After leaving the Diamond, Edgar and I got ‘drafted’ to the Diesel Course.  I can’t say that I enjoyed the course and the Mess President was a total pillock – if you don’t believe me ask Edgar.  I think they carried on a war of attrition for the duration of the course.  At the end of the course we were interviewed by the Engineer Commander in charge? of the course in reverse order to our exam results.  I had actually done very well in the exam and if I wasn’t top of the class I was certainly up there somewhere – consequently when I went in for my interview the Commander (E) had obviously decided that he was going to hear nothing but superlatives about ‘his’ course.  I was told that the interview was totally informal, that I could and should say exactly what I felt and that nothing said would go ‘beyond these four walls’.  “So, what did you think of the course, Chief?” he beamed.  “Utter bloody rubbish!” I replied – and the atmosphere (which had been all friendly and light) suddenly took on a somewhat darker shade.  “Explain yourself!!” he growled.  I noted the absence of “Chief” and decided that we were now on a strictly formal basis with no room whatsoever for levity.  I pointed out that I had no argument with the theoretical side of the course, but that there had been far to little practical workshop and actual engine experience.  That I felt that if confronted with a diesel engine which was malfunctioning (or wouldn’t start) I would possibly eventually track down the problem with a series of eliminations, but that I felt that what the Navy really needed was someone who was so familiar with diesels and their associated problems that problem-solving became second nature.  The Commander (E) was not impressed with my response (and come to that I think that he had ‘gone off’ me as well).  I was dismissed, with a fair display of bad grace and thought nothing more about it – until I saw the comments written on my papers stating the I was not to be considered for service with diesel engines!!  I wasn’t overly worried as I wasn’t thinking of volunteering for subs. anyway.  And just to prove that the comments written on one’s papers are read and understood by those who ‘need to know’ I was drafted to H.M.S. Wildfire at Sheerness to oversee repairs and maintenance on Coastal Minesweepers!!


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