For most, this day represents the last working day before Christmas, not that there’ll be as much work done as usual I suspect! Many of us will be looking to secure our work stations, hide what we should have done in the lead up to Xmas and make the relevant cast iron excuses. We’ll finish mid way through the afternoon (if not before) and make haste back to our loved ones.
It’s seems that the country’s media is asking us to spare a thought for the Armed Forces and the sterling job they at Christmas; I would echo and indeed endorse this sentiment but in this instance would look within at our own brothers (And in some countries – “sisters”).
Being an ex-Submariner of 20+ years I remember the happy and the not so happy times at this festive time of year. Below are a few examples that might strike a chord with you Past, Present or Future:
- Most of the boats back for Xmas stand off. The Imps, the G&D, the RNA brimming with submarine crews readying themselves to go on leave.
- Sitting on an upturned milk crate or an Elephant’s Tam**x, on trot, on Christmas Day, in Faslane at Two O’clock in the afternoon, with 2 hours to go wondering if being a submariner was indeed the best decision you ever made.
- Relaxing in the sunshine, in a bar, half-way across the world reading about how wet and windy it is in Plymouth with no sign of a let up.
- Climbing into your rack on Christmas eve night with only your thoughts of home for company. The rush air from the punkah louvre streaming uncomfortably across your chest and the constant whirrr of the on-board ventilation. With Christmas day only hours away you’re not even “round the buoy” on that 12 week patrol.
- The excitement of returning to port in time for Christmas having been away for 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months, 6 months. Tossing and turning, pacing about, willing the clock to run faster and finally “Fall out of Harbour Stns below. D’ya hear there – Leave, leave to those not required by…………..”
- Being standby Submarine and getting called in on Christmas eve to put to sea to track, chase a submarine of “interest”.
Some personal memories, not all my own but I hope it jogs some of yours. Spare a thought this Christmas for those brothers we know, those we have known (God rest their souls) and those we are yet to know.
Be good, be kind, stay safe!
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you all.
Jason Lockley (Blog author)