On leaving school, at fourteen years of age, I received basic training at a wartime school established by Captain O M Watts, of the well known ship chanderly firm. The school was based at Old Bursledon and its main function was to train army officers of the War Department fleet in seamanship, navigation and stevedoring. The army officers were accommodated in large houses in the village. The waterborne side of the school, which was moored opposite The Jolly Sailor, consisted of three large "commnadeered" motor yachts named Giroflee, Mandarin and Titan, plus MFV 35. The standing civilians crews were retired merchant navy officers and boys like myself, not yet old enough to join the forces. The school closed after VJ day, although I believe Capt. Watts did purchase an old Trinity House lightship for a possible extension of the school, to provide sea training for boys from an orphanage.
I would welcome feedback from anyone who remembers Watts Sea School.
A memory shared byon Aug 3rd, 2013.
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