by Terry Freestone
I hope this may be helpful. There are many faces that give a twinge of
memory but its almost 70 years ago now for the Burford stuff, and the
grey cells are not as sharp. Interestingly to me, I had joined in January
1948 in 105 squad, the one before before Roy`s 106, and Cpl Arthur Dunkerly
was also our MTI.
At RNSM Burford, all squads started in No.12 Room with Oscar Murch i/c
then after about three months moved across to 11 Room (with a Bassoon
playing B/Cpl whose name was, I think, Dai Hooper), to make room for the
next joining squad, and so ad infinitem.
I completed my Boys training in Deal in July 1950 and a couple of months
later joined a draft band forming for the light aircraft carrier Glory,
with Bandmaster Wally Spencer and B/Sgt Maurice Pearce. When we joined
the ship in Devonport on 12 January 1951, who should I find in the RM
detachment but my old drill instructor Cpl Arthur Dunkerly. I was also
on his Bofors gun for Action Stations.
We went straight out to Japan, picking up our 2 squadrons of Sea Furies
and Fairey Fireflies in Malta en route. We relieved Theseus in April and
were constantly alternating with a US carrier for flying operations in
the Yellow Sea until late September, when we needed a refit and boiler
re-bricking and because of the great demands of activity of the war effort
at all Royal Dockyards in the Far East had to go down to Sydney, where
we spent Christmas 1951. It was there that our drummer (now percussionist)
Brian Whitehead decided to do a runner and we never saw him again. About
50 years later that story was completed when I had correspondence with
his daughter; and this is on your archive pages.
To resume: we went back up to Sasebo in January 1952 and relieved HMAS
Sydney, for another five months of flying against the North Korean &
now also Chinese armies which had reinvaded the South. The UN CinC General
of the Army Douglas McArthur had been dismissed by President Truman for
suggesting we should nuke the Commies, Gen Ridgway was now CinC and the
war settled down to a similar style as WW1- trench boredom interspersed
with bouts of savage mass attacks by the Gooks with enormous losses. We
continued with our daily strikes on enemy positions ashore; the naval
opposition was non-existent except on one occasion when we had a submarine
alert and went to emergency stations at night - a suspected Soviet sub
from Vladivostock that didn`t materialise. Likewise enemy air activity
seemed confined to the land where Soviet/ Chinese MIG jet fighters were
having some successes, our planes of course were piston-engined; jets
had not yet been introduced into the Fleet Air Arm frontline squadrons.
In May 52 another refit was necessary and for this we had to go back to
Malta where we were in the floating drydock in Grand harbour. While here
B/Mr Spencer was recalled to Deal along with B/Cpl Tommy Done (Clart/Viola)
who had been fuming with frustration as he had been retained over his
12 years engagement under a Korean War Order in Council, and we went back
to Korea in November 1952 for our third and last tour under Acting Bandmaster
Our new B/Sgt was Bob Witcher who joined us from the cruiser Birmingham,
also Ron Delorey (Clart/Vla) from somewhere. You may remember Bob`s son
Ian Witcher (percussion) joined as a Junior Musician and served for some
years, I think in Paul Neville`s Staff band Deal in the 70s.
And so from November 1952 to May 1953 we were back on the job; war routine
flying patrols with the band on permanent flight deck ammunition party.
Glory was the only carrier to do three tours of duty. We were finally
relieved by Ocean (the old one - not the latest helicopter carrier) and
happened to be in Singapore on Coronation day when the band joined Terror`s
band under Comnd B/Mr Reg Long. Probably our first blow for a very long
time. Our musical abilities had become atrophied but you should have seen
our muscles after daily humping 60 pound rocket heads and 500 and 1000
pound bombs down the flight deck. We arrived back in Portsmouth and paid
off after exactly 2 years and 6 months away from England in July 1953.
As usual I have rambled down memory lane; please edit and leave out any
or all you think unnecessary. You did ask for comments on the pictures
in the first place. All the best Terry.
are thumbnails of other photos related to Roy Nash's time served.
Again, if anyone can add further names and anecdotes they they would be