Federal Steam Navigation

31st October 2007, 16:13
Another 'majestic' company that there isn't enough about on here, I should perhaps be more specific, nothing about the one trip that I did on the Dorset, it's a selfish thread I know, but what the heck.........

I'd never really been anywhere of real note until I joined this lovely ship, I'd not long been out of Gravesend Training school, my first ship was the Clutha River, we were sent from Hull to Milford Haven to join her, we went to Curacao then to Rotterdam, I spent most of the trip wondering when we would be back in England, really questioning whether a life at sea was the life for me, there seemed to be too many things to have to get use to, learning the art of walking, quelling that seasick feeling, and how to peel spuds in large enough quantities and as fast as the cook needed them, as I say....very, very daunting.
Having said that I still preferred to be Galley boy rather than pantry boy.
My next ship, Anadara, Shell tanker wasn't much more noteable, we joined her in Rotterdam, brought her to England....and I signed off, using the excuse that it was New Years eve , or thereabouts, so I didn't feel too guilty, still didn't think I would last long at sea.

Then I got on the Dorset, at first it was just doing various ports around the coast, loading various cargoes in readiness for her next trip to New Zealand, there wasn't particularly anything of note, there was another lad from Sheffield, I was from just outside Sheffield, he was sailors peggy, so it was easy enough for us to hit it off, he was about my age as well, which also helped, though to be honest age difference wasn't a problem when you're on a ship.

Anyway we did the coast and the Chief Steward, I think his first name was Royston, he offered me to go to New Zealand after we'd done the coast.He never bothered us, which means he was happy how the cook and the baker were running things, seemed a nice chap.

The cook and the baker were real smashing blokes, the cook was from East London, always had a roll up in his mouth, though maybe not when he was over the stove, the baker was a Polish bloke, lived in Leigh-on-Sea, and he was a top bloke, and a brilliant baker to boot, I use to forego my couple of hours off some afternoons to help him do the bread rolls, he taught me how to do them, and I still make bread to this day.

That ship was the most memorable one to me, I only spent 5 years at sea, and only ever did such a long trip the once, I mainly did Hull to the continent after that, with Ellerman Wilson and United Baltic, all enjoyable but none quite as wonderful as the Dorset.

Some of the things that stand out to me, we caught the tail end of a hurricane and it smashed through the deckhead in the officers saloon, we were all 'skating' up and down in the galley, even with the fiddles on the stove pans were splashing their contents all over the place, scary it was.
I had a good cabin mate, Dave, from Workington, if my memory serves me well. It was back in 1966, my team Sheffield Wednesday got to Wembley and played Everton in the F.A. cup final, we had an Everton fan on board, Wednesday went 2-0 up but lost 3-2, the cook let me have the morning off to listen to it on the radio, top man!
We had a wonderful time in New Zealand, climbed what felt like a mountain in Lyttleton, got to the top, with the peggy from Sheffield, hadn't had a smoke all the way up, sat down took my baccy tin out only to find I didn't have any ciggy papers with me!

The seaman's strike was in full swing, we got back to England, had to take the ship to dry dock at Falmouth, after having been berthed at King George docks in London, and signed off in Falmouth.
Was so pleased to be going home, and am left with nothing but 'marvellous memories' of my one trip on her.

If anyone reading this was on her at the same time, drop us a line, would love to share some memories!


31st October 2007, 20:37
I worked on the Dorset around that time as an apprentice fitter in falmouth Docks. a great looking ship.

31st October 2007, 20:42
Hi Janner100, perhaps you worked on her in dry dock after we had brought her round there.

Yes, she was a fine looking ship, I always felt that leaving her in such a beautiful place as Falmouth was a fitting completion to the trip, far more appropriate than just a run of the mill docks!


Phil Saul
31st October 2007, 23:08
It just proves the fact that it is not the ship, but the crew which is the deciding factor in whether or not you have a good trip.
I joined the Dorset in Avonmouth in '71 after paying off a double-header on the MANZ run in the Westmorland, which was the trip from paradise.
I joined the Dorset the night before she was due to sail deepsea, so had no time to get to know the rest of the crew, apart from my mate Ken Kirkaldie who had been in the Westmorland with me.
The rest of the crowd were from Stornoway, London and Sth Wales and the biggest bunch of misfits you could ever come across.
The Chief Steward was John Waghorn who turned out to be the biggest 'armhole' I have ever had the misfortune to come across at sea.
The bosun got into a fight with one of the Ab's in the bar the first week out and lost big time so that was the end of any discipline on deck and the mate was as weak as dishwater.
I ended up getting logged on four different occasions in a four and a half month trip, all due to my battles with the Chief Steward who still had the nerve to ask me to sign on for the following trip.
You can guess where I told him to stick it.
To cut a long story short it was the worst trip I ever did and I still shudder wnen I think of the Dorset and 'the trip from hell'.
Luckily I managed to rejoin the Westmorland and did a couple more trips in her before 'skinning out' in NZ.
Always puzzled me why I jumped out of the Westmorland which was the happiest ship I was ever in and not out of the Dorset which was the un-happiest.
Got to put it down to a woman I suppose !!

Regards Phil (Thumb)

Tom Haywood
1st November 2007, 22:46
I sailed on the Dorset January 1967 for a round trip to Oz getting back to Liverpool in June of the same year. 1st time deep sea on a steamer so it was a bit of a novelty. Must have been a fair trip as I have no bad memories.

ray morgan
14th May 2009, 11:18
I joined the Dorset in 1961 in Freemantle, I was offered the Galleyboys job,but being a JOS I indignantly refused,(youth) I walked around Freemantle pondering, then went back cap in hand and started peeling the spuds. I was in a cabin with two steward boys one named Derek Bateup, who kindly gave me a suit to go home in and a suitcase ( I was schooner rigged) such kindness. I applied to go back on ths Dorsets next voyage but I was refused by the office not the ship,I still have the letter. I joined my next vessel shortly after the KANTARA Moss Hutchinsons as JOS (I was not converted the galley was'nt for me). I retired Sept.08 at 65 I was mate on the Sand Swan dredger Liverpool.

30th October 2011, 10:59
come on guys, there must be someone around who was on this trip...?

one sad memory, there was a docker in New Zealand, don't know which port it was, must have been either Wellington, Lyttleton, Nelson or Napier, tall guy, perhaps late 20's early 30's, had ginger hair, well he decided to take a short cut round the lip of the hold, all hatches were open, he slipped and fell right through to the bottom.

I think we'd just come back from playing a football match and there was an ambulance there taking him off, he later died.

personally, I remember climbing what at first appeared to be a rather steep hill, as we climbed it it did seem more than....'a rather steep hill', it was me and the sailors' peggy.
well, when we got to the top I sat down to have a roll-up, hadn't had one during the climb, didn't have one then either as there were no cig papers left!

no guessing what the first thing I did when I got back on board.

don't smoke now.....only because I had a heart attack in 2004.

ray..............in Batley
ich bin ein binliner.

country boy
23rd September 2012, 11:43
[QUOTE=redgreggie;548104]come on guys, there must be someone around who was on this trip...?

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