Long lost friend found.

Stuart Smith
7th May 2005, 23:38
I have posted several enquiries about my search for my old lodging pal and deep sea fellow apprentice Dennis Henshaw. Julian Anstis has also been busy in trying to locate him for me. I last saw him in the World Cup winning year (for you Ron) 1966 on a beach in Newquay. He was on his honeymoon and as you do we swapped addresses and vowed to stay in touch. Needless to say we didn't and that was that.
After many years of fruitless search I had a reply from a letter I put in the local Stockport newspaper. It was from a friend of his who also hadn't seen him for 28 years but had a telephone number in Stirling, Scotland where he had been at that time.
The number was now unknown but as a last resort I went on the BT.com website and tried D Henshaw in Stirling/Falkirk and got one number for that name. I called and it was answered by his daughter who luckily had a christian name beginning with D. This was amazingly lucky because Dennis is ex-directory and I would never have made contact but for that.
Some days later I made contact with him and we spoke for hours and it was like we had never lost touch. To say the least it was brilliant and we both got a buzz out of out conversation. Several weeks later he rang me but I was out having a jar or two and for reasons I'll explain my wife who took the call didn't tell me he had called.
On May 1st it was my 60th birthday and we had arranged to have a party here at home on Saturday 23 April for what turned out to be around 70 people.
At around 8pm a knock came on the door and who should be standing there demanding a beer, non other than Dennis Henshaw. My wife had arranged the lot and my daughter had just picked him up from Luton Airport.
I need not say how surprised I was and how delighted I was to see him. It totally made the night and to think that he had made the effort to come and see me says a lot about Merchant Navy people and how friendships made do last forever. He stayed until the Tuesday and it was a great wrench to have to take him back to the airport but we have already made provisional arrangement for my wife and I to visit him in Scotland this summer.
We didn't stop talking for the 4 days and it was as though we had never lost touch. He brought his boxes of slides with him which we went through together. Many of them are almost the same as mine as we went everywhere together and obviously saw and photographed the same things. The photos do differ in some ways as we were on different watches and also on different shore time watch. He has left his slides with me and I will be scanning them over the next few weeks and posting them. One shows a sunken ship and he thought that it was the MARTAND in the Hooghly but as we passed her at 4 in the morning (see the two photo's in my gallery) it is of another ship. I will post this soon and no doubt someone on this site will know the answer.
Just a final comment, if you are looking for an old shipmate don't give up or lose faith. With the help of members on this site, a bit of intuition and much luck you might be as lucky as I have been and have the pleasure of meeting up with that friend.

What a great birthday present.

Stuart Smith

7th May 2005, 23:49
Stuart, that is a terrific story. This just goes to show what a great community we are building on this Site (along with some your own digging and delving) I can well imagine your excitement and delight after all those years. Long may your re-found friendship last. :)

Doug Rogers
8th May 2005, 00:24
That is truly a great tale and I am so happy that you did make contact and have remained such firm friends after all the years have passed. There were lots of BOT acquantances at sea but also some very very firm and enduring friendships made.

8th May 2005, 08:12
Now there's a book with a happy ending and having followed your postings from the outset feel almost to have been a part of it and certainly privileged. It makes good reading. Looking forward to seeing the new photos now.

michael james
8th May 2005, 08:45
A great outcome to a tenacious quest. Enduring friendships restored are very rewarding, water under the bridge there may be, but the bond made when younger is very strong. Well done Stuart. Mike J

julian anstis
8th May 2005, 09:49
Nice one Stu ! good ending .........all helps build the membership....now dont be hogging the chat room for hours on end.

Stuart Smith
8th May 2005, 20:06
Thanks for all the messages gentlemen.

5th March 2014, 07:31
Keen to locate an old shipmate ,Lame Jonston sailed with him on the Fairyboates out off Stranraer he was ex. grayfunell line beleive he might be out off Liverpool now on the ferrys there.

5th March 2014, 07:57
Have you got the spelling right.?