Captain(Commodore) Alan Davies

gadgee
29th July 2008, 17:40
During the course of my job today I was introduced to Captain(Commodore) Alan Davies who informed me that he retired from BP in about 1978. I never met nor heard of him during my 5 years with BP(66 - 71) but just in case anyone remembers him, he is in moderate health and lives in rural Northumberland. He was Commodore on British Respect at the 1977 Spithead Review. He is now 86 years old.

JamesM
30th July 2008, 12:43
gadgee,
You had a lucky escape!! I sailed with him on the Respect when I was doing my steam-time. He was a "pompass ass", and coupled with the fact that the C/E was "Tadger" Smith who was also full of his own, supposed importance, the atmosphere on board was awful. One of the worst I ever sailed on.
JamesM

BlythSpirit
30th July 2008, 15:26
James, with all due respect, we all sailed with people who we would not have chosen to step ashore with for a pint, but maybe SN is not the place to be insulting people from decades ago.
I personaly harboured a grievance with a Shell 2/E who made my life a misery when I was an apprentice, and would have cheerfully run the B*****d over if I got the chance on the road, but life moves on. It is funny how the a***holes stick in your mind after so many years.(Thumb)

JamesM
30th July 2008, 17:24
BlythSpirit,
Don't want to start a slanging match, but was my "pompas ass", etc., any worse than your B*****d, etc.
Those two men, between them, created an atmosphere on that vessel that I have never, before or after, experienced on any other vessel.And that is not just my opinion, most of the Officers felt the same and could not wait to get off.
It was summed up quite succinctly by Michael Brunson of ITN News, who was onboard with a camera crew, doing a piece on large tankers in coastal waters,
when he described the way people were being treated as like a "floating boys boarding school".
JamesM

linglis
30th July 2008, 21:27
During the course of my job today I was introduced to Captain(Commodore) Alan Davies who informed me that he retired from BP in about 1978. I never met nor heard of him during my 5 years with BP(66 - 71) but just in case anyone remembers him, he is in moderate health and lives in rural Northumberland. He was Commodore on British Respect at the 1977 Spithead Review.

I sailed with Captain Davies, he had his own toolbag, he could be found almost anywhere swinging in a Bosuns chair.
I was CPO, he always wore Flip-flops around the deck, so the deck crew started doing the same. I tried to get it stopped, he wouldn't hear of it, luckily no one lost any toes.

gadgee
30th July 2008, 21:39
I appear to have rekindled mixed memories here. I sailed with Commodore Ronnie Friendship on British Argosy in 1968. I only remember him as a pleasant mild-mannered gentleman. Undoubtedly others may differ?(Ouch)

BlythSpirit
31st July 2008, 06:06
Don't want to start a slanging match, but was my "pompas ass", etc., any worse than your B*****d, etc.


My point exactly -maybe they were not different, but you identified on SN who you thought ill of - I haven't.

Bill Davies
31st July 2008, 07:57
Just a small aside. Do these senior shipmasters who you refer to as Commodore actually called Commodore. For all the criticism BF gets they never used the title. I have always understood Commodore to be a loose recognition of the Senior Master. As an example in my BF days a certain Capt McDavid was the senior Master and was appointed to the Senior ship 'Peleus' (the Christmas Ship).
Strangely enough all the senior people of all disciplines were in that ship. The senior Ch.Eng, Bosun etc they were all there.

JamesM
31st July 2008, 09:22
My point exactly -maybe they were not different, but you identified on SN who you thought ill of - I haven't.

So are you saying that we can name and praise,--- but not name and critise? Seems a bit unbalanced to me.
JamesM

Bill Davies
31st July 2008, 09:27
JamesM,

What can criticing possibly achieve. The men in most cases cannot defend themselves. Who was it who said 'If you can't say anything good don't say anything at all'. I wish I followed that principle myself throughout my life.

Brgds

Bill

JamesM
31st July 2008, 09:51
JamesM,

What can criticing possibly achieve. The men in most cases cannot defend themselves. Who was it who said 'If you can't say anything good don't say anything at all'. I wish I followed that principle myself throughout my life.

Brgds

Bill

Bill,
Perhaps critise was the wrong word to use, but surely everyone has the right to pass comment as they see fit.
I'm sure that I am not the only one who has voiced their thoughts on people with whom they have sailed or come into contact.(see post by Ryder, 2nd July 2008 as one example.)
JamesM
For your information, the two "gentlemen" in question had such a bad effect on moral that the 4/E actually left the company because of it. Now it that's not fit for comment, I don't know what is!

twogrumpy
31st July 2008, 10:18
Sure we have all sailed with people we dislike, and am certain people have taken a dislike to me over the years, with most of it being water under the keel as they say.

For James to be so forceful in his comments, he must have very good reasons, this being the case we must accept what he says as fair and reasonable.
twogrumpy

R651400
31st July 2008, 11:35
What can criticing possibly achieve. The men in most cases cannot defend themselves. Who was it who said 'If you can't say anything good don't say anything at all'. I wish I followed that principle myself throughout my life.
I think the operative word is "criticising" and with quotes above there are certain SN members whose wish would have been adherence to this crede possibly not from birth but at least from joining SN.

Geoff_E
31st July 2008, 14:28
I'm with James all the way on this one. There are times, I think, when we tend to get hung up on the rosy glow of nostalgia and the romance of voyages past. Even 30 years ago communications were, comparatively, much more restricted than today and ships much more self-contained/insulated environments. In these circumstances it was very easy for obnoxious Masters, C/E's etc. to make life extremely difficult for junior officers by petty and capricious behaviour.

I spent most of my time at sea with BP and it was a great crowd of people; (crap ships, mind you!). I never sailed with either of the characters in question but I can recall just one or two (and only that) who were a waste of a good human skin and seemed to take great pleasure in inflicting their petty authority one those less able to make reply. Thankfully there were crowds of others who were fine shipmates, socially and professionally, and it was they who went to make it a great job.

K urgess
31st July 2008, 14:34
Gentlemen.
I hate to put a damper on the idea of a balance of critiscism against praise but you have to factor in that the site is searchable from the internet and therefore such comments are fully visible to non-members.
You may be commenting on someone's beloved father, grandfather, husband, etc., by name.

R651400
31st July 2008, 15:00
GTZM-S I had the pleasure of crossing the path of someone who referred to himself as the Commodore Radio Officer of Ben Line.
Perhaps slightly Walter Mittyish and a hard act to follow but laughable nonetheless.

K urgess
31st July 2008, 15:14
Definitely Walter Mitty but probably a defence mechanism. I think they were all Marconi sparkies.
I was pulled up by a junior engineer on either a Benboat or one of Ellerman's for wearing three rings. He complained to the Old Man about it.
Seems an electronics officer with 10 years seniority should still know his place. (Cloud)

JamesM
31st July 2008, 15:18
twogrumpy and Geoff_E,
Thank you both for your understanding and support.
JamesM

Bill Davies
31st July 2008, 15:50
Gentlemen.
I hate to put a damper on the idea of a balance of critiscism against praise but you have to factor in that the site is searchable from the internet and therefore such comments are fully visible to non-members.
You may be commenting on someone's beloved father, grandfather, husband, etc., by name.

Kris,
Very well put. Commendable!
Brgds
Bill

chadburn
31st July 2008, 16:33
Like Bill D. I have always associated the term Commodore with Senior Captain although both terms are R.N. unless of course they are also R.N.R. Members, I never worked for B.P. but with it being part Government owned I am sure it will have contained a number of R.N.R. people and telling "Civilians" that you are a "Ships Master" does not light any bulbs up whereas "Ships Captain" does the trick, I went for an interview with Ben's (Thompsons) in early 60's at Edinburgh, what an old fashioned place I expected Charles Dickens to sign me up with a quill pen but like a lot of British Companies at that time promotion to 2nd Eng was based on the dead man's shoe's waiting list.

Geoff_E
31st July 2008, 16:56
"...........I am sure it will have contained a number of R.N.R. people......"

Not very many.

McCloggie
31st July 2008, 18:37
Just to clarify the RN/RNR Commodore issue.

The rank is the first Flag Rank and was not often used as a substantive rank -RN Captains were promoted to Acting Commodore while holding a particular appointment but of course anyone being made "Acting Commodore" might well have been destined for higher things.

In my time we had two RNR Commodores - one for List Three which was the "usual" non (or indeed ex) MN guys doing their usual training on a weekly/weekend/fortnight a year basis and one for List One which was for the active MN guys.

I must have met more but the one I remember is the List One Commodore Tony Barret (P&O?) from London Division.

I can not say what happens today - except that Commodore as an RN substantive rank seems to be more common as there are less Admirals! I am almost sure in saying that the if there are any RNR COmmodores today it is probably only a combined role for both MN and the "normal" RNR personnel.

McC

chadburn
31st July 2008, 20:13
McC, I am afraid my poor wording has probably caused some confusion so I will try again. I agreed with BillD. In the M.N. the term Commodore was usually the Senior Master within the Company concerned. Both Captain and Commodore are R.N. ranks in reality but the use of the term Captain in the M.N. has some meaning to a "Civilian" who would not possibly give the same credence to the term Ships "Master". In regards to M.N. "Masters" also holding an R.N.R. rank it would appear from Goeff E that there were not many in B.P. from what I read. I wonder how many M.N. Deck Officers on the S.N. site are/were also R.N.R. Officer's

D Sutton
3rd August 2008, 19:23
If its any use to anyone my father, a chief engineer gained Commodore in 65 (? doing this from memory) at the time of the launch of Br Admiral, reading his paperwork and letters from the company the rank was given as recognition of service to the company, not just long service but excelling in your position.
If I have time I'll dig out the letters to see if it contains anything of any use.

John Rogers
3rd August 2008, 19:38
Wasn't the term Commodore used during the war to designate the Senior captain who would be in charge of the convoy.???

John.

Bill Davies
3rd August 2008, 19:56
If its any use to anyone my father, a chief engineer gained Commodore in 65 (? doing this from memory) at the time of the launch of Br Admiral, reading his paperwork and letters from the company the rank was given as recognition of service to the company, not just long service but excelling in your position.
If I have time I'll dig out the letters to see if it contains anything of any use.

I think you will have many disputing the 'excelling' bit. Commodore in the MN was usually applied to the holder being longest in command. I cannot recall any British Company I sailed in actually using the prefix. It can be said with certainty that it was not a prefix that a Chief Engineer would use.

We used to joke in Ludwigs about the Commodore bit as the Senior Master was a certain Frank Hornby who took the 'Ireland' and three sisters out of the Yard. Suuberg and Babalis took the others. Frank did not sit easy with pomp and ceremony although he was Admiral (retired) USN.

Hugh Ferguson
3rd August 2008, 20:14
Wasn't the term Commodore used during the war to designate the Senior captain who would be in charge of the convoy.???

John. No, John, he was almost invariably R.N./R.N.R..

D Sutton
3rd August 2008, 23:32
I think you will have many disputing the 'excelling' bit. Commodore in the MN was usually applied to the holder being longest in command. I cannot recall any British Company I sailed in actually using the prefix. It can be said with certainty that it was not a prefix that a Chief Engineer would use.


At the time he had been C Eng for about 13/14 years but was not the longest serving C Eng within the company.
His letter of promotion states that he had set an example above that expected of his post, he was extremely proud of his achievement, his uniform was changed and all his communications from the company are addressed to Commodore Sutton not C Eng, on board ship he was always addressed as Commodore by the other officers although was not comfortable with this, In the engine room I always remember it being a little different it was chief or John.

ChiefCharles
4th August 2008, 01:52
I first met Commodore John Sutton in Nagasaki when standing by the Reliance. I had known of and respected his achievements for years, The title Commodore could not have been bestowed upon a more deserving Chief Engineer in BP. He did more during his tenure as Chief to raise the standard of BP Chief Engineers and the company were correct in stating he "excelled" in the position of Chief Engineer. Regards - Roger

Bill Davies
4th August 2008, 08:06
I have no doubt he was a fine engineer but I find the title for a Captain and more so an Engineer a little alien to me.

lagerstedt
4th August 2008, 09:50
:Commodore - Captain - Master - SN has been along this path before.

A little bit of history for you all.

Commodore

The Dutch invented the word "Commodore" in 1652 and it comes from the word "Comendador" which means "Having command of others". The Dutch found that during the wars with England in the 1600's that they needed officers to command squadrons but did not want the create additional Admiral ranks. The Dutch leader William of Orange introduced the rank to the British navy in 1689 when he became King William 111. A short time later the British merchant navy began using the title and called the most senior officer in a companies fleet Commodore. It was given at the discretion of the shipping company owners or senior management. In the RN or any other counties navy it is a rank and used across all branches and is abtained by way of examination and promotion through the ranks.

Master or Captain

Used for examination purposes in the Merchant Marine to say that you have Mastered all that is required to Captain a ship of whatever tonnage. In the navy Masters and Captains are two seperate ranks and can only be obtained by way of examination and promotion. In the navy the rank "Master" used to sit between the Lt ranks ie Sub Lt - 2nd Master - Lt - Master - Lt-Commander. From Commander onwards the rank Master stopped. Some navies still used it for other ranks ie Master Chief PO etc.

So BP tankers could have given it to a long serving, loyal and ranking member of its sea going staff.

Regards
Blair
NZ

theold49'er
9th August 2008, 08:00
Hi Jim,
I was there with you and in fact helping you with your steam time, I was the third engineer Dave P. with Marilyn my wife sailing with me.
Remember the pair of them very well. Remember Tadger and his no boots in the control room and coming in there one day and having a real good go at you being a 'motor man' and your stand up row with him. If I remember we had just been in the steam drum of the boiler and were sitting in the control room going through boiler drawings when he came in. Good old memories.

Still here, still sailing on their tankers.

david freeman
9th August 2008, 10:11
During the course of my job today I was introduced to Captain(Commodore) Alan Davies who informed me that he retired from BP in about 1978. I never met nor heard of him during my 5 years with BP(66 - 71) but just in case anyone remembers him, he is in moderate health and lives in rural Northumberland. He was Commodore on British Respect at the 1977 Spithead Review. He is now 86 years old. Good to see some one is drawing a pension. Most of the old timers especially engineers after sevice east of suez croaked shortly after retirement at 55.
Anyone recall Old Fruitgum 'Captain Roundtree' from I think Hull.

derekhore
9th August 2008, 13:36
Captain Bob Rowntree, or "coco" as he was known when I was with him.... British Admiral-1972.

He would move into the bridge day-cabin as we rounded Ushant inward bound...and stay there till we passed Ushant outward bound!
Remember coming loaded through the Suez canal just after it had re-opened..I think he expected a mine to take us out at anytime....despite a full RN escort.

Bob Hammond was mate I think...did most of the legwork for the captain.

JamesM
12th August 2008, 09:55
Hi Jim,
I was there with you and in fact helping you with your steam time, I was the third engineer Dave P. with Marilyn my wife sailing with me.
Remember the pair of them very well. Remember Tadger and his no boots in the control room and coming in there one day and having a real good go at you being a 'motor man' and your stand up row with him. If I remember we had just been in the steam drum of the boiler and were sitting in the control room going through boiler drawings when he came in. Good old memories.

Still here, still sailing on their tankers.

Hi Dave, Nice to hear from you.Glad to know you're still around and earning a crust.
Will contact you later via you're personal e-mail.
Regards JamesM

Frank Holleran
12th August 2008, 10:49
gadgee,
You had a lucky escape!! I sailed with him on the Respect when I was doing my steam-time. He was a "pompass ass", and coupled with the fact that the C/E was "Tadger" Smith who was also full of his own, supposed importance, the atmosphere on board was awful. One of the worst I ever sailed on.
JamesM

During my years at sea (as an engine room rating)...I can not remember the names of any Captains or Chief Engineers that I sailed with bar two...One was Captain Clive Downes (Shaw Savill and Albion) and the other was Captain Johnny Morrison (Corys Coastal Tankers) both good skippers and gentlemen in my eyes, that being the reason I remember their names...any one else seems to have gone up the funnel in smoke(Thumb)
Frank

Phil Williams
20th August 2008, 04:59
Captain Alan Davies--I sailed with him in the early 60's and found him to be a courteous and very fair gentleman, I'm sorry that others obviously do not share my opinion of him. As far as RNR officers being employed by BP, in my 15 years with the company I did not come across any, in fact I was told that the Co. did not encourage people to join the RNR as it would have meant them having to be released for RNR training.

Phil.

barnsey
5th September 2008, 12:45
Well I have not visited the forum for some time now and happened to open up tonight to see a name which sends shivers down my spine and at once takes me back to the unhappiest ship I have ever sailed on ... and it had nothing to do with the ship at all ... the master.

I have to agree that one should not speak ill of people but I have to totally concur with James and leap to his defence in this instance.

I have never sailed with anyone who had such a distinct effect on more or less everyone aboard from sign on to pay off day as Captain Alan Davies. If perchance he reads or hears of this then perhaps he might reflect that he ruined 9 months of mine and 3 other persons apprenticeships. He might have thought he was the bees knees but he could never have reflected that he was in fact imposing his ways and supressing people. The analogy of a dictatorial public boys school Head master is not far wide of the mark.


We were Nav Apps aboard the British Vigilance and it was a very unhappy 9 months which had a marked effect clearly remembered even to today, 47 years later. He ran us Nav.Apps. totally there wasn't much the Mate, a nice bloke could do about it. From such dangerous things as launching all 4 lifeboats in mid Atlantic while the ship was broken down and rolling in the swells, how no one was smashed by the falls or blocks I'll never know. To cutting everyones subs because a) he didnt want people drunk in such Ports as Hamburg, I subbed for Five pounds and was cut to 5/- or b) He thought we should be saving our money ... Little Aden another Five pound sub cut to 5/- ... I wanted to buy a pair of 7 x 50 binocs, remember they were Four pounds ten shillings? .... Xmas day we 4 Nav Apps were lined up in his cabin while everyone else sat down and given a can of lemonade.....to make matters worse we were running around the West African Coast. I could go on but suffice to say James seems to have a parrallel experience and thats not just a coincidence .... I think he thought himself Sir Francis Drake personified.

Phil could not have been a Nav App when he sailed with him .....

Sorry but the man had a severe complex...and I have to sympathise with every view but in the end I have to support James, his experience as mine had a profound and long lasting effect.

gadgee
6th September 2008, 13:02
Commodore Davies has been retired 30 years and I notice keeps his MN rank in the local telephone directory. Now a quiet and mild mannered man in his late 80's. Oh and he still has his Francis Drake beard!

ROBERT HENDERSON
6th September 2008, 13:52
I sailed with a master in Everards who was a backstabbing b*****d, I wcertainly would not name him on this SN because it would not achieve anything, and also some of his loved ones may log on, why upset them because of the actions of one of their relatives. As the person concerned, he already knows what I think of him.

Regards Robert

barnsey
7th September 2008, 10:12
True Robert ... however he was named and it had a profound effect on me to know after all these years that it just wasnt our ship he had a huge effect on there was another. To me it was a great relief, I have struggled with my memories which are as clear and detailed today as when they were happening. James also deserves to know that his experience was not singular.

There have been many great seafarers who achieved in a quiet way and are held in very high regard and with great affection by the many they commanded. This case was not so, there was no visciousness it was his manner and blind determination that everything he was doing was right and the blind enforcement of that view on evryone else. His method of running the ship was to his entire satisfation even though I can, with my own experience point out several instances where people and in one instance where they and the ship were put in danger.

Enough said from me but James was uncannily right and needed support from someone who, on an entirely different ship with a different crew experienced much the same ...I have never heard of that happening before. Sure we have all had the odd "Rotten Old man or what have you" but these experiences James and I talk about are a very different kettle of fish altogether.

Aitch
12th April 2009, 14:27
By pure coincidence this site was recommended from my pc magazine, and scouring through the old threads, this one for Alun Davies jumped off the page.
Without wishing to be contentious, considering the previous comments, I sailed with him on the Br. Duchess. The first captain on the Duchess was Cpt. John Hunter, who instilled me with so much faith, help and confidence. I also found a common denominator with him, as I was on MAR in London with his son John (another BP cadet). Alan Davies unfortunately, destroyed what had been built up by Cpt. Hunter and after the remaining 4months I had with him couldn't wait to get off the ship in Dubai. I was subsequently called up to HO for an interview as a result, and the comment from the interview when they realised the extent of the personality clash, "He does have that ability". Even now after nearly 40 years, the scar still hurts. My only bad ship during my BP time.
Aitch

barnsey
8th May 2009, 13:03
Aitch,

Quite remarkable that quite a few of us have shared and been similarly affected by the manner of one man ....

arfabuck
9th May 2009, 08:33
He would move into the bridge day-cabin as we rounded Ushant inward bound...and stay there till we passed Ushant outward bound!


My my! What a difference in captains behaviour.

The one and only bad experience in BP with a master who was "up himself" was in '67? British Glory. First trip uncert. 3/0. At Gatwick airport when he found out I was uncert he rang Head Office to have me replaced - and let everyone know it. Too late he was told. I did not have the balls to walk out from what I knew was going to be hell for 6 months.

Sailed from Wilhelmshaven and was very surprised not to see him on the bridge for the evening 8 - 12. Going southbound through the Channel with 285 targets on the radar - no sign of the old man. I thought it very unusual to let a 20 y.o first trip 3/0 loose with a 35k ton ship in such crowded waters. No regulation channels in those days. Very relieved to hand over to Harry Tate at midnight.

It turned out that he NEVER came on the bridge after sunset and only came up for the noon site in his dressing gown. Insisted on full uniform at all times for everybody else - including cap. Complained like hell if we walked over his cabin area on the bridge etc. etc.

I think that was when I started to lose the hair from on top. The skid bonce never recovered!

Arthur

albert.s.i
9th May 2009, 10:47
i knew a captain dagwood bumstead i was always under the impssiion he was a comerdore for BP i was with him a long time in the bulldog and the soldier and a nicer man you couldnt meet i must have been lucky i got on well with anyone ofcourse i was pumpman i dont know what he like with officers albert.s.j

CHOFF
9th May 2009, 11:26
My current employment is as Senior Master. Neither I nor the Company choose to us the name ( or rank ) of Commodore. It would be interesting to know if this is a legitimate MN rank or just an honorary title used by Cruise Ship Companies and HM Tanker Co.

I am also an ex RNR Officer and there is now only one Commodore RNR unless things have changed recently.

DT

Hugh Ferguson
9th May 2009, 11:44
This thread gets me thinking of the culture of "pulling" rank. I had a neighbour, a Lieutenant Colonel, who was always going on about an uncle of his who had been a Commodore. From this I automatically deduced that he had been Navy and, when he was lost at sea, he had been acting as the commodore of a convoy. My search for his name in the book, The Fighting Commodores, failed to identify him and it was not until my neighbour died that I discovered from a relative of his that the "Commodore" had been the senior captain in an obscure tramp-ship company!
On another occasion I happened to be attending some National Trust function when I happened to be introduced to a big shot in the Coastguard Service at Dover. He, looking down his nose, said, Captain Ferguson I suppose (not even, I presume). No, I said, Mr Ferguson to you- in the pilot service we rank as specialists, the same as in the medical profession a doctor is called a Doctor, but a Consultant Surgeon is addressed as plain, ordinary Mr.. At a function that had no relevance whatsoever to our respective professions I find it most disagreeable that somebody should behave like that-is it an English thing

kevjacko
9th May 2009, 16:22
This thread gets me thinking of the culture of "pulling" rank. I had a neighbour, a Lieutenant Colonel, who was always going on about an uncle of his who had been a Commodore. From this I automatically deduced that he had been Navy and, when he was lost at sea, he had been acting as the commodore of a convoy. My search for his name in the book, The Fighting Commodores, failed to identify him and it was not until my neighbour died that I discovered from a relative of his that the "Commodore" had been the senior captain in an obscure tramp-ship company!
On another occasion I happened to be attending some National Trust function when I happened to be introduced to a big shot in the Coastguard Service at Dover. He, looking down his nose, said, Captain Ferguson I suppose (not even, I presume). No, I said, Mr Ferguson to you- in the pilot service we rank as specialists, the same as in the medical profession a doctor is called a Doctor, but a Consultant Surgeon is addressed as plain, ordinary Mr.. At a function that had no relevance whatsoever to our respective professions I find it most disagreeable that somebody should behave like that-is it an English thing

Maybes not just an English thing but a superior / inferior thing. I did a fair amount of MOD charter stuff in the 80's with BP. Now before anyone starts banging on I am not generalizing here only speaking as I found, and that was that a number of INDIVIDUAL BP officers suddenly took it on themselves to adopt a RN attitude towards those below them. No I am not going to name names there was one particular Captain who I had the misfortune to sail with twice who's attitude towards ratings right across the board was deplorable to say the least.
It was funny to witness the sudden onset of pompous behaviour from Engineers and Mates alike who before the charter started had been thoroughly decent people. Then after a few RN ships visits / exchanges and a bit of exposure to RN forelock tugging suddenly thought BP ratings should adopt the same attitude to them. Oh how I used to laugh, that was'nt the way to gain this Cookies respect. Mind you give them their due's, once off charter normal behaviour would resume.
I sailed with a Captain in the North Sea called Stan Beckett sadly killed in an accident in Aberdeen. Now Stan was perhaps one of the most diminutive figures I've ever met in my life,about 5'2 in his stocking feet but never has the phrase 'Strong words quietly spoken' been so apt for someone. He just had that something that commanded respect. He never needed to raise voice and he never flapped. Quiet, calm, confident and humane he set a proffesional example for all to follow. Now that to me was the mark of a good officer.


'If ya wanna salute you should have joined the mob' LOL

Satanic Mechanic
9th May 2009, 16:30
This thread gets me thinking of the culture of "pulling" rank. I had a neighbour, a Lieutenant Colonel, who was always going on about an uncle of his who had been a Commodore. From this I automatically deduced that he had been Navy and, when he was lost at sea, he had been acting as the commodore of a convoy. My search for his name in the book, The Fighting Commodores, failed to identify him and it was not until my neighbour died that I discovered from a relative of his that the "Commodore" had been the senior captain in an obscure tramp-ship company!
On another occasion I happened to be attending some National Trust function when I happened to be introduced to a big shot in the Coastguard Service at Dover. He, looking down his nose, said, Captain Ferguson I suppose (not even, I presume). No, I said, Mr Ferguson to you- in the pilot service we rank as specialists, the same as in the medical profession a doctor is called a Doctor, but a Consultant Surgeon is addressed as plain, ordinary Mr.. At a function that had no relevance whatsoever to our respective professions I find it most disagreeable that somebody should behave like that-is it an English thing

Just as an aside to your post. Physicians have always been Doctors, but surgeons weren't, as they were not trained doctors, usually barbers in fact, they could not be called Doctor. Nowadays of course both surgeons and physicians are trained doctors but the term Mr is still retained by surgeons as tradition, though technically they could call themselves doctor as they have the qualification

sidsal
13th May 2009, 19:13
John@: Yes indeed the Comodores of convoys were a stirling lot - usaualy retired RN Rear Adimirals etc. Then in some cases the master of a ship might be apponued Commodore. For instance in 1943 (or4) the master of the Broacklebank MAIHAR was the Commodore of a convoy of 10 ships from Port Said to Catania in Sicily.
Funnily enough I propose to start a thread on these Commodores and their methods !

Hoppy
16th November 2010, 14:00
gadgee,
You had a lucky escape!! I sailed with him on the Respect when I was doing my steam-time. He was a "pompass ass", and coupled with the fact that the C/E was "Tadger" Smith who was also full of his own, supposed importance, the atmosphere on board was awful. One of the worst I ever sailed on.
JamesM

..last I saw of Tadger was him surrounded by Customs at Southend as he had stashed so much drink over from the flight from Rotterdam after leaving the Respect.... Paul

JamesM
17th November 2010, 10:22
Hoppy,
Could'nt have happened to a "nicer" bloke ........ hope they threw the book at him!

DaveM399
19th November 2010, 15:53
gadgee,
You had a lucky escape!! I sailed with him on the Respect when I was doing my steam-time. He was a "pompass ass", and coupled with the fact that the C/E was "Tadger" Smith who was also full of his own, supposed importance, the atmosphere on board was awful. One of the worst I ever sailed on.
JamesM

My first trip was as a cadet with Tadger on the Inventor - I always thought that the "a" should have been replaced with an "o"!:D

Graham Wallace
19th November 2010, 17:37
Just out of interest, no comment on the article or the man, I have never met him.

I have come across his son who was an Engineering Apprentice.

Graham Wallace

Hoppy
22nd November 2010, 12:13
Hoppy,
Could'nt have happened to a "nicer" bloke ........ hope they threw the book at him!

I was on the Respect as J/e during the Spithead 'trial' and he did make life awkward especially for junior staff. Yes, I really wound him up over the no boots in the control room policy .. I left a small thumb print in the engineer's log one day and he was going nuts over it . The next day, I printed my boot print onto paper and then sealed it in polythene and put it in the log book... never a word .. nothing and that got me worried and I shouldnt have done it I know ... he changed completely after that and never gave me anymore grief. I went to College with The commodores son ..Rick .
Best Wishes Hoppy

JamesM
23rd November 2010, 10:47
Well done mate ..... I like your style.

eriskay
23rd November 2010, 12:03
Difficult and sensitive subject, and despite the sensible caution advised by 'notwanted here', concerning the risk that relatives and close friends inadvertently come across such criticisms, nevertheless it is neither right to gag the views of those having the experience. As evidenced by others, JamesM was certainly not alone in having this bad experience.

With reference to the 'Gadgee' posting on Captain R.H.L. Friendship. He was my first Master four years earlier (1964) on British Power and I can only agree 100% with Gadgee - an absolute thorough gentleman, a great inspiration for Mates and Deck Apps alike, and well liked and respected by all on board.

twogrumpy
25th November 2010, 19:17
Strange how after all these years we remember the people who really hacked us off, and I mean really really hacked us off, not just those who we would not normally choose to socialise with, or those who were just mildly annoying.

Then you think back about the good guys, (not many galls in those days)the ones that made it all so worthwhile, the really shitty days and with luck a few cold beers, and so to bed, praying that the bells did not sound your way to the pit yet again.

God what a sentimental ****!!!!!
(Cloud)

twogrumpy
25th November 2010, 20:36
Strange how after all these years we remember the people who really hacked us off, and I mean really really hacked us off, not just those who we would not normally choose to socialise with, or those who were just mildly annoying.

Then you think back about the good guys, (not many galls in those days)the ones that made it all so worthwhile, the really shitty days and with luck a few cold beers, and so to bed, praying that the bells did not sound your way to the pit yet again.

God what a sentimental ****!!!!!
(Cloud)

Well I never, the word tw*t is beyond the pale and has been censored, it certainly is a hard life in todays PC world.

stewart4866
29th November 2010, 15:02
Well I never, the word tw*t is beyond the pale and has been censored, it certainly is a hard life in todays PC world.

Have another beer or two phill the day will look after it's self. How's life.
stewart(Thumb)

taffrailmick
3rd December 2011, 02:28
Re 'Commodore', I had the great pleasure and privilege of sailing with Commodore Dick Higgins. Having been ashore in ship management now for more than 23 years and having recruited /managed / briefed more ship masters than I care to remember, he still remains the 'stand out' exemplar of what a Master / 'Commodore' (nominal or substantive rank) should be.

tugboat
5th December 2011, 00:17
I can sympathise with both sides re naming and shaming, though personally I think naming someone who is not going to retaliate is a bit ungentlemanly.
I'm sure most of us carry scars of some sort from our experiences at sea. I had a miserable first 6 month deepsea trip as Apprentice, treated like sh.t by the officers who, with hindsight, were pretty much a bunch of supercilious twats. I nearly jacked it in after 1 trip but somehow found the spirit to go back. My second trip was on the 'coast' and what a revelation, I found out what life at sea could really be like, and that second trip sustained me in later years when there were other tough spells.
I remember my first trip as uncert 3/O, I flew out to join ship at Mina al Ahmadi in the Gulf. Never even been on an aeroplane before! Flew out with the OM, a tottery old boy from W coast of Scotland. Again,with hindsight, he should never have been at sea in his physical condition, but hey things were different then.
Anyway, we sailed from Mina to Aden, navigating that coast was a challenge in those days especially for a newbie like me. Well we got to Aden and I took over the evening 8-12 for the final hour or so before arrival. The OM said he wanted to anchor 1 mile South (or whatever) of the Fairway Buoy. Yessir, says I, and I'm leaping up and down to the monkey island every 15 minutes taking bearings and plotting like a good'un. I see the Fairway buoy flashing away and get it on the old steam-driven radar, and pilot us into position and we drop anchor 1 mile South on the button. I'm really chuffed. We bring up and then I go up top to get the anchor bearings. When I plot it on the chart I find that we are considerably out of position and are in fact outside the port limit! The OM gave me a right mouthful cos I'd made the novice mistake of not checking the Fairway buoy was in the right place!
Well, for the rest of that 6 month trip, the OM never left me alone on the evening 8-12 again. He appeared in his shorts and vest as soon as the Mate had gone down, and he stayed till 2350hrs. We were crossing oceans with no sight of other ships for days on end but he never left me alone at night and it really screwed with my head at the time. He used to sit in the pilot chair and smoke some awful sh.te in his pipe called Irish Cake. I would disappear out to the bridgewing but every 10 minutes he'd call out in his wheedling broad Scottish accent (nothing against you Scots, by the way) "Are ye theyyyyyre, 3rd Mate? Can you see any ships?" Sheez, it drove me bleedin' crackers.
On the other side of the coin, a couple of trips later I sailed with an OM who used to come up to write his night orders and we'd have a chat which would develop into us telling each other a couple of jokes and we'd both be doubled up in stitches such that the watchman thought we were going to need 1st Aid!
On the whole I sailed with a few poor shipmates, the majority were fine, and a few were memorably great. Times were so different back then and when I went Master it was on a completely different type of vessel, but I tried to learn from the bad as well as the good and hopefully I made a decent fist of the job and will be remembered as one of the better Masters that my colleagues sailed with.
Ah well, I can dream, can't I?(Wave)

barnsey
17th April 2012, 09:18
Tug boat .... that is a powerful posting. Epitomises everything we went through and it did not matter what company or part of the world ..I had similar experiences down here but the downs were few thank goodness most were goods and quite a few were wonderfull.

stevekelly10
17th April 2012, 12:01
I had the the pleasure of sailing on the respect as 3\E in 1979. Now not wishing to get involved in the debate on who was a good guy and who wasn't, here is a little tale of an event that happened onboard during the respect's drydocking at Lisbon Lisnave drydock, that will cheer up a certain group.:)
The ship was in the drydock which had just been pumped out. It was time for the senior staff to do a " bottom inspection" included in this group was the MD of BP tankers, a Mr Gresham if memory serves me right. If you had looked in the drydock at this time, you would have been dazzled by the reflections off the gold braid ! I had a walkie talkie and was tasked to open the ER sea valves when requested. Shortly after starting I was asked to open the aux condenser sea suction. I had just pressed the button when a frantic message came over the radio "close it, close it" ? It turned out the condenser hadn't been drained and the group in the drydock had been drenched in a large amount of dirty drydock water! Fortunately for me when the group returned onboard looking rather bedraggled. The MD saw the funny side, as I was struggling not to laugh and was nearlly doubled up (LOL) don't think the others were too impressed tho :)

kevjacko
29th April 2012, 22:05
Strange how after all these years we remember the people who really hacked us off, and I mean really really hacked us off, not just those who we would not normally choose to socialise with, or those who were just mildly annoying.

Then you think back about the good guys, (not many galls in those days)the ones that made it all so worthwhile, the really shitty days and with luck a few cold beers, and so to bed, praying that the bells did not sound your way to the pit yet again.

God what a sentimental ****!!!!!
(Cloud)

I agree,

They say be carefull what you wish for. Well I had the misfortune to sail with a certain Captain (who shall remain nameless as he still lives and breathes as far as I know) and I allways said if there's one Captain I never ever want to sail with again it's him. A few year later and I get saddled with him again. I'm not questioning his ability to do his job, just his inability to handle men, and show total lack of warmth, respect, humanity, humility,consideration, compassion or understanding to others. I hesitate to use the words, commanded, supervised, etc etc. A more detached cold fish I've yet to come across.

But he was more than compensated for in the good ones I sailed with.

Campbell47
4th September 2012, 22:50
I was also on that vessel as 4/e I also sailed with you on the British Vine.

somebody
28th January 2013, 18:37
During the course of my job today I was introduced to Captain(Commodore) Alan Davies who informed me that he retired from BP in about 1978. I never met nor heard of him during my 5 years with BP(66 - 71) but just in case anyone remembers him, he is in moderate health and lives in rural Northumberland. He was Commodore on British Respect at the 1977 Spithead Review. He is now 86 years old.

hello, i would just like to add, i know mr alan davies, he is 90 years old now, and one of the nicest men i have met, i find it very hard to believe what everyone has commented, i was not on alan's ship so cant comment, but what i can say is alan has always been very plesant with me, caring, and helpful, he is doing just great too for his age, he is an inspiration to many 8-)

barnsey
28th January 2013, 19:45
Hello 'somebody'... good that you have posted a comment and news of Mr Alan Davies. I wouldn't doubt your description of how he presents to you and thats fine.

However, how he presented to most of us who sailed with him in the close confines of the ship for extended periods, mine was 7 months on not very nice runs and in the days when recreation was limited to books,the weekly film and spasmodic mail from home. It was how he commanded life aboard and everyone, oblivious to his effect that caused the findings of the majority on this thread.

twogrumpy
29th January 2013, 11:00
You make a good point Barnsey, people who shall we say are not the most comfortable to sail with can be quite reasonable human beings at home.

Of course we are supposed to mellow with age, or so I am reliably informed, frequently.

2G
(Pint)

oldseamerchant
29th January 2013, 12:25
Comments by people who have only entered the Masters cabin for coffee are not worth considering in this context. The Commodore should be allowed a peaceful retirement without adverse posts.

twogrumpy
29th January 2013, 13:49
Comments by people who have only entered the Masters cabin for coffee are not worth considering in this context. The Commodore should be allowed a peaceful retirement without adverse posts.

Yes, but a good deal more valid than those that have never known the person concerned in the working environment.

Also, unless you are suggesting a conspiracy, for similar comments to come from several people would indicate that the problem was quite serious and worthy of comment.

And as for only entering the masters cabin for coffee, well I did not see much of that in BP, possibly you know different, and your remark seems a triffle arrogant if I may say so.

2G

2G
(Pint)

sparkie2182
29th January 2013, 15:14
"Comments by people who have only entered the Masters cabin for coffee are NOT WORTH CONSIDERING in this context."

Clearly the view of the Master's in question.

oldseamerchant
29th January 2013, 15:36
Yes, but a good deal more valid than those that have never known the person concerned in the working environment.

Also, unless you are suggesting a conspiracy, for similar comments to come from several people would indicate that the problem was quite serious and worthy of comment.

And as for only entering the masters cabin for coffee, well I did not see much of that in BP, possibly you know different, and your remark seems a triffle arrogant if I may say so.

2G

2G
(Pint)

The man is retired leave him in peace.
There is an element amongst the membership (the Jimmy Saville brigade, etc) who love nothing more than to get personal. A very disturbing trait.

makko
29th January 2013, 15:47
Time to close the thread and move on, methinks..............

gadgee
29th January 2013, 17:09
Thanks Mako - I started it so will close it......