10 DECEMBER 1988, Page 27

All at sea with Nigel

I HAVE been wrong all this time about Nigel Lawson's tie. Not, that is, his pink- and-green club tie for moments of ebulli- ence, but the conservative effect in dark blue which signals caution. I thought and, the other day, wrote that it was the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve tie. Not so — it is the far more exclusive tie of the Coastal Forces Veterans Association, whose 1,600 members (so the treasurer, Charles Mil- ner, courteously explains to me) served in the Royal and allied navies in motor gunboats, launches, torpedo boats or in their shore bases. Most have wartime service, but Mr Lawson qualifies from his time in the 1950s as a naval Sub-Lieutenant in command of H.M. motor torpedo boat Gay Charger. Those who served with Sub-Lt Lawson speak of his navigational skills (even up the trickiest creek), which were good enough to get many of his friends through their examinations.