Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Robby G’s Ships

***Click on thumbnails to enlarge

HMS St Vincent 07-May-57 26-Jun-58

main gate

Boys Training Establishment, Gosport, Hampshire. Oh happy memories of the 5am dhoby. In the nude, cold water with a bar of pussers hard! Not forgetting the “Dartmouth routine” up and over the mast! At the tender age of just 15 this was no picnic!

Robby G in the centre. Bloody fit then. Bloody fat & ugly now!

St V Mast


Image6HMS Excellent 27-Jun-58 20-Sep-58

Gunnery School, Whale Island, Portsmouth . “circumnavigate the parade ground” was the order of the day, from those big mouthed GI’s. After St Vincent this was a doddle. Excellent 1958

 Robby G ..back row 2nd in from the left



HMS Leopard 21-Sep-58 8-Dec-60


Type 41 Frigate. South Atlantic Station
(Great first Commission, great trip. Skipper hard but fair) Great South Atlantic and S. America run. Including going over a thousand miles up the river Amazon.



HMS Caunton 29-Dec-60 29-Jan-61



Minesweeper, Vernon Squandron, (Took her into refit , transfered to Laleston)




HMS Laleston 30-Jan-61 01-Jun-61



Minesweeper, Vernon Squandron.( Good boat except for the arseole of a “Tiff”!!) A great 6 months until the baby Tiff said the wrong thing! Hello my next draft.



RNDQ’s 02-Jun-61 07-Jul-61

No more said about this one. See the “Tiff” with the black eye!
Got 42 days.. but earned 7 days remission. At the time this was the place to break yer back. “Tiny” the RM was a b*****d! It was the fittest that I had ever been when I left here! This draft was not recommended!!!!


HMS Bermuda 08-Jul-61 01-Jul-62


Cruiser. Flagship, Home Fleet (crabby, but happy!) Went to Hamilton Bermuda on HMS Bermuda with Admiral Hamilton flying his flag! Great trip up the canals to the heart of Amsterdam. Wot Red Light District????



HMS Belfast 02-Jul-62 08-Jul-62


Cruiser (Only on her for a week. Bermuda’s crew relieved her crew) Belfast crew had just returned from a cruise States side. Big drugs bust on her return.



HMS Bermuda 09-Jul-62 19-Aug-62

Cruiser. Back to “Bermadoo” (to destore and into Reserve) Would you believe that the Supply Officer (Cash) had left some dosh in his safe?


HMS Victory(RNB) 20-Aug-62 26-Feb-63

RNB Portsmouth

Royal Naval Barracks, Portsmouth. (hated the place.) Could’nt wait to trap a local girl so as to get up “homers” for a decent place to kip! I wonder if she still lives at ?????? If she is I expect it is her teeth in the cup in the bathroom now, and not her mothers?



HMS Hartland Point 27-Feb-63 08-Aug-64

HP 1963

Depot Maintenace Ship, Singapore (another crabby but happy ship) Boats crew, I considered myself master with a Pinnace and it’s “kitchener gear”. Sasebo and “Honky Fid” great runs.

We were never alongside, always in mid channel at a buoy. I recall doing “beer runs” for the men under punishment. A dhoby bucket  was lowered over the stern end, into my cutter and I would leap over to Red House landing at HMS Terror, up to the canteen, top the asaid bucket up with “Tiger” beer, downing a pint of “Tiger tops” whilst waiting. Then it was  back to the ship for the bucket to be hoisted back inboard, out of the prying eyes of the OOW.  Earnt myself a few “call rounds” (tots) when the lads were free from there “under stoppage”!!!!!!!!!!!!!


HMS Excellent 16-Sep-64 18-Dec-65

Fraser Gun Range

Billeted at Fraser Gunnery Range, Eastney, Portsmouth. (Gardener and snooker room cleaner,Great draft!)
Ran my clapped out old car on lawn mower fuel, prior to adding oil to the mixture of course!!!!


 HMS Mull of Kintyre 18-Dec-65 05-Feb-66

Mull of Kintyre


Minesweeper Support Ship, Singapore (real crap ship)
I think this ship remained afloat cos of the sweepers tied up to her, that acted as bouyancy! The Aussie sweepers were berthed on her port side with us Brits getting the better berth to starboard!A few good runs ashore with the Aussies.


HMS Ickford 5 Feb 1966 25 Nov -66



Seward Defence Boat (SDB). Great little boat with a great crew. Left Ickford when the Indonesian confrontation ended.  The skipper Lt Duncan Davidson and the jimmy, Lt Pink were brilliant. Paid there way for the regular up-homers booze ups with us RA’s. Only about a dozen ships company on this little boat. Couple of months on MOK before my next draft.


HMS Maryton 26-Nov-66 24-Jan-68


Minesweeper. 7th Minesweeper Squandron, Singapore, (Great boat, shame about the “Jimmy” who had his own personal soft toilet paper, flown out from the UK!!!) The skipper ran her aground twice within twenty four hours. On the second occassion HMS Manxman  had to tow us off.

HMS Maryton, was the first RN ship of this size to return to the UK, via the Cape, unacompanied. The Suez was still closed. Maryton 1967


HMS Excellent 25-Jan-68 17-Sep-68


Gunnery School, Whale Island. Portsmouth. (Commanders Runner, stacks of Make & Mends!) Managed to avoid the Duty Watch roster and Divisions…it seems the reg office did’nt know I existed until my draft chit for barracks and release came through. Typical reggies…’eads up arses! So this was a dream draft!


HMS Victory(RNB) 18 Sept 68 19-Oct-68

Royal Naval Barracks, Portsmouth. For release.


Civvy Street 20-Oct-68 01-Feb-71

Southern Gasboard, doing Gas Conversion (town gas to North Sea natural gas) Working away from home AGAIN but the money was good. Missus said that I might as well stayed in the mob…that was when I saw her of course. I did’nt realise how well she could nag…so thought hard on my next  decision!!


HMS Pembroke 02-Feb-71 28-May-71


Missed the mob, could’nt stand wifes nagging, so rejoined RN.
RNB & Supply School. (Changed branch from Seaman Gunner to “Jack Dusty”)



HMS Pembroke




HMS Dolphin 29-May-71 04-Apr-72


Submarine Base, Gosport. (Brilliant, stacks of “Duty Frees” from my diesel boat oppo’s) Those O boat boys were great!

I Was Duty SA when the “Artemis” sank at her moorings. Had just issued her with the new style N0 8’s (polyester) that morning, she was to do trials with them.

 Three lads  were trapped on board the sunken sub  but eventually managed to escape in immersion suits through the forward escape tower. It was great to see those lads heads pop up in the water when they escaped some 13 hours later.

HMS Artemis

As for the recovered No.8’s, they were surveyed as to be burnt. Which I also did with the couple of pairs that I “rescued”, I smelt of bloody diesel! Dolphin

Nobby G front right…when I had hair!

HMS Tiger 05-Apr-72 27-Oct-74

Tiger 1973 Far East


Cruiser. Home Fleet. (Probably the worst & filthiest ship that I ever served on) Albeit the skipper was good. Believe it or not, so were the “Reggies”! If MEM Danger ever reads this…can he please return the exotic movies that the Jack Dusty’s loaned him as they are over due at “Porn Rentals”  sorry..”.Block Busters”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


HMS Dolphin 28-Oct-74 05-Sep-76

HMS Dolphin

Submarine Base, Gosport. ( Once again another great “rabbit” draft!!!)  Stuck away in “Dolphin 2” furniture store, just me and my mate Paddy C. No more tales here just in case I incriminate him/us?



HMS Devonshire 06-Sep-76 24-Oct-78


Destroyer (GMD). (Great draft. Shame about the Commander (S) though!!) He did not appreciate me welcoming Sohia Loren to Anigua and kissing her!! I do think he was jealous. If I ever see him again, I will give him a kiss.
On a Saturday Skippers rounds, ( I was Killick of the mess) the Captain spotted a small caravan type beer fridge in the mess. He asked where he could get one and after explaining the routine at 29 Returns Store, he later crossed my sweaty palm with 6 fag coupons. The deal cost me 200 fags …so 400 profit. That day we won the cake (again) for best mess!


HMS Sultan 25-Oct-78 26-May-80


Engineering School. (Another good shore base) The chippies in the foundry were great , for perloining a ships crest of ANY ship for returned favours!!!! Some excellent fresh water fishing can be found within the old fort of HMS Sultan.



HMS Glasgow 27-May-80 23-Aug-82


Destroyer. Type 42 ( Brilliant ship, great skipper, great lads) We were the first ship to arrive in the TEZ (total Exclusion Zone) at the start of the Falklands war. Bombed and survived.  

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 this is a recording that I made whilst closed up at Action Stations. Glasgow was the first ship back home to the UK at wars end.

No tales from this draft, most of the witnesses are still alive!!!!


HMS Nelson(RNB) 24-Aug-82 09-Mar-84

Nelson Badge

Royal Naval Barracks, Portsmouth.
(Last chance to get my “Rabbits” before civvy street!!)

So there you have it…been there…seen itdone it  It is now time to bid farewell to living in messes the size of a broom cupboards, two days on one wave, Duty Frees, mates you had and those you lost. Officers that had no idea and those that were brilliant. Ships that were happy, ships that were just happy and crabby and those that were just s**t.  Divisions, taking orders, stoppage of leave, short weekends and NOW, WRNS that go to sea…at last we do have a real ships bike and not the old “red devil” with dodgy breaks and erratic steering.

So I bid this fine service adieu and join the real world, with nothing to look forward to but reunions where once again one will be reminded of the “GOOD TIMES”


Pensioned Off 09-Mar-84

Civvy Street
Pub trade until I took early retirement in 1997. Villas in Spain, Bermuda, Seychelles and a couple of Swiss Bank accounts. Oh! come on, being a Jack Dusty was’nt that good!!!!! I enjoyed my naval career and must have done, as my last skipper said (Captain Hoddinot..) when I left HMS Glasgow “PO, reading your service docs, I must say that I have never read anything like them, please assure me, that when the time comes, you will donate them to the Imperil War Museum”..I think he was the only skipper who was’nt walking behind me with a pair of scissors with an eye on my rate and badges!!!!!
Think about this one… how many of you ditched all that pusser gear at home when it was coming up to your retirement…. me….I hired Pickfords to do the job. The house still retained the Battleship Gray though, due to the shortage of boot topping and yellow primus!

15 Years & 6 months on sea going ships,

 includes months of wheeling and dealing at No. 29 store?

12 Ships/Boats & 11 Shore Bases

Oh! Happy daZe!

Robby G

16 Responses to Robby G’s Ships

  1. Simon Palmer (Pedlar)

    October 27, 2009 at 23:35


    Great site – brings back stacks of memories of my time in the mob (1969-1992) as an RP. Finished as a CPO(OPS)(R) after HM ships Grenville, Albion, Antrim, NP1002 (Diego Garcia), Aurora (twice), Euryalus, Dido, Bristol, FOST, FOF1 interspersed with courses etc at Dryad and Osprey. Happy Days! Now with HM Coastguard and still at Portland.

    Keep up the good work,

    Sandy Bottoms,


  2. Norrie Millen

    January 24, 2010 at 11:59

    Hi! Nobby,
    Glad you made contact again; thoroughly enjoyed reading your RN career history. Read my email reply to your webmail posting.

    Remember the Dartmouth routine only too well and the guy that caused us to do it quite a few times. It would be illegal today!

  3. Darby Allen

    October 27, 2010 at 16:37

    Brilliantly written Robbie – thanks for a great read. I am also a retread seaman to the S & S (scribe). Had you thought of joining the St Vincent Association ( I am the Newsletter Ed), good fun. Best wishes and thanks again. PS. We were shipmates on the Bermuda in ’62 but can’t recall you.

  4. Mike Jordan EX GREENIE.

    September 18, 2011 at 20:47

    Looking Up St Vincent Came Accross Your News, Really Enjoyed It All. I Was On Same Ships.

  5. Peter Andrews

    December 15, 2011 at 15:56


    I enjoyed our chat recently in the Farmer at Catherington. If you do not remember me, I was the young “relatively speaking” retired WEO. I have some info for you regarding Lt’s Pink and Davidson from HMS Ickford. I have the details in my car, so next time we meet I will release it for half a tot!

    Yours aye

  6. Mark Adams

    December 23, 2011 at 11:46

    Hi Robbie G. My name is Mark Adams . My dad was a CPO SA on Hms Tiger which sadly was his last draft before being invalided out of the RN in 74/75. Sadly my father passed away in 1992 and we never really chatted about his time in the Navy . Just a long shot here but given the time and branch you refer to for the Tiger – I just wondered if you knew him at all ? CPO SA R B Adams (Bryan)

    Cheers if you do.

  7. robbyg

    December 24, 2011 at 11:12

    Sorry Mark but I do not recall your father during my time on Tiger. Maybe you could contact the “Tiger” web site to trace any of his old pals. http://hms-tiger.co.uk/

  8. robbyg

    December 24, 2011 at 11:13

    Half aTot..?.cheap at half the price.

  9. Terence Ricketts

    January 5, 2012 at 13:31

    Hi Robby ,it was good to read this is your LIFE good to hear you had a great tiime in the Royal Navy , i served on HMS DEVONSHIRE 1966-1968 .it was a great ships company then and a great ship to have served on .Wishing you a Happy New Year 2012

  10. Lt Cdr Branston Pickle, 3C Mess

    January 24, 2012 at 18:05

    You old boot, did I really sleep underneath you for a year and a half???

  11. Paul Cole

    July 2, 2012 at 08:01

    Good site, I started at St Vincent 1966 when England had a Navy ,reading your site reminded me of the good times .

  12. Richard Jones

    October 26, 2012 at 21:02

    Hi Robby
    I joined H M S Vincent on the 3rd January 1956 and because I did not leave until the end of May 1957 I may well have been one of your Instructor Boys. I remember my first day at Vincent, travelling from Bournmouth to Southampton and then finally to Fareham Station to meet up with all the other ‘nozzers’. We all boarded a three ton truck and on arrival we were issued with a pair of overalls (which we donned there and then) and the rest of our kit and then immediately after marched (Eft Wight Eft Wight swing those harms keep those eyes to the front, at least I think they were the instructions) down to the barbers. From there we returned to our dormitories, parcelled up our civvies and wrote a letter home both of which were sent post haste to our home address’s. A Day I shall never forget or regret.

  13. Pingback: Some nuggets from the Old Navy

  14. Gary Wilson

    May 31, 2013 at 09:59

    As an old retired Submarine can I just say, love your blog. And Cdr Hoddinott as was then, was one the finest Submarine Captains I have sailed with.
    Take care Matey

  15. David Ayres

    September 25, 2014 at 07:13

    Great reading about your time in the mob.

    I was also on the Tiger, Mull of Kintyre and Maryton.

    My last ship was the best, 2 years on HMS Vidal, yellow funnel line.

  16. robbyg

    September 25, 2014 at 12:15

    Enjoyed browsing through your pics. Some fond memories there of “Singers” the village and HMS Terror.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.