Why I Joined the Royal Navy

Mike Davis-Marks

Dits and Pics

We’re collecting dits and photos from those that have served in the armed forces to create an online exhibition to share stories and memories

Dits and Pics is funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund



“I suppose the dit I really want to talk about is why I joined the Royal Navy, which goes back to into the last Millennium, last century, last many decades ago. 

But I suppose it all starts with… I woke up one day when I was seven and said to my very surprised parents that I wanted to join the Navy. 

And neither they, nor I, then or any time since, have any idea why, because my parents haven’t got any military background, they hadn’t Served in any of the Services. Certainly no Naval background. We didn’t live near a Naval port at all. I didn’t live in Portsmouth which is where I am now. I lived in a small seaside town in Broadstairs which isn’t remotely close to Chatham. Britain’s an island so it’s not difficult being in a seaside town but I hadn’t watched that I can recollect ‘Sink the Bismark’ on TV the night before. 

I just woke up when I was seven and said I wanted to join the Navy and my parents accepted that for whatever reason and I joined the Navy as soon as I could which was 18; and 36 years after that, I left at the end of my time. 

So my dit is really, that actually, if you have a dream when you’re seven, follow it because in my case it turned out to be a right good one. And I can honestly say, and this is not an advert for the Royal Navy, even though I was, for a period Director of Public Relations for the Navy and Director of Recruiting, but notwithstanding that, if I could have all my time again, I’d do exactly what I’d already done. Exactly the same, warts and all, including all the bad bits because there are always going to be some bad bits, because I think there’s a lot of learning you get from the bits that aren’t you know, all sunshine and roses, and they build resilience and character and make you the person you are. So if I had my time again, I’d do exactly what I’ve done. 

So my dit is, ‘Follow your dreams when you’re seven!’”