MEMORIES HMS  Cadiz as told by Alan Green.

Draught chit from H.M.S.DRAKE “GUZZ” to H.M.S.CADIZ  - 2nd October 1952 

I start the journey from Jagos railway station Keyham at Davenport destination Invergordon in

Haggis country with kit bag, hammock, tool box and a bag meal! Twenty-one hours later 3rd

October, arrived at Invergordon. Crossed to Cadiz, I think by M.F.V. dropped kit on deck saluted

Officer of the watch, to be greeted by “Have you permission to grow ?” “No sir ! ”

[Quartermaster put this rating on defaulters for coming aboard my ship needing a shave]

“Sir I have been traveling on the train for 21 hours” “Get below report to me when shaved”



Anchorage at Invergordon with Ark Royal

Nice to be made so welcome!


Mess was forward mess aft of paint locker. Locker in lower forward mess deck, hammock billet

in the gun bay. Sailed that night into a force 8, lay in my mick, sounded like ship was being torn

apart, water running into gun bay, got some kip. Next day did the rounds, got my part of ship,

abandon ship station, dhoby bucket, saw Jossman “Master at arms”, put myself on defaulters, found

what canteen messing was all about and next morning found out what scrubbing the mess was. 


Bathroom Facilities.

Twelve to a washbasin and one shower, our shower was used as a store for cylinders to charge

the Wardroom soda siphons! What was the routine like? the only way was to go naked with your

towel, wash kit and dhoby bucket, ‘first thing in the morning some of us could carry our towel on

something sticking out, is this modesty or one-upmanship? ‘Why go naked? everyone had a strip

wash standing in front of the basin, and rinsed off by splashing clear water over your body.

Blank week left many of us shaving and washing with Pussers Hard, R.N. issue soap very cheap. 

Skylarking. Anyone visiting a house of ill repute would pinch the soap used to wash his and hers

private parts, leave it on a washbasin and have a laugh at anyone who nicked it and used it.

On another occasion someone left his kit in soak in his dhoby bucket nipped back to the mess, on

his return started to do his washing only to discover someone had put a turd in his washing no

names eh JJ. Enough bathroom humour, except once we were at sea somewhere in the arctic

circle it was so cold if you cut your face shaving the blood froze!!! 



The Messdeck.

Forward of the mess, paint locker and cable locker. Aft, deck hatch to lower mess and bulkhead door

to gun bay. Scuttles port and starboard always leaked even with deadlights on. Escape tunnels at side

of gun bay. Your locker 2’x2’x2’ under the bench running round the bulkheads, above it a rack for

your Pussers green case. In the centre of the mess on a stanchion, aluminium cupboards for food,

plates, mugs and irons, below various fannies the most important one the Rum fanny and measure.

The deck covered in cortasene, do not know if thats how you spell it,” thick lino”. The stanchions

bound with canvas and tiddly rope work, the bulkheads insulated and painted white. Wooden tables,

you ironed your kit on these tables sitting down so I have never understood why wives iron standing

up, and wooden benches all of which had to be scrubbed every morning by two cooks of the mess,

detailed by rota. Lighting by well glass fittings hung from the deckhead by flexible stems Heating by

electric radiators Nothing locked up as no tea-leaves on small ships.

Canteen Messing. 

A credit of cash allowed for every rating in the mess This cash was used via a duplicate book to buy

victuals from Jack Dusty in the stores. Handy if you could get the butcher in your mess, Jack Dusty

suitably bribed by sippers all round, would swap the contents of a box of tinned parsnips for tinned

fruit Bread was kept in lockers along the bulkheads in the passage ways, fresh bread was made by the

chef who scraped the mold of the bread, dunked it in a dustbin full of water and flash re-cooked it in

a hot oven. Meals had to be prepared by the cooks of the mess. If you could make a good clacker

‘pastry’ you were in great demand. Prepared food was then taken to the galley for the chef to cook,

collected by the mess cooks when piped and dished up, Hence the saying "They are all the same, drop

that bastard its mine". When alongside the mess could make a profit from the fact that those ashore

still had their victualing allowance, this led to either better food or a cash share out at the end of the

cruise Messdeck during exercises. 

Gunnery practice was always at the time ratings were eating and never when the Wardroom were. In

the forward messdeck when the 4.5” fired, the deckhead lighting fittings fell on you and you were

covered in dust, probably asbestos dust. 

Jimmy Green. 12/01/04


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