After leaving HMS Fife in September 1979 I travelled home for a spot of leave before joining HMS Defiance, the maintenance base next to HMS Drake. Here I was assigned to the Craft Support Unit, a small team dealing with maintenance and engine changes on mine sweepers and inshore patrol boats. Already drafted to HMS Ajax, I was only helping out for a few months, but in that time managed to do engine changes on the Flintham, Dittisham, Sandpiper and Peterel.


During my time there, my POMEM by the name of Chris Willoughby, needed to borrow a radio so he could listen to the cricket in Australia presumably. As a JMEM, I was promptly dispatched up to my mess to get my ‘ghetto blaster’ . I knew the batteries were running out, but was told, he had some new ones.


Later that afternoon, I was stopped at the dockyard gate and on inspection by the MOD Plod, 6 dark green, pussers issue, batteries fell out of it. I was mortified and promptly got roasted by the kindly policeman, before being let go with a warning.


I was also tasked with going to Cardiff with a mobile party to do some maintenance on the RNR minesweeper HMS St David. Painting the foremast, a gust of wind blew some grey paint into my eye. That was bad enough, but it quickly got worse when the LMEM decided to get it out with white spirit. 20 minutes later, I was in the Cardiff Royal Infirmary being treated by a very nice nurse.


So despite only being there a short time, it was rather eventful.