Norman Smythe   


Graham Lock (left) and Norman Smythe. Endeavour Class 1974. Photo taken at their 2016 reunion.


I remember my time at PWSTS as being 16 very long weeks. I recall the painful experience of a short back and sides, a style not very popular in the mid seventies. At the time I did wonder if my hair would ever grow back. The school never quite got to grips with the challenge of mass catering. I can recall falling asleep in lessons for the first week, I found it hard getting up so early. I remember the constant cleaning. Saturday morning cleaning stations was a 3 hour affair. Because the school was located in a valley, we could not receive radio 1, so 3 hours of cleaning was done to the sound of Charie Chesters radio 2 show (not too popular among 16year olds )

I remember one evening after lights/out, 15 boys managed to "escape "from the school to visit a fair that had come to Dover. The next morning the quarter deck was filled to capacity with the offenders waiting to receive their captain’s report. I remember looking forward to “shore leave", we would leave the school with our £1.50 pocket money, I have very found memories of a pub in Snargate Street where I had my first Introduction to Stella lager. Can anyone remember how we used to get free drinks there ? Cant remember much about the actual training at the school. I was finally reunited with my suitcase in October 1974, and left the school to join BP Tankers along with Graham Lock, Martin Aldridge, and Tim Holt. I served on the British Merlin, British Curlew, British Ensign and British Commodore.

In 1976 I returned to Dover to complete my City and Guilds as part of the watch keeper’s course, I think we were the last intake to do this. I came ashore in 1977 and worked in a precision engineering company as a toolroom fitter, later becoming a toolmaker. I went on to work for a company producing Locking Systems, I remained there for the next 18yrs, as an Industrial engineer, CAD Designer, and eventually a sales engineer.

I now work as a sales manager for System Edstrom covering the south of England. I  Live in Radstock south of Bath, with my partner Caroline we have two children, an 8 year old son, and a 4 year old daughter. I also have a 17 year old son, and a 13 year old daughter from my first marriage. Some of the comments on the personal profiles brought back memories for me in particular the person who after 35 years still remembered the soggy toast for breakfast .