Don Anderson - Finding a friend

Running time
2 min 12 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


When I joined the Castlemaine, I joined it on my own and that was the pattern that was set for every ship I was sent to. Always sent to go on my own and not knowing anyone in this case and I was a boy, of course, scared, never been to sea, didn't know a thing but I went aboard this ship and I found there was no locker.

There were more crew members than lockers so as it is, we had a kit bag, just an ordinary bag and the only stowing place for that was in the hammock bins so it had to stay in the hammock bins, could only be accessed just after 10 o'clock at night. It was hopeless and couldn't even have a toothbrush ‘cause if you left anything out it was immediately taken, and it was put into the scran bag. If you talk to your father, he'll know what a scran bag was.

There was one seasoned sailor who'd been in the navy since the beginning of the war and he'd served on the flagship Australia, but he was drafted off the flagship to the Castlemaine. Unusual it was for a seasoned seaman to have anything to do with a useless recruit.

He offered me a corner of his locker for the little bit of stuff for shaving gear, combs, toothbrush and so on and that started a, now he was an orphan and he didn't have anything ashore. All his worldly possessions were in that locker and yet he allowed me a corner of it, and I developed a friendship and he went to a different ship and so did I but we met up through the war.

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