" " CAN YOU SWIM -- OR NOT SWIM " DEVONPORT NAVAL BASE NZ 1942...
I was manpowered into the engineering workshop in world war 11. they were using anybody they could get , I had to go their for a limited time as my other agriculture work was also classified - high priority with all the farmers overseas . After a medical , we were alotted to our posts . mine was to be a cleanup . general rousey for an english marine gunner engineer . The first think they did was to make sure you could swim - Navy regulations . ( 25 ) of us were lined up one early morning from our barracks , marched to their wharf for small ships . stood to attention . we were asked by the officer , with a lovely smile , could we swim . put into two rows = those that could and those that couldn,t . I was one that couldn't, in fact I had never been at that stage in life near a beach . They marched us to the end of the 200m wharf in ( 2 ) rows . The ones that could swim ( about (20 ) from memory ,were told to jump in and swim to the shore . a couple of proper sailors would see they didn't drown from the top of the wharf . us brave ( very very brave 5 ) on the end of the wharf . stood to attention while some other naval ratings tied ropes around us . they them marched us to right on the side of the wharf. Imagine the picture _ ( I still can ) one naval officer - ( 5 )naval ratings stood to attention with the ropes from each one of us ( 5 ) at attention . the sea below was about 5 metres below the top of the wharf . we thought < i will repeat that > us ( 5 ) with the ropes around us thought they would march us to the steps to the sea near by . easy to get in . !!! The officer in charge had other Ideas . As he stepped over the ropes behind us , He said in a very very loud voice " now you bl-~#[email protected] dy lot -!!! are going to jump into the sea and swim to the shore . If you BLO`~`* dy well drown . we will just let go the ropes and you can stay their cause you will be no damn good to us !! " Attention !!!!! " and we were pushed in to the sea . Our struggle to survive began . As i came to the surface full of salty oily water , who ever had my rope started to slowly - ( damn slowly ) walk with my rope tugging on me . at the end i was trying to swim . we fell on the beach ,( thanking the man above for still wanting us ) when that lovely Officer with a smile , Barked out - " Get to you're feet you useless lot of ( XXXXXXXXX !!! )" not printable " ATTENTION : Start running on the spot !! come on lads lift those feet and away we go !!
That officer - ran us a 1/2 mile onto the parade ground . Stand to attention . " Attention !!! : he barked out . Another more senior officer - must have been, had more strips on him , spoke to him . using his rank - He said in a nice voice " how did Go staff " back came the reply with salute still being Held " Mission accomplished sir ! ~~ thy can all SWIM !! - " Excellent - carry on and walked off. He walked along our shivering small row , with that lovely smile on his face - and said " well done Lads .Now you have quick shower
put on your working kit and be back in 1 hour - at this place--our day isn't finished ----- yet ! " ATTENTION - DISMISS !!
Thats one of the many small things that helped win war 11'.now I can swim good . Till we meet again -Regards - edmondsallan