Every now and then I get an interesting e-mail from someone who has stumbled across my blog. Here's one very good example. This is a gentleman who served in the Navy with Uncle Watty. I simply posted excerpts from his e-mails to me.
|Approaching 85, and still going strong.|
I was browsing and ran across your family history site. I knew a Major Watt Espy when I was stationed at Port Lyautey, French Morocco. I was at Port Lyautey from 1953-1954. We also both attended Teleman school in Bainbridge, Maryland before then. For us lowly seaman, of which he was one, the story going around was that he had a great deal of influence due to his father. A congressman would come to Bainbridge (40 miles north of Baltimore) to pick him up, which was quite impressive to us. If I am speaking of someone other than identified in your site, disregard this. But I do know he was from Alabama and his father had a great deal of influence with politicians in Washington DC.
After Teleman school in Bainbridge, I then went to NCF Port Lyautey, French (ATT) Morocco where I met Major (Watt) again. We served on the same watch and lived in the same quarters. The story of his transfer from Naples (where he did not want to be) to Port Lyautey was legend. Major (Watt) had quite a reputation as a person with political pull. For instance, he was first sent to Naples, Italy and he stated to the Captain of the base that he did not want to be there but was flatly turned down. However, during a personnel inspection an admiral was doing, he acknowledged Teleman Espy personally. The next thing that happened was Major (Watt) was sent to NAVCOMMSTA Port Lyautey at a communications site. I made petty officer 2/C there. Major (Watt) and I would talk, but we were not close.
I remember him as rather eccentric but very likable. I say eccentric not in a derogatory sense but different than the rest of us wild sailors. I was a typical wild sailor and I guess now you would classify him as a nerd. He was NOT weird but a little eccentric. In other words, more interested in always reading than carousing than the rest of us. I remember after lights out, him sitting on the shower floor reading because the lights were still burning in there. He was likable but a little remote - or maybe we were remote to him. I did not know him well enough to get personal with him. However, he was on the same watch section as I and we talked during the watch, but about just trivia. He sat a TTY weather circuit and we got a kick out of his using his name "Major," which is a rank in the military. He got attention.
The weather at Port Lyautey (French Morocco) was very similar to San Diego and we worked watches of eve, day, mid. Then, we'd have 56 hours off. And, after the mid, most of us immediately headed to the beaches, but I do not recall Major (Watt) ever being there. This time at Port Lyautey was the last contact I had with him.
I have traveled throughout Western Europe and Asia Pacific as a sailor and a civilian working for the Navy, but you and your wife have surpassed me in your travels. The only places I have spent any length of time were Adak in the Aleutians (18 months), Shanghai, China (4 months), French Morocco (18 months), Hong Kong (6 weeks), Yokosuka, Japan (3 years). Japan was interesting because I had Japanese working for me and I thought I was speaking Japanese very good until one of my senior workers finally got the courage to tell me "Rudy, you speak very good Japanese, but you talk like a girl." What a blow to my ego! Needless to say I had been taught by a girl and I did not realize there is a gender difference in the language.