Chapter 3: ‘And then the Lover’ (I): A Naval Interlude
3. ‘And then the lover’ (I):1 a naval interlude Early in 1945, I began to think about my future! Though the Allies were advancing across Europe, the European War was still very much alive, and I had already received a notice from the Ministry of Defence that, on my eighteenth birthday, I would be eligible for conscription. At the time, although a conscript could express a preference for serving in one or other of the armed forces, there was no guarantee that his preference would be respected. So I decided to volunteer for the Royal Navy, which I strongly preferred to either the Army or Air Force. I tried, but failed, to get admitted to King Alfred College in Brighton for oﬃcer training in the seamanship branch. Instead, with my own particular background in mind, it was suggested I tried later for a commission in the Supply and Secretariat Branch of the Navy. My call-up papers arrived in April and I was instructed to present myself at Skegness Naval Training Establishment on 3rd May 1945. I remember my Uncle Tom bidding me farewell at King’s Cross Station on the morning of my departure to the Lincolnshire coastal resort; although he seemed more interested in the locomotive drawing my train than in my departure! It was my ﬁrst time away from home for more than a few days. Neither my parents nor I had wanted me to go, and 24 hours later I wondered if I had made the...
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