Ray Lester

Joined  the Ship October 7th 1968

Draft Chit to HMS caprice April 25th 1971


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I joined 'The Fighting 101' as she was then affectionately known, from HMS Cambridge with a bunch of other Junior Seaman Gunners, I can't remember all the names but the ones I do remember are; Nigel Gubb - Geoff Barnett (Barney or Scottie) - Terry 'George' Harman - Martin 'Titch' Arnell - Bill Headon - Willie Wileman - Dolly Grey - Dusty Rhodes -  Geoarge Gare - Tony Parky Parks.

I was also Known as Rusty, Ginge, Les and of course Skin (well I was only 16 then)

Most of the gunners were in the fwd seaman's3E  mess but I, and a few others were in the aft seaman's 3P mess with the TAS apes, Those I remember are; John Lindsey (L/S killick of the mess) - My 'sea dad' Tony Bamatry A/B (Worked on the mortar Mk 10) - Vernon 'Smudge' Smith L/S - Mick Fryatt O/S - Frank Cousins A/B - Sherlock Holmes A/B - Peter Lloyd A/B - Johno Johnson A/B - 'Buck Ryan' A/B ' got drafted in from another ship after being busted from PO - I remember the clubs swinger 'L/PTI Barry Leech (who now lives in South Africa) he was also our PTI - At HMS Ganges in 1967 - Jan Derges Seaman - Peter Acres SA - Stokers Brum Atkins  & Danny Danks - Peter Sharp RO - Vic Harris RO - Robert Gurkin Captain (Death or Glory Gurkin) - Bill Dungate ' Gunnery Officer - Barrie Lomas Sub Lieutenant.

There are many more faces I can't put names to as yet. For me it's been some 40 years since my days on Yarmouth and I have some fine memories, albeit some vague, she was my first ship, I was 16 years old fresh out of Training and ready to see the world. (Well, to me Portsmouth was foreign) My eyes were opened to many things such as;

1. When you were called round for a wet and offered sippers from the treasured 'Tot' you didn't dare do more that wet your lips. (It was not a pretty site to see a 3 badge stoker cry after you sank half his tot.)

2. Your 'Sea Dad' was not always your protector, especially when you're bronzying on the flight deck in skimpy trunks and you look up to see a bunch of hairy arse matelots and your Sea Dad with the biggest wooden handled screwdriver you've ever seen in your life topped with a lump of starters, and hear the terrifying words 'cum here skin'.

3. Your 'Sea Dad' was not always your protector when he tries to sell you in 'Boogie Street' as a 'cherry boy' to a 'kietie'. (Transvestites that had real Boobs and still had ALL the bits)

4. Your 'Sea Dad' was not always your protector when you have 'Cinderella Leave' and he rings up the OOD to get you all night leave so you can go to your first 'Orgy' then lets you get pi**ed, get thrown out the club by the bouncers, put in cells and trooped the next day.

5. Your 'Sea Dad' was not always your protector when you're in the showers crashing out your nicks and socks and he wops a lump of tooth paste up yer ring piece and laughs his nuts off while you're running round in ever decreasing circles screaming 'Oh my God' 'Oh my God' with your arse on fire.

6. The words 'Christ! he's rigged like f****** donkey' referred to the size of my nether regions and that all you lesser mortals were envious (sorry chaps but now having 5 children and 7 grandchildren I guess being rigged help a bit). All that said, I seem to remember Vic Harris was compared to a 'Horse'


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