We were in Bahrain in the spring of '65, I'd joined the ship a couple of months before and we were moored alongside the quay.

Turns out there was some trouble ashore with the locals, so we had to take turns at sentry duty on the quayside, 1 hour at a time, you know the routine, shorts, shirt, boots, blancoed gaiters and belt...looked bloody ridiculous. A 303 and bayonet...no ammo of course and we were supposed to march up and down the length of the ship in the blistering heat.

Well, after about 10 minutes, checking by my watch, I realised it was taking about a minute to march up and down...so, clever me...50 more times up and down and I'd be finished. So I started counting the double beats. Unfortunately, due to my eagerness to get finished and into the shade with a nice cool drink, without realising it, I was moving faster and faster.... until I heard the snigger. Looking towards the ship I found half the ships company watching me with great merriment and after Bert Lancaster called out "look at him zooming about", I was called Zoom for the next 2 years.

Geoff Crane


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