In this enjoyable memoir, Richard Barr (who went on to have a successful 28-year career in the Royal Navy) recalls his experiences as an inept junior seaman serving aboard HMS Rampart in the late 1950s. One of the Navy’s less glamorous vessels, Rampart, a former World War II LCT (Landing Craft Tank L4037), was home to a small but happy crew of colourful nautical characters, whose antics at sea and ashore are fondly remembered in this entertaining account.
A ‘cracking yarn’ in the best seafaring traditions, it is an affectionate portrayal of life on the Lower Deck as experienced by ordinary sailors in what is now a bygone era of the Royal Navy. In particular, the author recalls the camaraderie of his shipmates who, despite differences in age and experience and cramped living conditions, managed to get along well together.
Prepare to meet ‘Dolly’, the ship’s cook afflicted with chronic seasickness, ‘Mad Jock’, whose fondness for alcohol often leads to trouble and the testy old Coxswain, who dubbed the author “the most unable seaman it’s been my misfortune to encounter!”
Follow Rampart to France to scupper the D-Day Anniversary, to Norway for a double helping of Moose Stew and to the Isle of Wight to ruin the Cowes Regatta. Find out how the ship is accidentally painted salmon pink, how not to shoot balloons … and much more!