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John Nichols

John was born on the 18 September 1959 in the village of Earsdon near Whitley Bay.

John’s father worked for the Merchant Navy as a second Electrical Officer on board the Swan Hunter built ship the Dominican Monarch

He left school in 1976 at age of sixteen and entered the Merchant Navy. After leaving the Merchant Navy, John joined NAFFI (Navy Army & Air Force Institute) and ran shops onboard Swan Hunter vessels including HMS ARK ROYAL and HMS COVENTRY.

John was interviewed by Alex Magin on 24 October 2006. The interview took place at Segedunum Roman Fort, Baths and Museum and lasted for 38 minutes.

John Nichols's Memories

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So how were you recruited for the Merchant Navy John?

Well, it was all a bit of an accident actually, because I was all signed up to go into the RAF all I needed to do was pass my final medical and there was a wait of about two months for that to occur.  My friend who was very interested in joining the Merchant Navy asked if I would accompany him up to Newcastle just to keep him company so I went up with him.  While I was there I thought I might as well sit this little paper with him, something to do, and before I knew it my friend had failed, he didn’t get in, but I passed I was in the Merchant Navy and that’s how I came to join the Merchant Navy.

How did you feel about that, how did your friend feel?

Well, my friend was really non-pulsed.  I think he went into the shipyards after that because in those days there were different areas you could go into so I don’t think he was too bothered, but I just went home and just said to me father, “Well dad, I’m joining the Merchant Navy instead of the RAF” and he just looked at me and didn’t say anything really.

So was he pleased you were going into the Merchant Navy?

Yes I think he was Alex, because I think because he was in the Merchant Navy and spent the war years there and we’ve always had that connection with the sea and with seaman, etc, etc, I think he was pleased, yes.