After being introduced by Rotarian Perry Puddefoot, Bexhill Rotary Club members were thoroughly entertained at their speaker meeting by Roger Paine, Retired Naval Commander.
Perry described how, since voluntarily leaving the Royal Navy, Roger has been Secretary to the Trustees of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich and is now a full-time writer.
Roger launched himself on the assembled Rotarians with a light hearted introduction explaining how he had left school at the age of sixteen to join the Royal Navy as a very ordinary sailor and ended up retiring 28 years later as a Commander.
He said that his talk was called, “Ditty Box – a collection of nautical yarns”.
He explained that “Ditty Box” was originally a ditty bag and that they were made by apprentices and given to every new naval recruit.
They were used to keep personal possessions, such as letters from home and photographs.
In 1930, bags were replaced by boxes and Roger showed his own box, suitably marked with his initials.
As the result of scribbling away whilst in the Navy and keeping these notes in his Ditty Box, Roger has now written two books about his experiences and the extraordinary number of laughs and bizarre experiences he encountered during twenty-eight years on the high seas.
Roger read hilarious stories from his book, “Clear Lower Deck” and Rotarians shared many laughs whilst listening attentively.
In his early days of public speaking he was rejected by the Women’s Institute. However, he was eventually “approved” and now Roger is in great demand.
Bexhill Rotarian Geoff Longmire gave the vote of thanks in the form of a rhyming ditty, followed by rapturous rounds of applause.
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