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Thread: One foot in the grave club

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    Default One foot in the grave club

    02-06-2018
    Hi All, as a member of the one foot in the grave club and not to with it on computers, I seem to not get thro to on your system to tell this I wonder item of interest.

    At the age of 15 and the ww2 was still on, I was working in the Charing Cross hotel as a commie wine steward.

    Suddenly a Merchant navy office and it turned out to be his wife came in, by chance I said to this very kind elderly waitress I would like to go to sea,without hesitation
    she approached the officer who happened to be a captain of what I stated, he called me over and spoke to me saying he was signing on a crew on a ship in the London
    docks CALLED THE EMPIRE AUSTEN this was March 1945.

    One had been only with the hotel for 2weeks ,he wrote to the hotel, I believe I still have bit of paper saying they knew of no reason for me not the join this ship.

    So off I went after I found out where she was berth loading for Antwerp.

    As a cabin boy, I know it was around the 25 march 1945 as a child hood friend was killed on that date.

    When the time came to sign on the board at the B OF T the person behind the counter asked my age!!!!!!!!!!!!,I wasn't street wise in those days and I told
    him 09-07-1929, think about putting my age up, his response you have to be 16,so you can't go, but as soon as you are 16,july 9th 1945 you can got the
    London Docks and the training ship the TRITON, so off I went and got another job at Gerard's cross till I was 16 years old.

    One over the years has only meet one other ship mate that was on this ship to do this elementary course before I was allocated a ship as cabin boy.
    After that is another story.
    Austin

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    Default Re: One foot in the grave club

    Thanks Austin, interesting tale.

    Pleased that you have shared
    part of your past with us and
    hope for more.

    Although. I knew of the Charing
    Cross hotel, passed it often, never
    did go in till the near mid 80's.

    Regards,
    Keith.
    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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    Default Re: One foot in the grave club

    Thanks for your story as most here I suppose we all have those times we recall so vividly!
    Cheers

    Possibly a few of us old timers here may need to join that "One foot in the Grave Club?" LOL

    I actually love that TV Show a damn good laugh!
    Senior Member and Friend of this Website

    R697530

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    Default Re: One foot in the grave club

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Vernon View Post
    "One foot in the Grave Club?"
    I actually love that TV Show a damn good laugh!


    Did you ever see the Irish Father Ted version ?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbO7czzIu_o
    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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    Default Re: One foot in the grave club

    Vernon, many of the members are on the 'one foot in level' now but that does not mean they cannot still enjoy life.
    Enjoyment to the end is the hope of us all.


    Remembering that life has a nasty habit of buggering things up.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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    Default Re: One foot in the grave club

    Following Harry Butler's interesting tale, here's how I went to sea:
    The day looms when the stout Victorian doors and red brick walls of Galley's Field school will release fifteen-year-old boys into the world of work. Career officers speak. Visits are arranged to industries reckoned likely to give us jobs. There are four main choices for the likes of us not of the Grammar School: the shipyards; the Expanded Metal Factory; the steelworks; or the coalmines. On the guided visit to the metal factory, we are marshalled in an apprehensive throng to be blasted by an appalling din. Amid the stench of hot oil, monstrous machines rip lozenge shaped holes in sheets of steel. But I want to roam the World. I've been reading of adventures in lands of solitude, wild rivers and mountain forests inhabited by elk and wolves. My woolly young mind daydreams of such a life in a sunlit, hazy future – in the meantime I must dodge the infernal industries which swallow up lads like me.
    There is a farm beyond Elwick village where I earn a few shillings doing odd jobs, mucking out the cow byre and potato picking. I'm always happy there, I especially like searching for clutches of eggs that the hens hide in the barns. A disused red brick windmill towers up in its fields (it still stands in 2017, a listed building, restored as a dwelling). The route to Benknowle Farm is five miles by pushbike, uphill. The farmer is short, ruddy-faced, gruff but kindly. He says, 'Well, you seem to be a useful sort of lad. I'll set you on.' I settle for a life on the land, with tractors and pigs, the grass-breath of cattle and the friendly reek of steaming manure. A few days before the farm job starts, I bump into a schoolmate who intends to join the Merchant Navy as a steward. Training is just six weeks and then he is off to sea. My heart pounds. The Sea! Of course! I'll become a ship's steward and go to sea – see the world! At last, I'm fired up. Mam's response is: 'How can you be a ship's steward when you can't even fold your own clothes?' Dad says he doesn't mind: 'As long as you end up with a trade, you won't go hungry.' I cycle up to Benknowle and tell the patient farmer of my new plan. He says, 'Aye, well. Good luck to thee.'
    But sister Dorothy is now married to a ship's engineer. Arnold Green is due home on leave from Elder Dempster's run to West Africa. Arnold is asked to 'Have a word with our Harry.' Dorothy doesn't think much of my future – as she puts it: 'Emptying piss pots and wiping up sick.' Arnold intends to sit the exam for his Chief Engineer's Ticket at South Shields Merchant Navy College. He urges I visit the college with him to ask if I could take the entrance exam for the Radio Officer course. He tells me, 'A Sparks job is much better than work as a 'pot wallah'. I'm taken aback – my school results have been so poor. I'm too callow and woolly-minded to think through the implications of a technical education, but I respect Arnold and so agree to his plan.
    All comes at a rush. I stand in line with a lot of boys and men outside the Marine College in Ocean Road, South Shields. We queue for the entrance exam for the eighteen-month course leading to the Post Master General's certificate for marine radio officers. I bite my nails. I know nothing. Nearby, a clever lad from Grammar School holds forth about wireless matters; his father is a radio amateur and he works with him in his radio shack – he talks of valves and circuits – I don't understand a word. My heart sinks. It sinks again when I see the paper. The exam is a set of questions, such as: What is the unit of electrical current: an ohm; an amp; or a volt? Tick the correct box, etc. After writing my name, I stare at the paper. We were not taught this at my school. What do the words mean? I freeze. On my left is the lad from his dad's wireless shack; he's ticking the boxes with confidence. My eyes reach out. I furtively note where he put his ticks and do the same. Like this, I pass. I'm a cheat, but my urge to survive buries all sense of shame.
    At marine college, I will wake up and flourish. The half-hour of deceit leads into and beyond the merchant navy, through the early days of commercial television broadcasting, and climaxes with operational responsibility for the largest TV drama studio in Europe. The lad whose paper I copied, twice fails his seagoing exams and gives up. He joins the army.

    Not the most ethical of stories, but there's nothing to be done about it now.

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    Default Re: One foot in the grave club

    Very interesting.

    Cheers Harry.

    Regards,

    Keith.
    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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