The Speaker at this month’s meeting was Commander Charles Crichton, Retired, and his subject was ‘My Early Days in the Royal Navy’.
Once again it was our pleasure to welcome Commander Crichton to our meeting. He last addressed us in October 2005. Born in Northern Ireland, he at times lapsed into his real Irish brogue, as he outlined his life and career. This was an entertaining talk, full of anecdotes and humour, as well as giving the group an insight into Naval Life from being a raw recruit to being a Senior Officer.
His early life led to an interest in chemistry, and his life near the sea also gave him an interest in all that is nautical.However after visiting a ship that visited his home town he decided, much to his mother’s misgivings, that a Naval Career was what he wanted.
He remembered seeing that excellent film ‘The Cruel Sea’ and the impact of that, added to his enthusiasm and determination to make a career in The Navy. He was accepted into Dartmouth Royal Naval College and when he arrived he found that most of the other recruits at that time were ex - ‘public school boys’ but his determination to make the grade and with the encouragement of a few Irish contacts that he met along the way, he progressed through the ranks ultimately to become a Commander in the Royal Navy.He related his experiences of his early training and his world wide travels. People he met and places he visited, but what came over so well was the fact that discipline and the respect of orders is so character building.How the young men of his era accepted the routine, the Parade Ground discipline, you did as you were ordered without question, and as he progressed up the ladder that experience meant that he could understand the men under his command. It was evident that they still had fun, but a realisation of their limits, and the necessity to abide to regulations, left us with the feeling that in civilian life, and in the workplace, more order and discipline would lead to a far safer and better place. We cannot do justice to his talk here. You need to hear it yourself. He is a speaker that our group can highly recommend.