I returned to HMS Defiance from HMS Sovereign in November 1989 as a LMEM running a Special Tools and Lifting Gear store called STALAG. I didn’t much enjoy this job due to a clash of personalities with one of the Chief’s, but nether the less, made the best of it.
The chap in question was a bit of a tyrant who drank excessively and suffered from small man syndrome. During the couple of years I spent there, we cultivated a healthy dislike for each other, until one day, he pushed me a bit too far. During the resulting ‘discussion’ He decided to cut me a bit of slack and from that moment on, we got on ok.
The POMEM was a chap called ‘Zac’ King, who in hindsight , liked the sound of his own voice. Our small workshop was turned into a tea room for the slingers to rest in between jobs and long before smoking became banned indoors, it was always full of a cloud of cigarette smoke. Zac used to regale us with stories about sinking the Argentine destroyer General Belgrano whilst serving on HMS Conqueror using an ‘over the shoulder shot’ with Sub Harpoon (RNSH). On further investigation, ‘Zac’ wasn’t even on Conqueror during the Falklands war and Belgrano was sunk using a Tigerfish Mk8 torpedo. One of the Chiefs who used to come in for tea, was actually on Conqueror at the time and rubbished Zac’s claims.
We have a saying in the Navy, that you don’t spoil a good dit with the truth and Zac was no exception.
During a much over due clean up, the last task is always scrubbing the deck, so this dubious honour fell to me. So one Friday afternoon when it was quiet, I scrubbed the green painted concrete deck and then prepared to give it another coat of paint in preparation for rounds, though in my haste to get the job finished, I accidentally knocked over the 25 litre of green paint.
Reasoning that I probably would use the same amount to cover the deck for 2 coats, I set about distributing it until the whole deck was covered and looked immaculate. Pleased with my afternoons work, I locked up and went home for the weekend. On Monday, the deck was still wet and the paint took a full week to harden sufficiently for us to walk on. This caused much hilarity.
I also spent a lot of my spare time filing down gun metal casts of submarines that had been obtained from the foundry and making BBQ’s out of empty 45 Gallon drums before leaving to join HMS Spartan in Faslane in July 1991.