top of page

Jon Willshir's 


Anchor 4

Read some recollections sent in by Jon- It may well bring back those lazy, hazy days of your youth !

If you'd like to comment on anything on this page please send an email by clicking here

Written April, 2016


Monty' Milham snaffled an 'uphomers' with a Commander USN when we were in Boston. A pipe was made to summon him to the QD where authority wanted to know why a brass hat would want to speak with him on the telephone. I assume that the possibility that Monty had been exchanging bodily fluids with the Commander's daughter crossed minds. What a scandal!!!


Monty picked up the telephone and said "Hiya Nick'. Collapse of stout party.   . 


Monty came from Ramsgate I believe which was a happy hunting ground for me after the Yanks left Manston airfield, That left a vacuum and a ready supply of 'spare' .  


I was wearing a new No. 1 suit, the one with a zip jacket and zip fly. I hated the damn things and had put off purchasing one as long as I could.  In my endeavours to complete a good evening's entertainment with a nice obliging young lady I forgot about the zip and the 'dash across the prairie' was quite painful. Having said our good nights I hitched a lift on an open lorry loaded with fish en route to Billingsgate.


Arriving back at RNB I flaked out on my bunk and was still out to the World when the duty Petty Officer roused me. I was covered in blood and stank of fish. The P.O. remarked that I must had had a good run ashore to end up like that and directed me to the Sick Bay.


I could hardly walk. The WRNS nurses had a field day with me and they all came to see this injured idiot. The Surgeon Lieutenant fell about laughing at my red raw todger and I was given light duties - and excused boots - for 3 days. So much for the nurses. I had to apply the prescribed salve myself.  Silly sailors eh?


Monty will recall a moron called 'Lugs' Powley so called because he had very protruding ears and looked like a taxi with the doors open. He covered himself with glory when we were in Quebec.


 He was adrift and amused himself by calling down to the ship from the Heights of Abraham and then legging it when a RM patrol was sent out to bring him back. This went on for some time until he was apprehended.


After the British Guiana problem and back at Ireland island before returning to the UK, he was allocated to man the Telephone exchange. The Commodore rang down and asked Powley to get him a Somerset number. As you may remember Somerset was one of the 7 districts that made up Bermuda. After a lengthy delay the Commodore rang down again and asked why he had not been connected. Powley replied that he was having some difficulty getting through and that he was talking to the London Foreign exchange about it.


Powley didn't finish his shift.  


Anchor 11

Written April, 2016


I joined SUPERB in late April or early May 1953, having completed Boys Training. I was promoted to Ordinary Seaman in October of that year when the ship was in Port of Spain and was allocated to 7 Mess under the stewardship of Gem Emery.


As a Boy I worked part of ship until I was detailed to be a Side Boy. One day I got to ring the ships bell at 1200. I didn't please the QM or the Corporal of the Gangway as I struck only one side of the bell. The next time we kept the forenoon watch I had to watch the QM attack the bell with considerable gusto every half hour until 1200.


Then I had to follow the example set me and strike the bell first on one side and then the other. I also piped Hands to Dinner (CWs to lunch, Pigs to the trough). When I had finished the Pipe, Commander Briggs came rushing out asking who had made the Pipe. I owned that I did and I basked in the glow of a 'Well Done, Lad'.


Apparently I had caused a stir in the Wardroom with my effort. The following day I was appointed his runner, presenting his compliments to all and sundry and telling them to attend Briggsy on the QD. 


After reaching the dizzy heights of OD I was detailed to work the telephone exchange as a replacement for the idiot Powley who had revved up Commodore Reggie Tosswill and then was detailed as bowman on the Commodore's motor boat. 


My next job was Captain of the forr'ard heads which didn't please me at all.  I left Superb a couple of weeks after the Spring Cruise to Gibraltar and Tangier and entered the Gunnery School where I qualified as an RC3/


I can remember 'Chinky' Saunders who was a member of Top Division.. We met up again in 1957 when I was in Grenville and I  met him in Pompey Dockyard He offered me a lift home to the Big Smoke the following weekend as he had borrowed a Wolseley 4/44 from a family member. I recall it being a bit of a nightmare ride.


I fondly remember one escapade that could have ended up being painful for me. When in Port of Spain another young scallywag and I bought a hand of bananas and a few quarts of peanut milk off of one of the bum boats.


We sat on top of 'A' turret and as the foc's'le awning was spread were almost invisible. We sat there scoffing ourselves and giggling away as Jack Earnshaw, a knarled old school P.O. the Captain of the foc's'le, ferreted around asking where those two rascals had got to.


We were never discovered and when Hands to Dinner was piped we emerged under the gaze of the 2nd Captain of the foc's'le, a more junior P.O. and thankfully with a sense of humour. Many were the times when we had him rolled up in laughter which took away the ground under Jack Earnshaw. .  


Did you know that Reggie Tosswill was the Navigating Officer of ILLUSTRIOUS home to the Stringbags that battered the Eyeties at Taranto and when she received a battering from Kraut Stukas when tied up at Palatorio afterwards?


One of the flyers (one of only two to survive the war) was Dick Janvrin later to be Captain (F) at Portland and 2nd Sea Lord, best officer I ever served under. I was his Coxswain when in GRENVILLE and was then practically fire proof. GRENVILLE as senior ship carried a skimmer and Janvrin hated the damn thing. I loved it and it became almost my personal property. 


I used to be a member of the Superb Association but did not renew my membership when I found out that Officers were not permitted to join. (That has now changed and they are now most welcome to join - Ed.) I briefly touched base with Monty Milham and Shorty Emson at that time.. 


Despite being qualified in all respects for promotion to Branch Rank by April 1955 I could never impress a series of deadbeat Divisional Officers to make a recommendation for me to be awarded a place on the Upper Yardsman scheme.


I left the Service somewhat disenchanted in 1961 and made a very successful career in the computer industry. I left the UK in 2001 for Thailand and have been settled here with a lovely Thai wife of 14 years who spoils me rotten.

Two snaps, one taken taken a few years back. I am in the uniform of Commodore of the Royal Suksabai navy and Naval Advisor to the High School for Girls at Kamphaeng Phet. My boss is in close attendance making sure that I don't rev anybody up. (A full time job)  The young man is my Royal Marine batman, Private Parts.  


The other snap is of my flagship, the BUTTERFLY - and fly she can. 25 knots if the sea isn't too lumpy. 

Have a look at Jon's Photos in the 1952-53 Photo Album

Anchor 12
bottom of page