alan smaldon

3rd January 2009, 15:18
Just thought I would drop a line to give my details and to say I consider my 14 years (1957-1971) in Bank Line a great experience. Was Apprentice 57-60, then through the ranks to Chief Officer; would have loved to have been Master for I remember some of the Captains doing their own piloting through the Pacific Islands ports and berthing the ship themselves. I know food in some cases was not so good, hell it was the 50's and no-one ate well; remember the Bank Line chickens which were bred with 1 breast (Captain), 2 wings (C/Eng and C/Off) and 16 legs (rest of the lads)!!!
Still, none of us starved and learnt quite a few tricks on how to supplement the diet. Nothing wrong with curry for breakfast and a potato chapatti at 6 in the morning whilst tying up was manna from heaven. Old ropes went down well in Chalna and provided us with some of the best tasting prawns in the world whilst there was nothing like a few beers at Esiahs(?) in Calcutta and all the other delights that place offered. Travelling on a Bank boat meant one experienced true life at sea and you learnt the job from the bottom up (literally). Sure we worked hard and played hard, sometimes a bit overboard but we were young, away for months and months, fit as fidddles and ready for anything.

Regards to all,
Alan Smaldon (boatlarnie)

Alistair Macnab
9th January 2009, 17:53
Glad to see you "look into" SN from time to time. I find it a fascinating site! I see you mentioned Chalna and the shrimps. Were you ever there when the jute moths were in season? The dust from their wings was very irritating indeed and in the days before A.C, it used to be delivered to your bunk via the punka louvers.
One time going up the Pussur River to Chalna a swarm of a million bees gathered on the starboard anchor which the Captain wanted to be walked out in readiness for dropping. I was Mate at the time and Chippy and I had to bite the bullet and lower the anchor out of the hawsepipe without encouraging retribution from our visitors. Nothing happened until we let go the anchor and ran it out upon anchoring at the loading berth. Strangely enough the bees all went off in a cloud and settled on the house side below the sidelight. They were gone by morning. No doubt the queen had exercised her authority yet again!


9th January 2009, 19:17
Just noticed the name and wondered if you are related to,or know of Mike Smaldon who I sailed with on the "Beechmore" as an apprentice in 1959/60.He was from Plymouth.

14th January 2009, 16:31
Sorry Capt Bob,
Cannot help you there; I was brought up in London, apart from my Grandparents our family was unaware of any other Smaldons.


14th January 2009, 16:35
Hi Alistair,
Remember those damn moths well; we used to catch Praying Mantis', keep them in a shoe box and feed them moths, not that it made any difference to the numbers.If I remember correctly, you and Dave Vincent whilst on the Ernebank, came across to us in Colombo (I was on Irisbank) and fed royally on prawn curry (and probably drunk all our beer!!??).
Nice chatting to you last week,
Regardsto you both,

Andy Lavies
17th January 2009, 16:41
My skin still crawls when I remember jute moths at Chalna - a really hot shower hurt like hell but gave a bit of relief from the itching. Came in to lunch one day and found prawns on the menu. Everybody, from the Old Man down, ordered them. We got one each but they were huge mud prawns, bigger than most lobsters. Tail off one side of the plate and head (Yes, they were whole!) hanging off the other. Delicious! We persuaded Gubbins, the apprentice, that the dangly bits in the head were a delicacy and he scoffed the lot before noticing that the rest of us had only eaten the tails.

12th November 2014, 01:21

Lost your details in a 'crash'.

Like to catch up again.

Len Emerick