John Shanley

12th March 2008, 20:11
Hi All

My dad John Shanley worked for Blue Star line for many years in mid sixties to early seventies he moved to J+J Denholm in around 74 and unfortunately died when he took ill on the Lake Eyre cargo ship it was his first outing for Denholm, he died in Auckland New Zealand and was buried there he was 33yrs old.

It would be great to here from anyone who knew him or worked with him, i know very little about him as i was 3 when he died. He worked on amongst other ships the Newcastle Star, Ulster Star, Imperial Star and English Star.

Many Thanks

26th March 2008, 22:17

I’m sorry to hear your father John Shanley died at such a young age. I sailed with your dad briefly in April 1966 for a coastal voyage on the Newcastle Star between London and Glasgow and on to Liverpool. At the time John was making his last trip as 2nd Mate (he didn’t know it at the time) and I a 17 year old cadet having only just completed six months sea time. I took an instant liking to him, to me he was typical of the many fine officers that had come up through the Conway. He was young, confident, professional and I guess he communicated well with youth.

Most seamen remember their first couple of trips to sea with great clarity – and we remember people that influenced us. I shared the 12 to 4 with your father so had time to learn and chat.

However we did have an incident, on arrival Liverpool we opened up No.2 hatch only to find smoke bellowing out of the lower hold. The fire brigade was called but fortunately the smoke was coming from smouldering insulation A “cluster” (a portable light used to illuminate the hatches) that had left on and face down. Although they had a protective grill the heat had burnt a hole in the wood and cork insulation on the tank top. Once things had settled down the Marine Superintendent investigated the cause. We cadets had been down the hold on leaving Glasgow and wondered if we had left the lights on. As it turned out your father admitted he’d been down the hold to ‘measure up’ and he suspected he was the last person down the hatch. The superintendent said in that case I’d better rip the envelope he was holding. He didn’t and it was your father’s promotion to Chief Officer (Mate). A “circular” was put out shortly after that throughout the fleet re the dangers of leaving clusters face down.

Your father was appointed to the Rhodesia Star, the Newcastle Star continued on to South & East Africa. 3 months later we where berthed opposite each other in Sydney. I’ve a feeling our 2nd Mate was a pal of your Dad’s from his Conway days and he visited. Your father asked me to visit the Rhodesia Star as his Captain had attended my pre – sea training school in Hull. Your Dad also showed me around his ship, I felt very privileged at the time for their interest, as in those days the Masters (or Mates) didn’t have a lot of time for cadets – or so it seemed.

I did see your Father briefly in 1971, I flew out to Montreal to join the Melbourne Star as 2nd Mate. Your father was Chief Officer, it was brief as the whole ship’s compliment was flown home to the UK on the same charter plane we’d used.

A photograph of the Newcastle Star, April 1966 in Liverpool can be seen on the BSL web site.

Hope this is of interest to you


Derek Roger
26th March 2008, 22:22
Welcome from Canada Phil ; hope you can find what you are looking for regarding your Dad here .
Regards Derek

26th March 2008, 22:49
Welcome to SN from Lancashire UK.

I am so pleased that you have been able to get some helpful information from someone that knew your Dad. It doesn't always happen but you have hit lucky.



Newcastle Star
21st March 2009, 12:08
Hi Michael,

Sorry I missed this posting for so long. I sailed with your Dad on the Newcastle Star in 1964. I was R/O at the time. Great guy and sorry to hear he died so young. I have my copy of the "Newcastle Star Pacific Race Meeting" which he helped organise and would gladly photocopy and send to you. Contact me through my info on site.