W.S. Petty is a blogger and aspiring author of fiction from Essex, in the United Kingdom. An industrial technician by trade, W.S. Petty has held various roles, including ‘North Sea Tiger’, since leaving the Royal Navy in 2004. While in the Navy, W.S. Petty saw service in submarines during Operation Veritas, Operation Telic and the Continuous at Sea Deterrent (CASD). Below, he has written a brief autobiography. Thank you for visiting wspetty.com
Hi I’m W.S. Petty, blogger and wannabe author.
Thank you for taking the time to visit my site. I hope you find what I’ve written to be useful and enjoyable. Please feel free to share your thoughts about any of my articles by copying a web link into Twitter and Tweeting @WSPetty. That way, we can discuss openly any points you might wish to make.
I grew up on the south coast of Essex in England. I attended a pretty average secondary school and other than a reputation for being immature and lazy, I achieved little while I was there. I left school with sub optimal qualifications and regrets. I regretted that I was slow to mature. I hadn’t realised until I was about to leave that I’d been missing out on the fantastic opportunities available to anyone who was willing to put in some effort.
As I left school, my Mum despaired at the thought of what might become of me. I despaired too, at the thought of a mediocre existence in a dead end job. Remembering how I’d wanted to be a sailor in my childhood, I looked into joining the Royal Navy. Fortunately for me, at that time, I could take the Navy’s entrance exams in lieu of relying on my poor formal qualifications. I passed the exams, the interview and the medical. Before I knew it, I was heading for HMS Raleigh in Cornwall to embark on basic training and the adventure of a lifetime. Mum was over the moon.
I was doing something different, something that required hard work and commitment for achievement and reward and it felt good. I celebrated my seventeenth birthday while in basic training. As such a young man I suffered terribly from homesickness, but thanks to very supportive family and friends along with encouraging colleagues, I persevered. I served Her Majesty for seven years in total, in the submarine service of the British Royal Navy. I served on two different classes of nuclear powered submarines. I left the service in 2004 as a Leading Operator Mechanic (Communications Submarines) or LOM (CSM), the Navy loves an acronym. It was while I was in the Navy that I discovered a love for books. Many a long hour of watch keeping, or hurrying up to wait was passed with a good and sometimes not so good book in hand. As a communications rating, the Navy required me to learn one of my most valuable skills which I continue to use to this day, the ability to touch type.
Around the year 2000, once the fear of the millennium bug had subsided and with my good friend Dave, I bought my first house. This was a great arrangement for me as Dave was paying half the bills and a great arrangement for him, as I was away for very long periods of time. In fact I was away from home for the most part of 2002 and 2003, while my submarine deployed East of Suez. Life in the blue suit of the Navy was hard work but extremely rewarding, it had become my life and my identity. In many ways it continues to influence who I am, even to this day. After very careful consideration, in 2003 I submitted my twelve months notice to leave. The sea was my life and the Navy my wife, but it was time to move on to a new adventure.
After my amicable divorce from the Navy, I scratched around as a contractor for a bit. I eventually secured a place as a Production Technician at an oil refinery in Essex. I’m not ashamed to admit that nepotism played a part in getting me through to the interview for that role, as my Dad was a mid level manager at the refinery. As it happens, this role was to form the basis for my career ever since. It was around this point that I met the lady who would become my Wife. Today I’m happily married and a proud father of two, to a boy and a girl. My children have insisted that I must also mention the dog, as he is part of the family too. It’s strange, my family is the most important thing in the world to me and my greatest achievement, yet they’ve less column inches in this blog than any other aspect of my life. I suppose it’s called a private life for a reason.
I worked at the refinery for seven years, leaving in 2012 when the parent company went bust and my role was made redundant. I had a mortgage to pay and a young family to support. There were few options available to me and without any immediate job prospects, I was becoming anxious. With skill sets including hydrocarbon production along with my early working life at sea, I headed for the rigs.
My role offshore lasted for four and a half years, where I worked in the Central North Sea. The oil production platform was situated about one hundred and seventy miles off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland. Initially I worked two weeks on and three weeks off, with this pattern changing to three on and three off after a few years. During the three weeks off, there was an expectation to complete statutory training courses in Aberdeen. As I lived in Essex, this put additional pressures on family life. I needed a change, a role less remote, so I began to look at industry closer to home. Today I work a similar twelve hour shift pattern as I did at the oil refinery, only now I operate a power station.
While I was offshore I completed two National Vocational Qualifications. This involved writing a narrative and using that narrative to link evidence I’d collected to criteria relevant to the qualification. I wrote my narratives in as entertaining a way as possible, in doing so discovered I that I enjoyed writing as much as I enjoy reading. Each NVQ narrative is at least the length of a short novel. It was while I was discussing one such narrative with my Dad that he first sewed the seed by suggesting that I should write a book.
As a young person I was helped along the way by some awesome individuals in both a professional and voluntary capacity. I missed so many great opportunities that were available to me due to a lack of interest on my part and a bone idle attitude. As I’ve matured, I’ve been forever grateful to those who tried. In turn, I’ve tried myself to give a little back. For a number of years I was a volunteer school governor. When I left that role, I was encouraged to join the executive committee of my local Sea Scouts. I’m now the secretary of the committee and a trustee. Shift work prevents me from being a scout leader, but I help out where I can.
Of course it would be remiss of me not to give mention to a fantastic group of friends and family who are analytical and critical where needs be, but always fully supportive. I’m not sure how much through luck or through judgement, but I’ve surrounded myself with some truly inspirational and loveable characters throughout my life. I’ve been truly blessed with some great friends.
The Navy taught me to type and to love literature. Industry taught me that I enjoy the process of writing. Family and my voluntary roles have taught me that I have something to say. So here I am, that’s me and my motivation. All that remains now is to find an audience. Enjoy the blog and hopefully the first book will follow one day.