Andrew Harrington
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Andrew Harrington - Aberdovey, Wales, 1945

The OBSS at Aberdovey was like a holiday camp for the Cadets from HMS "Conway"� in July 1945. The war had just ended and, of course, rationing would be in force for many years to come so it was a most enjoyable break for most of us. I seem to remember that the food was plentiful and of good quality, unlike the catering aboard "Conway"� and a delightful milk-maid would come down the hill from one of the many farms, carrying two pails of fresh milk on a wooden yoke.

Apart from the "Conways"�, there were also some boys from Gordonstoun School but there were also a wide selection of young lads, such as Starky, who was a Plumber's mate from the East End of London who really came out of his shell and became an enthusiastic member of our Watch.

One of the highlights of those Courses was the 2 or 3 day sail across Cardigan Bay to Abersoch in either the 60 ton ketch, "Garibaldi"� or the 80 ton schooner "Prince Louis"�. Some of our lads were a bit apprehensive so, to make light of it, Fitz and I suggested we should all put two shillings into a kitty and the winner would be the one who was last to suffer from sea-sickness! We sailed in the "Garibaldi"� into a moderate sea, but after crossing the Bar, the boat began to move around in the swell with the expected results. The Skipper suggested we should prepare lunch, which of course involved going below to the galley in the bows where the movement was as its worst. Fitz detailed one of our crew to go below and cook whatever was on the menu but, in rapid succession, the lads returned to get rid of their breakfasts over the side rail. Eventually, only Fitz and myself had not succumbed to the mal-de-mer so, now it was my turn. I had a cunning plan; went down the hatch, sliced a loaf of bread, then some Spam (meat loaf) and was back on deck with the lunch in very quick time.

We anchored off Abersoch but did not land, because we were in quarantine for some minor ailment in Aberdovey and were not supposed to go into shops. I expect it was something like measles!

I left "Conway"� in April 1946, joined The New Zealand Shipping Company and qualifying as a Master Mariner. I also joined the Royal Naval Reserve and have always retained my love of the sea. It would be great if more of today's youngsters could benefit from the standards and values offered by the OBSS.

[...] I have so many good memories and to me, it was all part of a healthy experience with, since it was immediately after the end of the war, a great relief to be able to enjoy eggs and bacon, seemingly, without rationing.

Andrew P. Harrington

(Andrew kindly posted us his recollections and we have published the above excerpts with his permission.)