Pull up a bollard - Memoirs of a Matelot.

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Ooooh, nearly forgot.

There was a gun shop in the town square, near the Lenin statue, inside they had loads of cool shit including a big **** off Desert Eagle style hand gun. We went back to the shop the following day so one of the lads who'd been duty the day before could have a skeg.

It was gone. On enquiring as to what had happened to it, the shopkeeper replied "One of the men from your ship bought it about an hour ago."

My guess is that there is now a big **** off Russian gun in some ex matelot's flat that he smuggled home in a tub of grease or something. I'm hoping he did the sensible thing and ditched it over the side on the deployment, but probably not.

I have a pretty good idea who it was.



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Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
The next few days were spent banging in a couple of exercises with the Russians, the highlight being an Air Defence Exercise (ADEX) against some real migs. Considering we'd trained for this our entire careers, my inner Anti Air Warfare geek loved seeing how our ship would fair against one.

Bit of a disappointment, we picked them up fairly easily on radar and tracked them all the way in. No different to doing an ADEX with RAF Hawks, just louder when they flew overhead. If it came to a war, I was confident we could have 'em.

We had a few more days at sea plodding around eventually making our way to Shanghai.

Shanghai was mega, we berthed opposite that massive rocket shaped tower that looks like a thunderbirds spaceship. Unfortunately we had a really busy schedule and didn't get much time ashore. We had an endless stream of tours, unusually this included **** loads of Brit ex pats.

Assuming they were important embassy staff or heads of industry, we cracked on with it. I struck up a conversation with one tour I was guiding round, asking why they'd come on the tour.

"Oh, we're Virgin frequent fliers and this tour is a special reward."

WTF? We were giving up precious time off in a foreign land to show around a bunch of ******* frequent fliers? **** knows who was getting their palm crossed with gold for that one, but it pissed us off big time. We were being used as a tourist attraction.

After that I decided to bullshit my way through ever subsequent tour I led, explaining the seadarts were nukes and that the ship could accommodate a Harrier, we just didn't have one here because a helicopter was better suited to our current needs.

When we did eventually get ashore, we found a massive market where you could buy literally anything for a tenth of the UK price. Most lads bought sets of golf clubs. An entire set of dodgy top brand clubs in a leather bag, came in at around 100 quid. If I'd had any sense I'd have bought a few sets and sold them when we got home. Storage onboard was obviously an issue but it worked out somehow.

I got a North Face holdall for 8 quid.

The killick from my section, Wiggy, had a birthday in Shanghai so we got him absolutely minging. We found a nice bar in a quiet suburb which appeared to have been a temple at some point. There where oak beams across the ceiling and at one point we had to pull Wiggy down off the 30ft high beams as he attempted to do his best tight rope walker impression.

As we left there was a young girl outside with a baby, Wiggy asked to hold it for a phot and immediately ran off down the street clutching this screaming child. The mum went ******* mental and we had to give her quite a lot of money to not report us to the Police.

Some lads went to Beijing and did the Great Wall tour. I was duty and settled for spending a few days saving some cash and eating gash Chinese street food. Like the curries we'd had in India, the food in China was shite, you get a 10 times nicer chow mein in my local chippy.

After that we sailed down to Quingdao, One of China's main naval ports.


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D

Deleted 4482

Guest
There are very few cars in Vietnam so everyone gets around on the back of bikes.

Did you ever partake in the true sport of kings....rickshaw racing? Paying some impoverished local and offering them more if they can beat their counterpart to a destination - albeit with about 5 of the fattest pissed up ******* that could be mustered on the back. It's a bit like Ben Hur with the added increased possibility of cardiac arrest from the driver. For added realism you whip the back of the driver with whatever comes to hand. Running over locals who fail to get out of the way in time provides an "off road" experience also.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Quingdao was a bit of a dump, like a Chinese version of Hull. I remember there being a massive base and a high street with loads of fake versions of western shops. "Starrbocks" and "Mackdonalds" etc. Even the booze in the bars was fake "Budwizzer" and "Jim Daniels."

There was a big department store, not dissimilar to a John Lewis back home. Downstairs was a military outfitters, like their version of Louis Bernard and Jack Blair. I bought a 3 foot long ceremonial AK bayonet, which I smuggled home in a 4.5 shell case. It was cool as ****, unfortunately I later lost it in a bet to a mate back home.

In the dockyard was a duty watch bar with incredibly cheap beer, obviously we spent most of our time there.

By some weird coincidence the place happened to be full of stunning Chinese girls who spoke perfect English, they all seemed very interested in the ship for some reasons and asked loads of questions about what speed we could do and what weapons we were carrying etc.

Once again I told them the seadarts were nukes and that we had a couple of Harriers stashed below the hanger. They got quite excited about this.

One of the baby stokers trapped (or got trapped by) one of the Chinese honeytrap spies and missed the ship sailing the next day. Having left his passport onboard and China being a beaurocratic nightmare, he was pretty fucked and had to spend about 4 weeks living under house arrest in the embassy while they sorted things out for him to come back.

The ship couldn't wait for him because we were sailing in company with a load of Chinese ships and it was being televised live in both China and back home.


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There's enough for a book there, but you would need to fill in a lot more detail, a whole chapter for each story, do some research among your old ship mates for memories during your out to lunch moments.

As I said, read that Windy Baboulene book..... the style and content would suit your stories.
 
See the Thai navy hasn't improved, I was staying with a relative in Pompey for the Spithead Revue (yep, I'm that old) and we used to spent time on the balcony at 'The Still and West Country House' by The Hard, watching the VIP tenders (or whatever you call them) zipping in and out with VIPS/ leave parties. They ranged from the Yanks - which would put Onassis' yacht to shame - through the more workmanlike craft (ours were absolutely gleaming), etc. One day, something resembling a bait-catcher's hulk, in shit order, puttered through the channel - and broke down in mid-stream. Lots of panic on board the tiny boat, blasts on klaxons from other craft and megaphoned orders from some shore station. It flew the Thai flag, bless 'em.
 
D

Deleted 4482

Guest
Ravers - we could go halfers and produce a matelot version of 'Picking up the brass'. We could call it 'Mopping up the heads'!
 

JoeCivvie

ADC
RIP
Really enjoying your 'dits'.

What's a killick? Curious as I'm re-reading the Patrick O'Brian books again and Jack Aubrey's steward is called 'Preserved Killik'.
 
D

Deleted 4482

Guest
Aren't you a Guz rating?

Your dits will be shit.

;)

Ok then - A matelot version of 'A tale of two cities'. Fat PFK with jossman sideys tries to outdit lean mean pulling machine from Guzz. To be fair mate, my dits are all in a similar vein to yours - not much difference in Guzz and Pompey ratings really. I have a few that I wouldn't mention on here as they'd appear just too unbelievable to many. I'm sure you and many others on here have similar.

Ever stuck your index finger in the barrel of a Greek policeman's gun that was pointed at you - and ended up shaking hands with him and an exchange piss-up organised on the spot at the scene of the "crime"?
 
D

Deleted 4482

Guest
Really enjoying your 'dits'.

What's a killick? Curious as I'm re-reading the Patrick O'Brian books again and Jack Aubrey's steward is called 'Preserved Killik'.

Leading Hand. Army equivilent rank is corporal. The main difference though is not as much respect / deferrence is expected or given from the rank below (AB (private)

Edit - Ravers beat me to it. He's right about the responsibility thing though, from what I have witnessed. Said to be the hardest rank to gain and the easiest one to lose. Probably similar situations in the army??
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Ever stuck your index finger in the barrel of a Greek policeman's gun that was pointed at you - and ended up shaking hands with him and an exchange piss-up organised on the spot at the scene of the "crime"?

No.

But I have stuck my finger up a French taxi driver's arse.

In our juvenile days, myself and a few of the other lads from my mess had a game which involved sticking your finger into your mate's hoop and shouting HQ1! (The telephone number for HQ1 on a 42 is 0 for those who aren't aware.)

Anyway, this childish (and slightly gay, come to think of it) game kept us all amused for many months, one would have to be particularly vigilant when going up or down a ladder, as you could quite easily end up with a digit up your jacksy while your oppo stood at the bottom of the ladder shouting HQ1 in your ear.

Fast forward a few months to the RN ski champs, I'm sat in the back of a French taxi gazing out of the window and waiting for my oppo to get in the cab. He's fumbling around trying to put his skis on the roof rack and as he turns around I have a perfect shot at his un-guarded ricker through the open window. So I lick a finger and ram it as hard as I ******* can into his arse, I feel it go right through his trousers and deep into his hoop, at least up to the second knuckle, I shout HQ1, feeling proud of my achievement, but slightly puzzled as to why he had been so foolish as to turn his un-guarded arse to me.

I then look around to see my mate sat next to me laughing. Turns out he'd sorted his skis out ages ago and it was actually the cab driver fumbling about with the roof rack who I'd just violated.

It was an awkward journey after that.



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Ravers

LE
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On the subject of Killicks.

We had an absolutely mental Leading Hand of the Mess (LHOM) down my mess for quite a while, his name was Skid, partly because his surname was the same as what Sir Steve Redgrave does to boats, but mostly because he spent his time fishing goodies out of the gash net and he resembled the creature from the dump. For an extra few quid a day, he volunteered to sift through the ship's gash, separating it. It was even rumoured that Skid would spend his evenings hammocked down amongst the rotting gash bags reading a book watching the sun set with a few tinnys.

Inevitably Skid stank, not due to poor personal hygiene but more to do with the amount of time he spent sifting through the gash, putting food waste into the ogin and crushing all other waste in those tin buckets. Skid's method of man management was extreme to say the least. He would walk around the messdeck, gathering up anything that took his fancy and ditching it over the side. This included photos of loved ones, digital cameras that had been left on charge with a full deployment's worth of phots on etc.

One evening in Singers, I returned from ashore and quietly took off my drinking rig, stowing it on a vacant rack in my gulch in order to not awaken my oppos with the crashing of locker doors etc. Since we were alongside this was perfectly acceptable and considered to be good drills for not disturbing the watchkeeper's sleep. I awoke the next day to find it gone. Now I'm a fairly fashionable chap and I take pride in my appearance, I had a nice Ralph Lauren polo shirt, some decent jeans and a very nice pair of Paul Smith boots, to wake up in the morning and find them all missing didn't put me in the best of moods.

On enquiring with a few other lads, it appeared they too had stuff missing, this included a couple of senior killicks who were less than impressed. We all turned to Skid as he sat in the corner of the mess festering away in a foetid pair of shorts and an ancient deployment T shirt from a long decommissioned ship. ''Oh Skid'' We enquired, ''where the fcuk is our stuff?''

Skid simply replied that we shouldn't have left stuff loafing and it had all been ditched. Despite our valid point that it was considered good drills to neatly stow stuff on vacant pits while alongside, the Skid was having none of it, stating the classic line that all shite LHOMs say when they are wrong; ''my mess, my rules''. A few of us searched around the ship for our stuff but appeared that it had been carted away by the gash lorry and wasn't going to be recovered.

We had a meeting and hatched our plan for revenge. Over the following weeks we kept watch on the Skid, whenever his back was turned, someone would nick whatever it was he had put down, even for just a second, this included everything from paint brushes to tabs to his towell when he went for a dhobi. All of his belongings were slowly gathered and placed in an old kit bag, the man literally couldn't go for a piss without something disappearing. He never twigged though and always just put it down to absent mindedness.

After a few weeks, the kit bag became full of his junk and the climax of our plan came into play. We were in company with an Aussie frigate (the same one we'd had a ruck with earlier) and the Skid had been tasked as Seaboat Coxswain for the day. He had to make a visit over there to deliver some officers or some such, so we gave him the kit bag full of his shite as well, with a tag on it addressed to the skipper of the Aussie ship. Off he went delivering his special package to Aussies.

I would have loved to have seen the look on the Aussie skippers face when he emptied the kit bag in puzzlement at why the 'Poms' had sent him a bag of dirty shirts, mugs, half packets of tabs, wet towels and gash civvies.


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D

Deleted 4482

Guest
In our juvenile days, myself and a few of the other lads from my mess had a game which involved sticking your finger into your mate's hoop and shouting HQ1! (The telephone number for HQ1 on a 42 is 0 for those who aren't aware.)

Ah...."dialling zero"!!! Your Darth Vader gif you once had demonstrated it perfectly!
 

LEFTY478

War Hero
Ravers, this is ******* gleaming! I've done FA work today but it's cheered up as otherwise dull Monday no end.
 

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