Basic Training


On Monday 27 Jan 1941 Rod's diary records:- "Proclamation for 19 year olds, CALL UP (cheers)!!" The entry for Sat 22 Feb states "Cycled into Folkestone and SIGNED ON at 5pm RN quoted as preference. On Thursday 10th April he was invited to attend for a medical examination in Chatham where he passed at grade 1 and was accepted in his own words as a signaller "BUNTING TOSSER or BUNTS" Ordinary Signalman Rod Timms RNVR was born! On 4th Sept the 'Call Up papers arrived "Hurray". Broke news to his future wife and my mother, Jean - she was not very happy!' he records in his diary. In above photo Rod is in second row back from the front, second sailor from the right.


On Wednesday 10th  Sept 1941 Rod caught the train from Folkestone to London and then on to Skegness. He was met at the railway station and taken to HMS Royal Arthur.He wrote in his diary - "The camp was surrounded by an 8 foot high barbed wire palisaded  unclimbable fence. As the gates clanged to behind us we looked up at 6 foot high letters on the welcome sign 'OUR TRUE INTENT IS ALL FOR YOUR DELIGHT' admitting us to Butlins Holiday Camp Skegness - we had joined the Navy!" The holiday of a lifetime was about to unfold.


Rod comments in his diary on the 18th Sept 1941 "After various interviews I was considered to have the right educational & family background and to have OLQ (Officer Like Qualities)". Although this was entered onto your papers it was kept confidential to avoid becoming a person of ridicule to your friends on the lower deck.


On the mess deck if "you spoke proper" you were dubbed a "Lah-de-dah rating". An indication of the changes to overcome in the transition from the lower deck to the Wardroom!


The entry for Monday 13 October reveals that Rod was made Section Leader in his class and that he had passed his proficiency test in swimming.


A more important entry tells that his Pay-Book was stamped PPS, he could now go ashore on the liberty boat! However the entry for the very next day tells a sad tale, on his first evening of potential freedom he writes "missed the liberty boat"


Rod is on the right of the photo to the left. Do you know the names of any of the others? 







On Thursday 18th September 1941,   a week after the start of his basic training Rod was selected for Commission. He became a CW (Commission & Warrant) candidate. On the 23rd Sept he comments ....  "now in Class 161 - Top Division". The 2nd October 1941 saw a change in rank from Ordinary Signalman to Ordinary Seaman.



Moving from HMS Royal Arthur to HMS Ganges took place on Friday 10th Oct. Rod was in Mess 18 class 48 Rodney Division. He passed out from basic training on 4/12/41 with first position in class, he scored 586 out of a possible 600.



Left is a picture of the Mast at HMS Ganges, many considered that you had not properly passed out of Ganges unless you had climbed right to the top of the mast. Rod's entry in his diary for the 11th October reads, Sat 11th Oct  -  Rise 0600  -  cleaned up ship, brekker  -  got station cards etc then dinner  -  most of class ashore  -  letter to Jean  -  climbed up mast  - 



To HMS Pembroke Chatham. Farewell to Mess H Anson Block on Wed Jan 7th transfer to HMS Collingwood.




As Rod was selected as being a "C & W" candidate he thought he had better start studying for the future. The best way to do this was to purchase a Seamanship Manual. I still have the 1938 edition which had as a bookmark in between two pages, the above receipt and envelope.


 Newly passed out, posing looking smart, smiling and ready to fight for your country. What does the future hold?



The photo below, which unfortunately has suffered the ravages of time, show Rod holding the shield (as class leader).