Junior RO time

BobClay
8th July 2008, 21:56
I was wondering what experiences some of you guys had when you did your junior RO time. Fresh from Leith Nautical with my 2nd Class PMG in my hand (which I had to hand back when I got the general, something I wish I'd never done), I signed up with Marconi. Although Liverpool was my depot, I was sent down to East Ham, then onto the Bendearg in dockland (all gone now).

First trip (as a sparky that is) was London/Panama/Pusan/Kaoshuing/HongKong/London (back via Cape of Good Hope, Suez was shut). Done in less than 3 months (Ben boats were nippy).

I always remember the year as 1970 because we were taking messages about the troubled Apollo 13 spacecraft and lists of frequencies we must not transmit on (fat chance of that with an Oceanspan Atalanta set up).

Now I understood you were supposed to do 6 months as a junior, but Marconi then put me on a Stephenson Clarke coastal collier (just over the limit to require an RO), and I was on my own because they said I could take her on with only 3 months experience. From their point of view, fine, I'm taking another ship off the book. From my point of view, not so good. There was no HF and while I enjoyed plodding up and down from the Thames to the NorthEast, I can't say I learnt much.

Next trip a year plusser on a Bank Boat, that was a baptism of fire with only a distant memory of my 3 months as a junior (a distant memory because on the coaster (a flattie, the 'Horsham') I spent a large amount of time in the pub.

I do remember the radar though, a Decca, with the transmitter up in the scanner. They had mentioned the model on the BOT Radar course at Leith, but then said we would never see one. I saw one. Close up. (POP)

K urgess
8th July 2008, 23:01
All in one go.
July 1966 to February 1967 Baron Wemyss. Hungry Hogarth's lovely introduction. Fanbtastic bloke as chief.
Didn't normally touch the radar unless it was on contract with RAMAC. I got overtime for fixing the non-contract Decca on my first trip.
Glad now that I got the Baron Wemyss rather than the one I was told I would join, Bendoran. Things might have turned out a bit different.

sparkie2182
8th July 2008, 23:20
i was what was known at the time as a "company sponsored" cadet.........
with Cunard Brocklebank.
all the college holidays were spent onboard a ship........deep sea or coastal.......right from the beginning..........signing on as supernumary.
this was far from satisfactory, as i didnt know enough about anything to be of assistance to anyone. not a good situation to be in for a youngster at sea.
nevertheless, what doesnt kill you strengthens you, and when i was actually fully qualified, i had stacks of "sea-time" if not "operating time".........and knew "the ropes" in so many areas of the company business other than the strict job of running a ships radio/electronics department.
when it came to sailing 2/R/O/........ i was well aquainted with things which i would otherwise be beginning to learn.......
on the other hand ......there was also intense pressure to PASS FIRST TIME.........failure was truly not an option.

all in all.......... i am pleased i went through the sponsored scheme..........i was never short of cash, and the Cunard tag carried some weight in the college in different ways..........all bulls**t........but it sometimes worked to my advantage.
even so.... often envied those who took the orthodox route and seemed at first to have more "freedom".
a case of "horses for courses" i suppose.

i would be interested to hear from other company sponsored cadet r/o's ........and hear their experiences and views


best regards............

mike N
9th July 2008, 17:48
Joined Marconi at East Ham after getting my 2nd Class PMG in Jan. 59. Signed on "Orcades" as 5th R/O in mid March 59 at Tilbury and sailed away on a round the world trip. the chief and 2nd R/O's didn't stand watches, that was left to we lesser mortals although the 2nd did hover around me and the
4th on our respective watches for a few days ,to make sure we were up to the job. One very brief moment of seasickness on first night at sea and then nio problem with that ever again. Remember wobbly legs on first trip ashore,( Naples I think)Takes a while to get your land legs back (nothing to do with the booze). Out to a Aussie via Suez with the , " 10 poms", then a couple of trans Pacific cruises before heading home via the Panama Canal and Maderia.
Not bad for a first trip and loved every minute of it . Dining 1st class every night, mixing with the lovely ladies , seeing the world and getting paid for it,
Why ever did I leave ?

BA204259
9th July 2008, 19:12
...mixing with the lovely ladies....

Lucky, lucky. Was on two Cunarders for a while and only heads of dept could visit the public areas. Sure, I ate like a king and had some lovely trips up the St. Lawrence, but the social life passenger-wise was non-existent. On one trip I was in the habit of chatting up a young lady emigrating to Canada with her family. This was noticed one evening by the Master-at-Arms and reported to the Chief Officer. I was duly b*******d by said Chief Officer and threatened with a logging for "tampering with the cargo". I had to wait a few more months before I had a trip on Anchor Line and was able to indulge in polite social intercourse with the fair sex.

I remember some years later as a first class passenger on the Canberra (married by then of course) being absolutely amazed at how even the juniors were encouraged to mix with the passengers.

steve Coombs
9th July 2008, 22:24
Joined Marconi in 1974, first trip spent 5 months at anchor in Lobito. Then later the Chief Engineer drowned in Beira, the atmosphere was terrible for a time but I loved every minute of my first trip

Clive Kaine
10th July 2008, 11:14
I signed up for P&O Bulk Shipping Division in 1973, aged 19, having done my MRGC at Wray Castle and my Radar ticket at Brook's Bar.

Joined the ss Maloja/GDHQ (20,000 ton product carrier) in Los Angeles in November '73. She was a nice old ship, built in 1959, with very comfortable air conditioned midships accommodation. Hugely entertaining going down aft for meals in rough weather! I was lucky enough to have a really great senior R/O, an ex-Marconi guy in his mid-20s called Dave English who was on his first trip with P&O. He showed me the ropes and kept me entertained with an endless fund of stories. Trip was Anchorage, Alaska, then Curacao via Panama. Spent a month or so island-hopping in the Caribbean (Curacao x 2, Venezuela, Jamaica, Puerto Rico) then back through the Canal to LA & Seattle. Across the Pacific to Singapore via Honolulu, and paid off in Kuwait after 4 months. Not a bad first trip at all.

Still had 2 months to do to complete my sea time, so joined LPG carrier MV Garmula/GPEA in Houston in June '74. Steamed to Ras Tanura via the Cape and anchored for a month waiting for cargo. My senior R/O left by launch whilst we were there, and I was on my own! I was ready for it, too, loved running my own station at last

Glyndwr
10th July 2008, 11:39
I will never forget my first experience. I joined Clan MacIver on 3rd January 1972 in London. I was as green as a gooseberry. The Senior R/O was Frank (Warren?) or something or other. He was 65 and had his wife with him. He was a good old chap but had forget how to send morse and did not have a clue about Radar etc. I was put into the radio room straight away and never saw the guy until meal times. He was also tee-total and frowned on anyone who drank alcohol. I had to sneak in and out of the bar after the last shift.
In East Africa he was always ashore. He got me to paint the radio room and change the copper aerials. He refused to let people call home. The crew could not believe it when I told them they could speak with their relatives.......over the airwaves.

All in all it was a positive experience but talk about being thrown in at the deep end.......

Glyn Lewis

R651400
10th July 2008, 11:54
I cannot remember the exact details now but Greek R/O's in the 50/60's did something of a split. Start at college then some sea time in as a crew member hopefully with hands on assistance from the R/O. I had one equivalent of a deckboy on "World Banner," and it was really hard going as he didn't seem to have much savvy on anything radio and his morse was appalling. I was relieved by a Greek who gave it a go for a while and eventually booted him out of the office. Wonder if he ever managed to get his ticket!

K urgess
10th July 2008, 12:30
Looks like I was a lucky one.
Way before Monty Python I'd learned to "always look on the bright side" so joining a Baron boat instead of a Ben boat didn't really phase me. I still think I got the best of the deal.
I was helped by a lifetime of messing about in boats and sailing back and forth across the North Sea. I'd also done a trip as one of the lowest of the low as a mess boy on a Danish ship during summer hols while taking my ticket. Not quite the lowest, that honour went to the crew's peggy, but still an intro to what it entailed keeping the officers in their accustomed luxury. [=P]

IAINT
10th July 2008, 19:45
Hi All,

It took me a year to get my six months in - 10th March 1964 till 19th March 1965.

1st - Esso Pembrokeshire - Milford Haven to Mid East then back to Finnart - paid off sick (stomach).

2nd - Laurentia did 4 trips - Glasgow to Montreal - on 4th trip - appendicitis going through the Belle Isle St - never had so much pain in my life - collapsed going up to the bridge for the OBS - thought the ships doctor would have to operate on the saloon table - did not look forward to that very much - was told that if it burst they only gave you 3 days to live - survived till we reached Montreal where it was whipped out - but as i was under 21 at the time had to wait till permission was given by my father - good job it did not burst.

3rd - Dunkyle -Birkenhead to Port Elizabeth to Birkenhead - iron ore - so at last managed my 6 months as junior.

Seagoing career nearly finished before getting started.

Iain T

Robinj
11th July 2008, 00:08
My first ship was the Egidia did 3 months on her Glasgow to India remember Chief R/O P.J. Kelly great bloke who liked a dram or two. Then sent to Singapore to join Shell's Frenulina all on my ownsome pretty much in the deep end, but enjoyed it greatly.(Pint)

hawkey01
11th July 2008, 14:11
Reading lots of the threads about first trips and getting jobs I must have been very fortunate. I did write to lots of direct employ companies for a job but everyone seemed to want RO's with the required sea time. Some years later I had the opposite with everyone wanting juniors.
I digress. (Scribe)
I joined MIMCO in 64 and I was attached to the East Ham depot. After the initial medical etc I was sent home to await a ship. The call came and I was told to go to Shell Centre where I would receive my travel instructions. Arrived at the designated time and I was introduced to other crew members who were joining the ship. One of which was the relieving Capt Alec Brown. There were also a couple of wives. We then headed by train down to Harwich to catch the overnight ferry to Rotterdam. The ship was due in the next day or so. I suppose being with the Captain we were all booked into a very smart hotel. The news then came that the ship had been delayed by weather and was not going to arrived for a couple of days. Great fun clubing in Rotterdam before even setting foot on a ship.
Eventually she arrived and we headed off to Europort in taxis. My first view of the ship took me back - not really knowing what to expect. She was a stunning twin stack all aft tanker called Opalia/GLQA. At that time only about 2 years old.
Duly signed on and was shown to my cabin which was absolutely immense - on the lower deck forward. A bit of a climb back up to the saloon and the radio room but it was A1. There was even a lift!.
Met my Nr1 who I am ashamed to say I cannot remember his name. He was from the Emerald Isle and a really nice guy. We also had the pleasure of one of the early Hermes and Argus radar setups aboard. They kept us busy! Anyhow we did trips in the Med down to Nigeria then the Gulf and then Gulf to NZ and back up to Singapore and Gulf and eventually home. By which time I had more than my seatime. A great ship.

Hawkey01 (==D)

freddythefrog
12th July 2008, 15:04
Unfortunately, joined Marconi's straight from Radio college 1967
in Liverpool, interview was "lets see your Ticket" yes ok, go and see doctor for medical and sign here!!
Was told to go to Newcastle to join a tanker going to P gulf and back to uk
4 month trip so i said yes ok. (Suez closed at that time). Even so i thought that is must be a very slow ship!!
Anyway joined the Border Boat in Smiths dock, Newcastle and sailed for gulf,
very good 1st R/O on board, taught me a lot.
I really got led up the garden path by GTZM as I was on her for 14 months, yes 14, after we eventually got LEFO, we got to the channel orders to discharge Isle of Grain. There the 1st R/O rang up the local GTZM depot and told them got a jnr on here with 14 months in, can he sign off here at go home?? they said where is she going next, he told them Newcastle for drydock, depot says tell him to stay on till Newcastle and go home from there. I said to myself what a shower of -----!! What a way to treat someone. I wasn't needed to take the ship to Newcastle.
So off we went to Newcastle missed the morning tide, had to wait till next tide, it was saturday afternoon, all the others onboard, were Geordie's, they all went home on saturday, poor old me had to wait till Monday to go to Newcastle office to report. I said i would go home and go to Liverpool office, they said NO you must go to the local office where paid off!!
I was not a happy chappy believe me, and when i then asked the local gtzm branch for 300. they said NO you cannot have that much, i said why??, i have been away 14 months and have worked for it and saved it up. anyway they would not give me the requested amount.
I went on leave and sent them a letter and told them where to put their job
in no uncertain terms and went elsewhere to work!!
Whilst away and after 6 months kept thinking, might get transferred to a BANK boat on Indian coast and sent away for another 2 years, luckily that did not happen.
Certainly saw a bit of the world on that trip, the Indian serang died
when up the gulf, the Captain and Chief engineer were marched ashore at gunpoint by the NLF in Mukalla Bay (200miles East of Aden) a few days after British troops pulled out of Aden, taken to a deserted airstrip and interrogated, the NLF had pinched a Djibouti airways Dakota plane, shot the Senior pilot dead and left them with just the co-pilot, the NLF were after
ATK, but Captain did not tell em we had 400 barrels of it in the forehold,
i know that because i had to count them IN to the hold because the local guys up the gulf could not count, so i earned myself a case of beer for doing that, only had two mates ch/off and 3rd/off as second mate paid off sick in Mina al ahmadi a while before and no more reliefs available.
The Captain and Ch.eng were allowed back on board after about 9 hours
and immediately ordered cast off and full ahead, (Were tied up to buoys doing a stern discharge)
This was in front page of newspapers back home, my mother doing her nut
as it said the radio room is silent they must have an armed guard on it, they didn't. She rang up the union played blue murder with them---I would not have minded but i had not joined the union then as i had been told one afternoon by Marconi's i must go tonite to join the ship and had not had time to join!!. Should have seen my mums face when i told her!
Had a fire on board, all Indian crew had suitcases and sewing machines and
push bikes in the lifeboats and lifeboats launched (down aft).
nobody went to Fire stations of the indian crew, so if it was not for the ch/off and 3rd/off and a few engineers we could have been in very real trouble!! I must point out that NO abandon ship or launch lifeboats signals had been given. They said "sod you lot" we are off!!
Do not think Captain impressed by this behaviour at all and I believe all were logged, was not impressed myself either.!!
Also had to divert from course Japan to Gulf to drop a "sick" indian seaman off in Philippines---Manila, "supposed" to have possible stomach problem requiring immediate attention, XXX's to Hongkong for Medical advice
they said "must divert" to nearest port.
Anyway we dropped him in Manila and proceeded back to P.gulf again.
Got a report he did not have stomach problems, but used the same symptoms he had previously had when he was sick a few years before and required an operation. Basically nothing wrong except a dose of clap
he must have picked up from a five bob jiggy_ jig_ jig.
He was sent home to India from Philipines.
Captain informed BP and Common Brothers and Indian Pool this man must not be allowed to to sail on ANY BP or British ship in the future.
A few months later with an Indian crew change in Dubai, who walks up the gangway---yes you guessed it, MR TUMMYACHE!! from Bombay.
We could not believe our eyes.
Later in the long voyage we were approaching P.gulf when we got orders to go to So and So and load x thousand tons of oil to take to MUKALLA BAY
(again), well you should have seen the Captains face when he saw that
message. He replied to BP telling them in no uncertain terms we were NOT going to there again.
Next day we got new orders, load gulf for Japan again. Better than mukalla bay anyday!!
All in all a long trip but had a few good laughs but not at all impressed with marconi's treatment of their JR/O's. FTF(Cloud)

holland25
12th July 2008, 17:18
I got my 2nd Class PMG in March 1956 and joined MIMCO. I was asked to report to the Liverpool Office were I was sent for a medical at Clatterbridge Hospital on the Wirral.I was then directed to the Shipping Office were I was given my Discharge Book and ID card. I was then told to report to the Cunarder Parthia in Huskisson dock.I was supposed to ask for the Ist R/O, Mr Sullivan. When I got there I couldnt find anybody who was the least bit interested in me. The Radio Room was locked up, as were the cabins of the 2 senior R/Os. I hung around for a while and then gave up and went back home to Manchester.I returned next morning,which was Friday just in time for my first boat drill.Things livened up from then and I met my 2 seniors Mr Sullivan and Mr Markham. They were two pleasant elderly gentlemen, probably in their last few years at sea.I hope they had a long and enjoyable retirement.

I stayed aboard that night and the following morning, Saturday, we went alongside the Princess Landing Stage to take on the passengers, and in the afternoon we sailed for New York.We all stood a watch and I drew the 12-4. The main concern of the 2nd RO was how well I went at receiving the press,because until he was satisfied, he had to do it.I must have coped reasonably well, since I was pretty soon left alone. I have to confess however at making up some of the stock market numbers.

I was horribly seasick for about the first four days, which wasn't helped by the tobacco fumes that emanated from the seconds pipe.I was regularly fortified during the night watch by hourly rations of a pot of tea and rounds of buttered toast. I finally managed to face the food on offer, which was to my mind, quite lavish.

I settled into a pleasant sea going routine of a week across to New York, a week in New York, a week back to Liverpool and about the same amount of time in Liverpool.The writing was on the wall for ships like the Parthia which maintained quite a large staff for the passengers, but who were underemployed most of the time and in fact the passenger numbers were dropping drastically, the most we ever carried during my time was about 65, Eastbound. I think 1956 was the time air travel across the Atlantic overtook sea travel, and I must say that the atrocious weather thrown up by the Western Ocean was to be avoided if possible.

We were not allowed to mix with the passengers, my instructions were to politely answer any queries and then withdraw.I was allowed to attend the film shows which were run in the passengers lounge.

My pay was about 24 pounds per month with the right to draw 8 pounds per month from the ship. As you can imagine this didn't go very far, I seem to remember $4 US being my lot for a week in NY, kept me out of trouble. Luckily at that time there was the Merchant Navy Officers Club in a hotel just off Times Square, which was somewhere to go, and I don't think hamburgers at the Market Diner were all that expensive.

In New York we berthed alongside the 2 Queens, the Mauritania and the Caronia and just across from the Bermuda boats. The whole experience was quite something for a 17 year old.

I did my 6 months and then signed off and was sent to T& J Harrisons.

Dumra
12th July 2008, 19:52
After reading some of the postings above, my first trip seems very mundane.
Joined Methane Progress (owned by Conch Methane, operated by Shell tankers) in Belfast in September 1968 and spent 6 months on the route Canvey Island to Arzew in Algeria. Fairly busy with radio traffic and regular
skeds with sister ship Methane Princess. The senior mostly left me to get on with things and I learned a lot on that ship.
After some leave I joined ss Purnea/GFFJ (British India) in Tilbury and sailed on her for 13 months. What a great trip, Europe, Canaries, South Africa, Red Sea, Pakistan and all points East including Australia and NZ.
During my 10 years at sea I only sailed on one non BI ship.

niggle
12th July 2008, 19:52
Joined my First ship the ACT5 in Seaforth dock Liverpool August 1976, first stop Melbourne then to Sydney (Balmain not Botany Bay) Auckland Wellington back to Tilbury via Panama Canal all in just over two months. Next trip as junior was with Booker Line and one of their stalwart R/O's Alan Moss who had been there so long the saying onboard was that in the beginning God created Mossy then he built the Booker Vanguard. Again Liverpool with general cargo to the Caribbean islands of Tortola, St. Lucia Antigua and Trinidad followed by Paramibo in Surinam and turnaround in Georgetown Guyana where bulk Demerra sugar loaded back to Liverpool all in two months so still had two month seatime left a a junior. It seemed that I had progressed well enough to be let loose on a coastal tanker on my own for last two months so it was off to Milford Haven and the little Esso Inverness where I relieved an older R/O who's discharge book read like the history of post war Cunard with all their passenger ships in it. So for two months pottered right round the UK with various grades of petrol and Naptha to ports as diverse as Holy Loch(royal navy base) near Glasgow, Dublin, Immingham, Plymouth and yes actually went to Inverness....happy little ship. So after a good leave a call from Dave Wardley at IMRC sent me off deep sea for the first time on my own from all places Portishead on one of only two bulk phospherous carriers in the world at that time but thats a story for another day when its cold and wet outside and have a long time to recall one of my more memorable outings.

Niggle

Rhodri Mawr
12th July 2008, 21:39
.....mv Ripon/GVJK. Bolton SS Co Ltd. Joined it in Cardiff for short trip to Amsterdam then back to Birkenhead. That was while serving with Marconi Co. Typical of Marconi in those days - sent off my application. Back came the reply that they would be prepared to interview me "to see if I was a suitable candidate to join them." And while you are at it, bring your deep sea kit with you as we have a suitable ship all ready for you.

So it was off to Mountstuart Dry Dock in Cardiff to join mv Ripon. Great ship (at least it seemed so at the time). Old man was an alcoholic who had a habit of sacking me from time to time (when he was p----d) and then reinstating me the next morning when he was sober. Mostly a very uneventful six months spent aboard this vessel - the usual ports visited by bulkers of that time. Vitoria (Brazil), Conakry (West Africa) and Sagunto (Spain) and Seven Islands (Canada). However, we did get one unusual charter which was to load in Brazil for discharge in Philadelphia. Nobody aboard the ship would believe us when we received the orders by radio the previous voyage saying we were off to Philly. It was unheard of in those days for a Boltons ship to visit the States.

During one passage whilst inbound to Cardiff for discharge, the senior RO and I were on the 2000-2200 GMT watch when we picked up SOS from a small Spanish freighter which had lost its rudder in a storm to the southwest of Ireland. A good feat of seamanship followed by the Master (yes - he who usually "sacked" me) when we managed to get a line aboard her and took her in tow. 24 hours later, we dropped the tow in Cork and continued on our voyage to Cardiff. The long and short of it was that I received my first (and only) salvage award - the princely sum of 50 which was a month's wages to me in those days (1966).

Rest of the time spent aboard GVJK was very ordinary. At the end of my time, I had a quick turn around from GTZM - I was sent almost immediately to Southampton to joint the magnificent Shaw Savill liner Southern Cross/GSWW. Round the world in 77 days. Magnificent times. Those were the days.

Kaytee
19th July 2008, 12:07
I completed 2nd class at Earls Court, London. Joined GTZM at Eat Ham and sent to Liverpool to join Baron Inverclyde about 1961. Reasonable trip down to Durban via Dakar and Capetown. Little did we know what was to come. ON the way home around the Canary Islands we broke down, I think it was salt water in the boilers. Engines were shut down and a Dutch tug was sent to tow us into Las Palmas. There was no power and sea water leaking into the E/room! The first Dutch tug left for another job and another one towed us out of Las Palmas only to break down! Back to Las Palmas! Fixed the tug and we started the long tow back to Glasgow via Lisbon. I guess I thought it was an interesting first trip. I was 2/ro my chief was Mike Corry, whom I still remain in contact
Ken

G4UMW
19th July 2008, 15:40
I did two trips under Alan Moss on the Booker Vanguard - probably the perfect introduction to life as a sea-going R/O. Then on the container ship Columbia Star to the west coast of the USA and Canada and back to Europe. Finally the Wellington Star, from London's KG5 dock (now London City Airport) to New Zealand via Pitcairn Island. My senior, John Jackson, paid off in Lyttleton so my first trip in charge was round the NZ coast and back to Avonmouth via Curacao.

Rob

IanSpiden
19th July 2008, 16:35
Did 2nd class and radar at Leith Nautical , went with P&O straight away in1969 after a couple of months going between Soton and Tilbury the two passy boat terminals on the Iberia, Himalya and a couple of others I cant remember ( grey cells are going fast) doing a couple of weeks on each babysitting the ships while the permanent guys were on leave went as J/R/O on the Pando Cove MLQP ( ex Comorin ex Singapore) built in 1948 no AC We had a new Ericsson transmitter that could blast out 2kw and in fact it was so powerful it generated enough eddy currents to light the 24v light by itself !! we went from KG5 to Panama then through the canal to Japan , half way across we ran into a hurricane and were stuck for three days more or less in one place enough so that bunkers were in short supply so we went back to Hawaii for three days till we could get some , imagine 3 days in Hawaii with no cargo to work , trouble was the drinking age in Hawaii was 21 and a number of us were well under that age !! anyway off to Japan then Taiwan ,Hong Kong , Singapore, Durban and back to the UK couple of weeks leave then of again on the B run which if I remember correctly was out to
Japan the other way then back again going east to west with all the usual stops on the way, by that time I had my 6 months in so they took me off and put me on the Canberra as junior 4th ,, 8th of 8 R/O's. great days !!

K urgess
19th July 2008, 16:58
Welcome aboard, Ian.
Sounds like a good introduction to a life in the radio room.
Most of you guys make my first trip with Hungry Hogarth's in 1966 look like a walk in the park.

charles henry
19th July 2008, 17:42
I
I do remember the radar though, a Decca, with the transmitter up in the scanner. They had mentioned the model on the BOT Radar course at Leith, but then said we would never see one. I saw one. Close up. (POP)

That little radar was a marvelous thing, the receiver bolted to a bulkhead or was tucked under a settee. Came out if I remember right in '51/2 when standard marine radars came in huge metal houses that were welded onto the monkey island minimum 50 kw pulse and cost a bundle.

Decca used a tiny little klystron at (If I remember right) 10kw pulse and as you say, it was tucked under the antenna. On short range work it had the shortest pulse width available and would pick up a bouy in rough water.

And the whole thing sold for seven thousand quid..... and could be installed in an afternoon or less
Them were the days de chas (Pint)

BobClay
20th July 2008, 01:12
Ian. I did my 2nd Class and Radar at Leith, left in 1970. I'd started to go for a 1st but ran out of money, so wandered down to the Marconi depot and got a job. I don't remember many names from that day, but I lost a few months in 1968 after breaking my leg on an old BSA.
Charles, yup that radar would fit. The old coaster I was on was built in the late 40s. For some reason I thought it was called a Decca 45, but I'm probably thinking of the bloody records (Bill Haley/Beatles and such) I used to buy. Seem to remember the parabolic scanner was a double decker, transmitting and receiving.
I once sailed with a small japanese radar that used the same idea of putting the transmitter/receiver up in the scanner assembly (saves on waveguides, but changing a magnetron in bad weather was a bit of a no no unless you want to do an Ellen Macarthur up the mast).

Dave Woods
20th July 2008, 02:51
I got my 2nd class at Grimsby in 1967 and joined MIMCO, they somehow forgot about me for a month and I joined Ben Nevis in KG5, the Chief was Ray Burn. Nothing unusual, voyage round the Cape, apart from me being violently ill, (the Suez Canal being closed), to the Far East with Christmas in Hong Kong.

We arrived back in Singapore and Ray went up the road to see the doctor because he had a small pain in his lower abdomen – appendicitis! I then had to do the job up to Swetenam and Penang when he rejoined and have a quit voyage back home. My second ship was Lancing one of Steve Clark’s colliers running Goole to Shoreham, went for a month and stayed for 5.

In 1976 I was on Specialist/ GUVU, one of Harrisons big bulk carriers brand new out of Copenhagen (should have been called comedian, we had two Bob Hope’s and a Mike Yarwood). For some reason they gave me a second and all was fine for the first month, across the Atlantic and back to discharge in Hamburg. The R/O’s cabin was next door to the radio room and in it was a reclining leather chair, so one afternoon going down the channel I decided to go and put my feet up, well what could go wrong! I must have dozed off for a second or two when I woke up to the following:-
Niton Radio this is Goo Vuuuu, Niton Radio this is Goo ......... that is about as far as he got before the hand-set was nearly rammed up his nether regions. I cannot remember his explanation, not very good from what I remember, and after a run in with the old man he was removed when we got back to Europe.

RO Vintage
20th July 2008, 04:41
Hi All
Joined Marconi 1964 As Junior RO On The "Baron Minto" In Liverpool The Chief
RO Was Also From Dublin, But To Give His name Here I Would End Up In Court.
If He His Still Around, I Hope He Reads This. After About 6 Mths Of Doing Nothing In The Shack Except Clean The Brass And Fault Find On The OSpan
"Yes" He Would Put Faults On The Gear In The Mid Pacific As He Said It was
Good Taining For Junior ROs So As When The Span Blew Up, Or The Rest Of The Gear I Would Be A Expert At Clearing Faults "I Do Not Lie"

After About Seven Months He Jumped Ship In Townsville, The Rest Is History
Only To Say That I Got More QSPs Than Any Other RO In The MN Cos I had
Not A Clue How To Send any MSGs Or Run The Station, But Learned The hard
Way. If Any Other ROs Can Beat That Experience I Would Love To Hear From
You.

Paid Off In Liverpool 12 Months Later. Headed For The Depot And The Poor
Old Personnel Guy "No Names" Now Did Not Believe My Story. Was I Stupid
Or marconi? To This Day I Never Received Any Letters Etc Regarding The Chief RO........... My Finger Is Itching Now To Let You Know His Name, Lets
Say "NR" Thanks And Happy Memories.

RO Vintage (Marconi 22271)

Mimcoman
20th July 2008, 20:42
Hiya, Spats:

Couldn't you get to the last reunion - it's not too far from Minneapolis to the Station Hotel, surely?

andysk
21st July 2008, 16:47
Well, my JRO time seems quite mundane and boring compared with some !

I emerged from Norwood Tech in December 1970 with a 2nd PMG and (only just) failed BOT radar to 4 interviews, BP, RFA, Reardon Smith, and B & C. I deliberately chose not to apply to Marconi, having heard some stories about them from the college lecturers, anyway the Direct Employ companies paid better. From this came 3 offers, BP, B & C, Reardons; RFA said they'd let me know, I'm still waiting !

Joined B & C, stood by S A Oranje for a few days in Jan 1971 then sent to KGV London to join Rothesay Castle, RO was Roger Perks who also had his wife aboard. Voyage was Hamburg, Rotterdam, Las Palmas and the usual Cape ports to Beira with general, then back to load the first fruit of the season from Durban, PE and Cape Town for Le Havre and Southampton. I can remember being horribly seasick going down channel in a force 9 (but so was Nelson); leaving it rather late to get back to the ship in Rotterdam; all that steam shunting the docks in South Africa; an 'interesting' run ashore in LM; and absolutely nothing at all of 21st birthday which took place crossing the channel from Le Havre to Southampton. I don't think my parents were too impressed by my condition the following day ....

That was exactly 3 months, which was followed by 3 trips as 4th (of 4) on Edinburgh Castle with a superb Chief, R MacCormack, what a gentleman, even took my watch on Crossing the Line day so I could see what went on.

After a total of 208 days seatime (should have been 182) I was sent away on my own to join Clan Macleod on a voyage to India via the Cape and Mauritius. No air con, no hot water in the cabins, but what a great trip, great crowd, just on 6 months.

Those were the days ....

R651400
22nd July 2008, 09:37
Slight deviation but not off topic. Direct employ circa 1956 with a 2nd Class PMG was virtually impossible.
I still have memories of disbelief that I was accepted by Blue Funnel and think the one reason could be I had the brass neck to apply before sitting the PMG2.
By the sixties it seems to have changed and my guess is there was a big swing away from radio company style rental including amalgamation between liner and cargo shipping companies into bigger outfits?

Ivor Lloyd
22nd July 2008, 09:59
First trip as 3rd R/O City of Lille 1942 (Most if not all ships carried 3 R/O's in
wartime). I had just turned 16 !
I distinctly remember keeping the 12-4 watch bucket between my knees feeling very ill, seasick, homesick and fed up. Thankfully it only lasted a couple of days
The only other time I was seasick was in the lifeboat after having been torpedoed.
Thoroughly enjoyed the rest of my time at sea.

Tai Pan
22nd July 2008, 11:11
Slight deviation but not off topic. Direct employ circa 1956 with a 2nd Class PMG was virtually impossible.
I still have memories of disbelief that I was accepted by Blue Funnel and think the one reason could be I had the brass neck to apply before sitting the PMG2.
By the sixties it seems to have changed and my guess is there was a big swing away from radio company style rental including amalgamation between liner and cargo shipping companies into bigger outfits?

I also walked into India Buildings with a 2nd Clas PMG. taken on there and then, shipped out the following week. that was 1952. had 18 months sea time with mimc so that helped, did not even have to go to Aberdovey. must have been short staffed. (A)

Tai Pan
22nd July 2008, 11:23
Started with MIMC. 1st ship, Isle of Jersey. Southampton to Channel islands. spent 3 months. first day, the 1st R/O Tommy Stubbs, took me into the radio room, the only thing I knew was thye CR300. No auto Alarm. only a mf transmitter (the one with 3 windows in the front). and the P/A system. and a door into his cabin.
This is what you do. Take BBC weather at 9pm. go to bed. we sail at 11pm, send a TR to GNI, then keep awake. when we pass Casquets ( were the hell were the Casquets I wonder) send just the word Casquets to Gernsey radio (British rail station) on 500. when we dock, have breakfast, the come back for the trip to Jersey. when we dock go to bed.
With that he disappeared into his cabin and I did not see him again till Jersey.
The TR to GNI was the full monty, much to the groans of the operator there, probaly said, "Tommies got a new one. " That was a full 8 hours to Guernsey and a further hour to Jersey. Tommy never did a stroke only used the 2180 R/T to tell GNI we were passing the needles. Probably had a private system for them to phone his misses.

K urgess
22nd July 2008, 12:43
To go to sea in wartime at the age of 16 in one of the most targetted positions in the ship fills me with admiration, Ivor. Well done and thanks. (Thumb)
I didn't join Marconi until my 20th birthday and then spent a month on leave because of the seaman's strike.
The thought of joining anyone else didn't cross my mind. Nobody warned us off MIMCo and the idea of being stuck on the same sort of ship on the same runs never did appeal.
Maybe I was lucky but I feel my seatime was about as varied and enjoyable as I could get at the time.
A lot of my enjoyment was from the way I was taught to operate when I was a junior. Good game.[=P]

BA204259
22nd July 2008, 13:05
To go to sea in wartime at the age of 16 in one of the most targetted positions in the ship fills me with admiration, Ivor. Well done and thanks. (Thumb)
[=P]

Absolutely Marconi Sahib. Fortunately most of us will never know the horrors they went through. I remember reading that when a U-boat surfaced the first shell normally went through the radio room. Assuming of course that he hadn't used a torpedo on you. Many years ago I worked with an ex R/O just coming up to his 60th birthday and retirement, at a time when I was in my early twenties. He'd been sunk on five separate ships and survived the lot. I can't remember if he was married and lived too far away to commute, or if he was single. He lived in a hostel for the single blokes. What I do remember was that in his room and laying across the arms of an old armchair was his suitcase, lid open but packed ready to go. Just in case there was a sixth time. Makes you wonder...

Cheers, Ivor!!

holland25
22nd July 2008, 15:15
I only ever had a 2nd Class PMG, but was employed by Blue Funnel in 1957, with about a years experience.I had walked into India Buildings a few times, and I was told to keep trying. I was also taken on by the RFA in 1968, after about 7 years ashore and 6 months on a Weather Ship.The job on the Weather Ships I got, by answering an ad in Practical Wireless. It was either that or the Falkland Islands radio station.

aselador
22nd July 2008, 16:37
I joined my first ship in Tilbury in December 1980, it was an OCL containership Flinders Bay/GYSA. I can recall sending a TR to GNI, which I managed to complete without any mishap. The trip itself was the usual tour of northern europe before transiting Suez and crossing the Indian Ocean to Fremantle. The senior R/O was called Bob Bate, who gave me an excellent introduction to life at sea, I believe he left the sea shortly after to join GCHQ. By the time we reached Fremantle the UK seamans dispute had escalated and as soon as we got alongside the crew went on strike. All in all we were strikebound for almost 5 weeks, the only painful aspect of this from my perspective was that the only time of day we could receive the GZXY updates from GKA was about three in the morning, no real hardship as we had little else to do. I can still remember Jim Slater's (NUS leader) sign off on every message "Pull together lads". On a visit to Perth VIP I was surprised to learn that most of the operators were UK ex pats or Scandinavians, there was even a hint of a job there if I so desired, it was very tempting looking at the lifestyle in WA but I went to sea to see the world as they say. As I recall once we left Fremantle we spent a further 2 weeks in Sydney because of a wharfies strike, I was beginning to think that this was par for the course by this time. The skipper was Capt Brian Chipperfield an absolute gent, it was a long time before I encountered an OM as good as he. Happy days.

P_sparks
22nd July 2008, 16:44
1969 that was when I got my 2nd Class ticket. My college lecturer told me to leave and get a job before they changed their minds and took it back again. So I joined Marconi at the East Ham depot and after a few days mucking about down there started my first trip on the Benratha.

That was just fantastic. Via Capetown first stop was Singapore, then Penang and Port Swettenham. We also did Bangkok and East Malaysia Tawau, Sandakan, Jesselton and Miri then Indonesia Pontianak, Telok Ayer - hmmmm best run in the world I reckon - Singapore Penang and Bangkok what an introduction to life at sea, age 17 and 18 during the trip.

Radio room was small and cosy. Chief was John D - he was a nice guy who taught me a lot about how to behave on-board and especially in the radio room. Always in trouble though I messed up on my first message to Portishead and John had to explain to them that I was really just a half trained monkey.

Four months later the ship was back in London and I paid off with a suitcase full of goodies from the Far East. Marconi's sent me home for some leave and then I did the rest of my 6 months as junior on the UK coast - MF only - before flying out in December to the Persian Gulf to take my first ship as R/O.

I'd do it all over again -

Pete

andysk
22nd July 2008, 18:11
....... The senior R/O was called Bob Bate, who gave me an excellent introduction to life at sea, I believe he left the sea shortly after to join GCHQ. ......

Was Bob Bate ex B & C ?

offshore eddie
23rd July 2008, 11:12
Hi there Mateys,

Rememebr my 1st as though it were yesterday. Departed Leeds City station headed for Isle of Grain, where I joined my 1st BP tanker 'British Grenadier' - GJCH. Felt a bit queasy during crossing Bay of Biscay on way to Kuwait via Suez. 1st RO was from Fishguard - can't remember his name but he looked a lot like that old actor Robert Morley. Once he was convinced I knew what I was doing, I hardly seen him except on occasions when he ran out of booze.
Pretty much uneventful trip, but was slightly miffed when I was told after 6 months that I had to go on leave. Thought at the time life onboard was great and didn't want to leave. Alas went of from there, doing mostly freelance work with various companies like Star shipping, Zimm line and Canadian Pacific before hearing about this wonderful world offshore, so after 9 years deepsea, tansferred to offshore life where I was intended to give it 5 years at the most. However a lifetime later I am still here. Great to hear those voyages of discovery, with names and places that bring back many memories. Keep em coming mateys

offshore eddie
23rd July 2008, 11:25
Offshore Eddie here again, Forgot to mention at the onset, that my ventures began back in 1965 after many years chasing a 2nd then a 1st class PMG at NESWT in Bridlington E Yorks, Had the time of my life there and had some great fellow students. Unfortunatel never kept in touch and often wonder whatever happened to many of them. Any ex-NESWT R/o's out there.???

K urgess
23rd July 2008, 11:31
Welcome aboard from East Yorkshire, Eddie.
No doubt you'll meet our gang of NESWT reprobates soon as they see your post.
I went to Hull 64 to 66 but I now live 12 miles from Brid.
Enjoy the trip.

trotterdotpom
23rd July 2008, 11:59
Offshore Eddie here again, Forgot to mention at the onset, that my ventures began back in 1965 after many years chasing a 2nd then a 1st class PMG at NESWT in Bridlington E Yorks, Had the time of my life there and had some great fellow students. Unfortunatel never kept in touch and often wonder whatever happened to many of them. Any ex-NESWT R/o's out there.???

Hello Eddie. I was at NESWT as part of the last intake and left in '65 when it closed and we were scattered to the four winds. If you left in that year with a ticket our paths must have crossed, but you would have been ahead of me. Hawkeye01, who will no doubt see your post, is probably more of your vintage.

For information, there is a NESWT website at http://daimler.co.uk/neswt/ that you might be interested in. If you remember Mervyn "Doc" Foster I can put you in touch with him. Sadly, his sidekick, Ian "Gus" Alexander died a few years ago while en route to join a ship.

John T.

offshore eddie
23rd July 2008, 12:41
John T,

Think I left Brid sometime in 64, went back to leeds and spent a few months working as a stage hand at Leeds grand theatre before my dad asked me when I was gonna use the tickets he had worked and paid for, and eventually got away think it was March 0f 65.
Afraid cannot remember either DOC or GUS.

Eddie

Trevorw
24th July 2008, 00:16
Offshore Eddie here again, Forgot to mention at the onset, that my ventures began back in 1965 after many years chasing a 2nd then a 1st class PMG at NESWT in Bridlington E Yorks, Had the time of my life there and had some great fellow students. Unfortunatel never kept in touch and often wonder whatever happened to many of them. Any ex-NESWT R/o's out there.???

Was at Brid in 1953/54, along with my twin brother Vic. It was a long time ago, but I remember Russell the Principal - he drove a Lanchester, Maclean the Theory Lecturer, and his graphic description of a commutator, "An automatic reversal of the brush polarities", accompanied by much hand turning! Then there was Mr & Mrs Hill, the Matron and her husband the "Chef" - the food was worse than BOT! Oh yes, then there was Dennis Talbot the morse and Handbook man - a regular at the Brunswick Arms and a keen customer of Shanghai Lill, the local hooker!

It's a long time ago, but other fellow pupils I can remember were:- Ian Patrick, "Blobby" Roberts, "Chopper" Horner (who used to service Mrs Hill) an Indian guy who'se surname was Charles - who also used to service Mrs Hill, "Titch" Mason, Ian St. John Stevas, Graham Hurst, Terry Glover, David Sturdy, Ian Tomlinson, Phil Marriott, plus the more mature and studious ones who lived in splendid isolation, i.e. Buckley, Birkenshaw and Hart!!

There are more, but memory fails me and I've gone on long enough!!

BrynW
24th July 2008, 01:53
Left Wireless College Colwyn Bay clutching my 2nd class PMG December 1956 and joined Marconi to be sent to Eastham office where I joined the B&I ship Kenya as 3rd R/O Chief was Jack Masterman and the 2nd was a guy called Rice, (forgot his first name). We all did a watch apiece although they were keeping a watch on me at the same time, two great guys they taught me a great deal. Must have had a good report from Jack Masterman as I signed off the Kenya 18/2/57 after two months and one week.
Marconi allowed me 7 days leave and I then joined the Baron Berwick on 25/2/57 in Tilbury as R/O could not believe it as I thought we had to do at least 6 months accompanied. Stuck it out with Hungry Hogarths for one trip and sent a message to Marconi "Get me off this ship as I am starving" believe it or not they sent a relief out to Rotterdam and I signed off on the 11/4/57 having done a grand total of 46 days. Mind you they got their own back as the next ship was a Caltex Tanker and I never saw the UK for another 15 months.
After that it was all plain sailing solo as R/O wherever they sent me other than my time aboard the "La Cordillera" for Buries Markes when Marconi actually put a trainee with me for his first trip, we only had to do an 8 hour day between us so after the first week or so I had it easy from then on in as he was the keen type and I could not get near the office seat as he logged in at least 15 minutes before time which suited me down to the ground.
BrynW

Keckers
24th July 2008, 10:14
Leith Nautical College - applied to something like 85 companies (I didn't know there were so many shipping companies around) in the late 70's - only got one positive reply; and after a trade test and interview at Newcastle (2 days long) joined Marconi.

1st Ship was the m/v Tactician (4 and a half months)- Birkenhead-Port Sudan-Aden-Mombasa-Tanga or Pemba?-Dar Es Salaam-Zanzibar-Mocambique-Mombasa-Avonmouth. Great time (make that a wonderful time) spent mostly doing ALRS corrections and some light morse work (majority of time spent ashore playing footie and/or drinking Tusker). Senior R/O was from Dunloughaire (Dublin) and very very old - can't now remember his name.
2nd Ship was gtv Asiafreighter (2 months-ish)- Greenock-NY(Weehawken NJ)-Baltimore-Wilmington(NC)-Charleston-Savanah-Le Havre-Rotterdam-Bremmerhaven-Hamburg(?)-Greenock. Lousy time spent with a bunch of cliquey a***holes - busy as well with morse and the then very new INMARSAT system. Only highlight was getting severe damage crossing the pond and being stuck in NY for 10 days....only decent time spent on that thing. Senior R/O was an a**wipe from Newcastle.

Was supposed to go on my own after my 1st trip on a small Fisher vessel with radioactive waste from Sellafield to Japan but was very ill when they phoned - not faking it - as I was genuinely ill - alhough on reflection was the best thing I did as the ship later sank (although not sure if that was the trip I should have done or was later on...). Either way, a lucky escape even having to endure the Asiafreighter.

Paul Braxton
10th September 2008, 01:58
Came out of radio college in '69 and joined Mimco's after failing to join NZS, who wanted people with experience!

First trip was on Shell's ''Serenia"/GHLE, which I joined after a long and tedious trip out to Thameshaven. I was overwhelmed by the size of the ship and her gear, with a Crusader main TX which I'd never seen, we having trained on the inevitable Oceanspan at college. Remember meeting the chief R/O, Paddy someone, who hailed from the Emerald Isle and had been at sea for 21 years, longer than I'd been alive! He passed me a can of beer to complement the effects of various inocculations I'd just had, then introduced me to the radio room with the words: "This'll be your radio room, Jim. If you need me you know where to find me." (In the bar.)

Great stuff. I was scared witless but learned a lot. First customer came up the day we sailed and wanted to send an SLT home. I passed him the pad at which point he scowled a bit and said something to the effect that "Sparks usually writes it out"... First mistake. He was the Chief Engineer. I was really in at the deep end. Never saw my 'boss' but he had the endearing habit of coming into the radio room long after I'd gone to bed and leaving a b######ing note for me when I fronted up next morning. He'd do it on a message pad and the ballpoint pen would've gone through the first 5 or 6 pages with the energy of said telling off. Great stuff again. Lots of fun when something failed. He was far too fat to get down to see anything below waist level and would relay instructions to me from a circuit diagram while I took measurements with an AVO. Actually, he was too large to get behind the bar and had to get somebody else to get his drinks for him.

But I did learn a lot, and fast. Saw the sinking of the VLCC '"Marpessa" in '69 off Dakar and I was tied to the radio room the whole time while everyone else was out filming and watching the fire, etc. Baptism of fire alright.

Pay in those days for the first six months was 61 12s 6d and I was paying Mimco's 5 a month in repayments for a loan to buy my uniform. Still got the Mimco handout (in mint condition) - Passport to the World. Went down to West Africa for several trips and back to Europe. Food onboard was the best bit of it all. Chinese crew and a long sprint down the flying bridge to the saloon aft. Used to have to time that sprint when seas were being shipped across the maindeck or risk a soaking. Wouldn't have had it any other way!

Paul

Unireefer
10th September 2008, 02:37
First trip was on a reefer, "Scamper Universal/4QTH", Sri Lankan flag and owned in a roundabout way by Safmarine to avoid apartheid problems. Joined her in Marseille and remember thinking it was the rustiest ship I'd ever seen (and still is!). Straight to drydock in Setubal then back and forward from Europe to the Caribbean with bananas. Have always thought reefers are the classiest looking vessels. This was in 1986 and I took every opportunity to use morse, despite having radiotelex onboard. Remember working Portishead one time and the operator saying "good morse" - praise from God I thought at the time! Had 3 seniors in 6 months, 2 Brits and a Sri Lankan. The Sri Lankan guy had a very distinctive "fist", didn't hold the key but just tapped it with one finger. 3 years later I heard a ship calling Las Palmas radio - thought I recognised the fist, called him up on the off chance and sure enough it was him.

On my first trip as qualified R/O, they gave me a junior. Decent bloke from Manchester. Old Man was doing his weekly rounds when he came storming up to the shack, shouting blue murder and wanting to find the junior. JRO had disappeared half an hour earlier to his cabin for a call of nature and inadvertently left a "log in the bog". I was invited to view this fine specimen and given instructions to bollock the guy when he came back. The fact the skipper took it so seriously made it even funnier. Happy days.

bert thompson
10th September 2008, 18:33
Applied to MIMC in November 1948 but there were no vacancies. Was told that was caused by many ex wartime R/Os being able to get a 2nd class by sitting a paper (understand there was about six papers doing the rounds and you would get one of them) In November 1950 after demob from the RAF and a MOT Radar ticket I applied and was accepted immediately. Two weeks at Cardiff learning all about MIMC paper work. Joined my first ship,a collier, Chelwood at Blyth and met one of the nicest Captains I ever sailed with. A Shetland gentleman Jim Clark. After my six months were up I stayed on for a further six and would have stayed longer but of course MIMC did not like to let you stay too long on any one ship. Never discovered why. Next ship was the British Endeavour with the usual trip up the Persian Gulf.Stayed on her for over two years.MIMC must have forgot that I existed. Was never on any ship with another R/O until I returned to the sea in 1987 having renewed my ticket. Had a young girl as junior and my wife accompanied me. Life with Redifon and laterly Panocean Anco where I stayed for ten years. What a different world I found after eighteen years ashore. Guess I was born too soon.
Bert.

ernhelenbarrett
11th September 2008, 14:19
After getting my PMG at Leith Nautical in 1954 Marconi sent me down to AST
Hamble to bone up on various bits of equipment then joined my first ship "Avistone/GBSV" as 2nd R/O on the Iron Ore trade to the Med and UK with one trip to Conakry thenwent on my own on British Gratitude/MAGQ on the UK/Baltic/Northern Norway/Sweden run then made the fatal mistake of joining the Palamcotta in Middlesboro and got back to the UK about 5 years later after found out I was with BI out in India on such exotic ships as Dara Karanja Itaura Itria and Orna,even my folks had emigrated to Canada by the time I got home
Ern Barrett

R651400
11th September 2008, 16:24
I joined Leith Nautical in 1954 for PMG2 and there were two 1st Classers who I can say not only influenced my life but the rest of the class. One who warned me against Marconi and ending up on the Indian coast for period unknown and the other Clive Knibb who extolled the virtues of direct employ particularly with Blue Funnel. Mci bcp Clive.

Quiney
2nd October 2008, 23:54
Joined my First ship the ACT5 in Seaforth dock Liverpool August 1976, first stop Melbourne then to Sydney (Balmain not Botany Bay) Auckland Wellington back to Tilbury via Panama Canal all in just over two months. Next trip as junior was with Booker Line and one of their stalwart R/O's Alan Moss who had been there so long the saying onboard was that in the beginning God created Mossy then he built the Booker Vanguard. Again Liverpool with general cargo to the Caribbean islands of Tortola, St. Lucia Antigua and Trinidad followed by Paramibo in Surinam and turnaround in Georgetown Guyana where bulk Demerra sugar loaded back to Liverpool all in two months so still had two month seatime left a a junior. It seemed that I had progressed well enough to be let loose on a coastal tanker on my own for last two months so it was off to Milford Haven and the little Esso Inverness where I relieved an older R/O who's discharge book read like the history of post war Cunard with all their passenger ships in it. So for two months pottered right round the UK with various grades of petrol and Naptha to ports as diverse as Holy Loch(royal navy base) near Glasgow, Dublin, Immingham, Plymouth and yes actually went to Inverness....happy little ship. So after a good leave a call from Dave Wardley at IMRC sent me off deep sea for the first time on my own from all places Portishead on one of only two bulk phospherous carriers in the world at that time but thats a story for another day when its cold and wet outside and have a long time to recall one of my more memorable outings.

Niggle


It seemed a 'regular' route for IMRC juniors

I did one trip on Denholms Arctic Troll, followed by two on Booker Viking (the regular sparkie was Don Macrae, who had a similar pedigree to Mossy)
That two month trip to the West Indies was a fantastic run and running out of Liverpool, my home port at the time (lived about 25 miles away)

Was also allowed on the Esso Inverness with still one month of my 'six' to do.
The chief engineer used to do the run up the road for the papers. seemed to spend more time in port than at sea!

Troppo
20th February 2010, 00:55
In Australia, we did 3 months understudy time. This was enough, really – if you didn’t know the job after 3 months, well then you shouldn’t have been there. In reality, the 3 month period was probably at the request of tight ship-owners, rather than the result of any considered training analysis, however…

I joined my first ship, Ariake/GWED in Melbourne on November 30, 1980. I still remember walking up the gangway for the first time.

Ariake was a beautiful P and O box boat, about 35,000T (big, in those days). She looked like a yacht – white hull/superstructure and black funnels. We had all the P and O stuff – uniform of the day, Chinese stewards, 12 pax, drinkies, the whole deal.

Ariake was built in Bremerhaven in the mid 70’s, and was fitted out beautifully.

The radio room was fantastic – two STR1600 main tx and two Collins synthesised receivers – both of which worked off the 24v batts when needed.

A dream for a first tripper – it was all down hill from there, ship wise, that’s for sure!

We were on a regular liner service between Australia and Japan, with the occasional South Korean trip thrown in. Three ports in Australia, and 4 ports in Japan.

I was a very active amateur radio operator before I went to sea, so operating was no big deal for me. I fronted up for my first watch with my electronic keyer under my arm – much to the Chief’s surprise…

I had 2 Chiefs in the 3 months in GWED – the first was a real old timer who didn’t want me there at all – we split the watches – I did the 8-12 and he did the other 2 (much to my annoyance..). I worked on my sun tan on the monkey island in the afternoon…

This all changed when the 2nd Chief came aboard – I did all the watches. He was a mad Irishman by the name of Tom Brady – a first class R/O and a lovely bloke. He insisted that I learnt to take the wx on the typewriter – a great skill that I used on every other ship. Tom and I still keep in touch.

The Japanese coast stations were really efficient. You could set your watch by their traffic lists, and their signals were excellent. I always wondered why I could work JCS in Sydney Harbour, but VIS was QSA1 in Tokyo Bay!

I found out many years later that the VIS 22MHz CW tx antenna was a single dipole, at about 20 feet above ground……

A good trick Tom taught me when calling JCS on HF was to slur the J in your initial call and not to use your own callsign (i.e. JCS JCS JCS…) – apparently Japanese ships used this trick – it always worked….JCS thought I was a Japanese ship and came straight back with a DE.

Halcyon days.

I did 11 years at sea – I went to sea as a bright eyed 19 yo, and was at sea for all of my 20’s.

With the advent of GMDSS, we were offered either retraining as a mate, or a golden handshake. By this stage, I had about 100 hrs understudy time on the bridge, and the old man was letting me do meal reliefs. I would regularly do the telegraphs and the movement book on the bridge. So, I was set to follow my father (a mate during WW2) on to the bridge.

However, the demands of a young family meant that the bag of gold at the bottom of the gangway was just too tempting, and I swallowed the anchor in 1991.

I have remained in the marine radio field ever since.

Would I do it again?

Yep.

Don Armour
20th February 2010, 01:07
Bryn's key went silent 17 Feb 2010, also posted on Shipmates Remembered of this forum.

Those who knew him will miss him and those who didn't will simply have missed out.

RIP

Graham P Powell
20th February 2010, 12:12
My experience was like Holland 25. Joined Royal Mail Line ship Aragon in London docks. Green as grass!. Chief was named Rollason and retired at the end of the trip. 2/R/O was Jack Barter who died on the Royston Grange. AEI radio gear which I had never ever seen. Sick as a dog the whole trip. In fact I was told to give up seafaring. The 1966 seamans striked started just after we sailed and sometimes the GKA HF 24 ship traffic list would only have 2 call signs GVSV (Nevasa I think) and GVVT which was us. I think were the only ship during the strike to sail into Southampton and out again. Shipping master would not sign the crew off as the had signed on in London.
Came home and had more leave than I had earnt. Soon as the strike broke
back to RML and sister ship Amazon /GVVV. Wonderful times in BA and the 2/R/O's were always very helpful. Dont regret any of it.

Mimcoman
21st February 2010, 10:20
My experience was like Holland 25. Joined Royal Mail Line ship Aragon in London docks. Green as grass!. Chief was named Rollason and retired at the end of the trip. 2/R/O was Jack Barter who died on the Royston Grange. AEI radio gear which I had never ever seen. Sick as a dog the whole trip. In fact I was told to give up seafaring. The 1966 seamans striked started just after we sailed and sometimes the GKA HF 24 ship traffic list would only have 2 call signs GVSV (Nevasa I think) and GVVT which was us. I think were the only ship during the strike to sail into Southampton and out again. Shipping master would not sign the crew off as the had signed on in London.
Came home and had more leave than I had earnt. Soon as the strike broke
back to RML and sister ship Amazon /GVVV. Wonderful times in BA and the 2/R/O's were always very helpful. Dont regret any of it.



Hi Graham:

Nevasa was GPQV. I joined her in 1970, after a trip on Akaroa (ex-Amazon). By that time, GVVV had a Crusader and R408, with an Oceanspan VIIE and Atalanta as backup. I was transferred onto GVVV in Cape Town after the Chief R/O had to go home as his wife had developed brain cancer. His name was Bob Pett or Petch? - perhaps you remember him or maybe Ron can help as I believe Bob ended up working in Elettra House, Chelmsford, in the accounts department. I really enjoyed (most of) my time on her. Best callsign I ever sent.

(Graham: Just read your input about Bob Petch in another thread.)

Graham P Powell
21st February 2010, 11:07
Mimcoman, Many thanks for that. Most interesting. When I was on GVVV the gear was all AEI. 600 w main TX which seem to work quite well. Old fashioned receivers. Bob Petch was a lovely guy from E.London. He must have been made chief after Ted Winslow retired. Winslow was an interesting character if of a rather peppery dispostion. Former gun runner in the Spanish civil war and personal friend of Louis Mountbatten who he always referred to as "Louis".
Somebody did tell me once that the C/R/O had been flown home from SA having a wife with cancer. I seem to remember they had had a little boy quite late in life. One can only assume that Bob is a silent key these days.
Got the call sign of the Nevasa wrong. I must ask one of my GKA colleagues who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of call signs which ships GVSV was.
Was it Empress of Canada. Not sure. I remember the stunning nursing sister was girlfriend of one of the Nevasa's r/o's. Great days. Remembered with pleasure.

hawkey01
21st February 2010, 13:04
Morning Graham,

GVSV was not the Empress of Canada - seem to think it was GHLA. Thought GVSV was a RM A class but you would know better on that score. I am sure the RO on the Nevasa who's' girlfriend was the nursing sister was John Menzie or similar name. I should know his name as I did know him. He had been on the Kampala/Kenya/Uganda for a longtime with a 2nd class and he came to NESWT to take his 1st Class so he could be made Ch RO. He was on the Amazon at one stage and also a friend of mine who was 2nd called Dave Gunn.

Neville - Hawkey01

jimg0nxx
21st February 2010, 13:28
Empress of Canada was indeed GHLA. Did several relieving trips in her during 1968.

Jim

keith ratcliffe
21st February 2010, 13:49
Obtained PMG2nd at Merseyside College of Radio ,1962, tutor Gerry Ludden. Joined Marconi. First ship Strick Line Armanistan, Manchester,Persian Gulf, India and Liverpool. Ch/R/O Angus McNeil. He had never trained a junior before and was reluctant to let me loose on the morse key prefering to use his bug key which I must admit he handled well. He did however introduce me to the pleasures of whisky. 4 months later joined the Elders and Fyffes Changuinola for two trips Garston to Cameroons and back. Ch/R/O T.P.Jones from Shropshire. A good man who was appalled at my lack of operational experience, so made sure I did everything, my confidence grew and I left very grateful to my good friend Mr Jones. I was now on my own with two short trips with Cunard and PSNC before deep sea with Silver Line.

valencia59
21st February 2010, 21:08
HI fellas,
When I got my MRGC from Northern Counties I must have written to every shipping company listed ! Nobody was taking on in 1979. I was very lucky and got an interview with the GPO to join GKA which I passed and duly ended up in Burnham. I loved every minute of my time at GKA but still felt that I wanted to go to sea.To my eternal shame I used to spend time whilst on night shift in the telex wing, B wing I think, sending out applications to foreign shipping companies. I ended up with the offer of a job on an Italian LPG ship called the Luigi Casale/ IBVL. I was to have 1 Month with the R/O, I joined the ship (bright orange with a blue funnel with a dolphin breathing fire on it) in Cochin S.India and sailed to Kuwait to pick up amonia and then back to Bombay 2 days discharge and then Cochin 7 days discharge. The R/O paid off in Bombay, Good bloke very laid back. That left me and a ship full of Italians ! I stayed on that ship for 10 months and had the time of my life It wasn't until a few years later that I actually sailed on a British flagged ship when I joined Electro Nav. I can honestly say that I loved my time at sea and in hindsight wished I had never left, but thats the way it goes. cheers
Nick Mc.

frank fawl
21st February 2010, 22:54
First trip was with gtzm (liverpool) joined oil tanker "el lobo" at elsmereport. Strange crowd on that one. The third mate walked about the deck always wearing white gloves, the Captain ( had a double barreled french name peers robier or something similar).
The crew were a tough bunch from Liverpool mostly drs. and after
about a week out of Liverpool bound for callao peru had beaten up
the mate and chased the old man back over the flying bridge.
Not a very convivial number for a first tripper but interesting.
The chief R/O came from Gurnsey and constantly dropped remarks
about his Jaguar into conversation. He wasn't the bravest of souls
and ordered me to go back aft and fix the broadcast receiver in
the crews wreck room which had been torn off the bulkhead.
Thank God the crew did not take to a junior like they did to the
senior officers or I would have been mincemeat, after repairs some
of the lads asked me to share a beer which was very decent of them as they were rationed to 2 a day.
On returning to midships the "jaguar" gave me a right b*********
and lecture on fraternising with the crew.
After three months and returning to Liverpool was glad to be told
I was leaving the ship and going solo on a "maggie Booth's ship
the "Dominic". What a ship and what a crew. This ship showed me
what a life on the ocean wave was all about and i stayed on board
for 3 years on and off.

freddythefrog
21st February 2010, 23:26
Hawkeye and Graham Powell.
GVSV callsign was the Royal mail passy ship ARLANZA, remember calling him up in channel for a natter, my best mate was an R/O on it at the time and he happened to be on the 12 to 4 when i called him!!Happy days cheers ftf

ernhelenbarrett
22nd February 2010, 04:48
Got my PMG at Leith Nautical in 1954 and joined Marconi in Leith who decided
to send me down to the Air Service Training (AST) place at Hamble to get familiar with some of the gear then on Passenger and other GTZM vessels, had to sign a clause stating we would not sue Marconi if we had our heads knocked off by low flying DC3's as it was also a flying school. Used to visit a nice couple of pubs there, the White Hart being one. Marcon must have decided I wasnt passenger ship material as I joined the "Avistone/GBSV ex Empire Martaban built 1943 as
junior R/O on the North Africa/UK iron ore trade with one trip down to Conakry.
After my 6 months joined the British Gratitude/MAGQ on the UK/Norway/Sweden/Denmark/Russia run...believe it or not she had a SPARK set as Emergency TX and an Emergency RX where you lifted a lid and replaced coils calibrated in METRES not Kcs to change frequency. After a year on her they wanted me to join the Shell "Velutina" and they were going to give me a Junior as she was so BIG (28000 tons) I said no way so was shanghaid to Middlesboro to join the B.I. Palamacotta on a 3 month trip to Bombay before going on leave....Was transferred to the BI "Dara" on the Gulf run and ....5 years later...nuff said
Ern Barrett

Naytikos
22nd February 2010, 07:15
At Plymouth there seemed to be a backdoor connection to Marconi's because one had to make a positive step to apply elsewhere; otherwise, upon leaving the college, one was given a date to report at either Avonmouth or East Ham depots 'for induction' without ever actually asking for a job at all.
So I ended up at Avonmouth only to be told, "go home and wait for a call from East Ham, your salary begins today". Three days later I found myself on Benmacdhui/MADX (the 1947 version) at Royal Docks.
The chief was Gideon Kerr, who seemed to have been on the maiden voyage, and whose highland accent was completely incomprehensible to me.
We got on well, perhaps because I didn't mind climbing to fix the radar scanner and VHF antenna, which he couldn't manage.
After 3 months 18 days around the far east, out through Suez, back around the Cape, we arrived in Hamburg and Ben line chartered a Viscount to fly the whole ship's company back to Heathrow. I was only too relieved it wasn't to Edinburgh.
After that I was sent on my own for two trips on a GSNS 1600grt toy boat to Italy with general and back with bulk wine and Carrera marble. Reliance main Tx and I sent more traffic on the aldis lamp than by radio.
Then I got a proper ship, a Bank-boat.

Graham P Powell
22nd February 2010, 10:14
Sorry Freddy but the Arlanza was GVVS. I will have to ask two of my ex GKA colleagues Roger or John. They will definitely know!.

freddythefrog
22nd February 2010, 16:41
Graham
My sincere apologies ref the callsign GVSV, must be the advancing years
and poor memory--it was nearly 40 years ago Lol!
Even my mate thought it to be correct---same age and memory as me.
Not sure if GVSV was Empress of England??? maybe someone with a callsign book can look it up for us. Sri! cheers ftf

Tai Pan
22nd February 2010, 17:08
Born Liverpool. Lived Liverpool. Joined MIMC Liverpool, immediate train ticket to Southampton. ( weird sense of humour). still nice ships from southampton. sent to British rail ferry. soton/jersey Nov.Dec.Jan, nice weather. start of the rot betwix me and GTZM. thank the lord for GTZB.

Roger Bentley
22nd February 2010, 18:15
Graham
My sincere apologies ref the callsign GVSV, must be the advancing years
and poor memory--it was nearly 40 years ago Lol!
Even my mate thought it to be correct---same age and memory as me.
Not sure if GVSV was Empress of England??? maybe someone with a callsign book can look it up for us. Sri! cheers ftf

Yes she was GVSV - Lloyds List 1962, Regards, Roger

K urgess
22nd February 2010, 18:51
Arlanza/GVVS
Empress of England/GVSV
List of OBS ships 1963

david.hopcroft
22nd February 2010, 20:19
This is a small extract from the October 1963 'Dicky Dappel' and should jog a few memories.

David
+

freddythefrog
22nd February 2010, 22:03
Roger, Kris, and David
Many thanks the callsign info, certainly jogs the memory, new there was some V's and some S's in them, obviously in wrong places. cheers ftf

K urgess
22nd February 2010, 23:41
This is a small extract from the October 1963 'Dicky Dappel' and should jog a few memories.

David
+

Bankline gets everywhere. [=P]

Tai Pan
23rd February 2010, 09:58
Long time since I heard "DickyDappel"--memories

Graham P Powell
23rd February 2010, 10:02
Rang ex GKA keyboard wizard and call sign expert John Lamb last night
and he says GVSV was Empress of England.

tedc
23rd February 2010, 17:13
Like many others, in 1955, I did my first 6 months in Cunard (IMR usually seemed to put their newbies there!) and was assigned to "Franconia!.

This was a RMS, which I didn't understand at the time, but I later figured out that we were really postmen in disguise.

The Captain was RNR (or maybe RNVR) so we got to fly the Blue Ensign!!

The two other R/Os were Purdom Smith & Frank Loechert - the latter of which had an amazing ability to read morse through so much static that I couldn't even tell that there was any morse there!!!

We did 1 routine passenger trip Southampton to Quebec then a couple to Halifax as the St Lawrence did its annual freeze over.

For the last few trips we were chartered to carry American (or were they Canadian) troops (and their wives,etc, to the continent )-

As I recall the troops went one one passage whilst the wives, etc, went on a different ship - to discourage mingling. I suppose!
It seemed to have a different effect when the wives were all aboard without their loved ones!

Good learning environment - no restrictions on mixing with passengers - etc.

Some of these Junior R/Os were lucky enough to stay with Cunard for the rest of their careers - but I had to go off to join a Shell tanker when my 6 months was up.
Don't know if it meant I didn't fit - or whther I was too highly qualified (1st PMG).

Anyway my pal Norman Griffin (also ex Hull Tech) followed me onto the Franconia & went on to become 1st R/O of QE1.

[=P]

7woodlane
23rd February 2010, 20:46
Born Liverpool. Lived Liverpool. Joined MIMC Liverpool, immediate train ticket to Southampton. ( weird sense of humour). still nice ships from southampton. sent to British rail ferry. soton/jersey Nov.Dec.Jan, nice weather. start of the rot betwix me and GTZM. thank the lord for GTZB.

MIMCo's sense of humour ( are you sure that is what it was ?). Living near Hull my first vsl was down in London, the Royal Docks. The telegram summoned me to report East Ham at some date at 0900. I'm 200 miles away for god's sake. You cannot get anywhere at 0900 from Hull, unless you leave the night before. Anyway I obeyed, and checked into East Ham at 0900 on the due day. This is how it was then. Chief R/O on the Mooltan looked at me and said "can you touch type" --- me --- touch type. He might as well have asked me if I had climbed the Matterhorn on a Lambretta. It got worse but more of that another day.

K urgess
23rd February 2010, 22:20
MIMCo's sense of humour ( are you sure that is what it was ?). Living near Hull my first vsl was down in London, the Royal Docks. The telegram summoned me to report East Ham at some date at 0900. I'm 200 miles away for god's sake. You cannot get anywhere at 0900 from Hull, unless you leave the night before. Anyway I obeyed, and checked into East Ham at 0900 on the due day. This is how it was then. Chief R/O on the Mooltan looked at me and said "can you touch type" --- me --- touch type. He might as well have asked me if I had climbed the Matterhorn on a Lambretta. It got worse but more of that another day.

Don't find that strange at all.
Lived in Hull. Joined Mimco in Hull. Spent the first month on leave in Hull 'cos of the Seaman's strike in '66.
Ordered to East Ham to be there as office opens as soon as the strike ended.
To join the Bendoran as junior.
Travelled on last train from Hull in company of a RN CPO who showed me the ropes for a night in London at the Union Jack Club and other points south. (Thumb)
Joined the Baron Wemyss as junior. Senior quit when he found out who the old man was. Took two days to get another one.

ian fears
24th February 2010, 14:37
1969 after soton college joined mimco 1st ship ferry dragon for 2 months, route southampton lisbon with odd trip to le havre, cro harry loane from ireland nice bloke but we had to go straight to h16 watchkeeping so thrown in deep end on that, i used to do the evening [ 8 to 10? ] and midnight to 6 am watch harry thought i needed practise so i also did his 2 hour stint at times [ he was looking at cargo and checking bar not a bad trip but only 2 months after leave next to shells mighty medora cro ed may another good bloke very electronics minded we both did maintenance [ trying to get bridge engine control working never 100% though ] i did most if not all watches byself apart from the fact it was a tanker and no shore time it was ok til the master who was on the mactra which blew up joined , dreadful person , spent 5 months on her well over time but couldnt get off til thameshaven swore never go another tanker and didnt , often wonder what happened to harry and ed anyone know

david.hopcroft
24th February 2010, 20:46
Joined AEI in Liverpool, first orders report to a travel agent in London. My Chief was doing a tax year so we had to be in Rotterdam by 5th April. It was the Naess Sovereign in drydock. All went well for a while, but then he started to go 'walkabout'. How can you do that at sea on a tanker ?? Easy it seems. Still it was good practice for me.

David
+

john rice
27th February 2010, 00:09
I joined Canberra/GBVC from college in September 1964 - HAM Jardine cro, Jim Meaney 1st ro, Mike Broughton 2nd ro, Frank Murphy jnr 2nd ro, John Haynes 3rd ro, Hugh Larkin jnr 3rd ro, Ian Macey 4th ro and me, John Rice jnr 4th ro. Stayed with Canberra until 1967 when I had my first trip on my own with Trident Tankers - the Orama. Salaams to all = John Rice +

GraemeD
6th March 2010, 12:40
Hi,
I was a Cunard Sponsored Raido cadet in 1976 at Fleetwood Nautical College, I did not know there were many others, where did you do your college time ?
Graeme Deane

janderso
16th April 2010, 10:21
Ian. I did my 2nd Class and Radar at Leith, left in 1970. I'd started to go for a 1st but ran out of money, so wandered down to the Marconi depot and got a job. I don't remember many names from that day, but I lost a few months in 1968 after breaking my leg on an old BSA.
Charles, yup that radar would fit. The old coaster I was on was built in the late 40s. For some reason I thought it was called a Decca 45, but I'm probably thinking of the bloody records (Bill Haley/Beatles and such) I used to buy. Seem to remember the parabolic scanner was a double decker, transmitting and receiving.
I once sailed with a small japanese radar that used the same idea of putting the transmitter/receiver up in the scanner assembly (saves on waveguides, but changing a magnetron in bad weather was a bit of a no no unless you want to do an Ellen Macarthur up the mast).

That would be a double-cheese antenna ,no TR cell required and a very short waveguide rgds J

roythwa
25th April 2010, 21:40
Funny thing I always knew I was joining Marconi . Off to the quacks and got stuck full of needles this was 1956 then I got mail to join Esso Oxford then high out of the water at Southampton. First voyage was an SOS from the Esso Chatham in the Bay of Biscay she had blown her sides out and we could see right through her. Escorted her to Gib through incredibly calm waters never seen the Bay so calm. Last year found out what happened to her but have failed to located the Junior who trained with me. Then sent to Immingham to join the MV Broompark a Scottish Denholm general cargo boat many good memories there. After that wanted to further my electronics skills so did some training during my leave. Then I went onto the Limerick and I came across a Decca Radar a little box on the bulkhead everything inside including the klystron. One day the Magnetron **** itself there was one in the kit so it was soon going again. Having had two trips to Australia I decided to join AWA that was for a two year stint and I imagined that that I would be coming back to Marconi after. Saw the impending doom of the Aussie MN also got hooked whilst on the coast.

andrewwalker1234
26th April 2010, 05:48
Went to Leith in the early 70 for 2 years now the spend a week to do the ticket and they are mostly stewardess what is the world comming.

w.craig
26th April 2010, 21:35
Completed 2nd PMG at Glasgow Wirless College & joined MIMCo 1964. Sent to E. Ham depot & joined Royal Mail ship Drina, call sign MAIL, only one I can remember. 2 trips to Monty & B.A. Then joined Crystal Cube as 2nd R/O to a some what excentric Ch. R/O fom Ireland. Went to Poland in the dead of winter then onto west indies where she broke down, waited 6 weeks for spares, back to U.K. but had to limp into Falmouth with more engine trouble took the opportunity to pay off at that point as I had by then completed my 6 months sea time.

Shipbuilder
27th April 2010, 20:12
My first trip was aboard the old RHODESIA STAR (GUAX) in the early 60's. Ship horribly uncomfortable and lousy food, but still considerably more comfortable than Wray Castle where I had trained. I always had the greatest respect and liking for that old C3 (Ex Escort carrier HMS PREMIER on the Russian convoys).

Unfortunately, a small number of my fellow officers left no stone unturned in their efforts (successful) in making life miserable for me!

Best time came after Newcastle NSW when hanging over rail at about 2100, one of the cooks came up (had a skinful) demanding where was officer "X". In all innocence I told him he was in 2nd mate's cabin. "Good" he shouts "cos I' goin' to smash 'is 'ead in!" He stormed off into the accommodation whilst I remained on deck awaiting the welcome sounds of the offending "ead gettin' smashed in!" Lots of shouting and screaming, bunch of my antagonists and cook emerge on deck - captain called. Captain tells him to "get below." Cook yells "Yer all the same, you lot, hidin' behind yer gold braid!" Captain (tough Aussie) rips jacket off and advances on cook shouting "OK, come, bare fists, man to man - no gold braid!" Cook rushes off below and never reapppears. Remains subdued for rest of voyage. Me - heavan be praised - sent to coventry by my antagonists. Enjoyed a glorious week where none of them would speak to me. But they were a lily-livered bunch and couldn't stand the strain and were at their full bullying strength again within ten days or so. But the incident did lift my spirits!

Next ship - JOYA MCCANCE.

Wonderful captain (Neal) excellent officers, excellent crew. If it hadn't been for JOYA MCCANCE, I would have quit the sea!

Bob

sparky1
20th July 2010, 15:08
Hi, I too was started at MIMCO Liverpool office in June 72, I'd had to sign a 3 year contract with them after failing the MRGC theory exam and having to back class 1 term, mimco lent me 60 so I could continue. Anyway, I was lent out to East Ham to Join the same Bendearg for a 3 month trip out, hambursg, penang, sweatenham (port klang now) singapore, bangkok, hong knog, manila, borneo, singapore then Liverpool. Then just like yourself and again after only 3 months, it was 1 week off then took passage on Booth line's Cuthbert joining in New York for 14 months, up and down the east coast, w Indies and Amazon, back to uk to do the radar exam, then quick trips with common bros (Daghestan) then Stevie Clarks VLCC (very little coal carrier!!) Avonmouth/Rotterdam. Many happy days, I always wanted to do a bank trip, out to the south seas, that was something my grandfather did in the twenties. Happy days
cheers
David

sparky1
20th July 2010, 15:15
you forgot to say you were at Fleetwood

Treborvfr
20th July 2010, 19:44
I left Fleetwood in 1974 and walked straight into a job with BP.

First trip was just over 6 months on a VLCC, British Pride, GRIQ, with SRO Bob Lane.
It was a pretty uneventful 6 months, taking in two trips to the Gulf and back, with a guarantee dry dock in Brest in the middle.

What did suprise me was the number of BP ships in those days, with over 120 in the fleet never a day went by when we couldn't contact another BP ship on VHF going the other way. A sharp contrast to 1986 when I left BP, there was only 26 ships in the fleet and you could very rarely raise one one a GTZX call on 500kHz for days, if not weeks, on end!

Somebody mentioned Radio cadets earlier. I was probably one of the first, particularly with BP, I was half way through my radar course at Fleetwood when I applied to join them. They, along with other companies, had just started the cadet scheme and took me on as a cadet for the last 3 months of the radar course. It was a very nice way to finish college, with some money in my pocket for a change.

Bob

LucyKnight
13th June 2013, 15:46
Lucy Knight

I joined the SSMangelia Shell VLCC in the summer of 75, having spent the 3rd year of MRRT employed as a Shell cadet in 1974 (Shell and BP had just started radio cadetships). Slow steaming had been introduced and l spent 6 1/2 months on her without setting foot on dry land all SBM mooring or discharging to other vessels, so l completed the training period in one trip. I was told prior that l would be doing that. During that last year at college it had become quite difficult for students to gain employment. Some had trouble getting their junior time if they hadn't been cadets. The station was Marconi radio maintainance, and the Crusader transmitter played up well with faults which usually required service technicians to provide non ship spares replacements eg cracked IF coil, ledex switch wafers arcing through requiring whole PA stage to be dropped by helicopter at Capetown, Radars playing up etc. Unfortunately unlike CP ships the main and virtually only piece of test gear was an AVO no scope.

The senior l had was very experienced, 3 ringer with years of experience with many different companies. He told me he had left his last company because he was destined to train a female so he joined Shell and got lumbered with me. Life can be a ***** sometimes!

Steven Lamb
14th June 2013, 19:39
Just been back to the Tees (Hartlepool) and cast an eye towards the steel works and the mounds of iron ore heaps dressing the skyline. Memories of joining an ore-carrier there ("Gothland" GHQQ) 1st rip to sea back in 74 came flooding back. It only seems like yesterday ! Remember the taxi driver crossing the steel works and getting caught in a cloud of bright orange dust and sticking his wind screen wipers on to no avail ! The 1st person I met onboard was Jimmy the Ch Steward who greeted me with his pet pigeon "Hector" perched contently on his shoulder. My God what had I come to ? The next 3 months were slightly blissful - plenty of Tennants ("wee goldies") and Russian girls to try and chase after up in Murmansk ! Oceanspan & Atlanta - a far cry from the Commander & Apollo at college.
Happy days - will never forget them

Cheers Lamby

Ian Beattie
2nd July 2013, 18:05
I posted something similar to this following blurb under your first callsign, however , here we go. I got my PMG2 at Glasgow wireless college but MIMCo said that they could do nothing for me in 1964 as they wanted people with sea time (the old swings & roundabouts how do you get sea time if you can't get to sea) That aside I joined the (at that time) shell super tanker the Serenia after travelling from Glasgow to Tranmere, on the 15th June 1965 - my 19th birthday c/s GHLE. I remember the excitement of going down the Mersey and passing Cammell Lairds shipyard and seeing at first hand the Scouse sense of humour in 6ft high letters on the fencing "use high speed gas - 6 million jews can not be wrong" bizarre but funny in 60's. She had the first production Crusader and all sorts of leadex switch to match ssb receivers - what a culture shock from oceanspan 2. We spent about 2 months tootling about from Med to near Continent ports then via Suez out to PG to Singapore about 9 months later I paid of in Marseilles after trans-shipping to the Axina in the PG. Good trip massive learning curve and 3 brilliant CR/os.
Cheers Ian

Paul Braxton
3rd July 2013, 00:09
Hi Ian. You got there before me! I joined "Serenia"/GHLE in October '69 at Thameshaven after a trip via Stanford-le-Hope in the Essex marshes.

I well remember the Crusader. I spent most of my first day onboard sitting miserably at the console (I was dosed up with innoculations and jabs with a wash down of a couple of cans of beer which didn't go together too well.) I can still remember the blue light of the crystal oven indicator going on and off, hypnotically. We only had the Atalanta main RX, so at least I knew how to use that. No idea about the Crusader; we only had the Oceanspan 7 at college. Nice power output though. Astounding when it was working, though I soon learnt not to tune for a dip! We had lots of faults on it, ledex switching mainly, all of which was incomprehensible to me. My senior was too big and fat to get down to the deck level to check anything below waist level, so I had to do that part of any fault finding, with his help, of course.

You will no doubt remember the Hermes/Argus setup on the bridge? I had just come out of doing the BOT Radar course on none other, plus Raymark, so I was more than happy working on that, even though the large Argus (I think it had true motion?) was a bit of a pig at times. And all with only an AVO! I never had a 'scope in 12 and a half years at sea, though we were told to make and take with us a diode probe during one course I did. And it worked!

I have a few photo's of the "Serenia" still, including one or two of when we were involved with the fire and subsequent sinking of the brand new Dutch "Marpessa" VLCC off Dakar in '69. That was a baptism of fire (no pun intended) for me, having to handle all the radio traffic involved, both on MF and HF to GKA/PCH for curious media types plus lots and lots of private traffic to and fro. (We took the entire crew - minus a couple of Chinese crewmen who were killed in the initial explosion - off the ship and had to spend three days floating about waiting for a Smitloyd tug enroute from Holland which was going to try and salvage her. My senior took no part at all in all of this, except to do begrudging meal reliefs, which at the time I thought was pretty inexcusable, though it stood me in real good stead for the rest of my time at sea. The 'deep end' was cold and scary, but you sure learnt how to swim!

The poor old "Marpessa" sank after breaking her back, on the third day. I happened to be on watch in the radio room at the time, sitting there with the Dutch R/O on a fine afternoon just before tea. The 2/0, a great bloke (if you're reading this, Murray) came to the open doorway and laconically announced to the other R/O that "Your ship is sinking".

"You are crazy!", was the response, to which Murray just said:

"Suit yourself", and turned on his heel to go back to the bridge.

I had to unfortunately remain in the shack while the Dutch guy took off running, so I didn't see her go down. Apparently she suddenly reared up, her brand new and once proud bows well clear of the water, then went straight down to the bottom.

The number of films and photographs which were taken by other members of our ship's crew during those three days was amazing. I'd like to have a look at any of them if one of those guys are reading this. All I had was a little old Instamatic, with a tiny little square print of a far off ship.

It was nice having the Redifon VHF in the radio room, which helped with the short range comms at the beginning when all sorts of ships were standing by, waiting for instructions on whether or not their help was needed. I had to wing a lot of that, because there was very little info coming through from the bridge to help. They were all too busy standing around,, gawping.

Do you remember the hatchway through to the wheelhouse from the right hand side of the shack? I put my head and shoulders through that, shouting for some help, but nobody came. I was only 18, after all. It's sad, the way youngsters are sometimes ignored or at best, tolerated, especially when you're the youngest on the ship and know very little.

Never forget my time on the "Serenia", the wonderful Asian food, especially the Nasi Goreng at lunchtime on Tuesdays. I used to rush down that flying bridge to the saloon, timing the run to avoid getting soaked in heavy weather by flying spray. As I remember it, there were two or three steel 'shelters' spaced at intervals down that flying bridge. You had to run, or walk rapidly, since it was a no-no to actually run, to reach one of these in time to stay dry, though it didn't always work.

Our trips were Europe to West Africa, SBM's at Nigeria, with some interesting places to visit in Europe. All in all, a good experience and a lot of learning for me. I reckon that trip set me up for a future life at sea really well. Did you know that "Serenia" was on the cover of some boy's magazine at one time in the early '60's, I think? I recall seeing a photo of the cover somewhere once, on the 'net, probably. She was a fine ship alright, and the accommodation was pretty good.

Regards, Paul

Ian Beattie
3rd July 2013, 22:56
Hi Paul, I well remember the food on the Serenia with Chinese crew it was out of this world Sunday lunch sweet & sour pork that was after a beer of course. I was taught by Tony Pennington (Manchester I think) how H/F stations worked and how mostly only one guy on bandsearch/working shipping was on each band. Once you know how things work then you dont spend hours trying to raise stations (as he said simples). When I joined she had just been refitted with all this new gear Crusader Racal SSB receivers and a creed tape - we had to send six hourly ship reports to shell, engine room specs deck specs all via the tape. For our sins we had to monitor PCH Schevenigen DAN Nordeich GKA and Rogaland (norway) every hour for signal strength logging it for six months while running from PG to Singapore. I remember there being 2 shelters on the flying bridge but never needed to use them and in the Indian monsoon what the heck just go down in your cossie and towel down and change into uniform once you get aft. We had a very large Scalextric layout in one of the fivers spare cabins aft and use to hold race night and other lunatic things. I remember the C/E who was ex navy being a triffle blitzed and walking straight through the glass door in the bar totally smashing it and being completely unaware of what he had done. I remember the CR/o's berth was behind the shack and I was berthed two decks down between the 2/O and 3/0, massive cabin but nothing in it. I was not allowed to go up the internal stairway to the shack as the Old Man frowned on junior ratings so it was up the out door ladder for me and be sharp about it. He (OM) never managed to get any phone calls home that lasted more than a few minutes - wonder how that could possibly happen, static, sun spot activity , moon dust all wonderful alibis. One abiding memory is sitting in a cafe in Pulau Bukom which was just above the water and having Nasi Goreng with two soft boiled eggs on top for Sunday brekky - Oh Joy !
By the way a really good reference for any Shell vessels is Helderline.nl , it has lots of photographs and ships info -- just a thought. Yes she was a mighty fine ship and thats for sure.
Cheers Ian

LucyKnight
4th July 2013, 18:44
Hi Ian. You got there before me! I joined "Serenia"/GHLE in October '69 at Thameshaven after a trip via Stanford-le-Hope in the Essex marshes.

I well remember the Crusader. I spent most of my first day onboard sitting miserably at the console (I was dosed up with innoculations and jabs with a wash down of a couple of cans of beer which didn't go together too well.) I can still remember the blue light of the crystal oven indicator going on and off, hypnotically. We only had the Atalanta main RX, so at least I knew how to use that. No idea about the Crusader; we only had the Oceanspan 7 at college. Nice power output though. Astounding when it was working, though I soon learnt not to tune for a dip! We had lots of faults on it, ledex switching mainly, all of which was incomprehensible to me. My senior was too big and fat to get down to the deck level to check anything below waist level, so I had to do that part of any fault finding, with his help, of course.

You will no doubt remember the Hermes/Argus setup on the bridge? I had just come out of doing the BOT Radar course on none other, plus Raymark, so I was more than happy working on that, even though the large Argus (I think it had true motion?) was a bit of a pig at times. And all with only an AVO! I never had a 'scope in 12 and a half years at sea, though we were told to make and take with us a diode probe during one course I did. And it worked!

I have a few photo's of the "Serenia" still, including one or two of when we were involved with the fire and subsequent sinking of the brand new Dutch "Marpessa" VLCC off Dakar in '69. That was a baptism of fire (no pun intended) for me, having to handle all the radio traffic involved, both on MF and HF to GKA/PCH for curious media types plus lots and lots of private traffic to and fro. (We took the entire crew - minus a couple of Chinese crewmen who were killed in the initial explosion - off the ship and had to spend three days floating about waiting for a Smitloyd tug enroute from Holland which was going to try and salvage her. My senior took no part at all in all of this, except to do begrudging meal reliefs, which at the time I thought was pretty inexcusable, though it stood me in real good stead for the rest of my time at sea. The 'deep end' was cold and scary, but you sure learnt how to swim!

The poor old "Marpessa" sank after breaking her back, on the third day. I happened to be on watch in the radio room at the time, sitting there with the Dutch R/O on a fine afternoon just before tea. The 2/0, a great bloke (if you're reading this, Murray) came to the open doorway and laconically announced to the other R/O that "Your ship is sinking".

"You are crazy!", was the response, to which Murray just said:

"Suit yourself", and turned on his heel to go back to the bridge.

I had to unfortunately remain in the shack while the Dutch guy took off running, so I didn't see her go down. Apparently she suddenly reared up, her brand new and once proud bows well clear of the water, then went straight down to the bottom.

The number of films and photographs which were taken by other members of our ship's crew during those three days was amazing. I'd like to have a look at any of them if one of those guys are reading this. All I had was a little old Instamatic, with a tiny little square print of a far off ship.

It was nice having the Redifon VHF in the radio room, which helped with the short range comms at the beginning when all sorts of ships were standing by, waiting for instructions on whether or not their help was needed. I had to wing a lot of that, because there was very little info coming through from the bridge to help. They were all too busy standing around,, gawping.

Do you remember the hatchway through to the wheelhouse from the right hand side of the shack? I put my head and shoulders through that, shouting for some help, but nobody came. I was only 18, after all. It's sad, the way youngsters are sometimes ignored or at best, tolerated, especially when you're the youngest on the ship and know very little.

Never forget my time on the "Serenia", the wonderful Asian food, especially the Nasi Goreng at lunchtime on Tuesdays. I used to rush down that flying bridge to the saloon, timing the run to avoid getting soaked in heavy weather by flying spray. As I remember it, there were two or three steel 'shelters' spaced at intervals down that flying bridge. You had to run, or walk rapidly, since it was a no-no to actually run, to reach one of these in time to stay dry, though it didn't always work.

Our trips were Europe to West Africa, SBM's at Nigeria, with some interesting places to visit in Europe. All in all, a good experience and a lot of learning for me. I reckon that trip set me up for a future life at sea really well. Did you know that "Serenia" was on the cover of some boy's magazine at one time in the early '60's, I think? I recall seeing a photo of the cover somewhere once, on the 'net, probably. She was a fine ship alright, and the accommodation was pretty good.

Regards, Paul

There are few photos of the Marpessa(2) sinking on the Shell Helderline site and a list of those who have registered as serving on her.

Ian Beattie
4th July 2013, 21:40
Now you come to mention it I do remember the Hermes/Argus set up The boss touched the wrong HT lead BOOM right across the the room - I remember there was always a problem with one of the resistors burning out - which stood me in good stead on the Mountbank (bulker Denholms) Pacific crossings with coal to Japan. I would assume (wrong word) ass of u and me that the monopole aerials that were physically separated on the samson posts were long gone by the time you arrived all tweaked via the dreaded leadex switching gear ?? The Boss was an Araldite fan - I swear he could have made a living from designing toys with the Bl*****g stuff. It was hard enough with some of the MIMCo gear but with AEI, IMMR and no handbooks you begin to wonder how you got the shack to function. An old engineering/electronics saying was only 2 tools in the bag a Bl***y great hammer or a condom - ALL
TOGETHER NOW if you can't fix it F**** it. Here endith the lesson,
Cheers Ian

Paul Braxton
5th July 2013, 00:42
Thanks for that, Lucy. I checked out the Helder site and found the photo's you mentioned. On the second to last one you can see the front end of the "Serenia". It was incredibly sad to see such a proud vessel in such a state. One thing I'll never forget.
Cheers, Paul

Paul Braxton
5th July 2013, 00:47
Hi again, Ian. Don't remember the monopole aerials you refer to, but it was a long time ago now. I've got some photo's of various parts of the ship stashed away somewhere, so I'll dig them out and have a look for these aerials sometime.
The radar was funtime. We were all put in the picture at College about how dangerous various parts of the display unit were on the Hermes. The timebase o/p bottles, I think 3 EL36 valves were the ones to watch if I remember rightly. Your boss survive that one O.K.? Or was he laid up for a while?
Paul

Peter Eccleson
5th July 2013, 01:13
Joined IMRC April 1971 fresh out of Riversdale Liverpool with a new MRGC. Two weeks later flew to Lisbon to join Shell Tanker MITRA/GYYW with good R/O called John Ellis (?). Left her three months later in Methil and joined Geestbay in Barry.
Don't remember the first few days on her cos I was seasick all the way to the Azores. R/O was a regular Geest IMR guy called Bruce Geale.
Did full six months as Junior and first trip on my own on the Columbia Star/GOTD out of Seaforth.
Happy days!

J. Davies
5th July 2013, 09:07
Got my MRGC in 1979 at Brunel Tech. There were no jobs on British ships but I was offered a junior R/O position with Unicorn Lines South Africa for peanuts. I did 2 months on the coastal tanker "Buffalo" with a great chief R/O whose name escapes me. The vessel itself was very unfriendly apart from him. Then they put me on my own on a lovely old general cargo ship "Frontier" doing the South African coast, across the south Atlantic, then weeks on the South American coast and back across to start all over again. I was Chief R/O after only three months total sea-time, when they put Graham Bingley on with me as junior R/O. Blind leading the blind. Totally Mickey Mouse company but great fun. I left them to join Swire a year later....

Graham P Powell
5th July 2013, 09:48
Hi Peter, I worked with Bruce Geale at GKA. He's still around though I think the last time I saw him was about two years ago. He always seemed to turn up for work in flash sports cars.rgds
Graham Powell

hawkey01
5th July 2013, 16:39
Graham,

he is still around and fine. Saw him a few weeks back at Graham Haversons funeral.

Neville

Ian Beattie
5th July 2013, 18:15
Hi Paul, yep Tony seemed to be impervious to any type of electrical blast but I do remember him disappearing to the bar at a rate of knots for a large one or two to stop the hands shaking. I know we put in more copper bands in the shack as on 16MHz or above the 24v lamp flickered away and if you held on to any metal bits, like the handles on the Atalanta you got a belt or burn. I imagine if you were not doing any ship data transfer to Head office via the creed machine then knowing MIMCo the gear would have been removed. All the endless phasing signals to GKA and half way through it would drop out - ho hum - start again. ry's and the quick red fox etc - didn't know squat about 5 level tape reading - but you soon learn. Still remember bits even now but I wouldn't like to read the tape again give me the old morse any day.
Cheers Ian

Varley
5th July 2013, 20:59
Hi Paul,... 24v lamp flickered away and if you held on to any metal bits, like the handles on the Atalanta you got a belt or burn
Cheers Ian

Ian, I haven't studied the whole thread but did you have a n]mast radiator or particularly short wire aerial?

Poor bonding isn't the only cause of shocking. I managed to roast the headband of my headphones when tuning/coupling (or trying to) with no aerial connected.

A mast radiator often had an inductor half way up. Open circuit after (assumed) electric storms quiet common thereafter tuned fine on HF but not MF - tuning not quite the same as radiating!

Ian Beattie
6th July 2013, 23:47
Varley , I'm sure we had a rather superior wire aerial the dipoles I was refering to as (BL****G) junior and to be honest not in the loop were to do with Shell trying to take over the running of the vessel from head office. Luckily Tony was happy swing on a bosuns seat trying to ensure the aforesaid were not earthing. Prior to the Crusader we NT201 (might have the number wrong) but had similar on the weather boats - super lucky about these army TX's an absolute sod to tune to whip aerials. I was quite lucky/unlucky to sail on something that had all this out off sight kit - I never saw anything similar TX wise for 6 years -- but I still love the Oceanspan -- made you a proper op
and sod the Russiian trawlers with 3KW going up the spout. Did trials on the Onegski a dredger 2 radio rooms- fully equiped and with would you believe a dredger needed 2main TX's with 4 KW up the spout ???? totally flummoxed Best Wishes
Cheers Ian

R651400
7th July 2013, 07:51
A slight aside to the nub of this thread. Likewise I loved the Oceanspan though after college I only met it briefly coasting and on my last Bluey.
3Kw is all very well but where some but not all transmitters falter is in the keying design and shaping circuit..
The Mimco Mk1 Oceanspan on MF keyed the entire valve line up oscillator thru to pa and with only approx 100w output if you were lucky could cut thru QRN like a knife thru butter. Similarly the Mimco Reliance MF emergency Tx.

Ian Beattie
7th July 2013, 12:56
I remember reading an article that if you had your receiving aerials geographically separated then theoretically when one was phasing out the other should be phasing in and eh ! voila !! no signal outage. I think this was the concept that the Serenia was trying. It did have a reasonable success rate. The Tx aerial was a permanent fixture as norm on tankers and I think was Cad/Bronze T configuration and the Atalanta was just a wire as normal too. Before sorting out the snag with poor earthing you could use the 24v bulb as a tuning aid max glow spot on tune. Luckily I never came across Varley problem of roasted headset which I imaine would be rather painful to say the least.
Cheers Ian

Varley
7th July 2013, 14:25
... I'm sure we had a rather superior wire aerial the dipoles I was refering ...... Did trials on the Onegski a dredger 2 radio rooms- fully equiped and with would you believe a dredger needed 2main TX's with 4 KW up the spout ???? totally flummoxed Best Wishes
Cheers Ian

Ian, I took one of two Russian built vessels we had 'won' into management. What strange beasts indeed - no wonder Russian seamen can tackle anything. 'Anything' must be fairly routine.

She had three radio rooms. 'The' radio room looked very modern - perhaps a bit overly provided with control knobs and switches but the console was about the same size as MIMCO's with the exception that the emergency set was was in a smaller console of its own at the other end of the (very large and otherwise empty) space . The 'main' console was an illusion and really consisted of one centralised remote control for the plant proper. The transmitters were in a smaller room packed to the gunwales with kit built brick lavatory style. A room at the other end had two massive teleprinter machines and receivers. Only the emergency console actually had a receiver and transmitter present. Some of the remote control was fairly primitive using uniselectors and telephone dials to select VHF channels for instance (unfair perhaps - not much more primitive than the infamous Ledex).

One thing I though a very good idea was that the autokey had a remote box on the bridge into which the bridge watch fed the position every so often in the watch so that a useful position was always ready for automatic transmission.

As for Russian "Halon" - two different (both ozone killers) fluids were needed. One being itself flammable unless suppressed by the other. As it was also highly carcinogenic there didn't seem much advantage over CO2.

There were four radars on the bridge two 'ARPA' raster scan. One rotating field coil display and one Bulgarian ARPA. There was also an integrated navigational system, the computer for which was the size of two four drawer filing cabinets and had never operated despite there having been a five man warranty team until recently before.

No hammering of pins to release the bitter end - each cable was provided with a handwheel operated hook to really make a quick get away.

However. Your dredger. Perhaps she dredged in interesting waters?

Ian Beattie
7th July 2013, 22:19
Varley I am wracking the very dead grey cells about the Onegski (not the proper spelling) but it was built on one of the north side of the Clyde shipyards near the city and along with two sister ships - they were suction dredgers - the Onegski sank in the fitting out basin - Russian fingers making her suck and she did right to the bottom. I also noticed that the switching for band changes on the Tx and Rx were hard going - I saw one of their ops doing it - Holy Cow - seriously not genteel - I would give the Atalanta about a day before it would have been in shreds. I believe the dredgers were destined for Murmansk or perhaps Archangelski, but as we know the Russians can be a trifle devious as to where they would in reality operate. The accomodation was pretty good - but the day bed in the 1st shack spun over into a bunk = curiouser and curiouser and telex gear to boot - only went on the bridge to use the VHF kit also one of two lots of built in obsolescence or fail safe - which ever way you look at it. An insight
Cheers Ian

Varley
7th July 2013, 22:36
Ian, If I remember correctly the VLCC ANT which we had was built for Russian interests in the UK. Can't remember anything loopy about her build or outfit (just her condition when she entered management!).

Ian Beattie
8th July 2013, 16:37
Varley these were top notch suction dredgers proper Clyde built, I think it was around the time when orders were becoming scarce and the Russian method of payment could be a little strange like oil, or gas nothing in the cash stakes. But, hey it kept the work force in employment. All the radio gear was shipped to the UK from Russia and fitted by Glasgow MIMCo bods. They had to get a translation from Glasgow university so that they could build the shack from scratch. the grey cell says one might have been Severodvinski, but it is a long time ago, but I thought then and still do now that everything was doubled up so you should never have any problems and a great idea - if a trifle expensive.
Cheers Ian

Peter Eccleson
10th July 2013, 00:57
Hi Peter, I worked with Bruce Geale at GKA. He's still around though I think the last time I saw him was about two years ago. He always seemed to turn up for work in flash sports cars.rgds
Graham Powell

Bruce was always a bit of a poser! Liked he parties in the W Indies on the Geest boats ..... Remember Rod Stewarts 'Maggie May' was our theme tune for hat trip. Happy days.....

trotterdotpom
10th July 2013, 01:21
Bruce was always a bit of a poser! Liked he parties in the W Indies on the Geest boats ..... Remember Rod Stewarts 'Maggie May' was our theme tune for hat trip. Happy days.....

It was on Geest Star when I was there, Peter - mainly due to an ex RN 3rd Mate who was there. A funny bloke who's name escapes me.

John T

Moulder
10th July 2013, 09:29
It was on Geest Star when I was there, Peter - mainly due to an ex RN 3rd Mate who was there. A funny bloke who's name escapes me.

John T

I know this is a real long shot John T - but, would that ex RN 3rd Mate have been called Joe Minay (spelling) by any chance?

Steve.

(Thumb)

trotterdotpom
10th July 2013, 10:57
Sorry Steve, can't remember. He was about 30 (in the late '70s) and I think he lived in Somerset somewhere. A bit of a comedian who loved Rod Stewart .... Especially Maggie May.

John T

Ian Beattie
10th July 2013, 16:49
Hi steve I haven't been ignoring you its I still have not fathomed out the e-mail regime yet - not had a shuffi - so apologies. Varley I did a little dredging myself and the Russian dredgers were built at Alexander Stephens Linthouse both the Severodvinski and Onezhskiy in 1965 and the Arabatski in 1966 all were 1972 grt the Seve.. was trailing suction dredger for Archangel Onezh... suction dredger for Northern Shipping Co Murmansk and the Ara... was a trailing suction dredger for Odessa, they are all probably razor blades now - such is life
Cheers Ian

Moulder
10th July 2013, 18:29
Sorry Steve, can't remember. He was about 30 (in the late '70s) and I think he lived in Somerset somewhere. A bit of a comedian who loved Rod Stewart .... Especially Maggie May.

John T

Very well spoken?

Steve.

(Thumb)

Moulder
10th July 2013, 18:30
Hi steve I haven't been ignoring you its I still have not fathomed out the e-mail regime yet - not had a shuffi - so apologies. Varley I did a little dredging myself and the Russian dredgers were built at Alexander Stephens Linthouse both the Severodvinski and Onezhskiy in 1965 and the Arabatski in 1966 all were 1972 grt the Seve.. was trailing suction dredger for Archangel Onezh... suction dredger for Northern Shipping Co Murmansk and the Ara... was a trailing suction dredger for Odessa, they are all probably razor blades now - such is life
Cheers Ian

No probs Ian - QSX

(Thumb)

Varley
10th July 2013, 20:52
Hi steve I haven't been ignoring you its I still have not fathomed out the e-mail regime yet - not had a shuffi - so apologies. Varley I did a little dredging myself and the Russian dredgers were built at Alexander Stephens Linthouse both the Severodvinski and Onezhskiy in 1965 and the Arabatski in 1966 all were 1972 grt the Seve.. was trailing suction dredger for Archangel Onezh... suction dredger for Northern Shipping Co Murmansk and the Ara... was a trailing suction dredger for Odessa, they are all probably razor blades now - such is life
Cheers Ian

Ian, Doesn't sound very profitable sites for espionage so I guess it was just overkill although I have no idea how reliable the kit was. David V

trotterdotpom
10th July 2013, 22:41
Very well spoken?

Steve.

(Thumb)

I think so but not over the top. He also had a very attractive wife who turned up in Barry.

John T

Moulder
11th July 2013, 00:53
I think so but not over the top. He also had a very attractive wife who turned up in Barry.

John T

Ah not who I thought it was then - it was a very long shot.

Cheers.

(Thumb)

trotterdotpom
11th July 2013, 02:18
Ah not who I thought it was then - it was a very long shot.

Cheers.

(Thumb)

No worries. Rod casts a wide shadow. Geest were a great company regardless.

John T

Graham P Powell
11th July 2013, 09:37
I know a chap in Weston Super Mare called David Buckingham who was a mate with Geest. Very keen model maker who had this enormous model railway. The next room was full of model boats.
rgds
Graham Powell(Thumb)

Varley
11th July 2013, 10:02
I know a chap in Weston Super Mare called David Buckingham who was a mate with Geest. Very keen model maker who had this enormous model railway. The next room was full of model boats.
rgds
Graham Powell(Thumb)

Has he a wife from which to gain support for his worthy endeavours?

Peter Eccleson
16th July 2013, 01:37
No worries. Rod casts a wide shadow. Geest were a great company regardless.

John T

Agreed, only did one trip but visited many times in W.Indies when on Cunard ships. Great looking ships too..... But remember how sick I got when we left Barry straight out into a force 8.

Varley
16th July 2013, 10:49
A banana thing, Peter. First trip VLCC 250K. Second trip (still a month short and holding dispensation) Tilapa 5K. Sailed from Naples and felt distinctly queasy after passing Gibraltar. However that was the last time the sea put me off the groceries (as the figure tells). David

Ian Beattie
16th July 2013, 17:41
I must be one of the more fortunate souls as I have never been seasick even on Donaldson Blacks Santona 1700grt on the Glasgow sometimes Avonmouth to Canada run when I saw the tonnage in MIMcos office I thought it was a coaster - WRONG - although there were some really rough Atlantic crossings, which laid low sailors with mega sea time, it luckily passed me by. By heavens she didn't half judder in heavy seas and the governors on the Polar engine going flat out to stop us taking off on the crest of the next big greenie, a sturdy wee boat, which is just as well. Happy days as there was always seconds.
Cheers Ian

Peter Eccleson
21st July 2013, 00:49
A banana thing, Peter. First trip VLCC 250K. Second trip (still a month short and holding dispensation) Tilapa 5K. Sailed from Naples and felt distinctly queasy after passing Gibraltar. However that was the last time the sea put me off the groceries (as the figure tells). David
Dave
That's probably the worst I ever got! Occasionally felt 'crock' during my 10 years ..... but that trip took the biscuit! Geest ships were built like frigates. When Cunard bought a fleet of fruit ships, I avoided them like the plague.

Ron Stringer
21st July 2013, 11:01
Size doesn't seem too important when it comes to being comfortable in heavy weather. My first trip 'solo' was in Constantine's 'Lochwood', which although only 1,689 grt, carried 12 passengers from UK West Coast ports, across the Bay and around the Western Mediterranean on roughly 6-week trips. She was fine in whatever weather and no one aboard, including the passengers (mainly elderly - who else had the time to go off for 6 weeks?), ever complained of sea-sickness.

Must say that on a 63,000 dwt tanker we were hardly aware of the weather except that, loaded, when it was rough it meant that going down aft for meals involved transiting vertical iron ladders and a smelly, hot and dirty tunnel. In our pristine 'whites' as well! Oh, the hardships we endured.

George McCaffery
2nd August 2013, 04:29
Left South Shields Marine college with PMG2 in 1968 and Joined the Chicanoa and Elders and Ffyffes banana boat on the Tyne. The R/O was a great guy called Maurice Meehan still going strong in Belfast. I did 4 months on the US/ central America coast then paid off in southampton and finished off my 6 months on the Golfito another banana/Passenger vessel the Chief R/O was a guy called George Sutherland and the 2nd R/O was Richard Waring? I sailed on a few cargo vessels for a while before doing a few trips on the Andes with Chief R/O Johnny Hands a most likeable man, 2R/O was willie Nichol myself as 3R/O and a 4R/O whose name escapes me but i am sure he was called billy and he was from the Glasgow area. I had some great years at sea and met with some great people and still have friends from those days.

Hugh Wilson
2nd August 2013, 06:39
'4R/O whose name escapes me but i am sure he was called billy and he was from the Glasgow area.'

C. U. Billy perhaps??

bluemoon
2nd August 2013, 16:03
I thought that was C U Jimmy

George McCaffery
4th August 2013, 18:34
No it was Billy from Paisley, Or did he have a Paisley tie.

johnball59
14th August 2013, 18:30
Hi
I Joined Marconi in late 1974 with the MRGC no 1st and 2nd class it had recently been abolished. My 1st trip was on an old iron carrier called the Gothland abt 16k grt from Glasgow to Lulea I hated every minute of it LOL, she regularly performed 35 degree rolls I lasted 2 months before my senior R/O got Marconi to get me off. We had an old ocean span 7 (lightbulb) transmitters I called them because I had done my training on the 1000W Crusader. I have to admit my morse receicing was pretty shocking in those 2 months. Next trip as baby sparks did 4 months on the Bencruachan now I really started to enjoy my career at sea did a shed load of far east ports, luckily my morse improved to the 20 word a minute mark and we had a crusader i was in hogs heaven. If I had not been taken I would not have continued until 1991. My 1st trip on my own was on the Teakbank but was promised a year at least but they sold her after 2 months. Had an Ocean span 4 sames as 7 I think but no telephony. but had 2 good months on there. I did a variety of deep sea ships then did about 2 years coasting heavy lift ferries etc. Did the Electronics cert, became ane ERO left Marconi in abt 1985 went foreign flag and ended my career on BP tankers workig for Wallem ship managemet as what was called Electro technical Officer based mainly in the engine room with a watchkeeping system to look after the 500 KC watchkeeping

Ian Beattie
14th August 2013, 22:33
Johnball59 I belled you on another thread - the amount of dosh you were making compared to the rest of us poor bods was incredible at sea - should have joined GCHQ
Cheers Ian

sparksatsea
7th January 2014, 00:28
Joined Ocean Bridge / GYKA - Port Talbot in March 1975. Sailed for Tubarao Brasil for a double round trip to Bremen Germany with iron ore.
Main tx failed on sailing Port Talbot, only reserve tx for the next six weeks, reliant on QSP luckily Wiltshire/GYKA was close by for a couple of weeks. After Bremen then Pepple, up river from Freetown Sierra Leone, for iron ore to Japan, 44 days at sea. The senior R/O became the pool attendant and I ended up doing all the watches. Prior to arriving discharge port in Japan cable from Bibby's asking if I would stay on to complete my six months, agreed. After Japan then Persian Gulf to load oil for Curacao where I was repatriated. Fantastic time, thankfully though my one and only trip on an OBO

endure
7th January 2014, 01:50
Joined British Progress/GRUU at Ras Al Khaimah in 1975. Did a 58 day trip up to Wilhelmshaven with an RO who buggered up the auxiliary TX. He 'left' the ship and I did two more round turns with a guy who signed up to go to sea in 1939 as a 16 year old and could bang out morse on a straight key all day long, get pissed every night and turn up in the shack to do it all over again. When he sent in his report on me he called me 'impetuous' (*))

Troppo
7th January 2014, 03:19
Main tx failed on sailing Port Talbot, only reserve tx for the next six weeks, reliant on QSP luckily Wiltshire/GYKA was close by for a couple of weeks. O

The Wiltshire was GYKD - I sailed in her when the Aussies bought her (she was VJEK by then). I remember the old UK callsign - Get Your Knickers Down...

:-)

sparksatsea
7th January 2014, 14:11
OOOPs - sorry Troppo a bit of a typo error there, yes Wiltshire call sign was indeed GYKD - I sailed on her a few years later.

I remember the Aussies trained on the mighty LPG Staffordshire / GYOD, only to hire the WIltshire on bare boat charter for four years. I bet that was a let down!!

73's

Geoff

sparky1
7th January 2014, 20:37
Hi Dave, I was also Jnr on Bendearg, July 72, 3 months out to the East and back, then onto Booth Line's Cuthbert. Enjoyed my time with Ben Line, but as with Marconi, you went where you were sent!!

Troppo
8th January 2014, 12:33
OOOPs - sorry Troppo a bit of a typo error there, yes Wiltshire call sign was indeed GYKD - I sailed on her a few years later.

I remember the Aussies trained on the mighty LPG Staffordshire / GYOD, only to hire the WIltshire on bare boat charter for four years. I bet that was a let down!!

73's

Geoff

Ha! What a heap of **** she was! I felt sorry for the engineers...bits kept breaking off.

But she was a happy ship, as many old junk heaps were.

I was permanent on her for 8 years. The Crusader main tx was dry joint city....awful. I must have spent what seemed like months with my head inside that bastard...

We eventually replaced the radio room gear with some later generation marconi gear from another ship - Conqueror HS, Apollo, Salvor 3, Lifeguard N.

She had an Inmarsat A - 99.9% of the traffic was tx and rx on that.

All the accommodation was modernised during the conversion to Aussie flag - my cabin was the old pilot's cabin, just across the alleyway from the radio room. Much better than the original location.

Myself and my oppo transferred to the replacement brand new LPG tanker Kelvin/VNGH in 89. I stood by her at the shipyard in Japan and was the commissioning R/O. A lovely ship, spoilt (to a certain extent) by the radio room gear...an STC Senator station. If she had a Skanti station, she would have been perfect...(Thumb)

She was my last ship - a nice way to finish a seagoing career.

trotterdotpom
8th January 2014, 13:39
8 years Botany to Westernport! No wonder you went ..... Troppo. Horses for courses I suppose.

John T

Troppo
9th January 2014, 02:47
9 actually...7 in VJEK, 2 in VNGH...

Highest paying ship on the coast, home every week for 2 nights....6 weeks on, 6 weeks off...

(Thumb)

Mind you, I did know every rock and seagull from Botany to Westernport....

Ian Beattie
9th January 2014, 16:28
# Troppo who can fault you !!! lubbly jubbly number that - all these berths were dead mens shoes - Lucky so in so

_________________

useeimbutunoseeim Bass

Syncopator
20th March 2014, 19:07
Studied at Brookes Bar in 57 on a Marconi scholarship, getting my 2nd class ticket early 58.
First trip as Extra R.O. ( I have never come across the title Junior R.O. ) on Strick's Nigaristan. Up the gulf and back. Six weeks in Valetta with boiler trouble. What an eye opener Straight Street was.
Was then despatched from one of Marconi's offices, forget which one, to a tramp steamer, ostensibly to be R.O. The Old Man said I was too young and sent me back.
I was then sent as 2nd R.O. on Shaw Savill's Athenic. New Zeland and back.
Next trip, R.O. on Turnbull Scott's Sungate, permanently seconded to Saguenay. 13 months out of U.K. Caribbean, St. Lawrence, Lakes, canal, Vancouver, Kittimat. Then repeated that 3 (or 4?) times.
Final trip with Marconi as Chief R.O. on Shell's Zenatia. Gulf and back.
A bit later, 68 and 67, did 18months on the R.M.S. Darwin out of Stanley in the Falklands. Round the islands, monthly to Montevideo, and one trip to South Georgia

hawkey01
21st March 2014, 12:11
Syncopator,

On behalf of the Moderating team welcome to SN. Enjoy all we have to offer. You found the right home here in the Radio Room.

Hawkey01.

Syncopator
21st March 2014, 12:34
Syncopator,

On behalf of the Moderating team welcome to SN. Enjoy all we have to offer. You found the right home here in the Radio Room.

Hawkey01.

Thank you Hawkey01.

I've seen some fascinating posts here, still reading 'em.

Syncopator
21st March 2014, 13:38
vis--vis Brooke's Bar.

Apart from Mr. Tomlinson, a senior instructor who was always wore his, I saw only one other person in uniform. One of my fellow students.

I remember seeing it only once, perhaps due to the following incident.

It was normal for most of us to congregate in the front classroom before lessons started. One day someone saw this uniformed student approaching the college. The window was opened and half a dozen or so of the assembled company hung out of the window singing "All the nice girls love a sailor".

Although the humour was not lost on me I couldn't help thinking that assuming most of the choir passed the course and got their ticket, it was reasonable to also think that they would inevitably find themselves dressed in like manner.

ex ro
21st March 2014, 21:33
Studied at Brookes Bar in 57 on a Marconi scholarship, getting my 2nd class ticket early 58.
First trip as Extra R.O. ( I have never come across the title Junior R.O. ) on Strick's Nigaristan. Up the gulf and back. Six weeks in Valetta with boiler trouble. What an eye opener Straight Street was.
Was then despatched from one of Marconi's offices, forget which one, to a tramp steamer, ostensibly to be R.O. The Old Man said I was too young and sent me back.
I was then sent as 2nd R.O. on Shaw Savill's Athenic. New Zeland and back.
Next trip, R.O. on Turnbull Scott's Sungate, permanently seconded to Saguenay. 13 months out of U.K. Caribbean, St. Lawrence, Lakes, canal, Vancouver, Kittimat. Then repeated that 3 (or 4?) times.
Final trip with Marconi as Chief R.O. on Shell's Zenatia. Gulf and back.
A bit later, 68 and 67, did 18months on the R.M.S. Darwin out of Stanley in the Falklands. Round the islands, monthly to Montevideo, and one trip to South Georgia

When I was on the Gorjistan/ GHQC built 63, the title on the cabin door was 1st W/T Operator and 2nd W/T Operator must have been relics left in the shipyard from the early days of carrying an R/O

Ron Stringer
22nd March 2014, 01:03
vis--vis Brooke's Bar.

Apart from Mr. Tomlinson, a senior instructor who was always wore his, I saw only one other person in uniform.

When I went there at the end of August 1958, Tomlinson had moved to run the Wray Castle operation in the Lake District, leaving his partner Woods to run Brooks Bar. I was there for 3 terms (with a 6-month gap for medical reasons) getting my 2nd Class PMG in November '59.

Since then I have met only 3 people that went to Brooks Bar, despite being at sea for 6 years and remaining involved with Marconi Marine for 42 years. Where did they all go?

sparky1
10th May 2014, 17:15
all sounds very familiar, Feb 72 Left Fleetwood joined Marconi, I also was based in Liverpool, sent to East Ham joined Bendearg. Hamburg far east and back in 13 weeks, Ray Burn as senior rings a bell. After 3 days leave was sent to New York to join the Cuthbert (Booth line) for 14 months. Wouldn't give a day back. Stephenson Clarke after that

bfraser47
2nd June 2014, 13:21
Ah, memories ! I went to James Watt college in Greenock, PMG 2 and BOT radar. First trip was BP Tanker British Captain/GQME. Light ship thru Biscay on an all-aft tanker was NOT fun, first foreign port Kharg Island (EPY8 ??) then back to Isle of Grain, my first run ashore. Think this first trip soured my view of tankers
Favorite ship was Glen Lines Glenogle/GJKH, did two years there, three month round trips to the far east vis ZSC (Suez closed) then a month off whilst she costed. Sheer bliss.
Also did a stint at GKB... that was interesting... and a year or so with a German company, Egon Oldendorff... great fun copying news broadcasts from DAN straight onto a typewriter without understanding the language. Used to produce great Germanic shouts of glee when I pinned the sheet up on the noticeboard.
Im new to the forum so forgive me if Ive waffled on a bit.
73s