Paul (Dobbin) Gallop


This is a little strange as I have only just discovered this website and to find all this info that has meant so much to me, probably did more to shape me into the person I am today than any other influence, is more than a little ‘emotional’ I guess.

I was at PWSTS Dover from March (?) 1972, Class of Cutty Sark.

Although time has blurred so many memories, as I have said, my time at PWSTS was a marvellous experience. Once you got over the homesick bit of being away from home for the first time and learning to live with guys that appeared mostly to have more experience of life than I did, and seemed intent on endless ‘initiation ceremonies’ then friendships were formed and we all seemed to be heading in the same direction, life at sea!!.

No point going through what we got up to as you probably know more about that than I do, but one of my most vivid memories was the absolutely endless polishing. If it stood still, polish it, if it moved, polish it anyway.

But of course my fondest memory - pride. Pride in how we looked, what we did and stood for and personal pride, pride in my achievements. I actually managed to attain the giddy heights of ‘Petty Officer’ (or head boy I suppose). The first time I had achieved anything like that in my life. I had earned the nickname DOBBIN, because of my surname, and as PO we established our own punishments for minor infringements of the rules, known as ‘Dobbins Defaulters’. Proper punishments instead of the ‘one hundred lines’ demanded by ‘Chippy’ when on Defaulters Parade. I went on to be awarded the British Sailors Society Medal of Honour and the Royal Certificate, presented at Mansion House by the then Lord Mayor of London, Lord Mais.(? spelling). All thanks to PWSTS

Whenever my fellow ‘leading hands’ and I were able to get out of town, somewhere quiet for a pint or two (well probably a half pint), when asked where we were based, we happily replied “ The Prince of Wales Submarine Tracking Station, a top secret location set in the cliffs at Dover”. It seemed to impress and got us out of trouble.

Well, after Dover I went to work for Cayzer Irvine, part of the British and Commonwealth Group. My first ship being the Constance Bowater, which I joined in Belfast and it frightened me stiff. (Belfast, not little Connie.).

I stayed with B+C, they were a good firm to work for and certainly looked after me when needed it. I sailed with Union Castle (Rothsay and Rotherwick Castle), Clan Line (Clan Ramsay and Clan Ranald), King Line (King Alfred and King William) and of course Bowaters (Constance and Nicholas Bowater). I think that was about it before I got bitten by what I thought at the time was the love bug and was persuaded to come ashore at the end of 1975.

I got married in early ’76 and our first child was born in October that year. We lived in my home town of Hastings, Sussex.

I moved from job to job, even trying the Army but she was never satisfied and I was too eager to please. Eventually in September ’78 I joined the Prison Service at HMP Lewes, and the rest is history as they say.

We had two more children, which were the only reason we stayed together, but in 1990 the straw and the camels back scenario finished our relationship.

However, in 1991 I set up home with a wonderful lady that I have been proud and happy to call my wife for 11 years now. Married in 1994 on my 40th birthday.

We moved around because of postings in HMP and we now live in Bourne in Lincolnshire

I was medically retired from HM Prison Service in October 2001 after nearly 24 yrs, but that’s another story.

I still miss the sea, desperately. I guess I always have.

Well I had better go now after all this waffle. I would love to hear from old ‘ship mates’ or anyone from the old days and PWSTS.

My very best wishes to you all.