HMS Sultan is the home of all Naval Marine Engineering and as such, I have returned there on numerous occasions.


I returned again in October 1996 after leaving HMS Sovereign as a newly promoted Petty Officer to complete the recently created POMEMís course. It had been decided, quite rightly, that vocational skill was more practical than academic skill. POMEMís course was designed to teach real skills and it was brilliant. There were two different varieties, one which concentrated on welding and the other on fitting and turning.


I was on the former and after a week or so mucking about on the lathe, we spent the next couple of months practicing all different types of welding including Gas, Tig, Mig, and MMA. I became quite proficient at it once I had learnt what signs to look for in the hot metal.


We also learnt how to bend† and braze pipework and how to use an Gas Axe as well as a bit of fabrication with Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) and a couple of weeks in the wood workshop where I made a tool box that I still use today.


In short, it was the Navyís D.I.Y course. What a shame, they donít do it now.


After finishing the course, I left Sultan to join HMS Drake again prior to joining HMS Talent as the Aft Spo.