Brocklebank characters!

Philthechill
25th April 2008, 06:51
In this dull PC world we have to inhabit, these days, let's bring some life back into it by remembering some of the fantastic characters who formed such an integral part of "The Brocklebank Experience"!

Who could ever forget the wonderful Tommy Jones, Chief Engineer extraordinaire?

His plaintive, "Have you got a beer for the old Chief?", when he had located the source of the latest cabin-party was as familiar as his dipping into his own bar account was not!!

His drinking gear of lengthy (grey-ish) shreddies and murky singlet could only have belonged to a true character and his stentorian voice (when he'd had enough grog to lubricate his vocal-cords), bellowing-out some patriotic Welsh song, is remembered now with the fondness many years of dulling the pain of this experience has turned it into! It now lives in the part of my memory labelled, "Happy days".

I'm sure there are many stories which can be told about these stalwarts and will brighten our PC life.

So dig into the memory and let's hear them------------but nothing to denigrate, please! Salaams, Phil(Hippy)

Pat Kennedy
25th April 2008, 08:21
My cousin, Dick Carberry, was a Chief Steward/Purser in Brocks for a few years, in the 50's and 60's. He was, and still is a "character". Family legend has it that Dicky, who was an inveterate gambler and fond of a drink, was caught one night in Calcutta, selling all the spare mooring ropes on the ship.
Does anyone out there remember him?

Philthechill
26th April 2008, 08:21
In this dull PC world we have to inhabit, these days, let's bring some life back into it by remembering some of the fantastic characters who formed such an integral part of "The Brocklebank Experience"!

Who could ever forget the wonderful Tommy Jones, Chief Engineer extraordinaire?

His plaintive, "Have you got a beer for the old Chief?", when he had located the source of the latest cabin-party was as familiar as his dipping into his own bar account was not!!

His drinking gear of lengthy (grey-ish) shreddies and murky singlet could only have belonged to a true character and his stentorian voice (when he'd had enough grog to lubricate his vocal-cords), bellowing-out some patriotic Welsh song, is remembered now with the fondness many years of dulling the pain of this experience has turned it into! It now lives in the part of my memory labelled, "Happy days".

I'm sure there are many stories which can be told about these stalwarts and will brighten our PC life.

So dig into the memory and let's hear them------------but nothing to denigrate, please! Salaams, Phil(Hippy) At the time I put this thread on it seemed a brilliant idea (but, of course, I AM slightly biased!!!) but it would appear that there are no "character-memories" (at least the type that could be put on here without risk of legal-action from either the person concerned or their irate relatives!!!) worth inclusion!!! Toodle-pip! Phil(Hippy)

ken carr
26th April 2008, 15:59
Tommy Jones was an absolute classic, I personally sailed on a few coastal voyages with him. The first thing Tommy did on a typical voyage was to make sure he knew his senior staff 2nd 3rd eng and the electrician. If he knew these guys Tommy would go on a bender, this how it would start by inviting the " Fiver" to put his uniform on and come and have beer with the old Chief
As the fiver walked into the Chief's cabin he was handed a chit to sign for a carton now this young Eng thought it was the bee's knee's to be drinking with Chief, normally he managed to consume two beer's then asked to leave, Tommy then started out on a bender Which would last for days or maybe longer His senior staff ran the ship for him, It was always arranged for Tommy to be sober on return to UK the reason being that our Tommy did his abstracts in perfect copper plate writing which nobody could copy all the hard work was done by the second Eng Tommy just had to copy it all. As I said our Tommy was classic I have heard stories as to why Tommy was a hard drinker I wonder what realy caused his problem? to me he was a great character and a great gentleman

Derek Roger
26th April 2008, 16:20
I only once sailed with Tommy ; round the coast on the Maidan as 4th Engineer.

He had a ritual of calling head office or having a junior engineer call for him to tell them that all was ready to sail and what the condenser pressure was 29.2 inches of vac etc. Goodness knows why ??

He was invited to Princess Margaret's wedding and had to be relieved to attend .Senior Cunard and Brocklebank people who were not invited were apparently quite miffed !
Tommy Lyons from Dundee was 2nd Eng and Batman was the sparks ; Talk about getting all the Characters on one ship at the same time !
Enough there to write a book on the one coastal alone .

Cheers Derek

Jim S
26th April 2008, 18:42
I only coasted very briefly with Tommy Jones. One story I heard about him involved a turbine inspection. Despite a number of attempts to lower the top half of the turbine casing it still hung up on the guides and would not lower into place. Eventually Tommy Jones got involved and ordered all the engineers to stand on top of the casing and link arms and on his command to take a small jump into the air. - Suffice to say the turbine casing dropped into place. One episode that I did witness was with a Welsh 4/E who thought he would ingratiate himself by speaking to Tommy in Welsh.
To his credit Tommy cut him off and told him if speaking to him to do it in English.

japottinger
26th April 2008, 19:18
I did coast with Tommy Jones on the Manipur and Masirah. Told before but got his comuppence when he crept down to the top of the engine room on the Manipur and shut in the steam supply to the air ejector which was sited at the top of the engine room. The 3rd, forget his name, saw him and challenged him and called him what for. The bold Tommy said he would report him to the super, great said the 3rd and I will tell him the whole story. Nuff said and all was forgotten.
On the Masirah at a party at Middlesborough he did pull the old story of a beer for the chief, but also a girl for the old chief!

No harm done, all goes to establish the legend of what was a great company to sail with.

japottinger
26th April 2008, 19:23
PS another story re Tommy Jones at risk of repeating myself. Apparently he had a relative from Wales who was quite a good singer and well known in musical shows. Anyway the bold Tommy met up with the said singer in the West End before a show and had a few jars, result was that the star fell off the stage drunk and broke his leg.
End of career in the West End music business.
Honestly, it was Tommy that told the story!

Jim S
26th April 2008, 19:48
As Philthechill started this perhaps there are some stories about him - he has certainly kept us entertained with his own exploits.
Alternatively what about Eric Lorimer who seems to have been a bit of a legend.

ps Sorry Phil I did not mean to infer that that you and Eric come from same mould.

japottinger
26th April 2008, 20:14
We were in Visag. on the Maihar(I) loading iron ore.
This was done by rigging a bamboo staging up the ship's side in steps, and most of it was loaded by girls. At the end of the shift they all washed under a hose stand pipe on the quay. We soon cottoned on to this and gave them some soap if they would strip off, not so, only if it was toilet soap, not the usual carbolic for dhobying. Anyway Jim Sunners our Chief Steward persuaded one of the more delectabe maidens to come aboard and allowed her to go into the shower and then kitted her out with some finery in the form of a sarong. Actually she was gorgeous when all dinged up and paraded herself on deck to the astonishment of her colleagues on the quayside.
I later heard that Scouser Jim, good lad, had died somewhere on the W. African coast, possibly on a ED ship.

Derek Roger
27th April 2008, 01:00
Trouble with talking about characters is that sometimes one finds he was one !



Derek

Derek Roger
27th April 2008, 01:13
All the Characters were not senior people . I had one 5th engineer who had a great collection of one liners . His previous job was a soccer player with Wolves ( mainly 2nd string )
In talking about a girl friend he described her as having a snooker set ( teeth ) every color except the black !!


His defining moment was in Lyttleton in the British Hotel in the bar when after some banter with the locals during a pause he inquired of me " Hey Sec do you know why Kiwis cant fly ???????' To which I replied "No "

Because they are all full of Sh-t !! says he .

Thats when the tables and chairs became airborne .

We were lucky to leave intact

Happy Days Derek

Philthechill
27th April 2008, 08:51
Captain Owen Pritchard was another character I remember with great affection.

"Maipura" was the ship we were on and "Pritch" had been good-as-gold with never a drop passing his lips for the first part of the voyage.

We were on a MM charter with the redoubtable Serge Callou as supercargo.

We had arrived in Colombo and were at Walkers Quay loading rubber, tea and, possibly, coconut oil.

There were two/three other "Brock-boats" in at the same time (names of which escape me but I think "Mahseer" was one-------irrelevant anyway) and Pritch had gone ashore to meet-up with his opposite numbers off them, first to the Agents and then for a yarn at the GOH.

We'd knocked-off for the day and were all leaning over the rail having a couple of ales when a taxi pulled-up at the gangway and "Pritch" virtually fell out of the door!

That was the start of a couple of months bender!!

It was not unknown for "Pritch" to be waiting for watch-keepers, coming off watch, to find him waiting in their cabin for them to join him in a couple (or several!) snifters. I, myself, was "caught" once! I was J3E and doing the 8-12 and, coming off at midnight, found "Pritch" sat in my busti with half-a-dozen Tennents!

Just before he decided he'd stop his own tap, again, came the factor which probably triggered this cut-off point.

We were steaming up the West coast of Italy heading for Genoa and "Pritch" said to Reg Seubert (Chief Engineer), "Chief! You'll have to come out on deck tonight as we'll be passing Stromboli and it will be a sight worth seeing!"

We'd gone past Stromboli twenty-four hours previously!!

A great character and a top bloke.

As to MY being a character (as mooted by Jim!) the only thing I might be remembered by (which hardly puts me in the same bracket as "Pritch", Tommy Jones, "Pem", Taff Roberts etc. etc.) was my having a set of pub optics secured to the head of my bunk so I didn't have to get of my pit if I fancied a tincture or two!

(I don't mind being "lumped-in" with Eric in the slightest Jim. I am one of the rare number of people who actually sailed with Eric deep-sea-------!! You are right, about him, being a character in his own right of course). Salaams Phil(Hippy)

oglebilluk
27th April 2008, 09:04
I only coasted very briefly with Tommy Jones. One story I heard about him involved a turbine inspection. Despite a number of attempts to lower the top half of the turbine casing it still hung up on the guides and would not lower into place. Eventually Tommy Jones got involved and ordered all the engineers to stand on top of the casing and link arms and on his command to take a small jump into the air. - Suffice to say the turbine casing dropped into place. One episode that I did witness was with a Welsh 4/E who thought he would ingratiate himself by speaking to Tommy in Welsh.
To his credit Tommy cut him off and told him if speaking to him to do it in English.

I wonder how often this solved the problem of dropping the turbine casing; distinctly remember the same solution from George Black as C/E on Matra!

pilot
28th April 2008, 07:13
We were in Visag. on the Maihar(I) loading iron ore.

I later heard that Scouser Jim, good lad, had died somewhere on the W. African coast, possibly on a ED ship.


Seem to recall that Jim paid off a Brock. Ship in Dakar and was bitten by a mosquito there. Jim fell ill after his arrival back home and died in hospital of malaria.

Brgds. Martin.

Philthechill
28th April 2008, 07:45
Seem to recall that Jim paid off a Brock. Ship in Dakar and was bitten by a mosquito there. Jim fell ill after his arrival back home and died in hospital of malaria.

Brgds. Martin. Martin! Not wishing to sound pedantic (he said pedantically) I believe it was yellow-fever Jim succumbed to, not malaria. A great loss though whatever it was he died from. Salaams, Phil(Hippy)

Nick Jones
28th April 2008, 22:12
Pilot, (Martin)
What about the Common (Colin) Heard on the Matra he was quite a character though maybe of the comical kind. His pomposity (If thats a word) was overwhelming.

Cheers,

Nick Jones.

Derek Roger
29th April 2008, 02:10
Nick ;
I sailed with Colin once when he was mate ( One of my last deep sea trips with Brocks on the Mahsud )

He was I must say very useful in London in that he was able to arrange for numerous very nice young ladies to attend parties on the ship .

Cheers Derek

oglebilluk
4th May 2008, 08:50
Three of the Brocklebank characters I clearly remember were all Chief Engineers.

George Black on the Matra from 1957, had the regular habit of mournfully playing Jimmy Shand records in the bar on Sunday mornings. So preventing anyone else from using the room

Alf Manley on Malancha from 1960. Had a nickname for everything, and everyone, on board. Taking stores was hilarious; sadly the only one I can remember was “Bedlam” packing

“Pa” Defty coasting Maturata in 1962. The day-aboard man had to regularly check the Chief’s cabin in case he’d fallen asleep, and the constant cigarette hadn’t fallen out to set alight the old grey cardigan he seemed to live in.
We’d overhauled one of the alternators and planned to give it a light load run-in on a Sunday whilst cargo wasn’t being worked. After repeated attempts none of us could get it to stay on the board resulting in both tripping out. Eventually “Pa” made it to the switchboard asking why the lights kept going out; he demanded the biggest screwdriver we had, disappeared behind the board for a couple of minutes, then said try it now. Of course everything worked normally. Afterwards we wondered if he knew he was looking at an a.c. job!!

Peter Eccleson
9th May 2008, 23:07
Anyone remember Les Flockhart from East Seton, Scotland? I think he was one of the best Chief Stewards in the business and a great guy to boot!

John Ringrose
28th May 2008, 13:51
Anyone remember Colin Kingston - he was mate on the Mahout when I sailed with him in the 70's. I had a 2nd R/o called Peter Geoffrey Harper-Roberts - Colin called him Harpic because he reckoned he was "Clean round the bend".

Or Ben Lion? - unfortunately he topped himself the same voyage - lovely guy as well.

Also a big Leckie from the Middlesbrough area "Ray" - can't remember his surname - Rum lad to say the least. When coasting the Manipur he came to the radio room to make a link call to his Mum. She asked him where he was - He said to her - "I'm in the channel Mam" - she said "Why Ray I've never heard of that pub" - "No" says he - the English channel you daft bat.

John

salvina
28th May 2008, 14:57
I never sailed with Brocks but did any of you ever sail with an engineer from the Shetlands called Eddie Knight? He was on the Manaar at one time. We grew up together and in the Grand Hotel in Lerwick the manager the late Jerry Pottinger always referred to us as "Mundie Knight"(Thumb) (Pint) (Pint)

Derek Roger
29th May 2008, 06:46
Anyone remember Colin Kingston - he was mate on the Mahout when I sailed with him in the 70's. I had a 2nd R/o called Peter Geoffrey Harper-Roberts - Colin called him Harpic because he reckoned he was "Clean round the bend".

Or Ben Lion? - unfortunately he topped himself the same voyage - lovely guy as well.

Also a big Leckie from the Middlesbrough area "Ray" - can't remember his surname - Rum lad to say the least. When coasting the Manipur he came to the radio room to make a link call to his Mum. She asked him where he was - He said to her - "I'm in the channel Mam" - she said "Why Ray I've never heard of that pub" - "No" says he - the English channel you daft bat.

John


I think you are referring to Ray Palfreeman ? Was Ben Lyon the 2nd Engineer or Chief ??
Derek

John Ringrose
29th May 2008, 09:51
Thats the one I remembered on my way home last night - Ray Palfreeman.

Ben was at that time Chief Eng on the Mahout.

Hi Yes,

That is them. Colin was somewhat uncouth to say the least.

Ben was a lovely guy - played cards with my wife all the time. He had a wedding anniversary on the ship and bought champagne for everyone etc but it was obvious his wife was not interested - he received some communication from her and he was very down. One evening he stood up and told my wife he was just off to the dispensary - she asked if he was OK - he said "Yes - or I will be" - she thought no more about it. He was found next day with a sink full of vodka and empty bottles - loads of tablets all over & he was very cold & stiff. We were going into Jeddah. His wife was contacted but she didn't want his body sent home - so we got the message!!! - we buried him at sea between Jeddah and Port Sudan.

John

Philthechill
29th May 2008, 10:52
Ben Lyon was 2/E on my very first ship (Maskeliya) when I joined her in Tilbury in 1961.

An absolute gentleman and I knew he had died but what I didn't know ('til I read it here) was that he'd done away with himself.

Isn't it amazing that, after 47 years, I've only just found out. Admittedly the 15 years I was in the MN were when I was most likely to have heard about it. However I've kept in touch with several people from those long ago days and not one of them ever mentioned it, possibly because (1) they didn't know themselves, (2) they thought I probably knew about it or (3) it's not the sort of thing you mention in idle conversation.

How unutterably sad.

Incidentally there is a photo of Ben on "Members Faces", or "Life on board", in the Gallery taken when all hands were ashore in Gan, having a blow, away from the trials and tribulations known in Brock's as "Maidan"!!

On a lighter note. I sailed with Colin, but on what ship I can't recall. Good skin though. He took up a shore-side job in Liverpool didn't he working alongside Alan Lord at Seaforth? Salaams, Phil(Hippy)

John Ringrose
29th May 2008, 16:25
Yes it was quite sad when it happened. As you say a gentleman. Would have been in 1974.

Didn't know Colin had gone ashore - think he will be well retired now.

Mut have missed you by a hairs breadth on the Conveyor / Causeway. I went bag man in 76 and then full time on the Causeway after that

Tony Selman
30th May 2008, 14:14
I sailed with both Colin Kingston and Alan Lord on the same ship. Colin was C/O and Alan 2/O on Maturata in 68 and 69. We got stuck in a dock strike in Boston and I got to know them both very well. Both were excellent shipmates. Alan briefly posted on here a year or so ago but I have not seen any posts from him recently.

Surely Ray Palfreman was an engineer and not an electrician. I coasted with
him, on Mahseer in 69 I think, and joined in Smiths Dock in SouthBank and Ray took us to his home every night to meet his Mum before we hit the town. A lovely bloke.

Derek Roger
31st May 2008, 02:58
Thats the one I remembered on my way home last night - Ray Palfreeman.

Ben was at that time Chief Eng on the Mahout.

Hi Yes,

That is them. Colin was somewhat uncouth to say the least.

Ben was a lovely guy - played cards with my wife all the time. He had a wedding anniversary on the ship and bought champagne for everyone etc but it was obvious his wife was not interested - he received some communication from her and he was very down. One evening he stood up and told my wife he was just off to the dispensary - she asked if he was OK - he said "Yes - or I will be" - she thought no more about it. He was found next day with a sink full of vodka and empty bottles - loads of tablets all over & he was very cold & stiff. We were going into Jeddah. His wife was contacted but she didn't want his body sent home - so we got the message!!! - we buried him at sea between Jeddah and Port Sudan.

John


Thanks for that Sad information ;
Ben was 2nd Engineer when I sailed with him on the Lucigen in 1966 . We went to Cairo for New Year . I think I have some photographs of the Pyramids with Ben .
He was a typical Yorkshire Man .
Dour with a sense of humor ! He was a good engineer and I am saddened to hear of his passing .

Derek

Derek Roger
31st May 2008, 03:00
I sailed with both Colin Kingston and Alan Lord on the same ship. Colin was C/O and Alan 2/O on Maturata in 68 and 69. We got stuck in a dock strike in Boston and I got to know them both very well. Both were excellent shipmates. Alan briefly posted on here a year or so ago but I have not seen any posts from him recently.

Surely Ray Palfreman was an engineer and not an electrician. I coasted with
him, on Mahseer in 69 I think, and joined in Smiths Dock in SouthBank and Ray took us to his home every night to meet his Mum before we hit the town. A lovely bloke.


Ray was an Engineer . I sailed with him on my first trip deep sea on Maipura .
Regards Derek

japottinger
31st May 2008, 16:54
I never sailed with Brocks but did any of you ever sail with an engineer from the Shetlands called Eddie Knight? He was on the Manaar at one time. We grew up together and in the Grand Hotel in Lerwick the manager the late Jerry Pottinger always referred to us as "Mundie Knight"(Thumb) (Pint) (Pint)

Jerry was my uncle.
Jim

Derek Roger
1st June 2008, 00:25
Thanks for that Sad information ;
Ben was 2nd Engineer when I sailed with him on the Lucigen in 1966 . We went to Cairo for New Year . I think I have some photographs of the Pyramids with Ben .
He was a typical Yorkshire Man .
Dour with a sense of humor ! He was a good engineer and I am saddened to hear of his passing .

Derek

Correction !! The 2nd Engineer on Lucigen was Ben Page not Ben Lyon .
I did sail with Ben Lyon on the coast but cant remember the ship ?

Never the less a sad story . Derek

John Ringrose
2nd June 2008, 14:44
Your right - Ray was 3rd Eng at the time. Can't think why I thought he was a Leckie.

Another one of his famous happenings. He left the ship with his docking bottle. Got home early hours and no-one up. So he sat on the doorstep - Milkie came along and Ray offers him a drink. Low and behold finally his "Mam" came out to find Ray & Milkie drunk as lords and one empty docking bottle. !!! - What a lad !!!.

Did anyone know Mr Happy !!! - professional 3rd Ken Sanderson. What a ball of laughs he was on the Mahseer - I say with tongue in cheek.

bryanm
17th September 2008, 20:33
Sailed with Ben Lyon on the Mahout and while in Calcutta we went to the races. Having got hold of a couple of members badges we used to go to the parade enclosure before each race. Ben had this theory if a horse had a sh1t
while parading it was a sure winner. Needless to say at the end of the meeting we did'nt have a rupee between us and had to walk through Kiddapore back to the ship which was completely different than when seen from a taxi.
Bryan Miller

Derek Roger
17th September 2008, 22:20
Bryan ;
I too walked most of the way to Kiddepore one night ! Significantly it was without incident . I was quite intrigued as to how the people in that area lived at night ; most sleeping at the side of the road ; usual dogs and odd cow wandering the streets but most of the locals sleeping in wait of the next days toil .
By daylight the picture changed with the smell of smoke from the fires and a general buzz of activity . People washing themselves and their clothes .

Oh Happy Days

R798780
17th September 2008, 23:14
Did anyone know Mr Happy !!! - professional 3rd Ken Sanderson. What a ball of laughs he was on the Mahseer - I say with tongue in cheek.

Ken was 3rd on Mahseer in '72. He could on occasions - which perhaps became rarer as the voyage progressed - be quite chatty and cheerful, but was also known as the poison dwarf. The other difficulty that voyage was Colin Heard (c/o). Other than those two we had a super bunch.

Derek Roger
18th September 2008, 00:40
Sailed with Colin Heard on the Mahsud ; he was Ch/off at the time . No problems there at that time in fact he was very good at bringing many young ladies down to the ship when in Tilbury .

Derek

uisdean mor
19th September 2008, 23:28
Bark much louder than his bite. He had a heart of gold and could be expected to do the right thing when needed. He loved playing little mind games - you just had to up to him. Sailed on Manipur with him. Left Tilbury with no water as we over our load line then. I have heard but never had confirmed that that trip was the highest grossing trip ever by a Brocks ship, Every hatch cover and ever hatch coaming had something lashed to it. We had a massive swim barge athwartship and angled across No 3 hatch and even then it was 20 odd foot over each bulwark. Tender voyage down to Durban and then on to Mahe. All round the Seychelles and up to Colombo. Lockfast up for`d and we later found out it was the entire new currency for Ceylon - still Ceylon then but about to change. Sailed up to Madras for discharge and then back to Colombo for repairs. Up tp Cal and Chittagong Chalna and then back to Colombo then Mombasa before the dash across to Willmington. Turned round on Yankee coast and straight back to Cal for a tea run.
we had a mixed Tamil and Bagladeshi crew which was unusual. Stewards all Tamil.We also had a Lecky who had "acquired" a mongoose and this thing would go mad at the Tamils but not he Bangla men.
Kept the mongoose under the swim pooltank - leashed on a watch strap when not in its run. C/E was Peter???- Geordie - died in a fire on one of the fruit boats - tried to use the lift and got stuck at the bottom door.
Anyway he loved to tease the mongoose and he knew exactly what he wqas doing as he knew the length of the leashand the poor beast would lawys come up short.
Colin managed to extend the leash one day and the C/E toe was a juicy reward for the mongoose.
Homeward into UK we still had some geese on board which had been keeping us supplied with protein for some time. They went off Lundy Island. Purser was a young guy from Liverpool - Pete Deery? I think - he had two canaries Nelson and Hardy - Pete had lost an eye and threw darts left handed so when playing he had trained N&H to hop onto the one epaulette until after his throw.
Charlie Bald met us in Cardiff and straight into dry dock. Around 12 months in all but a trip to remember. Left her in Hull on the Thursday and joined Causeway on the Saturday- not enough time to get home but walked into a home from home on Causeway with Northie and the Barra mafia.
Sailed with Northie a lot after that on the smaller ACL boats and really enjoyed his take on life.

Bit of an epistle here so will close for now. Back soon
Rgds
Uisdean mor

Derek Roger
20th September 2008, 03:07
Bark much louder than his bite. He had a heart of gold and could be expected to do the right thing when needed. He loved playing little mind games - you just had to up to him. Sailed on Manipur with him. Left Tilbury with no water as we over our load line then. I have heard but never had confirmed that that trip was the highest grossing trip ever by a Brocks ship, Every hatch cover and ever hatch coaming had something lashed to it. We had a massive swim barge athwartship and angled across No 3 hatch and even then it was 20 odd foot over each bulwark. Tender voyage down to Durban and then on to Mahe. All round the Seychelles and up to Colombo. Lockfast up for`d and we later found out it was the entire new currency for Ceylon - still Ceylon then but about to change. Sailed up to Madras for discharge and then back to Colombo for repairs. Up tp Cal and Chittagong Chalna and then back to Colombo then Mombasa before the dash across to Willmington. Turned round on Yankee coast and straight back to Cal for a tea run.
we had a mixed Tamil and Bagladeshi crew which was unusual. Stewards all Tamil.We also had a Lecky who had "acquired" a mongoose and this thing would go mad at the Tamils but not he Bangla men.
Kept the mongoose under the swim pooltank - leashed on a watch strap when not in its run. C/E was Peter???- Geordie - died in a fire on one of the fruit boats - tried to use the lift and got stuck at the bottom door.
Anyway he loved to tease the mongoose and he knew exactly what he wqas doing as he knew the length of the leashand the poor beast would lawys come up short.
Colin managed to extend the leash one day and the C/E toe was a juicy reward for the mongoose.
Homeward into UK we still had some geese on board which had been keeping us supplied with protein for some time. They went off Lundy Island. Purser was a young guy from Liverpool - Pete Deery? I think - he had two canaries Nelson and Hardy - Pete had lost an eye and threw darts left handed so when playing he had trained N&H to hop onto the one epaulette until after his throw.
Charlie Bald met us in Cardiff and straight into dry dock. Around 12 months in all but a trip to remember. Left her in Hull on the Thursday and joined Causeway on the Saturday- not enough time to get home but walked into a home from home on Causeway with Northie and the Barra mafia.
Sailed with Northie a lot after that on the smaller ACL boats and really enjoyed his take on life.

Bit of an epistle here so will close for now. Back soon
Rgds
Uisdean mor

Welcome to the Club ! I sailed with Peter Deary ; one eye and all . He was a remarkable table tennis player given his loss of an eye . He had a spare glass eye which was bloodshot which he could ware after a night ashore without people seeing the difference . Party trick was to put his " Eye " in the bottom of somebodies glass .

Oh Happy Days Derek

John Glover
20th September 2008, 14:39
I sailed with Les Flockhart on the Maidan 1968-1969 Nice man and a good feeder.
regards
john glover(Smoke) (Smoke) (Smoke)

sidsal
22nd September 2008, 22:02
There were always characters at sea. The ones I remember are nearly all dead by now - I was in Brocks in WW2 when they lost 19 out of 26 ships.First trip was in MAIHAR - we took 19 days Immingham to Gib where we took Christmas stores to the MAHSHUD which had been limpet mined by Italian frogmen holed up on a small tanker - the OLTERRA in Algeciras harbour. On leaving Gib for Port Said we were Commodore ship with Rear Admiral (Retired) Brodie in charge. Off Algiers we ran into a Westbound convoy at night and there were several collisions - including ourselves. Holed on the waterline in No2 hatch just before the bridge - the seawater mixed with some chemicals and caused a fire. We were loaded with ammunition and so 200 tons were jettisoned through the hole and a temporary wooden patch bolted over the hole. And so this eventful voyage proceeded. The cruiser HMS Birmingham joined the convoy having been torpedoed in the bows and with just 2 of the props churning the water as she was way down by the bows. Bombay - Karachi - Lourenzo Marques (Maputo now) - Sicily - Italy - USA - back to Liverpool in the biggest convoy to cross the pond (110 ships)
Happy days
Sid Davies

mahseer1
22nd September 2008, 23:29
Sid's story has made me feel quite humble - only 11 years separate us but he has experienced things which most of us now can only read about. I lost and uncle who was First Mate on the Empire Springbuck - sunk by U-81 in September 1941 off Greenland. She blew up and was gone in seconds with all hands so one can imagine the tension when jettisoning 200 tons of ammunition through a hole in the ship's side.

Well done Sid. Here's to you and all those who served at sea in WWII. You are a true Brocklebank character.

Peter B

sidsal
23rd September 2008, 21:07
This is a long shot ! Does anyone know of a Quatermaster whose surname was Standing ( he was naturally called Stan). He was on the MAIHAR in 1943 and he has a "squeeze-box" and he used to have sing-alongs which, in hindsight, were wonderful. As well as Maggie May and The Royal Rock Hotel he had a wealth of songs and ditties, many with Mersey themes. Some years ago I put an advert in the L'pool Echo seeking him as I felt the songs ought to be kept for posterity. There was no response. I still remember some of the verses which I will give below. One saga was of a young lad going off to sea for the first time and was all about storms and tempests. Turned out the voyage was up the Ship Canal to Manchester. One snippet was -
" - and we set sail fromWalton jail
Alnong the Ship Canal,
When we got up to Runcorn bridge
The rain began to snow
The wind blew out the candle-light
And the engines wouldn't go "

Another song with many verses had the following which is all I can recall -

" I know the sights of Glasgie
The lights on Sydney Head
And I've stood close-hauled
Whilst the leadsman's called
The depth of the Channel bed

I know the girls of Swansea
The bars in old Shanghai
And I've eaten my grub from a salt-horse tub
Condemned by the Navy stores

And so it went on.
Anyone who might know of him please get in touch. He may well have "crossed the bar" though.

japottinger
23rd September 2008, 21:49
I recall on the Manipur we had a 5th Eng called Barry---? from Yorkshire. He made the mistake of trying to start the lifeboat engine with his thumb around the handle instead of back over the fingers, result after backfire was a broken thumb. In fact his injury was so bad that he could only stand watch but not do any duties! Popular he was!
He was a bit of an amatuer guitarist, and when oft we called him at midnight he was still plinking away in his cabin having come off at 2000 hrs.
He was the lad on night aboard that when in Calcutta and we were all in a cabin having a few beers the ag-wallah came up to say that the the Cochran boiler was on fire, it had the habit of spilling out oil from the furnace and lighting up on the plates on the platform.
Cue an hour later he came up from the engine room all sweaty and flustered, my gosh(?) he said it took all the fire extiunguisher canisters in the engine room to put the fire out.
Eh, we all in chorus together, why did you not use the long hose on the cylinder mounted on the wheeled carriage instead, his response-"don't be daft, how could I carry that monster!
Nice lad though

japottinger
23rd September 2008, 21:58
Les Dow was the chief elec. on the Manipur and he had somekind of ant eater locust thing, name is on tip of my tongue, (preying mantis?)in his cabin which ate all the intrusive bugs and flies. Problem was that it was always perched on the blades of his electric fan inside the guards. For safety sake he had the plug out of the wall socket.
You know what happened next, a few beers later and after a dare you, the first time he left his cabin to go to the toilet someone put the plug in and switched on the fan, result, bits of legs and wings everywhere!
Just a thought, do any of you ever think what shoreside people would make of these goings on?

Philthechill
24th September 2008, 08:25
Jim! Interesting thought but I reckon, from my own experience, that most shore-side people weren't really interested in where you'd been for the last three/six/months, or what you'd been up to, as could be realised from their usual greeting when you turned-up in the local boozer after your three/six etc. away from the scene.

"Now then cock! Good to see you! When are you going back?"

Said it all really!

However if you did get started on telling some yarn, involving your goings-on in some far-distant exotic location, "the glazed look" would soon descend over them as they realised what a s****y life they had, in comparison to yours, and they would soon interrrupt by asking all hands if they wanted a freshener.

I learned early on in my sea-going career that nobody, except fellow sea-farers, were in the slightest bit interested in our "work hard/play hard ethos". Downing huge amounts of ale, and doing silly childish things, after having had a particularly difficult (invariably very hot) breakdown to deal with was beyond the comprehension of any shore-side person! Nor were they interested! Salaams! Phil(Hippy)

sidsal
8th October 2008, 22:24
Brcoklebank characters. The message about characters brought back memories of some really odd bods. For instance I was 3rd Mate on the old MATHURA just after WW2 and the 2nd Mate was a chap called Kenyon, if I remember rightly. The master was Tommy Eggleston - nice old chap - bit of a stuffed shirt.(His ashes were cast in mid Altlantic by Capt Peter Margesson who was master of some big container ship some years ago).
The master was very particular that no one scribbled on the chart margins etc
Kenyon used paper collars which were quite common then. You could buy a dozen stiff white collars for 2/6d.
The radar was primitive and the screen was placed inside the chart table. You lifted up the lid and placed a black canvas cover over the lid. The cover had a slit in it and you stuck your head in and looked at the screen.
During dinner one evening, Capt Eggleston invited the few passengers who were dining to come on the bridge as we entered the Straits of Gibraltar and have a look at this new wonder - the radar.
Mathura had no gyro compass so taking bearings involved climbing the vertical ladder to the monkey island and taking bearing which were in the quadrantal style then - no 360 degree business.
The passengers duly arrived on the bridge and Kenyon had made sure there was not a scrap of paper anywhere near the chart table. Whilst old Eggleston and the passengers squeezed into the narrow chartroom and took it in turns to stick their heads at the radar, Kenyon went up and took bearings. He clattered down and entered the chartroom, muttering the bearings - "south 42 east, North, 14 west " etc. He made as if he was frantically searching for somewhere to write down the bearings.
In the meantime those in the chartroom stood aside - and then Kenyon reached for his collar and tore it from his shirt, placed it on the chart table and proceeded to write down the bearings. The master and passngers looked on in amazement !
There were other similar tricks played by Kenyon who loved to wind up old Eggleston.

tedc
14th October 2008, 12:23
My cousin, Dick Carberry, was a Chief Steward/Purser in Brocks for a few years, in the 50's and 60's. He was, and still is a "character". Family legend has it that Dicky, who was an inveterate gambler and fond of a drink, was caught one night in Calcutta, selling all the spare mooring ropes on the ship.
Does anyone out there remember him?

Yes, I sailed with Dick Carberry.


He was a great lad. Very Scouse! I think he was on his first trip with us.

He didn't drink much in those days - only a few dozen cans per day!

japottinger
14th October 2008, 18:31
Possibly replied to this, never sailed with Eddie Knight but was at the Central with his brother Brian. Jerry Pottinger was my uncle.

japottinger
14th October 2008, 18:45
Characters.
Jack Evans was 2nd Eng. on Maihar the first trip after her rebuild. He had come from Harrison's and used to regale us with the story where they blew the bottom out of the Edwards air pump on the Tribesman. They repaired it by chain rivetting the broken piece into the remaining shell. (Chain rivetting for the non engineers and any others is more or less drilling a whole series of close spaced holed in the split such that when putting through a tap the threads more or less interlock, then screwing in lengths of screwed rod such that the whole insert is locked into the parent metal) needless to say after that he was kown to us "Chain Rivet Jack"!

Allan Holmes
16th October 2008, 22:52
Pete. I sailed with Les Flockhart several times and he was the best and a lovely guy too. Anyone any news on Les ??

Allan Holmes

Jim S
6th November 2008, 22:49
I only once sailed with Tommy ; round the coast on the Maidan as 4th Engineer.

He had a ritual of calling head office or having a junior engineer call for him to tell them that all was ready to sail and what the condenser pressure was 29.2 inches of vac etc. Goodness knows why ??

He was invited to Princess Margaret's wedding and had to be relieved to attend .Senior Cunard and Brocklebank people who were not invited were apparently quite miffed !
Tommy Lyons from Dundee was 2nd Eng and Batman was the sparks ; Talk about getting all the Characters on one ship at the same time !
Enough there to write a book on the one coastal alone .

Cheers Derek
I mentioned this call regarding condenser vacuum to Pat McCartan and his reply was that it came about as a result of an incident on Mangla's first coastal trip. He wrote - "We left the berth at Liverpool and lost the vacuum in the lock, the astern turbine gland steam valve lid dropped off and we missed the tide".

Regards,

Jim S

Derek Roger
7th November 2008, 04:13
I mentioned this call regarding condenser vacuum to Pat McCartan and his reply was that it came about as a result of an incident on Mangla's first coastal trip. He wrote - "We left the berth at Liverpool and lost the vacuum in the lock, the astern turbine gland steam valve lid dropped off and we missed the tide".

Regards,

Jim S

Thanks for that Jim ; I always wondered why ? Derek

oglebilluk
7th November 2008, 09:48
Talking of Tommy Jones I coasted in about 1962/63, I think on Maturata, when Pa Defty relieved Tommy Jones
That evening the two of them talked of "their old days" and what were then the old ships
If ever a conversation should have been recorded then that was it; but of course it wasn't and I have only an "alcoholic hazy memory"!
I recall that Pa Defty needed the day aboard engineer to check his room at regular intervals in case he'd fallen asleep and the constant cigarette had set his cardigan alight (he seemed to live in it)
Happy days

Bill

sidsal
15th November 2008, 20:07
Brocklebank characters.
The Maihar in 1943/4 had a chief steward whose name I forget who was a likeable rogue. We loaded coal at Louenco Marques (now Maputo) and sailed in a small convoy of clapped out tramps - Court Line, Baron Line, Larrinaga's up to Mombasa and then Aden -Suez - Sicily and Taranto. The armies were battling their way up Italy then.
In Mombasa the chief steward was caught selling stores. The feeding was poor as a result and in fact when we eventually sailed from Philadelphia for Liverpool the situation became critical. He came to the apprentices and begged us to sell him the "weenies" - tinned sausages which we had bought in the US. We swapped them for cigs. In Liverpool the police were waiting and arrested him for ( I believe) double bigamy.
After the war we were in Bombay and an immaculately dressed chap came aboard - same chap. He told us he was the superintendent steward for the newly formed Indian shipping line - the Hindustan Line if I remember rightly.
He said they were buying Liberty ships which had fridges and iced water fountains and that he was taking them out and selling them.

japottinger
24th November 2008, 20:47
Bob Stoddard was 5th Eng. on Maihar on our first trip after rebuild. He bought two goldfish at Eastham, which lived and thrived. At end of each watch each eng. checked that the bowl was securely wedged in at end of his bunk so as not to be thrown on the deck. All was well until he replaced the sand in the glass at Assab, short time later it was belly up!

japottinger
24th November 2008, 20:51
Second trip on Maihar after rebuild we had a 2nd Eng. forget his name, who was a photography buff. Exposed our negatives by quick flash of torch after blanking out light in cabin, and then developed by dipping in mixture in the w.b.
Most came out OK.

Brian Brown
5th November 2013, 12:16
My cousin, Dick Carberry, was a Chief Steward/Purser in Brocks for a few years, in the 50's and 60's. He was, and still is a "character". Family legend has it that Dicky, who was an inveterate gambler and fond of a drink, was caught one night in Calcutta, selling all the spare mooring ropes on the ship.
Does anyone out there remember him?

Hi Pat
I certainly remember your cousin...not sure which ship!
I sailed as 5th Eng with Brock's '59 and '60. Is it possible to list the ships Dick sailed on during that period?

Regards
Brian Brown