I attended the
P.W.S.T.S. Dover in 1966, as a member of Grenville and later went to Sea with
Esso Petroleum as an Engine Room Boy. I sailed on several Esso Ships including,
the Guildford, Lancashire, Mercia, Hampshire and Warwickshire. With the
exception of the Guildford, my first ship that was a horror story, I enjoyed
every moment of my marine career. Unfortunately, I left the sea due to an eye
allergy to asbestos lagging which was everywhere in all ships engine rooms.
My time at the P.W.S.T.S. was tough but at the same time, extremely rewarding. It enabled me to endure the nightmare of my first ship where they shoved me into the dark lazarette day after day with a hand pump to pump out waist high water that had leaked through the rudder post. Thank goodness my desire for the sea kept the dream alive and every ship that I sailed on after that was a wonderful experience. The other picture that is attached is of one of the memorable moments spent with the engine room crew aboard Esso Warwickshire (or Lancashire) in dry-dock in Genoa. At least one of the other of my comrades in the picture also attended the P.W.S.T.S.
I can remember all the guys in the P.W.S.T.S. picture like it was yesterday. Norman Tripp and his lovely wife Jenny have remained friends with my wife and I all our lives. Regrettably, Norman and I have lost contact with any of the others. We would both like to hear from anyone who spent time with us in Grenville. Especially Rusty and any of the guys that joined us with a large ball of string and two wonky flashlights as we explored the underground tunnels left over from the war that were dug into the white cliffs of Dover. Then there was the time when Tripp managed to send a dart into a radiator in the assembly hall when the rest of the school was at Church parade. A fine spray formed a puddle right between Captain Vine's legs as he assembled the returning pupils who were waiting to be dismissed for lunch.
My working life has remained just as fascinating as it started out and after my sea time I took a job in the control room at Battersea Power Station for two years. After meeting the lady that became my wife, I joined the family demolition business where I was involved with the removal of many complicated structures. I studied with Nobel's Explosives and wrote several papers on the safe removal of multi-arched structures. The business grew rapidly and became the victim of recessionary times when, to keep a roof over our heads, I became a successful and dreaded door-to door salesman. My main career began when I acquired a position as a sales manager with the Property Care Division of Rentokil. Long hours studying with the Open University and then a rapid climb through several divisions and positions with the company. In total, I spent 18 years with what was initially a fantastic company. My last few years, I enjoyed an executive position, culminating in a posting to Canada. Ultimately, the company over-extended its own ambitions and crashed through the stock market. High salary guys like me were quickly dumped and left where we were.
For the last 7 years, I have enjoyed the 50% ownership of a very old and established air compressor company in Mississauga, just outside of Toronto. We design, build, sell and maintain industrial vacuum pumps and air compressor systems used in manufacturing plants all over the world. www.comprevac.com Some days are rough, but I can always step back to the character training at the P.W.S.T.S. for inner strength.
My wife, Linda and I have been together for more than 35 years. We have in 2008, at the last count, three children and one grandson. We live in Toronto and spend our summer's travelling the Canadian canal systems that join the Great Lakes and many smaller ones on our 25 foot cabin cruiser.
If there are any old boys in Ontario or Quebec, please look me up, as I would greatly appreciate a beer and a few moments reminiscing over those days at the P.W.S.T.S.