For 18 incident-filled months (1962-64) he ‘did his bit’ onboard HMS Lincoln caught up in the Malaysian Crisis, on the other side of the world. For the young sailor, this meant visiting every corner of the Far East from Singapore, Hong Kong and Osaka, to Manila, Sandakan and Lankawi. The nature of the Crisis seemed to pass him by, as he was more interested in acquiring a suntan, picnicking on sandy beaches, buying his first pair of flip-flops, exploring Bugis Street, downing bottles of Tiger beer, and avoiding the clutches of ‘Suzie Right’, ‘Calamity Jayne’ and a girl with bad teeth known as ‘Piano’. Along the way, he crossed the equator, qualified as an AB, tasted his first rum ration, manned a Kumpit Boarding Party in search of enemy vessels, and spent a week tramping through the jungle with the Gurkhas.
His return to the UK coincided with the appearance on the streets of that design classic … the mini-skirt. He had just celebrated his twentieth birthday and the girls of the United Kingdom voluntarily hoisted their hemlines in acknowledgment.
This engaging and humorous memoir, filled with colourful characters, is every bit as gripping as Peter Broadbent’s previous books, which have garnered excellent reviews.