My dad has given me his father’s book ‘A Seaman’s Pocket-Book’, dated June 1943 and issued by ‘His Majesty’s Stationery Office’ in London. It cost 1s 3d. He has asked me to take it across to St Lucia with us in November. My father and his father were submariners in the Royal Navy, a very special breed. My maternal grandfather was in the Merchant Navy and torpedoed during WWI. My paternal grandfather was a coastguard along the West Wales coast after he left the Navy and my dad went to naval school when he was 12. My mother first saw my dad when she and he were 18. He was looking out to sea on the bridge in Lower Town, Fishguard and this August they will have been married for 60 years.
The opening section is on ‘Sea Sense’ and I particularly like the definition of Seamanship. ‘Seamanship is the art of ship management and maintenance, and the capacity to use foresight and common sense’. The emphasis is on team work and responsibility to ones’ shipmates.
Following chapters deal with Sea Terms, The Sea, Steering the Ship, Rigging, Anchors and Cables, Boatwork, Organisation and Ship Safety and much of the contents are exactly the same today. It is a fascinating book which I hope to keep safe during our adventure.