Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Make It So - my journey in Brief

1. A suitable and unusual TITLE for such a book? Make it So
2. Chapters/articles on:
Why I decided to join? – Stories by sailors on this site.  My Dad's Bad Sides

Leaving home to join the Navy
My first time flying solo  Luckily I was a star struck kid and adventures ruled my life.

Training division (TD) – life as a trainee 
The wonderfully interesting POS Ernie Gray and new mates.

The TD instructors 
All of them were great for our journey forward.

The 3 Tamaki training establishments 
We had to deal with what we had as we knew nothing different.

Going to sea for the first time 
On Inverell Seamanship Training, my first taste of Steam and Lagging smells.
What a ship meant to a sailor  Home, work, play.

Life on the ocean wave 
Found early I was never going to get seasick.

Ceremonial events 
Colour Chief for Navy 50th in Palmerston North march past (home town) and being honoured by our great GI (Jack Donnelly if you don't remember) as Drum Chief in Wellington for laying to rest the colours

Operational Exercises at sea 
Kangaroo 2 over in Aussie on Canterbury, RAS Party on Monowai, Mine Countermeasures evolutions with Manawanui, and four Reserve IPCs,  numerous SAR's with same vessels.

24-hour work-up, RAN 
Not that I remember but doing our Navy Workup in Portland UK on Monowai was interesting.

R & R in foreign ports 
Way too many  but this poem I wrote on Monowai's trip back from UK was many an interesting port, all the Pacific Island Ports had very interesting runs. Poem is here :-  

Leaving and arrival home from deployments  I managed early on to balance work and home.  Essentially two persons.

The Navy wife  She was a thorough trooper, our lives were fraught with setbacks.  The girls are a tribute to her efforts.  Initially it took a while to not step on her routines.  Communication was our greatest ally.

Women in the RNZN  There were many women-like folks in the outfit anyway, we called them Big Girls Blouses.  Women at Sea was a fait accompli as the young male recruit was drying up.  Pleased to have trained the first Operational Branch Ladies, Luana Fa'aofo and Carmel Fitzgibbons (1988) and it was a pleasure serving in the SR Mess on Monowai with Sonia Dixon, Wendy Staples and Shirley Bush

Padres, GDs & GSH’s  Smudge Smith and  Buff Henry both long serving GD's (as they were known as then) in Tamaki and Flick the Fire Truck Driver in Philly.  Padre's North and Hill were interesting Padres.

Historical cartoons such as those by - I used to do dits and cartoons on Monowai as a killick.  Best one involved Wasp Pilot Dhobey Washer.  He had been all morning delivering Survey parties and equipment in the field, and arrived back after one sortee , parked the Wasp and sprinted to the wardroom heads.  In the middle of his Dump, the toilet blew back and covered him totally in shit and paper. He hadn't heard the earlier pipe that all heads were not to be used as they were blowing back.  Next day this unsigned cartoon appears on the Main Noticeboard with a large turd being straddled by the Pilot with a stick in his hand.  Everyone thought it was a hoot, except him lol.

Today’s Navy  As always the Navy is not about how we see it but how we make it happen.  A Poker Hand dealt 2 x twos is as potent as 2 Aces.

Swallowing the anchor. (retiring)  Regretfully my health meant an early exit, as I lost my security clearance stopping me from continuing my adopted Branch (MCM)  Before I was discharged I had the great pleasure of rewriting and digitising the RNZNVR Bible, which earned me a Commendation.  No regrets, but it did bug me as 2 years short of 30 and bar to long gong.

Life in civvy street Tough!! Very Tough, have been on an Invalids Benefit for 15 of the past 18 years. Have lived on the streets, been in an out of hospital, made friends only to find they weren't.  But throughout my Navy Discipline, and former camaraderie has stood me well.  I went to Uni,(doing a BA in English and Creative Writing) was a  casual postie (Foxton and Foxton Beach) a security guard at a Doss house (as well as being a resident).  From 2002 to 2010 my boon was my writing, and from 2011 Blogging (over 400 to date)  Thankfully this face book page came into being and wow!!  Bloody ripper.  I sit here thinking I am back in 3Echo Mess on CY!!

What the RNZN taught us We are all useful, flexible and eventually expendable but remain undeniably everything Matelot

Our lives today  As stated, 3 Echo!!

Conclusion  Keep on Making It So!!

Nearly 90% of my poetry and short stories are here:-


  1. Why did I join the Navy?? In 1971 after my family had split up, I was working as a panel beater - doing my apprenticeship ( by correspondence) whilst working at NZ Motor bodies in Christchurch. My younger brothers and sisters were in Chomdley home while the dust settled. Placing kids in homes then was the norm when families either split up or became separated. On the return my dad and I stopped to look at a Navy ship alongside, later I was to learn it was taranaki. It was Sunday and some guys were on the Quarterdeck. On my way back home I casually said “I wouldn’t mind joining the Navy”, and thought nothing more of it.
    2 weeks later my father picked me up from the factory and sad – “I have arranged an entry exam to the navy for you” “” I asked when. – he said tomorrow. So that was that – next day went to Pegasus, did my entry exam and about 3 weeks later, In May 1971 I boarded a DC3 from Wigram to join the navy – never ever saw my dad again.
    I arrived in what I owned a pair of trou and a shirt, a suitcase with toiletries and nothing more. John Clarke as my DO and Nick Panapa as Div Chief.LS Martin as our Instructor
    That was the beginning of a 30 year career which saw me at sea for the best part of that time.
    I soon learnt what being part of a team was like. I did a month or so on Kiama as part of my seaman training and look back on those days as the days that moulded me. Wacky Kyles as the Joss, Pate as the skipper and Chalky Calkin the XO. From there to North Head to do my RP Basic course. Trev Boland as my DO.I deserted during my RP basics course as a dare – something that Garry Cook and I dreamt up – 10 days on the run but soon that was all over when the Police caught up with me – back on a plane to resume my career and my basics course which I passed with ease. From there – posted to Waikato – 9 month trip up top, Christmas in Singapore – my love for the sea grew and my sea time and drafts to ships continued until I discharged in Dec 1991 only to be asked to re-join in 1993 so stayed for another 10 years. What I learnt has been invaluable, the people I met – priceless and many remain good friends today.
    Just doing this very short resume’ – I wonder – why I never wrote a book myself. Many memories that only Jacks would understand, see the funny side, but boy does it bring up so many stories, so many great memories but far too many to extoll here.

  2. Zane your comment about having to live on the street,surely you must have known an ex sailor that you could have got in touch with?or are or were you to proud to ask?Asking for help is just not in a sailors make-up.