Royal Naval Museum


Kevin 'Snowy' Winter

Name:  Kevin (Snowy) Winter    

Rank: Warrant Officer One (Above Water-warfare Tactical)     

When did you join the Navy?

Oct 1st 1974

Why did you join the Navy?

It was a boyhood ambition, since my father had told me about his time in the Royal Navy during WWII.  I had been a Sea Cadet in Southampton since the age of 13 so I had a good idea of what I was joining.

How many ships have you served on and what were their names?

I have served on HMS Chichester (1975), HMS Wasperton (1975), HMS Penelope (1976 – 77), HMS Jupiter (1977 – 78), HMS Bulwark (1978 – 80), HMS Rame Head (1983 – 84), HMS Juno (1984 – 87), HMS Marlborough (1990 – 94), HMS Argyll (1997 -98) and HMS Grafton (2003 – 05). 

So 10 ships but I have also served at HMS Ganges (1974), HMS Pembroke (1974), HMS Raleigh (1975) HMS Dryad (1975, 1978, 1980 – 81, 1994 – 97), HMS Daedalus (1987 - 88), RN Hovercraft Trials Unit (1981 – 82), NP Ascension Island (1982 – 83), Portsmouth Field Gun Crew (1983), Captain Naval Operational Command Systems (1988 – 90), Permanent Joint Headquarters Northwood (1998 – 2000), Flag Officer Sea Training (2000 – 2002) and Fleet Headquarters (2005 – 2008).

Where are you serving now?

Currently at Fleet Headquarters, Whale Island, Portsmouth.

What's your current job?

Command Warrant Officer Surface Ships.

What training or exams do you need to do your job?

To be a Warrant Officer you need 2 GCSE Grade A – C, one of which must be English Language. 

You take Professional and Command, Leadership, Management (CLM) courses at different steps in your career.  When you're promoted to Leading Hand you do a professional and CLM course to prepare you for the job and make sure you have the skills you need to take charge of people for the first time. 

You do something similar when you're promoted to Petty Officer, but from then on you will normally only do training especially for the job you are about to do.

How many people do you look after every day?

Although we have a fairly small team of 7 (3 Officers and 4 Warrant Officers) I am the Command Warrant Officer for all ratings within the Surface Flotilla.  This means all non Officers on everything from Aircraft Carriers to Patrol Boats can call on me for advice or assistance. 

In particular I make sure that the 32 Executive Warrant Officers (EWO) on surface ships are kept up to date with personnel issues.

What do you do on a typical day?

Our team aim to visit every RN ship, submarine, air station, commando unit and Reserve unit in the UK and abroad every 18 months to 2 years.  We spend half an hour talking to people about the latest personnel issues and then sit down in mess decks for people to give us their feedback on what they think are the most important issues for them. 

Then we take their questions back to the Head Quarters with us and write up reports. 

What is the best and the worst thing about being in the Navy?

The best thing is visiting all the foreign places in the world I have been lucky enough to go to and sometimes just being at sea in the middle of the ocean when it is flat calm, warm and the sun is setting. 

The worst is being away from family for long periods, although E-mail and mobile phones make it a lot easier to stay in touch than it used to be.

What's the strangest place you've ever been with the Navy?

Probably the Snake Temple in Penang, Malaysia when I was 16 and had a photograph taken with 3 snakes on my cap (because I was too scared to have them round my neck!!).

What’s the best place you have visited with the Navy?

Lots of fantastic places, but probably Hong Kong and then a deserted beach on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands where we had a 'banyan' which is like a picnic or BBQ.

What was your funniest/most interesting moment?

My most interesting moment was probably having to look after actors and film crew during the making of the ITV series 'Making Waves' onboard HMS Grafton.  Having to accommodate directors, actors, make up girls etc was definitely a challenge! 

I’ve had lots of funny moments, but can’t think of one that was funnier than any other.

Have you won any medals and if so, what for?

I have medals for Long Service and Good Conduct (15 yrs with a bar after 30), a Meritorious Service Medal, a Jubilee Medal and the Iraq Medal.

What would you be doing if you weren't in the Navy?

Working somewhere to do with museums or history.

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