I felt — and still feel - that this test was more suitable for the navy in Napoleonic times.
My first posting was to HMS Ganges, a shore establishment near Ipswich, Suffolk.
There, as well as parades and more naval lectures, we had to pass a number of physical tests such as running a mile in, I think, six minutes and completing a cross country course in a specified time.
But naval officers did not wear spectacles and I did not disclose at my medical exam that I used them.
I was able to read the eyesight charts well enough not to raise questions and of course I removed my glasses before any parades.
At that time I did not think to ask him more about his experiences but in later life I wished I had.
As he was born in September 1899 he could not have been in the navy very long as he would have been barely 19 when the war ended.
This was the time when I learnt it was quite unpleasant sleeping in a hammock amongst many other tightly packed sailors. After the weeks at sea, the last but most important course was at HMS King Alfred, a base near Brighton.
That was the last chance to weed us out and in January 1944 I was commissioned as a Midshipman RNVR (in common parlance a “snotty”).
I was promoted to the lofty rank of lance- corporal before I left school in 1941 and took a clerical job in the Civil Service until I was old enough to join up.
I also applied for a UND (University Naval Division) course and was accepted after interview.
I was sent to Londonderry to join a newly commissioned frigate, HMS Narbrough of some 1600 tons, which had been loaned to us by the USA for the duration of the war.