HRH and Banjo's BLT's

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Red Sailor

Jan 20, 2016
HRH and Banjo's BLT's

HMS Bronington was a Ton-Class minesweeper that was one of the then revolutionary high-impact plastic-hulled vessels built in the 70’s. Their unusual construction made them ideally anti-magnetic for their purpose and as she was first of class it rather unfairly earned her the nickname of HMS Tupperware by the remainder of the Fleet. She also had the distinction of being commanded by none other than, Lt. Charles Windsor RN, better known to the nation as His Royal Highness, Prince Charles.

This story concerns the ships diver, Leading Seaman “Banjo” West, and two rather badly prepared BLT sandwiches. Banjo had been designated part of the duty watch over the weekend period whilst the remainder of her crew was enjoying the delights of nearby Portland where they were anchored. There was another minesweeper in port that had a paravane wire wrapped around her screw and Banjo had been loaned out for the day to assist in its removal.

A disgruntled Banjo returned to the Bronington at around 2100 that evening to get a shower and get cleaned up. He went down to the mess to get a cup of coffee quite looking forward to the tasty supper the cook had promised to leave out for him. Jumbo was renowned for being a dripping bugger who was continually complaining, and his miserable demeanour after a hard day, was not improved upon finding his supper. It consisted of two rather curled up BLT sandwiches, containing undercooked bacon rashers, a few leaves of limp lifeless lettuce, and a couple of slices of squashed tomato. It being late he could only contact the duty CPO to complain.

The CPO explained that the cook had been sent home that afternoon on compassionate leave following the sudden death of his father and the preparation of his supper had been delegated to one of the lads in the mess. The PO agreed that it was rather unappetising fare but under the circumstances it was perhaps understandable. Banjo was not impressed with this explanation insisting that a cooked meal should have been organised and stated that he wanted to talk to the Duty Officer. The DO commiserated with Banjo reiterating the circumstances that had occurred resulting in this rather poor supper but urged Banjo to understand the situation. He even offered Banjo the keys to the storeroom so he could prepare a supper of his own choice in the galley. Banjo was in no mood to be mollified and insisting on taking his complaint to the XO. As the XO was ashore he was told it would be progressed the next morning.

Next morning Banjo complete with the plate containing the two now very distressed BLT sandwiches as evidence, was up in front of the XO. A similar explanation was given to Banjo who was still not satisfied and he adamantly insisted on taking it up a level to the skipper. Eventually later in the day Banjo with the evidential BLT’s was standing in front of the skipper Prince Charles himself. Charles listened patiently to Jumbo’s drip about the poor standard of victualling he had experienced the previous evening. He then began trying to convince Banjo to understand how this unfortunate oversight had come about and to use some common sense in appreciating how the error had been made and to accept it. Banjo stood there listening, then deep in thought for a moment, he finally says, “Sorry Sir, I am afraid I cannot accept this at all. I wish to take it to a higher authority.”

The skipper now totally impatient with listening to Banjo’s incessant whining and unreasonable attitude finally exploded, “Banjo, I am going to be the next f****** King of England, so just how much higher do think you can take all this crap of yours? You have wasted my time and this is the end of the matter, is that clearly understood? You are dismissed – carry on, and take those bloody disgusting sandwiches on my desk with you.”

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