The Bank Line Association

ken dag
15th March 2008, 12:23
Hi Bankboaters
Did you know that the Association exists ?
Newsletter No.25 just published and Bi-annual Reunion will be on Friday 10th October in Bromsgrove.

My first trip as Junior Engineer was on 'Lossiebank' in 1955 regards Ken dag

cadet
15th March 2008, 13:40
Hi Ken...
Didn't know that they existed....
Do they have a website and how can you get the newsletter.

Thanks....

Les Gibson
15th March 2008, 23:56
Have been trying to contact the association on and off for 3 years using the eMail address. Not yet had a response!!

K urgess
16th March 2008, 00:18
I'll confirm what Les says.
I had one contact with them and since then I've had no reply at all.
Having spent longer with Bankline than some of their employees I thought it might be interesting to join.

kwg
16th March 2008, 09:24
It took forever to get a reply...came a few days ago. For 20 PA, their past performance and the bumf they sent I didn't think it was worth it...

Les Gibson
16th March 2008, 13:42
They would have to pay me 20 a year to be involved. Well done Marconi Sahib for spending so long with them. I and almost all the others who were on the Dartbank/Taybank with me in1963-64 couldn't get off, and away from Bank line quickly enough! I think we were unfortunate in having a t*** of an old man and a pair of even bigger t**** for Mate and 2nd engineer.

K urgess
16th March 2008, 13:47
I've heard they could be your worse nightmare.
Luckily I did four copra runs with some excellent lads and thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing.

R58484956
16th March 2008, 15:59
Visited a Bank line ship on the African coast once, a man walked by the door with a cap with no peak in a dirty old vest anda dirty old pair of trousers and carrying a bag of something. I asked the question who and what is that, the answer "thats the chief going to feed his chickens in the steering gear" He would not eat any chicken that was on the menu as he did not like sharing with the master. Always had his own chicken cooked and ate it in his cabin.

Les Gibson
16th March 2008, 20:26
Sounds about right!

IRW
17th March 2008, 00:42
Calm down! I,as a green as grass apprentice joined my first 'Bank Boat' the Nessbank in '57. Allowed the first day to find out stern from bow then - work - turn to at 0700 and a FULL days work by 1700. That was the 'Copra' run -Tongan Pilot Johanssen (sp) master in square finished up as master. I stayed untill '70 when a much less quality of master was employed. But during my stay I had the privilege of sailing with Brant,Mendus,Lynch, just to name a few and of course N. Kent and his parrot - that was on the Northbank with Aussie Reed(sp) as Cheng. Who can forget the West Coast S.American run with 26 port is as many days.IRW(K)

Les Gibson
17th March 2008, 13:33
I have calmed down, although it took a couple of years! I'm sure there were great crews and oldmen, mates, 2nd engineers, etc. The 18 months trip I had was probably just unfortunate. The trip itself was fantastic, round the world a couple of times, weeks on the Aussie and South African coasts, Brazil, Kiwi. The stuff of dreams! It's a pity my memories are still tainted by the poisonous food (Old man's bond, he must have made a fortune), and aforementioned mate and 2nd engineer. Our first task on arrival was to find somewhere to eat ashore before we hit the bars.

McMorine
17th March 2008, 15:44
Contact The Bank Line Association e-mail address:- brianlucy@btinternet.com
20 per year subscription.
I spent twenty fantastic years with Bank Line 1959 to 1979, great ships, great shipmates and great ports around the world. Would do it all again in that era.

Jim Harris
2nd April 2008, 10:32
It took forever to get a reply...came a few days ago. For 20 PA, their past performance and the bumf they sent I didn't think it was worth it...

I joined for 12 months.... but thought that unless you were a Captain
or a Chief Engineer there wasn't much value.... so I didn't rejoin.
But that's only my opinion.

Jim.

gde
12th July 2008, 22:21
Well,I cannot fault the Bank Line,Andrew Weir and Co was one of the best and largest tramp shippping lines in the world .They were up to a little while ago still on the high seas.
My older brothers also served as engineers as well as myself on Bank Line ships.I served my time on petrol,lpg and diesel engines but the vast majority of my engineering experience was gained from working with what was the finest engineers and deck officers in the world.My present work in refrigeration was gained from working with the Bank Line.Those engineers,electricians,sparks,as well as deck officers came from all parts of the world including the UK ,Northern Ireland,South Africa,India and Australia.They were true tradesmen who could rectify and repair faults as they came about.They could navigate where no other ship would go,weather it be The Magellan Straits or up the River Plate.I remember the bore tides on the Hoogly,the mates must have been done in after moving so much anchor chain.

Uniform or dress code was never very strict in the Bank Line,but on special ocassions we would put on our whites with our rank.But,my best uniform from any ship would be a dirty boiler-suit,then I would know I was working with hard working men.I never had a fault with the Bank Line food on board,I ate was was put in front of me and I was never hungry.Some of the most powerful Pakistani curries was consumed by me and many engineers/leckys as well as the deck crew on Bank boats.

I have many happy memeries of The Bank Line and for the sum of 20,that is a small price to pay to keep up with former employees/shipmates of the Bank Line........ without my Bank Line experience I would not be able to rectify and repair problems on ice machines and bottle/can coolers throughout the pub,hotel,club,restaurant as well as offshore vessels in the North Sea and beyond.


Gavin D Elder
Peterhead.

hughesy
13th July 2008, 21:33
Hello
I wonder if any of you Bank line men, have ever come across an R/O called Len Elworthy from Glasgow.
I sailed with him as a junior R/O. He was quite a character. He told me he had done 4 years with Bank Line.

All the best
Hughesy

SecondLeccie
23rd July 2008, 14:18
Hi, I was with Bank Line for 1 year 1973/1973 on Speybank & the final Riverbank trip as 2nd electrician; they were the only company who would take me on with no sea experience and they were great! Indian crew so the food was top notch (unless you wanted english), missed proper milk though

Alistair Macnab
6th September 2008, 21:03
To all Bank Line men,including those who liked and disliked the experience:

I was apprenticed to Andrew Weir Shipping and Trading Company in 1953 and was with them until 1981. Its true I would probably have given up going to sea during my first voyage (India-Africa; India/South America) but as it was two years long all but three weeks, I had made up my mind in the end to make the best of the experience.

That was the best decision I ever made because I came to recognise a good and happy ship from one that was not, and the one that was not, was manned by folks who thought the grass was greener somewhere else!

Many of Weir's liner services were one way and ships went from one service to another but each "line" was nevertheless a regular service. Here in the U.S. Gulf, we had separate and regular advertised services from Houston and New Orleans to New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and the UK/Continent.

OK the ships were not considered "cargo liners" by many but the true definition of "liner" and "tramp" is that liners are engaged in a pre-advertised common carrier voyage and tramps and engaged in a charter voyage to a single entity and carry that entity's cargo exclusively.

Having stood by several ships building in Belfast and Sunderland, I was always impressed by the ship builders' attention to the ship specifications. If the ships were somehow lacking in special features it was more the lack of imagination at head office rather than at the builders.

The "Corabank" class were as well-designed and well-appointed as any other cargo liner.

It is very difficult to design a ship around the demand that it be suited for tramp voyages as well as liner voyages and I think Weir's got it just about right when latterly ships were being assigned more or less permanently to specific "lines.

As for the officers and gentlemen aboard. Fully capable professionals all. Looking back, our dress sense might have been a bit variable and to the point of casual on many ships but look at things now! When you go aboard any ship today, the Philippine or Ukrainian crew and the officers are alike in their boiler suits and there's no place for sahibs in whites any more!

After all, we were civilians!

See old exchanges in SN about whether the old man in a Master or a Captain. In the university where I now work, everyone is at great pains to call folks "professor" when in fact they are phds
or "doctors". I personally like to be recognized by the honorific "captain" although I never insist on it myself. I let other folks come to that form of address voluntarily.

Like some, I find a second mate ticket holder masquerading as "captain" as a little bit of a stretch and don't encourage it!

In the USA in general, the merchant marine is generally seen as a blue collar job even with the compulsory BSc degree for officer entry. Being in education here, I've often wondered if a comparison could be made between a master's BOT certification and
a college-granted MSC in maritime science.

This is a bit long as I haven't written before. I'll be interested in any responses.

Alistair Macnab.
Fleetbank/Laganbank/Ettrickbank/Inchanga/Carronbank/Laganbank/Ernebank/Roybank/Fleetbank.

ROBERT HENDERSON
6th September 2008, 21:19
Did any of you Bank Line men sail with a Capt Parsons?

Regards Robert

Iriscable Fairy
7th September 2008, 05:38
The "Man in Charge" signs on as "Master" and is the "Master" of the vessel - however most people would call him/her "Captain" which, in the case of the Merchant Navy, is an honorary title.

NB the title Captain is not official in any way.

The 12 years I was with Bank Line - from 3/O to Master - were some of the best years, if not the best, I have had at sea.

Richard Collinson.

Alistair Macnab
24th September 2008, 01:04
Did any of you Bank Line men sail with a Capt Parsons?

Regards Robert

Robert....

I met Captain Parsons several times when he called at the U.S. Gulf ports. His main claim to fame was the situation on the "Sprucebank" when it was acting as the Tonga Royal Yacht carrying the then Crown Price and his wife from Nuku'alofa to the UK for, I think, one of Queen Elizabeth's celebrations. Perhaps it was the 25th anniversary of the royal wedding at which Prince Tungi's mother. Queen Salote, had made such a favorable impression.

Anyway, Captain Parsons was entertaining the Prince in his day room playing cards when the Prince excused himself and returned to the Owner's Suite next door. Time passed and the Prince never returned. Eventually on going to search for him, he was found locked in the Owner's Suite toilet. Being a very large man, the Prince had sat down somewhat heavily on the toilet seat and the porcelain unit had shattered under him rendering him helpless among the ruins of "Shanks of Barrhead's" best pottery!

Red faces all round and one or two bruises in funny places. Captain Parsons, however, in his cool way, ordered a new toilet fixture to be delivered to the ship as it passed through the Panama Canal en route to the UK but its subsequent delivery was another story which we'll leave for another time. There are two Panama Cities, one at the Canal itself and the other in Florida. Imagine the curiosity of the company's agent in Panama City Florida when a crate containing a toilet bowl was delivered to him express air freight direct from Barrhead. Another story.

I believe Captain Parsons was subsequently decorated by the Tongan Royal Household for his personal services to the Crown Prince. I don't want to start a false rumor but I think it was the Royal Order of the Coconut, Second Class, or something like that!

Alistair Macnab
Houston TX.

Alistair Macnab
25th September 2008, 05:37
Hi, I was with Bank Line for 1 year 1973/1973 on Speybank & the final Riverbank trip as 2nd electrician; they were the only company who would take me on with no sea experience and they were great! Indian crew so the food was top notch (unless you wanted english), missed proper milk though

2/Elec......
The "Speybank" and her sistership "Marabank" were cuckoos in the Bank Line nest having come from Swan Hunter's whereas the good old "Riverbank" was one of a long list of ships built at Pallion in Sunderland by Doxford,s.
Were you on the Oriental-African Line on the "Riverbank"? I knew the old man on her, Wilkie Rutherford, but I cannot remember the year. There was an unsolved murder aboard the ship within the crew.

Kind regards,
Alistair Macnab
Houston TX

trevor smith
25th October 2008, 00:08
Hi Alistair,

Just attended my first Bank Line Association reunion and just found by way to the Ships Nostalgia site. Your name popped out at me and thought I would just say hi. Was with BL from March 65 to February 79 and served through the ranks to Master.

I remember you well from my trips through the Gulf ports and it is good to know that you are alive and well. Mike Ward was also around that era.

I was master on the Spruce; Test; Erne; Iris; Gowan; Cora and Riverbank.

I live in Wellington (New Zealand).

Best regards

Trevor Smith

Strath101
29th October 2008, 10:54
Hi Alistair,


I was master on the Spruce; Test; Erne; Iris; Gowan; Cora and Riverbank.


Trevor Smith

Ah Trevor Smith - for a little nostalgia go to
http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=10063&page=2

Andy Lavies
5th November 2008, 16:51
Hi Trevor,
Up through the ranks then Master in seven Bank Line ships. Did you ever get your gear unpacked? What happened to decent length trips? I stayed in the 'Inchanga for thirty two months. Forgot what my seachest looked like when I finally paid off. Large and rusty tin box that is still up in my loft fifty years down the line.
Andy Lavies

Andy Lavies
5th November 2008, 17:36
Trevor,
I should have mentioned that I had five days off articles during the whole of my apprenticeship from October 1956 until Novenber 1960 - Ettrickbank then Inchanga.
Regard,
Andy

pete
5th November 2008, 18:24
Sadly my Father's DisA was lost during the 2nd World War but I do know he joined a Bankboat as First trip Apprentice and having taken his 2nd Mates ticket in Calcutta and re-joining the same vessel he finally arrived back in the UK after 5+ years. Could have been the Elmbank but not too sure. This was in the 1930's. My longest was on the Dartbank in the 1960's a mere 22 Months..................pete

boatlarnie
2nd January 2009, 08:58
What a great life in those days; I still think the late 50's and 60's were the best time to have been at sea. Bank boats were certainly not sea-going yachts, one worked hard and also played hard whilst learning the job from the bottom up. I was Apprentice from 1957 until 1960, then usual 3rd Mate, 2nd Mate, finally becoming Chief Officer in 1965.
Looking at above messages certainly brought back memories; the copra run, Hamish as Super in New Orleans, meeting Trevor down in Oz when I was with Safmarine and of course all those Bank Line Masters. There was Norman Kent, Fearless Freddie Faint, Charlie Howe, Wille Mendus, Bob Brant, Little RJ Warn, George Wood Patterson, Alan McGregor and so many others. Many of them characters in their own right with their own ways of running the ship. Always reckoned the Bank Line bred their own chickens with one breast (the Master), 2 wings (C/Eng and C/Off) and 20 legs (rest of the guys!!).

Alan Smaldon (1957 to 1971)

pete
2nd January 2009, 14:08
Alan, I know where you are coming from having done 15 years with Weirs. All I ever ate was Chicken Legs. Never a breast or wing in sight. Must have been in the "Butlers Handbook"........................pete

Duncan112
4th January 2009, 08:30
Alan, I know where you are coming from having done 15 years with Weirs. All I ever ate was Chicken Legs. Never a breast or wing in sight. Must have been in the "Butlers Handbook"........................pete

Remember seeing a list taped to the galley bulkhead headed LBW and a list of ranks underneath it - the second mate enlightned me - Leg, Breast and Wing - whose turn it was for which - all in pencil apart from Master and Breast!!

Alan Rawlinson
6th January 2009, 08:42
Hallo Ken,

I notice it's a year on since you first started this thread about the Bank Line Association.

My experience was a disappointment as I talked some bankline chums into taking an interest, and 3 of us drove up to Bromsgrove in the 80's. Unfortunately, I got some stick afterwards.

It was great to meet up with some long lost friends ( difficult to recognise people after 40 years!) but the lack of organisation or dare I say, imagination marred the event for us. Things have probably changed for the better, and I have kept my criticism muted being acutely aware that some good people give up up time and effort to arrange these things with little reward except the pleasure of going so.

Personally, there are a few things I would have loved to have seen, i.e. some pics of the ships splashed around the place. ( Nothing like this to start the ball rolling.)

Some name tags ( Many different eras were there.)

A decent toast - To absent friends etc -

I don't have the skill, but there must have been some story tellers who could have stood up and enlivened the evening.

The whole thing needed a bit more style, and this was not just my opinion.

I don't think 20 quid per annum for membership is a barrier, especially for a great trip down memory lane!

Cheers/Alan Rawlinson

Lattikia
11th January 2009, 14:19
many good memories of Bank Line, loved the house flag, remember what we used to say, red to the mast blue to the sea and a 2 year trip in between

R58484956
11th January 2009, 14:24
Greetings Lattikia and welcome to SN from the south of England. As you have seen you are now among the ex Bank lines crew. Bon voyage.

Waighty
12th February 2009, 13:10
Hello Trevor,

I sailed with you on Weirbank in 1972. John Sturgess was Old Man, you were Mate, John Steel was 2nd Mate and I was 3rd Mate. Have met John Sturgess at Bank Line Reunion a couple of years back You might recall John Steel taking out BA Chart 2 and putting pencil lines through the word England, adding the words North France instead, and then drawing an outline of Yorkshire and putting the word England in the middle of it!

Great time on that trip, thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Best regards, Mike Waight.

johnmilne
12th February 2009, 23:28
I see you mention John Steel as being 2/O with you on Weirbank, He was one of my fellow apprentices on the Ashbank.Did meet him again in Wellington on one of the older copra boats where he was 2/O The pacey pacey man Dai Rees was master.We had both sailed with Dai Rees when he was Mate. I notice a couple of Days ago someone had kindly posted some crew lists.If I recall right there was a J Steel listed as master on the Roybank.
Would this be the same one?
Thanks
John Milne

Ian Coupe
25th April 2009, 10:15
I was totally unaware that the Association existed, It was via a tenuous link with Willie Scott via Pauline Lewis (Bill Lewis's wife) that I came here.
I got fed up with the RFA after 6 years and Joined the Bank Line in 1974 where I sadly took redundancy in 1989.

I have had some adventures since, but life has finally turned out o.k.

Ian Coupe
17th May 2009, 21:27
I was with the Bank Line for 14 happy years and I read some of the cpomments about food with interest.
The very worst feeding I ever had was in the RFA in the early seventies.
Bank line feeding I always found to be good.
Ian Coupe.

China hand
18th May 2009, 18:31
Not the flute playing BIG Ian ???

dave boy green
13th November 2013, 15:01
Calm down! I,as a green as grass apprentice joined my first 'Bank Boat' the Nessbank in '57. Allowed the first day to find out stern from bow then - work - turn to at 0700 and a FULL days work by 1700. That was the 'Copra' run -Tongan Pilot Johanssen (sp) master in square finished up as master. I stayed untill '70 when a much less quality of master was employed. But during my stay I had the privilege of sailing with Brant,Mendus,Lynch, just to name a few and of course N. Kent and his parrot - that was on the Northbank with Aussie Reed(sp) as Cheng. Who can forget the West Coast S.American run with 26 port is as many days.IRW(K)

this has just reminded me about the bird, we used to call him polly (amongst other names) see my other posts re my 21st bday

Mike Agate
14th November 2013, 19:45
The west coast of South America,those were the days,did that run on the Roybank with John Mackenzie as master,

outhouse
14th January 2014, 18:33
I believe my father was 2nd Engineer at this time - Norman Hutchinson. Belfast born he started in the MN during WW2 on the North Atlantic and retired in the 80s. You name it he sailed on it but a large end stretch of his career was served on the Bank boats. I often used to visit when on the Tyne, taking great pleasure in killing as many copra beetles as I could, yes they were still present, and subsequently became an Engineering Officer with CP Ships. He liked the wive(s) but found the King a bit aloof - odd that. The toilet was indeed specially reinforced to cope with His Royal Highnesses heft.

This was to the best of my recollection so may not be the case, definitely with bank Line though - Inverbank in particular...

Robert....

I met Captain Parsons several times when he called at the U.S. Gulf ports. His main claim to fame was the situation on the "Sprucebank" when it was acting as the Tonga Royal Yacht carrying the then Crown Price and his wife from Nuku'alofa to the UK for, I think, one of Queen Elizabeth's celebrations. Perhaps it was the 25th anniversary of the royal wedding at which Prince Tungi's mother. Queen Salote, had made such a favorable impression.

Anyway, Captain Parsons was entertaining the Prince in his day room playing cards when the Prince excused himself and returned to the Owner's Suite next door. Time passed and the Prince never returned. Eventually on going to search for him, he was found locked in the Owner's Suite toilet. Being a very large man, the Prince had sat down somewhat heavily on the toilet seat and the porcelain unit had shattered under him rendering him helpless among the ruins of "Shanks of Barrhead's" best pottery!

Red faces all round and one or two bruises in funny places. Captain Parsons, however, in his cool way, ordered a new toilet fixture to be delivered to the ship as it passed through the Panama Canal en route to the UK but its subsequent delivery was another story which we'll leave for another time. There are two Panama Cities, one at the Canal itself and the other in Florida. Imagine the curiosity of the company's agent in Panama City Florida when a crate containing a toilet bowl was delivered to him express air freight direct from Barrhead. Another story.

I believe Captain Parsons was subsequently decorated by the Tongan Royal Household for his personal services to the Crown Prince. I don't want to start a false rumor but I think it was the Royal Order of the Coconut, Second Class, or something like that!

Alistair Macnab
Houston TX.

dave boy green
14th January 2014, 18:45
you any relation to the late Jim Elder

outhouse
14th January 2014, 18:52
That would be a no and the name doesn't ring a bell

Sorry, what made you think I might be?

dave boy green
14th January 2014, 19:01
That would be a no and the name doesn't ring a bell

Sorry, what made you think I might be?

Sorry post went to the wrong place. I was trying to reply to Gary Elder.
Old age is getting to me

LookingforArthur
30th January 2014, 10:56
Hello all this may seem odd but i'm putting the call out For an Arthur Moore who I believe was on the "Laganbank" as 2nd mate in 1959... more information and photo of him back in the day is at this link https://www.facebook.com/SearchforArthurMoore


if any of you are able to help me get in contact with him if he is still alive it would be very much appreciated , I'm doing this on behalf of my grandmother who he used to know in Australia :D

Ian Coupe
3rd February 2014, 16:38
Yes the very same.
after becoming redundant eventually I became an Engineer Surveyor with British Engine, (Power Stations, Locomotives, Steam Yachts, LPG and lots of various compressed gases).