Royal Navy Legacy Titles

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While these books have been written with a touch, or more, of messdeck wit, in keeping ‘Jacks’ sense of humour, they are also a recording of a way of life disappearing far too quickly into the grey sea mists of oblivion.

These books are part of a legacy, an archival collection of military social history. A history which records the actions and events, the philosophy and culture of the time.

Each book chronicles a certain aspect of recent Royal Naval history; as seen and told by the very men and women who served at the forefront of the British military vanguard, documenting it for future generations.

When your great-grandchildren ask after you, their parents can pull these books from the shelf, allowing them to read, to hear and to feel who you were.

It will bring our world to life in their minds.

This is why these books are legacy books.


HMS Tiger – Chronicles of the last big cat

This full colour, fully illustrated, perfect bound A4 hardcover book, tells the story of HMS TIGERCOVV6SmallTiger C20, a command cruiser.

From her laying down in 1951 and her christening in October 1954 by Lady Stansgate, the wife of  William Benn, the Secretary of State for Air, through to the ‘Tiger Talks’ between Harold Wilson, the Prime MinisterPrime and Ian Smith of Rhodesia.

The story continues. of conversion to a Helicopter Cruiser and recommissioning in 1972, onwards to the Queens SilverJubilee in 1977, and the ships final days, being ingloriously towed to a breakers yard in Spain.

For most ships, this would be their final chapter, but for HMS Tiger, the story continues to this day, somewhere ‘down under’ in Austrailia.

HMS Tiger -Chronicles of the last big cat is only available from the author’s printers HERE


The Pussers Cook Book

What more can be said about this book that has not already been voiced? Except to say the Pussers Cook Book is now available as a Kindle eBook along with the original paperback & hardcover versions.

The book starts with a glossary of terms and Jackspeak, clearly interpreted for the uninitiated.

Woven between the recipes are facts, tidbits, ditties and jokes about the food, the cooks and general life aboard ship.

The Pussers Cook Book is a must-have for anyone who ever served in the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, Fleet Air Arm, or the Special Boat Service. This book makes a wonderful gift for those who do not, yet, have a copy.

Paperback: https://amzn.to/2PyZHMd

eBook/Kindle: https://amzn.to/2VfWdn3

Hardcover: www.peecho.com/print/en/282666


Jacks Dits – Tall tales from the Mess

With hundreds of men, tons of military paraphernalia, complicated machinery, NEWitsfrontFronttechnological equipment, weaponry, stores and various other forms of kit, you could be assured that not every day was straightforward and undemanding. Equipment failed. People made mistakes. Accidents and mishaps occurred. Personalities and characters clashed.

 

Add to this mix the activities of matelots on a ‘run ashore’ in those far-flung, unsavoury and questionable seaports. Include beer, spirits, wine, women and song into the equation and the resulting concoction is a wonderful hothouse for the creation of imaginative narrative.

This book is not one which simply and only harks back in nostalgic fashion to the past, Jack’s Dits is an authentic validation, a historical record of royal naval social history; one told by the voices of those who served. It is a true and genuine recording of life during the Royal Navy’s heydays, the late 1950s through to the earlier part of the 1980s.

Jack Dits – Tall tales from the Mess (paperback only) https://amzn.to/2XD9ymO


The Andrew, Jack & Jenny

Unlike the civilian nicknames we get labelled with; those our classmates called us at school, the one’s various work colleagues may apply to us from time to time, or the ones our siblings find amusing, a military nickname has greater significance, it holds a value only fully comprehended by our contemporaries.NIcknamesfrontcover1

Arguably, the Royal Navy has the most entrenched tradition among the services for bestowing nicknames, names not only for each sailor but for places, equipment and actions.

The Andrew, Jack & Jenny, focuses primarily on the names given to each skin and essence the moment they became a matelot.

Royal Naval nicknames are not chosen by the recipient, they are bestowed, irrevocably, by custom and tradition. Yet, each sailor soon becomes attached to their ‘new’ name, which grows into a large part of their identity, even influencing their character. It soon becomes the name which is spoken with pride in answer to the question “Who are you?”

The Andrew, Jack & Jenny (paperback only) https://amzn.to/2vgX20h


Neptune and the Pollywogs

To give the book its full title, ‘Neptune and the Pollywogs – Documenting the Royal Navy’s traditional Crossing the Line ceremony’. (Which is quite a mouthful… as the actress said to the Bishop).

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I was asked by the Royal Navy Research Archives to produce a book regarding the traditional rites enacted when a Royal Navy ship crosses the equator.

The resultant outcome is a book which is an in-depth study of the most traditional of seafaring initiation ceremonies. ‘Neptune and the Pollywogs’ examines the rites historical roots, follows its chronological evolution, formalities and observances, the parts and characters used in the ceremony and the place of the ritual in the modern day Navy.

Neptune and the Pollywogs (paperback only) https://amzn.to/2Zy4iCX


To see all Paul White’s books visit his website

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“Here’s looking at you kid”

Casablanca Bogie and Ingrid the fog

It was like the Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman scene from Casablanca.

We were standing on the tarmac saying our last goodbyes and musing over lost possibilities.

She was to fly away. Disappear over the far horizon to chase the sun and her dreams. I was to remain here and… and spend countless evenings listening to the sad stories of sadder people as they cried salty tears into their half-drunk pots of slowly warming beer.

Most of this bar’s clientele were not here to drink, well, it was not their sole purpose. Most wanted somewhere out of the rain to sit, somewhere where other people passed by, so they would not feel as lost or lonely while they pathetically reiterated their woes to me, the barman, the current focus of their attention.0

I had a bar to tend. I could not help but think of those words, ‘Play it again, Sam’. A miss-quote from that old film. A film which was as monochrome as my world would be once she had left.

There was a part of me that wanted to grab her, tell her not to go. To ask her to stay.

But I knew that would be wrong of me. This was her plan, her desire. This was part of her destiny, an arrangement which was designed long before I met her.

I held her close. Our kisses long and passionate. Last kisses. Goodbye kisses.

What would I do without her? That was another question I was avoiding.

I would miss her. I would miss her smile, the sparkle in her eyes, the sweet taste of her lips and the scent of her perfume.

She had wandered into my life one night and never left. In that short time, we had become entwined, bonded by a smouldering desire for each other. I do not know if this was love or something beyond love. But I knew it was something which devoured me, consumed every fibre of my being.

Now the prospect of being alone once again was daunting, overwhelming. I was not sure I knew who I was any longer. At least not without her by my side.

The engine started in the distance. A whirring hum vibrating the air about us.

Time.

There was little of it left.

A final kiss.

The reluctant letting go, as our hands slipped apart as she started to walk away, our fingers touching until the very tips lost contact.

I stood still, watching her long legs carry those swaying hips towards the steps.

downloadI blinked away a small tear. Lifting a cigarette to my mouth, cupping the flame against the wind. I let my breath out, a long sigh of despondency as I watched the blue smoke dissipate into the air.

I could just make out her face through the windowpane. She looked small and fragile, like a lost child.

I raised an arm, a small, dejected wave.

She waved back. It was an eerie, ghostly wave. The reflections from the glass distorting reality.

“Here’s looking at you kid,” I said out aloud, knowing it was only I who had images of the final scene flitting through my head.

Silently I watched, as the coach drove out of the bus station, turning right and merging with the city’s traffic, headed towards the airport.

I had two weeks of loneliness to endure before she returned from her holiday in Marbella.

I turned my jacket collar up and began the long walk back to Rick’s Cafe Americain.

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© Paul White 2015 – FFCO25062015/527


I hoped you enjoyed my little love story? If you did, then maybe you would like to read one of my Electric Eclectic novelettes, you can download any one for less than the price of a coffee.

Find my Electric Eclectic books HERE

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Goodbyes.

I love writing short stories which capture single moments; instances which are often overlooked. This is one such short piece inspired by the accompanying painting, observation and my own experience of leaving.


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Goodbyes are strange things, often they are the closing of a book before the end, before the story is finished, leaving so much unsaid and undone.

Forever a moment tinged with sadness for what may have been, whilst lingering expectation of future calls from beyond the now.

Enhanced for me by the hissing of steam locomotives and the rattle of passing railway carriages. I find the very intrinsic transient nature of the station heightens the poignancy. You see today I go to my future; a place where hesitant anxiety skulks in the shadows of trepidation.

Stepping from the platform onto the train is confirmation of my intent, yet my heart is heavy with sadness. The weighty clunk of the door signals finality. The solid steel and wood closing off possibility of concede.

Leaning from the open window I look into her eyes.  Deep brown pools glistening with wetness, teardrops not yet formed. My heart flutters in the presence of her beauty, as it always does.

Leaving her is my greatest regret. Pale skin, gentle, soft. Hair that cascades over her shoulders, which lays upon the morning pillow, a delta, a million threads sparkling in rising suns light. Oh, how I shall miss her warmth, her scent, her childish laughter and her smile.

I reach forward as she steps closer. Wrapping my arms about her slenderness I pull her to me, hold her close. Comfort, comradeship, love.

She lifts her face, powder and rouge, lipstick and Coco Chanel. Pouting she reaches to me. My lips taste hers, sweet, soft, eager. I can feel her skin through the light cotton of her dress. My body floods with desire, with passion. Yet overall the sadness of parting drapes around my soul, a black cloak of earnest despondency.

One moment. One solitary final moment. It is all I have left.

The shrill shriek of the stationmaster’s whistle pierces the air cutting lose the threads of safe harbour. Our lips part, my hands slip unwillingly from her body. The train moves, a grunt, a hiss of steam, another whistle.

My destiny awaits.

I stand looking back. One hand raised, a forlorn attempt to wave. She smiles back, gesturing in return. Small rivers, silver tears run down her cheeks. Too soon she is gone from sight. I fight to retain her image freshly in my mind. That last look. Sad inevitability painted upon her perfect face, the tears which enhanced her beauty. I want, need to capture that, burn it into my memory, etch it there for eternity.

Sitting back I keep my eyes closed, not wanting her light to escape. The faint odour of Coco Chanel prevails, the waxy smudge of lipstick. Her laughter is conjured within my mind, giggles, childlike, almost a squeal.

I wonder if I shall ever set eyes upon her again.

Who knows the future, who knows what destiny holds in store?

Not I.

Goodbyes are strange things, often they are the closing of a book before the end, before the story is finished, leaving so much unsaid and undone.

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   © Paul White 2015

Please visit my website and browse through my books, if you read one, or more, please leave a review so I know your view.

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The Fifth Chapter

I have to say, this is one of my favourite short pieces. It was so much fun writing and I am sure, at some point in the future, Marylin and Gordon may just make another appearance.


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I was sitting at my desk, reading over my first draft, again. I am calling it my first draft, but in reality, it is just a pile of notes and rough plot guides put into chronological order, (sort of), with a few added scribbles here and there.

In fact, the whole thing is a bit of a mess. But hey, you have to start somewhere.

Even as rough and messy as this draft was I could still see promise in its outline. The places I used in the story were mostly real places, like my office; only instead of being in the rear of my house, the fictional office was on the second floor of a run-down building in the centre of the city and it was not ‘my’ office in this story, but Gordon’s.

Gordon is a private eye, one of the old ‘gumshoe’ tradition.Marilyn_Red_SamShaw_t800

I was happy with the other characters too, particularly Marilyn the demure blond bombshell. (Think Marilyn Monroe. Okay, not so original but perfect for my story.)

Only Marilyn had an ulterior motive in seeking Gordon’s help; there was something from her past, something hidden, something bad which was now creeping up on her. I was not sure what it was yet but it was there, smouldering under the surface, as was Marilyn’s sensuality.

I know this format, the gorgeous (blond) girl, the private detective, who was down on his luck as far as the whiskey was down the in the bottle, add a hint of foreboding and sex… it was nothing new. It was a tried and tested structure of many books. Yet, as I re-read my draft I knew I have something special here. This was a nineteen fifties style novel, a pulp fiction, stiletto-esque paperback being brought up to date, dragged kicking and screaming into the modern world. (at least, I hope that is how it will turn out.)

I knew it was not going to be any ordinary story because, even to me, the writer, the creator of this fantasy, there was an element of surreal fact, a touching, almost tangible reality to this tale.

manuscript_250pxBy the time I re-read through the manuscript as far as chapter five, making margin notes and a few changes along the way, my eyes were weary and my mouth parched. It was time for a break, a cigarette and a coffee. I would dearly have loved a double Scotch too, but it was way too early for that.

 

I leant back in my chair, stretched my back, listening to those small creaks and cracks as bones and tendons moved for the first time in hours. I pressed save. There was no way I was trusting all my work to auto-save, not again. I closed the file and picked up the ceramic mug, which my daughter bought me for Father’s Day and walked out of the office.

My mind was still racing with thoughts of the story, what steps Marylin should take next and would Gordon listen seriously? So, it took me three, maybe four steps before I realised something strange was happening. I stopped, blinked twice, looked left and then right, rubbed my eyes and looked again.

I was no longer in my home. I was not even in my house.

I was in that run-down office building in the city, on the second floor, outside the gumshoes office, the very office, the very building I created in my mind while writing my book.

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This was impossible. I must be sleeping. I must have fallen asleep at my desk and this was all in my dream.

I pinched myself. It hurt. I was not sleeping.

‘Where’s Gordon?’ Her husky voice drifted along the dimly lit corridor. I knew without looking, without turning around it was Marilyn.

Her voice was exactly how I imagined it would be.

The click-click of stiletto heels echoed as she came closer, each step sending a shiver of expectation and bemused wonderment down my spine.

I turned around to face her.

‘What have you done with Gordon?’ she asked.

‘Nothing,’ I said, shaking my head.

I could not believe I was talking to a figment of my imagination.

‘You’ve deleted most of him, you’ve deleted those paragraphs.’ Marilyn, I noticed was shorter than I envisaged her to be. I would have to do something about that.

‘I haven’t deleted them, I have saved them, I need to re-work them,’ I spoke defensively.

Here I was in some sort of netherworld, talking about the book I am writing, a work in process, with a fictional character who, as of this moment only existed within my mind.

Yet, it all seemed so real.

I could smell Marilyn’s scent. It was Coco Chanel, No 5.

Marilyn slid a long, thin pink cocktail cigarette from a gold case, placed it between her bright red lips and lifted her head towards my own. Automatically, I reached into the pocket of my jacket and took out my cigarette lighter. I always use a disposable lighter, because I am constantly losing them, but here, in this twilight world, I acquired a heavy gold, Du Maurier.

 

Unperturbed, I held it towards Marilyn, watching the flames light as it reflected in the 5d14058f7c3dc37d0567cc7fc6eeff27deep blue pools of her eyes. Marilyn closed those bright red lips around the gold covered filter and drew in deeply until the tip of her pink Sobranie was glowing red.

She managed to turn this simple act into one of sexual suggestion, of illicit promise, a hint of a secret shared.

‘Thank you,’ she sighed, blowing out a perfect ring of blue smoke that meandered lazily upwards, spiralling towards the glass orbs of the industrial lighting suspended from the vaulted ceiling.

‘I’m making some coffee,’ I said, holding up my mug as if to justify the statement. My own cheap ceramic mug had disappeared. It had been replaced by a brown glazed cup.

I was not disturbed, but rather fascinated by the fact.

Marilyn smiled. I could not help but notice the way her head tilted to the right as she did. I found it quite endearing. It was something I would have to write into her character.

‘I’ll wait inside,’ she said and clicked her way along the hall towards the office door.

I had never been here before, never imagined this part of the building, yet somehow I knew the coffee was made in a small room further along this corridor. The doorway would be on my right. A small plaque would be etched with the legend ‘still room.’

It was.

When I returned to my (Gordon’s) office, Marilyn was sitting on my (Gordon’s) chair behind the desk. I sat on one of the two chairs facing the desk. (one of two chairs I do not have.) As I placed the coffee cups on the table I noticed my laptop was now an old, clunky looking Imperial Typewriter. Chrome metal, black keys inlaid with discoloured ivory coloured letters. I said an inwardly silent prayer to the gods of digital storage; when (and if), I ever returned to the ‘real’ world, I asked that all my work would still exist.

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Marilyn tossed a pile of papers towards me. Dark blue carbon paper slipping from between sheets of typewritten foolscap.

‘That will never work,’ she said dismissively, waving one hand in the air.

I picked up the sheets of typewritten copy. This was my story, Marilyn’s story, Gordon’s story. These papers were sections of the manuscript of my book.

‘What do you mean, this is brilliant.’

‘Oh please, Paul,’ Marilyn walked around the desk, placed a hand on the back of my neck and lent forward. I could feel the silky talcum powder softness of her cheek, pressing against mine as she rested her chin on my shoulder.

‘Look,’ said Marilyn, running a long ruby painted fingernail along the lines of text, ‘That’s far too modern to be taken seriously, what on earth were you thinking?’

Slowly and deliberately Marilyn read my story out aloud. It was strange hearing her voice, the smoky, sexy, husky voice which I created, reading out my story line by line.

I had to hand it to her, like many writers I convinced myself I was writing a masterpiece. I was so wrapped up, so involved in my work I failed to see the flaws, failed to step back and read it for what it was, a piece of work which not only needed a lot of heavy editing but needed an entire overhaul, to be re-worked altogether.

When Marilyn got to the fifth chapter, I had had enough.

I held up my hands in surrender.

Marilyn casually tossed the manuscript back onto the desk, the sheets of paper sliding into disarray.

Turning my head, I looked at her. ‘You are right, I have a lot of work to do to get this right.’ I admitted.

‘Yes, you have, but I know you can do it.’ Marilyn placed one hand on the side of my head, turning it towards her, she kissed me. It was a sweet taste of smoked honey, smeared with a waxiness of deep red lipstick and scented with face powder.

‘You must do it,’ she said, ‘If not, both Gordon and I shall die.’

It was a point, like so many, I had not considered.

‘I must go now. I must let you concentrate,’ Marilyn winked at me and click-clicked out of the office.

Looking back at me over her shoulder she said, ‘Please, don’t let us down. I don’t want to die yet, not yet, not when I have never fully lived.’

I listened to the sound of her stiletto’s fading away into the distance as she walked the length of the corridor.

Placing my hands over my eyes, I let my forehead rest on the desk while I tried to assimilate what was occurring. How in the name of all possibility have I wandered into my own fictional world?

My next recollection is the knocking on the office door. Looking up I rather tetchily shouted ‘Yes, yes, come in’.

My wife entered with a freshly brewed mug of coffee. 4410471775_4ca51b8c0e

‘You have been in here for so long, I thought you would need a drink by now,’ she said, looking at me quizzically.

Placing my own cheap ceramic mug, full of steaming coffee on the table, I watched as she collected the two brown nineteen fifties style cups from my desk.

I looked around, my office was as it should be. It was back to normal, my laptop sat in the centre of my desk, notepads, pens and my mobile phone lay where they belonged. I must have nodded off after all. It must have been a dream, but the brown cups my wife had just collected… maybe we had them all along?

I walked to the door and opened it, cautiously peering out, both left and right, before daring to set foot outside. Thank goodness, I was still at home and not in some imaginary corridor. I headed for the bathroom, where I ran a bowl of hot water, ready to wash the tiredness from my face.

In the mirror, I saw the face powder on the shoulder of my jacket where Marilyn had rested her chin. There was a smudge of bright red lipstick on my left cheek. I could also detect the lingering scent of Coco Chanel, No 5.

chanelno5THE END

© Paul White 2018

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I hope you enjoyed that short tale? If so why not check out my longer short stories, my ‘Novelettes’ at Electric Eclectic books HERE 

You will find plenty of captivating stories to choose from myself and my fellow Electric Eclectic authors.

Go take a peek, now 🙂

Paul.