Remembering days with the Royal Naval Barracks Boys' Brigade
"MY dad was Chief Yeoman of Signals and he used to stand down the end of the passage at home with a torch and flash messages to me," says Alan Pearson who was born the year before the start of the Second World War.
"Dad also used to signal with flags too."
The practice clearly paid off, for, in 1951, 13-year-old Alan got a prize from the Royal Naval Barracks Boys' Brigade for his knowledge of the Morse Code.
Commander Broome was in charge, the Brigade was run by Naval Chiefs and I think all the various divisions were named after famous Admirals – Benbow, Collingwood etc.
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"'Manners maketh man' was our motto, and I've never forgotten it," says Alan, who had followed his elder brother, Colin, into the Brigade.
Alan, who was then living in Renown Street, has one or two wartime memories, including the time he had taken refuge in the air raid shelter at the bottom of Royal Navy Avenue: "A bomb landed in the park and the shock of the blast knocked me sideways – literally!"
All in all, Alan spent the best part of four years in the Boys' Brigade and, like so many of his generation, was back in uniform straight after leaving school, for his two years' National Service – in the Army, in the Royal Engineers.
"After that I went into the Dockyard as a shipwright/draughtsman. I also worked as a chargeman in the GRP [Glass Reinforced Plastics] Shop.
"In 1989 I came out of the yard but went back as a casual several times until retiring completely."