Social Life 1 - Social life in Singapore

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Anne AgarAnne Agar

Anne met her husband Mark in 1955 the year he joined the Royal Navy as a National Serviceman.  They married in 1958 and have two sons.  During his career Mark served on a number of ships but spent the majority of his 21 years in submarines.  He was often required be apart from his family - going on a one year deployment when his first son was only five months old and missing the birth of his second son.  Anne liked to move to be near her husband, living in married quarters at Portsmouth, Chatham and from 1966-1968 Singapore.  Mark left the Navy in 1976.  They have since separated but Anne remains proud of her association to the Navy.

Listen to Anne's memories of the wonderful social life in Singapore. 

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Extract Text (Duration 1.35)

Well, the social life was always wonderful.  The Navy did look after us like that.  The Mess, there... there was live groups, we would go dancing, they would do bingo, although I never very much liked bingo.  The food was very good, the... the drink was inexpensive.  It was Tiger... Tiger beer, and the men would have pints of what they called Tiger tops, it was topped with lemonade.  Because it was so hot everybody did drink a lot. 

Apart from in the Mess we all had parties in our... wherever we were living, our bungalows, and then later on the flat at the naval base.  We would go on banyans, somebody would hire a boat, a cabin cruiser from somewhere or other, and about 30 or 40 of us would go on the boat, have a picnic, swim over the side of the boat, go to different islands.  We'd spend a lot of time at the pool, every day we were at the pool.  It was tropical routine, the schools and the men all finished work, early afternoon for the children, mid-afternoon for the men, because they started earlier because of the heat.  There'd be a bar at the pool, everywhere you went there was a bar.  It was a wonderful social life. 

The markets would be in the evenings, the Arma's markets, because it was too hot to have them during the day.  You'd put the children in their pyjamas, you know, the little ones might be in pushchairs, and then when they got home they just went straight to bed, they were already wearing their little cotton pyjamas.  It was a good life, I did enjoy it.

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Differences in the way women treated by sailors when ashore

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Impact of husband's rank on wives social life

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Opportunities to attend Royal events

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Families' days at sea

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Hating Sundays

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Second Sea Lord commendation

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Social interaction between officers and ratings wives

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Commissioning of HMS Porpoise

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Surprise visit to Gibraltar

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Social life in Singapore, 1960s

1.35 mins - mp3 File