H.M.S. Ramillies Reunion.
By the Late Geordie Gavin.
By the Late Geordie Gavin.
They came to Blackpool
From the North, South, East and West.
Each with Campaign Ribbons pinned to his chest
Alas, they were but few of the Mighty Ramillies fighting crew.
Fifty years had passed and gone
And with all their combat duties done,
The Crew dispersed, each going their several ways
To live in Peace for the rest of their days.
Nothing could possibly erase
Memories of those Wartime days.
Those glorious boozy runs ashore
Fun and frolics with maidens galore.
There was of course the serious side
With Shell, Torpedo, Mine and Bomb
From which at sea, no man could hide
This was endured with great aplomb.
All knew the famous Maori Skirt
Would shield them from all harm.
So long as the Skipper was with it girt
It really was their Lucky Charm.
Though the Ship did not escape attack
In Madagascar Jap Torpedoes scored a hit
Her shell plates received a mighty smack
And more than one was buckled and split.
But the Magic of the Skirt prevailed
Tho' in it's case it did remain.
To sink her those Tin Fish failed
And Ramillies lived to fight again.
Off the Dockyard the Old Girl went
To bung up the holes and Iron out the dent
For the Crew some leave was granted
Just what Jolly Jack Tar wanted.
All too soon with repairs completed
Back to sea Ramillies had to go
Where she remained till the Hun was defeated,
Before that, many a Tide was to ebb and flow.
Aboard, hearts were broken, Ashore, maidens did grieve
When Durban's White Lady her Goodbye she sang.
Sadly the Ship's Props a wide wake did leave
Eight was the tjime the Ship's Bell rang.
Then to Mombassa She made her stately way
To take on more crew and a few weeks to stay.
With other Warships at anchor She lay
But all too soon came sailing day.
Into the Indian Ocean She glided
With her Bows pointing North
Her destination yet undecided
While on the Messdeck, Buzz gave forth.
With Paravanes streaming a Zig Zag course was set
No Bombs, or Subs, or Mines were met.
Silently She sailed on over the Lines
No Neptune's Court was held this time.
Our next Port of call was Aden
Ashore we went, the sights for to see.
We could have saved ourselves the trouble
A shambles this trip turned out to be.
Through the Red Sea we then progressed
To the Port of Tewfick's N.A.A.F.I. Canteen
Where we hoped to buy some beer
With the little cash we then possessed.
Alas, there was no beer to be seen
But, after waiting round with hope in our hearts
On the off chance we might get a dring
Eventually some fluid appeared on the scene.
As the night was hot, with sand in profusion
The liquid was welcomed with a loud shout.
But, after on sip, we came to the conclusion
That N.A.A.F.I. beer was only just better than nowt
To Port Said through the Suez we hurried,
We made way as fast as we could
But our screws were almost buried
In the sand and the silt and the mud.
In Port Said more shore leave was granted
Ashore the Lads they did go
To buy souvenirs that they wanted
Though most of them had no dough.
A Shoe Store was raided by this impecunious few
But, the Gyppo Traders were very very cute.
Not that any of those Matelots knew,
A surprise they had when they opened their loot.
The Shoe Boxes looked nice and neat
Such as you might buy anywhere.
But the Shoes inside were for all Left Feet
And two Left Feet won't make a pair.
Then into the Med. in haste we sailed
Making for Gib. with all speed
Where everyone bought stacks of bananas
To give the Kids at home a feed.
Inside the Turrets it was like Covent Garden
Green bananas were hung everywhere
G.I.'s and Turret Sweepers-I beg your pardon
Were just about going spare.
Our destination now was Scapa Flow.
In Winter it's cold up there
As Brass Monkeys surely know,
To men just from the Equator it wasn't very fair.
Many of the Ship's Company
Wore their Long John's and Woolly Vests
But in spite of taking precautions
Came down with colds on their chests.
In Scapa the King came to look us over
No. 1's was the Rig of the day
And when the Inspection was over
"Splice the Mainbrace" the Bosun's call did play.
Which meant a Tot that was double
Small compensation for all that Bull.
Philosophically we accepted the Trouble
And enjoyed the Rum's warm glow to the full.
We swung round the buoy in Scapa awhile
Drinking pints in the Flotta Canteen.
When orders came to sail again
We did, with a great big smile.
We then sailed South until Ailsa Craig
On our Starboard Bow was seen,
Into the Clyde and on to the Gare Loch
Where the trees were a welcome green.
WORK then began in earnest
Gun's Crews were drilled very hard.
Then out to Lamlash to Test Shoots
With more hard work for reward.
To the Gare Loch we then returned
With shore leave to each watch in turn,
Helensburgh and Glasgow were visited
By those who had money to burn.
Sailing orders came once again,
This time we headed South
Till we came to Pompey Harbour
And the taste of Brickwoods in the mouth.
We tied up in Pompey Harbour
Soon it was seen for that reason
We saw the Drafting Crusher working over
With a result that was almost treason.
Our numbers were to be reduced
Ours not to reason why
A sad way to see the enemy defeated
Old Shipmates being parted could only sigh.
Years of togetherness were to be broken,
When shall we all meet again?
None of us had the answer
None with the heart to complain.
A Tender drew up alongside
To take off departing mates
Where would they all be tomorrow?
Only their Lords had control of their fate.
The Band was playing a mournful tune
Till the Jimmy came up on deck.
He gave the Bandmaster a bottle
And that brightened the scene by heck.
But many had lumps in their throats
As "Now is the Hour" was played
It was an emotional moment
As each Goodbye was waved.
We did not wait long for the answer
Rumours were heard by the score.
But, the Truth was a very close secret
CARELESS TALK need one say more.