Joining the navy
Sir Donald Gosling has spent more than 50 years working, vacationing and living at sea. Now the owner of 75 metre superyacht Leander G, here he shares some of his favourite yachting memories...
Joining the Navy
My love affair with the sea started when I was nine. My mother used to take me to the Round Tower, which overlooks the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour, to see all the warships coming and going, getting ready for the Second World War. From that moment I knew that I was destined to go into the Royal Navy.
My boyhood interest in nautical things and my love for the sea and boats was clearly shown by my bedroom, whose walls were covered from one end to the other with photographs of yachts, ships and warships. Thats all I ever read about and all I wanted to know about. Then I was lucky enough to get into boy's training aged 13 on the Arethusa in August 1943 - the quickest way into the Navy.
It was a tough introduction to all things nautical, and the training, down in Salcombe, south Devon, covered everything from rowing boats to sailing vessels and motor boats. In 1944 I joined the Royal Navy, heading to HMS St George on the Isle of Man for naval training, in preparation for the sea - the real sea - and in 1946 I joined the cruiser HMS Leander. We sailed for the Med in July 1946, and from our base in Malta we had two action-packed years - it was a wonderful form of nautical education and character building.