Ralph Brough
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Ralph Brough - Aberdovey, Wales, 1953

I attended the Outward Bound Sea School in Aberdovey in October 1953, course no 133, prior to joining Alfred Holt as a Midshipman. I served with Blue Funnel until 1960 when I left the sea after obtaining my First Mate's Certificate.

Prior to attending Outward Bound I had completed a one year course at The School of Navigation Southampton, so the rigorous Aberdovey regime did not come as a complete shock to me!

My Aberdovey memories are somewhat distant now but in particular I remember the cold showers in November were especially "stimulating". I also recall the 25 mile expedition over Cader Idris. The weather on that day was extreme, with constant rain and high winds. In fact the weather conditions throughout the course were Wales at it its worst and our "cruise" on the ketch "Warspite" was cancelled.

I still have my course Photograph and another shot (above) of boat drill on the Awatea. The only names of the crew I remember are my fellow Blue Funnel colleagues: Ian Thomson (port for'rard), Tony Munday (2nd Starboard), me, Ralph Brough (3rd starboard) and Nick Hastings (4th starboard). Ian Thomson and I meet regularly at the Calchas/Diomed reunion and at The Nestorian Dinner. The member of staff on the steering oar was I believe a senior member of staff.
Looking back I am glad I had the experience. When I left the sea, I ended up managing a number of businesses and I believe the leadership skills instilled by Alfred Holt stood me in very good stead.

I often wished I could have sent some of my young staff to the Aberdovey I remember.
Posted: 31/05/2011