Nigel Turner – HMS Beagle

Nigel Turner, HMS Beagle

I joined HMS Beagle (straight after leaving HMS Fife) joining 15th October 1973 at Chatham and served on her for 14 months. I was one of two chefs on board and soon realised that on a survey ship that many other tasks awaited rather than galley duties.

At sea, you became part of bridge watch-keeping duties, manning the survey sonar apparatus, pinging the seabed, logging and calling depth and calling out unknown shadows. Also part of letting out and recovering the towed away sonar, besides and other tasks as required. Never a day off at sea. One soon acquired robust sea legs on a small ship during rough weather spending a fair amount of time on the bridge to keep the horizon in focus to prevent seasickness. In harbour, the inevitable store ship, security and gangway duties (day and night), comms duties sunrise and sunset, in-between galley duties.

As a young chef, it was eye opening to be able to see what other depts did and to work closely with them in a tight knit crew. It also instilled in me greater knowledge of how things work and the essence of teamwork and duty, which would stay with me for the rest of my career.

Nigel Turner

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