Wally Kersey's love of naval life

Service with the Royal Marines for sea cadet

By Wally Kersey

Photo:Wally Kersey on the Bluebell Railway in February 2008

Wally Kersey on the Bluebell Railway in February 2008

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

My early life

At an early age I was always interested in ships, understandable as my father was in the Royal Navy.

I spent time in the Cubs. then I went into the Scouts for about one year. In 1938 my interest was the Navy so I joined the Brighton Sea Cadets age 12. We wore the blue jackets uniform. Bell bottoms and a blue collar and later a peak cap, black tie and white shirt with a jacket.

Lost at sea

The war came and on the 14th October 1939 my father was lost with the sinking of HMS Royal Oak in Scapa Flow.

I started work in 1940 at Brittains Garage in Preston Road. I stayed there for eighteen months then I changed employment to Caffyns Kingsway Hove for an apprenticeship in Motor Engineering. Our work was with the Ministry of Supply, complete overhaul and repair of Army vehicles.

In the Navy

In 1942 I transferred to Hove Sea Cadets at a new unit nearer to home. In those days my evenings were taken attending night school and the Sea Cadets. From the age of sixteen I spent many times trying to join the Royal Navy, each time being rejected due to being an apprentice and on work of National importance. On completing my apprenticeship the war was nearly over and my turn came to join up, but not in the Navy. The Government thought that I was better suited for the Army as a tradesman. This was a great disappointment to me.

In the Army now

After my basic training in the Royal Sussex Regiment, I was transferred to REME with most of my time spent with Water Transport and with attachments to the Royal Marines in the Middle East. My pre-services training for the Navy did help me to get to sea but in the wrong colour uniform.

On demob in 1948 I joined RNVR and went back as Chief Petty Officer Instructor for Hove Sea Cadets until 1951 when I was recalled as a reservist for Korea, but that is another story....

Wally Kersey
29th January 2008

This page was added by Susan Morrison on 20/03/2008.

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