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We joined the Navy

We joined the Navy is a masterful book written by John Winton in 1959. I’m on a bit of a nostalgic trip at the moment so thought I’d try to tell you a bit about it here. The thing to remember is, is that it brings back so many memories for me. About boarding school, both as a Junior and as a Senior. About doing National Service in the Army and then of coarse going to Agricultural College (boys only). The many memories, the many characters and the many laughs.

This endearing book is full of all these things and much more. It’s about taking in young school leavers and training them to become Officers in the Royal Navy or in other words leaders. Sadly, the world is so short of these people today? Leaders that is.

Anyone of an age who has had children and seen them grow into adults will love this book. I’m positive about that and what is more, women will love this book as well, so beautifully written as it is and full of humour at all times. More importantly, anyone at all from teens onwards, will love it as well.

Sometimes, it is important to step back in time to understand how people think and to know a world where political correctness was only just beginning and beautifully told here.

It begins with the Admiral of the Admiralty Interview Board and it’s members prior to the selection process of Special Entry Cadets. I beg anyone not to laugh out loud at the first chapter so splendidly told and use of English and humour of the highest order.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

We joined the Navy.

A quick example of how the book is written.

On the Beattys’ staff, The Bodger was the most competent lecturer. “The Beaufort Scale,” he said one morning, “is a convenient method of expressing the forces of winds. Naval officers are supposed to be like fishermen. They exaggerate everything. What you and I would call a howling gale, having been through it, some civil servant sitting on his bottom in a safe office ashore will call a slight chop. But if they see a number, they might possibly believe you. It’s all done by numbers. Nought is defined as calm with a wind of less than one knot. Smoke rises vertically, branches of trees are motionless, whole day’s play at Old Trafford, farmers complain of drought, and so on. Six is a strong breeze. Wind twenty two to twenty seven knots. Smacks have double reefs, large branches in motion, telegraph wires whistle, you can’t put up an umbrella, farmers complain about the apple crop, and so on. Twelve is a hurricane and if you’re ever in one you won’t need a Beaufort or any other kind of scale to tell you about it. Defined as wind speeds above sixty five knots, widespread damage inland, Air Ministry roof blown off, yacht crews take up dry fly fishing, Wilfred Pickles organise Relief Fund, farmers complain of floods and so on. So much for the Beaufort Scale. Any questions?”

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Meet The Author


I went profoundly deaf after getting septicaemia whilst serving in the then Rhodesian army. Since then a lot has happened in my life, including having a Cochlear ear implant. I came from a lovely country which unfortunately has had a blighted history. My problem appears to be that I'm stuck in the past and I can't help writing about this, but, the world changes and now find myself fast approaching old age with no real idea how to relate to the modern youth, although in my personal life I'm very good with them.

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