Arthur Robinson
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Arthur Robinson - Aberdovey, Wales, 1953

I was sent to the Outward Bound Sea School at Aberdovey by my then employer, Richmond’s Gas Stove Co Ltd for one month in Sept/Oct 1953, I’m sure the course was number 132.

During the time I was at OBSS , the most memorable time was when I was on the ‘Warspite’. We had a swimming test, in which we had to swim the full length of the wharf and back again, before our watch, ‘Rodney Watch’ (please see photo) was allowed to crew the Warspite, out into Cardigan Bay.

Our first night out was good weather and a fine night, the next day we had no wind and became becalmed, claiming the still time we were allowed to swim close to the ships. When on deck I was hoisted up to the top if the mast. At the mast top I was told that the bucket on my right was full of grease, which I could apply to the mast when lowered down (this was before health and safety was involved!)

The next night the wind picked up and the sea became very rough. In fact it was so rough that we could not sail over the bar back to Aberdovey. I remember Rodney watch was taken off and replaced by another crew, I think it was the Pwllheli life boat that took us off, and we went to Buttlins Holiday Camp until a coach came to take us back to Aberdovey.

After more training on the wharf, on the sport field and in the classroom, we were ready for more of a physical challenge. First we went out in canoes up the river Dovey and back again, and then we were ready for the big hike “Cader Idris”.

On that day the weather was fine. We were split onto small groups and issued with two sandwiches, a piece of swiss roll, an orange and water – just enough to last the day. I was appointed leader, and was given a map and compass just as we were dropped off at Fairbourne.

The Officers went on ahead of us and took up check points where we had to check in and get directions for the next check point. We climbed the two smaller hills before we faced Cader Idris. On the climb we passed lots of sheep who appeared to be laughing at us – they got some choice replies! On reaching the top check-in we were congratulated by the Officers, before being guided down to transport to take us back to Aberdovey.

I would like to thanks the Outward Bound Sea School, the Officers of the Alfred Holt Shipping Line and everyone who made this possible for me. At 17 I needed guidance; it prepared me for national service and two years in the R.E.M.E. In industry I went on to be a works manager. Outside work I have been on and Chaired a number of committees. For 30 years, 1966-1996, I was a member of Woolston Parish Council, and was later made a Freemason of the Parish.

I am now 74 and still serve Warrington Pensioners Association, as well as being on Warrington East Neighbourhood Board.

Thank you again, “To Serve, To Strive and not to Yield”.