|Stuart (Sam) Hogg
Salamis Class: Petty Officer Boy
7th August to 20 November 1956
No one was made a Petty Officer Boy in the class before us. Why I don’t
know but, as a consequence, or so we believed, there were 3 Petty Officer
Boys in our class. I was fortunate to have been one of the chosen three.
We also believed that there was a quota of Petty Officer Boys for each
year and as we were the last full class for the year we made up for any
shortfall. Nice story.
On 25th November 1956 Ron Berry, Mick Carr and myself flew with the rest
of the relief crew to New York by a piston engine aircraft via the Azores
and Gander, Newfoundland. In Brooklyn we joined the MV Port Quebec where
we had engine failure soon after “letting go” and the tug had to push us
back to the wharf. A day later my sea going career commenced. We traded
from Montreal and the American eastern seaboard to Australia and New
Zealand, (the MANZ Line charter). The 4th Deck Boy was Bill Andrews who
came from the “Arethusa.” The distinguished looking gent we predicted to
be the captain turned out to be the cook, who we later observed, sweated
into everything. As well as a clapped out motor the “Lazy Q” also had a
stove that “blew back” putting black sooty spots over everything in the
galley. After about 12 months, and 4 Pacific crossings later, we came back
to England as passengers (almost like steerage class) on the old
Britannic. Then it was two “Around Africa” trips on the Braemar Castle, an
extended trip to Brazil on the Parima carrying railway carriages from
Liverpool as deck cargo and bulk sugar back to London. Then it was off to
Kuwait on the Esso Salisbury for a couple of trips, Fawley to Mina Al Madi.
Maybe it was the effects of tank diving that did it but in 1959 I joined
the Royal Air Force as a 5 year regular. I was trained as a radar
technician and after some great times in Somerset and Norfolk I was posted
to a radar site atop a 6,500 foot mountain in Cyprus. For nearly 3 years.
Whilst I made a lot of great friends, “Keeping the Free World Free” was
very boring and highly forgettable with just short bursts of excitement,
mostly in and around Luigi’s Bar. However, collectively we must have been
successful because the so-called Cold War never turned into a Hot One,
although there were a few “magic moments”.
On demob I married and we immediately sailed off to New Zealand on the
Rangitoto, late January 1964. I had lots of different jobs, anything to
earn a crust; builders labourer, casual wharf labourer (a seagull), moving
bales of wool around, even shovelled coal for 12 hours a day from the
corners of a colliers hold, where the grabs couldn’t get it. Then I got a
real job as an electronics technician, with work Monday to Friday, a good
salary and a company van. It was just in time as we learnt my wife was
expecting the first of our 3 children. To keep the “dream alive” I also
got a casual job cleaning offices between 6pm and 8pm. Then I got even
luckier with another casual job from 8.15pm through to about 1am as a
mobile security guard checking on isolated buildings and factories. This
was a bit scary at times so I would talk with a make believe colleague or
make noises like a guard dog. Also did the security job 12 hours a day
Saturday and Sunday. The goal was a house deposit, then I made some career
changes, worked in technical sales, sold insurance, moved into personnel
and industrial relations in plastics and motor assembly factories in New
Zealand. We moved to Australia in 1978. Was Afternoon Shift Superintendent
in a glass factory and later headed personnel and industrial relations in
a large food factory. I later became Australian Corporate Personnel
Manager for a large multinational civil engineering construction company
with major work in Pakistan, New Guinea and throughout Australia.
Demolished an old house and supervised the construction of a place more
suited to our needs. Also worked as a Management Consultant which was
boring but well paid. Family grew up and moved on, sold house and went on
a 12 month (1990-91) world trip, mainly using public transport. From about
1996 to 2000 we boarded overseas students, up to 6 at a time. Some stayed
with us for over 2 years. And just to prove I could do it I completed an
Associate Degree in Law in 2005.
My most extraordinary job was driving a mate who had lost his drivers
licence but had to make a lot of after hours home visits. Officially I was
his Personal Assistant as he didn’t want it publicly known about his
brush with the law. Most of this work was at night and we went to some
very weird suburbs. We also played golf 3 times a week.
Other odd jobs; helped at vintage time at a winery, helped deliver a 72
foot yacht from North Queensland to Sydney, arranged boat parties on
Sydney Harbour, arranged tourist visits to the Hunter district, wineries,
cattle farms and horse studs, and looked after a cattle farm when the
owners took a holiday. Also did my share of home remodelling and
landscaping, as well as home brewing and gardening.
Most of my life I have been healthy. However, in late 2006 I was regularly
getting breathless and a stress test showed something serious was wrong.
An angiogram confirmed this. I had a critically narrowed artery
restricting blood to my heart. In January 2007 I had two stents placed in
that coronary artery and this has given me a new lease on life. A second
I have lived at various times in Wellington, Auckland, Adelaide, Sydney
and since 2000 in the Lake Macquarie district of New South Wales.
My times at sea are treasured memories. My Prince of Wales experience is
indelible. I’ve had a very fortunate life and many factors have brought
that about. However, I shall forever be grateful for the part that the
Prince of Wales played, in particular the discipline, the emphasis on self
reliance and the confidence building. What a great pity such a school does
not exist for the youth of today.