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In Which I Served

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Did you know that in Well I never knew that!







Life in a Blue Suit

White Ensign

HMS Cassandra

Many of us who have served in the 'Andrew' will probably have experienced many different types of ships of the 'grey funnel line' as their home. My first two warships were built during WWII (Cassandra & Troubridge) and the last (Fearless) built in the middle 1960's was still in commission until 18th March 2002, when she finally paid off. On the 2nd August Fearless was decommissioned after 37 years service!

I first went to sea in the Spring of 1964 in the WWII destroyer HMS Cassandra and finished at the end of 1973 aboard the assault ship HMS Fearless. By far my favourite ship was the minehunter HMS Kirkliston. I completed my time at HMS DRAKE in Devonport in early 1974.

This is a synopsis of the warships in which I served onboard. If you too have served in any of these ships during the same time as me, then how about dropping me a line? 

RO2(T) David Axford (1967)
My drafts


The following are "seagoing" ships that I served in and travelled around the world:

Cassandra Badge

Troubridge Badge

Daring Badge

Kirkliston Badge

Scarborough Badge

Fearless Badge

I was also drafted to the following 'stone frigates' (shore establishments), sometimes briefly and sometimes more than once. These were in between seagoing drafts and many of them for further training.

Ganges Badge


Mercury Badge


Centurion Badge


Terror Badge


Vernon Badge


Lochinvar Badge


Tamar Badge



Drake Badge


The following ships I was drafted to were either having a refit or were non-sea-going ships which were counted as "shore drafts":

Tyne Badge

Hermes Badge

Jupiter Badge

In the beginning

It was a sunny day on the 8th of October 1962 that I set out on the long journey from home to join the Royal Navy. By signing on the dotted line at the age of fifteen I had committed myself to serve 9 years from the age of 18 plus 3 years in the Royal Naval Reserve. As I was only 15 at that time, the 3 years reserve was cancelled out by serving in the Royal Navy before my 'man's service' began. This was the minimum amount of time that we could sign on for in those days.

I joined the annexe of HMS GANGES where I was kitted out and learnt the rudiments of 'square bashing', sewing my name on my kit, scrubbing, cleaning and how to dhoby (wash) and iron my kit as well as 'learning the ropes' of how to be a sailor. After 6 weeks we were at the required standard to progress over to the main establishment to do more of the same, only in much greater detail, plus basic training in our chosen branches, my choice being communications.

Having survived the year we then went on to HMS MERCURY which was the main shore establishment for the training of communication ratings. Life was an improvement after the harsh discipline of HMS Ganges with more freedom to 'go ashore' when not on duty. Having completed the six months final training, I was now ready to go to sea.

Having served in HMS Cassandra and HMS Troubridge I was then drafted back to HMS Mercury and then on to HMS CENTURION at Haslemere in my home town. I spent about 6 months at HMS Centurion doing watchkeeping (processing signals) before being drafted back to sea onboard the destroyer HMS Daring. A few weeks were spent in HMS TERROR before Christmas, whilst HMS Daring was having a maintenance period.

Having returned to Devonport a year later, after sailing around the world, I was then drafted to HMS TYNE watchkeeping again (processing signals - mainly to and from submarines as she was the 'mother ship' for the submarines at Devonport).

I had my request granted for my next draft, and that was to serve onboard minesweepers/minehunters. A quick course at HMS VERNON (1 day) and HMS LOCHINVAR (1 week), under the Forth bridge in Scotland in one of the minesweepers, set me up ready for Hong Kong and the minehunter HMS Kirkliston. The best years of my life in the RN. Ten months of which were married accompanied. Eighteen months later I was drafted briefly to HMS TAMAR before flying back to the UK.

Drafted to HMS Hermes which was having a refit in Devonport and then on to HMS Scarborough, Dartmouth Training Squadron. For about a month I was temporarily drafted to HMS JUPITER whilst she was having a refit in Devonport. HMS Scarborough then paid off (finished her commission) and I was then drafted with some other members of Scarborough's ships company to HMS Fearless, which took over the DTS role along with her sister ship Intrepid.

My final draft was to HMS DRAKE for the last month before I finished serving my time, a total of nearly 12 years serving "Queen and Country".

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Click on the button to find a more detailed account of how the Royal Navy affected David Axford's life in the 'Swinging Sixties'.



A guide to quotations taken from the bible

Used for many years by Commanding Officers in the Royal Navy

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