk (RNAS Culdrose)
19 December, 1979 - 02 October, 1980

HMS Bristol
03 October, 1980 - 28 February, 1981

820 Naval Air Squadron
01 March, 1981 - 05 June, 1983

HMS Heron (RNAS Yeovilton)
06 June, 1983 - 26 June, 1983

HMS Pembroke
27 June, 1983 - 31 July, 1983

HMS Heron (RNAS Yeovilton)
01 August, 1983 - 15 January, 1984

FOF2 (Flag Officer Second Flotilla, HMS Drake)
16 January, 1984 - 07 January, 1985

HMS Bulldog
08 January, 1985 - 17 March, 1985

FOF2 (Flag Officer Second Flotilla, HMS Drake)
18 March, 1985 - 20 March, 1986

HMS Seahawk (RNAS Culdrose)
21 March, 1986 - 26 July, 1988

HMS Endurance
27 July, 1988 - 27 July, 1990

HMS Heron (RNAS Yeovilton)
28 July, 1990 - 25 May, 1992

HMS Scylla
26 May, 1992 - 05 October, 1993

RN Careers Office, Leeds, West Yorkshire
06 October, 1993 - 06 March, 1994

HMS Seahawk (RNAS Culdrose)
07 March, 1994 - 14 August, 1994

HMS Marlborough
15 August, 1994 - 25 September, 1994

HMS Seahawk (RNAS Culdrose)
26 September, 1994 - 15 January, 1996


  1. Hi!

    My name is Martin.

    I have discovered some plaques which I believe were on HMS Eagle during your time on board her.

    I would love to discuss these plaques with you...

  2. Hi!

    It's Martin again!

    My email address is:

    I believe that I may be in possession of the plaque that was presented to HMS Eagle on 1 July 1969 by USS America.

    My research suggests that HMS Eagle arrived at Norfolk on 27 June 1969 and left on 5 July 1969 and that all the crew enjoyed 7 days of site seeing!

    I hope that we can chat.



  3. Wondered if you still used this blog?

    1. Not so much nowadays. It's there if I feel the urge to write something, but unfortunately every time I've started to write anything over the last year or so it's turned into nothing but moans and complaints.

      I'd create a post, read through it, then delete it after having second thoughts. Perhaps when something positive happens, I may start using it more often.

  4. Hi Charlie my name is Graham Griffiths @Griff@ and I was on Blake for that commission to the Far East happy days...

    1. Happy days indeed! A great ship with a great crew - and some fantastic runs ashore. Pity we can't turn the clock back.

  5. I joined Blake in Bangkok Jan 75. Great ship and crew. One small point, we sailed from The Seychelles straight to Rio. No stop off in Capetown. I remember the weather was harry roughers all the way around the Cape.