sounding pipes

23rd December 2008, 20:21
There appears to be a silence from ex Brocks men at present so I am throwing some inconsequential rubbish into the ring, hoping it will strike a chord with some.
Sounding pipes. When I was in Brocks - WW2 and just after, the chippie, on our approaching the Suez canal would remove all the brass sounding pipe screw tops and replace them with wooden bungs. This was because the Gyppos would steal them. I was on one ship -(forget which) where the emergency magnetic compass on the poop fell over when we cleared the Gulf of Aden and started rolling heavily in the SW Monsoon. The Gyppos had stolen the long brass fixings - you know the ones - they had a ball on the top with a hole to insert a tool to unscrew them.
It was also known for bedding to be stolen whilst people were sleeping in their bunks. The Gyppo used twine with a miniture grappling hook and pulled the sheets out of the portholes. Of course this was before airconditioning and such luxuries. I can remember being very envious of those on the new ships which had punka-louvre systems which circulated the hot air about !!
When we were in Port Said the Gyppos who swarmed aboard offering a variety of services including getting aquainted with their young sister often had references from various ship's officers. I remember one barber who flashed a P&O letterheaded reference from the chief officer of the Chusan ( if I remember correctly ). It said -
To Whom it may concern -
This is to introduce Mohammed (somebody or other)
If you require a haircut I strongly reccommend that you give this man a wide berth.

The poor chap thought it was a proper reccomend !

24th December 2008, 17:27
I heard a story that some quick witted lads on a Brock's vessel spotted some grappling hooks coming up when in Suez.

They, apparently, whipped them around a windlass and dragged the bum boat up to vertical.

Funny how these conjurers always seemed to want to know where you kept your wallet - and most of them had a budgie in their shirt pocket!

Sarky Cut
24th December 2008, 20:00
Split peas and a boiler sight glass with plenty of puff made good ammunition for the baiting of these "gentlemen".

The comment about the sounding pipes was the drill in BP as well. We always changed the usual padlocks as well on the ready use stores, if we could open them with the skeleton key I am sure these guys could.

Never leave anything loose or it would "walk".

24th December 2008, 23:50
On several ships that I sailed on the brass sounding tube plugs would be replaced by the plastic chemical pails plugs (Drew Products) for our port stay and canal transits. I had always thought the replacing the brass plugs with the plastic plugs was a Cadet made work project until I witness one native using his big toe to unscrew a sounding tube plug. He was very disappointed when picking up the plug and finding it was not made of brass.

J Boyde
25th December 2008, 06:25
Let me asure you, the canal passing was not the only place in the world when brass plugs were removed before we arrived.
Jim B

Geoff Bray
25th December 2008, 13:12
Glad to see that the Drew containers had an after life when they were empty.
Transited the Suez canal a few time my self in the old days
I worked for Drew Chemicals for thirty four years, and retired in 2006
Happy Holidays to every one
Geoff Bray

25th December 2008, 13:27
Our second mate made one hunchbacked old Korean going down our gangway remove his coat, whereupon a ship's portable fire extinguisher was found underneath it.