When Peter Broadbent entered HMS Ganges, the toughest training establishment for young recruits to the Royal Navy, he was a naive 15-year-old Yorkshire schoolboy, entranced with the idea of seeing the world, proud of his drainpipe trousers and DA hairstyle, and eager to meet girls. In other words, he was a ‘Nozzer’ - a raw and unsuspecting recruit. When he emerged 386 days later it was as a prospective ‘Dabtoe’, not quite a fully trained Seaman, but well on the way. This funny and vivid memoir accurately captures what it was like to climb the mast, have your kit trashed, learn to swear, develop a taste for Kye and Stickies, double around the parade-ground at dead of night in your pyjamas, endlessly run up and down Laundry Hill ... and to do it all and much more while being continually barracked by a demanding Petty Officer Instructor. Along the way, Peter relished learning the Navy lingo and how to sail. He consumed platefuls of Cheese Ush, won a boxing certificate, discovered a secret stash of Playboy magazines, smoked thousands of cigarettes, and convinced girls back home that his shorn hair was in fact the very latest fashion ‘down south’.
Keywords: Royal Navy, HMS Ganges, sailor, navy training, memoir, seaman, HMS Vincent, boy sailors.