What happened to Nina?

Steve Hodges
5th November 2007, 22:31
I see that back in 2006 "Rushie" started a thread asking for contact from any of BP's female cadets, but no replies to date. Does anyone know how far Nina Baker ( the first one) got in her time with BP? I sailed with her on the "Aviator" when she was either senior cadet or 3/O - memory is going, but I [U]can[U] remember that I was 4/E:) . She struck me as a tough little lady, I suppose she had to be, and I had a lot of respect for her. Be interesting to know what happened to her.

trevflstn
8th November 2007, 12:18
Never sailed with Nina but met her a couple of times while on the scrounge for flags and other stuff in Europoort. As you say a "tough little lady" (very politely put I must say!).
Sailed with a number of female cadets over the years, all very good workers (as previously mentioned they probably had to be) but found some of them caused a few social problems among the rest of the crew.
Probably not allowed to say that any more so I will have to try to dodge the incoming.

Hoppy
8th November 2007, 14:32
Another brave woman ..the lovely Sylvia the R/o... sailed with her on The 'Tenacity' in 1974..... I think we were on that Charter on the Peruvian coast then...... also on the Maple ...

Hoppy

Sarky Cut
8th November 2007, 16:48
I remember Sylvia well, we were on the Bandar Mashur/Bandar Abbas run for months.

There is a thread on here about why you choose the company or the job.

Sylvia told me that it was at the beginning of the computor age/electric typewriters etc and the man in the suit used to come in and fix her machine.

She just got more interested in the fixing than the typeing and it all went from there.

Turned a few heads in the Navy Repair Yard when we went to get some acid for her after she had dumped the old batteries and found out that they were "drycharged" and the acid had not been supplied. Oooohps.

Could happen to the best of us, unfortunatley it happened to Sylvia.

Doing a difficult job in a man's world. She was a nice lady.

There are several ex BP Deck Cadetesses on the Wightlink service I believe.

jacksonk
8th March 2008, 00:51
Hello, I have been posting enquiries on this site and other. Sorry I think I have replied on wrong thread. However, my father served on the Cumberland in 1953 and was involved in a road accident and is now buried in Malta. Have you any photos of ship, crews for HMS Cumberland 1953. I have had fantastic response whilst I have been researching my fathers naval history. His photo is on this site and in my profile. Kind regards - Kathy (youngest daughter)

linglis
9th March 2008, 22:35
* Nina Baker

..... FIRST woman accepted into the ordinary OND Deck Cadetship scheme in the British Merchant Navy and at the time was the only woman living in the hall of residence with 250 deck and engineering male cadets. She passed everything first time and won 2 prizes and then worked for a further year as a Third Mate with BP before moving to work on general cargo ships. In 1978 she got her 1st Mate's Certificate and worked on a cable ship for a few months before leaving the Merchant Navy altogether. She then went to University and got a BSc in Engineering Design with Appropriate Technology and then did a PhD in building materials. (P/L)

derekhore
10th March 2008, 14:52
If she had 'gingery' curly hair at the time I think she was at Plymouth for part of her cadetship...along with a couple of other female cadets.

Only other female at sea I remember was Carol Greenway .. a sparky.

Dave Wilson
10th March 2008, 14:58
I seem to remember Arklow Shipping had a lady Master of one of their coasters in the 80s.

Steve Hodges
13th March 2008, 23:29
* Nina Baker

..... FIRST woman accepted into the ordinary OND Deck Cadetship scheme in the British Merchant Navy and at the time was the only woman living in the hall of residence with 250 deck and engineering male cadets. She passed everything first time and won 2 prizes and then worked for a further year as a Third Mate with BP before moving to work on general cargo ships. In 1978 she got her 1st Mate's Certificate and worked on a cable ship for a few months before leaving the Merchant Navy altogether. She then went to University and got a BSc in Engineering Design with Appropriate Technology and then did a PhD in building materials. (P/L)

Thanks for the info. As I said when I started the thread, I had a lot of respect for her and was interested to know how her career went. And eventually she saw the light and became an engineer!!(Thumb)

mike davis
23rd March 2008, 22:24
Sailed with Nina we she was 1/2 nd trip I was 2/off she was a very confident lassie.

mike davis
23rd March 2008, 22:27
[QUOTE=mike davis;201093]Sailed with Nina we she was 1/2 nd trip I was 2/off she was a very confident lassie. Cant remember which ship it was ,she
was 1 of two girls we had that trip,Cant remember the other lassie

GeorgeM13
25th April 2008, 21:02
Vanessa Birtwhistle was another of the original group of young lady cadets. I sailed with her on the Test in late 1976 on what I think was her last trip as a cadet. She was at the end of her O.N.D. and was not sure if BP would keep her on. I don't know what happened to her as it turned out to be my last trip.
Late on another female cadet from Glasgow joined on her first trip but I cannot remember her name.
Did the job (Cadet Training) change to accommodate female cadets? I don't know as I only had that one trip to go by but it was a discussion we had on board. Certainly the cadets (m&f) never spent as much time on deck as I did and their working gear stayed pretty clean. Every chance it was a C/O and O.M. thing. Are there still female officers on British ships as the only ships I saw them on when working in Grangemouth were Dutch ships.
I am already starting to duck as I have tried not to be sexist but have probably failed just as probably was the case when I was at sea.
Cheers George

robbie 1954
3rd May 2008, 18:37
Sailed with Gail Hardy and Anne Rutherford on the British Admiral during 1974. They were deck cadets then and I was 1st trip Engineer Cadet.

rodhaigh
19th January 2009, 12:27
Anne Rutherford now runs her own (v. successful) marine consultancy company, Briar Maritime, along with her husband, also a master mariner, out of Ulverstone, Tasmania.
I worked with her for a little while and have a great respect for her ability.
Cheers
Rod H

R58484956
19th January 2009, 17:18
Anne's initials form part of company title BriAR.

ninabaker
30th August 2012, 22:55
This thread pre-dates when I joined SN so have only recently become aware of it. Rather than repeat what is elsewhere, anyone on this thread who is not also already aware of me elsewhere here can catch up the rest of my seagoing histoy in Graham Wallace's thread on female nav apps and elsewhere in the BP forum generally.
Thanks (I think?) for more or less complementary comments.

Steve Hodges
31st August 2012, 22:07
This thread pre-dates when I joined SN so have only recently become aware of it. Rather than repeat what is elsewhere, anyone on this thread who is not also already aware of me elsewhere here can catch up the rest of my seagoing histoy in Graham Wallace's thread on female nav apps and elsewhere in the BP forum generally.
Thanks (I think?) for more or less complementary comments.

Nina, may I ask what it was that prompted you to start on that career path in the first place? It must have been clear that it was going to be extraordinarily tough to succeed and be accepted in such a chauvinistic profession. Just wondering....
Glad to see that you saw the light and went into engineering, by the way!(Thumb)

ninabaker
2nd September 2012, 00:13
> Steve H.
I wanted to be a sailor from my earliest years, long before I had even the vaguest idea what it might entail. There was no one in the family with any similar interest or background but my father willingly took me to the docks to look at ships when I was a girl and I acquired some boat experience in the Sea Rangers in my teens.

Even when I was battling to get a company to take me on, I think I still only had a rather general idea. I had no role model or mentor and no one else had any idea what the barriers might turn out to be - how could they? There was no precedent.

In the event, the real trouble was never on the ships - my main problems arose at college in Plymouth - where I met a lot of hostility from my contemporaries and was essentially ostracised and isolated. I think, eventually, the authorities realised this and no females were ever at a college on their own after that, which must have helped them a little.

However, I have heard since that many women who sailed on deck or in the engine room did face very considerable difficulties, physical attacks even. In many ways that aspect of the potential barriers passed me by.

peter3807
2nd September 2012, 01:52
> Steve H.
I wanted to be a sailor from my earliest years, long before I had even the vaguest idea what it might entail. There was no one in the family with any similar interest or background but my father willingly took me to the docks to look at ships when I was a girl and I acquired some boat experience in the Sea Rangers in my teens.

Even when I was battling to get a company to take me on, I think I still only had a rather general idea. I had no role model or mentor and no one else had any idea what the barriers might turn out to be - how could they? There was no precedent.

In the event, the real trouble was never on the ships - my main problems arose at college in Plymouth - where I met a lot of hostility from my contemporaries and was essentially ostracised and isolated. I think, eventually, the authorities realised this and no females were ever at a college on their own after that, which must have helped them a little.

However, I have heard since that many women who sailed on deck or in the engine room did face very considerable difficulties, physical attacks even. In many ways that aspect of the potential barriers passed me by.

Sorry to hear about the problems you faced at Plymouth. I met Clare and Vanessa at South Shields. We shared a Hall and they never expressed any concerns.
Bumped into them again when I was doing my Mates and they were fine. Hope they don't prove me wrong and say they had problems at S Shields.

Peter

ninabaker
2nd September 2012, 10:23
Sorry to hear about the problems you faced at Plymouth. I met Clare and Vanessa at South Shields. We shared a Hall and they never expressed any concerns.
Bumped into them again when I was doing my Mates and they were fine. Hope they don't prove me wrong and say they had problems at S Shields.

Peter

Thanks, Peter. I think it was partly I was unlucky with the people in my class as I got on fine with the guys in the ONC group that was running in paralel with our OND group. Also, as has been frequently put to me over my life - I am a bolshy bugger and far from diplomatic.

derekhore
2nd September 2012, 12:45
> In the event, the real trouble was never on the ships - my main problems arose at college in Plymouth - where I met a lot of hostility from my contemporaries and was essentially ostracised and isolated. I think, eventually, the authorities realised this and no females were ever at a college on their own after that, which must have helped them a little.

Sorry to read that Nina ... I was at Plymouth throughout my Cadetship and although I wouldn't say I enjoyed life there all the time, it was very close to my home (Torbay) so suited me well.

Were there other BP Cadets there with you? Shame on them if there were, they should have stuck by you.

During my times there I was always one of only probably a maximum of 6 BP cadets - the place was full of Shell and various cargo company cadets - both deck & engine.

ninabaker
2nd September 2012, 20:22
Sorry to read that Nina ... I was at Plymouth throughout my Cadetship and although I wouldn't say I enjoyed life there all the time, it was very close to my home (Torbay) so suited me well.

Were there other BP Cadets there with you? Shame on them if there were, they should have stuck by you.

During my times there I was always one of only probably a maximum of 6 BP cadets - the place was full of Shell and various cargo company cadets - both deck & engine.

A few BP cadets but they were the worst I think because they were very young and immature. The most support I got was from a few of the Shell guys and some of the cargo guys.

Steve Hodges
2nd September 2012, 20:27
> Steve H.
I wanted to be a sailor from my earliest years, long before I had even the vaguest idea what it might entail. There was no one in the family with any similar interest or background but my father willingly took me to the docks to look at ships when I was a girl and I acquired some boat experience in the Sea Rangers in my teens.

Even when I was battling to get a company to take me on, I think I still only had a rather general idea. I had no role model or mentor and no one else had any idea what the barriers might turn out to be - how could they? There was no precedent.

In the event, the real trouble was never on the ships - my main problems arose at college in Plymouth - where I met a lot of hostility from my contemporaries and was essentially ostracised and isolated. I think, eventually, the authorities realised this and no females were ever at a college on their own after that, which must have helped them a little.

However, I have heard since that many women who sailed on deck or in the engine room did face very considerable difficulties, physical attacks even. In many ways that aspect of the potential barriers passed me by.

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I seem to remember that you used to wear a Sail Training Association top, and thought maybe that was the impetus, or that you had family connections in the MN. Anyway, I'm glad that you weathered the hostility in Plymouth and didn't get too much crap on the ships themselves.

Barrie Youde
2nd September 2012, 21:39
Hi, Nina!

In about 1978-82 I sailed in the Ocean Youth Club. I met a young lady (Lucy?) who was then a Blue Funnel cadet. Exchanging notes, she revealed to me that one Angus Cumming AB from the Hebrides had advised her "Ye should be pushing a pram - and not going to sea."

I had sailed with big Angus on my own first trip in 1959, when aged 16. He was a gentle giant and the kindest man who ever walked. On one occasion I had charge of the deck-hose, swilling out fridge-hatches on the Australian coast. Big Angus, well-knowing my inexperience and discomfort, observed, "You're made up with that hose, aren't ye?"

And so I was. Because the hose could not shout at me.

The point that springs to mind is that most mariners in my experience are honest, helpful, amusing and self-effacing. There are, of course, many exceptions and you will have met them, too.

My own attitude towards young lady cadets (in all honesty) was always that, because I would be senior to any of them, I would be only too pleased to welcome them. And so, yes, it is a huge pleasure to hear of your career and the fact that you are still willing to speak to any of us who carry our genitalia outboard. The competition which women create everywhere - c'est formidable!

ninabaker
2nd September 2012, 23:09
Hi, Nina!
Exchanging notes, she revealed to me that one Angus Cumming AB from the Hebrides had advised her "Ye should be pushing a pram - and not going to sea."

I had sailed with big Angus on my own first trip in 1959, when aged 16. He was a gentle giant and the kindest man who ever walked.

The point that springs to mind is that most mariners in my experience are honest, helpful, amusing and self-effacing. There are, of course, many exceptions and you will have met them, too.


Hi Barrie,
I sailed with someone a lot like that Angus. In my case, again on first trip (summer 1972) on the Willow, the guy was Fin Campbell, a hebridean again. He was a big big guy whose entire calory intake seemed to be alcohol, so that at about mid-20s he looked about mid-50s. He was reckoned to be unmanageable but I think his innate western Isles courtesy came in and he was a lamb with me. Such that when he was known to be drunk and not turning to, I would get sent to get him. He was more of a seaman when smashed than most of the rest of the deck crowd were even when sober. He taught me wire splicing, which was brilliant when I got back to college and we were doing our EDH tickets, cos I could do them in my sleep by then.
nina

Barrie Youde
2nd September 2012, 23:44
"Unmanageable" and "Innate Western Isles Courtesy" - Nina, you've got it in one!

Given courtesy, a human being can get away with many things!

B

GrahamBurn
10th September 2012, 22:48
When I was 4/E on the Beech in 78/79 we had Sharon the sparky, Sandra Mitchel and another D/C surname Bryce, can't remember her first name now and a few wives as well including mine. It was always a very sociable ship and I can't remember any bad vibes on board, remember we had a big payoff in Fiji just after a cyclone and all the flights were off for about a week so we had a holiday and then first class all the way home, happy days!!
ATB
Graham

Graham Wallace
11th September 2012, 17:32
When I was 4/E on the Beech in 78/79 we had Sharon the sparky, Sandra Mitchel and another D/C surname Bryce, can't remember her first name now and a few wives as well including mine. It was always a very sociable ship and I can't remember any bad vibes on board, remember we had a big payoff in Fiji just after a cyclone and all the flights were off for about a week so we had a holiday and then first class all the way home, happy days!!
ATB
Graham

Graham,
I have full crew lists for the Beech for the times you mentioned, the DC was Susan Bryce however it is totally new to me that one other DC SI Mitchell was a female, thanks for that. She appears on the Nav App/Cadet database I send off to all ex NA/NC'c and nobody has mentioned SI Mitchell was female!
BTW the Beech R/O was CJ Kelly and 2RO SE Philpott, so SE was Sharon? ( I'm also in process of making a BP R/O database so nice to know these things?)

At one time BP designated the title 'Miss' but evidently some 'Males' complained , so the practise was discontinued, pity.

Graham

clareT
21st December 2012, 00:09
No problems at South Shields at all as far as I can remember. We were never there long enough though! Flagg House!! Our little group of 12ish got put together in there each time. Far less hassle in college than at sea. Nina is probably right - there were two of us together - safety in numbers!