1933 ~ 2016

Foreward 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 Maurice Pearce.

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.

Below 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 welcome.

B Coy Deal 1951

Earl's Court 1953

Passing out recruit squad 1948

Passing out recruit squad 1948

Passing out recruit squad Oct 1948

Parents day 1948

HMS Newfoundland

HMS Surprise at Naples 1962

HMS Excellent 1966

HMS Newfoundland

106 Squad sports 1948

Beating Retreat (Witney) 1949
Previous | Home | Next  1 - Photo  by Richard (Dickie) Valentine  1 - Photo  by Richard (Dickie) Valentine
Richard Valentine -1996 - 2017 © - All rights reserved