Tales from the Dung-Heap!

 My chums are a sarcastic bunch and so after an early morning gym workout, over breakfast, one asked how I picked a subject to Blog about and I just told him that I just wrote what I was in my mind at that particular time.  A bit like a butterfly flitting between flowers.  Another of the ironic group immediately came back with “More like a blowfly going from dung-heap to cow pat”

As the laughter subsided I realised he was rather nearer the truth than I liked.  Hence I have decided to move away from the dung-heaps for a while. A relief from my political bias for a while, unless someone upsets me.

As an old guy I often cover up my forgetfulness by saying that my memory is almost full.  However I do have a lot of memories stored in my filing cabinet of a brain.  One such is filed under ‘Sailor’s Dit’ from some 58 years ago.

To set the scene, two very green Royal Navy ‘Snotties’ (Midshipmen) learning to be officers and gentlemen were setting off to go sightseeing on a run ashore in Gibraltar.  In those days all Naval Servicemen had wear their Number One Uniforms ashore.  In fact civilian clothes were not allowed on board.

Gibraltar is a fairly small place and our huge Aircraft Carrier with a complement of 1500 officers and crew, overwhelmed it.  My shipmate Warwick and I walked through Dockyard gates and went into a small stone built urinal close to the gates and were standing at the long very smelly trough.  Before we could perform, in staggered a very drunk, three badge killick, that is a leading seaman with at least 12 years service.  On seeing us he stamped to attention and saluted, neither of us was in a position to return his salute so I muttered, ‘Carry on’.  He staggered forward and joined us at the trough.

As he began to urinate, he was swaying about and muttering in a broad Glaswegian accent.  He suddenly indicated a piece of electrical conduit piping that was sticking out of the wall just above his head.  It was probably where a lamp had been attached.  In his rough Gorbals intonation he challenged us to a pissing contest and began to urinate up the wall flicking it towards the pipe – BANG – the conduit was live.  The Scotsman was hurled backwards across the room to end up unconscious against the far wall.

I saw that Warwick had peed down his trouser leg and all over his shiny shoes.  I left him with the sailor who we found was still breathing, and ran to the Dockyard gate where there was a Police post.  When we got back I found that Hooky had come round and in spite of his charred bellbottoms appeared to be feeling no pain.  An ambulance took the injured man to hospital.  Warwick and I were taken back to our ship by a Royal Naval Patrol, where we had to explain to the Officer of the Day as to why we were associating with a member of the Lower Deck, especially a drunken one.

The following day my friend and I successfully had a run ashore and went up the top of the Rock to see the Barbary Apes.  Unimpressed by the smelly things we returned back down into the town.  We decided that a cool glass of shandy would be acceptable and went into the first pub that we found.  It was teeming with our ship’s crew, Warwick suddenly said “I think we should leave” indicating a certain very inebriated Scottish Leading Hand who was carefully manoeuvring a very full pint of beer and negotiating through the crowd.

Warwick and I had quickly downed our drinks and were nearly at the door when we saw our man bump hard into a Royal Marine, covering him with his beer, and to make matters worse said in a loud voice “Iaam sorry soldier”.  Now no-one calls a Royal Marine ‘soldier’ and expects to retain his teeth, I saw the look on the Marine’s face and saw him taking off his belt and wrapping it around his fist while three of his fellow marines were surrounding the unlucky sailor.

We left in a hurry as we saw the front window of the pub explode into the street.  We were nearly back at the Dockyard gates when we heard the bells of the R.N. patrol wagon and we strolled through the gates and smartly saluted the Naval Guard who presented arms as we marched away.

There’s a Little Green Urinal Just North of Waterloo and another a little further up, there’s a member of the army . . . . . . Attention on the upper deck, face aft and salute.

About Jake

Long retired travel writer, author and freelance journalist. Educated at Wolverton Grammar and Greenwich Naval College. Happily married since 1958, with a married son and daughter, a married granddaughter and an adult grandson. Hobbies rock-climbing, dinghy racing and ocean racing. Still regularly working out in the gym.

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