Grimsby Nautical College - Radio 1960s -70s

Cunarder
29th March 2007, 10:55
Some 40 years on, seeking any other ex GCFE/GCOT PMG students who were there between 1965 and 1968. I know there are a few around in the forums but I'm sure there must be more. Give us a call if/when you can....

Alan Marsden

Cunarder
21st June 2007, 07:37
Geez - there must be some of you lot out there! let's hear from you guys....

Dave Woods
21st June 2007, 09:39
Alan,

Greetings

I was at GCFE from 1963 until 1967. Your name does not ring a bell.

Best regards

Dave Woods.

Some 40 years on, seeking any other ex GCFE/GCOT PMG students who were there between 1965 and 1968. I know there are a few around in the forums but I'm sure there must be more. Give us a call if/when you can....

Alan Marsden

trotterdotpom
21st June 2007, 13:17
Alan, I was confused by the GCFE/GCOT at first - thought they were callsigns!

Anyway, you know me, but just for info, I've just found out that Messrs Mills and Townsend are still plodding on but Frank Webber died a few years ago.

John T.

Steve Farrow
22nd June 2007, 22:15
Geez - there must be some of you lot out there! let's hear from you guys....

Alan,
I was a deck cadet there from 1961-63 then back again in '66 for second mates. A friend of mine owns a gallery in Cleethorpes and he was there along with his brother....Tyrone and Bob Bunce. Did you know them? I'll mention your name when I see them next.
Someone sent me an article about Pico Mills, so I'll try and track it down.
Regards
Steve www.trawlerart.com

Steve Farrow
22nd June 2007, 22:29
Here is a fine collection of uniforms! Taken in Grimsby, 1962 (?) Marching with Frank Priest the boat & seamanship instructor.
Steve

Cunarder
25th June 2007, 00:11
Thanks Dave, John & Steve - I was sure there must have a been a few dotted around the place.

Can't believe that Mills and Townsend are still going but sad to hear of Frank Webber's passing. Always remember Townsend's morse - like music...never could emulate it.

Dave - your name does ring a bell but I'm afraid I'm having difficulty putting a face to it. I know - many have said that I am forgettable!

Thanks for the info on Mills, Steve. Do let me know if you find the article. Meanwhile, I am visiting UK from Oz in August and plan a couple of days in Grimsby to take some photos and visit old haunts. I'll look up your friends gallery whilst I'm there. Might even buy one of your pics to take home to Oz. Would be particularly interested in either Ross Kipling, Ross Juno or Ross Khartoum.

The attached pic is at the Hall of Residence in 1966. I am in the middle row on the right. I'll add some more in the gallery shortly.

Very best regards to you all
Alan

Steve Farrow
25th June 2007, 09:50
Hi Alan,
Ty's gallery is on the corner of Sea View St and Cambridge St Cleethorpes. I'm sure he'd be pleased to meet you.
All the best
Steve

Cunarder
25th June 2007, 22:52
Thanks, Steve. I'll make sure I pay him a visit whilst I'm there.

Alan

Cunarder
26th June 2007, 09:30
Here are some more pix from 65-68....

Regards
Alan

Cunarder
15th July 2007, 23:58
Does anybody recognise themselves or can put names to faces in the above pix?

Cunarder
15th September 2007, 10:07
I have just returned from a trip back to the UK from Oz and incorporated a 'Haj' back to Grimsby and Cleethorpes to tread some old tracks for a day. The college and Hall of Residence look exactly the same save for a few additions and extensions over time. The Victoria St annex where we went sailing on Wednesday afternoons has now gone and replaced with a "Burger King"

Sadly, the Fish Docks and lower town around Riby Square etc look very sad and neglected. It was almost as though, when the fishing industry collapsed, they just turned and walked away from the place. I had half expected the Fish Docks and North Wall to have been transformed into industrial parks etc but it just looks dilapidated and abandoned. Knowing how vibrant the place was when I was there in the 60's it was little short of heartbreaking to see the state of the place as it is now.

Here are a handful of pix - I have more if anyone is interested to see.

Cheers
Alan Marsden

trotterdotpom
15th September 2007, 14:10
Thanks Alan, did you dye your beard ginger? Having seen your other photos, as you say, a sad sight.

John T.

Cunarder
3rd September 2008, 09:33
I'll re-introduce this thread and see if there are any ex Grimsby bodies about now. Where are you guys?

BA204259
3rd September 2008, 10:07
Forgive this intrusion from a non-Grimsby type, but curious about a name mentioned in posts 4 and 7 above.

Frank Webber.

Was he one of the instructors? I'm curious as we had an instructor of the same name (full name Franklin R Webber) when I was at Wray Castle in '58/'59 and have a feeling it may be the same.

trotterdotpom
3rd September 2008, 13:15
I'm pretty sure that Grimsby Frank's name was spelt Weber (as in Capacitance) - he was a bit stern, but a great teacher. Sadly, he died a few years ago.

John T.

BA204259
3rd September 2008, 22:24
Thanks John - it was just a thought.

sparkie2182
3rd September 2008, 23:07
at fleetwood we were taught the Weber was the unit of magnetic flux ...........

maybe thats where we went wrong.

:)

trotterdotpom
4th September 2008, 15:19
at fleetwood we were taught the Weber was the unit of magnetic flux ...........

maybe thats where we went wrong.

:)

Oh no, you got me, Sparkie! I must have been approaching my max capacity and got mixed up with Mr Farad. Don't blame my mistake on Frank's teaching, it was all my own.

John T.

sparkie2182
4th September 2008, 23:48
well........

it was a long time ago john.........:)

i surprised myself to be honest....... i didnt have much call for calculating
magnetic flux density and such when at sea.
amazing how much info was drilled into us........and how much has stuck

trotterdotpom
5th September 2008, 01:12
Very true. Maybe it's the air di-electric between my ears.

John T.

Jim Sansbury
3rd September 2009, 16:56
Hi there,
I was at GCFE in 1963ish doing PMG Cert. I remember Martin Kelly (went on to Decca Navigator), Chris Gostick (went on to British Antarctic Survey), Bill Lusher, Bill Spray (Decca Navigator also), Adrian Lungenmuss an several others. Remember Frank Priest, Pico and Bob someone who told me to send with my other foot.
Jim Sansbury

holland25
3rd September 2009, 23:22
Didnt go to Grimsby, but in the group picture, post #10, with everybody in bow ties, the guy on the far right standing a little on his own, looks remarkably like a junior RO on the RFA Olmeda 1969. Dont remember his name, but his nickname was "Flash".

trotterdotpom
3rd September 2009, 23:28
Holland, that is John O'Brien - now living in Hampshire.

John T.

holland25
3rd September 2009, 23:42
Hi John T.

Thanks for that, the name John stirs in the depths of my memory.

Cheers GeoffF

Supern
6th September 2009, 04:56
I have just returned from a trip back to the UK from Oz and incorporated a 'Haj' back to Grimsby and Cleethorpes to tread some old tracks for a day. The college and Hall of Residence look exactly the same save for a few additions and extensions over time. The Victoria St annex where we went sailing on Wednesday afternoons has now gone and replaced with a "Burger King"

Sadly, the Fish Docks and lower town around Riby Square etc look very sad and neglected. It was almost as though, when the fishing industry collapsed, they just turned and walked away from the place. I had half expected the Fish Docks and North Wall to have been transformed into industrial parks etc but it just looks dilapidated and abandoned. Knowing how vibrant the place was when I was there in the 60's it was little short of heartbreaking to see the state of the place as it is now.

Here are a handful of pix - I have more if anyone is interested to see.

Cheers
Alan Marsden

I was born in Grimsby and have a large extended family going way back in the area and its so sad to see what has happened after the fishing declined, of course our family was involved in fishing, my great grandfathers, great uncle, aunt's family were in business when first started to freeze fish, etc all gone and they have decimated the town centre got rid of the Bull Ring horrible.

Going over next year and dread to see what I will find.

trotterdotpom
6th September 2009, 08:09
What have they done to the Bull Ring?

John T.

Supern
6th September 2009, 08:16
Its a while since i was there but they have made a shopping centre and another shopping centre up where the market is and its just not the same as I remember. Other towns in the UK have kept old stuff not Grimsby. The church looks kind of out of place now. My Grandfather used to go to the Granby pub in the Bull Ring and send out a lemonade for me. Those were the days ay

Also all the little pubs have gone around the area not like Northumberland where we lived when I married they have plenty of them

pilot
6th September 2009, 08:21
The dock area was used as a film set of Dunkirk during the BEF evacuation. Bet they had to tart it up a bit in the name of reality!

gkh151
6th September 2009, 10:04
Hi to All,

I attended the nautical annexe at Lock Hill first in 1967 for fishing training which involved a trip on the Ross Mallard with Alf Hodson junior as skipper,what a character he was.

Also one of the instructors at the college was Alf Hodson senior I remember he was a decent artist and did several paintings of Grimsby vessels. I wonder what happened to them?. If memory serves me right I think George Lill was one of the other instructors also known as Teapot Lill for obvious reasons.

Some of the memories I have from there still bring a smile to my face all these years later. Great times, Great laughs with a Great bunch of lads.

Graham

trotterdotpom
6th September 2009, 12:19
Graham, there were quite a few Skipper Hodsons, but I think I also sailed with Alf Jr - on Ross Kelvin. He was hilarious - the movie Jungle Book had just been released and he did a great "I'm the King of the Swingers", dancing round the bridge with the rubber radar viewer thingy on his head.

There used to be a website with some of Alf Sr's paintings on (he would also do commissions I think), but can't find it now.

However, for trawler paintings, you can't go wrong with our own Steve Farrow - I'm looking at his Port Vale as I write.

John T.

gkh151
6th September 2009, 14:36
Hi John,

That sounds exactly like the type of thing Alf would do. The Hodson's are distant relatives my fathers sister was married to Lewis the only one of the brothers that never went to sea. He always said he would go to sea if they built bridges across. But for him not going to sea there was nothing he could'nt tell you about a trawl or how to shoot it. He probabaly new more about the sea than some of the active skippers of his times.

If you do find any info regarding the website with Alf's paintings please let me know I would love to have another look and I know what you say about Steve Farrow he does some fantastic paintings. I have seen some of his work and he is truly gifted, I wish I was the same.

Graham

gkh151
6th September 2009, 14:44
John T

I think it was Eddie Hodson that had the Kelvin in 1968 I'm not sure if either of the Alf's skippered her. Saying that I could see Eddie doing the king of the swingers he was another character in fact they all were. I sailed with Bill on the Tiger when she broke the port record for the north sea. Some trip that was.

Graham

trotterdotpom
7th September 2009, 12:10
Graham. "Eddy" rings a bell - think you're right.

John T.

trotterdotpom
7th September 2009, 12:17
Graham, found the site but for some reason I can't get the pictures up. Maybe to do with my computer. However, there is an email and a postal address on the site if that is any use to you. See:

http://xyz960.tripod.com/watercolourprintsbyalfhodson/index.html

John T.

gkh151
7th September 2009, 22:09
Hi John,

Thanks for posting that link. I have taken a look and as you said you can't see the pictures. I will send an e-mail and see what I get back.
Graham

Adrian Lungenmuss
24th October 2009, 16:20
Hi there,
I was at GCFE in 1963ish doing PMG Cert. I remember Martin Kelly (went on to Decca Navigator), Chris Gostick (went on to British Antarctic Survey), Bill Lusher, Bill Spray (Decca Navigator also), Adrian Lungenmuss an several others. Remember Frank Priest, Pico and Bob someone who told me to send with my other foot.
Jim Sansbury

With a name like mine I often do a Google search on it to see what comes up and what a blast from the past. I have happy memories of the old crew. Mick Plum and Bill Spray were the ushers at my wedding 42 years ago. I never went to sea but used my PMG cert to get a job in computing and have done that for nearly 45 years.

aragosa
28th October 2009, 14:32
Hello Alan and Steve. Les Lacey here in Kentucky USA new member. Went to Fleetwood Nautical College 1967/69 shared a flat with a guy called Steve Shrouder who I believe later worked on QE2. I use to joke I had more radio kit than he did when I worked freelance for Northern Trawlers out of Grimsby.
Steve,..have admired your paintings from afar. Nice work. Do you have a painting of (GY 257 I think) S/T Vanessa / Northern -BUT. My home for quite a while.
Also would like to find out about two guys you might know. Charlie Board Northern R/O freelancer via Redifon from Cleethorpes worked on Coldstreamer for a good while. Beautifully musical morse.
Also Michael Neve from Cleethorpes Mate on the Vanessa during the 1970/71 conflict. Cheers from Kentucky. L

haywood
24th November 2009, 02:41
Iwas one of the first on the catering curse merchantnave lived in diggs on sea front clethorpes 1965 instructers wear Mr Hills and Mr Borman (sitting on the fence in the moonlight)

jimmy62alan
15th August 2011, 22:10
Hi Guys,
Being a none Grimsby I person i want to pick your brains a bit, could you tell me if the college is still there and if so could you tell me what training boats/vessels do they use for the training????
In the future I want to buy a ex-trawler and convert and restore it for personal use, but I won't be using all the time and would like the nautical groups to have the use of it.
If you have any contacts for me to try I will be very grateful. cheers 4 now.
ALAN

Chris Rayfield
6th October 2011, 22:53
I started the PMG course at Grimsby in Sept '63 and was in the same class as Jim Sansbury and Adrian Lungenmuss. I remember them, and all the people they mention, well. I was one of the crowd who lived in the YMCA although I moved into digs in the second term. Others in the YM were Martin Perry, Steve Goldsbrough, Bob Shaw, Stuart Robertson and Phil Harley. There were two classes, the younger chaps were taught by Mr Wilson (Bob Wilson) and the older ones by Leslie "Pico" Mills. After Christmas Pico took the Specials and Wilson took the slimmed down PMG class. A year later when the results of the Part 1 exam came out, Wilson came into the classroom and announced that everyone in the room at that moment had passed the Part 1 (17 out of 18). Gus Smith was the one who didn't get through. I don't know what happened to him.

In 1989 I was in Grimsby on business and phoned Captain Keene (Sidney). He was living in a portable home at Swinhope near Binbrook, a widower by then and retired but still involved in nautical training. In this connection he had some contact with the Chamber of Shipping for which I was working at the time. He told me that Bob Wilson had died sometime previously; I think it was a brain tumour. Pico was still alive then and living in Louth.

Bob Shaw and Stuart Robertson were particular friends of mine. They have both been out in New Zealand for some years now and I am still in touch with them. Ray Holborn lived in Southend-on-Sea the last time I was in touch with him.

In the late 1980s I briefly made contact again with Bill Lusher. He was featured in an article in one of the weekend colour magazines about people who built their own houses. I eventually tracked him down, somewhere near Milton Keynes. He was working for the C.A.A. Funny thing was, although we had been quite good friends at Grimsby, when I phoned him he couldn't remember me from Adam!

trotterdotpom
9th October 2011, 08:24
Alan, a generous offer but the Nautical Department of the college is long gone unfortunately.

I obtained Les Mills' address a couple of years ago (from Chris Hill another ex GY student)s and wrote to him. Received a nice reply from him - he was still in Louth but moving from his house to an old folks home across the road.

Frank Weber and Mr Townsend, who you may also recall, died some time ago.

John T.

paul williamson
9th February 2012, 20:06
I attended gcot nautical college 66 till 67 for catering and was in the Hall of Residence for 1 year,cant remember names.john chowder? from Leeds, perhaps ? dawson. Most residents where Radio operators .Can anyone remember the ghost episode in one Dorm?.which the conclusion was that years before some one had hung themselves in that room at the Hall of Residence,or was it a Hoax I still remeber the carpet spinning! and no one admitted anything to the Commander. Paul

Martyn Hammond
29th May 2012, 18:11
I was at Grimsby in 67, at the hall of residence with Esmerelda and Quasimodo (Cmdr Shiels and wife) for deck pre-sea, then in 71 for 2nd mates and 73 for mates
I went to sea with Reardon-Smiths,
I remember Dawson, George ? both went with Bank Line; Ian Roberts, Dave Booth

Andy Lucas
17th October 2012, 15:44
I also admit to being there and held my 18th birthday in the Wheatsheaf
pub just down the road.In 44 years only ever met Andy Griffin (past away) and Duncan Callendar from the class of '98.
I can remember a few names but need a clue to remember more!

Spent my last 6 years at sea before retirement Dredging and Grimsby was on our schedule so I made the complete cycle - from start to end!

Andy Lucas

brenda helliwell
26th November 2012, 19:56
Is anyone in touch with Stuart Robertson who was at grimsby nautical college and was a radio officer. And was there I think in1968? He is my cousin. He married a New Zealand girl called Lois and emigrated to NZ. His mother M.arjorie later moved there also. I would love to hear how he is and would be grateful for any info. My email is brendahelliwellphysio@msn.com and thanks!

Charlie Swann
6th December 2012, 03:40
Hi Everyone - I was just googling Grimsby Nautical College to see if it was still in action and found this board. A couple of the photo's have brought back memories...especially the picture of 61 Bargate... but unfortunately no one from my class seem to have logged in.....Chris Bunting, Dick Hill, Paul Peace, Mick Raynor, Mick Kirk, Mat Cooper and others who's names seem to have faded after 40 years. If anyone has any news please get in contact.

We were the first year/bunch to do the Marine Radio General Certificate which replaced the PMG - I don't remember Frank Webber being particularly strict although I do remember him once yelling at me during a morse lesson for not using "GM OM" commencing communication...I never forgot to use it after that...Sorry to hear he passed away....time seems to have flown by.
Regards to all....Charlie.

johnnyfreebooter
23rd December 2012, 18:22
Hi Charlie. I think I was initially in your class before the deck/radio separation took place? I certainly remember the names you quote. I ended up going on the GY trawlers until I foresaw the inevitable decline...and then farming until recently...now, well, still on the water messing about with yachts, particularly my own. Merry Christmas. John

Charlie Swann
24th December 2012, 00:21
Hi John - I'm amazed I can't remember all the names and yet some things I do remember so vividly - As I recall Mick Kirk went onto the trawlers for a while until he could get back to do a re-sit for the MRGC exams. I bet that was a roller coaster ride. I remember being on big ships where your feet would leave the floor as she went back down...haha...I dread to think what it was like on a trawler....Anyway John I started there September 1969 and stayed in the Halls of Residence for the first year - Do you remember Mr. Haxley. He was quite a character. :)

Trinity Bouy
20th February 2013, 15:00
Thought I'd throw my two pennyworth in...............
Was just googling the old college, did the MRGC 76-79 then on to Hull for the Radar course. Then wrote to 193 shipping companies globally and then the realisation that the shipping industry was in decline. Nothing turned up, even the General Secretary of the REOU wrote (in reply to my question why they allowed radio companies to advertise in the Signal when there were no jobs !) advising that myself and fellow classmates should grasp any job ashore with both hands as they could not foresee any of us gaining employment as seagoing R/O's. Got a couple of job offers with NHS (Technician) and EMI (Missile systems), then offered post with Safmarine but turned it over to a pal Rick Hornsby when a R/O's job came up offshore and off I went (incidentally, from a class of 25 only 2 of us made it to being R/O's). Which is where some names cropped up.....
Dick Hill became my manager offshore in Holland (Northlandic), I understand he's now writing articles on green energy and still lives in Rotterdam. Ty Bunce I also worked with offshore. Len Townsend, sadly passed away 4 years ago, not many old staff at the funeral due to age and infirmity. Len was a wonderful person and did a great deal to enhance my career, even getting me up to speed for the GCHQ morse test in his own time after I had left the college.

After ten years offshore I joined the United Nations as a Radio Officer and met quite a few interesting individuals in a few countries over the years.

Best wishes to you all, and I hope people are still reading this forum.

keating1975
21st October 2013, 10:42
I was at GCoT in 1968, staying at Halls of Residence but left after a few months. But returned again in 1971 and once again stayed at Halls of Residence before getting digs in Cleethorpes, down Albert Road.
Pico Mills seemed very old when I was at Grimsby so surprised he has outlived the other lecturers!! I have some pictures of some of my fellow students who were at college in 1971/74 and will look for them and post on here.

staithessparky
12th February 2014, 16:10
hi martin I remember you well, you used to cut hair for 2/6s. john dawson is the big guy you remember , dave booth was from Nottingham I spoke to ian Roberts a few years ago but no one since. Be nice to hear from you.
Paul Hart

Martyn Hammond
24th March 2014, 21:38
hi martin I remember you well, you used to cut hair for 2/6s. john dawson is the big guy you remember , dave booth was from Nottingham I spoke to ian Roberts a few years ago but no one since. Be nice to hear from you.
Paul Hart

Dear Paul,

I also remember you, I think - were you from Scunthorpe email me at martynhammond@yahoo.com and we can catch up

Martyn

Dave the Vicar
3rd July 2014, 18:50
Alan,

Greetings

I was at GCFE from 1963 until 1967. Your name does not ring a bell.

Best regards

Dave Woods.

Dave, weren't you the year ahead of Alan and I? Same year as Bruce and Spud Murphy etc?

Dave the Vicar
3rd July 2014, 18:52
Thanks Alan, did you dye your beard ginger? Having seen your other photos, as you say, a sad sight.

John T.

Same John Trotter perhaps? Used to work lighthouses before going for sparks ticket? Somewhat 'odd' sense of humour?

Dave the Vicar
3rd July 2014, 18:53
Dear Paul,

I also remember you, I think - were you from Scunthorpe email me at martynhammond@yahoo.com and we can catch up

Martyn

God I remember John Dawson! Had a flat on Hainton Avenue at one time!

Dave the Vicar
3rd July 2014, 19:00
Holland, that is John O'Brien - now living in Hampshire.

John T.

Ah! Alan and I spent a month trying to remember his name John!
Are you in contact with him please?

Dave P

trotterdotpom
3rd July 2014, 19:09
Ah! Alan and I spent a month trying to remember his name John!
Are you in contact with him please?

Dave P

Hello Dave, welcome to SN.

Sorry I lost Boris's email address but I can try to get it from Graham Turner. He's in Wellington now and I saw him a few months ago - john and wife visited him a couple of years ago. They live in Fareham near Portsmouth. Watch this space.

What's this about an odd sense of humour .... it's all deadly serious!

John T

Dave the Vicar
3rd July 2014, 19:32
Hello Dave, welcome to SN.

Sorry I lost Boris's email address but I can try to get it from Graham Turner. He's in Wellington now and I saw him a few months ago - john and wife visited him a couple of years ago. They live in Fareham near Portsmouth. Watch this space.

What's this about an odd sense of humour .... it's all deadly serious!

John T

Thanks John. Yes, Boris - we couldn't even remember his nickname! I have emailed Graham in NZ (are you out there too?) but a while back - now lost his email address.

I'm sure you recall those '...odd' jokes from your lighthouse days :-)
Gathering quite a list now; hard to place which year they were in though.

IIRC you came in to do 2nd class as we (Alan, Boris and I) were doing 1st and radar? That would be 68 or 69?

Dave Woods
3rd July 2014, 21:29
Dave, weren't you the year ahead of Alan and I? Same year as Bruce and Spud Murphy etc?

Dave, Was it you who was on a Bank boat astern Sirsa In Visak India at Christmas 68.

trotterdotpom
3rd July 2014, 23:32
Thanks John. Yes, Boris - we couldn't even remember his nickname! I have emailed Graham in NZ (are you out there too?) but a while back - now lost his email address.

I'm sure you recall those '...odd' jokes from your lighthouse days :-)
Gathering quite a list now; hard to place which year they were in though.

IIRC you came in to do 2nd class as we (Alan, Boris and I) were doing 1st and radar? That would be 68 or 69?

I think I started when you had just got 2nd Class and were leaving ... 1967. The mad lad with the London taxi
was finishing too. I followed you on Denholm's "Industria", so close that they put your name under my photo in the Denholms News. We had a chat on the air at the Escravos Bar when you were on a Shell tanker doing the Bonny Shuffle. How do I remember all this? I don't know .... What day is it? I think I'm the Rain Man.

John T

PS I'm on the Big Island near NZ.

Dave the Vicar
4th July 2014, 07:07
Dave, Was it you who was on a Bank boat astern Sirsa In Visak India at Christmas 68.

Odd. I saw the name and that's the first thing I thought of! Christmas... 1971 perhaps? Another UK registered ship ahead and you as RO!

Weren't you in the year ahead of us? With Bruce Wallis, Spud Murphy and Chris ???

Dave P

Dave Woods
4th July 2014, 12:38
Dave, no it was 68 when I was on BI's Sirsa, the only person I ever met from GCFE. Remember the Taxi, I think he was from Nottingham. Bruce Wallis (Mr Plod) Chris Wall (Noddy) ??? Watson (Big Ears) Fred ??? (his father was a trawler skipper in Grimsby) Jon Hartley and ??? Poultney from Sheffield. I also seem to remember a Anglo Indian towards the end of my time from Louth. It took me 3 years to get my PMG and then failed Radar. I joined my First ship in October 67.

Dave the Vicar
4th July 2014, 13:05
Dave, no it was 68 when I was on BI's Sirsa, the only person I ever met from GCFE. Remember the Taxi, I think he was from Nottingham. Bruce Wallis (Mr Plod) Chris Wall (Noddy) ??? Watson (Big Ears) Fred ??? (his father was a trawler skipper in Grimsby) Jon Hartley and ??? Poultney from Sheffield. I also seem to remember a Anglo Indian towards the end of my time from Louth. It took me 3 years to get my PMG and then failed Radar. I joined my First ship in October 67.

I'm impressed Dave! Mr Plod doesn't ring a bell - Bruce was the poser IIRC? Steve (ph or s Stephen) Poultney? Bad acne? Tall? John Hartley.... I think he was in 'our' year (67-69 second class).

The guy with the taxi? Again our year IIRC - bright ginger hair? Glasses? He took it on the beach one night!

How long were you at sea Dave?

Dave Woods
4th July 2014, 17:43
John Hartley left the sea and got a Tech job travelling the rigs in the north sea. Last I heard he was living in France. The lad with the Taxi was John Hutton. How long was I at sea - a bit of a long story, the short version is 41 years. I plodded around the world with Marconi until 96 when I went direct employed. In 88 I joined the Mercury, a Cable and Wireless cable ship and more or less did nothing else from then on except a couple of jobs elsewhere, and then in 96 C&W offered me a job and overnight my pay went from £15K to £22K. In 99 they decided to dispense with R/O's and offered retraining on the cable side of the operation. Just after that they sold all the ships, and the new company bought another 6 to augment the new business they thought they had. So I was propelled upwards at a great rate of knots and was sailing as Chief Cable Engineer within 3 years.

Dave the Vicar
4th July 2014, 18:38
John Hartley left the sea and got a Tech job travelling the rigs in the north sea. Last I heard he was living in France. The lad with the Taxi was John Hutton. How long was I at sea - a bit of a long story, the short version is 41 years. I plodded around the world with Marconi until 96 when I went direct employed. In 88 I joined the Mercury, a Cable and Wireless cable ship and more or less did nothing else from then on except a couple of jobs elsewhere, and then in 96 C&W offered me a job and overnight my pay went from £15K to £22K. In 99 they decided to dispense with R/O's and offered retraining on the cable side of the operation. Just after that they sold all the ships, and the new company bought another 6 to augment the new business they thought they had. So I was propelled upwards at a great rate of knots and was sailing as Chief Cable Engineer within 3 years.

I remember John Hutton, bit of a character. John H less so, quiet type IIRC?
41 years must be some sort of a record for sparks?

Cable engineer as in cable layers? Sounds interesting. Retired now then Dave?

Dave Woods
4th July 2014, 19:53
I remember John Hutton, bit of a character. John H less so, quiet type IIRC?
41 years must be some sort of a record for sparks?

Cable engineer as in cable layers? Sounds interesting. Retired now then Dave?

Yes it was a sort of record, the Union did a two page spread when I retired six years ago.

Yes I laid and repaired underwater telephone cables.

Cunarder
10th July 2014, 02:05
I remember John Hutton, bit of a character. John H less so, quiet type IIRC?
41 years must be some sort of a record for sparks?

Cable engineer as in cable layers? Sounds interesting. Retired now then Dave?

I remember meeting John Hutton once in the Gulf somewhere early 70's. He was sailing on a BI boat which was moored ahead of us. Lost contact after that.

Cunarder
10th July 2014, 02:09
Thought I'd throw my two pennyworth in...............
Was just googling the old college, did the MRGC 76-79 then on to Hull for the Radar course. Then wrote to 193 shipping companies globally and then the realisation that the shipping industry was in decline. Nothing turned up, even the General Secretary of the REOU wrote (in reply to my question why they allowed radio companies to advertise in the Signal when there were no jobs !) advising that myself and fellow classmates should grasp any job ashore with both hands as they could not foresee any of us gaining employment as seagoing R/O's. Got a couple of job offers with NHS (Technician) and EMI (Missile systems), then offered post with Safmarine but turned it over to a pal Rick Hornsby when a R/O's job came up offshore and off I went (incidentally, from a class of 25 only 2 of us made it to being R/O's). Which is where some names cropped up.....
Dick Hill became my manager offshore in Holland (Northlandic), I understand he's now writing articles on green energy and still lives in Rotterdam. Ty Bunce I also worked with offshore. Len Townsend, sadly passed away 4 years ago, not many old staff at the funeral due to age and infirmity. Len was a wonderful person and did a great deal to enhance my career, even getting me up to speed for the GCHQ morse test in his own time after I had left the college.

After ten years offshore I joined the United Nations as a Radio Officer and met quite a few interesting individuals in a few countries over the years.

Best wishes to you all, and I hope people are still reading this forum.

Read your story with interest and a little sadness. Compare that to '68 when I left GY with 1st/Radar, I applied to a dozen companies and I think I got job offers from 10 of them - I chose to go with Thos & Jno Brocklebanks out of GLV and eventually ended up on Cunard pax ships. Heady days when jobs were for the asking - I'd go back there in a heartbeat!. Cheers and thanks for sharing.

Oldboater
5th August 2014, 19:19
Earlier this year four of us ex GCFE old boys met up in Lincoln for a catch up. Attendees were Mike Chaplin, Steve Marshall, Malc Kemp and myself Martyn Cowell. We all attended during the period 1962 to 1965, happy days and memories of College dances and Rag weeks, how times have changed! As may be expected we are all now in retirement.

Regards to all

Martyn

Steve Farrow
20th September 2014, 14:58
Hi All,

This might be of some interest, an article that I wrote about my time at the nautical school!

Reflections on the Water Part 3

After several enjoyable pleasure trips on trawlers I had to make a decision as to what career to choose on leaving Chelmsford Secondary Modern School. Although I revelled in the trips to sea I began to listen to my dad’s usual erudite advice. He explained that while it might have been great at the time, it was spring and summer weather and not the harsh winter gales and freezing temperatures endured constantly by our hardy fishermen and it really was a ‘Different kettle of fish!’ He rightly pointed out that the money and the luxury cars ‘Down dock’ belonged to the trawler owners, fish merchants, salesmen and a handful of successful trawler skippers, whereas fishermen sometimes landed in debt after a poor trip after the ship’s expenses had been deducted. He suggested looking at the possibility of a life in the Merchant Navy, see the world and get paid at the same time!
This had often crossed my mind as a lad standing on Fuller Street Bridge watching the large merchant ships steaming down the Humber from Hull and Immingham making their way past Spurn Point before disappearing ‘Hull down’ over the horizon on their way to places with romantic sounding names in India and the Far East for spices and herbs, tea and carpets, Australia and New Zealand for wool and mutton and lamb. Then there were the regular runners to South Africa, the grey coloured hulls of Ellerman Hall Line, Ellerman Papayani Line, and the green hulls of Ellerman Wilson with their distinctive red and black funnels. Then there was Clan Line, Blue Funnel, Bank Line, Elder Dempster, Ben Line, P & O, the Baltic Trading Company, Bowater carrying paper, British India, Tate & Lyle…..the list seemed endless, (but sadly all gone now.) Perhaps this would be a more rewarding career after all! Slow but sure I made my decision, the Merchant Navy it was to be then.
I made enquiries about going to the nautical school at Nun’s Corner, whose principle was Captain Sid Keane. I’d met Captain Keane the previous year when I went along to South Parade School one evening to enrol with the Grimsby and District Junior Youth Orchestra with the idea of playing a brass instrument. It was here I was introduced to Sid Keane who played the tenor horn and Mr. Morley who explained that they really needed a G bass trombone player! I had to stand in front of them and sing, going through the Doh Ray Me stuff, how nerve wracking it was. However I must have made a favourable impression because I came home with a brand new gleaming trombone…..on the 3F! Once home and out of its case I blew into the mouthpiece and couldn’t play a note. As hard as I blew not a sound came out….the only sound was that of my parents and brother Andrew laughing! Dad was an experienced cornet and euphonium player and had been through all this before. He played solo cornet at the age of 12. I persevered slowly learning how to play and would have continued but ships and trombones were hardly bedfellows so reluctantly it was handed back…..my music career was over.
I began an eighteen month course at the college in the New Year of 1962, rigged out in my new battle dress navy uniform with its white peak cap. This was to prepare me for an apprenticeship as a deck officer with extensive training in the principles of Navigation, practical navigation, celestial navigation, and chart work, all trigonometry and spherical trigonometry, haversines and versines, sextants and lots of mathematical tables. Then the practical side, boat handling, splicing wires and ropes, knots bends and hitches, ship construction and ship stability. Evening classes consisted of art lessons, swimming and judo. It was at one of these evening classes in late October 1962 that out teacher, Captain Jack Strong, quietly suggested that we just sit and chat and forget about any lessons, for this was the height of the Cuban missile crisis. We genuinely did not know if we would be alive by the morning. We just talked nervously in hushed tones and I can remember vividly looking out of the window at all of the headlights of the oncoming cars along Scartho Road just hoping and praying that the Russian leader Nikita Kruschev would back away from Kennedy’s threat. We could not see it happening. Little could I have known that I would be in Cuba myself in three years time!
There were nine of us deck cadets and many radio lads. Our nine comprised of myself, Pete Antill, Pete Birley, John Turberville, Sandy Martin, John Enderby, Brian Cusack, Anthony Woolham and Alan Johnstone.
Captain Keane was of the ’old school’ and a bit of a disciplinarian and at 9am each morning we would parade on the lawn 9am at the rear of Tate’s shop on Nun’s Corner, and assemble in neat rows facing a large white painted flagpole. Here, on command the ‘Red Ensign’ and the hoist of the day were then broken out. We would salute, ‘Fall Out’ and walk back to our class-rooms for the days lessons. For some strange reason Captain Keane decided that we would all have to salute him every time we passed him and this raised eyebrows amongst the other teachers, all of which were ex-Merchant Navy officers. We weren’t happy at this sudden imposition so we looked into the regulations regarding saluting. We all smiled with a degree of smug satisfaction on discovering that it was the uniform that was saluted and not the person! Captain Keane only ever wore grey or charcoal suits and was livid on our refusal to salute him, but he was reminded the ‘Rules are rules’ as he so often stated! The other point of course was that we were not in any way part of the military, purely civilian. The matter was never mentioned again……..we just had to march and made to do ‘Square bashing’ much more frequently!
The college owned two or three ex-ships lifeboats that were on radial davits at the rear of the bus depot in the Alexander Dock, (opposite to where the Ross Tiger is now moored) and they had two GP 14 sailing dinghies, Poppy and Buttercup. Those boat work lessons were brilliant, I was in my element! These wooden clinker built lifeboats were heavy and cumbersome but we all looked forward to these sessions away from the confines of the classroom and out into the open air.
We would hoist the boat clear of its cradle by its falls, which consisted of a three fold purchase in the bow and at the stern, then lower the boat into the water, unhook the falls, take our positions on the thwarts (seats) pick up our oars and ’Toss’ them in the upright position, blade up, ready for orders to start rowing. In the early days many heads were clonked and bruised performing this task but we learned very quickly that wood was harder than flesh! Then would come the order, “Out oars!” so we would lower, drop or crash the oars down into the crutches…..not rowlocks as we were so constantly reminded, “That’s for girls on the boating lake!” We were taught how to row in unison and to follow the stroke oar. Quite a spectacle would follow, lots of splashing, falling backwards into the boat, oars jumping out of crutches and a lot of swearing, but gradually we got the hang of it and we formed quite a team and became capable of working up a good turn of speed. We also had to sail the lifeboats hoisting the tan coloured heavy canvas sails, which consisted of a dipping lug mainsail and fore’sle. I remembered one day in a stiff breeze, she started to lay over. It was on the tiller and automatically sat out on the gunwhale leaning out board. The next thing I heard was,”Get your body back inboard Farrow, this is a ships lifeboat not a bloody sailing dinghy!” Frank Priest senior was our seamanship teacher and he knew his stuff alright, he was an ex-coxswain who served in the Royal Navy on the HMS AJAX at the battle of the River Plate, one of the ships that took on the might of the German Battle Cruiser Admiral Graf Spee and his experiences were fascinating and we all respected him greatly. He taught us many knots and with some like the bowline he would make us tie behind our backs, saying that one day you might need to use this knot in a hurry in the pitch dark……but it will become second nature.
That particular winter was a harsh one and temperatures plummeted well below freezing and the Alexander Dock completely froze over. However, Alf Hodson senior was in charge of us one morning, surprising because he usually taught the fishing section. After looking at us assembled by the boat davits, shivering in the freezing cold he barked, “Get the bloody boat in the water sharpish…..the ship’s going down!” A string of expletives poured forth from his reddened face as we fumbled about our business quickly lowering the boat onto the ice. We all piled in the boat with Skipper Alf sat in the stern sheets, his booming voice telling us in no uncertain terms to smash the ice with our oars. Slowly we inched forward cracking the sheet ice as we rocked the boat from side to side. We soon warmed up with all the exercise as we put our backs into it and all became well with the world again. Alf was a well know trawler skipper as were his father and brothers and his own son Alf who followed in his footsteps. Alf senior was a man’s man and pulled no punches, saying it exactly as it was! He must have viewed us young lads with some distain and was bemused by our ‘Arctic rowing debacle’
In the summer of 1962 I signed on for another pleasure trip, this time on the Ross Kestrel and finally on the Atlantic Seal in April 1963. Then as our time at the nautical school drew to a close we all began writing to various shipping companies. I wrote to BP tankers, Tate & Lyle, Buries Markes and Shaw Saville, the latter wrote back saying that unless my father was a duke or an earl don’t bother…..or words to that effect! BP said they would look again depending on the results of my GCE’s. Buries Markes on the other hand sent me and Alan Johnson train tickets for an interview at Plantation House in London. So, on Friday 31st May I met Alan at Grimsby Town Station where we boarded the train to London leaving just before nine am and arriving at Kings Cross Station at 1.30. It was the hottest day in London for sixteen years and here we were in our suits and ties sweltering in the heat mooching around the city streets until out meeting at 3pm! Eventually we arrived at our destination, a very imposing building indeed then we took the lift to the offices on the third floor and were met by a smartly dressed young man who shook our hands warmly and showed us into a beautifully wood panelled room with models of the company ships in glass cases. He immediately put our nervous souls at ease and offered us cigarettes and coffee (How times have changed!) After quite a lengthy discussion and some home truths about the hard work that lay ahead, he thanked us and as was saying goodbye Alan blurted out, “Are we in then?” At which point he turned to us and said “Off the cuff you are, but I didn’t tell you, in a few days time you will receive notification from the company.” We both walked back to Kings Cross with our heads held high, elated but with a degree of nervous anticipation. My mind was racing on our way home. Our train didn’t leave until 6-50pm and the heat of the day was still lingering, even though the compartment windows were all open. Alan departed at Spalding on his way home to Wisbech, grinning as he said goodbye, we’d had a rewarding day together! I arrived in Grimsby at 10-30 after a long tiring day and when I reached19, Warwick Avenue, mam, dad and my brother Andrew were all waiting eagerly to see how I’d got on.
So, I would soon be at sea doing what I had been studying and training for, seeing the world. What I never foresaw was that I was about to embark on one of the toughest apprenticeships it was possible undertake and the drop out rate was one of the highest.
On the 10th June the letter of acceptance arrived at the college saying that we were to start as cadets on a date to be announced. One by one each of the nine of us ’Classmates’ received our letters, from various shipping companies, Gulf Tankers, Watts Watts, Ellerman Hall Line, Houlder Brothers, Denholm Shipping and so on. Our days together were drawing to an end, but there was one last major event ahead………..the annual ‘Regatta.’ This was held each year in the Alexander Dock and was arranged for the 19th June and would involve rowing racing, dinghy racing, skiffs, canoes, rigging sheerlegs on each side of the dock and rig up a breeches buoy Well, on the day before it was blowing a full gale and we had to row the lifeboat dropping marker buoys and rehearsing our rolls. It was tough going in that gale but we went through the routine of laying a kedge anchor then called it a day ready for a 7am start.
The following morning we picked up a varied assortment of shackles and ropes from the Victoria St nautical school then took to the water again in our boat and laid more marker buoys. Then the Regatta began. During a dinghy race, a mast shroud parted on one of the dinghies and had to be withdrawn. Brian Cusack (Cadet) almost had his wrist broken when an anchor dropped ‘accidentally’ by one of the radio lads! He had to retire. Then two of the lads were pushed in the dock from the jetty and the dinghy race turned into a water fight! (Guilty!). Then the main event…….the breeches buoy was set up and one of the cadets volunteered to cross the dock sat in it. Needless to say he was half drowned as we dragged him across the dock as the rope sagged and lowered him in! All did not go to plan!
As my time drew to a close thoughts of long months away from home loomed large. My mother took me to buy all the necessary uniforms and working gear I would need for long voyages away. We bought these items from Greenberg’s outfitters (Later Kevark’s motorcycles opposite the Palace Buffet) and Bernard’s on Cleethorpe Road. These consisted of two black uniforms with brass buttons, a battle dress uniform, black socks, black boots polish and brushes, peak cap and badge, white shirts with epaulettes, underwear, white tropical uniform (shorts) khaki tropical uniform (Shorts), dungarees, blue denim working shirts, belts, white shoes with (shoe white),Navy blue jumpers, sewing needles and cottons, leather palm & needles…..the list seemed endless, and then there was the knife, a Green River long flat blade, wooden handled job that was kept in a leather sheath on my belt. The expense must have been enormous and must have been a struggle for my parents to afford.
In late August an envelope dropped through our letter-box, it was instructing me to present myself onboard the bulk carrier LA PRADERA in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in the morning of the 2nd August, 1963. Tickets for the train journey and the overnight ferry from Heysham were included. So this was it then? A ten month adventure lay ahead, but that’s another story!

trotterdotpom
20th September 2014, 15:46
Nice story, Steve. Good to hear from you again.

John T

Dave the Vicar
20th September 2014, 16:11
Thanks Steve. I was radio, 65-67. I'd forgotten about Frank Priest! Appreciate the story.

Steve Farrow
20th September 2014, 23:01
Thanks John! Appreciated! I also wrote some articles on a similar theme about my time at sea......I might just post them somewhere on here, but where?

Steve

Steve Farrow
20th September 2014, 23:11
Thanks Steve. I was radio, 65-67. I'd forgotten about Frank Priest! Appreciate the story.

Thanks Dave......It brought back so many memories writing it!

Two photos, one at the 9am flag hoist and the other marching somewhere near the YMCA.....

Dave Woods
21st September 2014, 18:30
When I went in 64, we were in the annex down near the docks on Victoria Street at the old school.
We had to do "Gangway Duty" dressed in lanyard, whistle and white Gaiters, and write down in the log book anything that happened. "Student went to toilet"," student came back" We had to take it in turns for an hour at a time, what a waste of our study times, I know I personally missed quite a bit of Morse one day and took me weeks to catch up.
One day the lecturer did not turn up and we walked out and went to the education offices to complain, the gangway watch was quickly discontinued.
Frank Priest was still there teaching boat work to us on a Thursday afternoon, if I remember one of the lifeboats had been fitted with a drop keel and we were able to sail it in a straight line. Our introduction to sailing was Frank throwing a sail bag at us, you, you and you take Buttercup, and that was it you learned by getting rather wet in Grimsby docks.

Steve Farrow
22nd September 2014, 15:23
When I went in 64, we were in the annex down near the docks on Victoria Street at the old school.
We had to do "Gangway Duty" dressed in lanyard, whistle and white Gaiters, and write down in the log book anything that happened. "Student went to toilet"," student came back" We had to take it in turns for an hour at a time, what a waste of our study times, I know I personally missed quite a bit of Morse one day and took me weeks to catch up.
One day the lecturer did not turn up and we walked out and went to the education offices to complain, the gangway watch was quickly discontinued.
Frank Priest was still there teaching boat work to us on a Thursday afternoon, if I remember one of the lifeboats had been fitted with a drop keel and we were able to sail it in a straight line. Our introduction to sailing was Frank throwing a sail bag at us, you, you and you take Buttercup, and that was it you learned by getting rather wet in Grimsby docks.

Yes, Buttercup and Poppy, both GP. 14's built by Tom Kiddle the ship construction teacher, a kind and thoughtful man. I loved sailing the dinghies and continued from then on, mainly in Albacores!

Here they both are next to the old wooden drifter White Night in the Alexandra Dock about 1962. Also here is the itinerary for the June, 1962 Regatta. You might recognise some of the names!

Dave the Vicar
22nd September 2014, 15:28
GP 14's. I've been trying to remember that name for years! Hadn't realised they were hand built locally.

JohnD610
22nd September 2014, 16:37
Loved this thread.

Some wonderful anecdotes and images shared.

Thank you all (thumb)

Dave the Vicar
22nd September 2014, 17:55
I think it's called nostalgia ;-)

JohnD610
22nd September 2014, 18:48
I think it's called nostalgia ;-)

man you got me Dave ;) (Thumb)

Oldboater
24th September 2014, 22:06
Great stories Steve, I think we were in the Junior cadets together before splitting into Deck and Radio streams.

Martyn