12th March 2008, 22:08
On sea Trials,Cornell built 1961 BU H.Kong 8-1978

Alistair Spence
12th March 2008, 22:47
she was my first ship, joined her in Hamburg, October 1974, and here started my "education". What do I remember most? Pineapples! Crushed pineapples, pineapple segments, pineapple cubes, pineapple slices, pineapple juice....... .........
Was only on board for a fortnight and never saw her again but she was certainly 'modern' by comparison to some other Bens.


Joe Freeman
14th March 2008, 23:16
As a 16 year old apprentice I worked for a short time in the engine room of Bengloe along with a journeyman fitter, checking the runout of the turbine rotor coupling flanges and checking the backlash of the main gearwheel. Mostly I rember the crush of folk working around and above us and the heat from the turbine. It was a great experience for me at the time.

wully farquhar
15th March 2008, 18:15
The Gloe-Loyal-Valla-Armin were all very sleek looking ships,21/22 Knts early sixties,not bad eh.

15th March 2008, 19:10
(==D) i was one of the few sassenachs on the bengloe,when a trio of scousers walked up the gangway ,eyebrows were raised, a great bosun whose name ive forgotten but we had to have a glasgow lad called davie dove to interpret for us, good crowd but possibly the worst deep sea feeder i was on outside of l+h(Thumb)

8th February 2016, 15:40
Hello all,
I'm the nephew of a former cadet who was on the Bengloe up to 1963 when, sadly, he was killed in an accident on board. His name was Alasdair Mackie Fraser. My father Ian and I would very much like to hear from anyone who might have sailed with 'Ally', recalls his time on board, and indeed anyone who remembers the accident itself.
Many thanks
Alasdair Fraser

8th February 2016, 15:40
PS Alasdair was 20 years old at the time and came from Carlops in the Scottish Borders

8th February 2016, 15:56
Greetings Alasdair and welcome to SN .Bon voyage.

9th February 2016, 16:47
Greetings Alasdair and welcome to SN .Bon voyage.


ian keyl
10th February 2016, 00:42
Hi Alasdair,
I did not sail with your Uncle Alasdair but I do recall the incident as told to me by someone who was onboard the Gloe at the time.
The incident happened in Hong Kong and Alasdair is buried in Happy Valley cemetery overlooking the famous Race course by the same name.

I was told that he was on deck and they were preparing to discharge MOD vehicles and it had been raining and the hatches had to all be closed till it stopped. The hatches on the Gloe were called Macgregor steel rolling hatches. These were sections of steel which were connected to each other by a length of chain and ran on tracks over the open cargo hold. When closed they all overlapped each other and locked making a water tight seal over the cargo hold. Each section had a set of wheels which it moved backwards and foreward over the length of the cargo hold.

When fully open the sections were stowed at one end of the old in an upright position as they had tilted when pulled back over a ramp on the track. Depending on the trim of the vessel and as to which end of the hatch they were stowed sometimes the hatches could roll on thier own accord. (trim of the vessel meaning the stern of the vessel may be deeper than the bow giving you a slopping foredeck.)
When the crew( cadets on daywork with the bosun and sailors under instruction of a mate or second/third mate) were out on deck to close the hatches because of the rain.The hatches were opened or closed by pulling the leading section of hatch by a steel wire from a derrick and through a block(sheave) on the mast house ,this when heaved on would pull the sections of hatch back towards the mast house and over the ramp which would tilt the sections from the horizontal position into a vertical position.
When this happened it was very noisy with the banging of the steel sections together under the mast house.
On the Gloe No 2 hatch covers ran aft to the mast house and if she was deep by the stern the hatch lids could run on thier own ( we had the same problem on the Benvalla except it was N0 ! hatch as soon as you lifted the wheels on the lids it would run on it own back to the masthouse.)but as they were opening this hatch the wire from the derrick got stuck in the sheave and would not pull the sections. Alasdair was told to jump onto the hatch lids to undo the wire(called a bulling wire) from the leading section so they could try and force the wire free from the sheave with the derrick winch.The hatch was partially open, and once Alasdair had removed the bulling wire the hatch started to run backwards towards the stern of its own free accord. As Alasdair was on the leading edge and only an open hatch 20 feet below him he had to try and get to the edge of the hatch as it was rolling back (the hatch lids would have been slippery from the rain and he had to to make a run for about sixteen feet to make the safety of the main deck.
Tragically he did not make it and the hatch lid section he was on flipped upwards on the ramp and i be leave sadly killed him.

These hatches were very dangerous in several ways and there were rules of guidance to be carried out when ever working on them.

It was a very sobering incident to all Ben line staff at the time and was on many occasions referred to by bosuns to young raw cadets about the danger and complacency when working this type of hatch. I am sure from this tragic death many young sailor and cadet has thought twice before taking the wrong action.

This is as accurate as i can remember as being told about the incident and i have expanded on certain things to help you understand the workings of the operation which was taking place at the time.
Maybe someone else on the Ben site may be able to recall Alasdair and his seagoing life before this tragedy.

Regards Ian.

10th February 2016, 07:06
Hi Ian,
Can I just thank you very sincerely for your reply and the time you have taken to recall in some detail your memory of what you understand happened. It means a lot to hear how much people were affected by the accident and, equally, that something positive in terms of safety may have come from it.

My reason for getting in touch with the forum was in no way whatsoever about recrimination. My dad and I simply want to learn more. We did hear that at the time of the incident the usual bosun was on shore leave and a more senior (but less technically qualified?) officer was supervising. The bosun later came and visited my grandfather and told him the accident would not have happened had he been on duty. He was later warned in no uncertain terms by the company to make no further comment on the incident. As I say, the time for recrimination is long past.

We have always known that Alasdair was buried at Happy Valley. However life and finance meant my dad, now 79, never visited. In 1998, a family friend visited but was unable to locate the grave, told by staff in all probability it was one of the not uncommon 'relocations'.

How happy we have been, then, these past couple of weeks to discover the work of an author Patricia Lim in documenting the cemetery. Included was a picture of Ally's grave. We are now trying to get in touch to confirm it remains where it was recorded and then me and my dad will try to visit.

Thanks again for your information and kind words


ian keyl
10th February 2016, 20:10
Hi Alasdair,
I have a feeling that there is some relationship between my cousin and your family, the reason I say this is that my cousin David Maxwell(deceased was a sea going engineer from Aberdeen who did sail with Ben). He once told me about this incident and said it was some relation who was connected to someone in Inverness and I think they were connected to the railways?? I did not know too much about them as they came from his fathers side and not my parents side. His father was David Lorimor Maxwell and died in the army late on in the second world war.
This may well not be the case but I do remember him asking me when he left Ben if I would visit the grave in Happy Valley. This I attempted to do but unfortunately never found it . I did not mention it in case you asked where it was but I am glad from your last email that you now have something solid to work on. Good Luck and stay in touch with the forum ,best Rgds Ian.

11th February 2016, 00:11
You're spot on, Ian! That is so strange. David was my mum's cousin. What a small world we live in. Please stay in touch - my folks would love to find out more but I haven't, as yet, been able to speak to them about your message.

There have been two other breathtaking co-incidences regarding my uncle that I must pass on to you once I get through this wee spell of work and get my head around it all.

Thanks again,


ian keyl
12th February 2016, 15:18
Good afternoon,
Well it is a small world, I made a mistake in the Christian name of my cousins father,It was Bill Maxwell and his brother Dave was out in Hong kong for many years working for the PWD ,they lived in the Kowloon up by the Queen Elizabeth hospital at a place called Wylie Gardens,at Kings Park Rise. I used to go and visit Dave and Beryl and sometimes Beryl would take me for lunch ,she worked for a big british jewellers and Nautical compass adjusters on HK island. They had two children Jane and a son??.
They came home to uk many years ago and lived in Appleby Cumbria and I thin both are still there. Draw Briggs Mount Appleby. Just some more info to work on, Sorry about mistake. Rgds Ian.