I was at Nellists for 2nd Mates in 1945 and in digs nearby. Nellists had the best success rate in the UK I believe. Candidates would be quizzed after their writtens and orals and so Nellists built up a very good idea of the questions that were likely to be asked and coached accordingly. One thing I remember being told is that so-and- so examiner would ask you to take a horizontal sextant angle out of the window between a church steeple and a chimney and the answer was - 67 degrees 15 minutes ( or somesuch).
I was in digs nearby with a kindly old lady with six or 8 others. When you first went there you shared an attic room which had only a gas mantle for light - the rest of the house had electricity. AS students left you graduated downstairs to the better rooms. It was usual when coming back after a night out to go upstairs - go across and turn on the gas and then retreat to the door. You would then light a match and throw it at the mantle. After a couple of unsuccessful goes there would be a whoosh and the gas would ignite. The wallpaper had a big scorch ring around the mantle.
There was a skylight and across the way a young lady would get undressed without drawing the curtains and chaps used to stand on each other's shoulders to view this nightly delight.
The landlady had a pianola and one eveing when she was out a discussion arose about the mechanics of a pianola and so it was dismantled. Time went by and there was a rush to remantle it. We heard her come in and the various bits left over were just placed inside the piano and the panel put back. She wondered afterwards why it would not work.
The landlady was a poor cook and produced some wierd puddings which she proudly served and told us - "This is so-and-so pudding".. After she had gone out to the kitchen and shut the door we would rake out the fire and scrape the pudding into the back of the fire and put some more coal on. When she returned to clear up some wag would say - "That was delightful - can you give me the recipe for my wife please "
The other memory I have is of those going on the beer whilst others would stay in studying. The front door was locked at 11 so the drill was for the latecomers to throw some gravel up at the front bedroom window and the key wouldbe dropped down to them. The railings had been taken for war munitions so the small front garden was pretty bare and with ample dog poo on it. Those in the bedroom would drop the key away from those below so that they had to grovel for it in their inebriated state.