Bank Line's Liberty Ships

oldmarconiman
23rd August 2007, 08:28
I have now included a listing of the 12 Liberty Ships forming part of the Bank Line Fleet on my website http://www.oldmarconiman.co.uk/lib_ships.html which may be of interest to those who sailed in these ships. I am now trying to find the call signs of these ships - can you assist me?

oldmarconiman
23rd August 2007, 12:51
"Shiver me timbers!"

No sooner had I posted that message than a good samaritan mailed me the complete list! Site updated accordingly. Many thanks.

Charlie Stitt
26th January 2009, 18:56
Ah fond memories. I joined the Ericbank as Apprentice come Chippy in Glasgow
1957. The OM was Capt Henry Allen and the Mate was Polly Parsons. We loaded in Glasgow (Strick Line Charter I think) for India, ran aground off Hoogly Point where the swift flow of the river swept the sand/mud from under the ships port side. After a few hours as the water level dropped the ship suddenly fell over into the hole and ended up heeled about 35% to port, everything that could move did. Boats swung out and on stations for many hours but eventually refloated.We did get a chippy but paid off the 3rd mate who fell off the hatch and broke his arm , I got his job so then we had no apprentice Great(Thumb)

roibaird7
10th February 2009, 03:35
I joined the Sam York later to become the IVYBANK in Melbourne 1948 --------a trip to Nauru phosphate------------------then UK bound via levuka Fiji and a great trip doing the islands-Washington---Christmas====Fanning plus a couple more picking up their annual crop of copra.

manowari
11th February 2009, 19:16
Attached a pic of the Costoula ex Willowbank high and dry at Malindi, 70 miles north of Mombasa. The ship was pulled off after being aground from 2 August to 6 October 1967. After months of arbitration the ship went for scrap in May 1969.

manowari
11th February 2009, 19:25
The Costoula ex Willowbank agroundat Malindi.

David Williams
11th February 2009, 21:57
Hi There.
If you get in touch with Joe McMullen,
on this forum,he might be able to have
some information that might be of use to
you,as he also is ex Bank Line.

Dave Williams(R583900)

Alistair Macnab
11th February 2009, 22:35
The Bank Line Libertys mostly lasted until their 16-year survey in the fleet and then were sold on to Greeks or Chinese where they had a few good years left. One well-known situation where the Liberty split open across the deck just in front of the bridge (I think it was the "Willowbank" or "Rowanbank"- before my time!) was held together by mooring wires in order to reach port. After that or coincidental to that scare, Weir's Libertys had a steel belt riveted to the mid length of the sheerstrake and a similar belt riveted to the deck plating for about the same length of the ship amidships just inboard of the sheerstrake to give more longitudinal strength which was their main weakness.

Hamish Mackintosh
12th February 2009, 00:32
I joined the Sam York later to become the IVYBANK in Melbourne 1948 --------a trip to Nauru phosphate------------------then UK bound via levuka Fiji and a great trip doing the islands-Washington---Christmas====Fanning plus a couple more picking up their annual crop of copra.

Must have done the next trip after you, was on her 1950-52 same type of trip, with about eight trips to nauru and Ocean island, the OM was "Freddy"Hale on that trip

roibaird7
12th February 2009, 00:40
"""]Must have done the next trip after you, was on her 1950-52 same type of trip, with about eight trips to nauru and Ocean island, the OM was "Freddy"Hale on that trip["""

Hamish The old man was a Capt Black on my trip !

Charlie Stitt
12th February 2009, 11:49
Yes Alistair, I remember hearing of the liberty cracking forward of the bridge, I heard it happened in the Aussie Bight and the storey I heard she was then driven astern to lessen the chances of falling apart. May well have been an old wives tale or a wind up ??

Alistair Macnab
12th February 2009, 15:01
Charlie....
Might well have been a yarn but it was told to me by Captain John Kemp of St. Ives who was not known for winding us all up! Certainly I cannot with conviction say that the split came in the Atlantic or the Aussie Bight as that detail has escaped me but the story about using the mooring wires to hold the ship together seemed authentic enough. You are right, the mention of proceeding backwards was one of the elements of the story which I had forgotten. Anyway, its all part of the lore of Libertys and I do remember the strengthening riveted belts on the sheerstrake and deck.
Kind regards.

Hamish Mackintosh
12th February 2009, 16:57
"""]Must have done the next trip after you, was on her 1950-52 same type of trip, with about eight trips to nauru and Ocean island, the OM was "Freddy"Hale on that trip["""

Hamish The old man was a Capt Black on my trip !

BeeGee the fourth Engineer was a Kiwi who was on her the trip before me and stayed aboard thru drydock in Norrth Shields, then payed off when we got to Aukland. But then maybe there was a tip in between us

Charlie Stitt
12th February 2009, 18:51
I remember on the Ericbank when she was pounding ,as the bow lifted you could see the whole foredeck flexing, but for something built to make one trip they did pretty well. Alistair, I sailed 21months as 2nd Mate with Capt Kemp on the Inverbank's maiden voyage 62-63 (happy ship ) so must also have heard the story from him and would agree he did'nt tell porkies.

Alan Rawlinson
13th February 2009, 15:04
I think it was the Willowbank (liberty) that had the split on the foredeck. It was talked about in the early 50's.

On the Maplebank we could also watch the deck and hull flexing a bit, I was fond of sitting on the poop looking forward in the heavy weather in the Tasman sea when on the phosphate run. During heavy pitching, there was some flexing - never gave it a thought, in those carefree days. Ken Griffin was on the organ over the radio waves, and the ladies were safely stowed away in the crew accom!

Alan Rawlinson

jimthehat
13th February 2009, 15:18
I think it was the Willowbank (liberty) that had the split on the foredeck. It was talked about in the early 50's.

On the Maplebank we could also watch the deck and hull flexing a bit, I was fond of sitting on the poop looking forward in the heavy weather in the Tasman sea when on the phosphate run. During heavy pitching, there was some flexing - never gave it a thought, in those carefree days. Ken Griffin was on the organ over the radio waves, and the ladies were safely stowed away in the crew accom!

Alan Rawlinson
Alan,
can remember crossing the Tasman on a very wet and windy night ,no radar and could not see up the foredeck. I was farmer on the 8-12 when the whistle lanyard broke, I was sent up to stand on the little platform and when the 3-0 called I pulled on the handle,no health and safety in those days.

JIM

Alan Rawlinson
14th February 2009, 08:28
Hallo Jim,

Ah, memories! Your story gave a vivid picture which I can well imagine.

Going back to the Liberty ships and the condition.... The mate on the Maplebank in my time was John Whiteside of Everton, and he was very clear on ship maintainance. We occasionally bashed holes in the bulwarks and superstructure where it had rusted right through, and he showed us how to cover it over with old chart paper covered by a coat of varnish. The whole was then painted over as good as new ( except for the strength!)

Cheers/Alan

Hugh Grant
19th February 2009, 19:11
I joined the Ivybank when she arrived at Smiths dock in North Shields 1950 and we used to light the galley fire with copra (rotten coconut) from the No 2 hold. I swept it up off the holds deck for the cook. And I did my first trip on her until paid off sick on the island of NAURU. And on board was Hamish Macintosh. On my return to brisbane I was put on board the springbank commanded by Captain Palmer . this ship was the replacement for the Ivybank which now was on its way home and the Springbank was out for a unknown period on the Nauru run, she was a very unhappy ship as the crew used to call the captains cabin (ye olde log cabin) as the logging on this ship was excessive.I did two trips on her to Nauru and was logged a 1 for disobeying the captains command a 1 for disobeying the stewards command and two days pay.Thuis happend 3 times and as my monthly pay was 6 less stamps and allotment I was deeply in dedt. I promised myself I would never again serve on a bank line vessel, and I never did

Charlie Stitt
20th February 2009, 18:21
Hugh, did you not like Aussie? The stories I heard about white crew Bankline Liberty's was that as soon as the ship docked in the first Aussie or Kiwi port, most of the crew took to the bush.(Thumb)

Alan Rawlinson
20th February 2009, 19:55
Hi Charlie,

Yes, on the white crewed MAPLEBANK in my time, all the crew bar one ( Smith) '' jumped ship '' around the Aussie coast ports. As senior apprentice, I was often sent ashore at sailing time to round up the lads, and remember vividly being in Port Pirie in the Spencer Gulf, and most of the deck crowd had jobs in the pubs behind the bar pulling pints. They stayed put, and just laughed when I relayed the message from the ship to return. The bosun and 2 brothers who were AB's (Edwards?) went at the same time there. It was contagious, as we also lost an apprentice ( White) in New Plymouth, NZ.

Sailing time from the Aussie and NZ ports was always fraught, with a very humourous and merry crowd engaged in putting in hatch beams and lowering derricks - usually in a hopeless and legless state. Then, leaving port with us apprentices at the wheel for the first 2 hours to allow for the watch keepers to get up on their feet.

The thing that I remember best was the great Scouse humour throughout!

Cheers/AL

Hamish Mackintosh
20th February 2009, 21:28
I don't want to start a war here but while on the "Ivybank"with Hugh, we never lost a man on the Oz coast ,they all jumped in NZ, but we picked up all our replacements in OZ, we got home with around eight of the original crew (deck, engine room and Stewards)excluding engineers or mates who all made the round trip. I payed off in Barry seven pounds in dept on my wages,after close to two years away, but thru shorthand money Sundays at sea, and OT I had quite a big pay off

KIWI
20th February 2009, 22:36
Was berthed opposite a Bank Liberty in Port Lincoln SA.Cannot remember the name but the 3/e was a Kiwi Bluey Mc Causland an old school mate of mine so there was quite a few intership visits.He could not get over the difference in two Liberty ships mine being Norwegian & kept in top condition.He told stories of the hull flexing which made me really appreciate the reinforcing band we had around the hull.KIWI

jimthehat
20th February 2009, 23:05
Ah yes i remember it well,on the maplebank in my time ,sept52 /jan 54 we arrived back in bromborough with only the bosun and one AB from the original crowd9dont know what happened with the er crowd)
i do know that as we were ready to sail from the various Oz ports the police would come down wit a few lads hwo had jumped other ships,.there was always some one to take the wheel as the 3 first trip apps had been put on watches the day we sailed london, I can always remember with horror leaving surrey comm dock and being first wheel on the 8-12,but as has been said many a time on these pages the BOT examiners always said bank line apps knew their stuff.

JIM

Hugh Grant
21st February 2009, 00:09
I loved the islands and the aussies but loved NZ. I spent 2 months on the island of nauru I even was given a bungalow with fridge and clothes washing service
for the 2nd month the first was in the hospital. The Springbank was the samspelga after leaving it I sailed for home on one of chapman and willians ships the captain was Dusty Miller of Hartlepool and I remember him with great honour. total trip from England to getting back home was 2 years 3 months 10 days

Hamish Mackintosh
21st February 2009, 00:23
Was berthed opposite a Bank Liberty in Port Lincoln SA.Cannot remember the name but the 3/e was a Kiwi Bluey Mc Causland an old school mate of mine so there was quite a few intership visits.He could not get over the difference in two Liberty ships mine being Norwegian & kept in top condition.He told stories of the hull flexing which made me really appreciate the reinforcing band we had around the hull.KIWI

Jogged a nerve there Kiwi, we picked up a fireman and an AB in SA, the fireman went under the name of Bluey"lower the boom" Clancy Moore, he could start a fight in an empty house, and would go ashore with the full intention of starting trouble, he said he did not "feel" right unless something hurt, The Ab was just as bad but not as nimble

roibaird7
27th February 2009, 10:26
Hugh Grant----------------One memory of the Ivybank takes me to the galley where the 2nd cook was a European displaced person...... cant remember his name but he was on the Ivybank for a long long time as he couldnt be paid off in the Uk owing to his"displacement"I think he may be Yugoslav? was he still abord her when you were on her?

Hamish Mackintosh
9th March 2009, 02:54
Beegee, the cooks on our trip were both Geordies, one a real old timer, and the second cook just a young guy, can't remember the names tho

delbrasil
19th May 2009, 16:22
Corabank MCE-2626 EC2-S-C1 The Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 180.572 GCFR
Edenbank MCE-1834 EC2-S-C1 Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 169.722 GCVJ
Ericbank MCE-2410 EC2-S-C1 The Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 169.782 GDJS
Ivybank MCE-1810 EC2-S-C1 Bank Line Ltd. London, Great Britain UK UK 169.691 GCTL
Kelvinbank MCE-1798 EC2-S-C1 Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 169.678 GDBD
Maplebank MCE-2143 EC2-S-C1 Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 169.770 GBSD
Marabank MCE-2413 EC2-S-C1 The Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 169.799
Rowanbank MCE-2099 EC2-S-C1 Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, UK UK UK 169.797 GBNN
Springbank MCE-2608 EC2-S-C1 The Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 180.550 GFJJ
Tielbank MCE-1823 EC2-S-C1 Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 169.745 GBPV
Titanbank MCE-2640 EC2-S-C1 The Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 180.025 GFJR
Willowbank MCE-2221 EC2-S-C1 The Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 169.848 GCRX

Alistair Macnab
19th May 2009, 16:46
When the pictures of Bank Line Liberties come up in the Gallery, I feel that I am not the person to comment on the ships as I never sailed on one. A couple of the apprentices I sailed with had: Tom Pearce from Troon and Peter Cross from one of the London suburbs. Anyone know them? They used to talk about the "iron lung" a cabin at the after end of the accommodation over the engine room which was always hot. This cabin was not built in on all Liberties so there must have been one or two variables amongst the ships of this class.
My only experience was being in Calcutta with a white crew Bank Line ship (usually a Liberty but not always) and being called upon by Captain Gale (the Marine Superintendent in Calcutta at the time) to crew a shifting ship along with other apprentices because the regular crew was absent or incapable. Never fewer than five Bank Boats in Calcutta at one time! Esplanade Moorings, Prinseps Ghat, Kidderpore Docks etc.

Kenneth Morley
20th May 2009, 03:20
(Cloud) Hi All, Any "HAZELBANK" ex firemen still around......Kenneth

Alistair Macnab
20th May 2009, 15:40
Hi, Kenneth.....
You may be the one and only left on SM. I see you have been looking for any contact for quite a long time! I remember the "Hazelbank" well. We were lying next to each other at adjacent Esplanade Moorings in Calcutta. I was on the "Fleetbank" the newest ship in the fleet at the time. I seem to remember piles of ash bags accumulating on deck! Were you aboard her at that time?

jimthehat
3rd June 2009, 19:56
On the maplebank 52-54 there were two cabins for the apps,the aftermost cabin port side aft on the bridge deck where i along with another first tripper were enconsced. The two other apps were in that block on the aft end of the boat deck along with sparks.

jim

Alan Rawlinson
5th June 2009, 07:26
Hallo Jim,

Re the Maplebank - interesting to read your latest. As you know I followed you in the Maplebank for the voyage 1954 - 56. We had 4 apprentices and I was the senior one. The after cabin on the port side bridge deck was the Sparkies cabin, and the double berth ahead of that was 2 apprentices, with 2 more crammed into the '' Iron Lung '' on the after end of the boat deck. Things got a bit easier when one of the apprentices decided to '' jump ship '' in New Plymouth , New Zealand. His name was John White, I believe, but I never ever heard what happened to him. I hope he had a good life.

Cheers/AL

jimthehat
5th June 2009, 11:59
Hi Alan,
I remember that port aft cabin well,the old man used to come in there of an evening and have a chat and telling us that he was thinking of ending his life,well two wet behind the ears first trippers did not cotton on and did not think to mention the old mans comments to anyone ,and then mid pacific he disappeared,at the coroners inquest in Brisbane we two got hauled over the coals for not letting any of the officers in on what we heard.
A few years ago when the jerameih O,Brian came to tour the Uk I went to visit her in london and the first place i checked out was the aft port cabin,it was then occupied by a retired US admiral who was doing the grand tour.

JIM

Alan Rawlinson
6th June 2009, 18:44
Jim,

Very interesting to read your account - tragic as it turned out. Captain Mountain, I believe.

On the following trip, when the apprentice decided to leave in New Plymouth, I was in the bad books for not sounding the alarm - the view being that I must have known what was coming - true as it turned out.

A final point - I distinctly remember on joining the MAPLEBANK in Bromboro, we found a sort of homemade cosh hanging in the cabin? and that together with the makeshift doors at the foot of the inside companionway to the boat deck area led us all to believe you had had a ' rough ' voyage??

Cheers/AL

Hamish Mackintosh
6th June 2009, 21:42
Alistair! Tom Pearce was on the Ivybank with me in 50-52, his Dad was the harbourmaster in troon "I think" little bit of a lad, he was first trip along with three other lads on the Ivybank, while the senior app' had been around a while, in fact he left us in Oz to sit his ticket in Calcutta(?) Tommy was not in the "Iron Lung"he and a lad named Wylie had a cabin on the forward end of the maindeck accomodation on the starboard side, the largest cabin on the ship, the senior John Appleby Le'Barber, and a lad by the name of Harry Pope had the honour of the" Iron Lung" The sparks was in a cabin on the "old mans "deck port side just aft of the pilot cabin

jimthehat
6th June 2009, 22:31
Alan,
yes capt mpontain,he had his wife and 16 year old daughter staying with him while we were in Surrey commercial dock.cant remember the cosh,But the door at the bottom of the stairs was put on to stop drunken white crew coming up to sort out the 3rd and 4th eng who used to go down to the crew mess (main deck ,port side),get tanked up and start fights ,I was lucky being up on the bridge deck,forec of numbers is going to make me rethink where sparkies cabin was on the maplebank,maybe it was the Etive or Clyde where the radio room was situated on the boatdeck.
JIM

Alistair Macnab
6th June 2009, 22:34
Hamish...
You are correct. This is the same Tom Pearce. I lived in Dundonald near Troon and eventually met Tom's father who by that time was retired from the Troon pilotage service. Tom left Bank Line when he went up for his Second Mate's and was quite dismissive of Weir's quality as a company to work for.
It was rumoured that he had won (or come into) some money and retired but eventually he came back to Weir's for a trip or two at my urgeing. I kept extolling how Bank Line was not the one that he had remembered! But he didn't stay. Saw him once in Chalna and he was just as disappointed with Bank Line as he had been before although he was on one of the new ships at the time.
After that I lost track of him but I think he went back to being a gentleman of leisure. At the time I wished I knew how he managed to retire but even after a few pints in Troon, he would never tell me!
The name: Harry Pope sounds familiar.

Hamish Mackintosh
7th June 2009, 17:09
Alistair, Harry Pope, his dad was master in Eagle Oil, when he was on the Ivybank, good looking lad had no problem getting female "escorts" when ashore,and yes I remember Tommy as rather a demure little chap who let his "huge" cabin mate do most of the talking, looked something like Laurel and hardy when together, he struck me as a chap that worked by the adage"A still tongue keeps wise counsel" take care H

Charlie Stitt
29th March 2010, 17:37
As Apprentice on the Ericbank, my cabin was on the main deck starb side, opposite the saloon door. My bathroom was on the left as you come in through the door from the maindeck, a steam pipe, which leaked a lot, was directly overhead the WC, so when I went to the toilet, I also got a shower, drip, drip. No bilges on Libertys, remember, the strum boxes were in wells(hatboxes) at the after end of each hold, but were they any better for the, hold nose and dive routine ? At least we never had limber boards to contend with.

Dalby
29th October 2010, 18:42
Did a couple of trips between 1956 & 1959 on the Rowanbank ,one of 20 months as senior app. and after a very short leave a further 9 month trip as acting 3/0. The Skippers were capt. Carver and Capt. King respectively. I well recall returning to home waters in March April 1958,on the the way through the Med. experiencing the worst weather of my 5 years at sea. We were virtually hove to for the best part of two days during which time capt. Carver never left the the bridge. I was grateful for the .'strapping' along the hull in the vicinity of no.3 hatch.

Alan Rawlinson
12th November 2010, 14:17
Arrived Cristobal on the Maplebank for a Panama transit, and most of the deck crew disappeared ashore on the Raz - in true Liverpool style, never to be found. What to do - anyway the OM and the pilot eventually agreed to proceed on the transit with what we had left plus the 4 apprentices sharing the wheel etc as required. I recall steering through the Lakes and the pilot radio was constantly crackling with the latest reports from the police on the numbers of our crew that had been rounded up.

Somehow the crew were transferred to Balboa, where we were anchored in the moonlight. Out comes a police launch with our worthies in handcuffs, and we put over a pilot ladder for them. They were still feisty, and I clearly remember them hurling wedges etc from the deck down onto the police launch before it roared away...

Just another day on a ' white crew ' Bankboat. It was only a taster of what was to come on the Oz coast!

Charlie Stitt
12th November 2010, 18:55
A Liberty ship, with a Lascar crew, a comfy big bunk and with their quiet old faithful steam engine. All same BUTLINS HOLIDAY CAMP.

Alan Rawlinson
2nd March 2013, 10:22
Corabank MCE-2626 EC2-S-C1 The Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 180.572 GCFR
Edenbank MCE-1834 EC2-S-C1 Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 169.722 GCVJ
Ericbank MCE-2410 EC2-S-C1 The Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 169.782 GDJS
Ivybank MCE-1810 EC2-S-C1 Bank Line Ltd. London, Great Britain UK UK 169.691 GCTL
Kelvinbank MCE-1798 EC2-S-C1 Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 169.678 GDBD
Maplebank MCE-2143 EC2-S-C1 Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 169.770 GBSD
Marabank MCE-2413 EC2-S-C1 The Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 169.799
Rowanbank MCE-2099 EC2-S-C1 Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, UK UK UK 169.797 GBNN
Springbank MCE-2608 EC2-S-C1 The Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 180.550 GFJJ
Tielbank MCE-1823 EC2-S-C1 Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 169.745 GBPV
Titanbank MCE-2640 EC2-S-C1 The Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 180.025 GFJR
Willowbank MCE-2221 EC2-S-C1 The Bank Line Ltd. Glasgow, Great Britain UK UK 169.848 GCRX

One of these appeared at Ocean Island cracked from waterline to waterline over the deck at No3 hatch. It was made good at the island with a makeshift repair, before sailing. Does anyone of the old timers remember which ship it was????

Alistair Macnab
2nd March 2013, 16:38
One of these appeared at Ocean Island cracked from waterline to waterline over the deck at No3 hatch. It was made good at the island with a makeshift repair, before sailing. Does anyone of the old timers remember which ship it was????
Alan....
I believe it was the "Willowbank" because I heard about the situation from the late Captain John Kemp who was aboard at the time. Seems they largely 'tied' the two halfs of the ship together with mooring wire, if you can believe it! But I don't think the crack was 'waterline to waterline' but rather just across the deck between the house and the after coaming of #3.

I'm sure you will recall the eventual banding of these ships with a heavy deck plate that started at the mid length of #3 and extended down the alleyways P and S and the sheerstrake banding along the ship's mid-length.

Alan Rawlinson
2nd March 2013, 20:25
Alan....
I believe it was the "Willowbank" because I heard about the situation from the late Captain John Kemp who was aboard at the time. Seems they largely 'tied' the two halfs of the ship together with mooring wire, if you can believe it! But I don't think the crack was 'waterline to waterline' but rather just across the deck between the house and the after coaming of #3.

I'm sure you will recall the eventual banding of these ships with a heavy deck plate that started at the mid length of #3 and extended down the alleyways P and S and the sheerstrake banding along the ship's mid-length.


Hi Alistair,

Good afternoon.

I have been exchanging emails with BPCkid (Adrian) the son of the harbourmaster at Ocean Island from 1948 to 1958. Adrian was a boy at the time but he says he distinctly remembers the crack from waterline to waterline! Many photos were taken of the temporary repair, using wires etc.

Personally, I find it amazing that the certification society, and interested insurers would allow such a step and approve departure into the Pacific and Tasman sea with wires and temporary welding? My ship construction is shaky at best, but believe I am right in thinking it must have been a shell plating problem only, and that the longitudinals and tween deck were unaffected, or else it surely would have been a tow job. What do you think?

Alistair Macnab
3rd March 2013, 18:51
I am inclined to agree with you, Alan. With the passage of time, the crack(s) must have been reported much worse than they actually were!

I seem to recall a story, not connected I think, with my "Willowbank" story as told to me, but of a Bank Boat Liberty having to be navigated stern-first to keep from breaking into two pieces!

You Liberty boys were certainly a fund of great yarns. Especially the white crew jobs! One time in Calcutta, a white crew Liberty was to move from Kidderpore Dock to Esplanade Moorings and Captain Gale rounded up all the Apprentices from the other Bank Boats in port to create a sober crew for the ship movement. Did you hear of that story?

Ask your BPC friend if he knew Captain Baird RD. RNR (retd) who was a harbor master on Nauru? His son, John Baird was an Apprentice with me in 1956. John and his mother came to Durban from Oz on the "Southern Cross" when his father joined the Caltex T-2 Singapore-based fleet. John joined the "Ettrickbank" on the O-A Line and we used to meet up with his Dad quite regularly in Singapore where tales of Nauru and BPC were often told.

Hamish Mackintosh
3rd March 2013, 22:38
As Apprentice on the Ericbank, my cabin was on the main deck starb side, opposite the saloon door. My bathroom was on the left as you come in through the door from the maindeck, a steam pipe, which leaked a lot, was directly overhead the WC, so when I went to the toilet, I also got a shower, drip, drip. No bilges on Libertys, remember, the strum boxes were in wells(hatboxes) at the after end of each hold, but were they any better for the, hold nose and dive routine ? At least we never had limber boards to contend with.

On the Ivybank the cabin of which you speak was the second stewards, the appies(2) were in the cabin forrad of that, hang a left as you exited the saloon and the door was dead in front of you(well a couple of yards or so, and the bathroom you mention was the deck crews washroom, two showers, toilet and sink, dam cold if someone left the maindeck door open

Alan Rawlinson
4th March 2013, 07:35
I am inclined to agree with you, Alan. With the passage of time, the crack(s) must have been reported much worse than they actually were!

I seem to recall a story, not connected I think, with my "Willowbank" story as told to me, but of a Bank Boat Liberty having to be navigated stern-first to keep from breaking into two pieces!

You Liberty boys were certainly a fund of great yarns. Especially the white crew jobs! One time in Calcutta, a white crew Liberty was to move from Kidderpore Dock to Esplanade Moorings and Captain Gale rounded up all the Apprentices from the other Bank Boats in port to create a sober crew for the ship movement. Did you hear of that story?

Ask your BPC friend if he knew Captain Baird RD. RNR (retd) who was a harbor master on Nauru? His son, John Baird was an Apprentice with me in 1956. John and his mother came to Durban from Oz on the "Southern Cross" when his father joined the Caltex T-2 Singapore-based fleet. John joined the "Ettrickbank" on the O-A Line and we used to meet up with his Dad quite regularly in Singapore where tales of Nauru and BPC were often told.


The studies done on Liberty fractures concluded that by far the majority of cracks were due to ' brittle fractures' caused by extremely low temperatures, e.g. N Atlantic in winter. There were other incidents as with the Willowbank but they were isolated. As a paid up member of the Liberty fan club I think these ships got a bad press!

Never heard about the Calcutta round up of apprentices to shift ship but it has the ring of truth about it. It was common on the Maplebank for us 4 apprentices to ' save the day' either preparing for sailing, or transiting Panama, when the crew were legless, or trying hard to get legless!

As mentioned before, the Liverpool crew I sailed with may have been
typically drunk most of the time they could manage it, but the humour was great. They were unconsciously funny even when sober and with a quirky view of life. ( Suspect some of it may have rubbed off on me) Can't remember the port, but we were lashed alongside a ' normal' Bank Line ship somewhere, and we were slightly higher out of the water. Our crew looked down, saw the Indian crew, and kept us entertained with their comments - e.g. Look, "savages on deck!" not as good as us white savages!!

Alan Rawlinson
4th March 2013, 07:40
On the Ivybank the cabin of which you speak was the second stewards, the appies(2) were in the cabin forrad of that, hang a left as you exited the saloon and the door was dead in front of you(well a couple of yards or so, and the bathroom you mention was the deck crews washroom, two showers, toilet and sink, dam cold if someone left the maindeck door open

Seems the allocation of cabins varied from Liberty to Liberty. On the Maplebank, 2 of us shared a cabin on the bridge deck, port side, and Sparky was next door at the after end. ( I remember as I had the top bunk, I reckoned I had travelled further than anyone as we circumnavigated). The tiny cabin on the boat deck aft was often called ' the iron lung' as it was so poky. Can't remember if it even had a porthole.

jimthehat
4th March 2013, 21:51
Seems the allocation of cabins varied from Liberty to Liberty. On the Maplebank, 2 of us shared a cabin on the bridge deck, port side, and Sparky was next door at the after end. ( I remember as I had the top bunk, I reckoned I had travelled further than anyone as we circumnavigated). The tiny cabin on the boat deck aft was often called ' the iron lung' as it was so poky. Can't remember if it even had a porthole.

Looks as if we will have to start a new group(Bank line liberty boys).
That cabin on the bridge deck was a sad one as the old man would come in of an evening just after we had transitted the canal.
We were both first trippers and Capt. Mountain woul tell us how he was thinking of ending his life(which he did about half way across the pacific..
I seem to think that my cabin mate also lost his life possibly up in Nauru on his next ship,his name was willoughby and he came from hexham.

jim

Alan Rawlinson
5th March 2013, 07:51
Looks as if we will have to start a new group(Bank line liberty boys).
That cabin on the bridge deck was a sad one as the old man would come in of an evening just after we had transitted the canal.
We were both first trippers and Capt. Mountain woul tell us how he was thinking of ending his life(which he did about half way across the pacific..
I seem to think that my cabin mate also lost his life possibly up in Nauru on his next ship,his name was willoughby and he came from hexham.

jim

Jim,

Must have been a very haunting and personal experience for you. especially first trip. You probably wondered what you were getting into after the fire in the Mississippi as a starter!

Aberdonian
5th March 2013, 14:30
Looks as if we will have to start a new group(Bank line liberty boys).
That cabin on the bridge deck was a sad one as the old man would come in of an evening just after we had transitted the canal.
We were both first trippers and Capt. Mountain woul tell us how he was thinking of ending his life(which he did about half way across the pacific..
I seem to think that my cabin mate also lost his life possibly up in Nauru on his next ship,his name was willoughby and he came from hexham.

jim

When I was in the Tielbank 57/58 there was talk of an apprentice who had earlier sailed in her who had come to an untimely end. He was described as a South Sea Islander but the story may have become distorted over time in that Nauru was the Pacific connection and your Willoughby was the lad.

Keith.

Alan Rawlinson
26th March 2013, 12:29
Here's a nice pic of the Kelvinbank, taken approx 1 year after she became a loss at Ocean Island, mainly because she fouled another wreck during the 'haul off' operation.

jimthehat
26th March 2013, 15:31
Here's a nice pic of the Kelvinbank, taken approx 1 year after she became a loss at Ocean Island, mainly because she fouled another wreck during the 'haul off' operation.

Now that picture gives a good view of the aftermast,now on the Maplebank outward from london to the US gulf I was put into a bosun,s chair by the bosun and hauled up to the table and then instructed on how to make a lowering hitch.After completion did not want to let go as I was scared s*****ss.
Not quite sure but think that the kelvinbank had left the UK shortly before us.

jim

Alan Rawlinson
26th March 2013, 20:26
Jim,

Here's one for you. Maplebank looking a bit patchy on the Oz coast.

jimthehat
26th March 2013, 23:35
Jim,

Here's one for you. Maplebank looking a bit patchy on the Oz coast.

could not be anywhere other than the OZ coast(no crew to paint or change runners).
I think that it was in walleroo where we were loading grain (couple of hundred tons on the most prolific days)The mate told the bosun that if the crew would do a job and finish on painting the ship overall they could have the rest of the time off.The crowd got to work and finished the job in 6 days then b******d off ,we were six weeks loading!

jim

Alan Rawlinson
30th April 2013, 11:43
could not be anywhere other than the OZ coast(no crew to paint or change runners).
I think that it was in walleroo where we were loading grain (couple of hundred tons on the most prolific days)The mate told the bosun that if the crew would do a job and finish on painting the ship overall they could have the rest of the time off.The crowd got to work and finished the job in 6 days then b******d off ,we were six weeks loading!

jim

Found this snap of name painting on the stern of the Maplebank. - not bad paint work considering the muzzy state the crew were usually in. (Or was it us apprentices?)

jimthehat
30th April 2013, 14:23
Found this snap of name painting on the stern of the Maplebank. - not bad paint work considering the muzzy state the crew were usually in. (Or was it us apprentices?)

That was not my and on the bosuns chairs.

jimMaplebank,we used self lowering on the stages

Alan Rawlinson
2nd May 2013, 12:07
Maplebank laying opposite a Larinaga ship in one of the Oz ports. Could be P Lincoln, Wallaroo, etc. Anyone recognise the finger jetty? Well down on her marks either with phosphate for discharge, or maybe loaded grain prior to departure...

Looking closely, there is a sailing barge alongside, and rail trucks under the derricks.

jimthehat
2nd May 2013, 14:15
Maplebank laying opposite a Larinaga ship in one of the Oz ports. Could be P Lincoln, Wallaroo, etc. Anyone recognise the finger jetty? Well down on her marks either with phosphate for discharge, or maybe loaded grain prior to departure...

Looking closely, there is a sailing barge alongside, and rail trucks under the derricks.

I think that could be walleroo,we were there on the Maplebank loading grain.
There was a Buries marks ship the other side of the quay all ready to sail but less one app.agent was sent to find him ,pilot on board when this drunken chappie came staggering down the quay,slung a beer bottle at the ship,shouted a few choice remarks to the old man on the bridge and staggered off again.

Hamish Mackintosh
2nd May 2013, 16:38
I would go for Wallaroo too ,as I don't remember the "Buttress "type jetty at Port Lincoln, also looking shoreside the background seems wrong for Port lincoln, however having said that, I do remember an old sailing barge coming alongside ,which had been converted to a water carrier.Lot of help I am ain't I

David E
2nd May 2013, 23:21
I don't think it is Port Lincoln-the rails look wrong. When we were there in Myrtlebank in September '49 there were two huge and beautiful Shire horses who were used to move the wagons up and down the jetty. During our stay one of them fell into the water from the 'left' hand side of the wharf and in spite of all the rescue efforts died of shock. I don't know if they carried on using the horses after that event or changed to modern mechanical haulage. I never got back there again

China hand
4th May 2013, 18:38
Lynne would know, she is pretty clued up about that part of the world.

Alan Rawlinson
4th May 2013, 19:12
There was a primitive grain loading port called Thevenard, around the corner and into the Australian Bight. Used to hear tales of it in the Bank Line, but never got there myself. Believe a sort of Mediterranean mooring was needed. Anyone have memories?

Seems the name was that of a French harbourmaster given to the port by Baudin, the French explorer who was competing with Mathew Flinders at that time, 200 plus years ago.

John Dryden
4th May 2013, 19:58
Alan,I was at Thevenard on the Olivebank,November 16th 1969.Just read my journal for that day and your word primitive is not far off the mark.Here is the said entry:
''V/l arrived Thevenard 1300.Pilotage through buoyed channel approx.4 miles.One wharf with double sided berths and 1 elevator for grain or salt.Pilot also surveyor.No tugs and berthing difficult,had to use port anchor to berth starboard side to with long headline fast able to swing round alongside from forward of jetty.Continued caulking holds.''

notnila
4th May 2013, 22:28
21 days there loading grain on a Baron Boat!Also spent a couple of nights as a guest of South Australia's Finest.And fined a Fiver to boot!

Alan Rawlinson
5th May 2013, 20:19
Here's a nice photo of the last Liberty ship - Jeremiah O'Brian with war time rig - gun emplacements etc. I think they looked at their best when fully loaded however...

jimthehat
5th May 2013, 22:33
Here's a nice photo of the last Liberty ship - Jeremiah O'Brian with war time rig - gun emplacements etc. I think they looked at their best when fully loaded however...
Somewhere I have a few photos of her taken when we did a visit a few years ago.When i went up to the bridge deck to have a look at where my cabin on the maplebank was I found it to be the residence of a retired US admiral,we had a good chat as we wandered around the wheelhouse.

jim

Alan Rawlinson
3rd August 2013, 17:24
Here is the Maplebank- Liberty ship, steaming along happily in a bottle - for the last 40 years in fact!

I know the feeling.

Alan Rawlinson
27th August 2013, 17:28
Here's a nice view of another of the Bank Line Liberty ships - Rowenbank. No t'gallant mast -shame. Anyone have memories of time on her?

Alan Rawlinson
9th December 2013, 19:25
Here's a few more Bank Line Liberties at various drafts. To my eye, the fully loaded Liberty was a stately ship, especially with the rather unique t'gallant mast setting off the structure. Quite a few companies sort of sanitised their Liberty ships, including removal of the t'gallant, thus spoiling the appearance. Just my opinion.

Eric, Tiel, Kelvin, and Titan

IAN M
9th December 2013, 20:17
It may interest you to know that SHIPPING COMPANY LOSSES OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR, published by the History Press, gives details of all Andrew Weir's ships lost.

jimthehat
9th December 2013, 23:47
Here's a few more Bank Line Liberties at various drafts. To my eye, the fully loaded Liberty was a stately ship, especially with the rather unique t'gallant mast setting off the structure. Quite a few companies sort of sanitised their Liberty ships, including removal of the t'gallant, thus spoiling the appearance. Just my opinion.

Eric, Tiel, Kelvin, and Titan

Hi Alan,not one of those libertys appears to be the same as the good old maplebank,no gun platforms on the upper bridge wings,and only one seem to have the enclosed poky wheelhouse,

jim

Alan Rawlinson
11th December 2013, 19:35
Here are 3 more, the Edenbank in a unique colour scheme! Must have been some voyage. There seems to be gun bays on the Eden, Jim, but not the rounded ones similar to Maplebank.

The other two are Cora and Mara.

DURANGO
12th December 2013, 13:57
Here are 3 more, the Edenbank in a unique colour scheme! Must have been some voyage. There seems to be gun bays on the Eden, Jim, but not the rounded ones similar to Maplebank.

The other two are Cora and Mara. Oh that photo of the Edenbank is wonderful in my opinion ,as you say it must have been some voyage and I have to say if I had ever sailed in her that photo would have been on my wall for me to just sit back and gaze upon regards and many thanks for sharing it .

John Dryden
12th December 2013, 19:20
I agree,great pics from Alan,much appreciated.

Alan Rawlinson
12th December 2013, 20:15
Thanks for the nice comments....

I think all of the Bank Line Liberty's will have been shown here with the addition of these last three - Ivy, Spring, and Willow - 12 in total.

They were way ahead of their time in the standard of interior fittings and chunky furniture, ample hot water, and spacious bunks. The huge steam reciprocating engine with cranks like a big Tonka toy, and the workmanlike bridge(s).

Let's hope they made money for the old firm carting mainly bulk cargoes (notably phosphate) around the world for a good few years, sold out in the sixties, and providing many fond memories for those of us lucky enough to have sailed in them..

Hamish Mackintosh
12th December 2013, 20:36
One can clearly see the "arm chair" up in the bow of the Ivybank, I have mentioned it before, as no one seemed to know what it was, it was about a foot further forward of the derrick cradles for #1 hatch, so that was not its use, it was very handy tho, as one could get out of the wind and weather while on lookout, we had a piece of canvas strung across the top to serve as a roof

jimthehat
12th December 2013, 23:09
One can clearly see the "arm chair" up in the bow of the Ivybank, I have mentioned it before, as no one seemed to know what it was, it was about a foot further forward of the derrick cradles for #1 hatch, so that was not its use, it was very handy tho, as one could get out of the wind and weather while on lookout, we had a piece of canvas strung across the top to serve as a roof

Memory might be playing tricks,but cannot remember one on the Maplebank,can remember spending many long nights up forward on lookout,we were white crew and the mate handed us over to the bosun prior to sailing from Surrey commercial dock and spent the rest of the 18 months at sea on watches.

jim

John Dryden
12th December 2013, 23:29
Times did change fast enough but the fog remains the same.

Joe C
13th December 2013, 08:55
Thanks for the nice comments....

I think all of the Bank Line Liberty's will have been shown here with the addition of these last three - Ivy, Spring, and Willow - 12 in total.

They were way ahead of their time in the standard of interior fittings and chunky furniture, ample hot water, and spacious bunks. The huge steam reciprocating engine with cranks like a big Tonka toy, and the workmanlike bridge(s).

Let's hope they made money for the old firm carting mainly bulk cargoes (notably phosphate) around the world for a good few years, sold out in the sixties, and providing many fond memories for those of us lucky enough to have sailed in them..
I enjoyed my time on the Ivybank,big comfortable cabin,red hot radiator,and the "quietness"of steam My previous ships had all been motorships.And thanks to your picture of the Eden I've changed my mind on how scruffy she was.We did'nt have the brown hull look but we did have green weed growing on the foredeck.

Alistair Macnab
13th December 2013, 16:00
As additional recognition features, Bank Line "Sam Boats" had additional cargo derricks and winches installed at the after end of hatch #2. Some of the recent photographs do not show this addition so the photos must have been taken very early on in 1947 when all twelve Libertys were bought and paid for.

Also, when Bank Line "Sams" were changed over to Bengali crew, the amenity houses abreast of the mizzen mast on the after deck between hatches 4 and 5 were added. When did this take place? Were all 12 converted to native crew or did some leave Weir's as white crew?

Time is moving on for any SN supporters to have been aboard any ship when these changes took place but I have to ask if there are any memories of when the extra derricks and/or additional houses took place?

jimthehat
13th December 2013, 22:48
As additional recognition features, Bank Line "Sam Boats" had additional cargo derricks and winches installed at the after end of hatch #2. Some of the recent photographs do not show this addition so the photos must have been taken very early on in 1947 when all twelve Libertys were bought and paid for.

Also, when Bank Line "Sams" were changed over to Bengali crew, the amenity houses abreast of the mizzen mast on the after deck between hatches 4 and 5 were added. When did this take place? Were all 12 converted to native crew or did some leave Weir's as white crew?

Time is moving on for any SN supporters to have been aboard any ship when these changes took place but I have to ask if there are any memories of when the extra derricks and/or additional houses took place?

Alistair,
I seem to remember that on the Maplebank circa 1952-1954 we had 4 derricks at no 2 hatch,but Alan can certainly confirm or deny that statement of mine,cos he was on her the trip before me,
jim

Hamish Mackintosh
14th December 2013, 00:47
I joined the Ivybank in 1949 and she had four derricks on #2 then

Alan Rawlinson
14th December 2013, 08:46
Alistair,
I seem to remember that on the Maplebank circa 1952-1954 we had 4 derricks at no 2 hatch,but Alan can certainly confirm or deny that statement of mine,cos he was on her the trip before me,
jim

Joined her as senior App the trip after you in Bromboro - snow on the decks, mixed with coconut oil ! Believe this trip was the last of Bank Line white crewed Liberty trips - possibly because of the mayhem we went through - never a dull moment, and only 1 original member left when we arrived in Hamburg with iron ore from Vitoria, Brazil.

Re the derricks at No2 hatch - interesting to read the after ones were an addition. This is confirmed by googling 'Liberty Ship' images where there is an array , some with, and some without.

DURANGO
14th December 2013, 13:51
Joined her as senior App the trip after you in Bromboro - snow on the decks, mixed with coconut oil ! Believe this trip was the last of Bank Line white crewed Liberty trips - possibly because of the mayhem we went through - never a dull moment, and only 1 original member left when we arrived in Hamburg with iron ore from Vitoria, Brazil.

Re the derricks at No2 hatch - interesting to read the after ones were an addition. This is confirmed by googling 'Liberty Ship' images where there is an array , some with, and some without. To be fair I think before they changed over crews the accommodation and conditions through the ship would have been so much different for the crew and the officers and again lets be fair if we are going to be away for 2 years we are all going to be away for the 2 years so why did we not all get a single berth cabin and a very petty thing that used to peeve me was the fact that we all had different size towels I,m not saying we should have been served at the table by a steward I have sailed on a few ships with 3 a.b,s in a cabin that don't give much privacy and to my mind was always a recipe for problems one ship I was on our cold water supply for the deck crowd was a milk churn with a couple of blocks of ice put in it so that when we came off deck in the heat we had to dip our tea mugs in to it to get a refreshing drink having said that I have sailed in ships with single berth accommodation . regards

Joe C
14th December 2013, 13:59
To be fair I think before they changed over crews the accommodation and conditions through the ship would have been so much different for the crew and the officers and again lets be fair if we are going to be away for 2 years we are all going to be away for the 2 years so why did we not all get a single berth cabin and a very petty thing that used to peeve me was the fact that we all had different size towels I,m not saying we should have been served at the table by a steward I have sailed on a few ships with 3 a.b,s in a cabin that don't give much privacy and to my mind was always a recipe for problems one ship I was on our cold water supply for the deck crowd was a milk churn with a couple of blocks of ice put in it so that when we came off deck in the heat we had to dip our tea mugs in to it to get a refreshing drink having said that I have sailed in ships with single berth accommodation . regards
Just been on your profile, love the seasonal scene.