Pull up a bollard - Memoirs of a Matelot.

GIs in particular are a special breed. @Ravers may have come across the PO(M) on the parade staff at RALEIGH who referred to everyone as weirdos and looked after all the tropical fish in all the blocks when not screaming abuse at New Entry divisions on the parade ground.

I did always think that they had a lot of fun on the quiet though.

The scene, BRNC parade ground. Snow drifting down increasingly heavily, the deck icy as you like, 2 weeks to Christmas passing out. Even by the standards of the RN, the drill was embarrassing, people sliding all over the place.

Senior Sub on the bridge 'March on the Colour'

On comes the guard, RM band giving it all Heart of Oak and trying to be the tiddliest thing on a shambolic parade ground. When they get to their designated position they crash to a halt. No1 platoon guard officer staggering on the ice. His LH marker actually went down, hurling his SA80 backwards over his shoulder. An inch to the left and he'd have bayonetted the man behind through the face.

Increasingly purple faced WO1(M) up on the bridge:

'what the f*** are you mincers f****** mincing about for? It's just a bit of water, and you OC ******** better not have f**** that f****** rifle. With your face. I don't want to have to write to Billy Smart's circus and tell him I've got his clowns here and can he come to collect them.'

'Chief W********* [to the Chief GI the other side of the parade ground by the mainmast] get these f******* clowns off my parade ground.'

'Sir. Clowns, by the centre, quick march....'
gi-1920w.jpg
 
Oh my god, Shovelface!

My favourite memory of him at Raleigh was some Divisions or other at silly am and the parade ground was encased in thick fog. Seriously, as you marched on, you couldn't see further than 3 or 4 men in front of you. The practice at Raleigh was for all the Divisions to march on to the rear of the parade ground then, once assembled, march forward so we spaced properly for inspection. Somehow we got ourselves in place and waited for the order to march forward. Safely buried in the fog, we knew no-one could see us - not even our DO's in front of us a few feet away so we were all talking quietly, slouching around etc. Then, out of the thick fog, Shovelface at the dais roared out -

"YOU!! Benbow 32, 2nd rank, right marker, STAND ******* STILL!"

We all froze instantly, astonished. Of course he'd known what was going on and just picked on someone at random, but for a few seconds we were convinced at his superhuman vision.
 

clanky

War Hero
I did Pt1 at Raleigh during Shovelfaces tenure. Duty rumour was that his face features where the result of being filled in with a fire extinguisher as an AB. Messdeck horseplay was a bit more kinetic back then. Apparently he was a really warm and lovely man when away from a ceremonial context.
 
I was explaining the meaning of RDP to someone at work the other day.

When a ship is going into refit or being scrapped it goes into a “Run Down Period” first.

This means it doesn’t go to sea and the weeks leading up to the refit are generally a doss, with the bulk of work being geared up to removing stuff from the ship. During this period various crew members will also **** off to join other ships or go on course.

People can also be RDP. If you’re about to leave the ship, there is no point starting any new work and your last few weeks onboard are generally considered to be tabs out and easy. No one bothers hassling you because they know they probably won’t see you again.

Civvies working in an office job could relate to this on the run up to Christmas. **** all gets done in December and it’s usually just a month of going on the piss.

Another Naval term for the lexicon.


After seeing the clip above featuring Shep, it has to be said.

"Ram it, mate!" :)
 
After seeing the clip above featuring Shep, it has to be said.

"Ram it, mate!" :)
One evening years back, probably whilst I was on some or other PJT, I was stood at the bar in Collingwood ordering my first pint of the evening. There was a bloke on stage yapping away and singing a few songs. Young lad standing next to me turns to his oppo and says something along the lines of "I've got a tape of Shep Woolley and that bloke sounds just like him". It was, he just didn't realise.
 

philc

LE
One evening years back, probably whilst I was on some or other PJT, I was stood at the bar in Collingwood ordering my first pint of the evening. There was a bloke on stage yapping away and singing a few songs. Young lad standing next to me turns to his oppo and says something along the lines of "I've got a tape of Shep Woolley and that bloke sounds just like him". It was, he just didn't realise.

Many years ago at the Collingwood Bop it was mostly dross but 1 night was Gino Washington, who for those that don't know was the inspiration for Gino by Dexys, mind you it was not quite like this but still about the best night in the 8 months I was imprisoned. The Northern Soul boys were leaping all over the place.


 
One evening years back, probably whilst I was on some or other PJT, I was stood at the bar in Collingwood ordering my first pint of the evening. There was a bloke on stage yapping away and singing a few songs. Young lad standing next to me turns to his oppo and says something along the lines of "I've got a tape of Shep Woolley and that bloke sounds just like him". It was, he just didn't realise.


 

Beachdaze2

Old-Salt
Matelots of a certain age may remember “Shovelface.”

Now I need to make it clear that I joined in 2001 which was a while after he’d retired, but his legacy was well and truly still alive on every parade square in the Navy.

Shovelface was so called because he had a face like a shovel. The biggest square jaw you’d ever seen in your life and he spoke with a strange affected accent, a bit like Sean Connery, “he shaid his eshes with an h.” He was the gunnery officer at HMS Collingwood but also served in a few other establishments. Pretty much every cliched bit of parade square, gunner banter first came out of Shovelface’s face.

The man was terrifying and would think nothing of trooping a young sailor for the slightest misdeed. It was recounted to me that an oppo suffering the after effects of a nasty motorcycle crash and wearing a sling and neck brace once got rifted by him for not being on parade.

“And whatsh your excushe for not being in the shqaure today shunshine?”

Shovelface did have a funny side though (or maybe he was just a lunatic?) and could often be seen marching down Fareham high street in civvies.

And since you liked the last dit I rustled off Facebook, here’s another….

Shovelface Dit:
Guzz Field Gun 80’s and it’s the crew fancy dress night out, two lads go as a pantomime cow. Late that night ‘the cow’ is on the dance floor in BOOBS on the strip bumping into everyone, spilling drinks and basically making a nuisance of itself etc but we all get pissed and disappear.

Me and this other matelot have gone out dressed as Roman soldiers and got all night in with these two grommet strops from Mutley Plain in Guzz. We get a taxi back to HMS Drake and as we pull up, another taxi pulls up behind us and the two lads as ‘the cow’ get out. So just round the corner from Drake main gate they get back into the outfit as the cow. We run into Drake main gate and say to Barrack Guard [who are sitting there ROMFTing on a Sunday morning] ‘come and watch this’. So they boredly amble out as black and white pantomime cow tramps into the vehicle entrance. There’s a sprog on the gate whose face is a fukn picture to behold and he has no idea what to do. As the cow gets close to him, the SR of the Barrack Guard screams ‘stop that intruder.’ Baby matelot shats himself but comes smartly to attention, holds up his hand [palm outwards] and shouts in a very authorative voice [which belies his pimples, bumbluff and 17 years] “HALT – Identify yourself !”

There’s a bit of a pause and a hand appears out the side of the ‘cow’ costume holding a blue pussers ID card. Everyone is pissing themselves laughing. The kid stands to the side and says “pass.” The ‘cow’ tramps off down the hill towards Field Gun block.

Shovelface was Barrack Guard officer. He shouldn’t have been in on Sunday but he was, I don’t know why. Suddenly he comes around the corner and views the scene – a terrified and non-plussed junior, the Barrack Guard rolling around laughing, two Roman soldiers and a pantomime cow. He almost went completely apoplectic!

But all he screams is “get that ******* cow in ssshhhtep!” ‘The cow’ shouts back ‘front legs in step or back legs in step sir?’

Shovelface shouts back “just get in ssshhhtep or I’m having steak for dinner!” Then he stalks off screaming at some matelot on a pushbike about 2 nautical miles away.
Safeguard. Hurrah for the life of a Sailor!
I had the pleasure of working for Shovelface for a few weeks whilst waiting for my new ship to pull in.... and loved every minute of it. I don't think he had the slightest notion of how genuinely funny he was. I liked him a lot and wished I'd been able to stay longer.*

* The stunningly pretty WREN Wtr who worked in his outer office had nothing to do with it.
 
Many years ago at the Collingwood Bop it was mostly dross but 1 night was Gino Washington, who for those that don't know was the inspiration for Gino by Dexys, mind you it was not quite like this but still about the best night in the 8 months I was imprisoned. The Northern Soul boys were leaping all over the place.
Collingwood bop used to get some amazing acts in there. I remember going to see Alvin Stardust (oh the shame!) as the act progressed, he ripped off his shirt and threw bits into the audience! My missus of the time got the collar!

But some big-ish names played there.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
Collingwood bop used to get some amazing acts in there. I remember going to see Alvin Stardust (oh the shame!) as the act progressed, he ripped off his shirt and threw bits into the audience! My missus of the time got the collar!

But some big-ish names played there.
No it's, "oh the Shane !"




Or Bernard if you were close.
 

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