A Day In Life Of My Granddad In The Navy

Published in Feature Article, Personal History

When my granddad was a lot younger than he is now, he was in the navy in around the 1950’

He was in the royal navy but he wasn’t fighting or anything like that. He mapped/charted and also patrolled the local coast. The furthest they would go out would be from anything to 10 or 20 miles out into the English Channel.

He did it for 3 years as his national service as it was back then. Within them 3 years he had so many adventures and one of them was so exciting and amusing that he still laughs today. It all started with a cat. One night one of his fellow crew came back to boat because of course he was the night-watchman. He was a bit drunk as usual says my granddad. He loved his rum. Anyway he went around the boat checking to see if anything was okay and all of a sudden he tripped over something. It was a cat. The next morning all the crew arrived for the daily duties and they found this cat asleep in the kitchen. They had no idea where this cat had come from but along came the night-watchman half asleep saying that he found him last night it was really hungry so he gave it some food and it didn’t leave since. So from that day on they kept the cat on the boat ever since. The next days to come they met a Norwegian fishing boat. The boat came along beside them and stopped and my granddad was totally confused why. One of their crew shouted by the side of the boat “Have you lost a cat “My granddad shouted back “No why” And the man replied “Because there was one swimming around our boat, we thought it was a baby seal. Were you trying to drown it?” then my granddad suddenly realised that he hadn’t seen the cat in a while, then he saw this black object move along the side of the Norwegian ship and it was their cat after all. The other crew gave the cat back over by putting a net at the end if the pole. My granddad assumed that it fell over board or someone got fed up of it and threw it over, but he couldn’t be more wrong.

One day my granddad open one of the hatches after letting out a horrible smell from the kitchen where someone had made a complete mess of something and all of a sudden out flew the cat as speed of lighting into the water below. It wasn’t a very big boat but big enough not to jump of likely. My granddad ran over to the side of the boat and there was this skinny black cat swimming around aimlessly. My Granddad could not believe it. He called the rest of the crew (there as only about ten) (nine and a half as my granddad made out) and they also couldn’t believe it.  Then the puzzle started coming together. That’s why the Norwegian ship found their cat in the water. They kept the cat on the boat throughout the 3years and every morning they would the ship and with the cat but one morning the cat didn’t come and the crew got a bit worried because they made such friends with this cat. The Skipper started giving out one morning “why are we still here, what are you waiting for ““the cat” everyone replied “we’re not waiting for some stupid cat “and as soon as he said it the cat came racing along the dock and onto the ship. That was the night that the cat received special treatment. My granddad got a bowl, put some milk and rum in it and the cat loved it. They stayed overnight in the boat that out at sea, so my granddad put the cat in the box when it was asleep and then put the box in the cupboard in the kitchen so it would be nice and warm. When my granddad finished his 3 years the cat stayed on the boat and so did the new crew.

By Emma McGreivy


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