Apologies to Radio Officers


John C – Latia (GUIN)

While you were the very embodiment of the professional R/O, I was the naïve junior sparks that you graciously introduced to the real world of the morse key, radiotelephone and radio station log book.

You took morse straight to the typewriter, while I struggled with pen on paper and on my first ‘trial’ completely missed GUIN on the traffic list. I couldn’t recall the phonetic “November” and while you turned a blind eye, Portishead kindly recognised ‘(k)nickers’in its place.

Please accept my apologies.

I’m grateful for your kindness in offering drinks in the chief R/O’s cabin following afternoon shifts to the accompaniment of The Carpenters.

Now, when I play that music I think of the Latia, your hospitality, Marmite locked away in the Captain’s cabin, long walks to the foc’sle, breakfasts brought to the shack by the steward and dishes consigned to the deep via the bridge wing, radar scanner maintenance with ‘someone’ blowing the ship’s horn, days of sailing through jelly fish, hitting a whale, boarding in Ras Al-Khaimah, lightening in Lyme Bay and paying off in Scotland.

Thanks John, as you can see I was well impressed by that first trip and I appreciated you tolerating the newby from radio school.


Bill J – Anco Sceptre (GOQE)

My hat is off to you Bill, a teacher in life skills both ship and shore-side. A truly balanced (?) view of merchant navy officers, superintendents and officialdom.

You were also a friend ashore, a sharer of secrets, unpretentious, not suffering fools in the bar, fluent in the accent and lyrics of “have you got a light boy?”

You were gentle with a fresher like me from radio college, freely passing on your knowledge. I shall remember the introductions to bars in Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and the States.

My apologies for having more hair and bluer eyes than you.

Thanks Bill, I did a lot of growing up in those few months on the Sceptre.


Eric P – Anco Templar (GOQH)

You were a gentleman, generous with your time and a good friend. A very capable R/O, you gave me the report that put wings on my going solo.

Thanks Eric, you put me through my paces in the shack, tolerated my inexperience and finally produced the best in me. In no small part you made the Templar a happy ship, where you trusted me with the key.


Martyn R – Post Enterprise (GUHL)

You were one of life’s good guys, model junior R/O, from a good training school and happy to take on the role from day one.

Good company onboard and ashore (remember Mauritius and Mombassa?).

Not sure you wanted the R/O life once you’d seen an unhappy ship but I did my best to convince you that this was an exceptional trip and that the others would be far better but I heard it was peritonitis (?) in the Pacific that finally did it for you.

Thanks for your company on the Enterprise, it wasn’t the best trip for me either but I appreciated your companionship and humour.

Did you ever get those huge wood carvings home?


Norman L – Redifon Marine Telecommunications, Wandsworth, London.

Very special thanks for making the above possible.

I apologise for those desperate messages to “get me off this ship, before I go mad”.





(Document origin:-  www.balmaha.net/mnavy/L/ro_apologies.html)