Peter Broadbent
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Peter Broadbent - Aberdovey, Wales, 1943

In 1942 I started an engineering apprenticeship in Huddersfield. I was 16. The war was on and, when I was old enough, I applied to join the Royal Navy - but was turned down because of poor eyesight. My employer suggested that I should apply for an engineering apprenticeship in the Merchant Navy; he said he knew someone at Alfred Holt's, the Blue Funnel Line, and he would have 'a word'. As a result, I attended the Outward Bound Sea School in Aberdovey in September 1943.

The one month I spent at the Outward Bound has stayed with me for the rest of my life; so much so, that I revisited the old School in Aberdovey 3 years ago to see if they had any record of 'that month' in 1943. To my joy, they had.

Of course I can't remember all the details. Many of the staff were 'real' sailors who were recovering after being torpedoed. They couldn't have been more enthusiastic. The day started about 6 a.m. with physical training exercises (what a shock), then breakfast. Each day was filled with lectures and practical activities. The lectures were on seamanship, signalling, and survival. The practical activities included small boats, team games and long hikes. One such hike, in small groups, was to the top of Cader Idris - about 30 miles. But my main memory was the 3-day sail on a 2-masted schooner. We all did everything, from going up the masts to trim the sails, to working in the kitchen.

Afterwards I did two and a half years at sea with the Blue Funnel Line, before settling down to life ashore. I'm sure the memory and benefits of the O.B.S.S. (as it was known then) have stayed with me for the rest of my life. I may not have been an expert, but I have never been afraid of 'trying' whenever a new opportunity presented itself. It was one month I shall never forget.

Peter Broadbent