“I was born in [name of town], but made in the Royal Navy”, I have been seeing this a lot lately on the TV and hearing it on the radio. The Armed Forces have been greatly reduced over the years. I was one of those statistics back in 1996, I was gutted at the thought of being made redundant as I intended do my complete time especially considering I had started my second career in the Royal Navy as a commissioned officer.
Why am I talking about this advert?
If you ask any of my school friends about me in junior and secondary school, I was the short skinny and shy kid who wouldn’t say boo to a goose. My academic skills were negligible and the careers advisors didn’t have much to say about me.. the one interest I had in my secondary years was the Sea Cadets. I may not have been academic, but my sea skills were good, I played snare drums and attempted the bugle. Trips to Navy bases inspired me, the ultimate trip being on HMS Whitby sailing to Gibraltar and returning on HMS Ark Royal in 74. When I returned, I applied to join the RN.. I did that a year later and spent 22 years serving in the RN.
My first few years, I just enjoyed myself, wasn’t going anywhere, I was destined to nothing. Then I was told by one of my seniors to get my arse in gear and aim for promotion.. it’s amazing what a kick up the arse can do. Everything started to click, the pieces started falling in to place and my career started to take off and I was eager to learn.. when I finally reached Leading Hand I decided to be a helicopter controller. That was the start of my path to a commission.
I distinctly remember my chief telling I would have to work bloody hard if I wanted to pass my Petty Officers course. He said that just before a left the ship. About 9 months later I had completed the course, came second overal, beaten again by the same person on my Leading Hand course ( one mark in it if I remember right). I delighted in thinking up yours chief, but thanks for the motivation…
A large amount of water has passed under the hull since that day, my commission, another up yours chief to the same person when I walked past him and he had to salute me (well my rank at least). On leaving, I went to university, I held my first civilian job that lasted 12 years and I am now in my 3rd job of 5 years, hopefully until I retire…
Those 22 years served me well, it taught me team work, motivation, discipline, management an loyalty.
I can definitely say, what they are advertising for a recruitment drive is the truth…..
And I can honestly and proudly say
I was born in Redhill, but, I was made in the Royal Navy…..