Gethin Vaughan
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Gethin Vaughan - Aberdovey, Wales, 1963

I was one of the members of Aberdovey Sea School during the 1963 course 231 during July / August & I was a member of Drake Watch. As it was a long time ago and I am now 65, I have to rely on my record and log book for some help.

I was 17 years old and an apprentice at a nickel company which sent two lads to Aberdovey every year, and I was selected to go along with another lad. It was going to be the first chance I would have to be away from home and I was overjoyed and looked forward to adventure and the chance to meet other lads from Britain and other countries as it turned out.

I remember that the weather was magnificent and Bob Crook and I travelled by rail from Swansea to to Aberdovey along the Welsh coast by steam engine. As soon as we arrived we were sorted out into watches, issued with uniform and told what was expected of us to become members of the O.B.S.S as you were not given membership for just turning up, and quite right too!

The warden was Captain R. Fuller and our Watch Instructor Mr B. Crook (same name as the lad I came up with!) I loved the school routine of getting up early, cleaning our cabin and stowing our kit ready for inspection. Then breakfast - the food was good and there was plenty of it.

The day's activities were varied but when we were duty watch we would work in the school grounds doing whatever needed doing and we also served the food in the mess where the staff and lads ate together. I always used to opt to work in the kitchen - I operated the big troublesome dishwasher and soon I had it running like a dream! Duty watch also included manning our own fire engine and our own lifeboat and mountain rescue team - when you are 17 you are ready for anything!

The first week we spent time on athletics, P.T map reading, rock climbing and canoeing to get us fit for the 6 day mountain expedition to Snowdonia in week two which was great. we also sailed from Aberdovey to Harlech for our cutter sailing expedition, sleeping in the sand dunes overnight in an encampment made out of the cutters sails.

On Saturday August 10th the Queen and the D of E made a visit to the school. Drake Watch were considered to be the be sailors and were chosen to sail our cutter into the estuary, but the Dyfi ebb tide had the last word and when the Queen passed us we had just run aground on a sandbank and we had to scramble ashore to line the school drive soaking wet to cheer her- happy days!

I will always remember O.B.S.S Aberdovey and thanks to the Generations campaign I have relived some of those times.

(Gethin Vaughan kindly posted us his story and we have added extracts from his letter to the site with his permission)