Aug 14
Eric Hayward
HMS Highflyer - Ian Epps' Memories II

Hi Again Richard,

Amazing what happens when somebody pushes the memory button. Once again the the memories of that period of time spent in HMS Highflyer.

Ian mentioned the Gecko's and the Mossies. Well I can remember a Gecko falling onto the ceiling fan which of course was always on. Some wag then turned the fan on full speed to see just how long it could hold on. It stayed glued in place and just carried on eating once the experiment was over.

We had adopted a Mongoose and named it Ricky. Any one who had read the book about Ricky Ticky Tavy would know why. Anyway this animal was a joy to watch when confronted with any snakes. Unfortunately when we went to sea we left him with a CPO in the next room and when we arrived back some weeks later Ricky had gone back to the wild. He, that is the Mongoose, had been in the habit of sleeping in the fold of sheet at the foot of the bed occupied by George Brookes, brother of Digger Brookes. George was quite happy with this arrangement but not so the chap who inherited his bed who got the shock of his life when a rather hairy object moved past his feet when he got into bed. Can't print the language that ensued.

The other beach that we used was at Sunshine Bay. The access to this really beautiful bay was through a track about ten minutes walk away. Moonstone was in abundance on the beach, if only we had known the value of it we could have made a fortune. The water in this bay was quite deep and I was shown by a native boy how to control my breathing under water, and by the time we left Trinco I was able to stay under for anything up to three minutes. As recently as a few months ago I could still swim the length of an Olympic size pool under water. Not at all bad for a 71 year old.

The other time that I had to go into the water was to recover my Bassoon. Accidentaly dropped I might add. Didn't do the instrument much good and I spent hours replacing springs and pads. Staff Bandmaster Graham Shipway was convinced that I had thrown it in, but it really was an accident.

I must say that my time in Ceylon as it then was, was most enjoyable. It was the interruption of having to dash off to the Gulf that spoiled it all. Yes there were problems up that way even in 1956.

I might continue this epistle at some time in the future with a few more tales of the time spent up in the Gulf region.

Once more Richard Cheers! from Down at the Bottom end.


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