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Set of Gold Cuff Links with inscription.
The picture shows a set of gold cuff links with the inscription, “with the compliments of the ship's company. His Majesties Submarine, Virulent, 13 Oct 1944.”

These were presented to Jim Tait a New Zealander serving in the Royal Navy during WW2. Jim was a Lieutenant on the Virulent, and the Executive Officer (called Number 1) whose role was all matters relating to sailing the ship and crew. On the 13 October 1944 Virulent was in port and Jim was on early watch on the conning tower when he spied a figure in the dawn light slowly creeping up to the dockside. The figure made its way to some steps, lowered himself into the water and swam to the back of the submarine. The figure climbed on to the back of the submarine and knocked on the engine room hatch at the back of the submarine and was admitted into the submarine. Like a terrier Jim was down the ladder, into the main compartment and through the submarine to the engine room to catch red handed a dripping seaman who had just emerged from the engine room escape hatch. Instantly he placed the seaman under arrest for being absent without leave and ordered him to present himself to the captain at 0900 hours for defaulters parade. At 0900 hours Jim marched the seaman before the captain explained the circumstances that the seaman had been ashore without permission, and been caught in the act of returning. The seaman was sentenced to 7 days loss of pay and marched out.

At 1000 hours Jim was asked to join the crew in the engine room, when the crew sung happy birthday, and the seaman who he had punished for being absent without leave presented him the cuff links on behalf of the crew. Jim had forgotten it was his 25th birthday.

The crew believed the best joke was Jim punishing the seaman for going ashore to pick up the birthday gift. Jim remembered the incident fondly for the rest of his life and the bond he had with the crew.