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Fill The Cup: Memoirs Part two

Fill The Cup: Memoirs Part two

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Fill The Cup: Memoirs Part two

105 pagine
1 ora
Apr 2, 2014


This is the second half of the tale of an urchin from the slums of London who had an impossible dream: to command (to 'drive') one of Her Majesty's Ships, fulfilled it, and went on to a varied life in which he gave command of his ship to a several others, including his wife, caused an international incident, befriended a jazz band, cancelled an Admiral's cocktail party, got strangers to take his ship to countries as far apart as Norway and Malta (often into dangerous places where no sane man would go), dodged sniper bullets in Belfast, was handcuffed to his wife (the key was thrown into the sea), designed the extension to his house and laid bricks to build it, invented a system on which Their Lordships spent £350,000,000 negotiated an international agreement between Turkey and Greece, and was given access to some of the most secret intelligence available. He commanded the biggest fighting squadron of ships in the Royal Navy, employed the first woman to serve at sea in the RN, long before the formal approval, started a charity, became a Freeman of the City of London and a Liveryman, and, most importantly, lived happily ever after marrying Jean, enjoying the achievements of four (eight) children and nine grandchildren. Charles is much blessed.

Apr 2, 2014

Informazioni sull'autore

Charles Wylie is a professional British seaman and an amateur dinghy and yacht sailor. He is the luckiest man on the planet, being husband to Jean, father of four, grandfather to nine and godfather to ten. Poetry is a hobby, together with sailing, chess, Scottish Country Dancing, languages, and a variety of other pursuits. He is tickled pink to have been headhunted at the age of 78. As a seaman he had visited all the continents in ships by the age of 21 at over 50 ports and had survived his destroyer being bombed in the Korean War when only just 17 years old. He attributes a reasonable command of the English language to his education at Taunton's Grammar School in Southampton, which set him up for life in four short years. He is particularly grateful to the Royal Navy for its having been a father figure and a source of immense pride for over 65 years. The navy promoted him 10 times, but because he started as a Boy Seaman that means he achieved only the modest rank of Commander (happy with that.) His naval friends (to whom he pays equal respect) range from Able Seamen to Admirals. He is an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, a Freeman of the City of London and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute. His poetry was written for himself (and occasionally for family or friends) and is published now after many years of friendly badgering by dear ones. Self-publishing through Smashwords was chosen because he is confident that no modern publisher would want to publish his generally old-fashioned rhyming and scanning verses. Charles is a happy man, much blessed.

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Anteprima del libro

Fill The Cup - Charles Wylie

Fill The Cup

Part Two of memoirs by Charles Wylie

Smashwords Edition

Fill The Cup

Copyright 2014 by Commander C G Wylie OBE FCMI Royal Navy

Cover Design by Jeremy Taylor

Cover Photograph by Charles Wylie

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

Smashwords Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal use only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author’s work.

This book is not available in print.

Fill The Cup

The second half of the life of an urchin

By Charles Wylie

Written at Nigel’s and Ian’s request.

Dedicated to my family and friends, especially to the author, Graham Hurley who has been a writing inspiration (how I wish I had his talent).

Come, fill the cup. What boots it to repeat

How Time is slipping underneath our feet?

Unborn Tomorrow and dead Yesterday...

What matter they, if Today be sweet?

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khaayam (translated by Edward FitzGerald)

What others are saying about 'Fill The Cup'

(Prior to first publication)

What have you done all your life?

-A rude friend.

Have you done anything in your life?

-Another rude friend.

You must be joking

-An even ruder friend.(They're all naval officers, of course)

You won't really publish, will you?

-My wise wife.

Please send your own comments to:


eBooks by Charles Wylie

What others are saying about 'Fill The Cup'


Chapter One - The Rest of the Nineteen Seventies

Chapter Two - The Nineteen Eighties

Chapter Three - The Nineteen Nineties

Chapter Four - The Noughties

Chapter Five - The Twenty Tens

Part One - from 1933 to 1973 - See Volume One 'Driving Ambition'


email address

About the Author


The first part of these memoirs covers the first forty years. Because of a limitation on the size of an eBook it was necessary to split these memoirs into two parts. To access Part One go to:


Up-and-downer with the CinC, Adventures in command, Kenny Ball, Causing a diplomatic incident, Extending The Wolery, Brass hat, Whitehall Warrior, CNOCS, BRITMISS, C-Cubed.

When my first major ambition was fulfilled on appointment in command of the frigate HMS EASTBOURNE I was summoned for the traditional interview by the then CinC Fleet, Sir Edward Ashmore. He granted me a five minutes slot in his busy programme to tell me how to command a ship. At least, that’s what I thought he was going to do. In fact his opening salvo was The PWO Course is too long. I’m recommending to their Lordships that it be cut by three weeks. I can’t agree with that, Sir, I said to a man with whom a one minute interview was deemed far too long by most people. (Why can’t I learn to keep my big mouth shut?) I have just signed a paper, he said Which my staff has worked on for months. The course must be cut to get more officers to sea for longer. But I suspect, Sir, that the paper is based on a false premise. Sir Edward relaxed, sat back in his comfortable chair, and waited for me to dig a bigger hole as I tried to justify this impertinence. Taking a deep breath I said The design specification of the course that I have just finished inaugurating requires that officers appointed to the course will have at least five years seniority as Lieutenants and two years experience in an Operations Room in a sea-going ship. I carried out a survey of the first 64 officers and found that exactly half had never set foot in an Ops Room. I had to spend the first three weeks telling them what it was all about. It is my opinion that the course should be lengthened by two weeks. There then ensued a half hour ding-dong between us and at one stage we were almost shouting at each other. I paused, apologised, and said Forgive me for getting carried away, Sir, but I feel strongly about this. I waited as he frowned at me for ten long seconds, and then his face lit up in a grin. Thank you for being frank. I shall tear up the paper and tell my staff to do it again. Off you go and enjoy your first command.

Phot: HMS EASTBOURNE - the warship command I'd wanted since boyhood.

My first warship command! No, not just that, but the moment I’d worked for since I was a boy. My driving ambition had finally been achieved on 12 th December 1973. It typically takes an hour for one C.O. to turn over to another. I piped my predecessor ashore and went walk-about around the ship, but after half an hour sent for the First Lieutenant and said Stop all work and get the ship cleaned up. There are fire hazards everywhere; pots of paint, white spirit, oily rags and all-sorts. It’s a disgrace and an accident waiting to happen. Sort it out, No.1, and then let’s be friends.

The following morning, as chilling as only a winter Rosyth morning can be, I stood with a warm heart on the quarterdeck for Morning Colours and watched ‘my’ ensign hoisted up the ensign staff. In the background was the Forth Rail Bridge glistening in the low rays of the sun, just as it had 15 years earlier when I was being converted, across the Firth, from rating to officer. My heart was bursting with pride and it was with the greatest difficulty that I tried to maintain some sort of casual dignity. I wanted to whoop with joy and delight.

The startling realisation came to me that here I was, a 'Dagger Navigator', supposedly an expert in ship-handling, and I was about to take a warship to sea having never been allowed to unberth one in 25 years of service (during my two navigation course it happened that I had berthed a ship a couple of times, but never unberthed one). I vowed then that every one of my own officers would become familiar with these manoeuvres, including the Engineer Officers, and that every officer who came on board for a course would have the same chance. During my

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