G.A. Schultzm #1062 – 1939/40

As was routine on the Bothie after Saturday morning “Rounds”, certain jobs were allocated to members of the different “Tops”. Members of the Bugle Band were required to take up station on the upper fo’csle head to polish all Bugles. Drums etc. Saturday was also “pocket money” day, in those days one shilling a week.

On this particular Saturday morning in the spring of 1940, it was like a midsummer day, and one could sense the “Devil may Care” attitude of the group gathered there with cottonwaste and “Bluebell”.

Sure enough it was not long before the late Chico McNaughton was daring anybody to dive over the side – sixpences in the “Kitty” or threepences for a jump.

Once over the side one had to breaststroke down to the quarterdeck gangway and climb up to the Main Deck and report to the “Mate of the Deck” or the Duty Officer. The distance to the water was about forty feet, I therefore decided to jump, and without further discussion climbed over the chains and jumped, dressed in Takkies, overalls and working cap breaststroking past the Cutter, Motorboat and Whaler moored to the Boom, past the seaward gangway and down the homestraight to the quarterdeck gangway. On reaching the gangway, struggled up onto the grating, and began my dripping climb to the quarterdeck, and as is commonly known, as one climbs one’s eye level rises.

On my final glance upwards Horror of Horrors ! There stood Chief Officer St. John, cap under arm, sun tanned bald pate glistening in the sun. (To the cadets known as “Dwalie”) he had the habit of tapping his foot when asking a question, and his stock answer to any explanation was “But why ? Boy why ?”

Before coming aboard I was promptly asked why I left the ship without permission, right foot tapping on the brass finish to the gangway. On giving my explanation I was met with the stock question, and finally told to stand abaft the “Brasshine” the brass strip which separated the Main Deck from the wardroom, Officers’ quarters and Ship’s Office. I remember standing for about an hour as the puddle of water grew larger, and my imagination growing more vivid by the minute, things like: Captain’s Report, Holy stoning the upper deck, etc. Finally Chief Officer St. John walked over to me with the very faintest of smiles on his stern face and sent me off to change into dry clothes, fetch a bucket and clean up the mess.

After having done as instructed I was told to report to my work station. No further action was taken. I think Chief Officer St. John secretly enjoyed a little daring.

The sum total I received was 4/6d.