The eldest Son of a Royal Navy Officer and an Essex farmer's daughter, I trained for the sea aboard the Incorporated Thames Nautical Training College's HMS Worcester, serving subsequently as a navigating

officer with the P&O Steam Navigation Company. After passing my submarine qualifying exam and sea time in HMS Otus, I passed my Foreign-Going Masters' Certificate in 1970, and served as First Officer

SS Chusan, before joining the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, for nuclear submarine training in 1972. Following sea time aboard HMS Valiant,  I worked with Norcontrol of Norway on integrated navigation

and engine control systems, prior to receiving the Galbraith Wrightson Senior Research Fellowship at the University of Plymouth, where I wrote 'The History & Development of Deep Diving Manned Submersible

Vehicles'. Joining InterSub of Marseilles, a commercial submarine operator, as Operations Manager in 1975, I spent two years on underwater operations in support of offshore oil and gas, before setting up the

company's submarine operations in Dubai, in a joint-venture with Swires of Hong Kong.

In 1977 I was appointed General Manager of Kvaerner-InterSub, a joint-venture based in Norway. Following the tragic death of three French friends and colleagues - InterSub's Managing Director,

Technical Director and Commercial Director, in a plane crash at Milan, I spent a year as Offshore Underwater Project Manager with Occidental, before joining British Oceanics, in Edinburgh,  as Business

Developments Manager, working alongside Herriott Watt, Strathclyde and Newcastle Universities, on innovative underwater technology.

Recalled to the Royal Navy in 1981, initially lecturing at the School of Maritime Operations, the Submarine School HMS Dolphin, and the Maritime Tactical School, HMS Dryad,  I saw active service during

the Falklands War and joined the Plessey Naval Systems Company in 1984, rising to the position of General Manager International Sales & Marketing.


On 21st September 1943, a telegram was despatched to my Father, onboard HMS Hilary, off Salerno. Needless to say it took several weeks to reach him.

 

The photograph on the left above was despatched shortly afterwards but 18 months were to pass before my Father saw me for the first time - by which time I had grown quite considerably.....

On the right, I am with my Mother, Doris, in September 1944, shortly after my first birthday. I am wearing a pair of red camel skin shoes my Father sent me from Alexandria. 

My Maternal Grandparents and their Arrol Johnson

Arrol Johnson operated from 1896 until 1931 and produced the first automobile built in Britain. They also developed the world's first Off-Road vehicle - for the Egyptian Government.

 Until well after the War, we lived with my grandparents, John and Laura  Padfield, at Little Tawney Hall Farm, Stapleford Tawney, in Essex.


My Father was invading Italy on the day I was born, in September 1943. He was onboard HMS Hilary, a Booth Steamship  Company liner,

requisitioned by the Royal Navy as an infantry landing and headquarters ship for Operation Avalanche, the Allied invasion of mainland Italy. As the

first wave of infantry approached the shore, a German Army loudspeaker blared,  

“Come on in and give up. We have you covered!”  

Through his telescope, my Father spotted a German Tiger tank, its 88mm gun slewing and firing. The first shot carried away the Hilary's signal

halyards and radio aerials.

Lieutenant W.E.Messinger was responsible for tactical communications between the ship and the landing force. Halyards and aerials were jury rigged

in double quick time!.


My Brother Phillip arrived in October 1945 and we moved to Bellingham House, Buckhurst Hill, which my Grandfather bought us, together with two more houses in Queen's Road.

Believe it or not, the fir tree in the foreground was once our family Christmas Tree.

My Father returned home in 1947, having spent two years commanding HMS Providence on the Palestine Patrol.

Enrolled at Taunton House School, Buckhurst Hill, we moved to Norway in late 1951, in order to join my Father, now a Commander, who was serving on the NATO staff at Kolsas, near Oslo.

Nesoya, Norway, off to school, 1952

1953, back from two and a half years running wild in Norway and enrolled at Loughton School - Self, brothers Phillip and Robert.

Hair neatly brushed and as shiny as new pins!

With my father, the day I received my Army Cadet Force uniform, c1955. Uniforms were all ex-Army, hand-me-downs ~ itchy material, some still bearing the scars of war!


Passing the entrance examination to the Incorporated Thames Nautical Training College's HMS Worcester,I proved to be a somewhat reluctant Worcester Cadet - eventually attaining the rank of Cadet Captain,

Yeoman of Signals, Cutter Coxswain and Queen's Standard Bearer for London's East End Boroughs. I cannot say, in all honesty, that I enjoyed my time aboard Worcester.  Joining in 1957 at the age of 14,

the ship's archaic and brutal regime was difficult to accept - particularly the endless bullying of first year cadets.

First-Term Cadet - stiff collar, studs back and front; sock suspenders; no trouser pockets; white handkerchief tucked into sleeve.

Trouser pockets were a privilege and only permitted after a year in the ship.......

My ambition, up to then, had been  to follow my Grandfather into farming. I was a member of the YFC - Young Farmers's Club - and a Corporal in the

4th Essex Cadet Regiment, where it had been my intention to transfer to the Essex Yeomanry at the earliest opportunity.

 In those far off days, however, one did as one's Father commanded.......

My Father second from left,  brother Phil, Mother, self. Brother Rob in foreground.

The Queen's Birthday Parade, HMS Ganges, 1959.

During my time in the Worcester, my Mother played host to three foreign cadets, Otto, Neven and Waggie, who lived with us during the holidays.

Otto, seen here on the left, was from Johore Bahru, Malaysia; Neven, third from left was from Rhodesia, and Waggie, from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

They all called my parents Mum and Dad, which raised many a raised eyebrow when we were out and about in the old Daimler. 


Leaving the Worcester at Easter 1961, and having been demoted from Cadet Captain and given six cuts with the cane on my penultimate day, I was appointed Midshipman in Her Majesty's Royal Naval Reserve.

It having subsequently been discovered that the crime for which I had been punished, bringing intoxicating liquor onboard in contravention of the Merchant Shipping act of 1894, had in fact been committed by a

fellow Cadet!  My Father,delighted at my having passed my leaving exams, dropped the case of beer off at the causeway, where the Captain's Coxswain took it in charge and transported it across to the ship. 

Joining my first P&O ship, the SS Ballarat, outward bound for Australia, with six blue-black stripes across my backside, caused many a chuckle from my fellow Cadets - all Pangbourne College boys!  


My P&O years - 1961 - 1972 - are well covered in my P&O S N Co website

www.pandosnco.co.uk