B J DOWNEY, memories from the Royal Marines Barracks 1965-67.


Whilst on a long Biera Patrol (84 days) we managed to see the Naafi Damager of for 10 crates of beer. The chief Coxswain warned us that the Jimmy had been informed that we had it and he was planning to do a crash locker search. We hid the crates in the TAS mortar tubes amid ships. Jan Dyer, the killick TAS commander decided to test fires his mortars. The ship was bombarded with exploding cans of beer and Jan followed through with the shock!



The butcher "Jock" Turnbull was responsible for mixing the grog under the watchful eye of the duty Midi, who also supervised the issue. Jock convinced the Midis that it had been Nelson's dying wish that in future the Royal Marines were to be issued " Neaters " and that it was an Admiralty Standing Order. Consequently "Jock " came round every tot time for his reward accompanied by his alcoholic pet duck, Donald. The duck would end up " shiters " then have a drunken waddle around the starboard waist, " Black Mac " McCardle, the skipper, had a Siamese cat. Donald and the cat were deadly enemies. This particular day the cat ended up in the starboard waist as Donald was having his waddle. A punch up started and they both went over the side, still going at it hammer and tongs. The butcher legs it down to the quarterdeck hotly pursued by the skipper. "Jock" grabs the Life Buoy Ghost's tannoy and yells " Away sea boat's crew, duck overboard! " The skipper grabs the tannoy from him and yells " Fuck the duck, save the cat! About a week later we were highly pissed off with Donald for crapping in the Barracks so we ambushed and killed him. We cooked him in the main top locker then fed him to the butcher in sarnies!



Whilst in the Seychelles the Detachment went ashore for a week. We prowled around in our Geminis for a while and found this idyllic tiny island with huts etc. It was completely deserted so we stayed there for the week. It was only when we returned onboard that we found out that it was the Leper Colony for the region and still in use!


One dinnertime a certain midshipman emerged from the fridge flat wide eyed with terror with his white shorts and keks all ripped and flapping around his bare arse. He ran down the Burma Way crying, slightly behind the midi who should emerge from the fridge flat but " Jock " the butcher clutching bits of the midi's shorts. Jock had only tried to shag the midi over the barrel for mixing the rum!



Whilst alongside in Monaco I was in charge of the Royal Guard when Prince Rainier and Princess Grace attended a Cake and Arse party.

The Royal couple had alighted out of the Rolls Royce and were about to come onboard when a voice yelled out, " Gracie baby, saw you in High Society I think you're essence! " Coming up the road was Marine Cooper, three sheets to the wind and out of his trolley. He has this conversation with Grace Kelly before he was grabbed and ushered away. The next day at dinnertime this Rolls pulls up, out climbs Princess Grace with two minders carrying crates of champagne. The skipper is hastily summoned, she smiles and says " Good day Captain, Marine Cooper has invited me onboard for tot time". She ended up in the Barracks and had a great time.



During FOME's inspection in Aden the Admiral asked Marine Campbell, a member of the Guard what time he had arisen to prepare for the inspection. Marine Campbell replied, " Six o'clock Sir". The Admiral replied if his reply could be more nautical. Quick as a flash Marine Campbell shouted " Four Bells in the Morning Watch Me Hearty!"


Shortly after the Grace Kelly Incident Marine Cooper was giving the canvas dodgers above the starboard waist a coat of white paint. The Jimmy and Coops weren't the best of mates. The Jimmy came out in his best Number Ones complete with sword and stood directly below Coops. He calmly picked up the five gallon drum of white paint and poured it over the Jimmy!



During the West Indies deployment the new skipper was " Horatio" Evans

who had visions of Nelsonic glory. Whilst in one of the ports on the Eastern Seaboard of the USA a flap started. Everybody was recalled and only one matelot didn't make it. We headed south at a great rate of knots with G6 flashed up. We were told that there had been a revolt in Antigua and we had to restore the situation. On arrival we had to anchor three miles out. The skipper decided that we would be the first wave in our geminis and that Blue Beret Platoon would be the second wave in the whaler and cutter, he also stated that he would be coming with my section. Royal gets all kitted up stacks of ammo, grenades, bayonets, knives, and axes. The skipper turns up in his whites with his telescope and a pistol and covered in camouflage cream. Off we go heading at speed on this top-secret operation. We are all prepared for a hot landing; if it moves shoot it, if it doesn't bayonet it. As we approach there is this single figure on the jetty, our missing matelot in his rig. When we land all these blokes are sitting with their hands on their heads and a pile of weapons lying on the ground. Jack salutes the skipper and says " Am I glad to see you sir, when I arrived this lot threw their guns away and surrendered"

The skipper was right miffed as his vision of glory and fame vanished. He asked Jack how he had found out where the ship was heading and how he had managed to reach Antigua. Jack stated that some tart in a bar had supplied the information and he had hired a plane to catchup, he then presented the skipper with the bill.

By the way the Blue Beret Platoon never made it. Both the whaler and the cutter broke down and they didn't have an oar between them!


More if you want them,


Brian " Geordie" Downey