What's in a Name?
Posted 2010-02-01 10:29 AM (#34616)


Posts: 2845

Location: Liverpool, England
Subject: What's in a Name?

Like a lot other guys my Dad was adamant that he would not sign any papers allowing me to join the Royal Navy. He had served in an Armoured Division in both North Africa and Italy and after seeing action at both Tobruk and Monte Cassino was of the mind that his son should do better than joining the military. So at age 15 with my big dream shattered I decided then to run away from home and managed to ship out on a deep-sea fishing trawler sailing from Fleetwood to the fishing grounds off Bear Island in the White Sea.

I did several trips to those same areas and also off the coast of Iceland. The life was tough and the bitter weather conditions often cruel up in those Arctic Circle latitudes. From time to time we would come in contact with Royal Navy vessels engaged in fishery protection wrangles with Icelandic gunboats. They would come aboard to check our catch and the net sizes to ensure we were not poaching undersized fish stocks. I used to look with envy at those smart RN sailors in the boarding parties and became even more convinced that there must better and less dangerous ways to make a living than deep-sea fishing.

I eventually contacted home and made it clear that I would only return if I was allowed to join the Royal Navy as a boy seaman which still required parental consent. I guess that my mother put considerable pressure on Dad to finally relent and sign the necessary paperwork because that is what transpired. I finally got what I wanted and was able to join up. Years later when serving on HMS/M Ambush we snagged the fishing gear of a trawler off the coast of Scotland and had to either surface or risk dragging the trawler down with us. Once on the surface our skipper was within hailing distance of the trawler captain who was naturally concerned about the retrieval of his expensive nets, bobbins and otter boards etc which were heavily entangled around our masts and fin.

The RN answer to such entanglement problems was to simply indiscriminately hack away all the equipment and get back underway a.s.a.p. which could prove to be a financial disaster to the trawlers owners and the crew’s earnings potential. Our Coxswain (COB) knew my background and suggested to our skipper that I direct the cutting away of the gear to minimize damage and loss. The skipper agreed and with the help of a party of submariners armed with knives, axes and heaving lines I was able to show them the appropriate sections to be cut away so they could be fully retrieved by the fishermen and then sewn back together by them. They even got their cod-end section of the trawl containing their huge haul back intact although we lost some big steel roller bobbins in the difficult transfer. The trawler captain showed his appreciation by sending over baskets of freshly caught fish, lobsters and prawns to the boat with a case of Scotch to celebrate as he said, “the biggest fish he had ever caught.”

A popular song of the day was called “Pedro the Fisherman” and that’s how I got the nickname of “Pedro” from our crew which stayed with me throughout my submarine service and remains even up to today.


John Wynn
Posted 2010-02-07 6:31 PM (#34758 - in reply to #34616)

Posts: 65

Subject: RE: What's in a Name?!


John Wynn here...

I've been waiting to see how the name "Pedro" came to be...Most nicknames came from
events or situations that occured...

Been up your way many times...My son and I frequently go to Wrexham and have
used Manchester airport as a starting point...Even given the pin of "Manchester
United"...Not going to get into that....

Even did the obligatory visit to the Cavern and adjacent points of interest..One that
piqued my interest was an upbeat store that billed itself as "FCUK said FRED"...As it
turns out that, that simply means French Connection, United Kingdom....Catchy to a
"prude Yank...

Have used the Mersey tunnel of course, but cannot find a "place" called Merseyside..
However, my son and I did find a Pugeot dealer that had a replacement left rearview
mirror for a close call in Ruabon...Hey, those street were layed out about 800 years

Please "blip" me back...I honestly enjoy your "tales" with a different take...

We are ALL boat sailors...That says it....

Be well
Posted 2010-02-09 9:50 AM (#34806 - in reply to #34616)


Posts: 2845

Location: Liverpool, England
Subject: RE: What's in a Name?


Thank you for your kind comments. Actually, Merseyside is only the name of the area that covers both sides of the River Mersey which includes Liverpool on one side and the Wirral Peninsula on the other. It was the general name given to the catchment area by politicians many years ago to maximise votes in national elections and it has never been popular with the local inhabitants ever since. Quite a sore point in fact but now we are lumbered with it.

Interesting that you frequently go to Wrexham. Next time you are there you must visit the Royal Arms Hotel pub, close by the main rail station. It is run by a submariner, Ray "Brush" Bruchez, who is an old mate of mine. Ray is a great mine host and often holds mini-reunions of submariners in his hotel throughout the year. Just make yourself known and he will look after you and lash you up in true submariners style that is for sure.

In the meantime I will respond to your e-mail.