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NAVY NEWS, JANUARY 2010 27
George, a legend
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I READ Heroes of the Royal Navy no 67 (November) about A B ‘George’ Parker with
to publish it. submissions.
interest.
I was First Lieutenant of St would surely have remained in St mainmast.
Kitts from 1951 to 1953 and thus Kitts for even longer! The story we got was of a
covered his last two years in that – Cdr G H Greenish (Ret’d) three-badge AB who had served
ship. Robertsbridge, in her, a Ganges boy, whose oppo
George was indeed held in high East Sussex at Ganges had risen far in the
respect and no one dared interfere
...AFTER completing my training
service.
with his caboose, as you called it.
at HMS Ganges I joined HMS St
As so often happens, despite the
This was at the base of the mast,
Kitts in 1957 as a signalman, and
differences in career paths, they
between the funnel and the break
of course met George.
kept in touch, but when his oppo
of the foc’sle.
The stories of his special
reached flag rank, the AB felt that
George was a terrible squirrel
relationship with Lord
he also wanted to wear a single
and the chief boatswain’s mate
and I were aware that it was full of
Mountbatten proliferated, as did
ball at the mainmast.
highly inflammable material.
the ones of him having a telegram
With the approval of his CO he
fabricated the modified lightning
One day, in Chatham
sent, recalling him off his leave.
conductor and it remained at
Dockyard, a welder was working
I personally cannot remember
HMS Camperdown’s masthead
under the mast and the heat from
this, however I was assured by
until the ship went for scrap.
the welding set fire to George’s
some of the older hands that it did
Part of the deal was that he
precious store.
indeed happen.
was responsible for keeping it
The buffer took great pleasure
What I do recall is on the day of
polished.
in chucking out the entire contents
the decommission of St Kitts I was
It is of stories such as this that a
and, henceforth, George was only
the person (along with George)
tradition of humour and humility
allowed to keep what he should as
to haul down the commissioning
is built in a disciplined service.
the upper-deck lockerman.
pennant, and was instructed by
I don’t know what happened 12 ISSUES FOR THE PRICE OF 10
*

George was a quiet, even-
my Chief Yeoman (presumably
to the trophy (I don’t think it
tempered man and took all this
on the orders of the captain) to * UK subscribers only
was ever registered as such) but I
very well.
present it to George.
suspect that some RN staff officer
It was said that George had a
– H McArthur, Batam Island,
12 Issues delivered directly to your home!
nice wife and grown-up family, but
Indonesia
in a fit of ‘clear-out’ consigned it
when he went on leave, he used to ...SOME ten years after the
to the bin.
persuade someone to telephone destroyer HMS Camperdown
Sadly Tay Division and our
YES, I would like to subscribe to Navy News 2. CHOOSE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION
01/10
his home with an immediate recall, was decommissioned, the name
HMS Camperdown has gone the
(please refer to the table opposite for prices)
so George was never on leave for was passed to the new shore
way of her predecessor.
Send the completed form and payment to:
Region Years Rate Tick
more than about 48 hours. headquarters for Tay Division
– Cdr Mike Dickinson, RNR,
In late 1952, St Kitts in the RNR in Dundee.
CO HMS Camperdown 1986-91
Subscriptions,
UK One £20.00
Home Fleet and Camperdown By then the destroyer had been ...THANK YOU for your article.
Navy News, HMS Nelson,
UK Two £40.00
from the Mediterranean Fleet scrapped but we acquired some After only recently discussing my Queen Street, Portsmouth UK Three £60.00
were ordered to exchange ship’s trivial mementoes, amongst which grandad with someone, he pops
companies at Gibraltar. was a ten-inch brass ball attached up in your magazine.
Hampshire PO1 3HH, England
Overseas One £26.00
I was relieved myself at the time to a four-foot long brass spike, I’m sure grandad would have Tel: +44 023 9272 6284 (24hr answerphone)
and forget the reason for this, allegedly the lightning conductor been very proud.
Overseas Two £52.00
but had it not happened, George from the late HMS Camperdown’s – Stuart Parker, Portsmouth
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email: subscriptions@navynews.co.uk
Overseas Three £78.00
Kate’s my heroine
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