Ladies and Gentlemen, we’d like to introduce you to ex-matelot, now author, Paul White.
Paul White walked through the gates of HMS Raleigh in 1973 and never looked back.
During a long career, including time on HMS Tiger where he came to know the Sea King and Lynx pilots and crews of 826 NAS (and their passion for eggy bacon buttys when night flying), Paul became imbued with the traditions Royal Navy. Who better to write books about the food, tales and vernacular of the Senior Service?
He now lives on the outskirts of a quiet Yorkshire market town but is often away traveling - the wanderlust he acquired in the Royal Navy never left him.
Apart from his fictional books, Paul's focus is on recording Royal Naval social history, capturing the true and honest essence of naval life told by those who lived it.
The result is a collection of books Paul refers to as his 'Blue Books', including 'The Pussers Cook Book', 'Jack's Dits' and 'The Andrew, Jack & Jenny.'
Now let Paul introduce you to his books
THE PUSSERS COOKBOOK (revised and updated)
The Pussers Cook Book contains many of the most popular and loved traditional dishes served in the Royal Navy’s Galleys from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s.
Some of these dishes are still being served on the ships and shore bases of today's modern navy, although some have been slightly altered and others given, let's say, more politically correct names.
Woven between the recipes in this book are true facts and tidbits about the food, the cooks and general life aboard ship.
Along with the recipes, this book aims to preserve a segment of British history, Royal Navy social history, which is fading all too quickly and would otherwise be lost in the grey sea-mists of oblivion.
THE ANDREW, JACK & JENNY
Unlike the civilian nicknames we get labelled with, those our classmates called us at school, the names 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.
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.
This book, 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?"
With hundreds of men, tons of military paraphernalia, complicated machinery, technological equipment, weaponry, stores and various other forms of kit, you can be assured not every day in the Royal Navy 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 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.
The goings-on of Sailors, both aboard and ashore, created astonishing accounts of events to be told at stand easy or after a watch; when the exaggerated telling's of the day's happenings or those of last night's run ashore, would be shared in the mess squares of Royal Navy ships and shore bases throughout the world.
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, those who were there. 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.
One I was proud to be part of.