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Thursday, 13 September 2007 10:13
Tom Henderson - Big Love Job or What?



I was onboard HMS Diomede in the mid seventies when the ship visited Middlesborough for a week. First night ashore called for a rig run - never adverse to a bit of baron strangling! Several nectars later my oppo and I went to some club or other where I fell in love with a fifteen pints essence bit of stuff called Trudie. What a muppet! She and her mate spent most of the evening comparing knife scars (her mate won hands down - up with the T-shirt to reveal what looked like the aftermath of the Battle of the Somme). Still love is blind as they say, or blind drunk in my case. When the club closed I told Trudie that I would walk her home, never bleedin' told me that she lived on the other side of town did she! Half way home she told me that she needed to pee. As there was nowhere open at that time we went behind a wall where she delicately lifter her skirt, dropped her knicks, bent forward with her hands on her knees and proceeded to demolish the wall. I’ve been on fire fighting courses at Excellent where the hose pressure couldn't compete with that! When we finally arrived at her place she informed me that she couldn't invite me in as her Dad was at home. I was starting to form the impression that this was no bad thing, along with the thought that what she really meant was that she didn't want me to see the cage that they kept her in out in the garden! We parted with the promise that we would see each other at the club the following evening and I started out on the long walk back to the dockyard.

The next morning I came to and realised that there was no way that I was going back to that club and spent most of the following week one step ahead of her. Every pub and club that we visited greeted us with the information that Trudie had been in looking for me and would be back later. This was not a pub crawl that I was embarked upon, more of a pub dash come hide and seek. Saturday dawned and the ship was open to visitors. There I was lying on my bunk when I'm piped to the flight deck to meet a visitor. No way! I sent my oppo Dave up to make my excuses whilst I lay on my bunk reading. Three or four pipes later and the OOD is starting to get p*ss*d of as Trudie has camped out on his flight deck and is refusing to move until she has seen me. Up goes Dave for the umpteenth time to tell her that I am not onboard when the OOD takes him aside. "Tell Henderson to get up here and get this boot off my bollards!". There is still no way that I am going to poke my nose through a hatch whilst she is about, so it's back up to the flight deck for poor old Dave. Eventually she believes him and b*gg*rs off ashore, much to the relief of Dave and myself. The OOD was relieved too, especially after he had vented his spleen in my general direction and removed me from his Christmas card list.

A few days after sailing I get a letter in the post, some decent sod has stitched me up and given her my full name, rank and address. The letter drones on for page after page about how she loves me no s***, interspersed with details of her latest knife wound and how her friend is currently in custody for some major atrocity or other. None of this however could prepare me for her final parting shot. No she wasn't pregnant, nothing happened remember, her keeper was in residence that night. Anyway, this was much more frightening than being told that you going to be the father of a four stone bouncing baby gorilla. - P.S. I had your name tattooed on my arm today!!



Tom Henderson - A Brush with the Law - Pussers Style!



I was the killick sparker onboard HMS Hubberston during Exercise Teamwork in 1976 (the exercise where, unfortunately, the Fittleton went down). During our stand down period we were ordered to tie up alongside the ex minelayer HMS Abdiel overnight. Abdiel was the squadron support ship and mother hen for the exercise and was anchored off HMS Ganges. As the killick sparker onboard I was also the postie and having bagged up the outgoing mail I trotted over to the Abdiel to drop it off and pick up the incoming Dear Johns etc. As I bimbled across the gangway between the two ships I asked the QM of the Abdiel where I should take the post. He gave me a rather strange look and directed me to the Reg Office. Off I trundled, wondering why he was looking at me so strangely and sniggering with the Bosuns Mate.

Something was nibbling away at my subconsious, but I couldn't work out what it was. I finally got to my destination having picked up several more strange looks and sniggers along the way and thinking that this big ships routine wasn't for me - all blue suits and polished Burmah Way's. I was much happier with my wooden walls and my pirate rig - severely faded old style No. 8's trousers, brown suede moccasins, green sleeveless cardigan (complete with Snoopy badge) over hairy chest and tats, green tartan tammie on the old bonce and, to top it all off, a huge curved pipe made out of the wood of some knarled old tree. Well, my nickname was Tom Bombadil and I had an image to maintain. I got to my destination and as I knocked on the door my subconcious suddenly burst to the surface and the words 'REG OFFICE' were burned onto the circuits of my brain.

Before I had a chance to leg it the door opened and there stood the Abdiels' Jaunty, all razor sharp creases and rosy cheeks, cheeks that were turning from rosy red into a vivid purple - suited the steam starting to emerge from his ears and the violent shaking that was starting to wrack his body. "Where the FLYING F*** have you come from?" he gently bellowed in my shell like. Now Crushers are not known as the Mensa members of the mob, but as he was anchored offshore with one sweeper tied up alongside and I was not part of his ships company I thought this to be a rather superfluous question. "HHHHHHubberston" I stammered! "What the F*** are you doing on MY ship you 'orrible little(!) man?" he screamed. "PPPPost to go" I said, pushing the sack into his arms. "GET OFF MY F****** SHIP!!!" he hinted. I didn't need to be told twice. I was up the main drag and back over the gangway faster than greased weasel s*** off a shovel. "Where's the mail then?" they asked me when I got back. B***OCKS!! I had forgotten to pick up the incoming mail. So, what does a good killick sparker do in a situation like this? Get changed into a blue suit and go back for it? B*gg*r that! I promoted my RO1 to the exalted rank of postie and sent him across!!



Tom Henderson - Another Brush with the Law - Pussers Style.



Still the killick sparker on Hubberston - now 1977 and berthed in Faslane. My oppo Mark Bury, who was a TAS ape (well it was a small ship and you had to go ashore with someone) and I went into Helensburgh for a run ashore followed by a ruby at the local Indian. On the way out we stopped off in the heads where Mac discovered that the porcelain divider between the pistols was loose. Bloody great brute of a thing it was - lovely bit of Victoriana. Realising that it would make a great gizzit we promptly completed the loosening process and legged it out the door before anyone noticed. On the way back to the dockyard in the fast black Mac wrapped his parka around it (well it was the 70's) and put the hood up. We then sat it between us and pretended that it was our pissed oppo!

Back at Faslane we went through the interminable process of getting through half a million gates, each with a different pass (we were parked in the Nuclear Sub facility). Mac still had his parka around our gizzit with his finger stuck through one of the holes in the back and was just managing to keep it off the ground. We had just gone through the last gate when the inevitable happened and Mac lost hold of our 'oppo'. I don't know if you have ever been by the side of a loch in Scotland at 0130 in the morning, but it is as quiet as a graveyard. As quiet as a graveyard that is until you drop a four foot high porcelain A-bomb onto the deck. People at the other end of the Gareloch were complaining about the noise. Closer to home the entire weight of the dockyard plod were heading in our direction, full of "Och Ayes" and "Hootna Hootna's", intent on a bit of sassenach stew for breakfast.

The fact that I was one of their race was of absolutely no importance to them! "Leg it" shouted Mac, "I'll hold them off" (you see Tas apes do have their uses). "Where's Mac?" asked the QM as I legged it up the gangway. "He's just having a word with the plod on the gate, he’ll be along in a minute" I yelled, disappearing into the wardroom flat. Twenty minutes later the QM is shaking me. "Get up Tom, there's a pig up top wants to talk to you". "Ah, the pig's always want to talk to me, where is he, in the wardroom?" "No, he's on the gangway and it's not one of our pigs, this one's got a checkered hatband". Oh, Oh! Sounds like they tortured Mac and made him talk. And so, after a brief chat on the gangway with the Mod Plod, the OOD and the Duty PO (not to mention the Jimmy and the Skipper at a later date) it's off to the Plod hut for a cup of tea, a fag and a nice cosy chat.

The owner of the curry house decided to press charges, which Mac said that he would put his hand up to (these TAS apes just get better and better). As we were sailing for Pompey the next day Mac could not appear in court in person, so he pleaded guilty by letter and was fined sixty quid. Thirty quid each for a bloody good run ashore - seemed fair to me!!
Last Updated on Saturday, 15 September 2007 01:36