“Oh dear, if I had got here first I would have taken your bunk, I’m afraid I prefer to be nearer the floor.” Patrick was going to be a twat.
“Take it then and it’s called DECK on a ship, NOT floor.” Simon jumped up on the top bunk.
“There, happy now?”
“Thank you, um….”
“Simon, I’m called Simon. I’m sure a boffin like you will learn it eventually. Meanwhile goodnight, um…?
The sarcasm was wasted. He watched as Patrick got undressed and as he did he exposed a wonderful body, slim, trim and utterly beautiful, but it was when he turned round and saw that cock! It was MASSIVE! Nine inches? Simon quickly turned round and faced the bulkhead and silently said sorry to Tony for even looking at the pricks prick.
At around 9am the first of the crew started to arrive and Simon had already been up for three hours. He toured as much of the ship that he could get to and found that the dock workers were beginning to pack up, it seemed the work was done. He and the other officers met all the crew as they came on board, they were taken off by the first mate but it seemed most of them knew where to go as they had already served on Corvettes.
“Blossom” was one of the first Corvettes in service and had crossed the Atlantic six times and had seen quite a lot of action and had attacked several U-boats, they had not sunk any up to now. Her main role had been rescuing survivors of torpedoed merchant ships and there had been hundreds of them.
The Corvette was a mixture of good and bloody awful, but they would serve throughout the war with great distinction even though they were a bitch to sail in. It was said of the corvette that they would role on damp grass as they pitched alarmingly and stayed wet down below all the time they were at sea. Her top speed of 16 knots could not keep up with a U-boat until it submerged and that was their main aim, keep them down and depth charge them if they still had Asdic contact, but mainly so the convoy could get away.
The Blossom was not as well armed as later versions and sailed with just 4 depth charge throwers, two on the port side and two on the starboard and two stern rails. On the foc’sle there was a single four inch gun and at the stern on what was called the band stand, a twelve pounder. On the bridge wings were twin mounted .303 Lewis guns. This ship had early Radar sets and the sonar submarine detectors called Asdic, were both very basic and in dire need of replacing.
Even though his ship was a rather out dated old girl, Simon loved her and all down to the fact the officers he had met so far were great and the crew he had met were every bit as good. Patrick could possibly be a problem, but with a cock like that, Simon would forgive him anything! He knew Tony would not forgive him though if he knew what he was ogling over.
“Sorry Tony, only looking!” He said to himself.
It was 10am and his world was about to change and so would he. In just one message from the captain, EVERYTHING changed. The speakers clicked on.
“This is the captain. It is my sad duty to inform you that this morning after an exchange of fire with German ships, HMS Hood has been sunk and it seems with all hands. Officers to the wardroom, crew to the mess deck.”
Simon sat there hearing nothing and just stared at the table fighting not to break down, but it was a battle he was losing as the tears poured out of him. He tried so hard poor lad and it was noticed. “Simon?” Charles Thickness called his name several times but there was no response.
“Please leave chaps and go to the crew.” Simon did not even know they had gone. “Simon? Did you know someone on her?” At least he heard that and looked at his captain but could not see through the tears.
“The best mate you could ever have and he had his best mate with him, they have both gone sir and I’m sorry I shouldn’t be like this. I’m supposed to be a fucking MAN.”
“No Simon don’t be sorry for crying and never be sorry for having a heart old man. I am lucky, I can go to my cabin and shut the door and that’s where I’m going after I know you are feeling a bit better. You see Simon, my youngest brother was on her as well.”
A couple of hundred miles away Tony was also crying his eyes out and being comforted by Gary. They sat in Tony’s room where Gary had taken him when the news came on the radio. It was a perfect situation for him and he was going to take full advantage of it. He cuddled Tony into him with one arm around his shoulders and also stroking his cheek with the other hand. He had Tony’s head touching his own cheek and was able to kiss his forehead.
“I am so sorry Tony, just let it all out, you know I am here for you.” Tony did not hear or feel a thing, he was just lost in his grief and all the time thinking about Spike, Brian and of course Simon.
After some time he became aware that Gary was stroking his cheek and felt him kiss his head and muttering condolences and support for him. He jumped up and looked at Gary smiling up at him.
“What the fuck makes you so happy? Good news for you was it?”
“NO Tony! I just want to support you, you must know that?” Tony could not give a toss and went out. It was good for him because he could go back to work and absorb himself into it. Gary sat there cussing himself and just a little pissed off.
“Blokes always give in when I get physical with them. Ok I will have to find another way.” He was about too.
He got off Tony’s bed and was about to leave when he looked at the bedside locker. He went to the door and looked out, it was all clear.
“Right let’s have a look in here.” He opened the top drawer and straight away found something that could be of interest, a bundle of letters and all from Simon, it was a gold mine. He had guessed correctly Tony and Simon were “together” and the letters proved it now. He put them all back and went to his room in the Sergeants mess, stripped off and went for a bath. He laid in it and had a good soak thinking the whole time about how he could now get Tony’s mind off Simon and into his. This was going to be difficult and it could back fire on him if he was not careful. It would be much more of a challenge, but Gary liked this type of challenge and he was good at it as he had got quite a few men into bed of his choosing in the past and many who were not even homosexual.
He also knew where the letters were and what was in them, all very embarrassing and not only to the receiver, but also the writer and it could be very difficult for the two of them should they fall onto a senior officers desk in the Military Police. Homosexuality was such a huge offence in the military and it could see a queer in jail for a very long time and social humiliation when they got out. Still, that would have to be a last result and only used if he was positive that he could not get Tony into bed by other means and he now had a long time to work on him. The letters he knew would always be in his locker and it would not take much to get his hands on them. No, he would have to work on Tony’s good nature and the fact he only knew how to like people, there must be a weakness there surely? He looked down at himself and smiled at his 7.5 inches of straight 23 year old beauty and took it in his hand and began to stroke himself, he knew this would not take long as he thought of Tony sucking it and then in his ass while he fucked him. He came a massive load and still had that smile on his face and Tony in his head.
Simon finished his letters to his father and Tony, but given the fact mail was now being censored he had to be careful what he wrote. Still in these two it was all about the loss of their friends and the Hood of course and would not be a problem for those censoring anyway. He went off to the mail room and then back to his ship, he was still numb with the news about the Hood and then of course the captains loss as well. Nobody spoke to Simon about it although they must have known he had lost a friend or even a brother, Simon would not be saying anything about the skippers loss either and that was noted by Charles Thickness, he already liked Simon and hoped he was as good a navigator as he was a person, his reports said he was and that was encouraging. They would sail in two days after they had stocked up and would join up for their first Atlantic escort off the south coast of Ireland and that would give him time to get the crew to work AS a crew.
There has been much written about the convoy escorts during the war and the men of the Royal and Merchant Navies and allied navies who virtually saved Briton not only from starvation but the materials to fight with. Britain without them would have been beaten into submission and no American would not get anywhere near the country let alone launch an invasion from her. There was still another seven months to go before America joined in the fight against the powers of evil and the average sinking of over 300,000 tons a month so far could not be sustained and that total would become much more over the next two years. Losing the Battle of the Atlantic became Churchill’s worst nightmare.
This is not the story of the Battle itself, but about four boys and now young men who had often met in a woodman’s hut just outside the village of Hamble and found love. Now two had gone and the other two had other battles of their own ahead of them with no idea as to the outcome and the war would control events.
That first escort was all that the new crew were told about by the old hands, wet, cold, a ship that heaved all over the place, cramped, eating corned beef and powdered potato three times a day, dreadful weather, but worse witnessing yet another ship blow up and the search for survivors, many of whom died after being bought on board. The constant waiting for yet another U-boat attack and wondering if it would be your turn next.
A common tactic of the U-boats was to attack the escorts first then other boats could help themselves to the merchantmen. There was also a vast area of ocean that did not have air cover because of aircraft range, or rather the lack of it, when the U-boats were safe from attack from the air. The Germans called that time, “the happy days!”
Even though the conditions on board were pretty uncomfortable, to say the least, Simon was helped greatly by those he sailed with. He was amazed at the relaxed attitude of those who had experienced many escorts, it seemed to him that the worse the conditions were, the happier the crew was. It certainly rubbed off on him and he soon settled down and became very popular with all the crew. He was determined to learn all he could about every department on board and would often be seen in the asdic, radar and wireless shacks asking questions and just observing. Down in the engine room getting in the way but learning a hell of a lot by the crew. He paid a lot of attention to all the guns and was allowed to fire the Lewis’s and watched as the 4 inch and 12 pounder guns were practice fired. His continued his education with the depth charge throwers and how to set the fuses, loading and became a tolerated part of the crew when they trained.
“Pilot?” the common name for the navigation officer in the RN, “I want our position please.” Charles smiled knowing Simon had been off the bridge for ages. Simon gave it out straight away.
“Good guess Simon.”
“Thank you captain, just follow those ships sir, you won’t get lost, unless they already are.”
“CONTACT!” The alarms rang out and the ships company closed up.
“Two oh five, 1000 yards.”
“Hard to starboard, full ahead.” Everyone was calm and focused and Simon’s heart was at bursting point.
“Still got it?”
“Midships. Depth charges stand by.”
“Standby.” This seemed too easy.
“TORPEDOS TO PORT!”
“Hard to starboard. Fuck we will miss it.” The ship heaved over and one of her more positive assets proved itself, her maneuverability, she could turn on a sixpence. They watched the two torpedo’s pass well to their port side.
“Hard to port… Asdic?”
“Lost it sir.” Thickness was now in guess mode.
They dropped six at a time in four passes, but had no result and were now well behind the convoy and it would take over an hour to get back on station and while chasing it two ships were hit and went down in minutes. There would be only 18 survivors from both ships and a total loss of 152.
A week later they moored up in Halifax and would be there a week before they started the return escort.
“It will get hot now Simon and you will have to take a watch, the ship and all of us will be relying on you when you are, so don’t fuck up and get us lost.” Simon smiled at his captain.
“Course not sir, England’s that way, isn’t it?”
They spent two days getting the Blossom ready for the return escort, they all had some free time and the chance to go for a shower, Simon and Patrick went off together. Simon had not seen Patrick naked since that first time because the whole crew stayed fully dressed once they went to sea and did not even get into their bunks, just slept on top of the damp bedding. He was looking forward to it and would say a quiet sorry to Tony afterwards.
They found themselves a massive room with dozens of shower heads pouring out gallons of hot water by the minute, and there were dozens of men having a good clean up. It was an amazing scene and Simon had a good look at most of them, but EVERYONE looked at Patrick! He seemed oblivious to the attention and when Simon realised there were some American’s in there as well it made it even more enjoyable.
“Hi there, where in the States do you come from buddy?”
“Buckinghamshire and that’s in England!”
“I get that every time I shower in public Simon. It’s such a bore, I sometimes wish I could swap it, I would get less attention. I HATE people staring, it makes me feel like some sort of freak show.”
“You can swap it for mine if you like Patrick. I would love it.” The answer surprised Simon.
“Oh no dear chap, you are perfect, very handsome and a very nice person as well. I hope you don’t mind me saying so?”
“Not at all Patrick.” He did not want to tell him he was a fucking God and when he got back to the ship he would have to send all sorts of silent messages to Tony apologising for thinking like that. “Only looking my love and I know bloody well your jaw would fall on the deck if you saw it.”
There were a couple of days to go before they cast off and there was some time to get to know Patrick a little better. Simon found he liked him much more now and not because Patrick said he thought he was handsome, although Simon rather liked it, no his personality was coming through and although he was out in space most of the time they all found out he had done a lot of work on the radar system and he got all that he could working on the ships outfit. He told Simon of a new system about to be bought into service, the Type 271 and would be housed in its own “tower” behind the bridge.
“We call it a “lantern” and the system is far ahead of what we have now Simon.”
“Who do you mean, we?”
“I have been working on radars and sonar systems for years and have been involved since the age of 15 alongside my father. I needed to join up and see the systems work first hand and will report back to father with my recommendations.”
“And what will they be?”
“Dump this shit and get the 271’s as soon as possible.” Simon stared at Patrick and laughed.
“What’s so funny?”
“YOU swearing, it’s just took me by surprise that’s all.”
“Oh do fuck off Simon, I’m quite normal I think. There is a lot you would be surprised about me and one day I may tell you. You seem a person I could trust.” Simon thought about that and was sure he was right.
It was foul weather and they were being tossed about all over the place. The rain poured down and the convoy had to reduce to 5 knots. What a time to do your first officer of the watch. The only good thing about it was nothing happened, much to his relief. The First Lieutenant took over and he went below for a wet sleep, but Patrick had been sick all over his bunk and the deck. It took him an hour to get it somewhere near clean. Patrick rewarded him by throwing up again. He pulled him out of his bunk and made him climb up to his. He stripped the lower bunk off and just tied it down on deck hoping it would wash off. He got back and tried to sleep on Patrick’s stinky mattress, but the alarm going off stopped even that.
He got to the bridge where he would stay unless they came under fire and were hit. Simon was also damage and fire control officer. The Bosun helped Simon out on the passage over.
“Right sir, so you are in charge of firefighting and damage control, what are your orders?”
“My orders are, I am in charge of firefighting and damage control. YOU Jack will tell me what to do and I will do it. Sound good to you?”
“Not bad sir, right grab hold of that hose.”
Almost as soon as the contact with the U-boat was made, so it was lost and after another hour Charles was about to tell them to stand down when the first ship was hit just a half mile away, followed by two more much further away. The skipper took Blossom towards the stricken ship that was now stern down and sinking fast. With the nets over the side and the Blossom creeping slowly ahead everyman was searching for survivors. They came across bodies first and then they saw several who managed to grab hold and pull themselves up. Five got on board who were taken below to try and warm up. Three more were spotted, but one did not make it as far as the net and floated out of sight. Simon saw two more further away and screamed up to the bridge. The CO took them to the men who were by now in a bad way and would never be strong enough to get up the net. Simon and Patrick could see that and scrambled over the side and went down and literally grabbed both men and pulled them up. They were the last they could find. Charles called for slow ahead and as he got out of the area he called for full speed, he lent to a voice pipe.
“Come on Asdic, find the bastard!” The sub had gone.
By the time they were in British waters, but still not safe, a further two ships were sunk when they came under air attack. It was a shoot and hope by the 4inch gun crew, but they were too far away and the two aircraft completed their attack and flew off. There were casualties, but the majority were picked up by other ships.
“Simon, you did say you lived in Hamble?”
“Aint you the lucky boy, we have been told to go to Southampton and if we can hail a boat I will let you off and you can stay overnight. You will have to make your own way back, that alright?” Simon’s smile gave his Captain the answer. This was going to be great, just land at the mooring and walk into his dad’s office!
The next day true to his word Charles got onto the load hailer and stopped a small boat and with the lads giving him a great send off he was taken upstream to the boat yard.
“Hello dad.” Andrew had his back to the office door and Simon saw him freeze, he turned round and seconds later they were hugged together.
They did not stop talking for the next two hours. All the lads came in to say hello, but left soon after, father and son needed their time.
“Have you heard from Tony?”
“No but there are about six letters waiting for you. Come on let’s get home and you can ring the hospital from there, but I doubt you will see him in the time you have.”
Simon called as soon as he had had a bath and put his clothes in the wash, but was told he was on duty. The girl at the other end said she would give him a message to ring as soon as he went off in about an hour. Tony smiled and could not wait, meanwhile he started to read the letters. Andrew got the rum out and they began to drink through it while Simon read through Tony’s letters. Andrew looked at the smile on his face and wondered if it would always be there, he prayed it would.
Nurse Private Jean Broom was at reception when Gary passed by.
“Gary do you know where Tony is?”
“Yes my little fuck bucket, he is in Orthopaedic Ward. Just going to meet him now.” Gary liked fucking women as well.
“I’m not your fuck anything Sergeant, could you ask him to ring his friend Simon Walsh, he says he is at home until tomorrow.”
“You will be one day Private. Ok leave it with me.” He walked off to find Tony cussing himself for having such a bad memory.
“Hello handsome, had a good shift?” Gary smiled at him.
“Great thanks Gary, spent most of it in theatre and did all the trays, loved it.” Tony smiled back. “You’re on nights right?”
“Yep, what will you do?”
“Have something to eat, bath and then bed. I’m on early tomorrow.” He did not say that he would be writing to Simon, that was none of Gary’s business.
“Yes I know, I do the rotas remember. I can make sure your up if you want and bang on your door?”
“I’m fine thanks, never been late yet. Goodnight have a quiet shift.”
“Sleep well.” He lent close to Tony. “And no wanking unless it’s about me ok?” He laughed, but Tony ignored it.
“Oh bugger it dad, I have to get some sleep, its midnight and he won’t call now. I need sleep anyway, not had much lately. There must have been some sort of emergency for him not to ring. That must be the reason.” He tried to forget it and made sure the alarm was set, he fell into a deep sleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. Andrew came up the ladder himself after he had hung Simon’s clothes up. He stood looking down at his son so happy he had this unexpected visit, but visibly shaking with worry, for the millionth time he cursed Corporal Hitler.
Simon was awake before the alarm and went down to iron his uniform and got dressed, his dad came down soon after and they had a one egg breakfast and a thick slice of bread each and then got into the car. They made small talk all the way, but Tony came up again.
“I suppose he got the message Simon?”
“Why shouldn’t he?”
“Just thinking that’s all. People do make mistakes.”
“Well, I won’t find out now and have no idea when. I don’t even know when we are sailing. Still, look out for me and I will wave when we pass you!”
As always the goodbye was a bugger and Simon stood looking at the back of his father’s car as he drove away waving all the time. “See you dad.”
Andrew was thinking hard as he drove home. People do make mistakes that’s so true, but if Tony had been held up, he would have called even if it was in the middle of the night. He would not miss the chance to speak to Simon, NO chance, someone messed up and he would and find out who.
Andrew was making a calculated guess and assumed the girl on duty would be again at the same time. He picked the phone up and dialed.
“Oh hello my name is Lieutenant Commander Walsh, my son left a message last night for his friend Anthony Tennant Williams to call. Would you know if he got the message?”
“Oh yes sir, I gave it to one of the Sergeants to tell him, he was on his way to meet him after his shift, so I’m sure he got it.”
“Was Tony late off duty for some reason?”
“Oh no sir, I saw him go myself.”
“Oh right. Look I know this is a bit of a nuisance but could you give him a message to ring me, but make sure you give it to him personally, it’s extremely important and quite private to him?”
“That’s fine Commander, he is off duty now, but I will go to his room and ask him to call.”
“Thank you so much.” Jean Broom could not wait to go to his room, she fancied Tony no end and dropped enough hints to make let him know he could go all the way with her. Christ Tony, another one!
He put his shirt on when the knock came thinking it would be Gary.
“What the fuck are you doing here Jean you know it’s out of bounds?”
“Your friend Simon called last night and I asked Gary to tell you he is at home and wanted you to call. Did you get the message?”
“Well his dad just called and wants you to call him, he says it’s important and if you want to hook up with me, I’m available.” She smiled at him and Tony ignored her, he was in a panic.
“Thanks Jean now bugger off or we will both be in trouble.”
“Ok, but you and I are going on a date soon mister.”
“I can’t afford to take you out.”
“Fine, we stay in then, much cheaper and a hell of a lot more fun!”
“Hello Andrew. What’s going on?”
“That’s what I want to know. You didn’t get the message then?”
“No I didn’t and I think I know why.”
“It’s Gary he ah… he likes me and I think he is trying to take me away from Simon, in fact I know he is now.”
“Could it get awkward for you? You know because you and Simon are involved. It could get nasty if he is determined to get you and… Well you know.”
“It could and he is relying on the fact that Simon is away now and we spend a lot of time together as he is my nursing instructor and we also share some duties as well. He also mentions lots of times when he helped you on Peace and thinks he has got a hold on me that way as well. Oh shit.”
“Well, he only knows what you have told him, it’s your word against his. Just be careful what you say and don’t get led into something that will be difficult for you.”
“It’s ok Andrew, I am more than aware now, I will be fine and hope to see you and Simon soon.”
“Any idea when that will be?”
“No and even that is up to Gary. I know he will arrange it so we are off together.”
“Now listen. You DONT have to arrange anything with me before you come home. If you get time, say like Simon just has and you can’t get hold of me first, just come, do you understand?”
“Thanks Andrew, I will. I wish we could have done something for Spike and Brian.”
“I know son, it will take time to get over that dreadful time. You just take care of yourself please.”
“I will Andrew and thanks again.”
On her way back to reception Jean saw Gary and asked him why he had not passed the message on?
“Something came up and I was distracted, but Private, I really don’t have to explain myself to you. Where is Tony now?”
“On the phone talking to Simon’s dad Sergeant.”
Gary went off and saw him on the phone near the main entrance. “Fuck it! Still, there is one thing he doesn’t know that I do.” He checked it was all clear and went into Tony’s room and when he got back to his room, hid the bundle of letters.
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