The Clyde


Back in the Clyde again, and most of us 'Liberty Men' went up to Glasgow in the evenings, 'Sassenachs in Sachinall Street'.  One night late, Jock Mullen the Petty Officer Storekeeper, (a real 'Bobby Dazzler') and Pincher Martin, the Petty Officer 'Scribe' and I came back and boarded a drifter (the only way you could get back to your ship anchored out in the River Clyde).  There were usually six of these fishing boats going every hour to the numerous warships, aircraft carriers, etc. anchored out in the wide river.  It was a horrible night, heavy rain and blowing a gale, so we three (against all regulations) crept into the drifter's Captain's cabin.  While we were kidding ourselves how nice it was out of the raging storm the young cabin boy had put some old sweaty socks (or the like) on the lovely fire burning brightly in the cabin, unknown to us of course, and in no time we were smoked out and back on to the wind swept deck.


After this incident, I was called in to 'Jimmies' (First Lieutenant) defaulters to give evidence about one of my radar operators, none other than the Yank, Keith Grainger, who it had transpired was late from his leave ashore.  He had told the 1st Lieutenant that he had been on our drifter, but had fallen asleep (a likely story) and had returned to the mainland making him late.  He had also said that I had seen him aboard the drifter and that I would corroborate his excuse.  Well I didn't know whether this was true or not, but our 1st Lieutenant was a nasty piece of work, even more disliked than the Captain, so I compromised with my reply and said I thought I had seen him, so he was let off with a caution.


During our stay in the Clyde, our sick berth attendant (Sick Bay 'Tiffey'), a nice innocent type of chap, met another SB Tiffey off one of the battleships anchored nearby, who told him that they had run out of condoms on the battlewagon. "No trouble", said our lad, "We've got plenty, I'll bring you some off the Eastway tomorrow."   Sure enough he stuffed about 200 in his little attaché case, and when he stepped ashore at Greenock the next day, a dockyard Policeman stopped him and asked him what he was carrying in his case. "Condoms," he replied innocently.  "Open up," he was told.  Much to the security man's amazement there they were!  "Carry on, I can see you are going to have a real good time!" he said.


One afternoon in Greenock we were invited into a private house, and being polite, two of us accepted, expecting 'Big Eats'. But though the two old ladies made us welcome, their first words, astonishingly enough, were, "Ye'll have had yer tea?"


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