Things only a Matelot will Understand

1) The smell and sound of the ship as you return from leave and open the starboard screen door.
2) Going down the mess, after being at Specials for three hours in the blazing sun, to find the fridge open and a cold Red Death waiting for you
3) The joy of an all night in at sea.
4) Stowing the fwd spring on a reel, down the half deck
5) The buzz of a dark ops room, at 0600 hrs, on a Thursday morning down Portland
6) Walking into The PT, PR or Green Shutters, on pay day, on a Friday at 1230 hrs, knowing the next twelve hours are going to be emotional
7) A torch in the eyes at 0330 hrs, and the awful words “Three thirty shippers, time to get up”
8) ‘Pegging in’ the night before sailing for six months
9) The chilled out atmosphere on a bridge at night, and in the Ops Room, the ghostly hissing of TG HF and ships talking from hundreds of miles away
10) The cold wind and howl of machinery as you close up on the FX at 0100 hrs to anchor
11) The smell of an STP, Anti Flash hood, fresh laundry from the dhoby shack, FX POS Locker, muck on a truck and a mess with thirty types of aftershave, as the boys prep to go ashore
12) How to make twenty year old deck tiles gleam like a mirror, and watch a leaking salt water hose get dragged across them two hours later
13) How great ‘The ship is in position. Double up and secure’ sounds.
14) How shite ‘Leave. Leave for the S&S Department from now until 0745 hrs. Both watches of the Ops Department, muster on the flight deck’ sounds.
15) Going down the ladder into your first mess on your first sea draft.
16) Beer chits
17) First pint of the day in The Donkeys’ Flip Flop
18) How to go from sailor watching Blind Date and eating pizza in mess, to sailor in firefighting suit testing BA, in three minutes
19) Spuds cooked in margarine, train smash or corned dog hash
20) Standing in a queue of blokes in towels, in the passageway outside the showers, and trying to shave with one hand, and not disappear down 2 deck as the ship hits a big goffer
21) A Sunday Roast, down the Gulf, alongside in Dubai, with failed aircon
22) Store ship, with a queue of 3663 lorries on the jetty, and the conveyors are all OPDEF. And it’s raining. And you were in Jo’s until 0200 hrs. Deep joy…..
23) Falling asleep down 3Q mess, listening to the active sonars of ships nearby, the creaking of the ship, muffled TV from the mess square, snoring……….
24) Cruel Sea Night, with a few tins in a dark mess. Not enough seats, so you get to sit on the deck, whilst your living room moves around and creaks and groans and the floor vibrates as the screws come out the water
25) The buzz in the mess as the lads play Uckers, Shit on your Oppo or Noms
26) The realisation of getting your tredder tyre caught in the track in North Yard and knowing your either going to end up in South Yard or end up eating asphalt
27) Hatch Rash
28) Walking out the yard for the last time, and not realising you’ll always be Jack, just in different rig.


RNA Norwich

The Norwich Branch is one of 300+ branches of the Royal Naval Association world wide. It was commissioned in 1979 and today has a membership of just over 90. It is a registered charity in its own right - the Registered Charity Number is: 1068699

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