Allan Diffey's charming and amusing memoir portrays a long lost era of the Royal Navy in the 1950s, and one boy's love for ships and the sea. Diffey had never seen the sea until he was five years old, having been born just after the outbreak of the Second World War, and evacuated to Andover after his family's house in Gosport was bombed.
Allan was born in the coastal town of Gosport, Hampshire, in December 1939, three months after the outbreak of World War 2. When his father returned from Dunkirk his family went to visit him for a few days in Andover, as this was close to where he was stationed at Barton Stacey. Circumstances arose which kept them in Andover for the duration of the war. On the family's return to Gosport, Allan attended New Elson Infant and Junior school, moving on to Grove Secondary Modern Boys School which he left aged 14. Three weeks later he was employed by NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institute), HM Forces official trading organization, and after serving two years in Portsmouth Dockyard, Allan was then eligible to serve on on sea going RN ships in the ships' canteen.