Tom Gilbertson
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Tom Gilbertson - Aberdovey, Wales, 1953

I attended the O.B.S.S. at Aberdovey in1953, sponsored by my employer, R&W Hawthorn Leslie, shipbuilders. I achieved the Honours award, which the Co. took from me, and then presented it to me at the Co’s annual ceremony.

My story is about the trip on the Warspite to Abersoch.

As there were no volunteers from my watch to be the Assistant Engineer for the trip, I volunteered and was accepted by the school, and my assistant, who assumed the role of Watch Leader for the duration of the trip. We sailed to Abersoch, and moored off the coast, within rowing distance.

One of the duties was to fill the fresh water tank, the crew rowing ashore with smaller tanks, to fill and return. The water was then poured into the main tank through an inlet in the deck.

However they removed the bung to fuel the oil tank and poured some into there, before realising their error. The Eng. showed me what I had to do then, allowing the water to settle in the bottom and draining it off. He suggested I leave it overnight, and start on day two. I was instructed not to report this completed until 5pm, as he wanted to go shore the following night as well as that night.

I checked every hour, and drained off the water that remained. I can’t remember what time I was satisfied with this task, but didn’t report to the Wardroom and the Captain and Eng. that I was happy with my work until 5pm, at which point he replied that it was too late to sail.

We sailed to Aberdovey as planned for day 3. I was given a top mark for my role, towards the final result.