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Guest Book


Cloud Observers hope you have enjoyed our web site and that you will visit again soon. We would be delighted to read your comments, implement your suggestions, should the web master feel that they will benefit the site and answer any queries you may have. If we do not answer your question immediately, please be patient, we will get back to you once we are sure of our facts. Also, there is a nasty rumour that we do have a life sometimes!

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531 thoughts on “Guest Book

  1. ken ashton

    Got nothing to say really but it looked so bare with no entries.
    Great to see the website up and running again and hope all my old buddies and shipmates will be contributing again shortly.
    Just had my 71st birthday wish quite frankly amazes me, never thought I would get there!

  2. Frank Slack

    Agree with Ken it does look a little under nourished on this page so let me be the first too wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous and Happy New Year for 2012......

  3. Celia Saywell

    Well, Ken I did try to be the first but wasn't accepted! I only said nice things, so don't know why? One of which was to say how much the Cloudobervers Roadshow was appreciated at the Coronation Hall, Dale for the 50th anniversary of HMS HARRIER closing. Lots of info, photos & chat. Navy News printed my report and it'll be in the Oct issue of The Wren mag, photos too. How to see it? Join the Association Of Wrens. Thanks Gill!

  4. Ray Brooker

    Glad to see Guestbook is up and running at last.....I'll be 70 next April, so you'll not be alone, Ken! As usual, I'll be doing something dangerous on my birthday - will leave you to guess what it is; but it involves having a jump - very dangerous at 70........!

  5. ken ashton

    Only 69 Ray, you always were a bit of skin!
    Where do the years go though, 53 years since I joined the Andrew and so much of it still quite fresh in my memory, not all though, still don't remember too much about Flora Day in Helston in 1960.

  6. Ray Brooker

    We must have joined in the same year, Ken; 1958 - June 10th, to be precise.
    I was at HMS Ganges for a year as a boy entrant, though, and very proud to have done so, too.
    We have a re-union every year on June 10th; but we have learned not to drink before sunset, after a few disasters.....can't take it any more, I'm afraid!

  7. ken ashton

    I joined 18th Feb 1958 12 days after the Munich Air Crash. Went to Bramcote as a possible NAM but changed to Met when the instructors realised I could add 2+2 and get four!
    Will never forget sleeping in the guard room at Bramcote with the camp dog ( a bloodhound)which was a rum junky, used to get all the slops after the tot issue.
    It always slept under the duty guards bunks and oh boy did it fart!

  8. Fred Tubb

    Good to see your new MET Site up and running and that you soon gather more members. Please pass my regards to Pete Squibb, I was on Airmanship with pete having joined in 62. I then went on into the chockhead branch, god thats 50 years ago next years.
    Fred Tubb, Almoradi, Spain

  9. Margot Stewart (nee Cooper)

    I would be delighted to hear from any of the Met Wrens that I served with between March 4, 1958 and March 4 1962 at Harrier, Culdrose and Yeovilton.

  10. Wendy Cunningham( nee Eyre)

    Hi All,

    Would love to hear from anyone who remembers me. I joined in November 1976 so was at in January 1977! After drafts to Yeovilton and Northwood and a couple of times at Dartmouth- don't ask! I left from Yeovilton in January 1983

  11. Ann Hathaway nee Sykes

    Thanks for the 'obit' for Fred. You write a good one Charlie, we should remember the good times. It's been great to contact you all again. I served in Northwood, MOD, Lee and Yeovilton 72 to 79. My best wishes to all who remember me.

  12. ken ashton

    So sad today to hear of the passing of Peter Claridge.
    I knew Pete only briefly in my time in the Andrew, but he always represented for me the history of the Met branch and commanded great respect for his knowledge, longevity and his very large presence.
    I sincerely hope he will enjoy a few "wets" in the celestial Met Office with Derek Marshall and others.

  13. George Blewitt

    What a shame, what a huge shame.
    Pete Claridge has left us, I always enjoyed his dits on our wonderful website and now he's gone.
    RIP Peter, God Bless

  14. Roy Jeffery

    Hi All,
    Just popped into your site out of curiosity as a link from the SE Branch/Association Site. Caught a few names I recognised (cos I spent an awful lot of time @ CULDROSE). A good Site and most interesting. I left the FAA (retired) just after the Falklands War (1982). Joined as a junior at HMS St Vincent but was latterly the Station Survival Officer at Culdrose and then Yeovilton - fingers in lots of other pies since then though but now officially in receipt of State Retirement Benefit !!!!
    Strange circle of events sees my daughter married to a RN Hydrographer/MET Officer ex submariner, so I am kept well in touch.
    Good luck to you all.
    Roy J (Ex SURVO)

  15. Gordon"Pixie"Parkes

    Hi all and a Happy & Healthy Xmas to you all.
    Can any of you tell me if you have heard of a Met Wren called Wincey
    Willis from around the 60s era. If so I have some info.
    Gordon SE Secretary

  16. Ray Brooker

    Gordon - Wincey Willis was a Weather girl on TV for many years - I remember her clearly. Could this be the Wincey you mean?
    Ray Brooker

  17. Marc Gillett

    met office 1963-1971.
    Seahawk,Osprey,Albion,Osprey,Bulwark.Recognise a lot of the names and faces. Hope you all keep well for another year. Happy Christmas.
    Surprising how often Mr. Blewitts name crops up !!!!!!

  18. Gordon"Pixie"Parkes

    Hi Ray,
    Was Wincey an actual wren???
    I have made contact with her through the BBC and she denies and says she doesnt even know what a "Met Wren" is.
    My Treasurer "Scrumpy" Crump says he remembers her at Yeovilton around about 63 time.

  19. Ray Brooker

    Hi Gordon - don't know if Wincey Willis off TV is who you are looking for, but it's such an unusual name, I thought it must be her. Good luck with your search!

  20. Pete Rees RN 60-69

    Looking for any 'old ships' - FAA, esp. Met. I knew Pete Squibb on Ark in 64-66. Is George Blewitt also known as 'Rick'? If so we also served together on Ark in the 60's! So sad to see so many old chums now 'Crossed the bar' Hail and Farewell! Pete Rees(01823 443 382 am only.)

  21. George Blewitt

    Hallo Pete Rees,
    Grand to see your name finally appear,
    yes, I was on the Ark with you 64-66
    and my first name is Richard so you are correct. The missing names are Ken Salisbury, Ray Haynes and Tony Evenden. Ray picked his Chiefs rate up and his place was taken by Roy "Lofty" Barrowclough.
    All those years ago, nearly 50! Where have they all gone?
    Hope you're well and fighting fit
    The very best to you and yours

  22. George Blewitt

    Hallo Mr Gillett,
    My name does appear sometimes, possibly because of the subjects that were posted on this website.
    I never thought that I was widely known in the Met branch, as I said to Gill & Charlie - I was mainly out of the loop never having been drafted to Culdee or Northwood as ships company. Most lads I knew thought I must be a "Bombhead" Chockhead or an AE as I didn't fit the accepted norm of a Met man. Even on a Fleet Air Arm Gun Crew reunion Taff Morgan said to me that no Met had ever made Gun Crew until I pointed out that Arnie Pearson, me, Andy Hales and Taff Hadland had made it!!
    I spent my time at sea or at Lee with a brief sojourn at Brawdy and loved most of it except for Portland and Drake, still you cannot win then all!
    Just for the count, after leaving Culdrose off course the stations I was drafted to were Portland, Lee, Brawdy
    Sembewang (with 815 and 848 sqdns)
    Terror for 3 weeks before flying home after coming out from BMH and the ships I served on were HMS Dalrymple, Ark Royal, London & Albion.
    Happy days for the most part, Hope you're keeping well. Cheers

  23. ken ashton

    Hello "Pixie", you and I were neighbours on the Victorious in 60/61, the met office was of course right next to the SE section. Remember Lofty Farthing, I spoke with him prior to Christmas, he is alive and well living in Maidstone.
    Good to hear from you

  24. mandy Clegg nee Durham

    Served in the branch 1981 - 1994 and would love to hear from anyone who remembers me especially Meryl Trueman, Helen Pain and Suzie Weaver (as were). I can be found on facebook.

  25. David Pegg

    Ken Ashton-Ray Brooker-Charlie and Colin
    Bonne Annee to all and any other members who know us Ex Mets who live in France. I look forward to see you at the next reunion in September

  26. Ken Ashton

    allo allo Dave,
    Good to hear from you, hope you are keeping well and looking after the wine consumption in La Belle France.
    Still ticking over here, struggling with the English winter so off to Spain next week for a month, taking the sgolf sticks and hoping for a few rounds in the sun

  27. Pete Rees

    'Ricky', great to see yure message. Happy days, I recall, we kicked yu round the messdeck when yu came home with legirons!!!All the best;Bye for now!
    email me! Pete R. Hoping to catch up with Ken Salisbury, and Tony Evenden.;

    'Ricky', Good to see yure message, Happy days! I* recall kicking yu round the messdeck when yu came home with legirons! All the best to yu and yours, Im hanging in there, and still at work! 72 this year! Hope to contact Ken Salisbury and Tony Evenden soon. All the best Pete Rees.

  28. SPUD

    Ray ..... saw it in Rome at the weekend before the RUGBY - all part of being in the EEC apparently - everything GOOD and profitable has to be donated to help ITALY overcome it's 'never-overcomable' borrowing debt!

    Hopefully when the FORUM returns to UK Sophia will accompany (with the help of JDD and our patron saint of the reverse of dementia - George Blu !

  29. JDDW

    Re Spud and Ray...also been looking for the Forum, ours seems to be buried under Carrefour in Saintes just south of us...the coliseum is there the second largest in Europe, no Sophia, no Italians, Just a team of French with berets working as stonemasons to replace worn stone on the Roman buildings that lions and christians any more just actors doing plays and operas during the summer.....

  30. Frank Slack

    Forum has also been spotted here in Northumberland when they (the Romans)came over here for ski-ing and snowboarding holidays along Hadrians Wall....

  31. Ray Brooker

    Yes yes yes, very droll, I really fell for that....but exactly where IS the Forum? And will this question just elicit more p..s taking, or will I actually get any useful info?

  32. SPUD

    AAhhhhh Ray - 'tanks for the invitation - well it so 'appens I did get a sight of the Forum and thought , maybe, I could get it back - so I went for it - ... but 'A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM' ....

  33. Steve Howard

    I was told about your website by a colleague at work this morning who stumbled across it by accident whilst searching 'HMS Hermes'.

    After leaving the Navy I managed a paper shop for 3 years (nobody needed the skills of a 'Met Man', before joining the Cambridgeshire Ambulance Service in 1976, where I spent a 31 year career. I took early retirement at the end of 1007 and had an 18 month 'gap year' during which my partner Rosina and I toured America for 6 months in our motorhome. Our exploits can be found on our website which in the throes of changing its address to After our travels I returned to the Ambulance Service on the non emergency side where I vegitate to this day.

    I still enjoy good health thus managing to stay one step ahead of the embalmers, and have my own teeth and hair which I suppose is something to be grateful for.
    I have two daughters Clare & Nicola, who are all grown up now, no grandchildren which helps to keep the costs down at Christmas!!

    Nicola joined the Navy for about four years during which she made naval history by becoming the navy's first ever 'female button boy'. She's now in the Hampshire police whilst Clare has her own business here in Cambridgeshire.

    Nice to have visited the site and seen a few valued former colleagues (some stories should remain untold!!).

  34. Ray Brooker

    Steve - been after a contact with you for ages. Remember us on the happy Hermes; first 4H2 and then 4J4 Mess, with you sleeping under that noisy asbestos-wrapped pipe???? I now live in sleepy Somerset, got all my hair and most of my teeth, One son (now 40) living in London and one daughter (now 36)in Manchester. Where are you - would love to meet up after all these years.....

  35. Steve Howard


    I remember it well. As I recall on the deck right above my head was the pump that made the liquid oxygen for the pilots. When they turned it off in harbour I couldn't sleep because of the silence!
    Some of the happiest days of my life were spent on Hermes. I have very fond memories even to this day. I was one of the fortunate few who saw Hermes from the air when I flew off the cats in a Gannet off Penang and from the waterline when I fell overboard in Freemantle harbour.

    I now live in Ely, Cambridgeshire with my partner Rosina. My marriage to Jean sadly ended about 16 years ago, but we remain on good terms.

    I don't do the Facebook etc stuff, just too sad to my mind.

    I'll dig out some photos and try and upload them to the site.

    I see you've got a reunion in September. Unfortunately we flyy off to China for three weeks on Monday 10th so it may be cutting it a bit fine, I'll wait and see nearer the time.

    I see from the photos that Gillet the Younger clearly didn't put a grey syrup on his wedding list (yup I'm still a cheeky sod).

  36. Ray Brooker

    Ah Stevie baby, the best commission I ever had was the happy I remember correctly there being Belicose Bannister and Seaweed Sid being the two forecasters, or am I getting mixed up with other ships? Also I remember you joining Hermes mid-commission, so was Colin Brenchley with us? Who else can you recall? I'll be e-mailing you soon;
    Must meet up this summer.......

  37. Steve Howard


    I feel reassured, I thought it was just me and old age, but it's amazing how you can live and work so closely to such great people and then with the passage of time have to scratch your head to think of who they were.

    I joined Hermes after she'd sailed non-stop back from Australia. My first day at sea was escorting the Queen Mary down the Channel for the last time in late 1967. We were on our way to cover the Aden withdrawal. Because so many of our lads were getting shot up the withdrawal date was bought forward and we kind of missed it.

    We stopped off at Cape Town and Mombasa on the way out, spent Xmas in the Persian Gulf, where we won the best decorated mess and then repeated the runs ashore on the way back. Our second trip was a nin emonth trip to the far East.

    Colin Brenchley, Pete Lonsdale, Cdr Derek Blacker, Ian Plackett, Ioan (the Evans Whale) Evans and Derek 'Jock' Kuziw were onboard along with Lt Cdr David Newing who I was later to work with in Oceanography at Northwood.You must have been onboard as well on that first trip as I distinctly remember we had a run ashore together in Mombasa!
    Certainly Seaweed Sid was with us on the Far East run, along with Lt Cdr David 'Basher' Brooks, so perhaps Sid joined the ship at the same time as I did.

    Gosh doesn't the brain get scrambled with the passage of time.

  38. Ray Brooker

    Stevie - it's all coming back to me....I joined mid-commission; must have done, because Pete Lonsdale left along with Ioin Evans, Ian Plackett and Jock Kuziw. Colin Brenchley stayed, along with you, of course, but can't remember who else was on board with us three. I have a photo of us all in the best decorated Mess somewhere.....also one of Mike Cutting with us at some point or other. Anyway, it was a brilliant commission, whoever shared it with us. Good memories.......

  39. Jane Cox (nee Oliver)

    I was a met wren at Culdrose 1960/62 where I met Brian Cox (SE).We would like to contact Geraldine Jones(nee Green)& Peter Jones(bestman at wedding)in 1963.If anyone knows where they are now please let us know. They went to Singapore in 1963/4 & then lived in Farnham or Farnborough. Lost touch after that but would like to get in contact again if possible.

  40. alan tongue

    This message is for colin are we having a reunion this year if so can you give me the date and place please

  41. Colin Brenchley

    Preliminary details are on the front page of the site. Keep a look out for further details.

  42. Ray Brooker

    To all - met up with young Steve Howard last week, and had a meal out; also a trip around Ely, where he lives. Many old memories and a lot of lampswinging about the Happy Hermes.....spent ages trying to remember the Met crew when we were both on board! Anyone remember exactly?

  43. Gordon Parkes

    Another message and this time for Jane Cox.
    Dear Jane I see you have married Brian(Brummie)Cox(SE).
    I am the Secretary of the SE Association and wondered if he would like to join.Nearly all our members are from the same era.

  44. Gordon Parkes

    hi Ken,
    i see you put a message in January re Penny Farthing.Is he not joining your Association.
    Have you got a contact address etc so i can have a chat.
    Cheers mate,
    Pixie Parkes

  45. Ken Ashton

    Alright Pixie?
    I have a phone number for lofty farthing, he lives in Maidstone,
    Phone Number01622 746236.
    Give him a bell I'm sure he would love to hear from you.
    Keep well!

  46. Johnny Whitfield

    Hiout there I seem to have been lost in the Wasteland for many years. I joined the Navy in 1958 and did my Met Training in a course of one, I was ex Air Ministry at Kete. I did spend sometime at Culdrose trained in the Art of making Frothy Coffee. Much of my time was spent and Admiralty in the Weather Centre and ASWEPS. Ships I served on was on Birmingham. Hermes and Lion, I left in 1966 to become a Publican and have just left the trade, I was married to Patrcia Nee
    Barron ex met wren, who gave some of the Happiest days of my life, Sailor Pub not a good mixture.
    So anyone out there remembers a once fit young man, remind me,

  47. Johnny Whitfield

    Looking for somebody who may rember me From Admiralty in Asweps and the forecast office betwen the years 1961 to 1966 or on the Birmingham,
    Lion,Hermes, or even making Frothy coffee in the Early days of Culdros.
    before the memory goes

  48. ken ashton

    Well, Johnny Whitfield I knew I would hear from you at some stage.
    How are you you old git? Still bodybuilding ?.
    Seems like a lifetime since we were at RNSOM together in '60/61. Hold on, it is a lifetime!Believe it or not some people still remember the old formula for the frothy coffee that Sid Greenstreet liked so much.
    Keep in touch, send me an email if you like. By the way I saw your ex wife at a theatre in London about 13 or 14 years ago.

  49. Ray Brooker

    Well, Johnny Whitfield and Ken Ashton - let's make it three, as I was also trained in the art of frothy coffee making at Culdrose. We made it for all the courses - Wrens, Ratings and Forecasters. I remember that if you left the mugs too long after use without washing them, the froth dried like concrete. I served on various carriers, as well as Northwood, ASWEPS, etc in Whitehall. We used to visit the Chandos regularly in Trafalgar Square, and a barmaid always took your fancy,. Was it Bierta?

  50. Johnny Whitfield

    Hi KA Nice to hear from you, to hear from you nice. The Body had been built but now in a state of collapse, still played with weights until afew months ago. Trish did say she saw you. We are still friends with regrets. Old Sid lovely man. Enjoyed those days. would like to email you, JW

  51. Johnny Whitfield

    Hi Ray the Memory is coming back, yes I remember those runs ashore to the Chandos, and the Barmaid, and the Pub the Salisbury, Went on the USS WASP with ASWEPS Trevor Miles was the PO, Alas now gone. tried to re create the frothy coffee not good
    What happened to D.A.T Saw him on the Victory in a reunion, joined the Police. Keep in touch. We could start a Frothy Coffee Association
    Johnny W

  52. ken ashton

    Only takes one lost sheep to join the fold and the memories flood ontothe guestbook. good thing too!
    I also used to frequent t5he Chandos off the Square, and the Salisbury too. It used to be a big theatrical hangout in my day but alas it is now a hangout of the"fruity" persuasion!Harry Carpenter was a regular in the Chandos.The other pub we used was the Sherlock Holmes on Northumberland Avenue,frequented by the Python gang before they were famous Johnny, give me a call some time 0120488 8924. Good to hear from you and Ray as well

  53. Johnny Whitfield

    Hi KA young man of the poiny shoe, Aries the Ram is my sign.I beieve the Silver Cross was the watering hole of the communicators. There was also a plush pub bar downstairs
    clients were of the stage. very dodgy corner by the Grifin, how the base got round there was a work of art. Will phone any good day or a man of Liesure.
    There was a little wren at Kete who kept me in line Margeret her father was a Vicar. do you know her.

  54. Johnny Whitfield

    Sorry Ka few mistakes could only touch type on figures on the TP
    pointy shoes and Buses around the Griffin corner are the errors

  55. ken ashton

    Johnny, the Silver Cross was on the corner of the Strand and Northumberland Avenue, I remember it well and you are right the clientele was almost exclusively "arty farty" but our presence lowered the tone!
    Incidentally I have a photo of you and me on Flora Day in Helston with you cuddling a monkey!

  56. Johnny Whitfield

    There is a Picture of you KA and me with 3 wrens at the flora dance you dont mean the one I had my arm around was a monkey, must of been the strong ale brewed at the Anchor.
    52 years and chatting like old women after all this time.

  57. ken ashton

    Jonny, I am currently looking at the photo in question, and unless Met Wrens in those days were small black and furry, you are holding a monkey!
    Once we get up and running with email addrsses I will send you a copy.

  58. Johnny Whitfield

    Hi Ray, who,s dat who,s dat saying who is dat. Seriously DAT was my best Man, He is David A Turner. he left the Navy and joined the Police ended up with quite a high rank. When we met he said Hello Hello with slight knee bend. ASWEPS was quite hectic crosswords and the Like. I had a great time on the USS WASP, and a Short time in Boston.
    Sent a DVD TO THE SECRETARY hoping they can extract a few photos of my trip, only record I have. Was the Barmaid swedish at the Chandos.

  59. SPUD

    Coming in a bit late on early '60s AFS citadel watchkeeping - rememberance hazy coz' i'm old but remember best lunch was up behind the Post Office off ~Traf Sq - at the MARQUIS OF GRANDBY - got a lunch (roast pork salad) there from big RON on the day of WINSTON'S FUNERAL - RON later sold me a lovely 'stereo' music centre because he was vacating the apartment above because his boyfriend had split from him! Also remember the jazz bar Ronnie Scotts at the edge of TRAF Sq just south of the South African Embassy where i was propositioned by Ronald Frazier (the actor) who slided up to me and asked me 'where have you been all my life' the only answer I could find was "well I haven't been born for most of it" 'think he bought me a drink. Ronnie
    Scott'S has moved over towards Soho or near the Dover Street wine bar 'tween the '60's and the early '90's where I last frequented when serving in the MOD.('92 to '95)
    Anyway great memories awakened by john's (Whitfield) recollections
    All names mentioned above I do remember (I was AFS '64-'66) and add for that 'era' Ian Plackett, the late Roger Edwards, Tony Newrick, Dave Barton, George Clevitt, Everton's Pete Lonsdale, Geordie Foster Terrance MacSweeny and a a few more I will add idc.

    Do 'we' remember the moonlighting of the early '60s ex National Service Met man Chris Holmes at Debenhams (Just below the Post Office Tower off Tottenham Court Road) ! - trades the communicators got us into - Schweppes ... etc -- £2 a day cash doubled our weekly spend !.

    Am I dreaming all this ????

    Maybe, now the FORUM is inactive, and noting our guest book is PUBLIC ! I wonder if our webmaster could devise a 'log-on' guestbook to allow the current banter without exposing telephone details - etc

  60. Johnny Whitfield

    I have been trying to Remember the name of that Pub the Marquis of Granby, I to enjoyed the Pork and Salad. furthe left after the Granby was a Club upstairs owned by a queer Canadian. got barred after upsetting a client in a long dress male of course. Use to enjoy a meal in a Chinese in St Martins Lane with a Forecaster 10/6d for a 3 course meal. The Salisbury was a visiting hole for Actors had lots of mirrors. Strangely can never remember names numbers yes. I think the entrys are checked. before let loose. I hope these stir up the memory cells. anyone heard of Ivor Batey at Admiralt. We all use to have a run ashore starting at the Chandos. must of been around 1964.

  61. Ray Brooker

    Yes, I remember Dave Turner well - also Ivor Batey, who I also knew at the Met School at Culdrose. He was regularly doing naughty things to a Wren called Sue Swales; who went on to become a Wren Officer of some sort. I also went to see him after he left the RN and went to work in the Air Ministry Met section at Carlisle Airport - this is many years ago.
    The barmaid at the Chandos was indeed a lovely Swedish girl called Bierta - I enjoyed watching Johnny Whitfield chat her up. He called her big Bierta, saomething she seemed to like!

  62. ken ashton

    Spud's mention of Chris Holmes brought back some memories. We used to go to the factory, somewhere near the Post Office tower to Pack womens coats, very expensive one as I remember. It was a great way of subsidising the booze money, I think we could earn a couple of quid a day which was good money in the 60's. My sisters also received some nice camel coats from "misdirected" deliveries.

  63. Johnny Whitfield

    Seems to be a reunion of ex Admialty workers. That Swedish Barmaid we took ashore with us on one of our runs starting at the Chandos. I had a job in Antiques whilst there, well it was more of shop with House Clearance. the old man looked a bit like Fagan.
    Ivor Batey was the only bloke that took his raincoat with him in scorching weather when out with Sue.
    at Kete the was a Wendy and a little Margaret who I took out to the Griffin also met her in Falmouth, There is a photo of them in here somewhere. Was it the Ship and Shuvel towards Canon Street with a Sandwich Shop Opposite. Should all meet up in the Chandos if its still there.

  64. SPUD

    At ChrisHolmes' Debenhams in the West End '64 I was employed at £2 pd off watch to help MR Pratt who had made a pratt of himself and was working off a debt TO THE COMPANY in such late life- He was a very old gent - well over 70 - and he was in charge of the 'returns' - He - We had access to the 'delivery' side of the business as reflected in JW's entry and as an insider i know there was a liberal use of the companies parcel post.
    Mr PRATT taught me the tricks of the trade - when garments were returned - the usual thing was a womans coat - "oooh I've only worn this once - it's shrunk or the seam has split!!!!!!

    Mr Pratt taught me to ASSESS the fraud and the (very few) genuine malfunctions in a garment - tools were ....


    And then the 'stretch' on the buttock and arse lining - which no matter how FEW times it had been worn it showed, in the ironing out the lady had simply historically recorded her activity.


    I wish I could have added ----------


    This is SPUD .....

    ASLEEP _ YET _ WHY NOT !!!!!!

    The main commercial and later military code I learned from Debenhams was the established code used by the company to reflect the 'cost-price' of - say a coat, to one of their stores - this information was shown on the price tag on the shop floor in casual writing - it made no sence to the buying public.
    All OK if the coat was sold and no problems - but if returned - the company, MR Pratt and ME needed to know that the return was for a genuine reason - then we could propose a 'refund'or otherwise, knowing the original cost price.

    The code which represents a run of digits from 1 to 10 is contained within one word - which has no repeated letter - I give you CORNFLAKES as an exapmle - At Debenhams the cost-price code on the lable of a coat being sold lets say in my day for (1966).... say £12 (£11.99) in the shop the lable was td/6 - breakdown of the code - 39/6 (£1 19 and 6)

    The Debenham code was METHODICAL ! hence td/6 (39/6)

    .YOU ...still awake ..... ??

    Me - wonderin'wot that code was called -



    Later in my aviation life in the Andrew I had to rely heavily on RAMROD codes - BUT UNBELIEVABLE THERE ARE THOUSANDS - simple CORNFLAKES eg and etc.

  65. Frank

    OMG I seem to have taken a very sheltered and darkened (miners strike power cuts) life at Northwood in the early '70s unlike earlier past times in Whitehall interested in learning more in case I need to take a career change....

  66. ken ashton

    Frank, what you have to realise is that all of these revelations of boozing with the stars and shady West End restaurants were all part of "the swinging sixties" experience which we all enjoyed courtesy of the First Sea Lord.
    Seedy shared flats in Earls Court at £6 per per person per week and expensive beer in West End hostelries meant that everbody needed another source of income, hence the off watch working at Debenhams.
    Ah, such happy days, never to return I fear.

  67. Johnny Whitfield

    I agree with Ken at Admiralty we were in the Heart of of the heart of theatre and club land my first digs were at Pimlico. in Admiralty we never saw our uniform. Ken with his Mod Style and pointy shoes and me with my take on of a Tony Curtis
    With watches of 24 on and 72 off, it gave opportunity to fill in our off days I once worked at Cheesemans in Lewisham. London allownce certainly did not cover a good life. I Married a Ex Met Wren
    not that she was in long as we were engaged when I was on the MET School staff and she was on a course at Culdrose.Watches were such that you could go out for a meal and drink and come back for a Kip till after the 0300 chart had meen plotted. We also had a run ashore about once a Month. I did spend a very short time at Northwood with Asweps.WHICH WAS NOT EXACTLY FULL OF NIGHT LIFE. which was about the time I went on the USS WASP on a Exercise Boston to the Arctic Circle until flying off Spain arriving back at Admiralty to be sent off to Londonderry on a Exercise. he most popular drink in the local was Merrydown cider. from where I was brought up. some say dragged up. I always found my own Married Quarters.

  68. SPUD

    2012 Reunion (next week) numbers not meeting expectation (for reasons that can be discussed later).

    I want to use this dit to give support to Charlie and his team's efforts over the years for the setting-up , admin, then admin and admin and re-design and redesign to expand capacity, of site (at no cost to us) - all effort to present our popular site which encourages the current banter, encouraging membership (and the possibility of regenerating the old 'banter site' which the Sec has on disc) and to entice more of our un-exposed, undeclared, shy, (all you need-to-do is say you were a MET and press enter) or 'lost and found'
    Please join us now - this site will be lost without you.

    Given we have a non-fee membership site I'm sending Charlie £10 to support the site - it needs it - I think I have had much more than a tenners value from the site in recent years

    JW's current flood of memories are an example of the 'added value'to our lives (Not to mention Ray Brooker's and others very clear memories way back in Jurasic days)(Wish George Blu could be with us more often he is 'shirley' the BOSON PARTICLE to fill in any gaps.

    Hope we survive and enjoy the interaction!

  69. Johnny Whitfield

    I would like echo the comments made by Spud it is quite amazing just how many past Mets they have amassed in my own time in the Navy I think less than twenty have crossed my path. Partly because my course consisted of me and partly because I was with Asweps on more than one occasion.
    Whilst at Kete I played football, though I am not sure whether that was during my course or later just before the change, were there other Fleet Air Arm courses at Kete I remember being in a mess where one of the Occupants continuously played music from South Pacific till we hid it.In my early days I was loosely a bit of a Muscle Bosun
    resulting in the pains I suffer now.
    I started my one man course after Chritsmas and new year 1958/59 and passed out met111 26th jan 1959.
    then on Birmingham returning later that year for the changeover to Culdrose, if anyone can remember those periods it would be nice to rejuvenate my little grey matter.
    Once again thankyou to the team

  70. ken ashton

    Johnny, don't know about your football prowess but I do remember you and I playing cricket for the Air department at Culdrose and you taking one of the most superb catches I have ever seen at any level of cricket.
    I ws bowling, the batsman gave it one hell of a swipe, you were fielding on the boundary, and you took it one handed at full stretch about three feet off the ground!
    Given the fact that you could hardly have been called a light weight at that time, it was unbelievable!
    Bet you had forgotten that one eh?

  71. Johnny Whitfield

    Well Ken fancy remembering that true I had forgotten that, as I was a Goalkeeper I suppose diving was part of my game, I still have the scars playing for the Birmingham forgot my knee pads, when I figure out my printer I will send you a Photo of me in goal when at Arbroath. made it for the Navy agaist Nato land forces in Italy but only on for a while really to short. loved Cricket.played for local teams after leaving the Navy.
    always thought it was a shame sporting facts were never put on your history sheet. Played in Singapore once. after every goal went off for a tiger top to say the least it was a high scoring game.
    great memories which brings me back to the wren of us in the school staff I am sure she was MT.

  72. George Blewitt

    Hallo my grand old mate Spud, have decided to revisit the Guestbook pages after a wee while away. Firstly, I received your chopper trying to land in a so called "difficult sea" which took me straight back to my days on the Dalrymple on the dreaded Rockall/Malin run up to survey the continental shelf from Bear island to the Bay of Biscay along with Lt Cdr Dick Dodwell, Jesus did it bring back memories, i think I was sick for the first week onboard!! Bloody awful weather and it was in July!!!
    Secondly, I never thought for one minute that anyone in the Met Branch would ever mention sport at any level, so it is with great humility that I mention my participation in the sports of the RN.
    Here goes:- after I left training I was drafted to Portland (the first ever met rating to go there off course) I then represented Portland at X-Country in the Pompey command cross country chanpionship at Dryad along with George Chilton we were the only two Wafoos who ran against 140 odd fish-heads. Portland finished runners-up to Victory A and I still have the trophy to prove it!!
    Portland didn't have an Air Dept football team so instead I represented 737 and then 771 Sqdns and then Portland itself.
    On the Ark I played for her at hockey in Singers and also for the Air Dept and 815 Sqdn at football, then at Lee I represented the base at both Football and Rugby plus the Air Dept at football. On to the London where I played football for the ship and also for the Seamens dept!! then to Brawdy where again I played both football and Rugby for the base.
    Onto the Albion and played for the Air dept and 848 sqdn at football and also for the Albion plus we (Lt Geoff Roberts, me and Tim Preston took part in the first ever inter ship quiz against the Eagle (which we won 34-26) Geoff scored 17, yours truly got 16 and Tim scored 1)
    Then back to Lee to finish off and played for Lee and the Air Dept at football and then I went outside.
    Also represented the Fleet Air Arm at Field Gun Crew and the gun crew at both football and cricket.
    That's it Spud, I was a sportsman
    and still continued playing in civvy street until I was 47 at football, rugby and cricket. seems so long since but the memories and photos, trophies and plaques are still with me.
    No-one believed I was Met, they all thought I was a chockhead or a bombhead because as far as "they" were concerned Met men didn't play sport. Even on the Gun Crew I was put down as a NAM!!
    great to hear from you Spud,
    mebbe we'll now hear how Brooker scored the winning goal in a Wembley cup final, a century at Lords and ran riot in the Met school at both Kete and Culdee!!!
    All the best Spud,

  73. Ray Brooker

    Ah well,sport,eh? Now there's a story! I went to a very VERY strict boarding school when I passed my 11+ and until I was 16 I represented the school, and the county (Lincolnshire) juniors at cross country. I was very good! Then I rebelled against all the school stood for i.e. Church three times on a Sunday, daily beatings by the older boys, no contact with the outside world etc. (I could write a book) and ran away overnight to Portsmouth; and joined the RN - and as I was only sixteen, I was sent to HMS Ganges for a year. Everyone found it quite harsh, but after boarding school, I found it a doddle. Which brings me on to the reason for this dit. After a while at Ganges, I started receiving duty free cigarettes, and took up smoking in a serious way....and that was the end of running for me.....and then of course at eighteen the tot came along. I'm talking 1958-59 here, and the good old RN did their best to ruin your health. Glad to hear that some resisted, and carried on being sporting!

  74. ken ashton

    For Johnny Whitfield, got the photo you sent but did not recognise anybody other than your goodself.
    For Ray Brooker, are you sure that you hav'nt been reading Tom Browns Schooldays, sounds like one hell of a school you went to!As for sport, are you sure? you used to ask for a taxi to take you from the Main Gate at Culdrose to the Met School!

  75. Johnny Whitfield

    To KA you must of completed your basics at Nuneaton and didnt move by overnight train on mass to Arbroath.which I did
    Remember a young Ray Brooker getting a taste for Green bell peppers served in a Pub in St Martins Lane. which may of had him running to the nearest toilet.
    Still trying to find the whereabouts of D A Turner signed himself DAT was my best man.

  76. Ray Brooker

    No, I'm not kidding about boarding school - my father was in the RAF and the RAF paid my fees to go there while my sister and mother swanned all over the world enjoying themselves. I was very bitter about that, but got my reveng. I am still very proud to see my entry in the school log
    Because I ran away, my father had to repay all the fees that the RAF had paid, and it just about finished him off moneywise. We never spoke again after that....but I'm not bitter!
    I like Ken's remark about the taxi from the main gate to the Met School - but as I remember it, a lot of the Wrens were quite willing to offer him a ride......

  77. Ray Brooker

    To Johnny - I remember two Turners in the Met branch - both called Dave, just to confuse things. One was from the early 1960's era, and quite a stocky lad. The other one was a fair-haired lad from probably the late 60's/early 70's. Which one was your best man? Can you tell us all the EXACT name i.e. what the DA stood for; do you know where he hailed from? Somebody who reads this might know him. What about she who knows all????? The Secretary bird......

  78. Johnny Whitfield

    Cheerst Ray the one I talk of was tall and fair but as I got married in 1961 Whilst at Adiralty he was there then, I met him again on the Victory reunion, He joined the Police and I think got to the rank of Cief Inspector. Never found out the middle name. I dont think you went to the Victory Reunion.
    Will try the Oracle he must be about your age.

  79. ken ashton

    There was of course another Turner, Topsy by name, but Graham to his friends. He was in Malta at Hal Far with me in 63/65. What happened to him after that I don't know, and he seems to be on the missing list at the moment, don't believe he has ever contact the website.
    Raymond I will take issue with you about my time at Culdrose. As you well know I spent most of my spare time in the library reading "Gone With The Wind and other such weighty tomes, or I was in Sick Bay as I was a very delicate young lad and suffered from the vapours among other things and consequently had little time for socialising in the NAAFI fleshpots.

  80. Johnny Whitfield

    KA I think Ray was right with your high living I thought I was the Studious Type and Sickly one being dragged ashore bu yourself at the Floral Dance forced to drink that evil ale at the Anchor Blue still brewing today.
    certainly a few missing Met around
    Ivor Batey comes to mind.

  81. Ray Brooker

    That's who I was thinking of - Topsy Turner was the other Dave. Where is 'she who knows all'? perhaaps a snippet of info might help......
    Kenneth and Johnny - I well remember you two going ashore from Culdrose quite often. You led me into a trap one night in Porthleven; can't remember the pub, but you introduced me to a local girl who scared me shitless. Was it Portleven Jane? I was quite innocent in those days, but to put it mildly, she definitely Was Not! Do you recall her; have I got the right name?

  82. ken ashton

    Blimey Ray, I can't even remember going to Porthleven,remember going to PZ and getting my head kicked in in a boozer cum dance hall, every time I look at my nose it reminds me of that!My mate Topsy who was at Hal Far with me was from Jersey and married a bird called Suewas like that Harry Enfield character who is always saying " we are decidely richer than yo". I remember her bragging that they had bought a bread slicer, and I know for a fact she never used it!
    Topsy was a great bloke I have a smudge of him somewhere in the album and I do remember that he had dark curly hair, Johnny I will send you the photo so that you can rule him out of your conundrum regarding your Best Man, and while we are at it why didn't you ask me to be your best man???

  83. Johnny Whitfield

    I cant remember going to Porthleven then again cant remember a lot, I must of not been with you when you got your head kicked, I wish I could remember who was in our mess in Culdrose use to Borrow a Big sloppy Jumper which fitted had trouble with finding clothes to fit. I did a test for Aircrew at Culdrose took the Medical at Lee, Took another 7 years before I was offered a place but already started the ball rolling to go into the Pub.
    One day I will find DAT.
    Ray you were definately a young bit of Skin in those days.
    an you rememember having a bit of a Confrontation outside the Salisbury in St Martins Lane.

  84. Ray Brooker

    Must be completely muddled about times at Culdrose - but Porthleven Jane I remember well! In the Mess at Culdrose were us three, plus Johnny Whitehead (who went on to become a Lt. Cdr.) also Blackie Howarth: and a Leading hand who went on to become the youngest Chief in the Branch. I can picture him in my mind right now, but his name????? There must have been others, but it's all a bit beyond me, I'm afraid. Thanks for the photo at Malta, by the way. I remember a few 'actor types' giving me a look in the pubs around London - I must have been a bit of skin in those days.....

  85. ken ashton

    Ray, John Whithead is now the president of the Chockheads Association and you are right was a two and a half ringer pilot and then a test pilot for Airworks.
    The Leading Hand you are thinking about was John Woodside a charmless irishman who would step on anyone to get ahead.As it happens John Whitehead looks exactly as he did in the old days, will send you a smudge.

  86. arthur

    Following receipt of a complaint, I have removed the last four entries in the Guestbook.
    Should you wish it, I can transfer these entries into the 'Forum' so that the conversation can continue in a non - public location.
    Thank you for your understanding.
    Yours aye

  87. Johnny Whitfield

    Beat me to it Ken, though not sure what I said, I hope this Does not slow down the end of banter, getting in touch after almost 52 years was great, My time in the Navy was a very lonely one, not many Met on Cruisers in fact for the most time me. I certainly got moved around, Nuneaton, Arbroath, Abbotsinch, Culdrose, Kete, on Loan to Lossiemouth, 3 times at Admiralty, mainly Asweps, Ships Birmingham,Hermes, Lion, Uss Wasp wit Asweps, short stay at Brawdy, Wife had problems so welfare moved me back to Admiralty, according to the wife had 12 different homes. but all and all quite enjoyed it.
    the few I came into contact were great. Ken did you get the Photos.

  88. ken ashton

    Johnny, got the smudges, by God your weight didn't half go up and down eh?
    With regard to the deletions, it seems you have to be nice in what you say about everybody otherwise you give amunition to the a....holes who never contribute but love to take exception to what is said on here.
    Thank God there are still a few of us old uns that have not succumbed to the "sense of humour bypass".
    Keep well.

  89. ken ashton

    As an addendum to my last post, it was in no way intended for or aimed at Charlie, Charlie does a good job and somebody has to police the site and arbitrate when necessary.
    However, having reflected for sometime on the issue of the removal of the entries, it certainly seems to support the theory that we are increasingly being forced down the dreaded "political correctness" route which seems to be insidiously infecting todays society.
    I amm not so stupid or vain as to think that colleagues and shipmates from my time in the Met branch would not entertain the view that I might be a prig, a pain in the ...e, a bighead, a boring fart,useless at the job or any combination of the above.
    However I am sad to see the demise of their right to express that opinion if they so choose, in public or otheerwise. I know that I am big enough and old enough and have a thick enough skin to have a laugh about it or, who knows, maybe agree with them on some aspects I may have missed out.
    I feel a bit sorry for those people who don't have that capability

  90. ken ashton

    Iam being extremely voluble this evening but an experience I had in'62 and is true I swear mught serve to illustrate the point made in the previous post.
    I had travelled up to Charing Cross one morning to start the shift at AFC at 10.30 and was standing at the lights waiting to cross Whitehall when a woman standing next to me, who I had never sen before in my life said and I quote:
    Crikey you have got one huge hooter havn't you?
    I surprised myself because, quick as a flash I said " yes I have and it really helps me to smell your B.O." then I stalked off across Whitehall and felt like a million dollars all day!

  91. Johnny Whitfield

    wELL Ken since I have been chatting on this site pleased to take renewed acquaintances of many years ago, the amount of people using the site seems to be Yourself,Ray and myself and the occasiobal of Mr Blewit, I would love to hear from other members whose path may have crossed mine. Some may of had a complete dislike to me because of my dashing looks and physic and Bull,
    what about the wrens I am wondering what happened to them there was a tiny one called Margaret her surname was a typical Cornish name she was at Kete with a wren called Wendy about 1959/60 at the time of my sole course. her fater was a Vicar. I can understand Kens feelings but in my remaining years I want to enjoy the memories and believe me some were not all great.
    All my life particularly in the License Trade I have enjoyed Humour and laughed my way through all the ups and downs, especially my split with my first wife a Met wren,
    Smile chaps and forget those who made those days a missery. Ive got my vodoo doll out if I could only remember names.

  92. Ray Brooker

    I don't like the forum - it's too restricted to certain subjects - and by the look of the very few entries over the past year, not many others like it either. I look forward to opening up the guestbook occasionally, and reading the nostalgic comments from the likes of Ken (the good-looking one who can joke about his nose) and Johnny (who denies all knowledge of Portleven Jane) and I can even take a joke about myself carrying my sarnies down Whitehall in a handbag (well, it was a Gucci) so there we are. Any derogatory remarks are taken in good humour, as they are meant to be taken. I suppose it was the comments about Woodside that offended someone...I hope it wasn't the man himself, or we can all expect a visit!

  93. Johnny Whitfield

    What is Forum have not found it yet The only Forum was a Frankie Howard Film, if someone wishes to make remarks about me go ahead I am to old in the Tooth to worry about things, Ray has the right Idea, I always thought he was well off to afford a Gucci, at Admiralty I never thought he would make a career in the Branch, I wish I had I would of met for people in the Branch that I did, Sent a Photo to Ken as a Publican I put on quite a bit of weight on since those early days though still weighed over 14stone then, to many G&T,S over the years but now dont drink last G&T almost 3 years ago. I hope the reunion goes well this weekend, I know Ken not going, is Ray, I am not medical appointment Friday which has taken months to get.
    Keep laughing I do when I look into the Mirror, Never noticed Kens Nose
    only his pointy shoes.

  94. ken ashton

    So they win again.
    The ones with the sense of humour bypass and the blocked comedic arteries.
    No more literary gems enhanced by the clinical butchery of the english grammar laws from Johnny.
    No more tales of the nether regions of the Met world, like Ocean Weather Ships from smooth old Ray.
    No more tales of boozing with the stars and lunch in Marbella with Dalglish and Robson and Best from the self confessed "friend of the stars and professional hanger on", ie my goodself.
    No more incisive analysis from Goerge and Spud and others.
    Myself Ray and a few others have been on this site many, many times since it's inception, indeed I am not sure but I think I posted the first one, and we have had many a comforting chuckle at the memories brought back by us all participating.
    Johnny, whose joy at finding and using the site for just a short time has been self evident will now be deprived of many contributions that may have amused and comforted him, alas, no more.
    So we let the faceless and nameless people win.
    But hey, maybe we appreciate that the charmless ones need their little victories to sustain their humorless lives, quien sabe? as they say en espanol.
    Soits goodbye from me.

  95. Ray Brooker

    Johnny - when you go to Cloud Observers site you will see what looks like a TV screen in the top right hand corner. Click on that, then go to FORUM halway down on the right. You will then find some not-much-used topical discussion subjects. Better to stay on the Guestbook and be nice! Ken is rite about yor grammer and speling; try sleeping with a dictionary under your pillow tonight. And Kenneth - stay with us here! I always remember you with pointy shoes, too; also a collarless Beatles leather jacket in voguish black. You always were the smooth one - bet you're not so bloody smooth-looking now!

  96. Johnny Whitfield

    Thanks for the info Ray but will stick to this and hope that Ken does continue with his comments. Sorry about the Grammer, having spent most of my life dealing in figures and taking down brief hurried notes over the White Mans Talking Box.
    Ray can you remember who was in the Asweps office when you were there, I know there was only 3 or 4 of us. doing very little.
    I hope Ken is reading these entries and not joining that clan of Grumpy Old Men.

  97. John Whitehead

    Interesting to see John Whitfield in the guestbook, again with others was in ASWEPS early '60's do remember going to John Whitfield's pub, I think, on opening all smoke runs ashore always got a bit confused!!! Re John Whitehead, there were two of us me the Met and the other a Handler, JW Handler became aircrew 1965, helos thence Gannets, I think he also flew Helos in Monaco when he left; also got to LtCdr, remember whilst in Centaur his course came to the Fleet Review on the Clyde..John was late leaving had his own boat cause he was 'delayed' in the Handlers mess!
    Hope the reunion goes well I am currently P7R and unfit to travel!!

  98. Johnny Whitfield

    To John Whitehead, gradually finding people in those ASWEPS days, did you go to the Reunion on the Victory I thought the Admin Officer was a ex Met with the name of Whitehead or could of been Whiteside, then again with my memory could of been Smith, I too am not at the Reunion because of Medical reasons, I hope it goes well.

  99. Ian McNeil

    The reunion photos are very good and have been quickly put on the site. Shame there were not more attending. Sorry I was not there but I sent the reason why I was not there to the secretary. Where was Bungy??
    There must be more rum left for the next one!!
    I also was at the Victory reunion in the late 80's and went with Graeme Turner in his Porsche. John Whitehead hosted the event as he I believe was the Commanding Officer of the ship at the time.

  100. Ray Brooker

    Back to ASWEPS - I vividly remember being a willing volunteer to spend a month at a time on the old weather ships. I went on OWS India, OWS Juliet and OWS Kilo. They were converted Castle Class Corvettes; good when sailing from Greenock, but swines when they got on station and just wallowed in the swells. The Surveyor/Recorder who came with me a few times (A/B Dave Carey) used to eat my puddings at meal times after I'd chucked up the main course. I got used to it in the end, though. Good times - no discipline, no rounds, no uniform for a whole month at a time......

  101. Johnny Whitfield

    Ray when did you go on these OWS, was it before I went on the USS WASP or after ?. I had a great time on board, after spending a week in Boston, The Skipper enjoyed going through a Hurricane that he decided to go through it again. I was on board with Lt Cdr Carter, a great Bloke looked a bit of a twit but knew his stuff. They had a party for me and showered me with gifts when I left, all contained in a signed Kit Bag, it included a coffee machine. boy did they like their coffee, Bars in Boston were bit like the TV show Cheers, seemed to be the only British Sailor in Town. Use to plot their charts for them, our speed of plotting was twice as fast as theirs, they were quite impressed, unless they thought let the sucker carry on we will have another cup of coffee.
    I have been in touch with KA WAS NOT A HAPPY CHAPPIE.

  102. Johnny Whitfield

    Ray when did you go on these OWS, was it before I went on the USS WASP or after ?. I had a great time on board, after spending a week in Boston, all the Bars seemed like the one the TV show CHEERS including the clientele. When I arrived on board I was greeted by the Officer of the Watch and a young Sailor to carry my bag, I was then taken to the Skippers Cabin to be formerly welcomed. then a steward was called for to take me to my cabin, I realised the mistake had been made, I explained my rank and that LT CARTER would be arriving later, The Skipper said I could keep the cabin or mess with the other Mets. I had a great time with them, plotted their charts for them which impressed them, their speed of plotting was about half of ours. They had a party for me when I was leaving and showered me with gifts. LT Carter and I flew off the Ship off the coast of Spain.
    I had a film of my trip, which I put on Video then DVD unfortunately over the years the latest copy is in very poor quality. I sent a copy to the Secretary. The DVD is the only record of the trip, nothing on my History. I was sent to Londonderry shortly afterwards.

  103. Ray Brooker

    Can't remember, Johnny, it's all a blur - but clearly remember also a trip on /RRS Discovery with Lieutenant Dave Done. That was an excellent month at sea; I called him Dave and he called me Ray all the time on board - unheard of in those days. I remember Lt.Cdr Carter as being in ASWEPS and living with his parents just outside London. Also Pete Lonsdale for a while was with us - met up with him a few times. On board HMS Hermes when I was the Killick and he was the P.O. Also at HMS Warrior at Northwood when he went AWOL on my watch, never to be seen or heard of again! Charlie will remember that episode, I'm sure.......

  104. Johnny Whitfield

    Ray KA has gone in to Hibernation for awhile, hoping to see more contributors other than we three. I have exchanged Emails. If you were based at Northwood then your trips would be after my trip.

  105. ken ashton

    I have been reading with interest the current dialogue, and I see a definate pattern emerging here.
    We have talk of ASWEPS, an organisation of which I know nothing except that it existed in tucked away back rooms and when asking participant what went on, there was surreptitious patting of noses and winks like, you are not in the know buddy so keep it out!
    Then OWS and american warships and other strange drafts.
    The pattern I see is that all you open toed jesus boot wearers and cargo shorts aficionados were sent to these godforsaken places to keep you out of the way, whilst us sharp dressers, patrons of John Stephens in the Kings Road and expensive barbers were used to man the front line, the romantic faces of the branch, ie, the Fleet Weather Centres or the School where we imparted our extensive knowledge.
    Surely it can be no accident that of my nine and a half years in the Andrew I spent only two years of that in the discomfort of sea going ships, the rest of the time I was FWC Admiralty FWC Malta (HAFMED) or at the school. QUOD ERAT DEMOSTRANDUM!

  106. Ash Price

    Interesting site that has commissioning books to download, sure if you have a commissioning book that’s not in the collection on this site, it would greatly appreciated by many of ex- matelot’s out there, the guy running this site is right, commissioning books tell a great story about the R.N.
    The average price of a second hand commissioning book is now £40.
    So dig out the scanner and send in any you so us old matelot’s can look at them for free.
    I’ve enjoyed looking at the Ark Royal ones as I never had one from the Ark.

  107. Ray Brooker

    I was in ASWEPS in London (hence the Chandos and Big Bierta) then I went to sea on Victorious and Hermes in quick succession over 3 and 1/2 years. Then to ASWEPS in Northwood. Over these two periods, I spent 6 months at sea on OWS and research vessels, but don't ask me when and how and who with, it's all beyond me! Can't remember you going on USS Wasp at all - must have been in ASWEPS at different times then.....

  108. Johnny Whitfield

    kEN, you have returned with a bang and what you say is true, I am sure that most of my time in the Navy I was sent to these places to keep me out of the way. I was drafted to Lossiemouth for a short period, which was a Wrens draft. I did however spend time in FWC Admiralty
    and whilst the Hermes was in for a long refit, I was placed in the FWC Singapore. I Married in 1961 and in a very short time we had at least 10 different homes. so you can say my time was definately not in the Front line, wheresoever it may be.
    Did spend time at the School Kete and Culdrose.

  109. Ray Brooker

    Well done, Ash, I've been on to the site briefly and seen some of the commission I spent on the Hermes. Brought it all back, what a happy ship that was; spent two brilliant years on her, seeing the world, and not exactly working very hard....well, we were all young and single then!

  110. Johnny Whitfield

    Any Wren out there know what happened to Margaret Penhaligon, a tiny Met Wren at Kete, who managed to keep me in order, I think her Father was a Vicar, was at Kete with a Wren named Wendy. I celebrated a Birthday with her in Falmouth after spending 27 hours travelling from Lossiemouth to join the staff at Culdrose.

  111. Nigel (Dougal) Pritchard

    Really surprised to see this site I was "Met Man" from 1976 to 1991 so lots of faces I knew pictures of my instructors and pictures of me as an instructor. Still doing the same job at Lossiemouth (observing not instructing) Met Del Brown a few times (mainly Basra) Nice site thanks for reminding me of a few names I had forgoten

  112. ken ashton

    Johnny I am sending you a smudge of the wren I think you are talking about, she was on my course in 1958, she was only very tiny and may have remained at Kete after I went to the Eagle in Late '58.

  113. ken ashton

    Here is a stimulating thought that just occurred to me whilst doing my weekly ironing.
    How many of you hairy a....d matelots/naval airmen still do their own ironing, ie shirts, trousers?
    I must admit that from my early days in the Andrew until now, neither my wonderful and sorely missed first wife Constance nor my current wife Katie have ever been required to iron either shirts or trousers, even when I was working and wearing formal suits and shirts I always ironed or pressed them myself, and even now though I wear mostly chinos and polo shirts these are always ironed by myself, obviously a product of pusser training in the early days.
    So come on, how many of you do the same?

  114. Johnny Whitfield

    kEN never been Press-ganged into the art of ironing, all my wives were very good at it ( IRONING ) and it is amazing what you can get done for a tot. Thats what the Chinese Laundry was for on board Ship. My son however presses all his clothes, perhaps missed a generation.

  115. Ray Brooker

    I too have always washed and pressed all the clothes in our house (well, since the kids have left, that is) Thought I was the only one to look forward to a good pile of ironing before breakfast. But as you say, it's the Pusser training that's caused it. When I was on Hermes, I used to volunteer to work in the Chinese laundry when I was off watch, I was that keen. Hence my yellow complexion, and slitty eyes......

  116. Johnny Whitfield

    I must of missed that part of Pusser training, what happened to conversations of those Tourist attractions, frequented by your hairy a....d Matelot.
    The Gut, Boogie Street, Roof Tops and that lovely Avenue in Plymouth, Union Street, never went to them myself
    I do all the cooking at home so not completely undomesticated.

  117. Ray Brooker

    I seem to remember Ken chasing a Wren at Culdrose when we were on the staff about 1960 or so. Was that the Connie you refer to? Also I remember Johnny falling for a Wren whose name escapes me, at about the same time. Was that your first wife? It's all so hazy - but it's over 50 years ago, so it's bound to be. As for Boogie Street, I got married just before a draft to HMS Terror for 2 years, and my wife was an innocent schoolteacer from Manchester. I took her down Boogie Street to show her the sights. We had rats running over our feet, fist fights between Royal Marines and Army,and beautiful 'women' accosting the matelots. She just could not believe they were men in drag......

  118. Johnny Whitfield

    Yes Ray that wren was indeed my first wife, Tricia nee Barron, was on the course in 1960 when Ken and I were part of the School Staff, often think of her, we have remained friends. I dont think that was Connie at that time, may be wrong, as you say memory is very hazy, I do not remember you on the School staff at that time.
    I was the Hermes in Singapore and did have the Occasion to visit Boogie Street. remember a really attractive Lady we called Blue, she always wore Blue. many a sailor had a shock. Ken would more about the Gut, I may of got lost there.
    What happened to Pete Rossington, a great chap, he was the PO on the Hermes when I was on there but left early, leaving me in charge.
    You will find my first wife in a course photo. we were in the Pub together for four years. bad move.

  119. Johnny Whitfield

    sorry about missing words this machine has a mind of its own, my little curser flies everywhere. like me getting old.

  120. ken ashton

    Ray,Connie and I knew each other firstly from Kete and then later she was drafted to Culdrose, she was a wardroom steward and a favourite of Commander Norman Fairfield Jenkins, I still have the lovely telegram he sent to us when we got married in '62.
    Sadly she passed away in 2002 from cancer.We didn't quite manage the forty years together.

  121. Ian Plackett

    Hi Johhny W, we met at Admiralty just before you went outside. I remember going over to your pub one evening but can't remember exactly where it was.

  122. Ian Plackett

    Hi Ray, just seen you message about meeting Stevie Howard. Others on Happy H were me, Colin Brenchley and Jock Kuziv. Not sure if Don Watling and Janto Evans were still on when you joined. I have a pic of me Stevie and your good self in 4H2.

  123. Johnny Whitfield

    Hi Ian, yet another Admiralty name from the past, though my memory of yourself is very hazy, The Pub was called the Metropolitan Southwark. you may of come with Ray and a few others. about late 1966, I see from past photos that you were on the Hermes then. Both Ray and yourself call the Hermes a happy Ship. I was on it sometime earlier and at that time it certainly was not. I have got to retrieve my History sheets from my Son, at present we are discovering our past History, gone back to 1744 which has a mixture of Shipwrights and Victuallers. so ships and booze was in my blood.
    When did the FWC move,
    Every new entry on this site activates the little grey cells.

  124. Ian plackett

    Hi Johhny, I went to your pub on my own actually. Northwood was first used for FWC during an exercise in 66 when a party of us went up there whilst some stayed in London. I was on Hermes during 67 then when I left her in 68 it was to go to Northwood. Actually I think you could find more info somewhere on this site. Gill picked all our few brains to write the history of FWC or WFWC and Asweps. Best wishes Ian

  125. Johnny Whitfield

    Hi Ian thanks for the info, I am trying to link up the time with ASWEPS and went on the USS WASP, the one chap who would know was Trevor Miles, who unfortunately died not long after the 2006 reunion. I have tried to trace the Wasp,s Voyage but cannot get any sort of voyage comparison, to where we sailed, up to the Arctic then South to Spain. I have a very poor Dvd which I hoped to extract some frames. I HAVE MOVED AROUND SO MANY TIMES. I get very confused of dates.

  126. Ray Brooker

    Hi Ian - when I joined Happy Hermes, you were on board with Colin Brenchley, Derek Kuziv and Janto Evans. I took over as Killick from....memory lapse....feller from Great Yarmouth who I knew very well from FWC London.....can't remember the P.O. at all! Then came Stevie Howard and others who escape my memory altogether! Never mind, it was a very happy ship is all I need to know.....we moved from 4H2 to 4J4 between Commissions - were you still there then?

  127. Ian Plackett

    Hi Ray. The killick you replaced was Tony Newrick, there is a photo of him on the site that I took in the office on Hermes. PO was Pete Lonsdale. When I left we were still in 4H2. Never forgave you by the way for getting that draft to Singers in 68. I was offered it first but then it was withdrawn because my wife was at teacher training college and they didn't want to interfer with her career. What a bummer. Ian

  128. Ray Brooker

    Hi Ian - I got a draft to Singers in March 1969. I should know exactly, because I got married in Feb 69 and then went straight to HMS Terror. My wife was a qualified teacher, and immediately got a job out there at the school for forces kids. Didn't realise that I went instead of you - so I not only took your place, but also deprived your wife of a good job out there......

  129. ken ashton

    Ah yes! the boy Plackett, came under my wing at FWC just prior to me going outside.Went on to bigger and better things notwithstanding that he was originally an acolyte of Brian Clough. I remember the laughs we had when he swore that Derby County would win the First Division title, but how wrong we were to scoff as they did just that!

  130. Johnny Whitfield

    Ken Thankyou for your post Met history, which I found most interesting, parts mirroring my own. I believe you have sent a copy to the Team, I hope it will be available for others to read. It is interesting to know what we did after the Met!!

  131. Ray Brooker

    My worklife virtually ended when I started at British Gas, got into computers with a vengeance, and ended up doing 20 years on shifts in a gas control centre. Well paid, but so boring.....good job I travelled the world for 16 years in the RN - some of the blokes I worked with had never left Lancashire.

  132. Johnny Whitfield

    Looks like the input has come to a grinding halt.
    I will continue with the after Met Theme. I purchased myself out after 8 years in 1966, to go into a Pub, one of the worse decisions I have made, it brought to the end of a marriage to lovely Met wren ,
    After that I remained in the Trade Managing a number of Public Houses and taking various courses within the Trade but also in accounts, which gave me work as Account Office Manager or Cost Accountant.
    I did not leave the Pub life always involved as a Advisor or as in my last 10 years of full time employment, Manager of a very busy Pub in a Yachting area of very well to do clients, living in very expensive houses, I retired from there after my 70th. I did continue on a part time advisor till June of this year, when the frame of a once keen bodybuilder collapsed, with the need for repairs on Knees, Shoulder Tendons and other well worn joints.
    After the 8 years in the Navy and the 4 early years in the Pub life was pretty well perfect, visiting over 20 different Countries in a relatively short Naval Service.

  133. ken ashton

    Tomorrow , Saturday I am going to an Aircraft Handlers Reunion in Coventry where I hope to see a number of the chaps from my days at Culdrose and on Victorious 1961/62.
    I know Johnny Whitehead will be there as he is president of their Association, and maybe Lofty Farthing who I know is an honorary member.
    I will reprt back after the weekend

  134. ken ashton

    Went to the AHA reunion yesterday and saw a few faces I have not seen for 50 years, chockheads from Victorious like Mick Burrows, Nobby Bugg and Kipper Herring, names you may not know but they are all great lads.The most memorable part of the day was seeing my old pal Lofty Farthing, again for the first time in 50 years, not now the ramrod straight 6 feet 3 inches of old but still as equable and humerous of old.
    Lofty can tell a story that has humour and pathos in equal measure, he is a raconteur by nature not by design.
    He still works 3 days a week getting up at 5.30am to sort the papers at his local newsagents.
    How lovely to see him again.

  135. Johnny Whitfield

    Ken you seem to enjoy yourself with the Chockheads Association, which I am quite envious, since leaving the Service I have had very little contact with anyone until seeing you on this site.
    Would I know any of those you mentioned during my time at Culdrose.My memory for names is terrible. I had my Grandson over the weekend who training to become a Deck Officer, did very well in the Sea Cadets, He wanted to become a Weapons Officer in the Navy, in fact spent some time at Dartmouth whilst in the Sea Cadets, Unfortunately the waiting list is 4 years to get in as Weapons Officer, so decided to go inn the Merch, and join the Reserves. Shame Tricia and I would of been so proud if had got a Commission.
    Was the Whitehead who ended up on the Victory the same person as AHA President.

  136. ken ashton

    For Johnny Whitfield, yes Johnny the John Whitehead who is now the honorary president of the AHA was with us at Culdrose, he was a handler, and was drafted to Victorious with me in 1960, he eventually got a commission and flew fixed wing and choppers and retired as a two and a half ringer.

  137. Ray Brooker

    Johnny Whitehead was a Met man through and through - he was on the course before me at Culdrose. We both grew up together at HMS Ganges; in fact, we joined on the same day. He was never a chockhead, but the rest of what you say is quite right. He ended up as a Lt.Cdr. as did Spud Murphy, so I believe. Both were pilots of one sort or another, as far as I can remember.

  138. ken ashton

    Ray, we are not talking about the same guy,The John Whitehead to whom I refer was always a chockhead.We shared many hairy experiences both at Culdrose and on Victorious from where he went for pilot training.
    I know that there was a Met guy with same name but I never knew him.

  139. Johnny Whitfield

    Now I am really confused with the Whiteheads, one I remember was the Admin on the Victory when we had a reunion on board. this was late 1990,s . I remember asking him what time the Bar shut, he said as the Visitors were on at 0900 we should be off by then. It was a more informal affair, but very enjoyable, less senile I suppose.
    Was he the Ex Met or the Ex Handler ???

  140. Ian McNeil

    The John Whitehead to whom you are referring was the ex Met. He hosted the reunion towards the end of the 80's on board HMS Victory he was the CO. I joined HMS Hermes in Nov 62 when you were the LA, the others were POA Pete Rossington, NA's John Randall, Pete Knowles and Tony Newrick.

  141. Johnny Whitfield

    Hi Ian it does clear up the Whitehead Saga, I believe Pete Rossington left, and didnt have a replacement. I do not think that the Hermes was a happy Ship, seem to break down rather a lot. I think we were on our way to Borneo but broke down, also deprived us of a run ashore in Japan due to repairs. I do remember ther joy of ringing the Bridge to alter course to let our baloons off, and watching the rest of the Fleet turning with us,had a rather over zealous Birthday on board.

  142. Ray Brooker

    Cleared up at last - didn't realise that there were two John Whiteheads! Perhaps John and Spud Murphy could give us a brief history of their time in the RN from little Met men to pilots. Would be very interesting, as I only went from little Ganges boy of 16 to P.O. at 32 - not much of a career ladder there.......and the worst part was that in 1974, when I left after 16 years, there were no pension rights at all. I distinctly remember getting a cheque for £480 which equated to £30 a year service; and NO transfer of any pension to my new career. It's been nearly 40 years now, so I'm just about getting over it.

  143. Johnny Whitfield

    Re Pension my buddy JTC Bell, known as Jack Bell. was at Admiralty FWC. has spent a pretty penny trying to fight a Pension, apparently Tony Blair,s Mrs was fighting on their behalf, so say no more, I believe if one left before 1976, you dipped out , Those that left in 1975 must of really been miffed, I believe you only have to be in a short time and under the age of 26 which was the lower limit at one time, of course in our time we were not HEROES, showing the Flag and in the East keeping Tiger Brewery profits in the black.

  144. steve Mcwilliams

    I am trying to contact a Louis Bowman who was based at the RNAS station in Malta in the early 60's I'd be grateful if anybody could help me. Thankyou

  145. Johnny Whitfield


  146. SPUD

    To put a bottom line line on the Whiteheads - 'OUR' JOHN who resides in the conquered land of 'France' (and does read the Metobs site) had the initials JDD - not that common- so HE IS THE ONE _ He did COMMAND HMS NELSON (but he had both eyes and arms intact) (the cricket umpire Shepard always celebrated ADMIRAL NELSON when a team reached a score of 111 - (one eye, one arm and one ...(something else - me ... not sure) - the fact that he physically raised one leg surely (shurely!) meant leg - but untrue) ???? - 'tink NELSON retained both legs ? (Shep did declare years later that Nelson had one lump of sugar in his beverage -(not checked)

    The unofficial reunion on VICTORY of circa 1990 was hosted by one of JDD's fellows - sadly i was sitting in INVINCIBLE at Fountain Lake Jetty that very night - but of course knew nothing of it. The host was (with appologies) one of our METOBS with a Polish name - 'SHE WHO HAS TO BE OBEYED' will clarify i.d.c.
    What history the RN has given this lost country of ours!
    Remember always that the Royal Navy has 'TRADITION' and the raf has 'habbit'! 'tink that sums it up!

    There was a request by Ray,I think, for those of us who stayed 'in' the Andrew after leaving the branch, to reveal their career in flying - Yes of course this adds interest to our site - as Ray's own experience in the 'generation' industry (as important as defence surely.) relates- it was a relevation to hear of J. Whitfields post METOBS career in the pub trade.

    to This is a very exposed site - witness by the number and have to beof 'friendly' comments that arrive

    So hopefully that puts the Whiteads to bed for a while - BUT JDD does monitor this site - he, in advance of the '09 reunioun acquired personally a Pic of Sophia (L) for the 'prize' at that reunioun. thankfully, through the graciousness of herself, the one 'who has to obeyed' it was delivered to George Blu - the NUMBER ONE FAN of the

  147. SPUD

    Sorry for that cock-up – fingers nowhere near the submit button but suddenly message sent but incomplete.
    I will re-draft and re enter in a day or two.
    Aaaah ..... I have used WORD to compile the above and then Cut and Paste. Didn't know it worked on this site - great !

  148. Johnny Whitfield

    Just a bit of useless information whilst I am sitting in my armchair nursing torn tendons in leg and shoulders.
    Since the onset of the site there have been a total of 27 contributors
    of which 6 were ex wrens, starting with Ken Ashton.
    So there are many more out there who may be looking for ex Shipmates, it took me 52 years to contact KA now that number has increased to four other including Ray Brooker.

  149. John D D Whitehead

    Thanks Spud, almost right- two John Whitehead's who joined almost at the same time caused me some difficulties throughout my time, mainly through getting his mail, perhaps he received some of mine. For Ray B he and I left Ganges at the same time, he is older, having been a Junior Instructor in the Annex, tasked with showing the ropes to new guys..etc, etc. We both joined Arbroath together and we 'selected' for the met branch also we both sat in the back seats of the local flea pit watching Dairy of Ann Franks with two loverley ladies. Thence we were on course together as the first complete course at Culdrose, were we were instructed in the art of frothy coffee by Ken Ashton. Our paths did not then cross until he took over from me in Singapore in March 1969. The meeting of ex mets in Victory happened 'cause as CO I had another ex met Frank Novashelski as my 1st Lt, the rounion was the result of a 'bright idea' but we had much help from, I think, Peter Squib. Victory was my last job and I resigned and left in 1991 after some 33 years. Now live happily in France and see Dave Pegg often indeed he left our house this week after a few days visit and like me has a need for sea food and we have the best sea food in the world but 30 kms from us....I don't know how Spud feels but my memories are strongest when remembering my time in the met branch, we were a lucky bunch of guys and gals it is a huge regret that time and technology have overtaken us

  150. Peter Squibb

    Reference the Victory Reunion on I am sorry to say that it was not me that helped to organize it, as I had been out of the mob for a few years by then and did not make contact with any ex mets until 2005.

  151. ken ashton

    As nobody has been on the guestbook for sometime and in view of JDDW's time on Victory I offer these gems relating to Admiral Nelson.
    Nelson died after being hit by a rifle ball which was 0.69 of an inch in diameter and weighing 0.71 of an ounce. The ball shattered his spine and killed him by severing the artery at the base of his right lung which resulted in him bleeding to death. How about that for useless information?

  152. Johnny Whitfield

    Having just returned from Holiday in Sunnier parts, It is noticeable how few entries have been made, apart from reliable KA, I would of thought he would of been enjoying a jug of Sangria in his Spannish Holiday Retreat. During my stay in the Algarve there was a Tornado, what old member remembers the codes for reporting this ?...

  153. ken ashton

    Ah, John boy,glad to see you back. I am off to Gran Canaria for a month in a couple of weeks time, hopefully missing a good chunk of the upcoming inclement weather.
    i think many of the contributors are on holiday or preparing for Christmas, there has been a dearth of activity whilst you were away.
    Keep well

  154. SPUD

    Ahoy Met MATES - well it's in line with Leslie Phillips' navy lark on fridays - there seems to be a (mis)conception creeping in that this site is for 'good old personal banter' with lots of very personal and intra-personal detail- ALL OF WHICH IS NOT SECURE AND IS AVAILABLE ON THE WWW ! Is it really sensible to expose our personal details, including personal contact details on this open site !

    We are (were) the intellengicia of the lower deck - let's not expose ourselves to the common fault of beleiving that this site is secure and free from 'hacks' - THIS SITE IS UNSECURE - YOUR PERSONAL INPUT IS UNSECURE - reinforce the above - just view the daily un-moderated inputs from such - like'sexy-suzie' and the likes of 'meet a met-obs with the largest baloons ... etc

  155. Ray Brooker

    Now come on,fellers, if this site is visited by all and sundry, let's get our gramer and speling rite! Johnny, it's not 'would of' it's 'would have' and Spud it's 'believe' not 'beleive' also 'balloon' not 'baloon' and it's 'intelligentsia' however strange the word looks! Mind you, we wanted to buy a hat for our forecaster on the Hermes with 'Bellicose Brooks' sewn into it - but we didn't, because we couldn't agree on how to spell it.......

  156. Johnny Whitfield

    I will try again, Ray I humbly apologise for my failure of Grammatical Correctness, I only learnt to touch type on figures whilst at AFC,
    I am not quite sure what unsecure information I may have made recently, unless it was my return from my Holiday, I have made contact with some old buddies after 50 plus years, where a exchange of innocent banter regarding our shared past may of taken place.

  157. ken ashton

    OOH, Spud has put the fear of God in me now to such an extent that I am changing the previous info in my last contribution.I am not going to Gran Canaria for a month, I am going to Skegness for two days and my name is not Ken Ashton, it is Richard Head, most people use the diminutive of Richard when they call me.
    As for Met personnel being part of the intelligentsia, I don't think so! The reasons I got into Met were as follows;1. At Bramcote where we all went as potential Naval Airman I could not undo the locking nuts on the pretend engines without scraping my knuckles. 2.I had a middle name which was not an extra Christian name so they thought I was posh.3. I had a Conway Stewart fountain pen so I was definately posh. 4. I could write my name in a straight line with said fountain pen.
    I knew a couple of Met people who aspired to be intelligent but they got found out before they made it.
    I knew a couple who could have made it on the stage until Danny La Rue beat them to it.
    I knew a couple who were great to have around when the fists and bottles started flying. They were the best ones, and they are still with us Johnny Whitfield and Lofty Farthing!
    Happy Christmas to All!

  158. Johnny Whitfield

    Hi Dick. I hope you enjoy the next Month looking after your Grans Canary, I thought we were fairly intelligent particularly on our runs ashore whilst on the Met School Staff.
    Did I say i went to the Algarve, I meant Barnsley where my Sisters live.
    Merry Christmas and a Good New Year

  159. Johnny Whitfield

    Hi Dick. I hope you enjoy the next Month looking after your Grans Canary,
    Did I say I had returned from the Algarve, I meant Barnsley,a great night in the working mens club, food, of Pies and Mushy peas out of this World.
    Merry Christmas and a Good New Year

  160. Ray Brooker

    Just to correct all my previous wasn't me who wrote it all, because my real name is Roy Booker and I was in the Army, attached to the Intelligence Corps (by my bootlaces) wher I learnt how to make coffe with no froth on it.

  161. Johnny Whitfield

    I think Dick, Roy and I (Jimmy Twitfield) are saying lets lighten up, the friendly banter between long lost mates, brings some pleasure in our old age, remembering the good times we had when we were young. so lets enjoy life in our few remaining years.
    Us three would never of been in contact, after 50 years.

  162. Ray Brooker

    Johnnie - I haven't the 45 what code a tornado is, but I might be inspired by a bolt of 13, or is my mind just in an 04? not even sure if these are right......

  163. Johnny Whitfield

    Ray Very clever. I think those are correct, you of course left much later than I, 1966 was my final year, when I was released by Purchase,
    For some unknown reason would a Tornado be reported in a 9 group,
    or was that just a figment of my imagination and boy do I imagine things, Ray as a Met School instructor I thought you might know these things. I only did odd jobs at Met School, like Frothy Coffee making, using my brute strength to knock down a door when someone managed to lock the keys inside a hush hush room. also seeing how many rocks we could load into a wheel barrow, all technical stuff.
    thought your name was Roy, Dick must be in Skegness now,
    Seriously if you know where I can find the old Synoptic codes I would be grateful,

  164. ken ashton

    Having researcheds the previous discussion relatring to tornado, my view is as follows:
    1. there is no numerical code for a tornado, ergo this would be reported in plain language at the end of the synoptic report. The nineties code numbers refer only to thunderstorms and their intensity.
    2. If you google synoptic codes you will find all the relevant information at
    Research only a top Petty Officer would do!(only just made it before I came outside though!)

  165. Johnny Whitfield

    Cheers Ken, I had looked through the mountain of information through the channels you suggested, had tried it before,but got a bit confused with a lot of repetitions, however after the codes for Thunderstorms such as 95 I did find a code for a Tornado of 99 this seemed part of a 7 group reporting present an past weather, it did say something about reporting from a Automatic reporting Station. of course trying to waken the grey cells I may be confused.
    You did get your PO in pretty good time, I always imagined you staying on for the duration or getting a Commission. My own future was not good, went on a PO course for one at Lee, passed the thing got drafted to Admiralty who were not interested, Tricia had lost a Baby,
    so because of the stress of moving at least 10 times during 6 years , Leaving was a easy choice. Regret it now.

  166. Ray Brooker

    Johnnie - as a Met School Instructor, the answer was to keep 24 hours ahead of your pupils i.e. just swot up on tomorrow's lesson today. Not sure if I got the ww codes right, as I meant 45 as being thick fog, 13 as a bolt of lightning, and 04 as a bit of a haze (think that might have been 05)

  167. Johnny Whitfield

    Just read the Headline
    It was way back in 1963 that
    Lt Cdr Carter and a L/A Johnny Whitfield joined the USS WASP, unfortunately we did not have a Camera to record the occasion only a poor copy of a 8mm film transferred to Video, then to DVD more tha once. I did send a copy to the Secretary to see if anything could be rescued.
    I admit we were in the guise of ASWEPS, Though both LT cdr Carter and myself did take a part in their normal met office routine. We had a wonderful time.

    Merry Christmas to All.

  168. Ray Brooker

    You are one lucky man - all I ever got was OWS India and OWS Juliet sailing from Greenock for a month on station, wallowing in the same position at sea. Converted Castle Class Corvettes; not an easy ride! But can you remember the actual Latitude and Longtitude of them both - and also OWS Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta and Kilo? A free mince pie to anyone who can correctly remember them all (to be collected from Somerset)

  169. Johnny Whitfield

    INDIA 58N 19W
    JULIET 52N 20W
    ALPHA 62N 33W
    KILO 45N 16W

    The rest I will have to search for.

  170. SPUD

    Too easy Ray - I have a W11 handbook (sadly doesn't have the ww code but I do remember most of it) SO I submit my answer using the commercial code Debenhams used to price their garments to the trade wholesale (where many of us AFS metobs moonlighted under Chris Holmes (nat service met obs)up by the Post Office Tower in the early/mid '60's)

    The code was a ten letter word without repitition (1 to 0)- widley used in the Navy (RAMROD Code) as a short lived code - CORNFLAKES is a good example (there are thousands)(does not have to be a single word - but in this case it is).

    So herewith a RAMROD of the OWS positions -

    India was at O A North and M A West.(note the simplicity of numerials so has to be at a 'corner' (i.e no minutes in Lat/Long)

    Juliet was at O E T A North and E L West

    We know they were in the eastern Atlantic - so look at the likely repetitions of numerals/letters.

    Glass of wine might help.

  171. Johnny Whitfield

    I did not Moonlight at Debenhams but did a stint at Cheesemans Lewishams.
    For many years I use to have a plotted chart plotted by my fair hand with all the weather ships.
    unfortunately young Siblings destroyed it, whilst I played Publican.
    BRAVO 56 TO 57ish N 35ish W
    CHARLIE 53ish N 35ish W
    DELTA 44ish N 35ish W
    Theres also
    ECHO 35 N 48 W
    Are Weather Ships still active.
    Found this in a old book of mine when trying to rekindle memories.
    Though I do not know why.

  172. Marie Drew

    Hello Everyone,

    This is the first time I have posted. When I read the previous posts about weather ships it reminded me of my time at Culdrose when Commander Morgan or Commander Jenkins (memory of names sometimes fails) initiated long range forecasting, which meant two wrens twiddled the pens to plot a chart, which extended from the Americas across the Atlantic to include Europe and Russia and southwards to much of Africa. Of course, information from the weather ships in the Atlantic was also plotted. Atlantic.

  173. Ray Brooker

    Hello Marie - I believe Commander Jenkins was OIC Met School. The chart you are thinking of is a B134, as opposed to a B147, if memory serves me. We plotted a B134 every 6 hours at the Fleet Weather Centre in London. What was your surname when you trained at Culdrose - we might remember you!

  174. Johnny Whitfield

    Cdr Jenkins was certainly there at the Met School during 1960/1961, he was a lovely man, asked his permission to get engaged to a trainee wren, Tricia Barron on a met course 1961. Ray is correct on the Charts, I remember a rating, who shall remain unnammed, somehow managed to plot Eastern Europe in America, I had to quickly replot the whole thing again.
    It is nice to hear from the Ladies on the Site, I believe in a earlier entry I said that there had only been 6 other Ladies at the time who have have made comments.

  175. Marie Drew

    Hi Ray and Johnny

    I have posted under my maiden name but if fellow plotters are anything like me I remember few names from fifty years ago. I believe I was one of the last to train at Kete in 1959 and was stationed at Culdrose for a few months from August to December 1960 - much warmer and civilised climes after Lossiemouth. I replaced a wren called Jenny Parker with whom I joined up and did my training.

  176. Johnny Whitfield

    Hi Marie,, You may remember Ken Ashton and myself around the late 1960,s We were both on the Met School Staff, I believe Ray was also there at that time, we were employed in making Frothy Coffee.
    Prior to that I was at Harrier at the time of the Changeover to Culdrose. There is a photo of the KA and myself under memories, we were at the Floral Dance at Helston.
    From what you have said I take it that you were not in long, could be wrong.

  177. Marie Drew

    Johnny, I have had a look at the memory photos and found a few of KA at Kete in 1958. There is one with a wren standing behind him with a question mark over her name, Wendy Wevell. It is Wendy, I was with her at Halfar. She had a scooter and spent many a time with me on the back exploring the island.

    You mentioned that you were at Kete during the changeover to Culdrose. My Met Instructor was a lovely man but I just can't remember his name. He came from Skewen outside Swansea. Does that ring any bells for you? Evenings spent at the Griffin Hostelry were quite memorable too. On one occasion, I ended up with a 'pink' hat as someone had accidentlally spilt a rum and blackcurrent over it and I spent several following days scubbing it clean, afterall I was still a trainee and everything had to be pusser!

    By the way frothy coffee was one of the culinary delights at Lossiemouth too, so your 0r KA's recipe instructions must have spread far and wide across the UK. You are quite right by the time you were at the Met school in Culdrose in the late 60's I had left the WRNS and was following a different career path, very few wrens saw the navy as a career choice. Have a Happy Christmas.

  178. Johnny Whitfield

    Sorry Marie. The Photo of Ken Ashton and I appears under Comms Download, The photo of Ken and I appears towards the end of Pdf 05.
    One is a Photo of the Met School Staff, the other of the 2 us with Wrens who we cannot name,
    The Instructor may of been Lt Cdr
    Dacum or something like that, he was indeed a lovey man.
    I remember Wendy, was around the time I was a Courting my Wife to be Patricia Barron, alas we are not together now, MANY REGRETS.
    I was on loan to Lossiemouth a mainly wrens Office, end of 1960/61
    In my younger days I was into a bit of Bodybuilding as Ken can confirm,
    it has now collapsed,
    There was a Tiny wren called Margaret who kept me in order at Kete on my course for one, I was ex Airministry, she was also a friend of Wendy,s took her to the Griffin on occasions. Chief Greenstreet loved his Frothy Coffee.

  179. Margot Stewart nee Cooper

    I was on a training course at Kete in April 1958. Then at Culdrose until 1961 and thereafter at Yeovilton. Currently living in Seattle , USA Would love to hear from anyone I might have known during these years !!

  180. Johnny Whitfield

    Hi Margot you may of known Ken Ashton and myself both on the Met School Staff during the end of 1959 to 1961, my ex Wife PATRICIA BARRON when she finished her course moved to the tower for Met Duties in 1961 for a short time, I did return to Harrier for a short period when the School was transferred to Culdrose.
    As I indicated to Marie, Ashton and I appear with 3 Met wrens at Helston Floral Dance. you may be one of those enjoying the day.
    See my previous entry of where to find the photo.

  181. Ray Brooker

    Happy New Year to all our readers, and here's something for you to look out for. The manager of Manchester City (is it Roberto Mancini?) is the spitting image of John Woodside - as I remember him. When he is interviewed on Match of the Day, I immediately think of the wonderful times I spent with my favourite Chief Petty Officer........

  182. ken ashton

    Hallo everbody! Back from sunny Gran Canaria, was agreat few weeks weatherwise, sunny and hot every day, but the hotel was like being in a German Old peoples Home!Outnumbered at least 10 to 1, all the music played by the band was oompah oompah stuff, nearly got killed by three wheelchairs going for the lift at the same time! Mein Gott in Himmel.
    Hear what you say about Mancini, there is a resemblance I agree although I think you would agree Ray that one is significantly better looking than the other, not allowed to say which one though!

  183. Johnny Whitfield

    Welcome back Ken, as you can see not much activity over the Holiday Season, I am afraid you are also getting old, though I am guilty of making comments on how old the fellow Holiday Makers are in the Apartments in the compplex.
    It was nice see a ex Met Wren making a entry. You may well know her, she was around our time at Culdrose.

  184. ken ashton

    Hallo John boy, got your email, sending our pictures far and wide eh?
    Can't stand this weather, it's driving me mad, so I am off to Spain next Monday for a month to warm up ready for the new golf season, practice every day and a bit of sun bathing on the side, hopefully.
    It seems that everybody else is hibernating too, either that or all the discussion strings are exhausted, we need some new blood with "swing the lights" stories of derring do in far off places!
    Keep well buddy

  185. Ray Brooker

    I'm off to warmer climes for a few weeks, too, starting on Friday. Just me and Ma, that's all. Sorry, I mean Myanmar...what was Burma in old money. Forecast says 33 degrees throughout - just like 4J4 Mess on Happy Hermes!

  186. Johnny Whitfield

    Ken, Ray have a good time both of you, I too am going to warmer surroundings, a Hospital Bed to have a new Knee Joint, followed by my Tendons in my Shoulders reconnected, to many flys with to heavy weights in the past,
    This probably means a long break of entries on this site, Enjoy yourselves.

  187. Jane Cox (nee Oliver)

    Would like to contact Geraldine Green (met Wren 1961/2 HMS Seahawk)) who married Peter Jones (also Met) around 1964. They went to Singapore & then moved back to England with 2 daughters. Anyone know of their whereabouts please?

  188. SPUD

    I've had the 'simon ashton hacker' e-mail from three different directions in the past few days. It is an old hoax so do not be alarmed if you get it. See the website 'hoax slayer' for details. hope following link works: it not copy and paste.

  189. Sandi Jones

    A few names dredged up from my memory of HalFar and the "Bunnies". Back row right hand end Val Mitchell an Air Mech, front row L to R kneeling Annie Thompson Air Mech, Annie Pye, Stores, and Chris Stamp Met - who looks very much the same nearly 50 years on!

  190. SPUD

    SPUD has added a few comments to the most 'recent' FORUM' threads - tempus fugit slowly ....

    Spud appeals to George2 (George Blu) to log-in to FORUM or respond to SPUD e-mails or contact SPUD at e-mail on file -
    your INBOX is overflowing ....

  191. ken ashton

    Sandi Jones!Memories of Hal Far came flooding back when I saw your name. I still have a great photo of you and I hanging out the Met Office window taken about 5 o'clock on a beautiful sunny morning.
    Last time I heard your voice was on Ocean Sounds when I used to travel to Southampton to see customers, Recognised those dulcet tones immediately!

  192. Johnny Whitfield

    Welcome back Ken, I hope you had a enjoyable Holiday away from this filthy weather, I am not sure if Ray is back yet, I am awaiting to go into Hospital for a new knee, had a appointment for the 18th only to be cancelled 2 days later.
    As I said in my last entry things have been very slow since you went, a couple of wrens seeking old shipmates, I knew that you would have some information for them, being younger your memory is much better than mine.

  193. Ray Brooker

    Hi Ken and Johnny - yes, back from Burma two weeks ago to this crap weather. Glad to see we are communicating once again. I'm off to do some sea-time at the end of the month - well, a narrowboat on the Monmouth canal in Wales. Break out the duty frees! Can't remember if either or both of you smoked blue-liners back in the day........

  194. ken ashton

    Ah!!! Raymondo is back from his sojurn in the Far East. I hope you havn't gone back to wearing a sarong again Ray?
    Seeing Sandi Jones on the guestbook certainly did prompt some memories of Hal Far.One that Sandi or other 63 to 65 Hal Far incumbents may remember concerns Roy Johnson who was a PO there when I arrived.
    As a lot of us did in Malta, Roy took advantage of the HAFMED affiliation to buy a Duty Free car, I bought a VW beetle which Icrashed within a week of getting it. Roy bought a Renault. After a while though, he dcided he did not care too much for the original colour and hand painted it, WITH A BRUSH, a very strange turquoise colour.
    I don't think it was worth a great deal after that. Roy thought it looked great though.
    Ciggies Ray? yes I smoked Blue Liners, but when we were at sea I preferred Lucky Strikes, paper packet slipped into the pocket on No8 shirts, shook one out when you needed em. Much more macho!

  195. Johnny Whitfield

    Welcome home sorry about the climatic conditions that you have returned to,
    I did try The Blue Liners but never really took up the habit, Use to sell them, I think the going rate was 10 old shillings a hundred.
    Smoked anything that made a stink, took up the pipe whilst at Admiralty,The Wife even made a smoking Jacket to go with it.
    I get rather jealous of you chaps that spent shore bases on Foreign Soil.
    It is great to see you both back, I should of been in Hospital on the 18th but was cancelled again.

  196. Ray Brooker

    Glad to see us three back on the Guestbook - a good tale from Ken there too - he always could spin a good yarn, especially to the opposite sex. I spent two drafts in HMS Terror; one as a single man, with amongst others, Spud Murphy and Ginge Howarth; and a PO - was it Barrington? I always remember the three of us returning from a run ashore on his motor scooter!
    Jeff Crowther always used to enter the Singapore Grand Prix on his motor bike!
    The second time I was very lucky to get 2 years at the same place with my new wife Sandra, who immediately got herself a job in the base as a teacher at the Navy School there. We were very well off for 2 years.....but still frequented Boogie Street quite regularly. I also did a lot of volunteering for sea-time - but this was when I was still single, wore a sarong and was fascinated by Kai Tais......

  197. ken ashton

    Having presented the story about Johnno abusing his car in Malta, it is only fair that I highlight the fact that I didn't exactly treat my new aquisition with a great deal of care either.
    Just to preface the story I will tell you how I obtained a driving licence. When i went to Malta I could not drive, so I had to obtain a Maltese driving licence. I had lesson from a supposed driving instructor in an old Hillman Minx with a column mounted gear lever and I never actually managed to master that, so when I went for my test on the parade ground in Valletta I failed miserably. However, my instructor knew the police sargent, and also knew that I had access to duty free booze from HAFMED, sufice to say that I received a pass certificate and three bottles of Johnny Walker Black Label found its way to the police officers house.
    So there I am, not the most competent of drivers with a new VW beetle parked in the very narrow street where we lived in Gzira. I attempt to move the car from its parking space, full lock on,revving the engine and promptly place said car firmly against a wall with the offside wing crushed to about a third of its width.
    That was the first episode, the second, much more serious happened after a Met Office barbeque, much alcohol consumed. I had returned 4 of the Met Wrens back to Hal Far and was speeding home along the Luqa road home to Sliema. I lose control, wake up and find myself on the opposite side of the road, facing the wrong way, a bloody tuft of my hair lodged in the cracked rear view mirror, the whole offiside of the car stove in against a wall. Lucky?, I would say so!
    So there you go, didn't take the best care of my car either.
    As a postcript to that, the only person injured in this affair was a guy who stopped on the other side of the road to see what had happened. The chap behind him ran into the back of his car and whiplashed the driver into the windscreen!

  198. Johnny Whitfield

    Once again a gem from Ken, I would of thought he would of produced a best seller, perhaps he is in the middle of one now,
    I never became a qualified driver, spending most of my time in and around London it did not seem any point, Strangely between Pubs or I should say Marriages, I became a Transport Manager for a company just outside Birmingham, traveling around the Country discussing rates with Hauliers,
    In my last entry I said I was very jealous of Ratings who spent considerable time on Foreign Shore Bases, Ken on Hal Far,Ray on Terror, so I looked at my History and came up with figures, of my 8 years and 4 months, 50% was spent at Admiralty most with ASWEPS, 27% on home Shore bases which included traing and just 23% on Ships, serving on 3 Ships Birmingham, Lion and Hermes the latter based in Singapore, so Boogie Street was a regular haunt, there was a young beauty called Blue who gave many a young sailor a shock, when hands wandered to far. In Malta a frequent visit to the Gut was not unusual for a few mess friends and I, Is there anyone else out there, other than us three.

  199. SPUD

    Yes JW there are more than a few of us out here - My own contacts number about 40, look at the TWPP to see the quality of our forebears – I would estimate that around 200 regularly view the GUESTBOOK (though they are not members of CLOUDOBS) ! So if you have a message for anyone in your past you can declare it here and our most honourable secretary, she who must be obeyed, will forward.
    I can assure you John that your dits are being read by many – maybe even some who have visited your pub(s) – I do remember you from ASWEPS – do you remember our lunches at the Marquis of Granby up behind the 24hr post office with gay Ron as the host - - must “of” (have!!!) been the smallest pub in London.
    John you sadly you missed the original ‘guestbook’ circa late 00’s decade which was so vibrant it exceeded it’s capacity and had to be stored – with the hopeful, (funding available), return on this site’s FORUM. It was very personal – and perhaps should not be put back in the public domain again . There is little in the current guestbook that was not discussed in detail and I suspect that the greatest fountain of knowledge of our branch of the 60’s and 70’s (George Blu) feels he has said it all before.

    For Ray B – our PO in Singapore was the late Roy Barroclough (relieved in my time by Percy King). Percy and Ginge Howarth had enough offspring’s to field a unisex football team. Yes I remember well our trip to BUGIS St on Roy’s scooter – though I had won a BET earlier re downing about a half bottle of whiskey – I was 17 !. Peter Jones was another in the office – ‘tink he married a Met (female of course). Not Sandie – as I once thought – maybe Green ? not sure that Sandie ever served in Singapore. Ray – apropro your earlier comments re wearing sarie’s etc – once when there was three carriers in dock – there was a ‘Far East Fleet’ “skin” competition down in the dockyard NAAFI club organised by a carrier MET (I ‘tink) (Bryn Telfer ???) - Did’nt you win that competition ???? if so …. does Sandra know !!!!
    The forecasters I remember (I ‘tink) were Cdr Waller, LtCdr Bain and Lt Cdr Townsend – all great bosses and Gentlemen – as Roy B and Percy K were. What a joy it was to be in the Navy then – gentlemen bosses good senior rates and great mates.
    (except for the Master at Arms HMS TERROR – he had a bottle of WHISKY in his lower locked drawer – he was a DEVIL – but to be fair he never trooped me despite his sidekick ‘crusher’ (can’t remember wot they were called - patrolmen? ….) this crusher was named at birth as Timothy Valentine O’Donovan – he saw me sitting on my scooter across the road in the garage down from TERROR, I was waiting to have a faulty clutch looked at – he beckoned (commanded) me over to him and then trooped me for not wearing a helmet within the naval base.

    For Ken – in an oblique way in my efforts to get to the FORUM fail me 9 out of ten and which, maybe through my own fault – passwords etc – I came across the Malta pic of you and Sandie hanging out the window at Hal Far – as a native of Dorset her ‘lovely’ tones were a regular visitor to my ears. Wonder if I am right – did Sandie (did you) do the Sunday programme that was called …. Forces favourites --- or something similar .

    I will try to put the link for the Halfar pic as an addition to this entry.

    Now that the snow has stopped I can go out and feed the birds – good for you !!

    failed to get the link to copy - will put it in a following bulletin in the next few minutes.

  200. SPUD

    herewith - i tink - Ken and Sandie at Hal Far ....

    if you can't copy and paste i'm sure (tobe shure) Arthur and his team will convert.

    I am still at my witts at how I arrived at this site - please ignore all my entries which were supposed to get a reaction - the Margeaux 69 has satisfied my frustration at not finding the FORUM.

    NB. George Blu - would love tpo hear from you !

  201. ken ashton

    Spud, many thanks for the efforts re the Sandi/Ken pic, I have a copy and I believe it is somewhere in the photo section on this site for others to periuse if they can find it!
    Sandi did indeed do Family Favourites on the BBC for a while, in fact she was big into broadcasting even when she was in Malta, she did work for BFBS out there then graduated to the BBC, the last time I heard her was on Ocean Sounds in the early '90's.
    The Marquis of Granby off Trafalgar Square was a well used hostelry when Pete Jones and I were there, we shared a flat together in Earls Court (one room).A bit embarassing one time when I walked in on him and Gerry Green, later his wife. I'm sure they were just keeping warm, we only had a gas fire (shilling meter) and knowing Pete he would have preferred to save the shilling!

  202. Johnny Whitfield

    Thankyou Spud for your wealth of knowledge, My time in the Branch was very lonely one, starting with my Met Course, which was just little old me, being ex Air Ministry, I was alone on the Birmingham and in most part on the Lion when the late young Cutting became ill, apparently from rum when I took him ashore for his 18th, Rossington PO on the Hermes left leaving me I/C.The rest of my time was spent at Admiralty which was not over whelmed with staff.
    I do remember the many Pubs around Admiralty, Chandos being my main haunt, there was also the Silver Cross with cap ribbons around the Bar, the Marquis was good for food, there was also the Salisbury frequented by actors of dubious sexuality. Visiting all these watering holes probably became the reasoning in becoming a Publican,
    I am sorry I did not make use of contacts earlier in the Cloud Observers Birth, It was great to renew aquaintance with Ken a good mate of 50 yearrs ago and Ray who shared the office of Asweps.

  203. SPUD

    This awful winter is the fifth season-like winter in a row, including last summer, We have many highly qualified members who could climb a terrestial stepladder and divert the easterlies northwards and thus bring in the southerlies ? Any takers ?
    I spent this week sending Christmas Cards - ? am i too late - Shirley not too early? the result doesnot matter they were all addressed to me -

    BUT on a serious note the '63 winter is being compared - but No, NAY. and NAY again I say -Shirley the '63 had more snow rather than a 'prolonged'very cold spell- which recently has been more disruptive - because it has reached Easter - '63 winter ended end of Feb.
    I wish Global Warming really meant warming of the globe, and i wish i did not have to pay to cool myself when i am already cold - or something like that.
    I was at BRAWDY in '63 with Alan Barr Arnie Pearson Taff Hillier in '63 and remember the difficulty getting to the Fishguard Ferry to get home for Christmas. Ten years earlier I remember the sweltering Easter heat - Why suddenly -, in an enviroment 3 or so billion years old do we think we can micro manage our environment?

    This is Spud

  204. Ray Brooker

    I know I have some stupid holidays, but I have just excelled myself! Remembering how hot the end of March was last year, six months ago I booked a narrowboat holiday in Wales between 23rd and 30th - i.e. all last week. The only time I have ever sailed through ice on a canal! Had to come back two days early, as it was ridiculously cold. The boats are steered from outside in the elements......

  205. Ray Brooker

    Forgot to mention that First Mate and ace tiller-man on the narrowboat trip was none other than Steve Howard, my old mate from the Happy Hermes! We should organise another trip next year with all ex-Hermes crew on board.......

  206. Johnny Whitfield

    Ray you often talk of Happy Hermes obviously you were not part of the 62/63 crew which seemed far from happy,
    The Winter of 62/63 I missed being on board the not so Happy Hermes but my Wife at that time sent me shots of her playing in the snow in Early March.

  207. SPUD

    Spud would like to add to the Happy HERMES history of happy and non-happy times in the Great Lady. I appolgise for the long narrative - it is the first time that I have put these memories in writing - so HEREWITH ...

    ONE day in SPUD’s life on the Happy HERMES.

    In ’82 I served on the happy HERMES having been transferred with my Lynx Flight from RFA FORT AUSTIN on our return from the taking of South Georgia.
    I did visit the Met office regularly - Sadly , I can’t remember names the Met staff . What a pity they are not members!
    When I joined ‘Happy HERMES’ we were short of food (varieties) probably because we were so overcrowded with extra aircrews (like myself), Naval Gunfire Spotters, Admiral Woodward, his staff and retinue and of course CRAB AIR with their handbag carriers and their GRAs ( - ground attack harriers flown down from UK via Ascension with multi VC10 Tanker sorties). They were useful - more useful than the 'bombing'of the Port Stanley runway!

    We did seem to have lots of Ice Cream though - (probably an Ice Cream making machine onboard and of course lots and lots of the powdered MILAK and it was not unusual to have Brocolli-Ice cream for dessert ! Think one night we had a garlic ice-cream!) Mostly the Ice Cream was served in a different colour – the alternate dessert was an Ice-cream – yes- of a different colour just to add variety ! only the crabs complained!) Actually the Crabs were very well behaved –(too busy being sea-sick ‘me ‘tinks)!

    Despite food shortage - during one VERTREP (helo replenishment) a large pallet of Fray Bentos corned beef was jettisoned into the sea probably because of an incoming raid – the Commander briefed the ship’s company after the raid about about the loss of the Argentinian Fray Bentos to a great cheer in his background !

    The Captain (recently deceased Admiral Len Middleton) was (rightly) very nervous of submarine attack,- although we had sunk one of their two working boats at South Georgia, the whereabouts of the other (German type S206 or S209) was not known.

    The NBCD teams (those teams that repaired the ship after damage – mainly of course, flooding , but also electrics etc ) had ‘standing orders’ to close EVERY water-tight door in every compartment at the ‘Action Stations’ alarm and it did not matter who you were you had to stay in that compartment until the end of the raid.

    The Captain also put an embargo on anyone sleeping below the waterline and guess what - all the junior officer cabins were down there – so I slept fully dressed (the rule) on a camp bed or on the floor wherever there was space for my sleeping bag and my ‘rucksack’ (could not leave that unattended – after all the Crabs were onboard!) – BUT I can assure you IT REALLY DID NOT MATTER where you went to sleep or what you had to eat.

    On the anniversary of the Argentine Republic on 25th May (82) we had a very quiet start to our day (we kept GMT – 3 hours ahead of local time) – so we were up and about well before sunrise (a very good tactical routine) and by midday (9am Argie time) - with no raids – which was unusual - we thought they would be celebrating.
    However, onboard, the day went as usual – all defensive onboard and airborne assets were at their airborne or at ‘alert’ ! (perhaps even more alert!) – but many of us not due to fly for a couple of hours mustered in the Wardroom (sea level plus 6 ft - in HERMES- about the height of an incoming sea skimming Exocet) (we knew that) to watch a couple of xxx videos sent to the Padre from fellow padres in the UK. The title of the vids ..? Midnight Blue? Or similar - (at least they had a sense of humour) or something similar indicated soft ‘Playboy’ material (I’m a southern Irish catholic boy I would not know anything about these ‘tings after all I nearly became a Priest (these vids would probably be aired today if there was an equivalent BBC video of ‘Thought for the Day)– anyway I promised myself that I would never be caught below deck during daylight (the Argies did not fly at night) – (though WE WERE prepared if they did!) I ended up early that afternoon on their National Day, down below in the wardroom watching the ‘blue’ vids.
    Mid way through the Midnight Blu – just about as she was taking off her … we got hit with a major raid – at an intensity not seen before - ( the results were disastrous for the Task Force and have no place here in my light hearted account of one of my days in Happy HERMES).

    ME – Fcuk - I found myself face down on the deck and annoyed (mainly for my family) that I got ‘exposed’ to a situation I could have avoided by staying ‘up-top’). ?wondered if the vicars who sent the videos were Argies ? of course not .

    Happy HERMES can keep her name and title – she got herself (and me) home VICTORIOUS ( I’m sure the VIC association will allow us that!). I am proud and HAPPY to have been part of her crew.

    All ‘old’ HERMES can be proud of her final act in the RN – she won that war – she fulfilled her duty as did all those who served in her throughout all those commissions’ – getting her to the preparedness for the ultimate design for a warship, sadly which is to fight - and help win Wars !.

    There is one Meteorological phenomena of the Southern Winter of ‘82 that I can report – one of course I could not have experienced in my four earlier visits because mine were ‘southern summer’ – and that is in my many flights away from HERMES and close in to the Eastern Falklands shore line there were well defined Cumulus and often towering cumulus clouds SITTING ON THE SURFACE of the sea ! so much so that, as we in our LYNX helo had NO defensive weapons , we could use these Cu as a hideaway – very assuring – the Arg PUCARAs had no radar so we were generally safe hiding in the Cumulus with clear air and good visibility in between !.

    Happy HERMES will always be a happy memory for me – But
    I would much prefer that Ray, Ian P etc & co’s happy HERMES memories had prevailed – we were, after all in our times ‘geared-up’ for the Cold War and ended up in a War with a ‘friend’ !.

  208. Ray Brooker

    What a good story, Spud! Did you remain a helicopter pilot when you left the RN? All I ever did on the Happy Hermes was to release a radio-sonde balloon every night at midnight - and then sit in the Met office tracking it and ending up with a Tephigram for the duty forecaster every morning before flying stations.

  209. Johnny Whitfield

    Spud thankyou for your latest entry, My experience of the Hermes was probably of my own making.
    Ray I also remember releasing the Radio Sonde Balloons I had a couple of experiences in launching them. to ensure a smooth take off of the balloon I would phone the Bridge to ask them to alter course a touch to the left or right, I could imagine the rest of the accompanying ships moving in sequence, The other strange event was.. The Forecaster insisted that we send up a Balloon off Gibralter, because of the winds around the rock the thing hugged the contours of the land, the operation was a pure exercise therefore did not take readings. After a hour or so I was called to the Gangway where I was greeted by the Naval Police a strange object had been reported ascending the Rock. I jumped into their Jeep where we climbed to the top escorted by two Motor Cyclists to clear the way of our ascent, almost to the top we found the Balloon almost intact hung on to a bush, after assuring that the UFO was harmless we were ready to return to the Ship one of the out riders asked if he could have the remnants of the Balloon to cover is Cycle.
    Nothing further was said about the incident.

  210. Marie Drew

    Ray and Jonnie

    At Halfar the last duty of the night watch at7am in the morning for two weary-eyed wrens was to fill a hydrogen balloon weighted to rise at 500ft or 1000ft per minute, then, while one with stop watch in hand timed the balloon the other tracked the balloon with a theodolite and read out the readings.

    Tracking a Radio Sonde balloon while sitting comfortably in the Met Office was not a luxury for us - we were in the 'dark ages'!!

  211. Ray Brooker

    At last! Someone else joins in! Well done, Marie, and thanks for your little report. I remember theodolites well, but unfortunately they don't work at sea in a Force 8 gale! The radio-sondes also recorded temperature and humidity, and sent back continuous coded signals with all the information. Meanwhile the real sailors on the radar sent us bearings and distance of the radio-sonde from the ship every minute; it was fitted with a radar reflector. This had to be plotted in relation to the ship's course and speed to give true wind speeds and direction. All this was happening while the Met office lurched from side to side....ah, happy memories. I remember once one of our aircraft was doing night flying, and picked up the position of the radio-sonde, then proceeded to shoot it down as a bit of practice.....

  212. SPUD

    Ray and John W - thank you too for your response to my dit on her Ladyship HERMES –
    A personal cmment on the passing of Lady T is that I met her on HERMES at SPITHEAD – first impression - teeth not good – Iron Lady – salt air- corrosion - don’t want to be derogatory – maybe just no time to see a dentist.

    Charlie has put a little pressure on me to do a TWMPP, and I have to say that 'she who has to be obeyed' did likewise some time ago. (A great pillar of this site – I wish her well as she approaches a double hip replacement- stay well Gill!)

    Ray in an much earlier dit asked if one of us METOBS 're-threads' from ‘before the mast’ would let the site readers have an insight to a career in the Andrew .

    Those who know my personal background - that I have a family security issue because of my (and my two brothers) service in the RN will understand I can only contribute within the more secure boundary of the FORUM. (where search engines don’t penetrate).

    From there maybe Peter Squib might extract, with my help, a suitable TWMPP for this site.
    If he does it will be different – because having left METOBS I was never far away from my ‘plotting pens’ in my RN Observer role. Indeed in the Type 21s and other ships, including RFAs with a Helo it was the Flight Observer who provided the Met info and “forecast” (suitably trained to plot the CANAL at the RNSOMO (as I was on 29 July 81 - the day Charles married Diana 1981–).
    So – on ships without dedicated Met I produced the plotted ‘CANAL’ and forecast at Flight Briefing and, until the SYNOP code changed I managed a meagre plotted chart of actuals that the communicators could find on the B17 ? broadcast ???? – today all would be available on the ETHERNET-.

    I have partially contributed to that earlier request with my recent dit on my short time on HERMES in ‘82.

    The only verifiable record of my service post MET I have to refer to is my Flying Logbook which I was supposed to surrender with my Gas Mask and aircrew watch when I retired. Well I don’t have a gas mask or ‘free Rolex’ but I have my logbook (please don’t tell anybody).

    I will release my ‘above deck’ history soon to Charlie for ‘moderation’ and eventually to the FORUM and will hope that Peter Sq will be able to extract a topical, meaningful and interesting element to this site.

    For Ray – The only flying I did after retirement was the occasional ‘recreational’ flying (Piper Alpha), mainly UK South Coast, from Lee on Solent . That ended in 2006 – (cardiac thingies !)

    Best wishes to all – SPUD

  213. Johnny Whitfield

    Could one of you knowledgeable chaps help me out, whilst in the Air Ministry Meteorological Office prior to joining the Navy I made enquiries about becoming part of the crew of a Aircraft which sole function was to record Meteeorological Data by either ascending or descending at a fixed rate, producing a code similar to the synoptic surface code. Much as I try I cannot remember what it was called. I believe it may of finished in the late 1950,s I was with the Air MINISTRY IN 1957. The name that is in the back of my mind is the Bizmuth or something similar.
    The subject was brought by a ex RAF Pilot and ex Customer of mine.

  214. Ray Brooker

    Your memory serves you well Johnny - it was indeed called a Bismuth, and we had to decode it for Commander Jenkins at Culdrose RNSOM as late as 1960. Can't remember much about it, except I think it was coded in descending order i.e. opposite to radio-sonde.

  215. Johnny Whitfield

    Thanks Ray I spent many a sleepless hour trying to remember the name, I joined up whilst at Cambridge though not actually at the University, I was in the Met Office at RAF Duxford and Cambridge was one of our runs ashore, The Shore being the River Cam. where I spent many a fun hour in a Canoe.

  216. SPUD

    Interesting and relevant bismuth article here at :

    Sorry I can't get it to link properly! Maybe Charlie will intervene otherwise - Copy and paste.

    JW you must have had very many ex- forces customers over the years with loadsa stories about their experiences - shirley much more interesting than running a pub near a fishing 'facility' and probably fewer broken glasses!
    ("honestly it was this long ." .... crash - pint glass on the floor !! ... etc).

    My final thought - I was always led to believe that we in the FAA sank the BISMUTH?

    I'm Irish - dat's all i know !

  217. Johnny Whitfield

    Spud just a quickie, to thank you for the info on the Bismuth, I suppose thats why you became a Pilot and I made a mess of my Naval Career,

  218. Keith Cornick

    Hi everyone. Well I finally got round to contacting the group. Tending to be somewhat quiet in the background during my Met days, few may remember me. After leaving the mob in 79 my wife and I emigrated to NZ. After careers in Agriculture and Steel I finally retired in 2007.
    I never really shook off Met and these days concentrate on cloud photography. To fuel the obsession I joined Cloudspotters to hopefully expand my appreciation of the science.
    To relive those days at sea doing weather obs I am travelling by container ship to Tilbury in July / August. The original urge was the chance to transit the Panama Canal. All up the trip will take 32 days at sea with at least one long stint away from land between NZ and the canal.
    To juice it up a bit I plan to keep a journal with daily obs. Being a dork I left my Met notes on board Tiger when I left. I have managed to download what is the closest to our synoptic plot from an American website, but for the life of me forget which was red.
    I am sure the ship will be sending out weather obs and hope to pal up with the Nav or whoever does them.
    Once in UK I will be knocking about for a couple of weeks looking up a few mates as well as dealing with my other obsession...Land rovers.
    If this doesn't happen to correspond with any planned reunions no worries as I hope to visit the UK the following year for my old schools 400th anniversary.
    Trust everyone is well and not catching the late snow!
    All the best


  219. Johnny Whitfield

    Where have all the Met folks gone long time no hear, Surely not passed on.
    Keith I hope someone remembers you, bit after my time. GOOD LUCK.

  220. kenny ashton

    Its funny how contributions to the guestbook go in cycles. The regular contributors wax lyrical with wondrous prose for a while, then the muse deserts us all and we fall silent, and then return with bursts of magical reminiscences of our various lives when we were doing the Met.
    None of that from me today though, I think I have exhausted all my anecdotes from the past.
    With all the beautiful weather we have had in recent days I have been concentrating on my golf, but being made ever mindful, however much I try, that age diminishes the sporting ability exponentially and I must accept the loss of 10 yards off my drives and the lack of ability to "chip it close" which was present in my younger days.
    To JW, got your email and I hope you are feeling better after you trials and tribulations on the operating table.

  221. Ray Brooker

    Ah well, I might as well confess. Since giving up long-distance walking (it hurts now)I have taken to watching Somerset play cricket at Taunton - I can nod off with the best of them. Also I have taken up bowls in a big way. By bowls I mean old man's bowls, not the ten-pin variety. I belong to Minehead Bowling Club, and as well as playing, I coach, also do Membership Secretary, collecting around £30,000 per year. Also Press and Publicity Officer; I could go on, but the mere mention of bowls has probably sent you all off to sleep. But in my dotage, I need something to keep me sane, and sex is no longer the ultimate aphrodisiac at 70!

  222. kenny ashton

    Ray Brooker the Midas Man, I quote "as membership secretary I collect some £30,000 per year".
    Rather a large stipend for what seems to be a less than onerous task I would opine Ray !
    My good lady also participates in the historical sport of bowls, some four times a week in the summer, hence we have to take our holidays in the off season.It was of course the sport in which the great Sir Francis Drake indulged so you are in good company.

  223. Peter Squibb

    Ray, you are not alone, there are two more bowlers here and I know of one other member a few miles away who also partakes. Plus the late Peter Claridge was a keen player.

  224. Johnny Whitfield

    With all these Bowlers around what a great opportunity for the ex Mets to get togeth for a friendly Competition.
    Perhaps organized by Ray, just a thought.
    Unfortunately the games of Bowls or Golf was not on my list of activities. I believe the games of Bowls are Archery are the oldest sports, being in the Pub Trade this was downgraded to Darts and Pub Skittles.
    My Sport has left me with two new knees, still recovering from the last, and torn tendons of the shoulders, after many years the weights have gone.
    I envisage a gaggle of ex Mets sitting in deck chairs wearing Panama Hats watching a game of Bowls or like Ray a game of Cricket
    Vilamoura my Holiday Destination is a recognised venue for both Golf and Bowls.

  225. peter latham

    Just saying hi to keith Cornick, i'm still where I was( I think)if you want a stopover .cheers Pete,had to change e-mail address.

  226. Ray Brooker

    If we could get enough bowlers together, I would willingly organise a holiday! Either outdoors abroad somewhere, or indoors in UK in Winter. I already have a bowls holiday booked for 36 from Minehead in mid-February, so am well used to organising fixtures, etc. Let's see what the respose is......


  227. Keith Cornick

    Hello Pete me old mate, good to hear from you. A couple of emails I sent bounced back so now I know why. I shall be heading down to the SW at some time but can pop in to see you and Julie. I will not be bothering with a car just going to use the coach and rail to get around. So if there is a bus-stop near you I will drop by.

    The ship, Utrillo, gets in towards the end of August. When I get sorted I can drop you a line or a bell. None of my email addresses have changed if you wish to make contact.

    All the best to you and yours,

  228. Keith Cornick

    Hello Johnny,

    It was very remiss of me not to thank you for your GOOD LUCK. Thanks for that. I was a short term retread in Met from 73 to 79. Had a wonderful time in the branch. Probably should have stayed longer but past decisions always take on a variable hue when viewed through different glasses.


  229. Johnny Whitfield

    Hi Keith I am very pleased that you found a old Ship Mate and I hope your visit goes well,
    I found a couple of old buddies from the early sixties. In our Branch unlike others you may have been the only rating on Board Ship and my case the only one on the Met course. so Ship Mates were few.
    Ray I am sorry you have had no response for your fellow Bowlers, unless some have contacted you directly, November seems to be the popular month in my holiday resort.
    Last one I watched was for the Deaf and Dumb from various Clubs in the UK. Quite something watching them celebrate in the bar after the event.

  230. SPUD

    SPUD exposed the demise of the SE SECTION website some years ago because of the total tidal of "surfing webbers of the Nee-Soon type". Now that our 'free access' guestbook site is attaining the same degree of attention daily it is surely time to pull the plug! Who for gawds sake would put personal info on this site - it is so exposed !

    In this "cyber freely available" athmosphere' access to anything not password protected is exposed - our guestbook site is very vulnerable, (As in the demise of the SE website some years ago.)

    I propose we ask the 'management' to suspend or even delete, within 6 months this 'open to anybody' site.

    The 'FORUM' is a suitable platform to express or even renew our thoughts and memories of the past 50 years without deletion. I'm sure John Woodside would agree with this (or not) ... etc

    There is a secure alternative in the FORUM - SECURE -

    The Guestbook HAS a function - but it is not for personal niceities - too exposed -it should be an introduction to the METOBS - not a platform for dialogue !

  231. kenny ashton

    Am inclined to agree with Spud up to a point, the barrage of weirdo email addresses appearing every day must be pain in the butt for the administrators.
    However, much of the stuff I append to the guestbook is inconsequential rubbish which, if it amuses the trolls is fine by me.
    I would be only too willing to use the Forum if I could find the damn thing and agree that all pertinent things could be aired on there with a greater level of security.
    If the administrators read this, I would appreciate instructions by email as to how I may access the Forum, and the few contributors remaining on the guestbook may appreciate the same thing!
    An opinion on this subject would be welcome from Ray "the bit of skin"
    Brooker and others.
    I wait with baited breath!

  232. Johnny Whitfield

    Thanks Ken for your Email on this subject, I must admit I am amazed by the amount of Email addresses of people flogging their wares.
    I tried to get on Forum but all I managed to is get back to Guestbook.
    To make easier for the Administrators of the site I will go along with the recommendation of the powers that be.
    I truly thought the site was to find old shipmates if that involved personal dialogue then that was fine with me, I have nothing to hide except my age.

  233. Ray Brooker

    Well, I managed to get to the Forum via the little PC/TV screen at the top right of the Cloud Observers site, but was then asked for a password, etc. which I didn't know or couldn't remember - so its back to the Guest book for me. Your very aged 'bit of skin' (thanks Ken)
    By the way Johnny, it looks as if we'll be on a bowling holiday on our own!

  234. Johnny Whitfield

    Ray, I have tried again, how can you register to the Forum, having never registered I have no password. Isnt there some way these infiltrators be blocked????
    Ray if you are in the vicinity of Vilamoura Algarve in November I would certainly give you a game if I could play.
    I remember you as a very young piece of skin in Admiralty, still a youngster.
    Is that to Personal.

  235. kenny ashton

    Go to the forum as Ray described via the TV/Pc at the top of the guestbook page.
    Click on Register, give the necessary detail, establish your own screen name and password and hey presto!
    I am now in the Forum and reading all the tripe I wrote on there between 06 and 09, but there is some good shit on there if you click on the "characters" icon.

  236. Johnny Whitfield

    Cheers Ken well got there thanks to your instructions, obviously its not as easy as this to exchange comments, we will have a bash. Keep well old friend. I live 50 yds from our British Legion, The Flag is down more than up, the worrying thing is that they are younger than me.

  237. kenny ashton

    I am also back on the guestbook and though I might be a millionaire I will try to keep the whereabouts of my millions off the guestbook. I don't suppose HSBC would like it if I told everybody where I kept my ill-gotten gains.
    So long as we continue to write the usual inconsequential rubbish about our time in the Andrew and whatever followed that, I am sure we will be reasonably safe.
    Saturday was my 73rd birthday, though my daughter and my granddaughters insist I don't look a day over 55. (may have something to do with influencing the will writing eh?)
    It's all going to the cats home girls nice try!

  238. Johnny Whitfield

    Nice to see you on this again, Firstly may I wish you a belated Birthday wishes but you are just a youngster, You are lucky having gone to the Alter thrice I have collected 11 grandchilren and 3 and a bit great grandchildren so my Millions are spent.
    I was going to get in touch with Ray who made the coice of staying on on Guestbook,
    My Grandson is making a career of the sea training to be a Deck Officer serving on a Supply Ship to the Oil Rigs in the North Sea before returning to the Academy where the Maths Teacher is a ex Navy Forecaster, He was going to join the Andrew but 2 of his associates, 3 years older joined and not long after training got made redundant. at least he is on a Ship at Sea,
    I hope that info does not go beyond the bounds of Security.

  239. SPUD

    Ken makes the relevant point at 248.

    Do we expect (at no cost to us members) the admin team to clear out the dross every morning so that we can access OUR site without plodding through pages of ' kai-tai adverts'. (Unless you are living in NEE-SOON or SEMBAWANG .

    The collapse of the SE site happened a few years ago - admin (maybe) went on holiday for a few weeks - came back to an O2 stadium of .....well the same we get every morning - do we expect our management team to 'clear the rubbish' every day of every week !

    Hang on there mates we get a great service on CLOUDOBS - behind the scenes there are some very busy ducks paddling below water without making a ripple - lets rid them of this onerous daily task !

    I'm sure that "to be shure" on the internet you must have a ' security gate'. It does not make sense to be freely able to submit / comment / on PERSONAL things openly on the web.
    Remember the critism 'management' got for deleting the public and very personal comments!
    on one of our own seniors from Northern Ireland!
    (TODAY 2013 can not be allowed on a free access site !)

    Listen mates - there is no such thing on the net as 'secure' conversation (WITHOUT 'SECURITY') - you would have to be very disiplined to prevent a hacker from 'googling' a name on our site. For instance I have just 'asked' Ray Brooker - I get Sandra Brooker in Minehead - so Sandra can expect some if not a lot of hacking. (try 'RAY BROOKER Somerset) !
    I first tried John Whitfield - (publican London- ) no results ! Well done JW you do not owe any VAT!
    But Sandra - expect the Thai onslought ! (I only tried those two).

    Hi mates I love the cloudobs site and am sure much can remain in the present PUBLIC domain. The 'FORUM' is a personal / personable site - so it must have a guarded access for the 'personal' comments (guestbook).
    The few minutes it takes to establish yourself on the 'FORUM' will reduce your personal security - maybe you do the same on facebook - twitter - tweet and all those 'tings I kno nothing about (for feck sake you are metobs - you should know how to estblish an 'account')

    Within the 'security' of the FORUM - maybe we can encourage a few more into the sanctum ! and enlighten, and loosen tongues etc -

  240. Johnny Whitfield

    I also noticed comments made by Ray on 250 and Ken on 254 both opting to return to Guestbook.
    I am not sure why Spud should want to go into my History, I would willingly give it for free. Currently holding a PERSONAL LICENCE expiring in 2016.
    The other noticeable absence from the Guestbook is the disappearance of those annoying Adverts, have we found a way to block these, as I suggested in a earlier entry.
    Keith would not of able to make his contact with his friend prior to his visit from Australia.

  241. Ray Brooker

    The trouble is I already have a username and password for the Forum, but I have forgotten what it is! And when I try to start again with a new passsword, a message tells me that I already have one - so here I am again on the Guest Book. How interesting was that.......

  242. SPUD

    Listen mates – I don’t often intervene midweek on the GUESTBOOK but …re 257 ….

    Let me put something to bed right now – I commented on JW IN A GENUINE AND POSITIVELY WAY BECAUSE I COULD USE THE GUESTBOOK LINKS TO CHECK ON HIM ! not maliciously just to prove a point!)

    I HAD NO INTENTION TO INFER that JW was other than a straight and HONEST publican and I APPOLOGISE to JW if I have caused him offence.

    The very recent absence of the Nee-Soon ads Shirley will be explained by the ‘management’ im shure in due course.

  243. Johnny Whitfield

    It takes a great deal to offend me, so I am in no way worried,
    The Personal License does involve being investigated by New Scotland Yard.
    We could all become Paranoid over Security, What is probably missing, is my advert in Stage to become a Agent for Striptese Artiste,s
    So may I suggest we relax and continue to search of lost Shipmates and write a load of twaddle. after all we could be on Facebook or Twitter and other of similar ilk.
    Ray shame about the Bowls.

  244. arthur

    Management Here - Confirming that changes have indeed been made to the Guestbook Software to try and stifle the 'Nee Soon' types and their activities. We seem to be winning at the moment but I am sure that they will be back with other cunning ploys. The Web Site is too popular to be left alone. My thanks to SPUD for his off-line assistance in this matter.
    Whilst we are in the praise department, I think we ought to promote Kenny to Silver Surfer Grade Two (Acting Local) for helping others.
    Finally can I draw your attention to a few helpful notes on how to get into the Forum. These are on the Welcome page.
    Regards to all

  245. kenny ashton

    Have just visited the Forum and as far as I can see the last post on there was in April of this year, so not what you might call a hive of activity!
    That is the first time I have visited since probably 2010 and I notice there is some real antique stuff on there, some things that I started in 2009 would now probably qualify for museum document status.
    Stick with guestbook chaps, its the only place to let it all hang out!

  246. Johnny Whitfield

    Thank goodness this site breathes again ,You beat me to it Ken, you were always fast on the draw. I have also looked at the Forum waiting to see if any more entries but nothing. So not as popular as thought. Evens that Ray is next.

  247. Ray Brooker

    Go on then, I'll be next. Went out for a meal with a buddy of mine last week, and it transpires that he spent 30 years on the RFA's. So I showed him some photos of doing a RAS on the Hermes and he not only named the RFAs in the photo, but Tidespring was one of them that he was on at the time! He also knew all there was to know about Bugie Street, Nee Soon and HMS Terror, so I knew he was telling the truth....

  248. Johnny Whitfield

    Ray you must of joined the Hermes after me when we returned home, I of course remember many runs ashore to Bugie Street, I was also Billeted at Terror , I managed to join a Expedition into the Jungle.
    We were supposed to walk into the as far into the Jungle as we could Jungle as far as possible, that did not happen, as soon as we got out of sight of terror, we took Taxis to a waterfall set up camp there and arranged for Taxis to return with more Beer a week later, it was a great spot which turned out to be a place where the Malay Indians came to Bathe and mumble prayers, we just mumbled after the ale.
    I also did a stint with Ivor atey where did nothing in a building off the camp never quite worked out what our job was, but great times away from the Hermes.

  249. kenny ashton

    Johnny, I assume you mean Ivor Batey , Ivor was on course at RNSOM Culdrose when I was there and as I remember it, his then girlfriend, a Wren of what branch I know not, was extremely partial to many sessions per day working out with whatever equipment Ivor had.
    Now Ivor could never by any stretch of the imagination be classed as the Clark Gable type, so one can only assume that he was extremely skilled in demonstrating how the equipment should be used.
    It's a long time ago now so I suppose we will never know!

  250. Johnny Whitfield

    Yes Ken it was Ivor Batey, he was at the School when I was Courting my ex, I am trying to think of who he looked like, That chap in Treasure Island, Ivor use to carry his Burberry around with him in all weathers, The wren was a Met Wren, I mmet him again at Admiralty where we use to have the office run ashore starting at the Chandos took the Bar Maid with us, My Wife Tricia was not impressed when we staggered in the very late hour, after that we stayed at Admiralty after the run. I met him again in Terror, not sure what Ship he was on . we spent our time in a building playing with a ball of paper, a bit like the old days at the school. Remembered who he looked like : Robert Newton, Heard he joined civvy Met.
    I remember the days when we use to see how fast we could draw a chart, around 10 minutes I think,

  251. Johnny Whitfield

    Thats naughty Ray I knew the girl but did not want to name her, was Ivor on the same course as you, or was this much later, I never thought of Ivor of a very good Met man, a little untidy.
    I bet that Burberry stood up on its own.

  252. Kenny Ashton

    Ray, I think that might be PRESTWICK Airport, Prestwich is where I was born, 4 miles north of Manchester. There is a blue plaque on the house where I as born, but sadly, no airport!

  253. Johnny Whitfield

    You are lucky Ken where I was Born there is just a Bramble Bush and a bit further North in Spennymore the County of Durham,
    To the Management Well Done to extract a entry.

  254. Kenny Ashton

    Now come on Ray, don't be taking umbrage because you spot was deleted. It has happened to us before and probably will again, you just have to use more poetically descriptive language when describing the more sensitive or is that sensual,antics of our former colleagues. As it goes, it is quite stimulating to the senses trying to come up with that which won't offend but adequately achieves the end descriptive result.
    Keep the flag flying for the oldies and keep contributing!

  255. Ray Brooker

    Sorry, fellers, but I didn't know my pieces were being deleted! I obviously must be more careful with my words. Also with names bite the bullet I will. Where do i apply for a poetic licence, so that I can get back into the swing of things?

  256. Kenny Ashton

    Ray, worry not about licences, I have found that as we get older, the muse lays his feather light touch to your brow and all manner of Byronesque phrases invade your thoughts demanding to be committed to the Guestbook for the amusement and enrichment of all your followers.

  257. Johnny Whitfield

    Ken and Ray I am trying to recall my early Days in Met and trying to remember who was where and when.
    My first taste of Nval Met was in Jan 1959 at Harrier leaving in March 1959, returning again the end of Jan 1960 until its closure the day brfore my Birthday in April 1960. During my time at Kete I only remember two wrens one a tiny girl called Margaret who I took to the Griffin and met her again in Falmouth on another occasion, her friend was called Wendy, then I always preferred the fairer, any other Met personel is a complete blank. I played football at Kete and remember a person in the mess who isisted on playing South Pacific, we were all dreaming Happy Happy Talk but I dont think he was Met but the mess was certainly full of Naval Airman we few beat the Seaman at Football.
    My own course was just me but cannot recall any other courses running along side mine.
    If you more knowledgeable of things gone by could rekindle my mind, to many years of pulling pints along with working with numbers some memories have been lost, maybe 3 years of not drinking has deadened my brain, perhaps it should be refueled with a few Pinkers.
    Any input would be grateful.

  258. Ray Brooker

    Johnny - there is an easy way to jog your memory, and that is to ask the MOD to send you your Naval history documents. I got mine, with all drafts, promotions, dates, etc. Then you'll know exactly what you did and when, even if you can't remember!

  259. Johnny Whitfield

    Cheers Ray, I do have my Records though somewhat battered, I just cannot remember any Met Personel between those dates that I have given, apart from the two Wrens who I have already mentioned.I had a very short course, on my own.There may of been other courses during those Periods.

  260. SPUD

    Very saddened to hear of Alan Barr's passing. Colin, his son says, in an overnight e-mail, he died on Friday after a short battle with lung cancer.
    I have fond memories of Alan who ran the office at Brawdy in '62/'63. It was my first draft(aged 17) after RNSOM and he was a great example of the old style killick - firm and fair with great authority. Qualities I was to find lacking in Leading Hands more and more as my career outside the Met branch progressed.
    A real gentleman, I had fairly frequent e-mail exchanges with Alan in recent years though I never met up with him again after Brawdy. He referred to me in his mails as 'young Sir' !
    In the office at that time were Arnie Pearson, Taff (Francis) Hillier, Bob Capper, Bob Lewis (I think), Crash Evans (played clarinet?) and a few more names I can not recall right now.

    Rest in Peace Alan.

  261. Johnny Whitfield

    Though our Paths never crossed any loss of a fellow ex Met is certainly worth a mention.
    I hope Alan rests in Peace.

  262. Arny Pearson

    I was very sad to hear about the death of Alan Barr, he was a real gent, one of the old school.
    I first met Alan at Brawdy 1962-63 and then again in Singapore 1967-69 and he was always great fun to be with. Alan left the RN after his Singapore stint and his one big regret was that he didn't stay in the Service longer than he did.I didn't meet Alan again until about 2006 when we bumped into each other near York, where I live and Alan was on holiday. We met again in 2007 at the reunion in Portsmouth and it was great going over all the old times.
    All our best wishes and sympathy go to Sheila and family at this sad time.

  263. Chris (Jan) Robinson

    Alan Barr. I first met Alan at Kete over the last weekend in Sept 1958 before starting the Met III course comprising 14 Naval Air Mechanics and 7 Wrens. Alan was a gentleman, married with his wife Sheila and child in Basingstoke. We had a long weekend mid course and Alan brought back a brace of pheasants so we all had a taste of the famous bird, for me the first and only time. Eleven NAM's were successful, Pete Lonsdale topped the course along with Alan, yours truly, Dickie Bird, JTC Bell, Bogey Knight, Trevor Miles, Speedy Napton, Jim Green, Rick Parkinson and Brian Welham. 3 blokes went back to NAM duties, Frank Burns, Jan Thoms and Tojo White. Can't remember all the names of the Wrens but they included Patsy Tatham, Jean Creasor, Celia Potter and Janet Frost. I only saw Alan a few times, but never forgot his and Sheila's hospitality in having me over to their home in Johore Bahru for a great dinner evening in 1967 when Alan was at FEFHQ and I was a three badge killick in HMS Eagle. In 2009 I took my wife Faye to the cloudobservers' reunion and Alan and Sheila went out of their way to come and visit us in Pompey, spending several hours with us, Alan being a gentleman as ever. I hope Sheila can take consolation in that Alan will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

  264. Johnny Whitfield

    Back to my original enquiry about my time at Kete, I was asking about two wrens and I have found their names, one was Wendy Wevell and other, who kept me in check was
    Margaret Penhaligon a good Cornish name. They must of been on the same course as Ken.
    does any one know what happened to them after Kete ?.

  265. Kenny Ashton

    Johnny I think you are floggin a dead orse with your last query. They were on my course but I have not heard of them from that day to this.

  266. Johnny Whitfield

    At Last a reply Cheers Ken, Its a shame had a lot of fun moments with Margaret. Hope you are well and enjoying your Golf.Isnt that a good old Navy song about saying goodnight to his Horse.

  267. Kenny Ashton

    First report for a long time!
    Just bought myself a very sporty Japanese coupe car. It must be the boy racer coming out or maybe senility is finally taking over!
    0 to 60 in 5 secs,150mph top speed, I will never see either of these measurements achieved but by gum it don't half look nice on the drive
    Just need to grow a big moustache, root out the flares and the platform soles and here we go guys 70's all over again.

  268. Ray Brooker

    Seems like you are having a huge old-age crisis, Ken. For 'back to the 70's' it should read 'now in my 70's'
    Same thing happened to me on my return from holiday in Bhutan a couple of weeks ago (trying to spend all my kid's inheritance) Sandra and myself had the English Consul to Bhutan as a tour guide....when I got home and said to my mate 'we were driven round by the British Consul' he said 'give over, you mean you were driven round IN a British consul'

  269. Kenny Ashton

    You are quite right Ray, I was driving round today watching the fuel gauge needle head very rapidly south and thinking "what have you done you knob?", but later when I was parked in Asda car park a guy knocked on the window and said what a fantastic car it was.
    Made me feel a whole lot better, what the Hell, I am only spending my own "bees and honey", so my daughter will be a few quid poorer than she thought she might be, how sad, never mind.

  270. Don Green

    Met Observer 1960 1968
    Brawdy Portland Malta Admiralty Tiger Northwood and Eagle
    I recognise a few names from This forum Now retired and living in Northamptonshire

  271. SPUD

    Pic of HERMES in online GUARDIAN today.
    Now INS VIRAAT (India) she is expected to go on until 2020 if they can keep their Sea Harriers flying until then. She was launched in 1953 ! What a long life! Comprehensive article on WIKI !

    Hi Don - remember you well (Northwood late 60's - when the Officers Mess burned down around Christmas I think).

    Best wishes SPUD

  272. Ray Brooker

    How I'd love to re-visit HERMES. Spent the best years of my life on her, with Colin Brenchley and Steve Howard amongst others. Wonder if 4H2 (first commission) and 4J4 (second commission) messes are still the same.....

  273. Wendy Cunningham nee Eyre

    Hi everyone, why can't I get the course photos up? I just get a blue screen but the names are at the bottom!

  274. Johnny Whitfield

    Hi Wendy just looked on the courses and found you on a course 1/77 I did have a box below which had open on it, so just pressed that and behold there you were on the left front row. many years before my time.

  275. SPUD

    Thanks Ian –
    …..and the same to all our Scottish readers from me -

    Xīn Nián Kuài Lè is 新年快樂; and with simplified characters: 新年快乐) – resembles closely the Scottish dribble I have come across in the few times I was in Glasgow bars on NY eve (ONCE!).
    It also mirrors my first impressions of the WW code on course with Ian in 1962 ! Must be lots of thunderstorms and lightening in China - believe there is !

    Ian - slightly more obscure than your best Scotish wishes AND on behalf of all those who were served by 'dhobey man John' in TERROR in the '60s herewith my humble translation into 1960s matelot speak for Happy New Year – KONG HI FAT CHOY.
    Ray will surely correct if wong !


  276. Johnny Whitfield

    Twould seem that all the EX Mets are hibernating for the Winter, or was the Christmas to much for their frail bodies, I hope all is well with all, particularly Ken and Ray.

  277. Alfie Halford

    Ex SE Rating Brian Mitchell tried to contact your website and struggled with it! Probably an age thing!
    His email address is [email address removed to protect from Spam] Could someone please contact him?
    Thank you

    No problem Alfie - were on the case -

  278. Spud

    While we banters are hibernating I thank the team for a nostalgic WRNS related video now showing at CLOUDOBS DOWNLOADS - entrance is free - WELL WORTH A VIEW !

  279. Kenny Ashton

    Mid February and I thought I would break my duck this year with my first post.
    About to depart for sunnier climes, (Spain) away from this abominable weather, bit of sun, sangria and gof to see out the winter months, back at the end of March hopefully to see the start of Spring.

  280. Taff Jones

    Not been on for a while. Still alive and kicking (just). Nice to see Ian McNeil on there. Still at Hillhead Ian ?

  281. Ian McNeil

    Hello Taff
    No I now live in Weymouth but I am currently in Barbados for two and a half months so I have missed all the recent bad weather (I am not sorry). Enjoying retirement but I presume you are still treading the employment boards. Best wishes Ian

  282. Spud

    Thanks for your very welcome visit to our sleepy METOBS website !

    Think many of us must have had great buddies (as in your case-) servicing our equipment even some who became themselves (Alan Barr)(Although AE !) still became METOBS
    SO-you are welcome, very welcome!

    best wishes to you and yours -

  283. Mandy Clegg (was Durham)

    Does anyone know the whereabouts of 3 ex me wrens Helen Pain, Suzi Weaver and Meryl Truman. I joined up with them in 1981 and would love to make contact with them again. If anyone who remembers me would like to get in touch then feel free. I can be found on Facebook.

  284. Johnny Whitfield

    Ken must be back from his winters retreat, enjoying a few games of Golf.
    We have not heard from Ray lately no doubt he has been enjoying some eastern EXOTICA whilst I have been suffering from the aftermath of the Winter storms.
    Welcome back you frothy coffee artisans.

  285. Ray Brooker

    ChathamBack from the dead at last! Me and Steve Howard who were together on the happy Hermes in the late Sixties (along with Colin Brenchley amongst others) went on a camping and cycling trip around Canterbury last week. Also visited Chatham and went on HM Submarine Ocelot and HMS Cavalier, a destroyer which accompanied us to the Far East with Hermes. Brilliant place to visit (Chatham, not the Far East) even though it is one big Museum. With my new all-singing, all-dancing computer, 1 am now unable to send you a couple of photos of me and Steve, but 1 think Steve will do this in a few days time. We haven't changed much, if you discount ageing by 45 years.......

  286. Kenny Ashton

    Hello everybody, hope you are all we1l.
    This message is specifically for Johnny Wnitfield, didn't want to use email because I think that you may unwittingly have let in a virus to your PC.
    Johnny 1 have not emaiied you for a long lime so if you have received an email from me it was a spam, I think the one you returned to me had a link which i did not open and f hope that you did not either, it might be worth checking your security software is up to date because if you did open the link something nasty may have attached itself to your PC.
    Check it out and dont email anybody till you are sure your machine is safe.

  287. Johnny Whitfield

    Ken everything checked out. Have not had any strange emails. Sorry you got one.
    Hope you are well. Not long now until you are away for the winter. I go in November but no Golf for me.
    Johnny W

  288. Ray Brooker

    Im off too in November (8th) Gentle Walking in Sri Lanka - Just hope it is as described. Getting too old and rickety for anything too strenuous...

  289. Spud

    Message of support for John Woolgar and all Bermudians. Watched the hurricane yesterday from the Dockyard Webcam - wow - hope family well and no domestic damage. Webcam back on-line Sunday (19th) afternoon shows warship with Lynx helo on flight deck - is it one of ours?
    I'm assuming you have electricity - as they say in Ireland - If you dont get this message then please let me know.
    I'm shure all Cloudobs join me (maye in envy) in wishing you a speedy recovery in your beautiful Islands.
    I'd send you all some kisses....but those shorts would worry me!!!!! there was the old joke why I cant even wear Bermudam shorts...but not for this family forum !
    Best wishes John and fam and all Bermudans.

  290. Jerry Pearce

    From Jerry Pearce ex Aircraft Handler 1977-1987. I've just received news that Bob Batstone Masters, one of your original Met Observers has crossed the bar. Bob was in his mid 80's (exact details to follow). Sadly Bob had Alzheimers and remained in Dawson's Lodge for the last two years. He is survived by his wife Joan whom he was with for 65 years. His funeral service is on Tuesday 28th October 2014 at 12.15 at Wessex Vale Crematorium, West End, Southampton. SO30 2HL

  291. Ray Brooker

    Is this Guestbook stuck in a time-warp, or what?! Even with my dodgy eyesight I can see that it has not moved for ages. No news, anybody? Wife pregnant? Won the Lottery? Feel younger than last year? All three? Happy Xmas!
    Ray B

  292. Johnny Whitfield

    I think we are all getting old Ray, and with it our memory of our younger days seems to go.
    I am a member of local RNA with only a handful of members turning up at meetings, the youngest being 65 but the rest over 75, and a couple over 90, It would be nice to hear what the rest of us old farts are doing or thinking in their latter years.
    Hope you all had a good Christmas.

  293. Kenny Ashton

    I was waiting to see if I was mentioned in the Honours List for outstanding contribution to Wine and Spirit consumption before I ventured into the Guestbook, however nothing was forthcoming, perhaps next year if I am still here!
    Hope all my old shipmates are keeping well, this is the first Christmas at home for many a long year and I think we shall be returning to Christmas and New year abroad next year, normally I would be enjoying a few rounds of golf in the sun at this time but the weather here has been so,crappy no golf so bored out of my brain for the last two weeks or so.
    It has been said that the Guestbook has been pretty barren for the last few months, I have been as guilty as anyone in that respect but I will certainly make an effort to communicate in the coming months, but not in February, we are off to Fuerteventura for February to escape the last knockins of the winter.
    Keep in touch fellas!

  294. Johnny Whitfield

    Glad to see you are alive and kicking Ken, I walk past my local Legion where the Flag is at half mast just see if its my name on the notice of the departed.
    My winter Holiday was the worst weather for 30 years the Golf in Vilamoura was a bit of a washout.
    I may return in April to celebrate my 76th year,the weather should be much to our liking.
    Our Chtistmas was very quiet, sent the wife out to work to look after the oldies, left me to do all the cooking.
    Keep well mate and have a great 2015.

  295. Colin swanick

    There's that word again tad meaning lots I have just a tad of grey and 4 dark ones are you still in Derby (Ikleston)

  296. Colin swanick

    No still on the Wirral lots of golf courses regular bus service as with you have pass will travel all family here etc 100% English speaking in you get my drift and of course the mighty blues on the other side of river

  297. Johnny Whitfield

    Can any of you budding Historians tell me how many Met personnel there have been since the Branch began to the time it was no longer part of the Fleet Air Arm. Its a question that has come up at our local RNA meeting. It has come up a couple of times, normally after we have had a couple of TOTS.

  298. Johnny Whitfield

    Thankyou Arthur,
    I have tried all sorts of methods of coming to a figure to my Question, Tried counting the courses by photos but there is a gap of 10years between 1950 and 1960, also tried to work out Matmatical combinations but it all comes down to the first answer on the WELCOME page which was a big NO!
    I have come to the conclusion that there is probably a average of 40 recruits a year from the mid forties to 1990, giving a rough total of 2,000. of course I could be way out, On my course there was just me.
    Do you think my guess because thats what it is is anywhere near the figure????.

  299. Paul (Taff) Stevens

    Having looked through the phots for 1977 and seeing Ann Lafbury (and Wendy Erie) was a trip down memory lane as an ex-junglie grubber. If anyone knows the whereabouts of Ann I'd love to get in contact.

  300. Dave Munro

    Excellent site...happy memories! I served as a 'chock technician' 66 to 97.and I had a few 'oppo's' in the Met Mafia. What was the name of the Killick Met...Paddy...??? that used to go on the lash with us Lossie Fire Crew. I remember he joined from Singers...and drank the Fulmar Club clean out of 'Woods Navy' one dance night!! What happened to Fred 'Sunshine' Walker? I served in Hermes, Ark and Lulu with Fred. Good site...happy memories...well done to all concerned.

  301. Denise Gleeson

    Here is a question for y'all!!! How many other cloud observers backed Many clouds in the Grand National?????? I did !!!!

  302. Johnny Whitfield

    Many Clouds should of put money on it, won in my local British Legion on the sweep, also got the second in another. but will not be buying my villa in the Algarve yet.

  303. ray cooper

    HELP! I was a met observer from 1951 to 1958.(1952 course). Contemporaries included 'bomber' Dunstan, Tinkle, Dinger and Clanger Bell, Charlie Sager, Peter Booth, Carlos Trotman, Ken Morris, Johnny Randall, Paddy Cooke, George Clevett and many more. Served on the Glory and the Jamaica. I have tried to contact Cloud observers without success. Please somebody, anybody contact me by email if this message reaches civilisation.

  304. Johnny Whitfield

    I have been having treatment under my Local Doc who I have known for many years, yesterday I just found out that her father was a Met man. I wonder if anyone an recall the name of Lt/CDR Statters, it will give me Brownie points with her. She also tells me he was a Diver.He served from 1953 to 1973.

  305. Ray Brooker

    The name definitely rings a bell, but as usual nowadays, I can't remember exactly where from. Was he the man who decided draft chits for the Met men? I was at Northwood finishing my 9 years and due to leave the RN, when I was offered a draft to HMS Terror in Singapore if I signed on for a further 5 years. As I was also getting married, I then spent a two-year honeymoon in Singapore. My wife also was hired as a teacher in the Naval base, so life changed from almost continuous sea-time on Victorious and Hermes to a cushy life in Singers. Was this due to Lt. Cdr Statters, I ask myself. Or was it a bloke called Charlie Wines? I know that a phone call to whoever it was worked miracles......

  306. Johnny Whitfield

    You may well know him, according to the Doc he was on the Hermes in 1964, I believe you were on board around that time. ike yourself names escape me. If he is anything like his daughter, he would be a nutter. Sorry that should be like yourself, My Laptop is past its prime.

  307. kenny ashton

    Allo boys, long time no speak. Ray, your second guess was the right one, Charlie Wines was the chap to thank for your extended honeymoon.
    a few months before I came outside in'67 Charlie said that he would send me off to sea for my last few months if I didn't sign on, he never did though and I saw out my time at my second home, the Admiralty.

  308. Johnny Whitfield

    Hi Ken and Ray, I spent about 4years 4months at Admiralty out of my 8years 4months. Forgot what a uniform looked like.
    Hope you are both well now into our twilight years.

  309. kenny ashton

    Speak only for your self Johnny, next Monday I shall be 75 years young, feel about 55. Determined to win another major before I joss it!

  310. Johnny Whitfield

    Happy Birthday for Monday, I am now 76 and feel like 86 at present. Even though I go to Vilamoura in the Algarve every year and am surrounded by Golf Courses have never taken up the game, apart from the Crazy type.
    I shall raise my Tot of Pussers at my next RNA meeting to wish you a Happy Birthday which will be on the 8th and in doing so will remember those old days at Culdrose.

  311. Ray Brooker

    I'm still fit as a butcher's dog at 73! Still trekking in the Far East on holiday in Nepal and Bhutan, as well as cycling in Germany and Austria. Must be all those frothy coffees I made at Culdrose that keeps me going.....

  312. kenny ashton

    Ray, at 73 a mere slip of a lad! I know that you inherited the frothy coffee recipe from me and Johnny Whitfield, a fine figure of a man, but did you maintain the rendition of the "Its Now or Never" rythm accompaniment using the wooden inserts from the T/P rolls? now that was a skill!

  313. Ray Brooker

    I remember the T/P roll insides made of wood, and singing 'It's Now Or Never' in the brew-making room - what an easy life that was! Also I remember dance night at the Seahawk Club, I think it was on a Thursday, you were an excellent jiver and chatter-upper of the Wrens, with your Old Spice and ' I think you're essence' chat-up certainly worked well, if I recall correctly!

  314. kenny ashton

    Ray, I tell you, you have some memory!
    In those days if you used the phrase, "I think you are essence" that was the ultimate compliment. Can't imagine any of the young bucks of today using anything so mild as a chat up line. Something like "am I on for it tonight" is the current literary gem. You were right about the dancing as well, my party piece was one on each hand and never missed a beat!

  315. Ray Brooker

    Ah, it's all coming back to me now! I also remember quite clearly some Wren continuously putting money in the jukebox and playing the same tune - Albatross by Fleetwood Mac. I bet that's too specific a memory for anyone else to recall.......

  316. Johnny Whitfield

    Ray I may be wrong but I think Albatross by Fleetwood Mac was released on 1968, a bit after my time and Kens. At Seahawk I was madly in Love with a trainee Met Wren, Married but alas after leaving the Mob to go into a Pub it didnt last. however we still keep in touch.

  317. kenny ashton

    Ah, Mr Brooker Johnny has caught out your memory! Fleetwood Mac released Albatross in November 1968 a goodly few years after we were at Culdrose.

  318. kenny ashton

    Ray one other thing you got wrong. I never ever used Old Spice, the only aftershave I ever used and still use to this day was "Aromas of Bougis Street" a smell you would never forget.

  319. Ray Brooker

    You're dead right of course - I was on my 4th consecutive year at sea in 1968, and I didn't even see an Albatross, much less hear one. i tbink it must have been 'Stranger on the Shore' by Acker Bilk that I was thinking of. No doubt you'll both correct me again.....I too used a lot of Eau de Bugis Street, now just a station on the Singapore Metro system, with not a Kai-Tai in sight.

  320. Johnny Whitfield

    Getting closer Ray Stranger on the shore came out in late 1962,I had left Seahawk in 1961. I remember in the Shower room at Seahawk a cloud of Foo Foo, I did indulge in the Aromas of Bougie when on the Hermes in Oct 1962 before returning to President in Aug 1963 in the Asweps Office, you were there then Ray.

  321. Ray Brooker

    We've come full circle again - back to President, the Chandos and big Bierta, who you loved, or we wouldn't have spent so many hours in there, with you chatting her up.

  322. kenny ashton

    Whilst like everybody who ever served at the Admiralty I also frequented the Chandos, but my favourite pub in the sixties was the Salisbury, halfway up St Martins Lane.
    Being in the heart of theatre land there were always a few well known faces in there and the beer was fantastic.
    When I worked a Crown paints I took a bunch of my colleagues there one night in the late eighties having gone on about it being a fantastic place.
    I got some really funny looks from my colleagues after the very very short visit because in the twenty or so years that had passed since my time in London, the clientele had changed very dramatically in that time.
    Suffice to say that there was a distinct cloud of strong perfume emanating from the very large crowd of exclusively male customers.
    My reputation was never the same after that night out!

  323. Johnny Whitfield

    I think the Salisbury was a bit like what you describe in the 60,s
    a lot of clocking went on in those very large mirrors.
    Ray I remember that young Lady from the Chandos took her on one of the Office Run Ashore. There was a small Pub a little further up across from the Salisbury use to serve a potent winter brew. had some really good times around the area. considering I spent 53% of my total service time at Admiralty not many pubs escaped my presence.

  324. kenny ashton

    As I remember it there was also a bar right on the corner of the Strand and Northumberland Avenue. You had to go downstairs to it but I can't remember the name of it. Bit of a "shady" gaff, a good few cauliflower ears and sharp suits.
    The least busy pub and one of the most comfortable was the Sherlock Holmes on Northumberland Avenue, always good for a quiet but excellent pint!

  325. kenny ashton

    Just have a look at page 37. It is exactly 4 years ago that the guestbook got up and running again. Guess who is on there with contributions? Brooker and Ashton! Plus sa change et plus la meme chose

  326. Johnny Whitfield

    I remember a few Pubs there was the Ship and Shovel I think there was a kiosk that did great rolls. there was also the Pub with numerous Cap Ribbons above the Bar, I think it was the Silver Cross. There was another where one walked down a wide stairway it was quite plush but cannot think of its name. Memory not as sharp as it use to be.

  327. kenny ashton

    Johnny I think you have found the name of the bar for me, I think it was indeed called the Silver Cross. Down the stairs and very dark, I am sure that was the Silver Cross.

  328. Johnny Whitfield

    I visited it a few years back and did go down stairs and it wasnt that pleasant, needed a few drinks to forget the surrounds, the staff were not pleasant. after over 45 years in the trade I insisted that all customers were greeted with respect, not " what u want mate " followed by "like init " even after I had thrown them out I still called them Sir.

  329. Ray Brooker

    Whilst I was at Admiralty, I shared a big flat in Balham with Tony Newrick and Roger Edwards and Spud Murphy for a while, and we used to frequent a local pub in the evenings. Forget what it was called, but Roger, who had a fantastic singing voice, used to entertain the clientele with Rolling Stones and The Animals songs - like 'It's All Over Now' and 'House Of The Rising Sun' He was really good!

  330. Johnny Whitfield

    My first ever married quarters with Tricia was above South Balham Tube station we use to go to a pub on a Sunday who had a string Quartet playing it use to be packed, I use to do my Sun Bathing on the common. when I had a body to show off. opposite was Nurses quarters.
    Of course Balham was the gateway to the South as Hancock would say.

  331. kenny ashton

    How strange that we all seemed to gravitate to the south of London, Pete Jones and I had flat in Clapham Common West Side for a few months before we moved to a huge one room flat on the corner of Gloucester Road and Nevern Road in Earl's Court. That room saw a few "goings on" I can tell you! Earl's Court was the centre of the universe in the very early sixties.
    When I got married in '62 Connie and I had a lovely flat in a large house in Forest Hill.

  332. Ray Brooker

    I remember Pete Jonews very well - a real smoothie with the opposite sex. I also remember him getting married before a draft to Terror. Wonder what happened to him....anybody know?

  333. Johnny Whitfield

    Yes Ken it is very strange, Tricia,s parents lived in Forest Hill, we also had a large one bedroom flat between Forest Hill and Catford that had a huge marble fireplace.We also had flats in Peckham, Dulwich we always tried to find our own places but generally South of the River. Tricia says she had 12 different moves in such a short time.

  334. kenny ashton

    Pete Jonwes, that will be the welsh spelling will it Ray? Yes you are right he was a bit of a lad with the ladees, we roomed together for about a year so I had first hand experience!
    But I have to tell you he was but a mere novice compared with the late great Tony Bell,G.A Bell as was. Before I was married he talked me into going on a blind date with him and two very sprauncy ladies Up West as they say, had to throw a sickie next day I was so tired, from the boozing obviously!
    On a more serious note, we have all had the very conversation about pubs in London and the Admiralty in general about four years ago on this very guestbook, and if you check back you will see that its almost word for word the same as that which we have just concluded.
    is this the onset of the dreaded Alz disease or is that we only remember and love to talk about the times that will never be repeated?

  335. Johnny Whitfield

    You are probably correct in what you say Ken but those memories of those early years were at Kete, Culdrose and Admiralty are the most precious years of my life and should never be forgotten.

  336. Ray Brooker

    My fondest memories were firstly HMS Ganges at age 16. Having been at a very strict boarding school for five years, I found Ganges an absolute doddle. My best time by miles was on the Happy Hermes - great crew, happy ship, good runs ashore and fond memories. When I look back at it, I realise how easy we had it compared to most others - the chefs especially - cooking up three meals a day for 2,500 men; and me sitting at a desk plotting a chart! How about the rest of you who read this Guestbook? Fondest memories?

  337. kenny ashton

    That's a great question Ray, the problem I have is picking out the fondest memories of my time in the Met Branch, because it was all so great and at every turn there were wonderful highlights that will remain with me always.
    My time at Harrier was just fantastic, a self contained spot on the Welsh coast. We had such great times there I don't think I ever went into Haverfordwest except to get the train to go on leave.
    Six months on the Eagle was a wonderful experience with George Clevitt, the long gone Mick Lehan and John Moran who you will remember from Culdrose.
    Back to Culdrose where I met the woman who was to guide the next forty years of my life, that has to be the ultimate for me.
    Victorious was great, just as Hermes was for you, my one and only tattoo ashore with Tom Scanlon, had the names scrubbed out later!
    Admiralty for all the reason that you know.
    I think the real highlight for me and the fondest memories would be Hal Far for two years, my great mate Topsy Turner who I have never been able to trace, Sandie Jones, a wonderful person who went on to do great things in broadcasting, BBC, Ocean Sound, and the lovely long departed Annie Lowe who was a joy to work with.
    Seeing my daughter enjoy the first two years of her life in that wonderful climate and environment. Two magical years for both me and my beloved Connie.
    That's about it, all of it fantastic and so different from the humdrum lives that most of my teenage contempories enjoyed, but for so many reasons Hal Far was the highlight.

  338. Ray Brooker

    OK so seeing my wife's look of amazement and disbelief on her first visit to Bugie Street, when a Kai-Tai sat on her lap and a rat ran over her feet; this while eating an egg banjo and drinking a Tiger tops. Couldn't keep her away after that. Fond Memory......

  339. Steve Howard

    Gosh Ray, given the timescale, your latest post seems to have stunned old shipmates in to reminiscing about 'Singers', maybe with a hot cup of cocoa and the 'Ovaltinies' songbook.
    Come to think of it - what ever happened to that Greek chap, Len Ticularis? I hear he left under a cloud.

  340. Ray Brooker

    Very jocular, Steve! I remember another Steve on the Happy Hermes, who solved a problem whenever they showed a film in the galley, because there wasn't a bulkhead large enough to show it on. They had to pay him, of course, because even though the projector belonged to the ship, it was Steve Enson's screen.

  341. Steve Howard

    Happy days eh Ray?
    I believe these days our role is undertaken entirely by computers.
    Whilst the boffins may pat themselves on the back,they still haven't created a computer which can produce a chart, then go ashore, drink 12 pints in numerous dens of ill repute, stagger back to the dockyard to consume fish, chips and a pint of milk and still be able to produce a chart the next day.
    Happy Christmas!!
    PS - Pussers Rum Gunpowder Proof (found on Amazon) is a much nicer way to warm up than a Polo mint.

  342. Eldred R W Clark

    I came across your site by sheer chance and was delighted! If you are interested I did the Met course at Greenwich from January to March 1942 and joined Kenya more or less immediately. Went to Activity after Pedestal later in that year and to C in C East Indies when Activity became too small for anything except ferrying aircraft; mostly working in the Joint Met Centre in Colombo with one operation in Emperor. In RNVR while a dental student in Liverpool and turned over when I qualified to the dental branch. Retired in 1960 on age as Surg.Lt.Cdr(D). As an aside I saw the earlier Eagle sunk and our first captain in Activity, Guy Willoughby, was the first captain of the one in the videos. I hope to join you.

  343. SPUD

    Mr Clark –
    - you have my admiration.
    I'm sure our members and non member readers, are reminded of the reality of the past by your 'ordinary' service which by contemporary definition was 'extra-ordinary'.
    I wonder if you have scrolled back to a valued and recently lost member, Peter Claridge? - You would have been his perfect ‘cloudobs’ mate – more so than all the current youngsters, like myself (70).
    I hope we will hear more from you and I’m sure our 'Senior Forecaster', Arthur. and his ‘mission controller’ (“she who knows all - GILL, the secretary bird") will,in due course be able to co-operate with you to add to our (RN Met) history.

    For everyone else, including the very many non members who access the site ............
    I wish you all a ‘head above water’ and prosperous New Year.

  344. Ray Brooker

    Mrt Clark Sir - it is a great privilege to hear from such a senior ex-Member of the Met Branch. You were 'on course' the year that I was born (1942) so I am guessing you are nearer 90 than 80 and still fully up with all these modern ways of communicating. Can you tell us all what exactly were Kenya, Activity and Pedestal - all ships? You might be inundated with requests for knowledge by various people, as mentioned in the last message from Spud. He was in the Met branch and ended up as a helicopter pilot and a Lt.Cdr I think. Of course, he is but a youngster!
    Please tell us more of your exploits whilst serving in the Royal Navy (when we actually had one) Good health to you, Sir, and best wishes for a long(er) life!
    Ray Brooker

  345. SPUD

    Eldred, I will answer some of Ray's questions to, hopefully, helpful.
    When I joined HMS RALEIGH at age 16 in 1861 or was it 1961, I was given a mini-'janes warships' book (published circa 1952) which I kept. It included the two ships you served in. Sadly it is one of the very few things I have from my time in RN.
    As an aside in 1961 I was issued with 'evening' shoes, black with a two inch wide silver buckle, a kit bag and a small attache case to keep my belongings in. I wish I had kept the shoes, they seem to appear in every swashbuckling pirate film I have watched.
    I wonder what meager items of 'uniform' you were issued (apart from Gas mask and Lifebelt) ?

    Anyway - herewith the info from my "mini Jane's and other sources:

    HMS Kenya was a Crown Colony-class cruiser.
    Research into declassified State Department records on the Soviet Union has revealed that on 19 March 1942, Kenya transported 10 tons of gold from the Soviet Union to the United States as payment for loans and war materials.[1]

    Kenya also avoided damage in air attacks by the Germans on 27–28 March. She had by now received the nickname "The Pink Lady", due to her Mountbatten Pink camouflage paint, during the commando raid against installations on Vågsøy Island off the Norwegian coast. This was attributed to her Mountbatten Pink camouflage blending in with the pink marker dye the Germans were using in their shells, preventing German spotters from distinguishing between shell splashes and the ship. The force returned to Scapa Flow in early January 1942. Kenya returned to escorting Arctic convoys between March and May 1942. On 22 March after escorting PQ12 to Murmansk Kenya was loaded with 10 tonnes of Russian bullion and took it back to Britain for safe keeping.

    HMS Activity was an escort carrier that served with the Royal Navy during the Second World War. After the war, she was sold into merchant service as the MV Breconshire, serving for over 20 years until scrapped in 1967.

    Operation Pedestal (referenced in Italian sources as the Battaglia di Mezzo Agosto) was a British operation to get desperately needed supplies to the island of Malta in August 1942.

    Eldred, I wish you good health and hope you can find the time to enlighten us with your experiences in the Met branch, - what Met data was available at sea, how it was transmitted and received (was it coded, other than SYNOP?) did you have radio-sonde etc.
    Would also be very interested in your career paths after your RN service.
    With very best wishes - SPUD

  346. Daniel pollard

    Hello I'm searching for information and people who may of served and known my grandmother miss Molly Atkin in the early 1950s I know she was at und sanderling, lossiemouth and culdrose in 1953 when she became pregnant. Any information would be greatly accepted. You can contact me at thank you Daniel pollard

  347. Brian Gleeson

    Wrens Reunion May 2016
    The picture shows two thirds of the June 1976 Wrens met course.They signed on at Dauntless on 11th May 1976 prior to joining the school.
    L to R Caroline Bennett(nee Roberts) Denise Gleeson (nee Bucknall) Pamela Jamieson (nee Betts)Alison Wilde (nee Rowe)
    A most enjoyable time with non stop remembrances of their time in the WRNS. They were also joined by Sheila Ashby and Caroline Reps(nee Hill)so a superb time with very special company

  348. Eric Daniels

    I recently discovered the Cloud Observers web site which was a wonderfully revealing find. Sadly I cannot find any reference to the Kete class of May/June 1950. As a National Service rating I only served for two years and was an observer at HMS Blackcap near Warrington then finished my service on HMS Vanguard (the last of the battleships)
    I am now 85 so there are probably few of my generation still around but if anyone remembers me it would be great to make contact.
    I note that Jim Warren features prominently in the Society. We worked together for a while at HMS Blackcap. The last time we met was at Ginger Harrop`s wedding.

    1. arthur

      Welcome Eric.
      We have been trying to contact you but the email address that was supplied to the website does not work. Perhaps you could email us directly via out Contact Us page. That way we should be able to reply directly to you.

  349. Catherine White (nee Roberts)

    Just came across Cloudobservers Newsletter 2005 (don't remember who sent it to me)with this Web site address. I joined the WRNS in 1958 until 1961 as a Met Wren. Started out at Abbotsinch, then off to Malta for 18 months (Birzebuggia), and finally Culdrose. I'm currently a realtor in Maryland, U.S., just outside Washington D.C.. Still in touch with some former colleagues, although I recognize a couple of names on the fallen shipmates list. Loved being a Met Wren.

  350. Margot Stewart (nee Cooper)

    I was on Met course at Kete in 1958 and there I met Cathy Roberts. After Met course I spemt 2 1/2 years at Culdrose and then on to Yeovilton. I left the service in 1962 as a Leading Wrem. I now live in Seattle, USA

  351. Ben mutton

    Hi I went to RNSOMO in 1991 does anyone have the class photo to share? With po nev Townsend Mark channon, chris Segar, Jamie Taylor, Cathy, John Collinge

  352. John Whitfield

    Question for Cathy Roberts, whilst you were at Kete did you know a tiny Met wren called Margaret,I believe her Father was a Vicar or something similar, use to keep me in hand when I was my course for one.

  353. kenny ashton

    Johnny, I think you are floggin a dead horse here mate, everybody who used to subscribe on a regular basis seem to have disappeared from view or are all on extended walking holidays in the Himalayas.
    The young guns are taking over!

  354. Johnny Whitfield

    It would appear so Ken, I often remember the old days at Kete and Culdrose where Met Men were Men and Met wrens were????
    Glad to see you are still kicking, my legs are shot but I still have the weights upstairs resting for the time being.
    Long Life Mate
    Johnny W

  355. kenny ashton

    In the absence of other contributors Johnny hope you have a good Christmas this year, don't drink too much.
    Personally I am off to sunny Fuerteventura for the holidays, a bit of sun, sea and a LOT of sangria.
    Keep your chin up buddy, we are still on the right side of the turf and long may it remain so!

  356. John Evans

    Just checking to see if i have remembered how to get in here after a rather long break.
    I thought that the Young Ones had taken over long ago when I found it difficult to understand the language, especially the dates therein.

  357. Ray Brooker

    Yes, still alive, or just about. Enough to attempt a reaction from a few people and get this guestbook up and running again! I was going to mention a visit to an old American Aircraft Carrier, kept in good condition and open for tours.. it was the one which we all saw on TV picking up the astronauts who first walked on the moon. Was it Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin? And what was the name of the ship? It is docked in the Naval base in Aleneda, just off San Francisco, California, where my son works. Good to see a ship from the Sixties again!
    Can't read the messages in the Guestbook any more, because of the blue background, so will have to annoy the wife by asking her to read them. Happy New Year to all.

  358. Ian Plackett

    After being in touch with Ashley Price on Facebook I decided to have a look on here and see the usual reprobates are still postiong though can't remember seeing you on here before Steve Howard.

  359. kenny ashton

    Might have been the USS Ticonderoga Ray,I know that was about in the early sixties because it was in the Phillipines with the Victorious in '61 or'62 when I was on the Vic.
    Good to see you and others back on the Guestbook!

  360. Ray Brooker

    That's the one, Kenny; in the hangar it has the helicopter that plucked them out of the sea, and also the module that they splashed down in. It all looks very, how shall I put it, Heath Robinson, but it was cutting-edge stuff in those days. The Carrier itself is a revelation after serving on Victorious and Hermes - it even had a library and cinema! All the old fellers acting as guides were bemoaning the fact that their Navy was shrinking to nothing nowadays - where have we heard that before......


  361. John Evans

    Talking of carriers, t,other day in the wilds of Norfolk (UK) I came across a 15ft model of a carrier which needs a new home and wondered whether any of you well-off pensioners could be interested. It has a good collection of aircraft and deck equipment and I'm told it is easy to move as it has just come back from a display somewhere. 'Easy' may be a relative term though. One obvious drawback is that it is the USS Enterprise but you can't have everything I suppose If anybody is interested I have contact details.

  362. Brian Gleeson

    Denise and me had a most enjoyable get together yesterday, 23rd January, with Ash, Budgie, Charlie and Gill, Colin and Jean at the Royal Oak at Car Colston. An excellent meal and great company. It is always good to meet up folks many thanks for your company. Thank you Ashley for setting it up and we look forward to the next one.

  363. John Whitfieldd

    I am not sure whether its just me or seem to have lost planet met but the only names I seem to remember are Ken Ashton and Ray Brooker, is it because the Met Branch that knew has now forgotten, I believe Ray Brooker and myself were both Pioneers in Asweps which was the original concept of Metoc. I see reunions amongst the few but never any more of us oldies.

  364. kenny ashton

    Johnny my good friend, you have to realize that many of the characters from our era saw that period of their lives as over and finished with, and there is nothing wrong with that ethos. There are only a few of us who see any merit in reminiscing they way we, you and I and Ray and a couple of others do.
    Personally I like to talk about that period of my life, all of which was immensley precious and enjoyable to me.You have to appreciate that it is not always the case for others of our era to do the same, for whatever reason.There are those who move on and find other periods of their lives more important, and indeed there may be others who want to forget all about the time they spent in the Andrew.As far as I am concerned there will always be some incidents of my time as a Met geyser that will bear raising and airing yet again!
    Long may that be so, cos when I stop I will almost certainly be "brown bread"!

  365. kenny ashton

    this is for the Secretary
    I have tried to contact you by email but the capcha code foxes me every time.
    I note in the departed Shipmates there is an entry for 2010 "DAVID BROOKS". Was that the David Brooks who was a two ringer forecaster who eventually worked at Anglia Television?
    I shared some great times with him at Lee in the early sixties

  366. Ray Brooker

    Kenny - that was indeed Lt. Cdr Brooks that you saw in Departed Shipmates. I was lucky enough to spend a commission on the Happy Hermes with him; he was a great man and saved me losing my hook when I was duty Met rating in Cape Town - and couldn;t resist a run ashore......or it might have been in Alongopo city. Probably the latter!I

  367. kenny ashton

    Well Ray thanks for that, he could not have been very old if he died in 2010.He really was a great fella, he used to love playing the part of that Spanish chap, "seenyor totoff" as he did on many occasions when we were at Lee together.
    I was in the south on business in late 60's or early 70's when I saw him forecasting on Anglia TV and gave him a quick call.
    How very sad.
    I always check Departed Shipmates, but I hate to see it when it is somebody I knew well, and particularly when they were an integral part of my life and there are a good few of those within that list.
    Keep in touch Ray

  368. kenny ashton

    Just a small amendment to my previous post, it could not have been early seventies when I saw Dave Brooks on Anglia television, it must have been eighties or possibly early nineties

    1. arthur

      Hi Dai
      A significant milestone that I am sure will be celebrated in true naval fashion. We are one of the Associations that have more female members than men. We will be marking this milestone with a special Download that has been prepared for us by Mairi Squibb.

    1. arthur

      Hi Ivor
      We received a postcard from you but nothing else as yet. As said down under - No Worries.
      We will process your membership and be in touch. There is no annual fee, because of the branch size, the association runs on a one time payment. If we need extra funds for anything then we put out a plea via the website.
      Welcome aboard
      Arthur (Charlie) Charles

  369. Ray Brooker

    Does anyone know where I can buy a Pussers bedcover? You surely remember them, with the anchor in the centre, on every bed or bunk you ever slept in. There must be thousands of surplus covers somewhere!

  370. kenny ashton

    Ray, Nice to see you back in circulation.
    Do not know where you could buy a pusser's bed cover, but if you get one it will go nicely with your FAA pyjamas!
    Have you tried AMAZON ?

  371. kenny ashton

    As it happens AMAZON have a lovely Royal Navy towel, if you get one big enough it might be a good substitute!

  372. arthur

    Believe the bed covers were used in prisons, hence they are now rare. We hunted around for one for Cloud Observers some time ago without joy then were gifted one from a Wrens car boot!!!!

  373. peter latham

    fm pete latham,just updated my browser, can actually see the pdf phot's,and see wot a handsome dashing metman i was back in 1974 sad to see my shipmate from Ark 1976 trev Ellsum has passed rip oppo

  374. Ray Brooker

    Thanks Arthur - someone else must have one, and I'll offer £50 cash for one. Come on everybody, where are they?!

  375. Ray Brooker

    Sorry to be a pain, but I can no longer read the choices at the top of the new Homepage - they are so faint. Any chance of a change to something bolder?

    1. arthur

      Hi Ray
      Have changed the theme (software that controls how the web site looks and operates)to a simpler one which may get changed again. The theme that we have used for the last few years is no longer supported so we get nastygrams from the host.
      Do not know what you are using to view the website so cannot replicate your issue.
      Arthur (Chas to some)(Charlie to most)

  376. Rick Richard Parkinson

    Hi Arthur saw you on your lonesome at the Cenotaph, if you would like some company next year I am willing to give it a try. Hopefully am having a back operation so should be up and running by November. By the way am single again,having lost the love of my life, so better lock up your mothers.
    See you all soon hopefully

    Rick Parky

  377. Mitch Mitchell (Ex SE).

    I look at your web-site very frequently & I've noticed that a lot of messages & comments are not published, why is that ?

    1. arthur

      Hi Mitch
      Websites that include a guestbook or some form of contact are unfortunately the target of spam, phishing
      and other attacks. The more prominent the site the greater the need for security as these websites attract more
      jokers from curious nation states down to some ex crab typing in his three bed semi.
      In the latest version of Cloud observers we have up to now deleted 145 thousand Spam Comments alone. It may be that one or two genuine messages have been
      lost in this necessary filtration however, we structure the site in such a way as
      messages from members and other trusted parties pass straight through.
      Hope this answers your question

  378. Mitch Mitchell.

    Hi Arthur,
    Many thanks for your reply.I will be continuing to visit the site.
    (Please give my regards to Colin, served on the "Intrepid" together.)

    1. arthur

      Finally sold for £71 plus postage. Rare item considering there must have been thousands made. Cloudobservers was gifted one from one of our lady members, it is used as part of a display and always draws comments.

  379. kenny ashton

    So very sad to see that George Clevett has crossed the bar.
    George was one of my mentors on my first sea draft to the Eagle in late '58, the other one being Mick Lehan, the killick was John Moran.
    Our paths crossed again much later at the Admiralty when George was in ASWEPS when it was in its infancy.
    Remembered as a gentleman and an all around good bloke

  380. Ray Brooker

    Regarding the bedcover, they are rare as hen's teeth - don't know where they all went.
    As there is one available to us (Charlie) why don't you get EXACT replicas made, and sell them at, say, £40 or £50 each. They are in great demand! If you are not an entrepreneur or salesman, ask Kenny Ashton to do it......failing that, I'll do it for you. Don't just forget it!

  381. soud

    Sad to see that George C has died (for me Citadel 1964-66)
    The weather plays a deciding role in horse racing but, what is unknown to the outside world, is that us METOBS have a more direct influence ….
    The Grand National is Saturday week and us cloud observers will know that the previous two winners were MANY CLOUDS and last year ONE FOR ARTHUR. (made my grandchildren rich as I had it on all their ‘slips’ (I was the bookie!).
    This year there are a few appropriate but outside the 40 horse limit (No 56 Splash of Ginge) (?Anyone heard of Gary since he relocated South?) and No 52 Vintage Clouds) These are unlikely to be runners.
    One that is a likely runner at 40/1 is No 22 CHASE THE SPUD
    Need I say more !

  382. George ‘Tug’ Wilson

    Hi all! Just found this site! Sad to hear some of the names who’ve ‘crossed the bar’!

    Happy times!

  383. Steve Howard

    Charlie - I recently clicked on to the link featuring you at the Remembrance Day parade last year. Just wanted to say a big 'Thanks', you did a marvellous job in representing us all. You did us proud.
    We're off on our travels again this Friday 13th. Hoping to pick up an illegal or two on the other side of the channel in the rear storage area of the motorhome and drop them off in northern Italy rather than Dover.

  384. Anne Westaway

    Class 6/67
    I see we were a very large group. Have recently been in touch with Glynis Palmer.

  385. Don Watling

    Just to say over the last two days have read every page of the Guest Book and intend to complete an update, with a brief trip down memory lane circa 64/70. I have some paperwork relating to the Branch and will forward such to Charlie hopefully when we meet up on Remembrance Day parade.

  386. Don Watling

    This may be the start. RNSOM 65, having arrived at the school I was to discover I was to be the only man among 9 young ladies.
    How I felt about that I do not recall. The course must have been uneventful and strictly business. Those characters whom left an impression were Crash Evans an embittered individual with a cynical outlook on life. The cleaner, a jovial cornishman whose name I have forgotten. PO John Burden, a most helpful and engaging trainer who had joined to fly!. This was opposite to the LtCdr Cropper who treated his students as ESN. However the mess life and runs ashore were a new way of life for this former cop. With no civvies to wear the lads fitted me up with an attire most odd. Spending time in PZ was fun an enlightening Other moments whilst training meant appearing before the Cdr to be granted leave to attend court in the Metropolis, to give evidence for those cases I had instigated whilst policing. Not sure the Andrew understood my situation. After training came Brawdy and thats another story.

  387. kenneth ashton

    Have just read Don Watling's post, and whilst I never met the gentleman I would probably guess that his police training had developed his ability to size up people he met very quickly, accurately and very succinctly.
    Welcome to the Guestbook my friend

  388. Kristina Keeley-Jones

    Hi. I’m a daughter of Charles Simon Keeley who sadly passes away in 1978.

    I am sorry to see that Clem Oliver has passed away. I believe he was at Christmas Island at the same time as Clement.

    My mum had some correspondence with Clem in the early 90s following a radio 2 programme searching for Christmas Island shipmates.

    If anyone knows of my dad or of Clem and his time at Christmas Island it would be so lovely to hear about it.

    Thanks Kristina.

  389. Keith Cornick

    Thought I would take this opportunity to wish everyone a most enjoyable Crimbo. Despite a forecast for rain on the big day here, we plan to laze it with grog and scran. Cheers to all those I spent time with and may the New Year be a good one for you. A Special Hello to "Bugle Pete, Julie and the Girls", and a long owed greeting to "Elusive Budgie Burgess". During this latest house move, I discovered your lost eloquently written letter from way back. Fond memories of fabulous times. If in fact you live in Norway I suspect you moved there to be close to Santa for first dibs at the presents! Merry Crimbo all and a Happy New Year. Keith.

  390. kenneth ashton

    Have just been looking back through the guestbook and it is not hard to see that all those contributors from the very early pages in 2011 are no longer contributing, and that includes myself.
    It would seem that all of us in the 70 to 80 age bracket have swapped all our salty sea dog stories and swing the lights sagas,all our tot time tales and stories of hairy runs ashore. Maybe there is nothing else for us to contribute. This I find sad, the Ray Brookers and the Johnny Whitfields, the Kenny Ashtons and the Dave Peggs and many others, have given us all some fantastic laughs and jogged our memories over the years and in my case sponsored a desire to share some of the details of life after leaving the service.
    Indeed I produced a potted history of the years following my leaving the service which I shared with a few of the above names contributors.
    now it seems that the generations of Met people who followed us all need to take up the baton and keep this wonderful Guestbook running with tall tales and adventures, experiences that they had as "non tot drinkers" post 1967.
    Thanks also to those moderators who keep the "Departed Shipmates" log up to date. It has allowed me to keep up to date with those people who,although they may have crossed the celestial gangway, we admired, learnt from, respected, and in some cases remembered with much love and deep affection.
    Au revoir for now, but not goodbye, I look forward to seeing contributions from those who followed us and maybe, just maybe some more from the "Old Stagers"!

  391. whitfield

    Hi Ken,
    Nice to see you are still going strong even though we are approaching our 80's,
    I must admit that in my 8 years in the branch I only met a few of my fellow Met observers, therefore may of the names I see are unknown to me,
    Actually just before your entry I was looking at 2 handsome young men who were at the Floral dance in Helston, I was the one holding the Monkey.
    Those were the good old days,
    I looked at my Naval movements and found I had been drafted some 18 times in my short 8year plus a couple of months but that didn't include Aswep exercises on the USS Wasp and Londonderry.
    Often wished I had stayed in.
    Wishes to all that knew those early years.

  392. Ray Brooker

    Well, after the usual contributors (Ken and John) I thought I had better prove that I am still alive and kicking! With John mentioning age, a younger mate of mine recently asked me how old I was , and I told him I was trombones at present, but raoidly approaching Sunset Strip. He had no idea what I was talking about.
    Unfortunately, my sight is deteriorating rapidly from Stargart Disease (very rare and incurable) and I am on the waiting list for a guide dog. I have promised to raise money for this charity, as unbelievably each dog costs £45,000 over their two tears of training - if you don't believe me, just Google it.
    I am going to do a skydive for them, and three of my mates have promised me £3,000 between them, providing I jump but don't open the parachute.
    Now here's a question for all of us oldies. How many (mostly defunct) Air stations can you name in UK - locations and HMS tite? A starter is Helstom amd HMS Seahowk.
    Might get a couple of extra contributors.......

  393. Johnny Whitfield

    Now just 3 weeks from my big 80.
    Here are a few RNAS which in my time of just over 8 years I have set my foot in, though with some a day or so.
    Hal Far HMS Falcon, Brawdy HMS Goldcrest.
    Bramcote HMS Gamecock.
    Lee-On-Solent, HMS Daedalus.
    Arbroath, HMS Condor.
    Abbosinch, HMS Sanderling.
    Lossiemouth, HMS Fulmar.
    Yeolvilton HMS Heron..
    I had a total of 18 Drafts in my time not including the exercises on USS WASP and Londonderry.

  394. Johnny Whitfield

    Ray they are just the few I have actually been but just a tick went to RNAS Ford but can't remember the HMS name.

    1. arthur

      If you go the the Fleet Air Arm page you will find a download of all Naval Airstations. Compiled by the Cloudobservers team it is now the standard reference document used by many others including the Museum.
      Nice to see a conversation springing up here.
      Regards to all from Charlie

  395. Johnny Whitfield

    Sorry Arthur you seem to have spoilt Ray's bit of Fun, The RNAS Stations I have listed were the ones I have actually visited, and I think that was the gist of Rays entry, I have been to the place you mentioned of 100's of RNAS going way back.
    Just one Question how many remember the reunion on board the Victory, the best I have been too.

  396. kenneth ashton

    Ray, I must correct you, it was Culdrose, not Helston. Near Helston I grant you, but called Culdrose.
    Sorry to hear about your eye trouble buddy,
    I hope you get your guide dog sooner rather than later, and good to see you back on the Guestbook. We rattled a few cages back in the day, but we were rightly reprimanded by the moderator for our transgressions.

  397. kenneth ashton

    Just remembered, there was one near Warrington in Lancashire, I think John Moran was there for a while called HMS Blackcap RNAS STRETTON

  398. Ray Brooker

    well done Charlie for wrecking what was a good conversation! Never mind, Y couldn't read yhem anyway. Was one listed in the Far East, because I kbow of one in the 60s.

  399. Ray Brooker

    That was the one I thought nobody would get, but I forgot It was HMS Sembang. The choppers from the carriers used it a lot, whereas the fixed-wingers used RAF Changi, RAF Seletar or another one whose name escapes me.

  400. SPUD

    Sorry to hear of your sight problems. Is this the same condition that Tony Newrick got in his 20s just after leaving AFS mid 60s ?
    I will put a donation, on your behalf, to Guide Dogs at next opportunity
    Best wishes for a continued fruitful future.

    The missing Singapore base is RAF TENGAH.

  401. Ray Brooker

    Hi Spud - I know nothing about Tony Newrick's eyesight going awry in the mid 60;s Was he invalidrd out - and what is ATS?

  402. SPUD

    Hi Ray
    All I remember was being told that he had serious eyesight problems soon after leaving AFS (Admiralty Forecast Section) (not ATS !). He married a Met Wren (I think) and it was a friend of hers that told me after I left PROTECTOR and joined Northwood circa mid 1968 - (all names forgotten i'm afraid).

  403. SPUD

    Ray - I meant to ask if you had done Easter Island ? I was earmarked for it as my first 'proper' draft late 62 early 63 but joined you in Singapore instead. I think the drafts there ended at that time. (- very glad I missed that one !)

  404. Ray Brooker

    Spud - never went to Easter Island, thank goodness, but Bogey Knight did (Ex PO MET)
    HMS Terror was a good draft, but we were one in three watchkeeping througghout - Afternoon one day 1300 to 1800? then morning and night 0700 to 1300 and 1800 right through to 0700 the following morning, then off until 1300 the next afternoon. Cannot remember the exact times, but with only three of us to cover 24 hours a day, pretty tirting. I remember going straight to sleep at 0800 one mormimg, and woken by some P.O. who ordererd me to get up. I refused and found myself in cells at the main gate. Part two to follow! Do you remember this?

  405. SPUD

    Yes Ray remember it well. The HMS TERROR Master at Arms did not like 'airy fairies' (and we Mets were the only ones there) and he was a pixxhead who kept a bottle in his desk at work - I know that because I was trooped for riding my motorcycle without crash helmet - only happened because I was parked at the filling station down the road from TERROR and a 'crusher' (L/Reg) called Timothy Valentine O'Donovan stopped across the road in his 'tilly' and beckoned me to come over - so I rode my bike across the road without helmet and he did me for 'riding without helmet ! When I reported to the jossman a 0900 next morning he was hurriedly replacing his bottle top and putting it in his desk drawer. He knew I saw it and I got off without a charge. As for being trooped for sleeping during the day I had that nonsense many many times in HMS PROTECTOR where I had to get up every night to do a 0300 (local) ob (0600 GMT) and plot a chart in prep for the flying brief then back to bed for a quick sleep. The duty PO would come into the mess at 0645 and shake me and relieve me of my 'blue' card (no shore leave) (not that there was much of that in Antarctica - but still had to report to the Cox'n to get it back). I had another run-in with the crushers when I joined Lee for a short 'refresher' in-between my Patrols in PROTECTOR. I joined on a Sunday night (Sep '68) and reported to the reg office just inside the gate on the right, where two L/regs were on duty - on entering and being ignored I asked "which of you is the one who can read and which one can write" - the gruff reply was to "get out" and come back in 'properly' - so I went out and came back in and asked "... so..have you decided yet" . Got away with that one.

  406. SPUD

    .... just remembered the name of the joss - COBBLEDICK ! - went well with crusher Timothy Valentine O'Donovan !!

  407. Ray Brooker

    I remember the Master at Arms very well and also Tim - both of whom I had run-ins with, I was on HMS Tyne for a short while in 1961 and Tim ran me in for not stowing my hammock away by 0700. Seven days stoppage of leave - station card taken from me. Massive co-incidence, as he was also on HMS Hermes with me as well as HMS Terror.
    While I was being kept in cells at Terror, information was eventually brought to the Reg Office attention of our watchkeeping pattern, and how many hours we were putting in between us. Eventually I was put before the Captain, who had obvviously beem imformed of this, and I got seven days stoppage of pay and leave. I had to report to the Reg Office three times a day and had to be woken so as not to miss any! I remember crawling out of my pit at 1200 after a night on watch and just making it in tine - the Jossman told me I was just a useless Airy Fairy and not a proper sailor like him, Got away with answering in my best Chinese accent 'Yes Master'
    The PO who got me into this mess was told not to disturb the watchkeeoers mess ever again.

  408. Ray Brooker

    Anyone else had run-ins with the Reg. staff? Or beem punished for petty o ffenses? Let's hear your story......

  409. kenneth ashton

    WHAT IS A MASTER AT ARMS, sorry boys i only spent 6 months at sea when i was a very young newly qualified Met 1. on the Eagle and eighteen months on the Vic.
    the rest of my time I spent mostly in civvies, having 2 postings at AFS and one other at Hal Far as part of HAFMED, so strictly speaking can't really call myself a sea going MET Rating.
    However, there were some compensations, the West End for one and every other day off at Golden Bay, no sunshades but lots of Basal Cell Carcinomas all over my face in later years, requiring many operations by talented surgeons to ensure that I maintained my classic good looks with just the odd scar to give that dashing, dangerous appearance.
    Love to hear from you sea going folks though!

  410. Ray Brooker

    Ken - the Master at Atms, also known as the Jossman (joss is the Mandarin word for luck) was responsible, amongst other things for issuing draft chits when you left your ship - wpuld it be good or bad luck? Hence the old matrlot song I wonder yes I wonder, if the josssman made a blunder, when he made this draft chit out for me. I think he was a CPO, but very much in charge of the Reg Office, He marched you in to face the Captain, and read out specifically what you weree charged with. Mine at Terror was direct dis-obedience of orders - I was very lucky at the time, as my Divisional Officer (Met Officer) had explained extenuating circumstances beforehand. The Jossman was furious and told me useless airy fairies s ould never be counted as proper sailors.

  411. kenneth ashton

    Thanks for the explanation Ray and whilst I never had the pleasure or otherwise of appearing at the Captain's table I have experienced the irritation of true sailors with those of the Naval Airman Met persuasion.
    When on the Victorious and obviously requiring to sleep during the forenoon after an all night Met office watch, I was rudely awakened by the messdecks Chief who screamed in my face "what are you then lad" to which I replied " I am Met chief".
    Not knowing what employment this alien being had, he turned away in disgust with the parting words as follows: "WHAT IS THIS MAN'S NAVY COMING TO, SLEEPING IN THE FORENOON, RIDICULOUS"

  412. Ray Brooker

    I've had that happen to me many times Ken, mainly by Navy Regulators who have never had to do a full night on duty. One R.P.O. that I had an encounter with said 'In this man's Navy, nobody was told to do Middle AND Morning watch' ie, Midnight until 0800. This was answered by me saying 'Is that right? I had better stop then. Will you have a word with my boss, the Met Officer?'
    One at an Air Station told me that he had seen more waves on his tot than I had at sea......b----y Airy Fairies.

  413. Johnny Whitfield

    Hi Ray and Ken,
    Now I have just turned 80 trying to remember past events is becoming more difficult, come to think trying to remember current events aint good,
    Whilst on board HMS Lion my baby was young Cutting and just before we were setting off for a Exercise in the North Sea, He had his 20th Birthday and I, being a Father Waffs took him ashore in Portsmouth and introduced him to Rum he seemed to of had a great time, got him back safely ready for the sailing the next day. The next day I was in the office no cutting he was sick bay, off to Hospital so I was the sole person in the Office apart from the Forecaster who couldn't give a
    Sh-one-T, I was on my tod catching a few minutes when I could but carried on till I was well and truly peed off, so went to the Bridge and in front of the Captain and other senior Officers, I shouted to my Forecaster that I was knackered and after 72 hours without sleep or proper meals, I was off to Breakfast and my bunk.
    Never heard anything that day or after, though wasn't on the good books of the forecaster, forgot his name. Met Cutting now a Officer on the best Met reunion on the Victory, apparently he as allergic to Rum.

  414. Ray Brooker

    I'm a bit confused _ was this the Mike Cutting who joined up in 1963 - see Departed Shipmates. I was on HMS Hermes with him in the late Sixties, and we were both P,O, Instructors at Culdrose Met school after that, I left the Navy in 1974 and lost touch, but he left in 1985, presumably having done gis 22 tears. This drosn't point to him being an Officer, as surely he would have stayed in
    londer, I know he married a Met Wren called Rose, but her Surname escapes me. They had twin girls, and he died of a heart attack in 1995 at a very young age, Be glad to know if anybody can shed a bit more light on him, in or out of the Navy, as we were good mates.

  415. SPUD

    Ray and Ken - there is no record of anyone called Cutting in the Navy List in that era.
    Like most i'm sure, I was shocked to read of MAC's death some years back - so young, as was Roger Edwards. I think he served with me at AFS 1964 (Roger did) or was it WFWC Northwood in '68 when I came off Protector and before I had my last job at NAS Portland. I see he was on Charlies course - maybe he will have a few memories of MAC.

  416. Johnny Whitfield

    Now I am really getting confused but I am sure it was a Young Michael Cutting who was on board HMS Lion in 1965 and went sick prior to sailing,
    Does anyone remember a Reunion on the Victory long before we had more formal affairs, I may be completely wrong but I am sure Cutting was the Officer on Board who was able to arrange it. I went with JTC Bell and his wife and I was with mine, It went on till early hours, A speech was made by Brin who rose quite high as a officer in the Branch, I dont' think Cutting became actually continued as a Met Officer more general service.

  417. Johnny Whitfield

    Sorry that last bit didn't make sense, I don't believe Cutting continued in the Met Branch but had his commission in a General Service or the Like.

  418. Ray Brooker

    Confusion solved! The person you are trhinking of was Lt. Cdr. John Whitehead, who was on board Victory at that time. I joined up at HMS Ganges with him and was on the same Met course at Culdrose. One of us did very well in the R.N. and it wasn:t me!

  419. arthur

    Correct Spud, I was on the same course as Mac Cutting, a great character. In 1964 or thereabouts I got a pierhead jump to join HMS Victorious in Singapore to make up the Met team of George Clevitt the PO, Rick Parkinson the killick, my great mate Barry Ingamells was a Met 2, the rest of us comprised myself, Mac Cutting and Tim Preston.
    We lived in the overcrowded Seamans mess, a real eye opener, I became the keeper of the books relating to the Tot and Mess Beer funds but that is another story! Fond memories of Mac and our time together in the far east.

  420. SPUD

    ... JDD Whitehead was a regular on here around the time of the Pompey 2009 reunion. He sent Charlie some genuine Sophia Loren memorabilia (not underwear just to be clear) which Charlie presented to me at the reunion and I got Gill to forward to G Blewitt knowing he was passionately in love with her! I hope G Blu is keeping well - amazing memory for detail in all his posts on here !
    I kick myself for missing the HMS VICTORY reunion - I was the Ops Officer in INVINCIBLE at the time alongside in Pompey and had bumped into JDD somewhere locally. Interesting that two ex-mets became Captain of HMS VICTORY (will think of the other name (possibly Polish sounding?) the moment I press 'send' to this dit. Interesting also that I do not know of any 'mets' who jumped ship and became 'crushers' - L/Regulators (killicks joined the Reg Branch 'sideways') ! Says something about the branch shirley !
    Best wished to John (JDD) and G Blu .

    1. arthur

      Frank Nowosielski ex LA Met as Lt Cdr C/O HMS Victory in 2005. Upon Retirement believe he took up post with Navy Museuum Portsmouth. Believe Frank was longest serving Captain of HMS Victory. What a Nelsonian bunch we turned out to be from this small branch.

  421. kenneth ashton

    I do seem to remember a guy called Cutting spending some time at AFS with me maybe around 1966 or early '67.
    If it is the guy I am thinking about he was a big Derby County fan and was over the moon when Brian Clough took them into the First Division As I remember, he was a real nice guy.

    1. arthur

      Hi Ken, think Mac was a Londoner, the Derby names I remember are Barry Wilkinson and Ian Plackett.Ian pops up on occasionally on Facebook so I will ask him if he doesn't read this first. Cloughie is still a god in the East Midlands.

  422. ray Brooker

    Well, started as a boy entrant at HMS Ganges in 1958, having run away from a detestable bording school, and signed on for 9 years, as it was then. Unfortunately this 9 years did not start until my 18th birthday in 1960, so really it was 11 years. I then stgned on for a further 5 tears and left in 1974, During all that time I only made it to P.O. and having read all the latest on this website, I was a bit of a failure! Perhaps Spud could furnish us with all the METs who succeeded to the Wardroom - and how far they got.

  423. SPUD

    In response to Ray and needing excuse not to weed the patio (plus cricket and Ascot on radio) herewith my pennyworth - In no particular order –
    Clem Oliver – Lt (SD) (AV) 1950/60s
    Bryn Telfer Captain (was CO HMS INTREPID Falklands War) (50/60s Met, officer till mid 1990s)
    JDD Whitehead – Lt Cdr (CO VICTORY) (60s Met - 70/80s officer)
    Frank Nowosielski - Lt Cdr (CO VICTORY)
    Roger Edwards – Lt (Supply) (1960s Met, 1970s officer)
    ? Bell – Lt (Pilot) 1960s
    SPUD – Cdr (Observer) (61 – 69 met then flying till 1995).
    Rosie Locke – at least 2nd Officer WRNS 1960s Met - 70s officer.
    Liz Walmsley – Cdr RN (was the senior female serving at sea when on HMS DARING 2007/9) 1978/85 Met, then officer till 2012.

    I suspect that many more wrens were commissioned because there was no direct entry route - they joined as wren rating then commissioned when qualified and passed Admiralty Interview Board.

    If I have erred in my list I apologise but there is really no way to track so I have trawled the course photos in the hope they would jog my memory.

    In going through the photos I noticed (unrelated to above) a pic of David Philpot in Course No 1/79 dressed as a four ring Captain but in all subsequent phots dressed as a Commander ! (…. wonder - did he fail the ‘frothy’ coffee making test … !!!)

    Finally - a bit more for this rainy day ….

    Confucius did Not say ……

    Man who wants pretty nurse must be patient.
    Passionate kiss, like spider web, leads to undoing of fly.
    Lady who goes camping with man must beware of evil intent.
    Man who leaps off cliff jumps to conclusion.


  424. SPUD

    …. afterthought – remembered one of the wrens on my course 2/1962 was commissioned but can’t remember which one of the four in the back row – maybe Meg (Murray) knows ?

  425. ray Brooker

    When I was an Instructor at Culdrose I taught a Wren called Travis Jones, a lovely girl who had joined as an Officer Wren entrant. She had to qualify as a Met 3 before moving on. You will be able to find her on a course of Wrens amongst the photos on this website - around 1970. My eyesight is not good enough to find her. She achieved 99% a record while I was there. Perhaps Spud can dig a bit and find out what became of her.
    Spud - I live in Somerset and have a season ticjet for the County team who play at Taunton. A brilliant team this season - winners of the One Day Cup and top of Division One. I have high hopes of them winning the T20 competition as well, and achieving an historic treble!


    Arthur thanks for that of course it was Ian Plackett I was thinking of. I am sure he will be mightyly p****d off that I did not remember that he was at AFS at that time.
    I seem to remember that I had a massive bet with him that Derby County would never make the First Division, must have been at least a fiver. Never paid him though, I think he got drafted before it actually happened. Blimey the interest on that would probably buy you a house now.
    Don't tell him for goodness sake!

    1. SPUD

      Ken - I was at AFS in summer of '66 (went off to HNS PROTECTOR for Antarctic duties in August) and take great pleasure in telling my grandchildren that I was 'near' Wembly when England last won the World Cup. ... now .... wonder if any of the AFS mets went to Wembley ? - likely would be Ian Plackett, and Pete Lonsdale (Everton) Ken we must have served together for a while that year - but can not remember !

  427. SPUD

    Yes I have tracked down Travis-Jones but there is no indication she was ever commissioned. (I hold only a few Navy Lists). The biggest dropout in the process to becoming a commissioned Officer was written in QR&AI (Queens Regulations and Admiralty Instructions) where it stated that a female member of the Wrens would be entitled to ‘RELEASE’ on marriage ! Your lovely wren, behind you in the course photo 3/72 , was possibly waltzed off by some ‘airy fairy’ before she had a career (I hope this comment is not seen as offensive by any metobs)?
    I sort of apologise to all our readers for being a bit personal with the following -
    Ray - I’m sad that your eyes are going – especially because of your love of cricket. In my last RN job I was the RN user interface in bringing in the Westlands / Agusta MERLIN (Seaking replacement) and spent many happy days at Taunton cricket ground as ‘guest’ of Westlands (Yeovil) (yes free lunch but I had to declare it) and where I saw Brian Lara play in 1994 – but only with his food in the dining room as ‘rain’ stopped play. I live down the road from Yeovil in Dorchester where I run a Hedgehog rescue – the dirtiest of animals ! but at least I am doing something for ‘nature’ ! I also look after a couple of 90’s old fogies – doing their shopping etc etc – so I am content with my soon to be 74yo life goals. If that did not challenge me then my three grandchildren 12, 11 and 6 keep me fit. Thankfully I am in good health and I am also a good liar.
    Best wishes to all out metobs.

  428. SPUD

    ooops - ... below I wrote ...
    "... stated that a FEMALE member of the Wrens would be entitled ... etc -! That is the pressure the modern liberal PC has on an oldie- like me - I don't know what is right or wrong any more !

  429. Johnny Whitfield

    Someone mentioned Cricket, I was and still am a lover of the Game, Remember a few games at Culdrose, also played a lot of Football for the Various Ships, I don't think I remember Ray playing Cricket, I know Ken played at Culdrose,, I often wondered why sporting activities of a individual was never mentioned on a History sheet.

  430. John Whitehead

    Just a note on Mac Cutting, I don't remember him being at the Victory reunion, which was arranged jointly by me as CO and Frank Nowosielski, who was at the time my First Lieutenant, and we could not have done it without the help of Sandy Jones who was at the BBC and go the message out on all local radio in UK! Where was social media when you needed it,
    For Spud, Bryn Telfer was with Intrepid as Commander (he got a mention in dispatches for all that), he was tasked with getting the ship out of semi reserve then the captain Peter Dingemans took over. At that time I was senior warfare officer of Fearless having joined on April 2 1982 as a pier head jump! I then left the ship in late June 82 and worked ashore in Stanley for 6 weeks before joining Invincible as First Lieutenant which is where I met Mac Cutting for the last time. He had relieved Ginge Trent ( I did not know him) Mac Cutting and I together with David Strike had a great mini reunion in Sydney Christmas 1983. I was then, in that crazy world, sent to drive Abdiel, great ship ships company of 128, up to 150 when we had MCM commander on board. So what with that and a commando sqdn, 845 as staff officer and other jobs, I had a somewhat different life from the Met branch. Yet when I sit down with Dave Pegg and we talk about our time in the Branch we realize we were lucky to be in a great branch, smallest in the RN and great job satisfaction, only difference between us, he got Herbert Lott awards for recorded marks in his Met 2s and then again in his Met1s and a uni degree in oceanography whilst at Northward in the oceanographic section, Sups and execps throughout his time then on leaving a HND in electronics followed by his own building company...meanwhile I finally passed Met2 with aver pass and Met 1s with 71% (Bogey Knight got 72%!) and just sats (one Mod). But my best ever job remains Tiger 61 - 63 joined at 17 to an empty office and used W7 to fill it up! I think I was one of the last to have that draft as a single met..long hours...Sorry all bit of a rant but wll adds up to a great 33 years....Saw Yeovil met office on box last night, nobody plotting charts!!! Temp on my screened patio yesterday 44.1C!

    1. SPUD

      JDD you mirror the admiration I have for what may have been the smallest (male element) branch in the Navy - yes maybe ? PHOT was smaller but some of their numbers were posers in front of the mirror which meant duplication
      For the sake of the survival of this site I ask that this comment be taken in the spirit of the '60s where nobody was offended, even me a 'southern' boggie, enduring the 'no Irish boards' in trying to find somewhere to live with a young family in London in the mid '60s when at AFS - despite being in the service of Her Majesty.
      I add that great credit is due to Sir Arthur and Lady Charles !
      ... ps I have added Buck house to this mail.

  431. SPUD

    For Arthur and Co : Now that I realise I am not in a time warp thank you and yours for recovering the Guestbook. It may have disadvantages for gobeens like me when (if) I read the tripe I offered nearly 10 years ago (but it was factual) - but with ano-domini I probably can claim to be 'forgetful' (- I have got beyond the stage of getting to the top of the stairs and wondering why I climbed up ! now I find myself at the foot of the stairs asking myself if I am going up or have I just come down !).
    Good to hear from John (JDD) Whitehead (JDD because whenever he appeared in the Officer's Appointments List OAL there was no doubt that it was 'our' Whitehead). John I hope you don't melt in your adopted land - we are shivering in 25C here in the old country ! Ian Plackett is another MET domiciled in frogland and I know there are many others - don't be offended - Boris Johnson is reported today as having called the French (politicians) 'TU+DS' (letter 18 abc) at some stage in his career !
    Think we last bumped into each other at Whale Island - will be back later when I recollect a bit on Bryn in the early / mid 90s when we both worked in MOD Main Building in Whitehall - we often traveled together on Fri pm as I made my way to Dorchester and he to Weymouth.
    You will see from the recovered guestbook that your Sophia thingies went to (Richard) George Bluett - sadly George's inbox was invariably 'FULL' in those days and I lost contact with him - it would be good to hear that he is keeping well !

    Finally Confucius did not say ...
    War does not determine who is right; it determines who is left.>
    Man who fight with wife all day get no piece at night.
    Man who drives like hell is bound to get there.
    Wise man not keep sledge hammer and slow computer in same room.

  432. John Whitehead

    Thanks Spud...the heat means sun, solar panels + batteries mean no electric bills even running aircon and charging car batteries, regret memory fades remembering you at Whale Island. Perhaps 'cause I was not programmed then to live past 75!!!
    Hopefully having lunch with Pegg in ten days. On old time story eight months after promotion to SDAV found myself OOW of Middle in Ark Royal box steaming in the channel when I casually said to the 2nd officer of the watch 'just think less than a year ago I was a PO MET rating' He replied ' Guess what less than a year ago I was a PO stoker'! If only the ship's company had known. Lesson If others think you can do it, do it. Memories flood back like in left hand seat wx5 of 5 doing 'devil takes the hind most' across Somerset at 200 feet 90 kts(sometimes 100 feet), with me trying to navigate! Happy days. However did work sometimes.....

    1. SPUD

      John - I have a 4kW (max) system (good sunny day 20+ kWh) but not sure the UK has an economical battery storage kit -
      How do you do it in Francaise ?

      1. John Whitehead

        Hi Spud, had 15 panels fitted with two batteries at the moment with 8/8 sun getting about 28 - 30 kwhs per day enough for us and charging a plug in hybrid for free. BUT do not get anything for those that go to the grid!!
        Had a great lunch yesterday with RNA team some 250 kms south of here...Dave Pegg was in good order and hope he is coming to invade our house for a few days in September....Chance for me and him to have a sea food blow out, the wife is a veggie
        so normally starved of it!12 ex navy at the lunch some with partners, reckon we could man a small ship...1 ex 1970's buccaneer pilot, couple of comms, RP, two pussers, one small ship FDO (Plymouth in Falklands) the other 99 and half years old (was a mid in Cumberland in Falklands in 1939, spey as you come enjoys copious red wine!) 2 Mets, one doubling up as seaman, WE, naval air mechanic and couple of other seman, but no stokers!!
        As for Bryn, at the Victory do he was in maritime control of shipping, then went off to Brussel for about 2 - 3 years what happened after that do not know probably retired he would have been 53 at the Victory do so couple of years later he would have been off....

  433. ray brooker

    Charlie - I just wrote a huge comment here for all to read, then put in my correct e-mail address and clicked on Post Comment. It stated that my e-mail address was wromg, so I pressed Back to try again, and it obl iterated my complete missive! Turns out that you are still using an old e-nail address that I left over 5 years ago, As I wanted Spud to get in contact with me personally, by asking you for it, this will not work. What can I do?

    1. arthur

      Hi Ray, not sure I understand but the email address that you used to post your last message works on here.
      If you have a more recent email adress that you want to communicate to Spud then I suggest you put it in the text of another message.
      I will pass you new email address onto Spud then delete your post so that you new email address is not compromised.

  434. SPUD

    Ray - suggest you post again - I have used two different e.mails addrs recently because I don't know the correct one and they have been accepted. I think Charlie is suggesting you send him a 'test' mail with any of your addresses - if he sees one that is not registered (like the dozen of kai-tai's last week) he can work out your current address -

  435. arthur

    The system in use on this Guestbook recognises Email Addresses that have been used previously by human beings and publishes them straightaway. If a new email address appears it puts the message into quaranteen until it is released by myself or the Secretaty Bird. As soon as the new address is relased then all further messages from that address appear straightway in the guestbook. There is also the Spam Trap which catches all the messages from machines and folk that want to sell us pills etc.
    This might appear complicated but is necessary as a we are a relatively well known website and therefore a target for spammers receiving over 50 such messages every day thats over 200,000 in the life of this website version.
    Please don't let this put you off, we have unlimited space for your dits and comments still to be filled.

  436. kenneth ashton

    Did have lot of fun reading those early posts and realizing how very un PC we were sometimes. Ray and I having our knuckles rapped by the moderator for using vitriolic not to say unseemly words about a former colleague, the posts promptly deleted by the moderator so no evidence remains of our uncharitable diatribes.
    Note in Johnny W latest post he nentioned cricket at Culdrose, Danny Nesbit was I/C the cricket team. I remember he picked me once as opening bat, first ball I made