Blue Funnel Line Reborn?

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Thamesphil
27th June 2007, 13:01
Well, not quite. However, ex-Blue Funnelers might be interested in a conversation one of my colleagues had this morning.

He was asked to value a small container feeder ship recently renamed "Priam", owned by an Australian company, Ocean Shipping Pty. Ltd. It turns out that this company is run by a former Blue Funnel master, Capt. Denis Gallagher. Furthermore, I'm told that the "Priam" sports the traditional Blue Flue colour scheme of black hull/white upperworks and, of course, the blue funnel. There doesn't appear to be any photos of her around as the "Priam" but here's one of her under her former name of Gabrielle:

http://www.shipspotting.com/modules/myalbum/photo.php?lid=319473

Ocean Shipping also own a smaller feeder ship called "Telemachus". Again, there doesn't seem to be any photos of her around.

Whilst these vessels undoubtedly do not hold the same charm and sentiment as the old Blue Funnel ships, I thought this might be of interest nonetheless.

Cheers,
Phil

Fairfield
27th June 2007, 13:08
Don't know if you are a WSS member but there is actually a pic in the current issue of the latest PRIAM.

Thamesphil
27th June 2007, 13:15
Ah, I'm not actuially a member of WSS Paul. Does she really sport the accurate Blue Funnel livery, or is it a bit of wishful thinking on the part of my colleague?

Cheers,
Phil

makko
27th June 2007, 15:17
Also the Protesilaus. Yes, they are painted in BF colour scheme, see here:

http://www.pentredu.freeserve.co.uk/protesilaus.html

Regards,

Dave

Graham McMorine
27th June 2007, 23:00
Also the Protesilaus. Yes, they are painted in BF colour scheme, see here:

http://www.pentredu.freeserve.co.uk/protesilaus.html

Regards,

Dave

How wonderful to see a guy prepared to carry on a truly great tradition and livery, I wish him well.(Thumb)

Peter4447
27th June 2007, 23:13
As far as I am aware the original Ocean name of the company is now held by Exel, the road transport logistics firm.

Peter4447(Thumb)

Thamesphil
28th June 2007, 09:17
Thanks for all the comments Chaps. Shame that Capt. Gallagher isn't here himself to give us the full story of his company.

Cheers,
Phil

exsailor
28th June 2007, 11:47
From Indonesia Shipping Gazette of June 25.
Ocean Shipping Pty Ltd was incorporated May 1997 and is headquartered in Townsville, Queensland. Managing Director is Denis Gallagher. Owns and operates 4 geared multipurpose vessels, plus 2 in a joint-venture with PT Meratus Line of Indonesia. All Singapore flag and on time charter to regional operators trading Asia/Australia/Pacific Islands.

If anybody wants to contact Denis, company address (from phone book) is Ocean Shipping Pty Ltd., 41 Macrossan Street, Townsville, QLD 4810. Telephone (07) 4721 5568, e-mail oceanshp@bigpond.com (No i in address)

Dennis.

Bill Davies
8th September 2007, 21:36
I think it unlikely that Denis Gallagher was a Blue Funnel Master unless he is in his 80s however, it is most likely he was an officer in that company.

makko
8th September 2007, 23:16
I believe that he was. He did his Cadetship with BF. But not a Master!

Regards,

Dave

Bill Davies
9th September 2007, 08:55
It is 46 years ago that I left the Blue Funnel Line after 6 years service therein (Deck Boy to AB left immediately on obtaining 2nd Mates (FG)). The company I left can never be reborn simply by using the same livery and names. After all these years I still hold my 'China Boat' memories very dear. In all the years away my regards for the men I sailed with is undiminished and the skills of the legendary Bosuns found in that company were not to be found elsewhere in British or any other flag. Sailed for an ex Blue Funnel Shipowner in the 80s who was horrified when this name/ livery thing was suggested. And rightly so.

demodocus
25th October 2007, 01:19
I think it unlikely that Denis Gallagher was a Blue Funnel Master unless he is in his 80s however, it is most likely he was an officer in that company.


Dennis rose to 3rd Mate in Blue Flu. Next time I saw him he was Mate on a Smit Lloyd oil-rig supply ship in Bass Strait, then a ship-broker in Brisbane in 1988.

Orbitaman
25th October 2007, 07:02
It is 46 years ago that I left the Blue Funnel Line after 6 years service therein (Deck Boy to AB left immediately on obtaining 2nd Mates (FG)). The company I left can never be reborn simply by using the same livery and names. After all these years I still hold my 'China Boat' memories very dear. In all the years away my regards for the men I sailed with is undiminished and the skills of the legendary Bosuns found in that company were not to be found elsewhere in British or any other flag. Sailed for an ex Blue Funnel Shipowner in the 80s who was horrified when this name/ livery thing was suggested. And rightly so.

Whilst I understand your sentimentality for the old Blue Funnel, no one has the right to decide who can use what livery on a ship. I'm sure that the company who have bought these ships have chosen the livery for their own good reasons and have the same right to use it as did Alfred Holt.

Making a sweeping statement regarding Blue Funnel bosuns that you cannot proove is nothing less than a slight on the many non Blue Funnel bosuns who sailed in the worlds merchant navies and probably had the skill and experience to match any of their peers. I sailed with a number of bosuns, who I believe had such knowledge and skill of seamanship matters that what they didn't know could be written on the back of a fag packet. However, according to your sweeping statement, they were 'second' class' seamen because they didn't sail for Blue Funnel.

Steve Woodward
25th October 2007, 08:32
Well said orbitaman

Bill Davies
25th October 2007, 09:07
Whilst I understand your sentimentality for the old Blue Funnel, no one has the right to decide who can use what livery on a ship. I'm sure that the company who have bought these ships have chosen the livery for their own good reasons and have the same right to use it as did Alfred Holt.

Making a sweeping statement regarding Blue Funnel bosuns that you cannot proove is nothing less than a slight on the many non Blue Funnel bosuns who sailed in the worlds merchant navies and probably had the skill and experience to match any of their peers. I sailed with a number of bosuns, who I believe had such knowledge and skill of seamanship matters that what they didn't know could be written on the back of a fag packet. However, according to your sweeping statement, they were 'second' class' seamen because they didn't sail for Blue Funnel.

There was no implication that others were second class and further as Blue Funnel as such ceased around 67 some 10 years before you were even starting your apprenticeship you are hardly in a position to discuss the merits of this company.

Bill Davies
25th October 2007, 09:08
Well said orbitaman

Predictable!

Steve Woodward
25th October 2007, 09:13
The only thing predictable is your rudeness and arrogance

Orbitaman
25th October 2007, 10:36
There was no implication that others were second class and further as Blue Funnel as such ceased around 67 some 10 years before you were even starting your apprenticeship you are hardly in a position to discuss the merits of this company.

I was not discussing the merits of the company, just your implied opinion that Blue Funnel bosuns were better than anyone elses.

That I started my seagoing career ten years after the 'demise' of Blue Funnel does not exclude me from airing my opinions on any company that ceased to trade before I went to sea. By your argument, no one can make comments on the merits of the likes of the White Star Line or The Aberdeen Line or any other company that ceased to trade before World War II, as these companies ceased to trade 'as such' before any of us started our seagoing careers.

Bill Davies
25th October 2007, 12:44
I was not discussing the merits of the company, just your implied opinion that Blue Funnel bosuns were better than anyone elses.

That I started my seagoing career ten years after the 'demise' of Blue Funnel does not exclude me from airing my opinions on any company that ceased to trade before I went to sea. By your argument, no one can make comments on the merits of the likes of the White Star Line or The Aberdeen Line or any other company that ceased to trade before World War II, as these companies ceased to trade 'as such' before any of us started our seagoing careers.

Primarily this site is about nostalgia and having sailed for the first six years (55/61) of a fifty year career with the Blue Funnel Line I was merely relecting my opinion on comparing both the Bosuns and Deck crew found therein with others as the best. I am quite aware that there were other fine seamen in other companies but one had to experience the Blue Funnel to know what I am talking about. Believe me it was different than elsewhere in the British flag as it was more like a family. The 'crowd' were all BF men from Deck Boy. Not 'off the pool' although I am told this 'creeped in' in the late 60s.
I say to you with all respect that unless one experienced the BF pre say 67/68 it is difficult to understand.


Brgds

Bill

K urgess
25th October 2007, 13:15
From my experience the same "family" feeling can be attributed to -

Lamport & Holt
Bankline
P.S.N.C.
Blue Star
Hadley Shipping Co.
Esso
Texaco
Portline
Wilson Line

All with excellent officers and crew of all nationalities.
Thinking about it I would even add Hungry Hogarth and R. S. Dalgliesh if speaking about the regular officers and crew.

Oh, tall blue funnel
With top of black,
We will worship you -
Till we get the sack. - Anon.

Found that in the front of an album of very old pictures of very old Blue Funnel ships. One of two albums purchased recently and obviously compiled by a fan.

Bill Davies
25th October 2007, 15:07
Kris,

I too sailed in several of the above, the US multinationals and one or two others certainly do not 'qualify' as family orientated firms.
As I have already said, you had to be there to appreciate the comeraderie/atmosphere experienced by sailing in the BF.

Brgds

Bill

K urgess
25th October 2007, 15:39
You seem to be steering a misinterpreted course towards the rocks of wrong conclusions.
I said nothing about being "family orientated".
I said that I experienced a "family feeling". That means that everybody on board felt that the crew was a big happy family and this extended to the shipping company as a whole.
As to being "family orientated". Mobil shipping, who I seem to have left off my list by mistake, didn't know me from Adam yet still allowed my wife to join me in La Spezia after a month onboard. Entirely at their expense.

Kris

Bill Davies
25th October 2007, 15:58
You seem to be steering a misinterpreted course towards the rocks of wrong conclusions.
I said nothing about being "family orientated".
I said that I experienced a "family feeling". That means that everybody on board felt that the crew was a big happy family and this extended to the shipping company as a whole.
As to being "family orientated". Mobil shipping, who I seem to have left off my list by mistake, didn't know me from Adam yet still allowed my wife to join me in La Spezia after a month onboard. Entirely at their expense.

Kris

If you are baseing your rationale on a company allowing you to take your wife then there is nothing for me to add.

Bill

fred henderson
25th October 2007, 17:14
Bill

I admire your implacable loyalty to a company you left 46 years ago. I feel very much the same about the shipyard where I began my career and also left about 46 years ago. I would suggest however, that the atmosphere you describe existed in many first rate companies (in all industries) at that time. Each of us who benefited from this experience remains for ever an X Company man. The world has greatly changed since then, in most ways for the better, but the loss of the old company spirit you describe is sadly missed by those of us who had the good fortune to benefit from it.
We need to appreciate that other people, who in the same period had the misfortune to work for companies other than ours, probably feel the same way about their old firms. I feel it is important as a site that we respect those members who love other organisations even if we may privately think they are deluded.
It seems that this thread has moved somewhat from its theme. I personally think it is touching that someone feels so strongly about his first employer that years later he has adopted its name and some of its characteristics in his own company. Of course it will never be the same as the original organisation, but we must remember that the original business did not survive.

Regards

Fred

Bill Davies
25th October 2007, 17:38
Fred,

Very well put.

Brgds

Bill

R651400
26th October 2007, 06:21
The only thing predictable is your rudeness and arrogance
You seem to be getting up some members noses with your perpetual adulation of BF and the excellence of their "non-asian" crews.
When I joined BF at sixteen years old, I was according to Charlie Metcalfe, the youngest R/O in the company which chuffed me no end. With hindsight, I sometimes regret firstly not taking in a radio company to give me the basics before attempting direct-employ. On my first voyage, I virtually had to teach myself the ropes as my chief was an absolute "richard-cranium".
Four years later I left for my own reasons and I'm happy that I did.
You say you left immediately on obtaining 2nd Mate FG. One wonders why you didn't continue to stay with BF for the remainder of your sea time?

James_C
26th October 2007, 13:28
R651400,
You quoted the wrong person there, you're referring to Bill Davies, not Steve.

Dugie
26th October 2007, 14:14
Dear Bill.
Since you and I seem to have the same sentimentality for a grand British Company, this little poem which I have just finished may evoke some happy memories.
Kind regards,
Dugie

FAR EAST ODYSSEY

She’s a lady of the sea, built by Caledon, Dundee,
An “M” class, strongly built, just off the stocks,
Our first port is Penang, then on and round Japan,
And in four months we’ll be back in Gladstone docks.

She looks dirty through the rain as we come on board again,
But the bosun soon will have her “tarted up”,
“Soogie” - that magic brew, and the efforts of the crew
Will get rid of all the city grime and muck.

Tomorrow we sign on, and next day we’ll be gone,
Down the Mersey past New Brighton to the sea,
Look out for Irish ferries as we pass North of The Skerries
And we’ll leave the coast of England on our lee.

We hope that Biscay’s kind and then we can unwind
After double watches and the recent storm,
The sun should soon peep through and the sky will turn to blue
And the breeze will then be balmy, soft and warm.

Through Port Said with all it’s bustle, and the salesmen with their hustle,
Ships in convoy passing North Bound fully laden,
We hope for cooler weather soon with a nice South West monsoon,
But first we’ll fill our tanks and shop in Aden.

It’s a dry and arid land, just barren rocks and sand,
But a busy and strategic bunker port,
The bumboats sell transistors and gifts for mums and sisters,
Cameras, binoculars and goods of every sort.

Then we pass the fairway buoy and head for Minicoy,
The winds are brisk and raise a heavy swell,
The ship rolls with heavy motion as we cross the Indian Ocean
And we’re spraying o’er the bow and for’ard well.

It’s almost dawn of day as we’re passing Pulau Weh,
And at six “the Bos” and crew are turning to,
Topping derricks, getting ropes up (and the crew are getting hopes up!
For a run ashore to “sink a beer or two”.)

Soon we’re sending out our ropes under Penang’s green clad slopes
Watchmen, tally clerks and coolies - they’re all there.
The betel juice is spouting and Tamil voices shouting
And the poor old mate is tearing out his hair!!

In eight and forty hours, though we’ve been delayed by showers
The pilot’s off - we’re heading down the Strait,
The weather’s hot and sweaty as we tie up to the jetty
At Port Swettenham, which is Kuala Lumpur’s gate.





No chance to go ashore, then we’re off to Singapore
Where at least there is no tiring graveyard watch,
But an hour from dawn’s first light till ten o’clock at night
There are two gangs of dockers in each hatch.

We complete the full discharge alongside and by barge
In a rush to finish cargo while it’s day,
We head for Horsburgh’s light in the middle of the night
A few hours after “Full Away”.

We pass the coast of Sarawak, then through the Strait of Balabac,
Then on past Mindoro and Luzon,
We dodge a strong typhoon before we reach Lei Mun
Then we’re safely in the harbour at Hong Kong.

The next day around noon we’re alongside at Kowloon,
With derricks topped and gangs in every hatch
While junks festoon our offshore side, and sampans scull against the tide,
The cargo soon is discharged with dispatch.

Nathan Road is clad in light, a shopper’s true delight
Silks, watches, custom suits and much much more,
And when we’re working cargo watches with gangs in all the hatches,
The vendors will be knocking on our door.

Our stay is all too short and soon we’re leaving port,
Past Whampoa, through the inlet to the ocean,
Then we’re heading past Taiwan and steering for Japan
With a South East swell and gentle rolling motion.

We view Fuji’s panorama then on to Yokohama
And orders come to load in Otaru,
Where we load in snow and sleet and long for Swett’nam’s heat,
Then we’re heading south to load in Shimizu.

We load in Kobe too as is usual in Blue Flue
Then head for Commie China and Tsingtao
The Commies think we’re spying and that our country’s trying
To overthrow their leader Chairman Mao.

We’re glad when loading’s done for we’ve hardly seen the sun
For a week, and it’s bitter cold at night
But we’re heading south again in force five and sleet and rain
To where the skies are shining blue and bright.

To Hong Kong once more where we get some time ashore
We can wander round and marvel at the prices
We see wooden chests and watches, and exotic things in boxes
And the air it smells of rain and eastern spices.





I won’t bore you with reports of all the homeward ports,
Where we loaded to our marks with eastern goods
We loaded rubber bales and spice, tinned pineapples, bags of rice,
Hides, tin ingots, and more rubber and exotic tropic woods.

It is on the homeward run that the finish paint is done
And we no longer see the primer and red lead
The varnish sparkles in the light and all the brass is burnished bright
As we pass on through the Red Sea and the Med.

We catch a freezing winter blast and the sky is overcast,
And we’ve long since changed our dress to blues from whites,
There are ocean swells aplenty as we pass by Cape Vincente,
And our eyes are searching through the rain for lights.

As we pass through Bay of Biscay we lay in our “docking whisky”
And Channel Fever soon runs through the ship
Approaching Holyhead we can’t see the fo’cs’le head
And the radar’s on, we’re watching every blip.

We pass The Skerries once again in patchy fog and rain,
But the pilot is on board and knows the way
As we pass by Abergele there’s a knot in every belly
For we’re almost back again in Liverpool Bay.

The tide is now just right and we’ll tie up before night
So we close the entrance at “Dead Slow Ahead”
We’re safely through the lock and into Gladstone Dock
With shouts of “Keep ‘er stern off the knuckle,Fred!”

The ship is soon made fast - and we’re back home at last!
Tomorrow we sign off and pack our gear,
We’ll catch a late night train and head up North again
We’ll be at home for Christmas and New Year.

I hope you like this rhyme and it brings you back in time
To the days when ships were ships and men were men,
When in every foreign port were British ships of every sort,
With names like City, Clan, and Palm, Cape, Port and Ben.

Dugie Mc Nab 2007
Email removed for your own safety Dugie , better safe than getting hundred of spam Emails !! Davie Tait Moderator

makko
26th October 2007, 15:21
Thanks Dugie! An excellent and evocative poem.

Rgds.

Dave

R651400
26th October 2007, 16:23
R651400,
You quoted the wrong person there, you're referring to Bill Davies, not Steve. Thanks for "corrige" James, indeed I was, with apologies for any misunderstanding to Steve....

Dugie what a superb piece of poetic nostalgia... Sincere thanks

rothesian
26th October 2007, 17:11
Great stuff, Duggie
one I will treasure and keep
Alistair

Santos
26th October 2007, 19:39
I grew up with an Uncle who was with BF and as a kid and teenager, visited many many of their ships. I also met a large number of their staff, both officers, seamen and shore based. As far as I could see, they were more like the RN than the RN for regimentation, rules, protocol and strictness.

Preprepared charts with enforced passing distances etc, sorry, too regimental for me - much prefered to do my own courses and distances and have the Old Mans approval than being sent some office clerks orders who had only ever seen the River Mersey from his office window in India Buildings.

As far as their deck crews being the best - dont think so - there were at that time, many many other fine seamen in other lines too, its just they did not go about bragging about it, they just got on with their jobs. I have no doubt that BF crews were very professional and good seamen, but not the best, just well trained like the majority of seamen of that time.

I sailed with a number of deckies including a Bosun and a Lamptrimmer who where brilliant seamen and who had been with BF and hated the overbearing attitudes which existed there, prefering the more relaxed atmospheres of other lines, this didnt mean they were poor seamen, drinkers or trouble makers, just good seamen not wishing to be regimentated but to be allowed to get on with their job and enjoy doing it.

I was lucky to sail with alot of these men, professionals every one of them, the necessary discipline was there if required but it was hardly ever needed or used. No bullsh1t just personal discipline and pride in their ship.

Chris.

Bison
26th October 2007, 20:48
Saw the Achilles in Brisbane recently, quite a blast from the past. Looking good in Blue Flue colours. Good luck to someone with initiative and tradition

Regards Bison

pete
26th October 2007, 21:49
Dugie, I have never sailed with BF but your poem bought it all back. After 15 years with Bank Line it was a very similar experience which I would never have missed. Thanks for posting that even if it did bring tears to my eyes (not joking)..............pete

Chouan
17th November 2007, 00:00
I grew up with an Uncle who was with BF and as a kid and teenager, visited many many of their ships. I also met a large number of their staff, both officers, seamen and shore based. As far as I could see, they were more like the RN than the RN for regimentation, rules, protocol and strictness.

Preprepared charts with enforced passing distances etc, sorry, too regimental for me - much prefered to do my own courses and distances and have the Old Mans approval than being sent some office clerks orders who had only ever seen the River Mersey from his office window in India Buildings.

As far as their deck crews being the best - dont think so - there were at that time, many many other fine seamen in other lines too, its just they did not go about bragging about it, they just got on with their jobs. I have no doubt that BF crews were very professional and good seamen, but not the best, just well trained like the majority of seamen of that time.

I sailed with a number of deckies including a Bosun and a Lamptrimmer who where brilliant seamen and who had been with BF and hated the overbearing attitudes which existed there, prefering the more relaxed atmospheres of other lines, this didnt mean they were poor seamen, drinkers or trouble makers, just good seamen not wishing to be regimentated but to be allowed to get on with their job and enjoy doing it.

I was lucky to sail with alot of these men, professionals every one of them, the necessary discipline was there if required but it was hardly ever needed or used. No bullsh1t just personal discipline and pride in their ship.

Chris.


I'd always thought that this preprepared chart stuff was a myth!
What was the point of a 2/0 with a Master's ticket if some Office Wallah drew the courses? Strikes me as bullsh1t for its own sake, I'm afraid. With that sort of regimentation, no wonder the company went the way it did!

Bill Davies
17th November 2007, 09:20
Chouan.
In the main you are right. A lot of the myths which were perpetuated about the BF were borne of men who were jealous that they never sailed in that company themselves or were rejected as cadets(there will be baggage somewhere). Or perhaps a dog watch at sea.
I felt it unnecessary to respond to above posts as they were second hand, 'I knew someone ' or 'I heard' and as such were not worthy of reply. This is nostalgia and when I left ' the China' late 61 I moved into a different if not more interesting world and strange as it may sound hardly gave them a thought until retirement two years ago. Permit me to be sentimental after 50 years continuous service.

pilot
17th November 2007, 09:31
Heard that the office drawn courses were linked to the fact that BF carried their own insurance.These courses ensured BF vessels were always on a simiar route/area in case any assistance was required it could be "in house".
Source was a BF. 2/O Rgds.

Chouan
20th November 2007, 10:54
Chouan.
In the main you are right. A lot of the myths which were perpetuated about the BF were borne of men who were jealous that they never sailed in that company themselves or were rejected as cadets(there will be baggage somewhere). Or perhaps a dog watch at sea.
I felt it unnecessary to respond to above posts as they were second hand, 'I knew someone ' or 'I heard' and as such were not worthy of reply. This is nostalgia and when I left ' the China' late 61 I moved into a different if not more interesting world and strange as it may sound hardly gave them a thought until retirement two years ago. Permit me to be sentimental after 50 years continuous service.

Sorry, does this mean that the office ink drawn courses was a myth, which is what I'd thought, or it was true?

Orbitaman
20th November 2007, 11:10
Chouan.
In the main you are right. A lot of the myths which were perpetuated about the BF were borne of men who were jealous that they never sailed in that company themselves or were rejected as cadets(there will be baggage somewhere). Or perhaps a dog watch at sea.
I felt it unnecessary to respond to above posts as they were second hand, 'I knew someone ' or 'I heard' and as such were not worthy of reply. This is nostalgia and when I left ' the China' late 61 I moved into a different if not more interesting world and strange as it may sound hardly gave them a thought until retirement two years ago. Permit me to be sentimental after 50 years continuous service.

The only perpetual myth is that some ex Blue Funnel personnel seem to think that they were a 'cut above' the rest. Strange when you consider that Blue Funnel was one of the first 'great' British shipping companies to go to the wall?

kevinseery
20th November 2007, 20:56
It's not true that all courses were inked on the charts. There were a number of courses that were to be followed, but as has been mentioned elsewhere this was for the purpose of keeping other Company ships within easy range in case of breakdown/emergency. Otherwise it was at the Master's discretion.

pilot
22nd November 2007, 12:02
KevinS.
Thanks for clearing that point up. Rgds.

kradford
14th December 2007, 19:40
If you are baseing your rationale on a company allowing you to take your wife then there is nothing for me to add.

Bill
Bill,
I did my pre sea time at Odyssey works under the guidance of O’Brian;
I became one of OBEE'S Commando’s in 1971.
I sailed and continue to sail with the spirit of India Buildings and Kevin Eder ringing in my ears.
People can say what they like about Blue Funnel Bos’ns but when we got AB’s from the pool they didn’t even speak the same language as the “Bluey Crowd”.

Santos
14th December 2007, 20:54
People can say what they like about Blue Funnel Bos’ns but when we got AB’s from the pool they didn’t even speak the same language as the “Bluey Crowd”.

Which just goes to show as mentioned above, what special people the " Bluey Crowd " thought they were. They were no different to thousands of other sailors throughout the world, never mind the UK.

And no Bill, I dont have any baggage - the fact that people criticise Blue Flu people is not because they are jealous, far from it, they are fed up, just like me, of, as Orbitman says, Blue Flu people thinking and implying they were a cut above the rest. You imply all that by your remarks " I felt it unnecessary to respond to above posts as they were second hand, 'I knew someone ' or 'I heard' and as such were not worthy of reply.

To all ex Blue Funnel sailors, be nostalgic about them by all means, you obviously enjoyed your time with them, and are entitled to that, but dont shove " their supposedly superiority above others " at us because they were not superior to any of us, ever.

Chris.

Graham McMorine
14th December 2007, 22:27
I think some of us are getting a wee bit "up tight" here. We all have memories of our time at sea, be they good or bad. I sailed with BF and never ever considered myself to be better than the next man doing the same job with a different company. Each company had different ways of carrying out there way of working and we where happy to abide by those ways or we moved on.

P.S............Dugie, your poem is superb, brought back many memories. Cheers, Graham.(Thumb)

blobbybluey
14th December 2007, 23:28
(Cloud) one thing that strikes me about this thread,is the misplaced loyalty that some of you afford to the various companies you/we all sailed with do not let us forget these are the same companies who emptied the vast majority of us off the same ships ,traded the red ensign in for a f.o.c and third world crews and wages,i started as one of obees commandos in 1971, stayed for two years,and took my talents elsewhere,b.f/ocean were already in the process of clearing all their ships diversifying when i left and they did have their strange practices i know because i worked in all the other so called great outfits blue star ,psnc,shaw savill et al and believe none of the staff anywhere were better or worse than each other ,only attitudes especially between mates etc and crew were different on some outfits it was real class war attitudes .so pull your horns in and don't brag about "you're" companies because they did and continue to shaft every man and boy of us rant over(Thumb)

sparkie2182
14th December 2007, 23:54
smashing poem dugie..... im not a poem man....but that one is great.

with your permission im going to make a copy, and include it in my christmas card to an old bluie friend.........many years an r/o with ocean fleets.

he was always one to "push" the blue flue......as santos mentions, pretty hard.
most blue funnel men do.........

i take it as akin to "regimental pride" in the army........something wrong if it doesnt exist.

on the topic of pre determined courses/ passing distances.........

my first navigation teacher was an ex blue flue master, who had a complete set of charts for a circumnavigation.
on each, in india ink , were long lines , maximum north/south seperation and full course/distance requirements.
i asked what they were, and it was explained that the ships followed these parameters at all times........ the blue funnel way.

he also told me of the practice of b.f. ships sailing within 48 hours whenever possible to the same destination, thereby being able to render assistance if one ship has problems.......no tugs for them.........:)

no lloyds insurance either.

he always had one credo.........im sure it originated from blue funnel...

"always go by the book.......you cant go far wrong"

R651400
15th December 2007, 06:30
Sparkie2182 your friend will also remember Blue Funnel/GTZB R/O's exchanging regular TR's on 512kc/s giving noon position names of master, 1st and 2nd R/O. I got a rollickin from my chief for having a homeward bounder appear on the horizon without any exchange of TR's. I was let off the hook as this particular ship's R/O preferred to remain silent and was well known for it.

Hugh Ferguson
15th December 2007, 23:31
I cannot understand how there can exist any doubt about Blue Funnel ships and their crews being the best. Just look, for a moment, at their war record.
It is generally accepted that the loss of life in British flag vessels sunk during the war was about 17.5%. In Blue Funnel (a company which lost virtually a half of its huge fleet) the loss was a truly extraordinary figure some 45% less than that. For me,that says it all, and if you took Blue Funnel out of the equation the figure for the British Merchant Service would be even greater than 17.5%.
This remarkable difference was achieved as a result of an early appreciation by Lawrence Holt that most life was lost abandoning a sinking ship. He set up the Outward Bound Sea School and the resulting saving of life was dramatic. Additionally, the ships were better built.
No other shipowner that I have ever heard of did anything remotely similar.
It is ludicrous to suggest that all British ships and seamen were the best and the same whoever they were. Unquestionably, Blue Funnel ships and Blue Funnel crews were the best-you can prove it with simple maths!

sparkie2182
15th December 2007, 23:57
assuming the figures are accurate, does this presuppose the b.f. chinese crew were all trained at the o.b.s.s.???

or are the figures for officers only?

as you point out, almost half of the b.f. fleet was lost anyway, irrespective of the strength of build.

possibly the time taken to abandon ship would be increased with a strong design, but once in the sea, many other factors would have come into play which aberdovy would have done well to replicate.

maybe one of the situations where the use of statistics is misleading.

Bill Davies
16th December 2007, 10:47
Kradford,
Remember Dennis O'Brian when he took over from Mick Brabender early 59.
I seem to remember Kevin Eader was assisted by Adrian Donnan who sustained horrific injuries on the 'Ajax' in 58. Had a pronounced limp. Was he still there in 71?????

Bill Davies
16th December 2007, 11:05
Hugh,
Your point has been well made. There is no substitute for the real thing. Hearsay counts for nothing!

Brgds

Bill

Santos
16th December 2007, 11:21
Sorry Hugh disagree entirely - you cant say that one shipping line was better than another during wartime because it had less casualties - thats an insult to all the sailors that died or sailed on other shipping lines during the war.

The figures purely on casualties is misleading as there were so many different factors in play during the war as to which ships went to differing theatres of war etc

Sorry that does not sway me one inch from my belief that the Blue Flu crews were no better nor worse than any other British crews at any time. To suggest they were better is arrogant and if I may say so very disrespectful to the many thousands of british merchant navy sailors who served the Red Ensign with dignity, great bravery and pride.

I might also add that Lamport & Holt Line who I sailed with in recognition of the trade and employment they brought to the Port of Liverpool, were presented with the City of Liverpool colours, being the only shipping company privileged to fly the Liverpool civic flag from the jackstaff. This was continued right through to the Churchill the last ship of the line. Never saw Blue Flu flying any special flags. I dont however keep going on about L=H being the best.


Chris.

Hugh Ferguson
16th December 2007, 12:43
assuming the figures are accurate, does this presuppose the b.f. chinese crew were all trained at the o.b.s.s.???

or are the figures for officers only?

as you point out, almost half of the b.f. fleet was lost anyway, irrespective of the strength of build.

possibly the time taken to abandon ship would be increased with a strong design, but once in the sea, many other factors would have come into play which aberdovy would have done well to replicate.

maybe one of the situations where the use of statistics is misleading.

Well, it was not me who broached this subject but, as it evidently has taken a place in this thread, I had better do something to support the supposition.
The figure of 17.5% loss is generally regarded as being as accurate as it is possible to assess such an indeterminate number. It evidently came as a surprise to Vice Admiral Sir Peter Gretton, for in his book CRISIS CONVOY, he makes mention of a loss rate of 17% for the British M.N., as being greater than in any of the armed services.
The loss figure for Blue Funnel, as recorded by naval historian, Captain S.W.Roskill, R.N., which includes all ranks, including 170 Chinese deck and engine room hands, gives it as 9%, and that is quite specific.
My old friend, Bill Holman, one time 2nd Lieutenant of that veteran North Atlantic escorting destroyer, HMS VOLUNTEER, never had any hesitation in stating that to see a Blue Funnel ship, almost invariably lead ship in a convoy column, was always reassuring because you knew,from experience, that it was an exceptionally well run shipping company.
How can this be derogatory to other seamen: they couldn't choose the kind of ships they were obliged to go to sea in.

tacho
16th December 2007, 13:30
Here's a thought.

If a ship has an exceptionally able crew they will be at a disadvantage compared with an equivalent crew on a better managed vessel. But you could argue that the worse managed a ship is the better the crew has to be to cope. Does that smooth any feathers...(and ruffle others)?

Re inked track lines. I don't really have a problem with that and have inked in a few myself for repetitive routes. However it's good practice to draw your own tracks in occasionally.

BTW they are tracks aren't they? courses are what you steer tracks are what you (hope to) make good?

Hugh Ferguson
16th December 2007, 14:14
quote from tacho:- "the worse managed a ship is the better the crew has to be to cope". Not true! They then have to suffer the consequences of their misfortune in finding themselves in such a ship, and that in wartime, especially, could cost them their lives.

And as for inked in courses by an office wallah. What a load of nonsense! As a 2nd mate I spent hours laying off courses all around every coast between
here and North Japan; not to mention during the aftermath of the war, plotting the ever changing details of innumerable buoys marking the "cleared" channels all over the North Sea and the approaches to most Japanese ports.
The "inked" in courses on new charts were done by the 2nd mates, and they only related to ocean passages. The idea that charts came aboard the ships with courses already layed is simply, untrue.

tacho
16th December 2007, 14:35
quote from tacho:- "the worse managed a ship is the better the crew has to be to cope". Not true! They then have to suffer the consequences of their misfortune in finding themselves in such a ship, and that in wartime, especially, could cost them their lives.


Hugh I was talking about the quality of the crew not their misfortune or chances of survival.

Bearsie
16th December 2007, 14:41
I wish the man well in using the colors of an old company he likes, perhaps he is trying to set a standard for his ships?
I am sure that HAPAG might be considered a well managed Line along the lines of BF and just as formal / rigid, although they are still in business...
Too formal for me and off onto coasters I went.
The thread has moved quite a bit away from the original intent.
IMO most sailors capabilities probably fall into a narrow range, the rest is management.
Looking at BF war time loss statisctics and after talking to my (paranoid) friends from the KGB and the Stasi I have come to the conclusion the BF was an enemy collaborator !
How else is it explained that BF lost ships all over the place at a rate far higher than anyone else but nary suffered a drowned sailor?

Right there comes the absurdity to the surface when trying to prove the unprovable with statistics...

Bearsie
16th December 2007, 15:13
Skill levels being roughly the same, it comes down to management.
Enforcing details, executing boat and fire drills for real, hiring the same folks over and over, rather than drawing strangers from the "pool'.
The last item alone would make a difference in the daily operation of a ship, or anything else for that matter, since you will have a well oiled team rather then a bunch of strangers, regardless of skill level this will make a huge difference, especially in a panic type situation.
But these differences are created by actions of upper management, not a difference in skills by the folks that do the actual work...
If my management does not give me the required tools and supplies to do my job right my knowledge becomes rather meaningless, no matter how deep it is.

kradford
16th December 2007, 15:13
Bill,
Kevin Eader was the BF rep until I left in 78. His Ed's counterpart Was Ernie ?
great days. You could go into India buildings and they would ask you where you wanted to go? with whom? and what ship? not these days, seaman have to wait for ships.

sparkie2182
16th December 2007, 19:51
well made points bearsie...........

and i thought TRACKS were what bearsies make in the snow..........:)

Hugh Ferguson
16th December 2007, 20:06
In its simplest terms, good ships attract good crews. I doubt that Blue Funnel stopped the pay of seamen whose ship had been sunk.

Santos
16th December 2007, 20:19
When any british merchant ship was sunk, the seaman’s pay stopped on the day of the sinking. He did not receive any more pay until he joined another ship. The seaman was given 30 days survivor’s leave, dated from the day his ship was sunk. This leave was unpaid. It only meant that he didn’t have to report back to the pool for 30 days. If he spent 10 or 15 days in a lifeboat, or on a life raft, that time in the boat was counted as survivor’s leave.

The rules were changed in May 1941 and a seaman was then paid until his return to his sign on port. This applied to all Shipping Companies including I imagine Blue Flu.

Chris.

Bill Davies
16th December 2007, 20:31
Hugh,

I can confirm that Blue Funnel did not stop the pay of seamen whose ships had been sunk. And I am not talking 'hearsay' or 'second hand'.

Brgds

Bill

Santos
16th December 2007, 20:35
Where can we view this info Bill ?

Bill Davies
16th December 2007, 21:14
Kradford,
I am sure they were great days. Not too sure how things will have worked out with EDs. Were the crews interchangeable?? Can't imagine 'the China old hands' taking to the West Coast very easily. I think one of your previous post summed up the BF training very well but alas rather foreign to some.

Bill

sparkie2182
16th December 2007, 21:24
alas indeed..........

amazing how the queen elizabeth and queen mary sailed further than calshott without the benefit of b.f. training.

happy christmas to all on this enduring thread..........:)

Chouan
16th December 2007, 21:26
I cannot understand how there can exist any doubt about Blue Funnel ships and their crews being the best. Just look, for a moment, at their war record.
It is generally accepted that the loss of life in British flag vessels sunk during the war was about 17.5%. In Blue Funnel (a company which lost virtually a half of its huge fleet) the loss was a truly extraordinary figure some 45% less than that. For me,that says it all, and if you took Blue Funnel out of the equation the figure for the British Merchant Service would be even greater than 17.5%.
This remarkable difference was achieved as a result of an early appreciation by Lawrence Holt that most life was lost abandoning a sinking ship. He set up the Outward Bound Sea School and the resulting saving of life was dramatic. Additionally, the ships were better built.
No other shipowner that I have ever heard of did anything remotely similar.
It is ludicrous to suggest that all British ships and seamen were the best and the same whoever they were. Unquestionably, Blue Funnel ships and Blue Funnel crews were the best-you can prove it with simple maths!

So simple maths means that if one is sailing on a bulk carrier with a cargo of manganese ore, or iron ore, then it is one's own fault that the life expectancy of such a ship once it is torpedoed is about 35 seconds. Oh, but of course BF didn't have bulk carriers.
Or of course if one was on a tanker carrying aviaton spirit, then one's survival chances may also have been significantly less.
Similarly, once the Ministry of War Transport or whatever its name was took over, and you sailed on whichever ship you were told to, or were placed there by the filth, would rather dilute any company's organisation somewhat.
Penultimately, the fact that BF also had chinese crews makes the unprovable assertion that their British crews were the best somewhat redundant. If they were so good, why did BF employ Chinese?
Finally, with some level of irony, if BF officers and crews were the best, it must have been a particularly bitter pill for them when they were shafted along with all of the other "good" Britsh Officers and crews in the later 1970's and early1980's.
I for one, with no "baggage", grew a little tired of the endless message of BF superiority when I was at Riversdale, from the Ocean Fleets Cadets, who seemed to have inherited BF's hubris. I could see no justification for their arrogance then, and I can so no evidence for it now, beyond a seemingly endlessly repeated mantra of "we were the best".

Bill Davies
16th December 2007, 21:30
Amen.

Chouan
16th December 2007, 21:51
In case any of the BF enthusiasts have missed the point, is there any chance of anything beyond assertion? ie. some kind of evidence of superiority? And I'm afraid that crew having to put up with more bulls**t and Officers having to have superior tickets doesn't quite cut it.
I've got no particular axe to grind with BF as a company, I even used to like the look of their ships, I just don't like people claiming that they're better than everybody else without justification.

tacho
16th December 2007, 22:41
Oh well!

Chouan seems to be ahead on points.

No doubt the BF crowd will come back fighting after a good night's sleep.

demodocus
16th December 2007, 22:59
You folks are supposed to mature, intelligent men and yet you're all acting like a bunch of schoolboys at playtime.

Grow up, the bloody lot of you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

trotterdotpom
16th December 2007, 23:04
...
Not too sure how things will have worked out with EDs. Were the crews interchangeable?? Can't imagine 'the China old hands' taking to the West Coast very easily....
Bill

Could it be that the "China Hands" were "inked in" by the office, the same as their charts were? Versitility is an asset too.

John T.

BeerSailor
16th December 2007, 23:34
In case any of the BF enthusiasts have missed the point, is there any chance of anything beyond assertion? ie. some kind of evidence of superiority? And I'm afraid that crew having to put up with more bulls**t and Officers having to have superior tickets doesn't quite cut it.
I've got no particular axe to grind with BF as a company, I even used to like the look of their ships, I just don't like people claiming that they're better than everybody else without justification.
Very well said. The more we hear from the BF boys the more lucky I feel to have survived 14 yrs at sea without the benefit of their fantastic training. If I had known all this as a lad I certainly would have had second thoughts about entrusting myself to such a relatively dubious outfit as NZSC/Federal and then P&O. I am slightly puzzled about the use of Chinese crew in BF. Surely BF would not have employed Chinese crew just because they were cheaper? And did they receive the same fantastically superior training?

sparkie2182
16th December 2007, 23:38
blue funnel doing things on the cheap????????????????????????????


consider yourself logged beersailor.............

Santos
16th December 2007, 23:43
Never mind growing up demodocus, we all sailed together as the British Merchant Navy, Blue Flu were no better than anybody else, everyone was proud to serve under the Red Duster, I know I was there and we were loyal too, if anybody was in trouble ashore in a foreign land everyone would help no matter what company they sailed for. The rivalry was great and also caused great fun but we supported each other no matter what.

Its disgusting that now its all over and gone, that Blue Flu personnel should think of themselves as a cut above the rest. Take it from me and I hope alot of others, they were not, they were British Merchant sailors visiting foreign lands and navigating the world oceans just like the rest of us.

Chris.

sparkie2182
17th December 2007, 00:02
pride in any company is fine............

but the greatest pride is that of the red duster...............

we all share that.


interestingly, this doesnt seem to have been shared too much by the directors of the many companies which we now hold so dear.
many individuals held multiple directorships in british shipping companies..........it was simply a good investment.

i doubt they would have exchanged blows over the xmas brandy.

but i still think its what makes the seafarer a little different.............


best regards to all.................

demodocus
17th December 2007, 02:31
G'day Sparkie,


but the greatest pride is that of the red duster...............
we all share that.

Not quite all. Frinstance I went to sea because (in the late 1950's) it was either that or go into John Summers Ironworks. Going to sea was a JOB for me, not some exhibition of national pride. Since then I've sailed under the flags of Panama, Liberia, Holland, and Australia and I feel no more affinity with those nations than I do with Britain or my current host (Australia).

interestingly, this doesnt seem to have been shared too much by the directors of the many companies which we now hold so dear. Many individuals held multiple directorships in british shipping companies..........it was simply a good investment.

"Simply a good investment". Let me take you down the investment road.

Investing in a ship(s) is a risky venture. Apart from the ordinary hazards of any maritime venture such as weather, wreck, lack of cargo, downturn in world trade, war and so on you have to (under some circumstances) put up the value of your ship and insure it.

You can get 6% investing safely in (almost) riskless bonds, so you want a better return than that. By taking, say, a property mortgage risk you can get between 10% and 12%. By taking on sea-going voyage risks then you want an IRR of 15% at worst and 20% on average.

The price $$$/dwt of Panamax carriers used to fluctuate in a pretty good representation of a sine curve with a wavelength of +/- 4 years and took no notice of the age of the vessel (<10 yrs old). So the smart Owner/investor would buy at (hopefully) the bottom of the cycle, then trade/charter the vessel for 2 or so years, and sell at the top taking a nice capital gain in a benign tax jurisdiction. Of course you must maintain the vessel to a reasonable (but not excessive) standard in the interim.

Now, if you're a smart cookie what you do is buy the vessel(s) and then immediately sell them to a bank and lease them back with a guaranteed repurchase price on yearly options. So you can lock in, say, 10% profit, and do an interest rate swap for a few % more. If we stick 3 Germans on the bridge, 3 Swedes down the E/R, and a gang of Filippinos everywhere else we stand to make +/- 15% p.a. plus our capital gain. We used to do this and charter into Senator Line ex Hamburg.

Capital sails under no national flag. You see, modern shipping is really all about managing/minimising RISK to make profit and nothing to do with some long gone, teary eyed image of happy sailors dancing the hornpipe under the Red Duster. Get it wrong and you've lost the whole box and dice.

Blue Funnel simply didn't manage market risk. The market changed very rapidly (overnight in shipping terms), they were stuck with a whole lot of unamortised/undepreciated capital on their books, several "wrong" newbuildings, and a huge ongoing and recurring personnel cost. A recipe for disaster.

Were Blue Funnel any better or worse than other companies?? I don't know. Jobs were done differently in each of my subsequent companies. Sometimes I was able to show them better/safer ways of doing things, sometimes they taught me. BF obviously managed to generate loyalty in those who stayed with them and who were subsequently made redundant. I was loyal to Star when I was there, and I was loyal to Smit and Atlantic Richfield when I was there.

I would suggest that all this nonsense about who was the best 50 years ago be left to die and moulder away. The world has changed and life is too short to live in the past.

Bill Davies
17th December 2007, 09:06
pride in any company is fine............

but the greatest pride is that of the red duster...............

we all share that.

................

Possibly when it was worth being proud of but, seeing it is a FOC and nothing more I would suggest your sentimentality is misplaced.

tacho
17th December 2007, 09:23
You folks are supposed to mature, intelligent men and yet you're all acting like a bunch of schoolboys at playtime.

Grow up, the bloody lot of you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Reply With Quote

The trouble is that it's much more fun not growing up! Now in my 60s and have managed to avoid growing up so far - will put it off as long as possible.

Santos
17th December 2007, 10:08
G'day Sparkie,

Were Blue Funnel any better or worse than other companies?? I don't know. Jobs were done differently in each of my subsequent companies. Sometimes I was able to show them better/safer ways of doing things, sometimes they taught me. BF obviously managed to generate loyalty in those who stayed with them and who were subsequently made redundant. I was loyal to Star when I was there, and I was loyal to Smit and Atlantic Richfield when I was there.

I would suggest that all this nonsense about who was the best 50 years ago be left to die and moulder away. The world has changed and life is too short to live in the past.

Hear Hear well said, - be nostalgic by all means - but dont start on about BF being better than everyone else.

Chris.

K urgess
17th December 2007, 11:04
When I went to sea ('66) Blue Funnel were obviously on their way out so they don't really mean an awful lot to me. By the time I'd finished my first trip (Hungry Hogarth's) the next "best thing since sliced bread" had taken over and become the butt of all the jokes. That was P&O who thought they were a cut above the rest of us or so the scuttlebut had it.
Not something that occupied our time as we got on with our jobs.
Being an umpteenth generation ordinary seagoing joe I was happy to be at sea and it was not "just a job" until the last days when none of my predecessors would have recognised the life. I'd done it, I'd been there and I'd stepped up from the generations of fishermen and deckhands to become an "Officer".
So from my point of view the British Merchant Navy and "the good old days" faded away before my eyes in my 11 years at sea. Just as the people in the decades before me thought their time at sea was the best time to be there, so did I. Anyone that came after didn't know what they'd missed.
To get back to the topic of this thread. I hate to see Bankboats with funny funnels and Russian crews but the life I had is dead and can be no more.
If some shipowner wants to make his boats look like the Blue Flue of old then I think it's a fitting tribute to an old traditional shipping company. It cannot however be compared to the old company just as Bankline and the other present day survivors cannot be compared to those of days gone by.

Chouan
17th December 2007, 20:12
Kradford,
I am sure they were great days. Not too sure how things will have worked out with EDs. Were the crews interchangeable?? Can't imagine 'the China old hands' taking to the West Coast very easily. I think one of your previous post summed up the BF training very well but alas rather foreign to some.

Bill

Rather defeats your argument I think. If BF were so good, they would, or should, have taken to anything with ease, otherwise what would have been the point of their "superiority"?

sparkie2182
17th December 2007, 21:13
demodocus point about letting the past die away seems to defeat the title of this site.

the concept of shipping company directors investing even though they dont believe it to be " a good investment".......seems a little difficult to follow.

the sense of pride, or lack of it, in ones national maritime ensign is entirely for the individual

Santos
17th December 2007, 21:31
Sparkie,

In fairness to demodocus I think that he was refering to the unecessary bulling up and sanctifying of BF personnel rather than the true nostalgia of our maritime history.

Chris.

sparkie2182
17th December 2007, 21:40
upon re-reading the first paragraph ........ i cant agree santos.
nevertheless, as i said, it is a matter for the individual.

Hugh Ferguson
19th December 2007, 11:52
I'd completely forgotten that we now live in the age of debunking elitism: there must be no losers and no winners. So, let us all get into our Mao suits and if you see anything, or anyone, around who appears to be exhibiting a vaguely superior aura, make sure you bring him, or it, down to size.
I am reminded of that era in Mao's China when somebody wearing spectacles, thus giving the impression that he read books, ran the risk of having them torn off his face and smashed. That's all history in China now but still appears to exist in some dark corners elsewhere.

Chouan
19th December 2007, 12:28
I'd completely forgotten that we now live in the age of debunking elitism: there must be no losers and no winners. So, let us all get into our Mao suits and if you see anything, or anyone, around who appears to be exhibiting a vaguely superior aura, make sure you bring him, or it, down to size.
I am reminded of that era in Mao's China when somebody wearing spectacles, thus giving the impression that he read books, ran the risk of having them torn off his face and smashed. That's all history in China now but still appears to exist in some dark corners elsewhere.

Not at all. But, if somebody flaunts an air of superiority, in that they make an assertion that they are superior to everybody else, the least that one can expect is some measure of justification.

If, based on your profile, you claimed to be the best Trinity House Pilot, or claimed that Trinity House Pilots are the best, we should expect you to make good your claim with some kind of evidence or justification, rather than your simple unsubstantiated assertion. If you did make an unsubstantiated assertion you could expect to put other members who are Pilots backs up by an assumption of superiority which always comes with an implicit assumption that others are inferior.

Nothing to do with a Maoist agenda, just a kind of "put up or shut up".

tacho
19th December 2007, 12:38
The Title of this Thread is "Blue funnel Reborn"?

Well I don't know if it's being reborn or not ? But it sure isn't going away.

Bill Davies
21st December 2007, 09:11
That for sure!!

rummager
21st December 2007, 10:15
I never sailed with BF or with anyone else other than on the Mersey for HMCE. But my favourite sight was a BF fully laden coming up the Mersey in the morning sun.

Rummager

Hugh Ferguson
21st December 2007, 21:26
To achieve a better understanding of the problems confronting shipowners during those years of decline I would suggest reading these two books. The first is, "A Tale of Two Ports" (London & Southampton), by John Hovey, ISBN 0-85290-908X, published in 1990. And the second, which is more to do with Blue Funnel is, "There Go The Ships", by Marshall Meek, ISBN 1-84104-045-2,
published in 2003.
I cannot think of a better way in which to acquaint yourself with the facts.

Bill Davies
22nd December 2007, 09:23
Hugh,

Thanks for the information.Always receptive to other views in this topic.

Bill

Chouan
22nd December 2007, 09:33
Are these the facts that led to the decline in British shipping? Or are these the facts that establish BF's superiority?
Which argument/question are you responding to?

Hugh Ferguson
22nd December 2007, 12:21
The facts referred to in the two books (A Tale Of Two Ports & There Go The Ships) were those presented by two totally fair and unprejudiced professional people who each possessed a huge experience of the subjects they wrote about.
The superiority of the Blue Funnel Line is my view, and that is beyond dispute, following their quite remarkable wartime record of having a personnel fatality rate 45% lower than the norm. This was achieved in a shipping company that had more ships involved in the notoriously hazardous Malta convoys, than any other, losing 3 fine ships and having others damaged.
That to me was the result, first and foremost, of excellent and caring management, followed by fine ships manned by well trained and dedicated seamen.

cheddarnibbles
22nd December 2007, 12:43
I'd completely forgotten that we now live in the age of debunking elitism: there must be no losers and no winners. So, let us all get into our Mao suits and if you see anything, or anyone, around who appears to be exhibiting a vaguely superior aura, make sure you bring him, or it, down to size.
.

It's not about superiority; it's about nostalgia and that special inner feeling experienced ,by anyone who sailed with BF, when one of those majestic ships approached.

Santos
22nd December 2007, 13:47
I still disagree no matter what you all say that BF crews were a cut above everyone else, that is an insult to all the other crews in all the other shipping companies. I have no doubt they were well trained but so were 90% of other crews in the other shipping companies too.

As I said before, be nostalgic yes by all means thats your right, but dont keep pushing this I am more superior than thou attitude, because you are not and never were.

Chris.

K urgess
22nd December 2007, 15:09
Is it not a fact that Blue Funnel only carried general cargoes during the war?
Is it not also a fact that the highest attrition rate was vessels carrying bulk cargos?
Particularly iron ore where the chances of survival because of sinking times was virtually zero.
Can anyone honestly say that if Blue Funnel had carried iron or other ores or had tankers in their fleet, that their record of survival would have been as impressive?

cheddarnibbles
22nd December 2007, 17:59
Can anyone honestly say that if Blue Funnel had carried iron or other ores or had tankers in their fleet, that their record of survival would have been as impressive?

Don't forget some of them (and a few Glens).

Because of their robust, rivetted construction and turn of speed.........
They were converted to aircraft carriers . They survived !!!!!

BeerSailor
22nd December 2007, 18:25
Its no good, they will never give up.
Now I am trying to work out how I enjoyed myself so much with NZS. Probably because I had no idea at the time that BF were so much better with a superior calibre of seamen.
I do remember a seafaring uncle warning me off BF when I went to sea (1967) because they were going down the plughole faster than most.

Hugh Ferguson
22nd December 2007, 18:40
Is it not a fact that Blue Funnel only carried general cargoes during the war?
Is it not also a fact that the highest attrition rate was vessels carrying bulk cargos?
Particularly iron ore where the chances of survival because of sinking times was virtually zero.
Can anyone honestly say that if Blue Funnel had carried iron or other ores or had tankers in their fleet, that their record of survival would have been as impressive?

Apart from tankers few ships carried bulk cargoes in those days. I can only call to mind one account of someone I knew (a pilot colleague), escaping from the 4256grt. Zouave, loaded with iron ore. So much depended on which compartment a ship was hit in and, especially, on the weather prevailing. Nothing to Russia carried a bulk cargo such as iron ore, and many of the convoys I experienced seemed largely composed of Liberty ships loaded with war material.
Given the choice I think I would have preferred to take my chances in something not loaded with explosives and aviation spirit in drums, such as the S.S&A. Waimerama which blew up and disappeared in minutes, but from which there were some survivors.
The only tanker I ever saw in flames was loaded with 100 octane aviation spirit. Forty years after I was in correspondence with one of her survivors (a radio officer) and he told me that they lost about 40 men, but he was one of about 17 who, instead of jumping into the sea, launched a boat and survived.
The famed Ohio, loaded with a mixed cargo of petrol and diesel survived bombs, a torpedo and even a crashed German aircraft on her deck and arrived in Malta, literally, floating on her cargo. The San Demetrio was another
saga of a tanker on fire, being reboarded by survivors who extinguished the fire and got the ship in.
Whatever, you took your chance and I believe the Blue Funnel figures speak for themselves-9% compared to 17.5% is a collossal difference.

K urgess
22nd December 2007, 19:17
Being in the middle of reading "The Real Cruel Sea" by Richard Woodman it strikes me that the survival rate in the first few years of the war was dependent on the type of vessel and the cargo carried.
Time after time he quotes figures of survivors from every vessel sunk. He names the Captain and any other officers if they are named in the reports.
Apart from the appalling odds on engine room personnel surviving a torpedoing he emphasises the lack of survivors from vessels carrying heavy ores.
The Zouave sank very rapidly after being torpedoed at 2015 hours with the loss of 12 men. Captain W. H. Cambridge and 29 others were picked up. The survival rate in this instance probably due to the early hour.
They were part of SC122 and the last real Atlantic Battle in mid-March 1943.

Several vessels from other companies were converted into aircraft carriers. Portline springs to mind.

tacho
22nd December 2007, 20:33
Blue Funnel seems to have been a unique organisation which inspired considerable loyalty among it's crews. If it had survived by adapting sooner and better to new conditions perhaps it would no longer have been the Blue Flue we all know and (well some of us anyway) love.

Santos
22nd December 2007, 20:57
I dont know about unique - it was an organisation just like Bank Line, Clan Line, Anchor Line, T.J. Harrisons, Ellermans, Bibby, Shell, BP et al , I dont hear any of their ex members saying they were the best sailors in the Merchant Navy.

They, I presume, just like me accept that we all were sailors employed to do a job to the best of our ability, enjoy life and fight the common foe, the sea in all its moods, not shout about how much better we were than anyone else.

Chris.

sparkie2182
22nd December 2007, 23:25
the following link illustrates a tanker with dummy upperworks intended to disguise itself as a freighter (as per blue funnel)

http://iancoombe.tripod.com/id50.html

this of course was because the u boat arm of the kriegsmarine considered the "oiler" to be a choice target, and was at the top on the death list of any u boat captain.

the life expectancy of a tanker loaded with aviation fuel when stricken was seconds, the fate of the souls onboard too grievous to dwell upon........
seamanship skills, superior or inferior, no longer required.

these two simple and well known facts call the oft quoted statistics on survival rates on this thread into ridicule.

many a tankerman would have exchanged his ships silhouette for that of any freighter ( b.f. included).....indeed , in desperation, this is what they attempted to do.

raw % data is rarely the full story.......in this case it isnt even half the story.

the fact that b.f. itself took lost so many ships should be an indicator of how many others suffered far worse fates, and never even survived to abandon ship.


more thought is required than the repetition of figures.

Chouan
23rd December 2007, 01:03
The facts referred to in the two books (A Tale Of Two Ports & There Go The Ships) were those presented by two totally fair and unprejudiced professional people who each possessed a huge experience of the subjects they wrote about.
The superiority of the Blue Funnel Line is my view, and that is beyond dispute, following their quite remarkable wartime record of having a personnel fatality rate 45% lower than the norm. This was achieved in a shipping company that had more ships involved in the notoriously hazardous Malta convoys, than any other, losing 3 fine ships and having others damaged.
That to me was the result, first and foremost, of excellent and caring management, followed by fine ships manned by well trained and dedicated seamen.

Statistics themselves are worthless. It is the interpretation of statistics that makes them of value.

As has been pointed out by me and others, cargo, point of hit of torpedo, condition of loading, weather conditions, and other factors are all involved in survival of crews of stricken ships.

The suggestion that because BF ships had a better survival rate after being hit meant that their Officers and crews were therefore better than the rest of the Merch is an offensive statement to make.

It both insulting and demeaning to the rest of the Merch who were apparently unable to control the cargo of the ships they sailed on, or the weather they sailed in.

Are you suggesting, as your quote concludes, that BF's crew's and ship's survival rate was through "excellent and caring management, followed by fine ships manned by well trained and dedicated seamen", which rather suggests that other companies lacked these splendid qualities?

This is arrogance, and I can only describe it as arrogance. There is nothing in your comments in this thread to justify your viewpoint. Your assertions argue that because BF's survival rate was better, then the rest of the Merch was inferior. Inferior both in training and dedication. Can you not see how insulting this is to the memory of 37,000 Merchant seamen?

cheddarnibbles
23rd December 2007, 11:23
Its no good, they will never give up.
Now I am trying to work out how I enjoyed myself so much with NZS. Probably because I had no idea at the time that BF were so much better with a superior calibre of seamen.
I do remember a seafaring uncle warning me off BF when I went to sea (1967) because they were going down the plughole faster than most.

No, they probably never will give up.

When I switched from BF to NZS in 1962, life at sea became very different and a mostly more relaxed and enjoyable experience.
Not least because a standard 'Shipping Conference' type round voyage from the UK to Antipodes now took 5 months as opposed to 3 months on an H class Bluey.
Now I am trying to work out why I am labelled 'arrogant' when I quote the statistics. There can be no comparisons.....the figures speak for themselves.

Santos
23rd December 2007, 11:24
This is arrogance, and I can only describe it as arrogance. There is nothing in your comments in this thread to justify your viewpoint. Your assertions argue that because BF's survival rate was better, then the rest of the Merch was inferior. Inferior both in training and dedication. Can you not see how insulting this is to the memory of 37,000 Merchant seamen?

Hear Hear Chouan very well said (Applause)

Chris

tacho
23rd December 2007, 11:34
excellent and caring management, followed by fine ships manned by well trained and dedicated seamen

I had nothing to do with BF but I think that the statement above is probably more true of that company than many others.

The WW2 survival statistics are so stark as to outweigh other factors such as cargo, weather etc ... etc; however interpreted.

I believe that the reason for BF's superiority (I think they were superior) was that their founder was primarily an engineer and had served an apprenticeship; as such, he approached the business of running steamships in a practical way and with an enthusiasm at varience with the more mercantile traits of other companies.

Having said all that to say that every Holt's seaman was superior to every other seaman or even that the crew of every Holt's ship was better than the crew of any other ship would be wrong, and
the disciplined way in which BF was run would not suit every individual (myself included). However in general BF probably had better trained crews manning better built, managed and maintained vessels hence the statistics.

BTW good potted history of Blue Flue here (http://www.rakaia.co.uk/downloads/alfred-holt-and-co-history.pdf)

Bill Davies
23rd December 2007, 15:21
Tacho,

Balanced and well written post!

Bill

Orbitaman
23rd December 2007, 16:49
Tacho,

Balanced and well written post!

Bill

Sadly I cannot agree. The survival statistics are not the only consideration that can be taken into account and the cargoes, weather, and vessel types have a much greater impact on the chances of survival than has been considered in tachos post.

Again and again we return to the myth that Blue Funnels crews were better trained than anyone else in the British Merchant Navy and that Blue Funnels management and vessel design were superior, all based solely on the views in general of ex Blue funnel personnel, who without doubt would in no way be biased towards their former employers.

It's a sad fact that the 'allegedly' best managed, designed and manned fleet in the British Merchant was one of the first to go to the wall - a statistic that speaks volumes in itself.

So long as there remain former Blue Funnel employees on this planet, the superior attitude will continue.

tacho
23rd December 2007, 18:44
Again and again we return to the myth that Blue Funnels crews were better trained than anyone else in the British Merchant Navy and that Blue Funnels management and vessel design were superior,

BF had their own shore based training establishment for ratings not many (any ?) other companies did. This is testament to the fact that they had a interest in employing good crews . Also it is generally accepted by everyone (except a few die hards on SN) that their ships were built way above spec. They were certainly some of the best (if not the best) looking ships in the British Merchant Fleet.

The BF business model could not survive the stripped down, flagged out, and fragmented environment that is today's shipping industry. That is no reflection on the company as it once was.

Peter Wearing
23rd December 2007, 18:59
Wow, Internet fisty cuffs (EEK)
Guess Speed Ferries does'nt quite make it(==D)

Sister Eleff
23rd December 2007, 19:14
Statistics themselves are worthless. It is the interpretation of statistics that makes them of value.

Statistics can be interpreted (by the good interpreter of such) to display any argument, in any light, eg politicians have a way of trying to explain a bad stat. with a positive light, which leaves one breathless at the gall but some will fall for it.

Surely gentlemen, it is good to have pride in one's former company - speak to a BI man & his was the best (I am not trying to start another argument here just using an example!). So please don't get so snappy with each other it doesn't do your blood pressure any good - or change the facts for that matter.

Santos
23rd December 2007, 19:28
Aye you are right - anyway I will remember it as BF stands for more than Blue Funnel. (POP) and now to a much more rewarding thread, Tongas quiz.

Hugh Ferguson
24th December 2007, 11:46
How strange it is that the very mention of Blue Funnel excites such animosity. Can you believe that it even crosses borders!
A Dutch friend of mine on joining the Schelde river pilot service was accosted by a colleague who, recognising the name, asked him if his father had been a master in the Dutch arm of the Blue Funnel Line. Yes, said my friend, he was, and then as an afterthought asked him if he would be holding it against him. YES, was the emphatic response!!!
But, to take this away from Blue Funnel's magnificent war record let me take you to Aden in 1955 when, during that year, more than 5,000 of the finest passenger liners and cargo carrying vessels of a multitude of nationalities were piloted in and out of that port.
Quite often, and especially on a stinking hot blowy afternoon during August (S.W. monsoon weather), a pilot would return from a difficult job, saying,
"That was NO Blue Funnel boat". It was common parlance, to be heard from any of the pilots who had probably never known anything whatsoever of Blue Funnel until he started piloting.
Blue Funnel was a byword, a yardstick of excellence recognised and accepted by all and sundry whatever their previous seagoing experience.
I wouldn't mind having a fiver for every time I heard those words fall from a pilot's lips. I didn't invent the phrase. No one in that service ever took it out on us, or made sarcastic remarks, to me and Graham Allen who were the two Blue Funnel men amongst the 13 working pilots who came from-if I remember rightly-B.I., B.P., Clan, N.Z.S., Anchor Line, Paddy Henderson and a few others that I cannot recall.
Says it all, I would think!

BeerSailor
24th December 2007, 12:15
Hugh -
Surely time to lay this to rest, there can be nothing new to add. There are members who disagree with the BF stance and nothing will change that however many repetitive posts are placed. I will be very happy to view
BF postings and hope that we do not continue down this route in the new year.
Happy Christmas!
and best wishes to all for the New Year.

Chouan
24th December 2007, 13:47
Interesting, Hugh, that you put "dedication" as a factor in BF crew's survival rate, as opposed to that of other companies. Is that dedication to survival? Dedication to commerce? Dedication to BF?

I'd hate to think that my father's cousin, the sole survivor of the sinking of the "Arabistan" in 1942, lost his shipmates through their inferior training and dedication, rather than the "Michel"'s 6" guns at point blank range followed by a torpedo.

Similarly, those who had the misfortune to be torpedoed whilst on a ship carrying iron or manganese ore, going down in about 35 seconds, can owe their deaths to their companies' inferior management, and their inferior training and dedication.

Finally, following your argument logically, the RAF, Army and RN all had superior management, training and "dedication" (whatever you mean by that) to BF, because, statistically, their losses were lighter than BF's. That includes Army conscripts.

Santos
24th December 2007, 15:37
How strange it is that the very mention of Blue Funnel excites such animosity.

Not strange Hugh, not strange at all. Have you considered it might well be because ex BF personnel go around thinking and telling everyone they are and were a cut above everyone else who sailed on the high seas. Bound to attract animosity dont you think.

Chris.

duquesa
24th December 2007, 16:08
I have observed this thread from the sidelines since it started. It was clearly destined from the early postings to get up the backs of many. Some of the views expressed are so biased they will never sit comfortably with everyone neither will there be any victors. Let those who sailed under the BF banner enjoy their memories. Those of us who sailed with other equally fine companies, on equally well-found ships and with many of the most professional,loyal and dedicated seafarers on the high seas, will cherish our service without the apparent need to blow our trumpets. As has been said by others, no purpose is being served apart from the unnecessary raising of blood pressure for some. This is a discourse which is becoming increasingly ridiculous and it is indeed time to attach a large sinker and submerge it for good.

trotterdotpom
24th December 2007, 16:31
As they would most likely say in the once great Stag Line family: "Haddaway an' shite!"

John T.

R651400
24th December 2007, 18:06
I believe that the reason for BF's superiority (I think they were superior) was that their founder was primarily an engineer and had served an apprenticeship; as such, he approached the business of running steamships in a practical way and with an enthusiasm at varience with the more mercantile traits of other companies. here (http://www.rakaia.co.uk/downloads/alfred-holt-and-co-history.pdf)

Alfred Holt may have been briefly rpt briefly at the fore-front of ship engine design for his time, but to say his running of steamships gave Blue Funnel the edge is rowlocks.
Without agents such as Guthrie, Mansfield and the brilliant John Swire of Butterfield and Swire, Holt's Alfred and Philip would have sunk into oblivion irrespective of how they engined their ships.
The Holts pale into insignificance in mercantile terms when you compare them with Cayzer who with Irvine created Clan Line and had the largest fleet ever sailing under the Red Duster at any one time.

makko
24th December 2007, 18:08
It is amazing just how this thread has morphed out of all recognition from the original post.

All the usual suspects too...............................................

Deseo una feliz navidad y un prospero año nuevo a todos. Tal vez el año entrante, podemos evitar este tipo de situacion que yo, por uno, encuentro totalmente innecesario y fuera de lugar.

Dave

demodocus
24th December 2007, 20:14
This is a discourse which is becoming increasingly ridiculous and it is indeed time to attach a large sinker and submerge it for good.

Hear hear !!!

quietman
24th December 2007, 20:32
As its the season of goodwill and peace to mankind could'nt we all just live and let live, enjoy our memories of bygone times and those of others and end this thread on a friendly note. Merry Christmas to you all.

joebuckham
24th December 2007, 21:11
yes good idea quietman compliments of the season to one and all
after all we are all jock thompsons bairns

maybe next year i`ll tell you all about the thistle boat academy(Thumb)

K urgess
24th December 2007, 21:20
Being the best sparkie that ever sailed the seven seas for the best radio company there ever was I can sympathise with the Blue Flue guys.[=P]

The point is we all had a good time. If we didn't we were in the wrong job.
We all sailed for the best shipping companies since sliced bread with the best blokes on the best ships on the best runs ever and nuts to the others.

Those that never sailed in those days will be looking at all these posts and wondering what bunch of nuts went before them and concluding that it's no wonder the Merchant Navy went down the tubes.

God Jul og Godt Nyttar til alle.

Santos
24th December 2007, 21:33
God Jul og Godt Nyttar til alle. ??????????????????

Those that never sailed in those days will be looking at all these posts and wondering what bunch of nuts went before them and concluding that it's no wonder the Merchant Navy went down the tubes

Sorry, dont agree, I for one cant stand the arrogance from people who were a tiny minority ( thank goodness ) of the worlds seamen and who insult all those very professional seamen from all those other fine British and Foreign shipping companies that sailed the seas in those times, by saying they were superior. I have said it twice before and now say it again for the last time,( great I hear you all say ) BE NOSTALGIC BY ALL MEANS, THAT IS YOUR RIGHT, BUT DONT INSULT US ALL BY SAYING YOU WERE THE BEST - BECAUSE YOU WERE NOT AND NEVER WILL BE>

And a Merry Christmas to all.

Chris.

DavidI
24th December 2007, 21:34
Having just joined this blog I'm heartened to note that the ability of my fellow merchantmen to brew a storm out of nothing is undimminished. I remember hours of arguing about such matters in the various bars both ashore and afloat around the globe with fondness. What a brilliant experience it all was whatever the company!

Regards

David

K urgess
24th December 2007, 21:37
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all, Chris.
Just reciprocating Dave's Spanish greeting earlier.

Salaams
Kris

tacho
26th December 2007, 10:30
From "History of Alfred Holt and Company"
Alfred had designed a new type of compound tandem steam
engine, and sea trials of this were carried out in the Cleator in December of that year.

It was this engine that enabled steamships to compete as far afield as China, I guess if Alfred hadn't done this - Swire, Cayzer and co would have had to wait a little longer to get rich.

Anyone who reads the history of BF can only conclude that this was a remarkable company. I don't suppose their demise has made things better for people at sea

Orbitaman
26th December 2007, 11:08
BF may have been a remarkable company, but others were also remarkable in making various innovations during the 19th and 20th Centuries. The demise of BF made no difference to those at sea apart from those who were unfortunate enough to work for BF!

Bill Davies
26th December 2007, 19:20
Tacho,

Whilst the great majority of the viewers on this site would agree with your sentiments alas, there are those who have 'dogged' this thread with anti BF rhetoric who were not even born when Blue Funnel was what it was and most certainly not even going to sea. Probably read about it somewhere. Others were probably rejected and have carried that baggage over the years . What I find puzzling is that these people seem incapable of logical debate - in fact they seem determined to avoid it.. This Blue Funnel nostalgia hurts no one but it obviously irritates a very small few and it needs a strong reply.
If people do not want to view the comments of others there is an 'Ignore' tool on the control panel which I find very useful.

Bill

Santos
26th December 2007, 20:24
Bill you are so arrogant - believing that people who reject your superiority were dumped by BF or have baggage. As for logical debate all you ever put forward is how great the personnel and ships were, the company did its own in house training and apart from that and the WW2 statistics ( which are far from conclusive ) what other evidence has been presented to prove that the men and ships were the best and superior to other personnel in other shipping companies.

I was around in the 50s and 60s at sea during the 60s and knew all about BF but I didnt consider them the best, never applied to join the company and to be honest never wanted to. That was my choice, but it did not make me a poorer seaman. I also sailed with many other people who prefered to sail with other companies that did not make them poorer seamen either.

You have a thread called Blue Funnel Nostalgia why dont you just carry on, on it, as you have done. Nobody has slagged you off there and its in the true spirit of the site accepted by all. This constant arrogance of BF superiority on this thread however is tiresome and an insult to all other none BF personnel. Accept that and that there were alot of other seamen who prefered to sail with other companies and lets move on, as there is a whole lot more to the late and present British Merchant Navy than BF and its glorification.

Chris.

Peter4447
26th December 2007, 20:25
It is 46 years ago that I left the Blue Funnel Line after 6 years service therein (Deck Boy to AB left immediately on obtaining 2nd Mates (FG)). The company I left can never be reborn simply by using the same livery and names. After all these years I still hold my 'China Boat' memories very dear. In all the years away my regards for the men I sailed with is undiminished and the skills of the legendary Bosuns found in that company were not to be found elsewhere in British or any other flag. Sailed for an ex Blue Funnel Shipowner in the 80s who was horrified when this name/ livery thing was suggested. And rightly so.

Bill

This thread began when a member very kindly pointed out for the benefit of the SN membership in general that an Australian shipowner had decided to adopt the old Blue Funnel livery for some of his ships. As the original name Ocean SS Co is now held by the UK logistics firm of Exel this would appear to be an act of pure (albeit welcome) nostalgia and nothing more. In exactly the same way the well-known UK bus operators Stagecoach have recently introduced into normal commercial service here in the southwest of England a bus that has been fully restored to its old Devon General livery.

In view of your latest post, I have taken the liberty of quoting the post you made shortly after this thread was started as it may help you to understand why there appears, in your view, to be a lack of "logical debate" and why, in your view, the thread has been "dogged with anti BF rhetoric".

Peter4447(Thumb)

Chouan
26th December 2007, 20:28
Tacho,

Whilst the great majority of the viewers on this site would agree with your sentiments alas, there are those who have 'dogged' this thread with anti BF rhetoric who were not even born when Blue Funnel was what it was and most certainly not even going to sea. Probably read about it somewhere. Others were probably rejected and have carried that baggage over the years . What I find puzzling is that these people seem incapable of logical debate - in fact they seem determined to avoid it.. This Blue Funnel nostalgia hurts no one but it obviously irritates a very small few and it needs a strong reply.
If people do not want to view the comments of others there is an 'Ignore' tool on the control panel which I find very useful.

Bill

Perhaps you should open yet another "BF was wonderful thread" open onlt to ex-BF people where you can all bask in the glory of being ex-BF without the embarassment of having non-ex-BF people to question your arrogance or ask you to justify your hubris.

Just to recap.

1) I never had any connection with BF, never applied to them, never wanted to sail with them; hence have no "baggage" as you persist in putting it.
2) My age, or when I went to sea is irrelevant, does it make you and your contemporaries better than my father? I don't think so.
3) I find this endless unjustified arrogant assertion of superiority irritating. Give me some evidence. Give me some reason for your superiority beyond "we were the best". I don't care that sometimes you aped the RN and piped Cadets onboard in white gloves (viz another thread), I don't care that Officers had superior tickets, I don't care that you had your own shore based training establishment, I don't care that your crew put up with tremendous bullsh1t; none of this, of itself makes BF superior!
4) Give us some logical debate, rather than an endless epetiotion of "we were the best" and an an ignoring of questions and criticisms.

duquesa
26th December 2007, 20:47
I had hoped from the posts on this thread just prior to Christmas that it might have been allowed to lie down quietly. That does not seem to be the case unfortunately. At the risk of falling into the trap of "slagging someone off", I must say, that for someone with a "mere" 6 years service in a company as deck boy and AB, you don't half pump out some bullshit!
Your recent post does not merit web space, and is an impertinance to the many fine seamen contributing to Shipsnostalgia with as many and in most cases, more years under their seafaring feet than yourself. You adopted this thread as your "baby" and are clearly not going to allow it to founder. As far as debate is concerned, it is very difficult for anyone to have a discussion with one whose ideals are so securely nailed to one mast. Please, give us all a break and stop shoving your lopsided opinions down our throats. It is quite apparent that most of us a/. are not the slightest bit interested or b/. have had quite enough of this inane "ping pong" thread. On that note I shall quietly fade into the background and hopefully return to reading something more worthwhile on this site tomorrow.

duquesa
26th December 2007, 21:08
And to those of you who may consider I have been a "Bit Sharp", then I apologise for that. However, it's the way I feel. I might also add that my views have absolutely nothing to do with any opinion held by me for BF or any other compamy for that matter. Good night!

tacho
26th December 2007, 21:11
duquesa
someone with a "mere" 6 years service in a company as deck boy and AB, you don't half pump out some bullshit!
As an ex Trinity House Pilot I would have thought you could employ a slightly higher standard of rhetoric.

Santos
26th December 2007, 21:17
Which company or companies did you sail with tacho ? or did you go to sea.? If you didnt go to sea then you would not know about how sailors felt about other companies and why this unnecessary arrogance is such an insult to them.

By the way ' bullshit ' is very tame for sea going people and quite rightly used in this case.

Chris.

duquesa
26th December 2007, 22:09
Tacho, with all due respect, you're living in cloud cuckoo land. I was trying to be most polite when I made the earlier postings. The point that many of us are trying to make, is seemingly lost on you.

sparkie2182
26th December 2007, 22:28
best thread for months.........:)

keep it up

Orbitaman
26th December 2007, 22:30
Tacho,

Whilst the great majority of the viewers on this site would agree with your sentiments alas, there are those who have 'dogged' this thread with anti BF rhetoric who were not even born when Blue Funnel was what it was and most certainly not even going to sea. Probably read about it somewhere. Others were probably rejected and have carried that baggage over the years . What I find puzzling is that these people seem incapable of logical debate - in fact they seem determined to avoid it.. This Blue Funnel nostalgia hurts no one but it obviously irritates a very small few and it needs a strong reply.
If people do not want to view the comments of others there is an 'Ignore' tool on the control panel which I find very useful.

Bill

Judging by the postings on this thread it would appear that maybe you and tacho alone are the 'majority' on the site.

There are no rules on the site as to who can make a post and on what subject. If postings were limited to companies sailed with or the like, then the site would be very dull indeed. There are many members of this site who have never been to sea, so following your logic, should not be able to make a comment or posting on any subject regarding the sea?

That some members were not born or going to sea when BF 'was what it was' does not preclude them from posting comments based on knowledge passed on to them from others or from the unfortunate experience gained in having sailed with one of BF's superior seafarers.

The long and the short of it is that whether ex BF people want to believe it or not, BF was just another British shipping company.

Phil Saul
26th December 2007, 23:46
How strange it is that the very mention of Blue Funnel excites such animosity.

Not strange Hugh, not strange at all. Have you considered it might well be because ex BF personnel go around thinking and telling everyone they are and were a cut above everyone else who sailed on the high seas. Bound to attract animosity dont you think.

Chris.

The posts in this thread appear to be dominated by the 'Officer' class so how about some input from the lower deck!!
I was trained as catering boy with BF at Odyssey Works and went deep sea in the Peleus in '64.
I have to admit that the 'bullshit' was quite thick at the time but as I had no experience of other companies I just figured it was the norm for the 'merch'.
E.g: inspections every day at sea and the inspection party consisted of the Master, Mate, Ch Eng, 2nd Eng, Doctor, Ch. Steward and 2nd Steward with 'yours truly' standing at attention in white mess-jacket and dungarees.
I spent two years and six trips in the Peleus expectantly waiting for someone, one day, to congratulate me on my excellent work before finally the penny dropped and I realised it just wasn't going to happen.
Blue Funnel standards were far too high for me to ever achieve them.
After 5 years voyaging around the far east my mate and I decided that we would like to see a bit more of the world and, by-passing the pool, we took off to London to find a company that went down to Aussie and NZ.
The first company that we approached was NZSC at Albert Dock and when the receptionist took our discharge books into the catering superintendent she left the office door open and we heard him tell her "to hang onto those two as you don't get too many BF guys floating about."He then proceeded to make a phone call and sent us to join the Otaio.
Unfortunately this was the company cadet ship and if I thought the BS in BF was bad I was in for a bit of a shock, with reveille played over the PA every morning, cadets on the gangway so no women allowed aboard, etc, etc.
We just coasted her and then bailed out and were fortunate enough to get sent to join the Westmorland where I finally realised I had found heaven.
The point is that although I didn't think that the BF training was anything special and I thought it was the norm for the Merchant Navy many other people outside of BF, such as the NZSC catering superviser and a couple of the Masters I sailed with, perceived it to be something special and a cut above other company training.
Personally I was happy to have sailed with BF and seen a good bit of the far east but I was a whole lot happier to have joined NZSC and Federal and enjoyed the best years of my time at sea without so much BS.

Regards Phil (Thumb)

BeerSailor
26th December 2007, 23:57
Tacho,

when Blue Funnel was what it was ....

....Others were probably rejected and have carried that baggage over the years .
Bill

Bill
this

tacho
27th December 2007, 08:59
Which company or companies did you sail with tacho ? or did you go to sea.? If you didnt go to sea then you would not know about how sailors felt about other companies and why this unnecessary arrogance is such an insult to them.

By the way ' bullshit ' is very tame for sea going people and quite rightly used in this case.

Chris.

Chris
My profile isn't "totally" untrue. I do know what I'm talking about, I sailed with a few ex BF crew (seamen) in my time and they were all well above the general standard. Having said that there were others not ex BF who were just as good or better. As far as the "Officer Class" were concerned the same comparison did not apply - the ex tramp ship officers were as good as you could get and not frightened of getting their hands dirty.

James_C
27th December 2007, 11:57
Gentlemen,
To go back to an earlier point regarding BF's "superior" survival rate compared to the average for the MN, the 9% figure would be much more meaningful when compared to that of other Shipping companies of similar size etc as opposed to a meaningless comparison with the 'rest' of the MN which of course is nothing like as quantifiable as a singular shipping company.
Does anyone have such figures for the likes of other general cargo companies and then perhaps compare that lot with the tanker outfits etc?

Sister Eleff
27th December 2007, 13:11
I, who know nothing of shipping companies - other than what I read here - feel that Hugh put it in a nutshell, see point 115 of this thread.

... Quite often, and especially on a stinking hot blowy afternoon during August (S.W. monsoon weather), a pilot would return from a difficult job, saying,
"That was NO Blue Funnel boat". It was common parlance, to be heard from any of the pilots who had probably never known anything whatsoever of Blue Funnel until he started piloting...

Saying the same thing twice can be excused but 3 or more times, by the same person? Gentlemen, why can't you agree to disagree as the argument will never be settled? There is no point in being rude to one another.

Chouan
27th December 2007, 16:47
Sister Eleff, if they were saying it to Hugh, could they not have been using a kind of shorthand that he could easily understand? He is now using it as evidence to support his own bias. It is still not evidence! On the other hand, look at Hugh's other posts, and see how reasonable THEY are, especially his comments about the superiority of BF men's "dedication".

sparkie2182
27th December 2007, 21:28
interesting word, dedication, when referring to any company who preferred chinese crew over british where thought practicable.

not much "dedication" to british seafarers i would have thought............

this kind of "dedication" seems to be a one way door.

Santos
27th December 2007, 22:12
The silence is deafening.

Chris.

duquesa
27th December 2007, 22:40
Isn't it just!!

Bearsie
27th December 2007, 23:01
Being the best sparkie that ever sailed the seven seas for the best radio company there ever was I can sympathise with the Blue Flue guys.[=P]

The point is we all had a good time. If we didn't we were in the wrong job.
We all sailed for the best shipping companies since sliced bread with the best blokes on the best ships on the best runs ever and nuts to the others.

Those that never sailed in those days will be looking at all these posts and wondering what bunch of nuts went before them and concluding that it's no wonder the Merchant Navy went down the tubes.

God Jul og Godt Nyttar til alle.
You got my vote Marconi Sahib ! (Thumb)
Frohe Weihnachten :)

R651400
28th December 2007, 08:38
With regard to Asian crews, my understanding was BF were obliged to man a certain percentage of their fleet with British seamen.
Re the sturdiness of their vessels, I believe some of the fleet were built to certain Mod standards, that in the event of hostilities they could be requisitioned as armed merchant cruisers.

whiskey johnny
28th December 2007, 11:14
sir, I read all the pages of this tread and the only thing I knew of blue funnel is that they had good looking ships with majestic funnels. however I read richard woodman voyage east and some of the crewmembers where not so above standard as everu one wants me to believe.The same can be said of the dutch holland -amerika and rotterdam lloyd but personally my best years were with caltex tankers better pay and better food yours jan

Peter Martin
29th December 2007, 11:15
Certainly, the foredeck and poop of "A" Class Motorships (1948 onward) had reinforced decks which could bear the weight of a 7 pounder if the need arose. I remember seing the drawings showing the mounting points.

K urgess
29th December 2007, 12:03
So did Port Line ships built post war.
Particularly the Port Townsville where I saw the drawings and the mounts.
Heaven knows why though because armed merchant cruisers were proved to be a waste of time early in the 1940s and they were all converted back to cargo or troop ships.
If they were just to be defensively armed shouldn't all merchant vessels produced in the period be so strengthened.

Hugh Ferguson
29th December 2007, 12:09
Gentlemen,
To go back to an earlier point regarding BF's "superior" survival rate compared to the average for the MN, the 9% figure would be much more meaningful when compared to that of other Shipping companies of similar size etc as opposed to a meaningless comparison with the 'rest' of the MN which of course is nothing like as quantifiable as a singular shipping company.
Does anyone have such figures for the likes of other general cargo companies and then perhaps compare that lot with the tanker outfits etc?

How very refreshing to have a constructive post such as this, appearing in this mass of vitriol and bile which seems to be the mainstay of some.
I happen to have a lot of information on the Blue Star Line's war history. Some acquired through a chance contact with a relative of one of their famed captains and the other is the splendid account of them during the war written by the renowned maritime author, TAFFRAIL, (Captain Taprell Dorling, D.S.O., F.R.Hist.S., R.N..) That book is dedicated to "The Officers and Men of the Blue Star Line who fought and conquered and to those who gave their lives that Britain might live". The Appendix contains the names of every one of their seafaring personnel lost at sea through enemy action 1939 to 1945.

It is quite misleading to give the impression that tanker personnel losses were very much heavier than for cargo ships. Many tankers in ballast were torpedoed and, provided that they were gas free, survival rates were better than average.
Regarding the one, as usual, sarcastic remark about Blue Funnel Chinese
seamen: they had no need to go to Outward Bound, Aberdovey. Most of them had been born in a junk, the sea, ships and boats were their natural environment from birth. The only thing that I found they never really got to grips with was rowing a boat, when sitting, and facing the **** end!

I'll come back on the Blue Star when I've had a chance to look into some facts and figures.

Landlubber
29th December 2007, 14:56
That book is dedicated to "The Officers and Men of the Blue Star Line who fought and conquered and to those who gave their lives that Britain might live". The Appendix contains the names of every one of their seafaring personnel lost at sea through enemy action 1939 to 1945.


I have a booklet entitled "Port Line Ltd. War-time Experiences 1939-1945"
It lists the names of 14 vessels and all the 166 personnel lost.

BeerSailor
29th December 2007, 17:45
I have a booklet entitled "Port Line Ltd. War-time Experiences 1939-1945"
It lists the names of 14 vessels and all the 166 personnel lost.

The book 'Ordeal by Sea 1939-1945' by Sydney Waters gives a detailed account of the Merchant Navy in general and the NZSC/Federal line ships in particular during the conflict.
At the start of the conflict NZSC had a fleet of 36 ships and losses through enemy action numbered 19 ships totalling 194,808 gt, 53.12% of the total fleet tonnage.
Of the sea-going staff, 279 lost their lives through enemy action, 14 others lost their lives while serving with the RN and 76 became prisoners of war.
10 members if the shore staff died while serving in the armed forces. The book does not state the total number of sea-going staff, but from various references in the book I have calculated a total of something like 3,100 bearing in mind the fleet included several large passenger/cargo ships with about 200 crew members.
54% of the British fleet was lost through enemy action with 45,582 casualties
of whom 30,589 were killed or drowned, 4,690 classed as missing, 4,215 injured, and 4,088 taken as prisoners of war.
The fleet losses of NZS and the MN overall ties in with Hughes earlier post that stated BF lost about 50% of their fleet.
I only give the details about NZSC above because I have them to hand and would not presume to single out NZSC as having performed any differently to any other company.
As a senior naval officer stated ...
"to meet those Merchant Navy men who would form their unwieldy, heavily laded ships into a composite squadron and manoeuvre without any facilities for station keeping or reserve of power, in light or dark, calm or storm, rest or action, with a precision and cohesion to be envied by any fleet. Their job was to steam on and on, through thick and thin, to their eternal credit and our sincerest admiration."

Hugh Ferguson
29th December 2007, 17:54
Gentlemen,
To go back to an earlier point regarding BF's "superior" survival rate compared to the average for the MN, the 9% figure would be much more meaningful when compared to that of other Shipping companies of similar size etc as opposed to a meaningless comparison with the 'rest' of the MN which of course is nothing like as quantifiable as a singular shipping company.
Does anyone have such figures for the likes of other general cargo companies and then perhaps compare that lot with the tanker outfits etc?

The comparisons of figures relating to ship and personnel of Blue Star Line and Blue Funnel are as follows:-
Blue Star ran 41 ships at commencement of hostilities and lost 29; a percentage loss of 65%.
Blue Funnel started with 87 ships and lost 52; a percent loss of 40%.

Loss of personnel in Blue Star ships amounted to 645 men and women.
Loss of personnel in Blue Funnel was 290 European & 170 Chinese, a total of 460 which is 28% less than with Blue Star.
So, Blue Star lost fewer ships but suffered greater loss of life.

In my humble opinion this was probably due to more Blue Star ships, than Blue Funnel, proceeding independently to destinations such as Australia and South America. A large part of such voyages would not be convoyed.
The Melbourne Star, she and the Brisbane Star had survived in the famed Pedestal convoy to Malta in Aug.1942, whereas the two Blue Funnel ships were lost. But later in April 1943 whilst proceeding independently, and loaded with a cargo of munitions for Australia, she was torpedoed and disappeared in less than two minutes leaving just 4 survivors. She had had a crew of 86 and 31 passengers.

Peter4447
29th December 2007, 18:23
A few more figures from Company History books in my collection:

Ben Line had 20 ships in 1939. 14 were lost plus 4 under management for MOWT.
Shell Tankers lost 43 ships and Eagle Oil 17. Combined total of crew lost 1,434.
Furness Group lost over 60 ships with the loss of 2,700 crew and passengers.
British India lost 46 ships.

Peter4447(Smoke)

Orbitaman
29th December 2007, 18:30
"The comparisons of figures relating to ship and personnel of Blue Star Line and Blue Funnel are as follows:-
Blue Star ran 41 ships at commencement of hostilities and lost 29; a percentage loss of 65%.
Blue Funnel started with 87 ships and lost 52; a percent loss of 40%."

Hugh,

You need to brush up on your Maths a little, 29 Blue Star ships lost out of 41 comes to 70% and Blue Funnels 52 ships lost out of 87 also comes to 70% not 40%.

This comparison does little for your argument that Blue Funnels superiorly trained crews, better ships and better management meant that Blue Funnels losses were lower than others.

He who lives by statistics, may also fall on his own statistics.

It would be interesting to see this same comparisons with other Brtish companies and types of ships.

Peter4447
29th December 2007, 18:39
Orbitman

Comparing similar ships and looking at Ben Line's 20 in 1939 and loss of 14 gives about 72%.

Peter4447

tacho
29th December 2007, 19:32
You need to brush up on your Maths a little, 29 Blue Star ships lost out of 41 comes to 70% and Blue Funnels 52 ships lost out of 87 also comes to 70% not 40%.

Orbitaman 52 is 60% of 87 not 70% and 29 is closer to 71% of 41 than 70%. Maybe the batteries in your calculator are a bit flat. I did it in my head thus: 1% of 87 is 0.9ish divided into 52 is 60ish. I then confirmed this on my slide rule and finally on my HP RPN calculator and sure enough it's 60% as near as dammit. Now you're going to tell us what RPN is.

I was toying with the idea of getting my Nories or Burtons (I have both) out and doing it by logs as well but that would have been taking things a little far...as if I haven't done that already. It's just that when criticising someone else's calculations it's a good idea to make as sure as possible that you're right.

K urgess
29th December 2007, 19:53
And so the lives of thousands of our fellow Merchant Seamen are reduced to statistics to prove an argument that means nothing.
What happened to the season of goodwill.(Cloud)

Hugh Ferguson
29th December 2007, 20:07
Sorry to mislead everyone. Trying to do too much in a hurry. The incorrect statistics are mine but the original ones quoted for Blue Funnel were those taken from "Merchant Fleet in War", by Roskill.

Orbitaman
29th December 2007, 20:12
tacho,

You are correct 52 out of 87 is near enough 60% and 29 out of 41 is approx 70%. At least we can both agree that 29 out of 41 isn't 65% and that 52 out of 87 isn't 40%?

You must be very proud of your HP RPN calculator to let us know you have one. If I didn't know what RPN was, I could very easily google it, but I'll leave it to you to enlighten the rest of the members!

On the same note as checking my figures, perhaps Hugh should also have checked his figures before posting his incorrect percentages - but surely a superior Blue Funnel man would have known his figures were correct before posting them!

BeerSailor
29th December 2007, 20:18
This has now gone beyond reasonable behaviour, time for the Moderators to
sink this thread. If they had graves, the lost seamen would be turning in them.

Derek Roger
29th December 2007, 20:33
And so the lives of thousands of our fellow Merchant Seamen are reduced to statistics to prove an argument that means nothing.
What happened to the season of goodwill.(Cloud)

I echo your sentiment ! I have kept out of this thread as it seems to have got very personal and contentious .

Blue funnel was a fine company as were all the others mentioned in the various threads ; we all believe that "our company" was the best " our soccer / rugby teams " were the best etc. etc .
Its human nature but we should try to avoid arguments and " brownie points " which amount to nothing in the open forum .

Opposing views are fine but derogatory personal comments are not .

Derek

K urgess
29th December 2007, 20:38
Thank you, Derek, but I'm afraid we might as well post in a foreign language for all the notice anybody takes of any voice of moderation.

I still think that the Blue Funnel guys should be happy that someone wishes to commemorate their company by painting his ships in their colours.

But then any subtlety sails over heads at a height sufficient to be ignored.

Salaams
Kris

duquesa
29th December 2007, 21:18
Kris & Derek, I am so much with you and I know there many others. I thought the thread was finally going to lie down naturally over Christmas but it seems there are those determined to have the last sad word. So much before has been moderated on other threads, to my mind, quite unnecessarily, but this one has more lives that a cat. As it happens, my family suffered rather brutally at sea during WW2 and I for one, do not find my life today enriched by all these so called statistics being hurled around in a vain effort to support some company hero worship.

lakercapt
29th December 2007, 21:33
PLEASE PLEASE SUPERMODERATORS CLOSE THIS THREAD DOWN BEFORE IT GETS TOO TOO INANE

Santos
29th December 2007, 21:34
Hear Hear anyone got a little grey padlock.

tacho
29th December 2007, 21:48
You would think that reading this thread was mandatory.

Derek Roger
29th December 2007, 21:55
Kris & Derek, I am so much with you and I know there many others. I thought the thread was finally going to lie down naturally over Christmas but it seems there are those determined to have the last sad word. So much before has been moderated on other threads, to my mind, quite unnecessarily, but this one has more lives that a cat. As it happens, my family suffered rather brutally at sea during WW2 and I for one, do not find my life today enriched by all these so called statistics being hurled around in a vain effort to support some company hero worship.

We are trying not to intervene as " Inter Company Banter " is OK . Derogatory personal comments are not .

( I was with Brocklebanks and as apprentices at Riversdale Tech Liverpool 1962/63 our class consisted of Blue Flu and Brocklebanks ; the competition between us was fierce.)
But we all became great mates and some of us still converse ; our college had a Rugby team which we all thought the best ( But we did loose a few games )
We thought Riversdale superior to Birkenhead College ( they thought the opposite ? wonder why ? )

We all thought BI ; P&O and the RFA were a bit to stuck up ; they thought the same of us ( wonder why ?)

It was and still is I think healthy to be competitive and " Banter is Fine "

My company lost a lot of ships and many of my fathers shipmates and friends were lost .

I have to agree the "logic " of statistics re ships lost is meaningless .

What is important is that the heavy losses all companies experienced and the seamen who perished in the name of a New World will never be forgotten .

I wish you and your family a happy and peaceful New Year .

Kind Regards Derek

sparkie2182
29th December 2007, 22:08
right enough derek..........

at cambridge university the quantum physics students like to "look down" on the astrophysics students....... consider them to be dumbos.........:)

and vice versa.

a bit of healthy competition is fine.

in the earlier posts to this thread (which ended up way off course anyway)....
there were certainly a few "overly assertive" claims made, which aroused indignation.

it has probably run its highly entertaining course, and we can all look ahead to a happy and peaceful new year, which is what i wish for you all.

best regards..........

duquesa
29th December 2007, 22:38
Thank you Derek.

Peter4447
29th December 2007, 22:40
Following on from Derek's comments this thread reminds me of my Grey Funnel Line days, when the ship in which you were serving was always the 'best of the bunch'.
You could have, for example, four identical frigates working together in the same Squadron but the one in which you were serving was always the best run and most efficient. The nonsensical part of this, however, is that the crews of those four ships had all been trained at the same 'schools' and to exactly the same standards so that it all boiled down to not what was actually true but only what you believed was true.
Obviously I cannot speak for the training in the Merchant Navy but during the period in question hundreds of ships from many different Companies sailed under the Red Ensign quietly and without fuss "on their lawful occasions" carrying raw materials and goods around the globe.
The pride you have in the various Houseflags of those Companies in which you served is very evident in all the threads but how does one define which Company was the best? What yardstick can you use?
In my book it is impossible to make such a comparison because you can only say what you BELIEVE to be true and not what you KNOW to be true.
Peter4447(Thumb)

sparkie2182
29th December 2007, 22:44
is that what you really BELIEVE, peter? hee hee :)

Peter4447
29th December 2007, 22:57
is that what you really BELIEVE, peter? hee hee :)

Sparkie
If I didn't BELIEVE it I would never have written it and posted it in an open forum.
Peter(Jester)

sparkie2182
29th December 2007, 23:00
sorry, that was a joke.................

Peter4447
29th December 2007, 23:08
Sparkie
No problem Kind Sir that was exactly how I took it hence the clown avatar!
Regards
Peter

Bearsie
30th December 2007, 00:06
And so the lives of thousands of our fellow Merchant Seamen are reduced to statistics to prove an argument that means nothing.
What happened to the season of goodwill.(Cloud)

Good question...
Not sure what the use of stats is supposed to prove?

Out of 2750 Liberty ships only 170 were sunk. So that proves that
they were the best ships built ever?
It is all getting a bit childish.
I didn't even know BF existed, other than from hearsay, but I am sure they were a good company in their time as were untold others under many flags.

Santos
30th December 2007, 00:16
Derek and Peter,

I agree entirely with your sentiments - banter is fine and rivalry too, unnecessary bragging is just that unnecessary. We all sailed under one flag, nobody any better or worse than the other and all a member of one of the biggest clubs in the world, the brotherhood of the sea. Thats the way it was and to my mind thats the way it should stay. It has gone and will never be the same again. Let us all just be thankful and proud that we were a part of it all and enjoyed the comradeship that it offered and lets remember it all with nostalgia.

Chris.

benjidog
30th December 2007, 01:06
Gents,

The Moderators have deliberately taken a back seat on this thread so far but can I request that you all just call it a day now.

There will never be agreement about which shipping company was the best any more than which football team is best. Quite honestly it is all academic now as most of them have gone down the pan!

Perhaps some of you Blue Flue guys would like to spend your energy more constructively in recording information about the best of your ships in the SN Directory. I would be happy to advise and assist.

Happy New Year to your all! (Hippy)

Regards,

Brian

lakercapt
30th December 2007, 04:39
Ecbum kalas

benjidog
30th December 2007, 13:52
Ecbum kalas

Oh dear - you've got me there Lakercapt!

Is that an anagram, a gypsy curse or the name of a ship? ;)

Brian

K urgess
30th December 2007, 14:04
Bazaar Baht for all finished or something similair, Brian.

lakercapt
30th December 2007, 14:29
All is finished

benjidog
30th December 2007, 14:34
Thanks folks - Bill Davies also kindly pointed out the meaning in a PM as well.

Regards,

Brian

DURANGO
30th December 2007, 15:35
Thanks folks - Bill Davies also kindly pointed out the meaning in a PM as well.

Regards,

Brian
Could i just finish this with my own thoughts please ,

Royal mail, blue star and cunard too
Alfred holts with funnels blue
Shaw saville ,saint line and P.S.N.C
There was no other life for me
Sugar boats ,of tate and lyle
Orient line their graceful style
Houlder brothers their striking ships
Could bring a smile to the meanest lips
Down to the cape on a castle boat
Some of the smartest ships afloat
Away in the land of the long white cloud
Union steam their ships so proud
Bowrings of London hauling grain
I,ll not forget one other old name
The worthy down of London also
Times in her home port she rarely did know
She left me in China for i was so ill
She lives in my heart to this day still
Our great ships we hold so dear
Sail the seas of our minds we see them so clear .

Proud to have served and proud to have been
In some of the finest ships ever seen .

These were the companys i sailed in and a couple of small coasters as well and all things considered i met truely great seamen in them all and if i had to pick the best then i would have to cut the cards, just one other point i would like to make that old tramp ship the worthy down that i joined in Hong Kong back in 1961 although that company only had two ships they sent me from Shanghai to Hong kong by train after i had paid off sick ,then sent me home by air instead of making me come back dbs so i guess we can only judge it from our own experiences , be lucky mate,s

Peter4447
30th December 2007, 15:40
Well Done Durango it says it all - is there any need for anymore to be said.
Peter4447(Thumb)

notnila
30th December 2007, 22:45
Great thread!And I thought I was a Grumpy Old B*stard!!!

pilot
31st December 2007, 07:24
No one made any passing references, fleeting or otherwise to BF and BOFs either. Well done chaps remarkable self control shown throughout.

Bill Davies
8th January 2008, 13:20
I have looked at at the recent BFcontribution to the gallery which seem to be dated around mid 70s which confirms my view that there was clearly a 'running down' as the vessels look a little tired. I mentioned somewhere that the BF ceased in the mid 60s which I am now confirmed in this view. It would be interested to hear from BF men who actually sailed in these ships in the 70s with experience of earlier years their view on the maintenance regime would be interesting. ED integration etc,etc.

Barber Hector
15th January 2008, 20:53
I am a bit crosseyed reading through this post from begining to end but feel I must add a brief note before it closes.
I served as an Officer in Alfed Holt & Co's BF, Glen & Shire Lines from 1958 to 1988. In the early days one had to be sponsored into the company by someone important, you could not just knock on the door of India Buildings and ask for a job.
Bill Davies and others I applaud your sentiments about the old company and I too consider myself proud to have belonged to the finest shipping company in the world. The sad part of BF history started when the Holt family retired and the company went public. Then the rot started. I wont even bother to discuss the top brass rubbish management we had from then on.
One or two points of interest. We amalgamated with Elder Dempster early 1970's and the two companys personnel interchanged. The ED guys fighting to get to a BF ship and see the world, us lot departed down to West Africa in fear of our lives. Hell of a spot.
I noted in all fairness that the ED guys quality-wise were a match for the BF men. They wore short shorts [ours came down to our knees RN style] they wore ankle socks - heaven forbid, some old men almost had heart failure, and they were all introduced to the Chinese taylor at Singapore to get rigged out in correct uniform.
Blue Funnel, by then known as Ocean Transport & Trading did not go to the wall, as cheerfully stated by some anti BF correspondents, they left shipping because the future of shipping was too dodgy and diverted to other bussinesses. I was so Peed off losing my job I never gave them another thought after 22nd Dec 88 at Hongkong when we paid off and on our bikes. The rest of the fleet followed shortly after.
However I ended up my days in ship management, managing the remnants of 3 fine British Shipping companies and a couple of new ones that emerged trying foolishly to make a few bob in shipping.

The Chinese crew were employed traditionally, just like BI, P&O, etc as cheap labour, and when ED's joined us the Chinese were replaced on some ships by West Africans.

Finally I noted someone mentioning Kevin Eder's name. Kevin an ex C/O looked after the BF ratings in India buildings and whilst cracking on in years now still works in the shipping industry. He is is good health and as witty as ever.

Hope the above is of some interest and doesnt cause any friction.

Bill Davies
15th January 2008, 21:09
Welcome Barber Hector,

It was probably me who mentioned Kevin Eader. He was indeed a witty man. Last time I had a drink with Kevin was in 68 somewhere on the Wirral.

Brgds

Bil

sparkie2182
15th January 2008, 22:23
re-opening a whole can of worms..............:)

oceangoer
15th January 2008, 22:54
re-opening a whole can of worms

Gentlemen,

Can we please reseal the can. The inevitable "discussion" gets very tedious, tendentious, and eventually personal.

Bill Davies
16th January 2008, 06:04
All,
I do not believe any thread should be a 'no go area'. Similarly I do not believe all threads are mandatory reading. If a thread is distasteful to several members of this site (none I might add with any BF experience) do not enter the thread. Barber Hector has just joined the sight and almost immediately one of the anti BF brigade starts 'bullet making' as is his habit in previous. I have had four of these individuals on my ignore list (which is my right) for some time. Their comments passed via PM urging response. Why??? There are five now.
When I log in I scan for what interests me, BF, Watts Watts, Guthie, Jacobs, Kaye etc,etc, etc, and always hopeful to see reference FOC companies (Dozens of them). Couldn't give a 'tinkers curse' for what happened in other companies I have no experience of. Some wax lyrical about the special, very special individuals in various institutions they are members of. They may be, who is to argue. You are entitled to your own opinion.

R651400
16th January 2008, 08:08
I'm inclined to agree with the above.
I personally see little reason to shut down a thread because of "heat in the kitchen."
Coming close to 20,000 members there surely has to be some differences of opinion within the site and if aired all good and well.
I joined BF what was then known to R/O's as direct employ. I cannot quantify if BF were any better or worse than other British shipping outfits, all I know is I was certainly well paid and very well looked after albeit as probably other cargo liner companies were in the 50's, a tad regimented, stuffy and staid compared to my later foc experience.

tacho
16th January 2008, 10:13
I think a thread should continue for as long as it attracts posts and readers . Remarkable that the subject of Blue Flue should generate so much heat - after so much time.

IMHO any worthwhile discussion is bound to generate a little dissent.

Santos
16th January 2008, 11:18
The problem is this is not a worthwhile discussion it is just brag by ex BF personnel on how much better they were than any other British shipping company. That kind of talk is bound to attract heat which it has here and nothing worthwhile comes out of it except everyone goes around in a circle.

To my mind this subject has been aired enough, nothing has been achieved and therefore its time it was closed or ignored by those offended by it.

Chris.

Chouan
16th January 2008, 11:41
Exactly, pointless, unprovable bragging on one hand. When this is challenged with questions, or evidence to the contrary it is dismissed as jealousy or the member has "baggage" because they are assumed to have wanted a job with BF and were turned down, or the evidence or question is ignored.
Pointless, because the BF supporters are so blinkered, even though in their BF Nostalgia thread they discuss drunken ABs rigging derricks dangerously, people falling from masts, etc,. they can't see the paradox.

tacho
16th January 2008, 11:51
.....................or ignored by those offended by it.

Well that's ok then. My offence threshold is far higher than anything I've read here.
BF was a very significant company in terms of technical innovation and the decent treatment of employees.
Did you know that it was BF's Naval architect dept that designed and supervised the building of the first real container ships? Not bad when you consider that 100 or so years previously Alfred Holt designed and then operated the first steam engine capable of propelling a vessel to the Far East.

Sister Eleff
16th January 2008, 12:08
To my mind this subject has been aired enough, nothing has been achieved and therefore its time it was closed or ignored by those offended by it. Chris.

So, one wonders why you don't follow your own advice Chris?

Chouan, reiteration does not quantify your argument any further than the first, or many repeated times you have attempted to make your point.

makko
16th January 2008, 12:47
And all from the quaint, innocent and interesting posting of a photograph of a vessel.......
Dave

K urgess
16th January 2008, 13:23
I'm constantly surprised at how surprised everyone is by the path these threads take.
Doesn't anyone remember all those cabin discussions that started off innocently and went round in circles until the beer was gone.
Don't you also remember that lineshooting or making yourself out to be better than the others in the room was guaranteed to start a round of black is white arguments.
Fascinating stuff but the beer is definitely running out.
No point in shutting it down.
Heat and kitchen are a couple of words that come to mind.
Oomi-goomi bird is alive and well and puts in an appearance every so often.
For me this is nostalgia and should soon degenerate further into a round of "sing, sing or show your......."
Time to go got a watch to keep.
Play nice children.[=P]

Peter Wearing
16th January 2008, 13:50
I believe BF designers were responsible for the Liverpool Bay class box boats , no fault in thier ship design abilities then, as these were superb examples which must count as some of the most successful container ships ever built.

Santos
16th January 2008, 14:50
So, one wonders why you don't follow your own advice Chris?

Chouan, reiteration does not quantify your argument any further than the first, or many repeated times you have attempted to make your point.

Seems to me all you lot want is aggro all the time, whats the point of continuing an arguement that is going nowhere. I am entitled to make my point I think or perhaps Sister Elf in your mind, I should not and allow all the BF people to say what they like, all one sided just like their arguements. Even Bill Davies agrees everyone is entitled to their opinion, so where do you come in, whats your professional opinion on it all and how long were you in the Merchant Navy?

Sister Elf ( you were not Zelda in another life were you ? ) you will be delighted to know and no doubt will say so, I am following my own advice and will leave the BF bigheads in their own little world dreaming, because thats all they were, dreams, of the times they thought they were the best in the world -- dream on.

Dont know how long I will leave it though its too good to miss throwing the odd ball into the throng and watching the reaction. Could be a longer thread than the joke thread, he he .

Chris.

DICK SLOAN
16th January 2008, 15:24
Well, just read all this, good on the guy that wants to paint his ships B/F colours' if thats what he wants to do, just clad I sailed with the good companys I did, Port line Brocklebanks, P&O, Cunard, Everards,Evergreen ect all good crews and also good Bosuns, but I would never doubt anyone else that says they have also sailed with good companys and Crews, ....we all have!

Derek Roger
16th January 2008, 15:45
In 1962 /63 while at Riversdale all the Brocklebank apprentices from both our college and Birkenhead were given an unexpected invitation to go to Birkenhead one Saturday for a "ship visit " Think it was the Manipur .

After a look around the engine room we were all taken to an adjacent dock to observe a BF vessel sitting exceedingly low in the water aft ; it was explained that the engineers had made a boo boo while cleaning sea bay strainers resulting in the flooding of the engine room .

We were taken back to the Brock ship for a curry lunch and a short speech by our " Super " Dave McGrouther who said that this sort of thing didnt happen in Brocks !
We were then given a " procedure chat on cleaning sea strainers " by the Chief Engineer .

We had great " sport " with on Monday with our Blue Flu class mates .

Oh Happy Days Derek

Any of you chaps remember the incident ???

rothesian
16th January 2008, 18:57
Not sure that this is the same incident but there was an occasion when a bluey sank in the dock due to a mistake by a 2nd eng.. He was later promoted to Eng. Supt.

Derek Roger
16th January 2008, 22:06
Not sure that this is the same incident but there was an occasion when a bluey sank in the dock due to a mistake by a 2nd eng.. He was later promoted to Eng. Supt.

Im sure it was " I said exceedingly low in the water aft " that was an understatement ! She was sunk ! and there were a lot of trucks ( lorries ) and people milling about ; obviously trying to correct the situation . We observed from a safe distance .
Derek

John Briggs
16th January 2008, 22:11
Shut the thread down! Shut the thread down? NO WAY!!!

I get some great laughs from this and it seems to grow like topsy. If anyone takes it seriously then I am sorry for them - it is just a giggle!

Chouan
16th January 2008, 22:36
Im sure it was " I said exceedingly low in the water aft " that was an understatement ! She was sunk ! and there were a lot of trucks ( lorries ) and people milling about ; obviously trying to correct the situation . We observed from a safe distance .
Derek

You're only saying this because you wanted to join BF and they wouldn't have you.....
I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for a reply from the "BF was best" people.

sparkie2182
16th January 2008, 22:51
bill davies........

could you please clarify your points concerning "anti b.f. bulletmaking" and placing members on an "ignore list"?

thanks in advance...........

Santos
16th January 2008, 23:15
I've changed my mind I'm staying to see the fun (Jester)

sparkie2182
16th January 2008, 23:28
i dont blame you santos.........hee hee :)

BeerSailor
16th January 2008, 23:41
Shut the thread down! Shut the thread down? NO WAY!!!

I get some great laughs from this and it seems to grow like topsy. If anyone takes it seriously then I am sorry for them - it is just a giggle!

Thats the spirit! Nice to see the flames being fanned again, a bit of entertainment for the long wet evenings ahead! This could run and run, the protagonists are dug into positions from which they will never retreat. I have no need to enter the fray as I sailed with NZSCo, which as well informed seafarers would obviously know was probably the best,most fantastic shipping company of its time.(Thumb)

sparkie2182
16th January 2008, 23:53
i always thought so, beermatelot, and i was with cunard :)

keep smiling mate...........

billyboy
17th January 2008, 00:54
All together now Lads... "All things bright and beautifull, all creatures great and small" ...LOL

DICK SLOAN
17th January 2008, 21:44
Ok the bars open.....who wants a drink?

Derek Roger
17th January 2008, 23:06
You're only saying this because you wanted to join BF and they wouldn't have you.....
I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for a reply from the "BF was best" people.

Sorry Chouan ;
You are again very wrong! .

My first ambition was to join the army ( Having been color sgt. in the Army Cadet force with the 15th Scottish Battalion of the Parachute Regiment ) I wanted to go to Wellbeck college with the Royal Engineers ( as they gave great education and would pay for university for an engineering degree )

My father who also served with Brocklebanks tried to have me join the Parachute Regiment as his old school pal was the CO of the 15th Scottish .

This impass ended up with me applying to Shell for an apprenticeship under the " alternative scheme " ( for which I was accepted )

My father then said " If you are going to sea why dont you join my old company Brocklebanks " which I did and it was the company of choice for people around Dundee and Glasgow as the ships traded there .
Brocklebanks had a particular connection with Dundee which was a hive of Jute activity before synthetics took over .

Also my grandfather and uncles were all involved with shipping and the jute trade both as seamen and in positions in jute mills in Calcutta .

I had never heard of Blue Funnel at that time and the other companies under consideration were Clan Line and City line .

I have to tell you the flooding of the engine room happened in 62 or 63 and if you persist in trying to ignore the fact I shall have some Blue Flue 'Buddies " will be able to give me the ship name and date .


Regards Derek

oceangoer
18th January 2008, 00:19
I was with Bluies 63-65 as 3/O and don't recall an ER "sinker" ....

There was a "P" boat (Peleus I think) that caught fire at Vittoria Dock 63/64 and took a hell of a list due to firefighting water.

Derek Roger
18th January 2008, 00:29
I was with Bluies 63-65 as 3/O and don't recall an ER "sinker" ....

There was a "P" boat (Peleus I think) that caught fire at Vittoria Dock 63/64 and took a hell of a list due to firefighting water.

My recollection was 62/63 ? I doubt if it was the same incident .
Do you have any details of the fire while alongside ? Was it engine room or a cargo fire ?
Regards Derek

oceangoer
18th January 2008, 00:42
Do you have any details of the fire while alongside ? Was it engine room or a cargo fire ?

I recall reading about it in a book called The Blue Funnel Legend by Malcolm Falkus which is a Uni treatise about the development and demise of BF. You may find it in yr local library reference section, online buy is expensive +/- US$200. It gives some really interesting stuff about the profitability of British shipping etc. BF was making 4.9% on capital employed which isn't much. Scratching my hazy memory the fire was caused by a fork lift working in a hold, but I could be wrong .... I often am these days.

Phil Saul
18th January 2008, 02:33
I was with Bluies 63-65 as 3/O and don't recall an ER "sinker" ....

There was a "P" boat (Peleus I think) that caught fire at Vittoria Dock 63/64 and took a hell of a list due to firefighting water.

It was the Pyrrhus that caught fire and sank in dock.
I did 3 trips in her in 68/69 when she had been refitted.
I can recall that the galley stove was still badly warped but still serviceable and she was the only ship I ever sailed in that had no cockroaches but I suppose that they would have become re-established eventually.
I vaguely recall that the seat of the fire was in No 3 hold but I'm sure that someone will correct that if I'm wrong.

Regards Phil (Thumb)

Bill Davies
18th January 2008, 09:00
There were two incidents I recall although I hasten to add I am talking hearsay as I left 'the China' mid 61.
1. The incident above on the 'Pyrrhus' is well chronicled but took place in Liverpool in a non BF berth, Langton or another.

2. The other incident happened in Birkenhead Vittoria Dock (end berth closest 'The Duke'/Duke Street Bridge) .Apparently the ship, ready to sail, was bunkering but the tank lid of the F.O. DBTk located in the lower hold of No.5 had been left off. The cargo in the lower hold had to be discharged.
Do not know the name but apparently that is the story. Again mid 60s.

Bill

Chouan
18th January 2008, 10:43
Sorry Chouan ;
You are again very wrong! .

My first ambition was to join the army ( Having been color sgt. in the Army Cadet force with the 15th Scottish Battalion of the Parachute Regiment ) I wanted to go to Wellbeck college with the Royal Engineers ( as they gave great education and would pay for university for an engineering degree )

My father who also served with Brocklebanks tried to have me join the Parachute Regiment as his old school pal was the CO of the 15th Scottish .

This impass ended up with me applying to Shell for an apprenticeship under the " alternative scheme " ( for which I was accepted )

My father then said " If you are going to sea why dont you join my old company Brocklebanks " which I did and it was the company of choice for people around Dundee and Glasgow as the ships traded there .
Brocklebanks had a particular connection with Dundee which was a hive of Jute activity before synthetics took over .

Also my grandfather and uncles were all involved with shipping and the jute trade both as seamen and in positions in jute mills in Calcutta .

I had never heard of Blue Funnel at that time and the other companies under consideration were Clan Line and City line .

I have to tell you the flooding of the engine room happened in 62 or 63 and if you persist in trying to ignore the fact I shall have some Blue Flue 'Buddies " will be able to give me the ship name and date .


Regards Derek

I was being ironic. If you look back at previous responses from BF people, whenever anybody has criticised BF they have frequently accused the critics of having "baggage" ie of being jealous of BF because BF wouldn't let them join. I was jokingly getting that comment in first before they did.

Chouan
18th January 2008, 10:53
There were two incidents I recall although I hasten to add I am talking hearsay as I left 'the China' mid 61.
1. The incident above on the 'Pyrrhus' is well chronicled but took place in Liverpool in a non BF berth, Langton or another.

2. The other incident happened in Birkenhead Vittoria Dock (end berth closest 'The Duke'/Duke Street Bridge) .Apparently the ship, ready to sail, was bunkering but the tank lid of the F.O. DBTk located in the lower hold of No.5 had been left off. The cargo in the lower hold had to be discharged.
Do not know the name but apparently that is the story. Again mid 60s.

Bill

Doesn't look like the work of the "Best trained crew" to me!

Derek Roger
18th January 2008, 15:23
I was being ironic. If you look back at previous responses from BF people, whenever anybody has criticised BF they have frequently accused the critics of having "baggage" ie of being jealous of BF because BF wouldn't let them join. I was jokingly getting that comment in first before they did.

Thanks Chouan " that one went right over my head . Derek

kevinseery
18th January 2008, 19:39
The Pyrrhus fire was in November 1964 in Gladstone Dock. The fire burned out of control for 12 hours and wasn't extinguished for another 12. They had to cut holes in the sides to let the water out and stop her capsizing.

The ship that caught fire because of a fork lift accident was the Calchas. It happened in Port Kelang on 22nd July 1973. The truck fell into the cargo in the deep tank from the tween deck. She was gutted and scrapped in Singapore in November.

Hugh Ferguson
18th January 2008, 21:13
Thats the spirit! Nice to see the flames being fanned again, a bit of entertainment for the long wet evenings ahead! This could run and run, the protagonists are dug into positions from which they will never retreat. I have no need to enter the fray as I sailed with NZSCo, which as well informed seafarers would obviously know was probably the best,most fantastic shipping company of its time.(Thumb)

I cannot but admire your unapologetically biassed opinion, but at the same time I must stress that not one of my postings on this subject was driven by bias on my part. They were other person's opinions of the Blue Funnel Line as per the Aden pilots use of the phrase, "That was NO Blue Funnel boat". Each one of thirteen working pilots entered some 60/70 jobs per month in their log books-they knew better than anyone one the quality of the huge number of ships they handled.
The remarkably lower loss rate of crews during the war is another completely unbiassed factor. Here is another, a quote from Marshall Meek's book, There Go The Ships, (a ship builder's view: he worked in Caledon Yard).
"I had soon become aware that there was a special aura attached to the Blue Funnel Line of Liverpool.........The company because of its shareholding in the Caledon shipyard, had built many ships there.........there were to be many more, and especially a remarkable series known as Holt's "A" Class, the building of which ran for years. These cargo liners were the cream of British merchant shipping and, even during wartime when there was a great urgency to produce tonnage, they received special care and attention in the building..............They always took longer to build than more commonplace ships. I was to come to the realization that this veneration of all things Holt was wholly appropriate".
You cannot get more unbiassed than that!

Chouan
18th January 2008, 23:11
"The remarkably lower loss rate of crews during the war is another completely unbiassed factor."
The response to which you've received from several members in this thread you've steadfastly refused to reply to. No bias there then.

trotterdotpom
19th January 2008, 04:44
Hugh Ferguson:
"let me take you to Aden in 1955 when, during that year, more than 5,000 of the finest passenger liners and cargo carrying vessels of a multitude of nationalities were piloted in and out of that port.
Quite often, and especially on a stinking hot blowy afternoon during August (S.W. monsoon weather), a pilot would return from a difficult job, saying,
"That was NO Blue Funnel boat". It was common parlance, to be heard from any of the pilots who had probably never known anything whatsoever of Blue Funnel until he started piloting."

Hugh, far be it from me to rain on your parade, but is it possible that those non-BF pilots were taking the mickey?

John T.

pilot
19th January 2008, 06:52
Did not a BF have a collision or grounding in Japanses waters in the 60s/70s. Vague memories of one passing wrong side of a buoy?

Orbitaman
19th January 2008, 08:24
a quote from Marshall Meek's book, There Go The Ships, (a ship builder's view: he worked in Caledon Yard).
"I had soon become aware that there was a special aura attached to the Blue Funnel Line of Liverpool.........The company because of its shareholding in the Caledon shipyard, had built many ships there

Hardly unbiased as he was employed by a company who was part owned by BF?

Hugh Ferguson
19th January 2008, 09:01
Hugh Ferguson:
"let me take you to Aden in 1955 when, during that year, more than 5,000 of the finest passenger liners and cargo carrying vessels of a multitude of nationalities were piloted in and out of that port.
Quite often, and especially on a stinking hot blowy afternoon during August (S.W. monsoon weather), a pilot would return from a difficult job, saying,
"That was NO Blue Funnel boat". It was common parlance, to be heard from any of the pilots who had probably never known anything whatsoever of Blue Funnel until he started piloting."

Hugh, far be it from me to rain on your parade, but is it possible that those non-BF pilots were taking the mickey?

John T.

Not a chance mate! We were far too busy to get involved in such trivialities!

Tom Haywood
19th January 2008, 10:07
Lets get back to the start of this. If it's the Denis Gallagher I know and I think it is he is a ships charterer based in Townsville who runs a successful shipping business into PNG and near Pacific Ports.
All due respect to Dennis, I doubt that he would be Blue Flue material.
Could be wrong Dennis. Rgs.

tacho
19th January 2008, 10:07
Hardly unbiased as he was employed by a company who was part owned by BF?

If you read the book you will find that Marshall Meek went on to work for BF and eventually became their chief Naval Architect after several frustrating years as a junior. He is far from uncritical about their weaknesses and if I remember at some stage he questions the wisdom of constructing vessels far in excess of requirements. After all BF had several Liberty and Victory ships which performed very well for them despite not being built to BF spec.

K urgess
19th January 2008, 10:17
One would think that building vessels far in excess of requirements and the fact that "they always took longer to build that more commonplace ships" would not have been very popular in wartime as the crews manning the vessels carrying iron ore in convoys had a survival rate considerably less than BFs.

Bearsie
19th January 2008, 10:31
One would think that building vessels far in excess of requirements and the fact that "they always took longer to build that more commonplace ships" would not have been very popular in wartime as the crews manning the vessels carrying iron ore in convoys had a survival rate considerably less than BFs.

Not only that. The odd part is that the "superior" BF ships were apparently easy to sink. After all half the fleet was sunk.
Where as the "inferior" Liberties caused the Germans great trouble and less then 8% where sunk!
Which of course gets us back to my prior statement concerning statistics...

Reading between the lines it almost appears the Holt was a ship builder that started a shipping line as an aside to have a customer for the output of the yard... With other words, the average customer might not have been willing to pay the premium for "overbuilt" ships.

trotterdotpom
19th January 2008, 10:47
Not a chance mate! We were far too busy to get involved in such trivialities!

Just a thought, Hugh. Fortunately, we've all got a bit more time now.

John T.

tacho
19th January 2008, 10:53
Marshall Meek says in his book that the trick is to build a ship such that it's physical life is about the same as it's commercial life (not a direct quote). I guess what he means is that you could build a ship to last 100 years but it would be out of date and non viable long before that. It's a pity that ships are not mass produced to standard designs ( C1,2,3...T1,2,3..?). Thus over time the faults and strengths could be appreciated more easily and predicted and corrected throughout the fleets.

I should say I'm thankful to Hugh Fergusson for recommending "There go the Ships" and also "A Tale of Two Ports" both of which explain to some extent the demise of the British Merchant Fleet and some major Ports. All other recommendations gratefully received Hugh.

tacho
19th January 2008, 11:44
Good potted history of BF HERE (www.rakaia.co.uk/downloads/alfred-holt-and-co-history.pdf) in .pdf format.

Bearsie
19th January 2008, 14:40
Good potted history of BF HERE (www.rakaia.co.uk/downloads/alfred-holt-and-co-history.pdf) in .pdf format.

Good reading. !

Also shows that Alfred was more of an engineer type and his brother Phillip knew how to count money.
Not much different from many other successful entrepreneurs in many countries back then and now.
In a way it also shows something else ( quite typical in many cases),
namely that after the founders die, by the 3rd generation at the latest.
Later management "ritualises" the reasons of success and manages by "how" rather than by "why" which eventually leads to demise or unpleasant change at the least.

Hugh Ferguson
19th January 2008, 15:03
One would think that building vessels far in excess of requirements and the fact that "they always took longer to build that more commonplace ships" would not have been very popular in wartime as the crews manning the vessels carrying iron ore in convoys had a survival rate considerably less than BFs.

There are an awful lot of flawed arguments appearing on this thread: this is one of them. There were not a lot of ships solely transporting iron ore. The loss of life from the sinking of such ships was no-where near enough to even make a dent in the final overall generally acknowledged loss of 17.5% of all personnel.
Another grossly misleading assertion was the much lower percentage of Liberty ships lost. Liberty ships had not even appeared on the scene until half way through the war when things were beginning to improve for the Allies.
I would far rather have been aboard a ship carrying iron ore than what the average fast, first class cargo liner was loaded with, and that was usually a mixture of all of the nasty things the armed forces needed a constant supply of.

K urgess
19th January 2008, 17:09
I don't believe I said anything at all about there being a lot of ships carrying iron ore!
I also don't believe I said anything at all about the loss of life from the sinking of such ships having an effect on the overall loss. Although they surely must have had some effect if they were included in the figures.

It seems that the whole of this silly argument is based on a personally biassed reading of the other person's post.

My post was mostly a quote from one of yours, Hugh.

Cyclops - January 1941 - 7,000 tons general cargo - several hours to sink
Ixion - May 1941 - Whisky and general cargo for New York - 3 hours to sink
Helenus - March 1942 - General cargo (copper, sisal, tea, rubber & cinammon)
Pyrrhus - February 1940 - Cargo unlisted but stayed afloat for 2 days after being torpedoed.
Eurylochus - Jan or Feb 1941 - Military stores (16 bombers inc.) - Attacked by Kormoran - sunk by gunfire
Calchas - April 1941 - Cargo unlisted but stayed afloat until 2nd torpedo was fired that killed all the officers on deck organising evacuation
Eumaeus - January 1941 - Carrying naval personnel as passengers, cargo not listed - Engaged Italian submarine in gun battle after 0600 and finally sunk with coup de grace at 1930.
Medon - August 1942 - In ballast - took so long to sink was re-boarded for supplies before succumbing to a second torpedo.
Dolius - May 1943 - Unlisted cargo - Stayed afloat long enough for the boats to put back to rescue 2 DEMS gunners left behind.
Eurymedon - September 1940 - General cargo for Java - took two days to sink.
Polydorus (Dutch) - October 1942 - Military stores for Freetown - took 2 hours to sink
Stentor - October 1942 - Passengers and African products. Unfortunately this included palm oil in a deep tank that was hit by the torpedo covering the vessel in burning oil. The loss of life was 46 out of 246.
Clytoneus - January 1941 - General cargo (tea, Kapok, sugar, flour)
Myrmidon - September 1942 - General cargo - orderly evacuation
Memnon (China Mutual) - March 1942 - wheat and zinc concentrates from Australia - Hit by 2 torpedoes in after hold and engine room sank quickly.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. Only about one third of BF's losses. It's just taken from the PDF file mentioned earlier and those vessels I could find in "The Real Cruel Sea". This limits the list to losses in the Atlantic. The dates may not be totally accurate because Richard Woodman's book is not written as a diary but as an ongoing story of a battle.

A really painful excercise that I have no wish to repeat in order to find all those vessels mentioned carrying bulk cargoes that foundered in minutes.

makko
19th January 2008, 17:26
This is by no means a comprehensive list. This limits the list to losses in the Atlantic.

Kris,
You missed the Patroclus, sunk off the coast of Ireland. A twin screww steam ship, the Patroclus was fitted out as an Armed Merchant Cruiser. She had been tailing a U-Boat which in turn had been tailing a White Star/Cunard passenger vessel. When the U-Boat started to attack, the Patroclus using her superior speed was able to come between the U-Boat and the passy boat, allowing the liner to escape. The Patroclus was easily sunk by the U-Boat. However, the U-Boat was subsequently sunk by a destroyer that arrived on the scene.

My grandfather was on Patroclus. I had always wondered about a wonderful family portrait with my father wearing an RN type matelot hat with the cap band "Patroclus". This was about 1939/40. I believe Patroclus was sunk 41. My grandfather subsequently went on the pool and was sunk on a T&J Harrisons vessel during the struggle for Crete. He was captured and after marching through Italy ended up at Milag Nord for the remainder of the war. (Thanks Billy McGee for confirmation!)

Lets get back to the theme of this thread. Yes, I believe it is Denis Gallagher. Further, I believe he did a Cadetship with BF. I think that it is quaint and a salute to the British MN that someone should wish to paint their vessels in BF livery. What if someone decided to paint theirs in Brocklebanks, Harrisons, etc.? I doubt that it would attract this level of (unwarranted or desired) vitriol.

Just a thought................................(Thumb)

Regards,
Dave