I suppose it's because I have so much time on my hands these days, that all these memories come flooding back to me.
I was just sitting here thinking about what topic to write about while scrolling through the list of all my earlier entries, when it suddenly hit me. I had just finished posting to all my friends here on h2g2 about this extraordinary event that had just happened to me.
Ever since I have been hooked up to the internet, some months now, I have been looking to contact some of my old buddies from my Navy days.
I never entered my best friend's details, as I had been told that he was, in fact, killed during the Falklands war way back in the eighties. I can not recall who exactly informed me, but I remember reading causality lists which some one had sent me. The reason I recall that so well, was the fact that the list only gave out names and not the service numbers. I also knew that my buddies' official number was exactly twenty behind mine, as we had joined up at the same time, and had been mates ever since.
Once I was on line, I found and registered with the only two ex service sites that provided this search and find service. I had to give all my own details and have them put into the directory. This, in fact, did work out really well for me, as I managed to make contact with five of my old mates. This was just fantastic for me, especially when I found that one of my old shipmates from Hmy Britannia lived within an hours drive from me. After I had made contact with him by E-Mail then later by phone, we arranged a reunion on board our old ship which was moored in Edinburgh and open to the public.
In fact I wrote an article about our reunion which has already appeared in The Post. It was all a bit disappointing really for us both, not with our reunion as such, that was great really, to see just how much we had changed in the thirty two years since we last saw each other. It was to see the state of our old ship that really let the day down, we could not believe that they would allow the standard to fall so low.
We were given free passage to board as we were both old crew members, but the fact that we never had to pay the eight pounds fee did not make our day any better. Everything appeared smaller to us than it was all those years ago as we made our below decks; we were, in fact, allowed to visit other parts that were not open to the public as were both members of the Hmy Association. Even those never made us feel any different about our disappointment. At least I had made contact with an old shipmate, and have been in touch with others who live too far away to visit.
It was when I was opening my E-Mails one day I saw my mates name as the title of one of them. I was shocked at first. My first thought was that it was someone playing a sick joke on me and then I thought it might be someone telling me about him. So I clicked on it and could not believe what I saw even as I was reading it. As soon as I read a couple of lines, I just knew it was, in fact, him writing it, as he mentioned events that only the two of us knew. I just could not believe it! I was speechless, and I even had to fetch my wife through to confirm what I was reading.
As soon as I had read it I sent a reply, my hands still shaking with the shock of it all - after all I had spent the last twenty years believing that he was dead, and here I was sending him an E-Mail. It was not long before I received a phone call from him and we were both trying to squeeze in as much information as we could between breaths. The call must have lasted about half an hour before he had to return back to his work as he was still the Royal Navy after all those years. We could not make definite plans to meet up until he could sort out his leave arrangements but, rest assured, we will as soon as it is possible. After all it's not every day that you meet up with some one who has been dead for the past twenty years. I now believe that this computer and my subscription to the internet have been the best two investments I have ever made - and to think that I never bothered about being on the internet all those years. I had always thought that I was too old to learn and that it would too difficult!