Navy Reunion – BCT 2/80
What’s better than joining up with old friends to make a weekend exciting? This past weekend’s navy reunion of the BCT (Basic Common Training) 2/80 provided all the camaraderie and memory sharing such an event always evokes. An instructor of one of the classes, I was delighted to be invited to join this reunion.
As well as sharing memories over a few drinks, we were also taken on a tiki tour around our old stamping grounds. We visited the location of our training ship HMNZS Tamaki – now taken over by the Dept of Conservation and turned into a park. The girls and I were thrilled to see their dormitory is one of the few buildings recently restored on the site. They pointed out the curtains now on the windows of what most likely is an office block and remembered how those windows had all been painted with white paint – to avoid nosy sailors trying to sneak a peak.
We walked to the top of North Head where many did their trade training – and I spent about ten years of my naval career – the buses are no longer allowed up there, I felt sorry for the times we had platoons doubling up and down that hill as punishments.
A guided tour of HMNZS Canterbury – a multi role vessel – probably alerted the guys (35 years ago, girls were not yet serving at sea) to the ever changing aspects of life at sea. I overheard one comment that the cabin/recreation spaces were more like a cruise liner.
From Canterbury, we were hosted to lunch in HMNZS Philomel’s main galley, again a vast improvement to the galley of 35 years ago. We feasted on an excellent meal alongside about 60 sea cadets who were participating in a training weekend.
The Naval Museum was our last port of call on Saturday’s tour. Every time I visit this museum there is something new to see. Hampered by the size of their building, the curators do an amazing job of preserving and sharing our Navy’s history.
Devonport has changed a lot in 35 years, but then again, much of it is still the same. Wandering around the “Navy strongholds” brought back many memories. I’m sure others here for the reunion from out of town enjoyed checking out these sites, too.