Ian Dunkley

I attended MNC when it was still based on the Worcester between 1969 and 1970 as one of the OND Nautical Science class of that year. There were only 6 of us and we regarded ourselves as somewhat elite I think. The college was still run very much as HMS Worcester and we still had Captain Argles as Captain who had been the Captain Superintendent of the Worcester. However the principal was Capt Ballard and Head of Studies was Capt Miller who later became principal examiner of Masters and Mates.

I was the last Chief Cadet Captain before the regime changed to a more modern approach with the intake of students who had already done a short spell at sea. In my last term they introduced an ONC class who had all spent about 6 months at sea, mostly with BP I think. They certainly didn't take kindly to being bossed around by what I am sure they saw as an overgrown school prefect! I did my best though!

Went to sea with Blue Star Line in 1970 and moved into short sea trades in 1975 after attempting a couple of terms at UWIST in Cardiff for a BSc in Nautical Studies. It wasn't for me though as I had got married in 1974 to Jane from Gravesend who I had met at a dance (disco?) held in Ingress Abbey. I believe this was the very last function ever to take place there prior to a fence being put around it and being left for over 25 years.

From about 1978 I moved ashore to work in the Marine Paint industry in London as a sales rep and we moved back to Kent, initially Maidstone and then Gravesend where we still are.

Returned to sea for a few years in 1986 with the Marine Society on their Training Ship Jonas Hanway. Got that job through the Royal Naval Reserve which I joined in 1976, Only "retired" last year having achieved the rank of Commander and having been Commanding Officer of HMS PRESIDENT, the London RNR Training centre for two years.

1990 saw me looking after the Cutty Sark at Greenwich as it's Chief Officer and oversaw some interesting restoration work including the complete rebuild of the masts and rig.

Now working for the RNLI as full time Station Manager for the new Thames lifeboat Station at Gravesend. This sees me on the river again on a regular basis and its slightly painful to see the new development of the old college site. Not much left to see now except of course for the Abbey which is now looking splendid. Did try to get the developers to let Jane and I have a look at it for our 25th wedding anniversary in 1999 but was told it wasn't possible due to Health & Safety reasons! Might try again now it seems to be finished.

We have three children, all grown up now, well almost, with the youngest daughter still at school doing A levels.

Hope this might be of interest and would welcome contact with anyone from my era although my memory for names is not brilliant!

I have tried contact with the Old Worcester Association on several occasions but they are very "stuffy" about the MNC period on the old ship and refuse to consider those of us from that period for membership as we are not proper Worcesters. I hope that any MNC association will not forget this pre land based era as there are quite a few of us around as can be seen from the friends reunited web site.

Ian Dunkley

Email via Deck 1968-70