Article – About: RN School of Photography at RNAS Ford – 1960/1961

Leading Stores Assistant (S), RN School of Photography Ford 1960-61

When I was drafted to this tiny establishment I was pleased to find that I had my own miniature stores organisation, an unusual honour for a mere LSA!

My first discovery was the wonderful food – it was because the best civilian chefs had been retained from RNAS Ford, then close. My second discovery was that I was the killick of the mess, in domestic change of twelve Naval Airmen (trainee photographers). This was a shock, a stores rating in charge of NAs who had no Leading Rating of their own. It was like walking on egg-shells! I was always aware that if I put one of them on a change, I would be the talk of the fleet.

We got along well and I had some friends, but there was one difficult moment when I had to give on NA some extra cleaning for slackness. The word got to my boss who said I was not allowed to do this and he should have been put on a charge. Thankfully it was all smoothed over.

One day there was a clash of boots and a shouted order, and a lance Corporal and six soldiers from the 22 Lancers marched kin. I thought “ Oh No” I now had twelve NAs and seven soldiers to control. In reality however, we all got along fine.

As we had no canteen we had to obtain our essential “fruits and nutty” from the (small sized” Senior Rates mess. The “bar Man” was the Regulating Petty Officer – so it was the first and last time that I was served by a “crusher”.

In 1961 we had the ghastly news that we were moving to Lee-on Solent. I played a big part in packing up. At RNAS Lee-on-Solent (Then HMS Ariel) we remained independent unit, with the facilities of a large establishment available to us. (Our establishment there, on the sea front is now a Coast-Guard headquarters).

Having passed for SD Officer, I had to transfer, with great regret, to the main supply department at Lee –on-Solent. Soon after I bought myself out of the RN.

Officer in Charge; Lt Cdr Fursey

Lt Sid Hayes

My Boss. Nice and fair man.Another older Lt, a bit ginger. I did not work with him and have forgotten the name but I remember that the Phots treated him with great respect – and we were all pleased in 1961 when he was promoted to Lt Cdr. (Historians note. “Ginge” Topliss?)

CPO Phot Bromilow

Very nice and helpful man (Died in 2004, from Navy News)A gnarled CPO as “Buffer”Looked after the transport and cleaning materials store (And not very much else)

(Historians Note. Stan Fairhurst?)

A Po Phot

An RPO- That’s all I remember.
By Roy Owen

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