The man in question, is GODFREY WINN famous for several reasons, but in particular for his book PQ17 - the compelling story of a failed Russian convoy.  He was embarked in HMS Pozarica known in the fleet as the Pozy whose Commanding Officer was Captain Lawford RN.

In 1942 after over two and half years in harms way as a war correspondent and after publishing his war scrapbook to that year,

the year in which he achieved the age of thirty six {36} he decided that he must do more than "rough it with the best" at sea drawing a huge salary whilst mixing with the "best of men" drawing a pittance and moreover, subject to a discipline to which he was excused. His intention was to do his bit in the Service he had come to know and understand completely and as importantly, came to like.  He knew, or at least had an inkling, that if he joined the royal navy he would be encouraged to immediately take the CW [Commissioned and Warrant] officers route and this he didn't want for two reasons. Firstly that as a journalist he had always been his own man, looking after number one and had never developed the skills of man management being the only person in his team out in the field.  He therefore didn't feel as though he could order men around or that he would have the necessary confidence with the leadership and power of command aspects of Service life. Secondly, becoming an officer would bring the privileges [including reasonable pay] that he was embarrassed about as a freelance war correspondent. He therefore decided that he would join the navy but as an ordinary seaman and that he would not seek nor take offered promotion.  It would be a huge change in his life and he had many a sleepless night worrying about his patriotic decision which would take him socially from the near highest to the certain lowest of society navy-wise.

His trip on HMS Pozy [in which he broke his wrist] meant that he was exactly four months late arriving at HMS Ganges [remember at age 36] where he would join as a HO [for the duration] as an ordinary seaman knowing most of the pitfalls and ready to 'bite the bullet'. An enormously brave thing to do especially when one realises that he had no need to fight and his position as a war correspondent at the front was more than enough for the population to be able to say, yes, Godfrey, you did your bit for the country. His Service Number was C/JX 377610. After HO basic training of three months he left for Chatham in early January 1943.

After the war, Godfrey wrote his autobiography in three parts or volumes.  He also travelled a great deal especially to the States on lecture tours and was on the cast list for five films made by J.Arthur Rank studios.  He also made a film himself which was set in a Skegness holiday camp and called "Holiday Camp" to parody his experiences in another "holiday camp" at HMS Ganges ! He even hired a mini van in London, drove to HMS Ganges, picked up a group of trainees, lashed them up to big eats and free seats in an Ipswich cinema to view his film.

The first of the books is called "The Infirm Glory" and deals with his childhood and youth.  The second book is called "The Positive Hour" and deals with his time as a war correspondent and his time as an ordinary seaman in the navy.  It is an excellent read and has many sections and reference to HMS Ganges from an HO's point of view. Upon leaving Ganges he was drafted to the Chatham Depot and reading that section reminds me about the mid 1950's in the Devonport Depot and especially in the huge open stone blocks/messes of Jagoes. He refers throughout his book to "the Ganges" and to his mess/accommodation as "hut 46" and never at any stage mentions the Division of Hawke which in my time eleven years on after his time was always used as a prefix to 46 mess - a la Hawke 46.  Given that they were men [HO's] and not boys, the word 'sprog' is used in lieu of 'nozzer', so the read is quiet alien and clashes with my experience in parts. The third book called "Here is my Space" deals with his post war experiences.

These three pictures show Godfrey Winn, below left and below bottom at Ganges and below right as a war correspondent on the arctic run in PQ17.  The initial 'H' stands for Herbert. In 1944 whilst in HMS Cumberland,  he was laid low with severe reoccurrences of gall bladder problems which regularly poisoned his system.  He was hospitalised and subsequently spent regular periods in clinics effectively ending his war prematurely.

Godfrey Winn in a class of HO's 1942. Winn is back row third from the right.

After the war Godfrey Winn went back to his old ways, old haunts, old associations and became a film star.  He had acquitted himself well and could hold his head high in all sections of society. He became a regular television and radio broadcaster for the BBC, and appeared on Roy Plomley's "Desert Island Disk" programme.

In this picture he has been an acquaintance of the royal family and was a house guest at Broadlands, the home of Lord and Lady Mountbatten

He has to be the most important ORDINARY SEAMAN who ever served in the Royal Navy. A King amongst Kings and the common man amongst common men.  He was certainly HMS Ganges' strangest recruit and I am proud to have his books on my library shelves.

He died in 1971 when sixty four from a massive heart attack.

Yours aye.