The 1960's were a time of change:
The Royal Canadian Navy was shifting its focus to anti-submarine warfare.
The relationship with the Royal Navy was shifting and Canada was increasing its collaboration with the American Navy.
The Canadian Government under the direction of misguided Defense Minister Paul Hellyer the government started the controversial move to end the traditional separate Army, Air force and Navy to one unified entity, the Canadian Armed Forces.
During the decade the people in the Soviet Union began to demand change. The slow shift toward Perestroika and Glasnost had its roots in the late 60's. Canada's relationship with the USSR began to relax.
There hasn't been very much written about the cold war navy. Most of what I have found are either academic studies - almost all unreadable - or stories about the runs ashore and those good times in foreign ports we barely remember through the alcoholic haze.I like to think my stories take another look at those days - the fun, the challenges, the camaraderie and the frustrations from a lower deck perspective.
It is incredible to think about. It has been more than 50 years since as a young 17 year old, I quit school and joined the Royal Canadian Navy.To misquote Dickens "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, but, it sure as hell wasn't the age of wisdom." I stayed for almost eight years before coming to the conclusion that it was not the way I wanted to spend the rest of my working life and moved on.No Badge Killick is about some part of those eight years.
So, what’s with the name?Back in the 16th century a killick, was a small anchor. Before Paul Hellyer had his way and merged the three forces into the Canadian Armed Forces, Leading Seamen wore a small patch on the sleeve of their left arm, with one small anchor on it, which indicated their rank. The use of the term to describe an anchor is pretty much obsolete but in Commonwealth navies sailors continue to call a leading Seaman a killick. The badge referred to in the title was a chevron, worn below the rank patch. The chevrons were good conduct badges. Assuming you stayed out of trouble, you would earn one after three years’ service, another after eight, then another after 13 years. Three was the maximum.In my day it was impossible to reach the rank of leading seaman in less than three years so, if you saw a leading seaman with no good conduct badges, a no badge killick, he had obviously lost them as a result of some sort of misdemeanor or two.
I was a No Badge Killick before I decided I had enough, and left the navy in 1970.