Shore to sea 1 - Flip Flop died

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Glenis MouldGlenis Mould

Glenis met Colin in 1983 when he had been serving in the submarine branch of the Navy for eight years. Before getting married Glenis moved to Scotland for a trial period to see whether she could cope with life as a naval wife although she was not eligible for some of the support provided for married couples. Following their marriage in 1985 they had two children. Colin was often required to work at sea for long periods when they were young, leaving Glenis to raise the children alone. She is very proud of her husband and her own connection with the Navy.

Listen the difficulties Glenis encountered when trying using familygrams to communicate with Colin.

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Extract Text (Duration1.57)

A fmilygram is a 40 word telegram almost, that's given to you before your husband goes away on patrol, and that's your only form of communication that you have to give your husband your news, you get nothing in return. What happens to this "very private" little message that you have for your husband, you don't actually realise that there's about 20 people see it before your husband does, but you in your little ignorance don't know that until afterwards. So you start putting in things like ‘lots of love and kisses' or ‘love you very much' and then suddenly realise that everybody is seeing your personal details so you don't... you temper it down quite a bit, or most people do anyway. But you learn very quickly that 40 words doesn't go very far, so you miss out all the its, buts, ands, to's, who's and put in the basic, so you're putting a very brief message. They understand it, but not many other people do.

Did have a very funny incident at one time where we had two fish called Flip and Flop, and unfortunately they passed away, so I'd put in my familygram ‘Flip Flop died, gone home to mum.' Colin knew who Flip and Flop were, he knew that I was planning to go down to see my mum and dad, but unfortunately the off-crew office didn't, so I got this telephone call from the welfare office asking me who Flip and Flop was and was it perhaps a grandfather and had they passed away? And then of course they burst out in hysterics when I told them, "No, it was only the fish and Colin knew exactly who they were." But at the time Colin had opted not to receive any bad news so they had to censor it, or were going to censor it out if it had been a member of our family, but of course they let that bit through so...

The value of words

0.48 mins - mp3 File

Christmas tapes

1.11 mins - mp3 File

Delay in receiving letters

0.56 mins - mp3 File

Tediousness of family-grams

1.00 mins - mp3 File

Description of family-gram

1.47 mins - mp3 File

Children's communication with dad

2.07 mins - mp3 File

Suspect package

2.03 mins - mp3 File

Options for receiving bad news

1.30 mins - mp3 File

Ballast brick

0.49 mins - mp3 File

Recording by wives of HMS Conventry crew, 1982

0.37 mins - mp3 File

Importance of news from daughters

0.40 mins - mp3 File

Flip Flop died

1.57 mins - mp3 File