Brocklebank tales

sidsal
10th November 2008, 21:45
On looking at old threads I saw A Mr Makinson enquiring about anyone who may have sailed with his father at the end of WW2. The name is familiar and I joined Brocks in 1943 at 17 years old - I am now 82.
Now the tales I heard were varied. In my time there was a Capt McKensie who was marine superintendant. It was said that when he was 3rd Mate he was on watch on some Brock ship pre WW2. It was common then for officers to have to call the captain before making any alteration of course. It was the8 to 12 watch in the morning and the ship had left the G of Suez and heading down the Red Sea. Some of you may know that slap in the middle of this route is the Daedalus Reef which has a very tall lighthouse which stands out like a phallic symbol.
McKenzie sighted it dead ahead and blew down the voicepipe to tell the Captain who told him to maintain the course. Later he contacted him again - same instruction. As the ship came closer and closer he told the master that if course was not altered then the ship would go aground. Same response and the ship piled up and ended up with stem post only yards from knocking down the lighthouse. Result - master lost his ticket - McKenzie blameless.
Today, of course he would have been censured for not taking appropriate action, but in those days attitudes were different.

Derek Roger
10th November 2008, 22:21
Good story Sid ; sure that this thread will get a lot of responses from the Brock lads .

My first trip to sea as an apprentice engineer was on the Mangla on the coast and I was put on the 4 to 8 with the late Jake Donnelly who was 2nd Eng.
Not used to watches and getting up at 4 am I fell back to sleep after my call . I then awoke and found it was 4.30 and made may way down the pit . Jake says you are late young man !!! I apologised and asked why I wasn't given a second call ? Jake said because the other watch had gone to bed !! I said well you could have called me ? Me !!! call You !! No F---ing Way .
I learned my station in life very quickly .
All was forgiven and I had a great time learning from Jake who was a fine Engineer . Later sailed a couple of times with him when he was Chief and we became good friends .

Oh Happy Days Derek

sidsal
11th November 2008, 16:29
Dear Derek
Where were you in Canada? I sailed with anglo american Oil with a 2nd Mate who , during WW2 hoined a tanker of about 4000tons in Duluth on the great Lakes and they sailed it down to Chicago and then thru the sanitary canal and onto the Mississippi eventually and down to the Mexican Gulf. I have done a lot of enquiring about this route and found that subs were built on Lake Michigan and similarly sailed down South.
In 1944 I was apprentice on Fort Camosun - built in W Canada and torpodoed 12 hours out and then again in G of Aden. I joined her in Greythorpe on the Tees after the 2nd incident.
Happy days !

Derek Roger
11th November 2008, 16:58
Thanks for sharing that Sid ;
I came to Canada in 1975 to stand bye 2 tankers building at Davie Shipbuilding in Levis Quebec ( opposite Quebec City ) I emigrated in 1976 to work at the Davie Shipyard and then down to Port Weller
to supervise the construction of the M V Arctic . In 1978 I moved to Saint John Shipbuilding in New Brunswick building product carriers ; an Icebreaker and various other vessels including the start up of the Canadian Frigate Program . I managed a shipyard in Pictou Nova Scotia for a couple of years again building an icebreaker before taking over a Fabrication / Machine Shop ship construction and repair facility in Saint John New Brunswick where I remained until retirement a couple of years ago .

Best times however were those at sea with Brocklebanks .

Cheers Derek

baffled
12th November 2008, 22:45
Whilst with Moss I heard tell of this engineer.

B..

Tales related to his glass eye. [Was it Wilf Houghton?]

Derek Roger
12th November 2008, 23:38
Whilst with Moss I heard tell of this engineer.

B..

Tales related to his glass eye. [Was it Wilf Houghton?]

There was a 2nd Eng named Houghton ; I never met him as I recollect . Derek

baffled
13th November 2008, 00:06
Well, here goes ........

Wilf [it was said] would remove his glass eye and leave it in various [random] strategic locations around the machinery spaces to 'keep an eye' on the nocturnal watchkeeping activities.

Serang, having none of that, made sure that the eye was covered by an inverted empty 'conny-onny' can till first-light.

?

B..

sidsal
13th November 2008, 22:33
Dear Derek. You seem to have had an interesting life. You are in the best place in Canada , I think, as we seemto have lost the plot in the UK. Mind you I think all old folk seem to think that.
Brocks were a great company but were ruined when the accountants moved in. They didn't appreiate that one of their most valuable assets was the lyalty of their staff. It did not appear on the balance sheet but was priceless and they frittered it away. Basil Smallpiece was the "effeiancy expert" who sank the firm I think.
Bets regards
Sid

James_C
13th November 2008, 22:38
Sid,
You might say the same about every company once the Time and motion people etc came on the scene. Sad to say it's still happening.
In this day and age of uber accountancy, the idea of happy staff being a productive staff is lost on the balance sheet.
Progress?

R798780
13th November 2008, 22:42
Whilst with Moss I heard tell of this engineer.

B..

Tales related to his glass eye. [Was it Wilf Houghton?]

I sailed with Wilf Houghton on Luxor. Strange eyes, I didn't know one was glass. We stood in the pumproom one day looking at a cargo pump which did its 30 strokes per minute on three legs, the fourth leg took over 10 seconds. Wilf said he couldn't see anything wrong with it. It was OK after they replaced a labyrinth gland in dry dock

Derek Roger
13th November 2008, 23:41
Dear Derek. You seem to have had an interesting life. You are in the best place in Canada , I think, as we seemto have lost the plot in the UK. Mind you I think all old folk seem to think that.
Brocks were a great company but were ruined when the accountants moved in. They didn't appreiate that one of their most valuable assets was the lyalty of their staff. It did not appear on the balance sheet but was priceless and they frittered it away. Basil Smallpiece was the "effeiancy expert" who sank the firm I think.
Bets regards
Sid

Sir Basil did what he had to do I guess at our expense ( was there another alternative ?? if so I don't know what it was )
I could see the writing on the wall when we built two product carriers at Davies yard and when we took delivery ; laid them up in the river Fal . That was when I decided and get into shipbuilding and emigrated to Canada.

We did have some remarkable public / human relations people at that time ( 1970's ) .
Douglas Bader and the chap who was on the midget subs Godfrey Place .
Both V C's I think . Never met them but those in the crews who did said they were first class .

It must have hurt Sir John Brocklebank's heart when the company eventually was broken up . He did manage to save Cunard of which he was Chairman of the Board .
Derek

Runnybabbit
29th January 2009, 13:50
Dear Derek
Where were you in Canada? I sailed with anglo american Oil with a 2nd Mate who , during WW2 hoined a tanker of about 4000tons in Duluth on the great Lakes and they sailed it down to Chicago and then thru the sanitary canal and onto the Mississippi eventually and down to the Mexican Gulf. I have done a lot of enquiring about this route and found that subs were built on Lake Michigan and similarly sailed down South.
In 1944 I was apprentice on Fort Camosun - built in W Canada and torpodoed 12 hours out and then again in G of Aden. I joined her in Greythorpe on the Tees after the 2nd incident.
Happy days !

Hi,

Just joined this forum and while searching for some information, noticed this post of yours and had to reply..

My dad William (Bill) Morris, though you wouldn't have known him on board the Fort Camosun, sailed on that first voyage and subsequent torpedoing, and did actually mention it before he passed away in 1979 (very shy and modest man). I since found the details of it and the other ships he served on after his passing, those documents now being in the possession of my older brother (also William).

I hope you're well, and it's a pleasure to find someone from my dads seafaring days..

Regards

Roger(Thumb)

PS: As a sad footnote, his kid brother, my Uncle George (My middle name is George in his memory) wasn't as lucky, being on the SS Sembilangan on his first voyage as the 3rd Radio Officer, which was lost with only 1 survivor (4th Engineer) off Portugal, courtesy of U-107..

uisdean mor
30th January 2009, 20:45
Derek
I worked in Davies on the 2 product carriers and sailed both over to the Fal
Chief at the time was Davy Meek - excellent spud and very proud of his home town of Carnoustie.
Moved to the fruit boats after that and then the containers followed by times on bulkers and tankers . Eventually joined SSM and then North sea duties before moving back home to the "fishing" - what was left - and the croft. Still here and no plans for further wanderings.
Rgds
Uisdean Mor

Don A.Macleod
2nd February 2009, 01:15
Derek
I worked in Davies on the 2 product carriers and sailed both over to the Fal
Chief at the time was Davy Meek - excellent spud and very proud of his home town of Carnoustie.
Moved to the fruit boats after that and then the containers followed by times on bulkers and tankers . Eventually joined SSM and then North sea duties before moving back home to the "fishing" - what was left - and the croft. Still here and no plans for further wanderings.
Rgds
Uisdean Mor
Where is the croft? Mine is in Lewis!
Davy Meek was probably the best Chief I ever sailed with, a true gentleman and very modest in his manner.I was with him on MAHIAR twice and we understood that ship,she was a challenge!! but I thought she was tops!
Donald

Philthechill
3rd February 2009, 17:41
Reading about the one-eyed engineer, Wilf Houghton, in reply 5. I know nothing about him but I DO know of a one-eyed engineer called Stan McGuigan in Brock's.

I sailed with him "round-the-land" on "Maskeliya", on his return to duty after losing his eye, and then deep-sea on "Makrana".

Stan was a good engineer but extremely bitter (understandably) about losing his eye which happened when he was on (I think) "Mahanada" when they were in Port Sudan.

His glass eye used to irritate him quite a lot and sometimes, when we would be having a glass or twelve, he would be rubbing away at his eye and he would inadvertently "tip" it in its socket and, when he stopped rubbing at the irritation, he would take his hand away from his eye and you would be given the disconcerting sight of Stan's good eye looking straight at you but his glass eye, having been "tipped", would be staring at the deck-head!!!! Initially we were a bit shy about telling Stan about this but he said he'd rather we did tell him, he'd done it, rather than have to put up with having one eye looking straight ahead and the other gazing upwards!

Another problem for Stan was rolling his "tabs" after a few tinctures.

He would tilt his head so that his good eye could focus on the job-in-hand (i.e. getting a ciggy-paper out, putting the right amount of baccy on the paper then rolling the combination of baccy and paper into the necessary cylindrical shape of a cigarette). The correlation between ale-consumption and ciggy-rolling resulted in the job taking longer and longer as Stan's dexterity suffered considerably, as more ale flowed, so he would finish-up with two neat little piles of baccy on the table, (where they'd fallen out of the ciggy being rolled) and a super-slim ciggy about .025" dia consisting of a sheet of Rizla and two strands of Golden Valley!!

Stan would carefully place this incredibly thin ciggy in his mouth, fire-up his lighter, apply it to the end of the Rizla and wonder why the cigarette lasted about two milliseconds as the flame travelled at warp-speed to his mouth!!!

He would then start the long process again until one of us would take pity on him and offer him a "tailor-made"!!!

Statistically (based on money spent on tobacco-products) Stan would have been classed as a heavy smoker but he probably smoked the least of any of us as he never actually got to ignite the tobacco he bought!!!

He also used to pull the stunt about leaving his eye in his glass of ale, "to keep his eye on us", whilst he went for a pee! There's a photo of Stan I posted on "Life on board" taken on "Makrana". Stan is in typical pose with his Brocklebank kilt on and gazing deckwards as he (probably) wonders where all his baccy has gone!!!!! Salaams, Phil(Hippy)

sidsal
3rd February 2009, 21:54
Heard the glass eye tale??
Chap had a glass eye and so consulted transplant surgeon who said he could have a transplant for 1000 and showed him the various eyes he had in glass jars. None were a match so the surgeon told him he would contact him when a match came up and that in the meantime if he found one himself, he would carry out the surgery.
Months went past and one day he was coming off the motorway late at night and the car in front went hurtling down the bank and crashed into a tree. He stopped and ran down to the crashed car and the driver was obviously dead with a broken neck and with eyes open.
Chap noticed that his eyes were a match for his so he took out one eye and put it in his handkerchief. He then took out his own glass eye and put it in the chap's socket. Next day he had it transplanted where his glass eye had been.
A few days later he read in the local paper that the police were completely baffled after finding the driver of a car, dead at the wheel. They could not fathom how he had driven from Glasgow with 2 glass eyes.
#Geddit ?

Masirah
9th February 2009, 19:30
As to Smallpeice doing his job I cannot think that lacking in vision can be classed as doing ones job. Still that seems to be the problem with the majority of British shipping. Funny how BP Tankers finally discovered that getting rid of the ships was a bad idea in the long run and is now back in ownership again. Sadly companies like ours no longer exist to have that option.

British shipping suffers, like a great deal of british industry, from terminal blindness and inability to see further than next weeks balance sheet. How come the Germans manage to secure a future in shipping by moving with the times while the british are the first to sell out. Cunard saved for the Americans, P&O for the Danes, Furness for the Hong Kong Chinese and then the Germans. All our traditional trades taken over by other European companies one after the other. The same with cars and steel the list is endless. What have we left - Banks and look where that has lead. All very sad.

Michael

uisdean mor
14th February 2009, 11:06
Croft is in Ardnamurchan - Not far from Kilchoan where after the war every family had at least one member at sea. Times have changed and now you cannot hear a native voice and nobody goes to sea - not even the fishing anymore.
Rgds
Uisdean