Pilgrim Ships

R651400
11th August 2005, 09:04
Have been approached by one Anthony Green, Singapore, to help him in writing a book on the pilgrim trade. Are there any BF member who can help with first hand knowledge eg Tyndareus or Gunung Djati?

tfpjohnson
27th December 2007, 17:00
Did a season late fifties as 1st r/o on Gunung Djati with Capt.McMillan
also did Chinese Repat voyage Have some photos exact dates up in the
"loft" regards tfpjohnson

Bill Davies
27th December 2007, 19:56
Never knew McMillan was in the 'Gunung Djati'. I sailed with him in the late 50s and not a pleasant experience.

R651400
28th December 2007, 17:45
Never knew McMillan was in the 'Gunung Djati'. I sailed with him in the late 50s and not a pleasant experience.

SN has repeatedly requested posters keep to the gist of the thread.
As a fairly new SN member canst one possibly ask you to comply pse?

Geoff_E
28th December 2007, 23:37
SN has repeatedly requested posters keep to the gist of the thread.
As a newcomer to the site canst possibly comply?
Am not really interested who you sailed with in BF.

Hardly the spirit of comradeship which is likely to elicit much information, or much of a welcome to tfpjohnson - what will he think of us?

John Briggs
29th December 2007, 03:01
May I timidly suggest that it wasn't only the magnificent, perfect, and immaculate BF and their highly trained wonder crews who operated pilgrim ships. Other more ordinary British companies ran them also!

demodocus
29th December 2007, 03:09
May I timidly suggest that it wasn't only the magnificent, perfect, and immaculate BF and their highly trained wonder crews who operated pilgrim ships. Other more ordinary British companies ran them also!

If you had taken the trouble to read the thread you'll have seen that it was initiated by a question regarding Tyndareus and Gunung Djati.

John Briggs
29th December 2007, 03:30
Sorry! I read it as being a book on the pilgrim trade. I also understood from the initial post that the Tyndareus and Gunung Djati were given as examples!

AncientBrit
29th December 2007, 04:55
Lack of good manners and humility when seeking aid or info.
Lack of understanding that eg means for example.

Anyone else want to shoot themselves in the foot before 2007 ends, this seems like the thread to do it.

R651400
29th December 2007, 07:50
In the interest of good manners and example to new site members, I've amended mylast accordingly.
Posters who may have found objection to original, may wish to avail themselves of "Blue Funnel Line Reborn," blown completely out of context by a similar if not more controversial input.

R651400
29th December 2007, 08:06
Did a season late fifties as 1st r/o on Gunung Djati with Capt.McMillan
also did Chinese Repat voyage Have some photos exact dates up in the
"loft" regards tfpjohnson
tfpjohnson my apologies for not noting your SN date of joining.
Welcome to the site and all it has to offer.
I'm presently without success searching for Anthony Green's email address as I'm sure he would be interested in any pilgrim ship experiences, and/or any pics of GD which I hope will also appear in SN gallery.
Visited GD on her very first BF voyage, I think in Djakarta. Was amazed at BF's radio room conversion!

R651400
29th December 2007, 18:06
Anyone else want to shoot themselves in the foot before 2007 ends, this seems like the thread to do it.

"exempli gratia?"

I think you already have.

AncientBrit
29th December 2007, 19:15
Sadly, too funny.
Good luck in your search for cooperation and assistance.
AB

Trevorw
31st December 2007, 14:56
Did a season late fifties as 1st r/o on Gunung Djati with Capt.McMillan
also did Chinese Repat voyage Have some photos exact dates up in the
"loft" regards tfpjohnson

Can't have been the Gunung Djati in the late 50's - she was still the "Dunera" then!

R651400
1st January 2008, 08:36
Can't have been the Gunung Djati in the late 50's - she was still the "Dunera" then!
GD built 1936 as German Ostafrika Line's Pretoria.
Taken over at end of WWII became Empire Doon.
Managed as a troopship by Orient Line renamed Empire Orwell.
Bought by BF 1958 & renamed Gunung Djati.

tonygreen
18th August 2008, 01:52
tfpjohnson my apologies for not noting your SN date of joining.
Welcome to the site and all it has to offer.
I'm presently without success searching for Anthony Green's email address as I'm sure he would be interested in any pilgrim ship experiences, and/or any pics of GD which I hope will also appear in SN gallery.
Visited GD on her very first BF voyage, I think in Djakarta. Was amazed at BF's radio room conversion!

Hello there
I'm the Anthony Green mentioned, and you're correct - I'm interested in any experiences of working on the pilgrim ships. I've posted a 'Hi' note somewhere to briefly describe what I am looking for (sorry, but I'm new to the site and the posting business, so please excuse my clumsiness).

I've already had some very interesting details and some good photographs from a number of people but I would be happy to hear from anyone who worked on these pilgrims runs and has any information to share.

MICHAEL SQUIRES
25th August 2008, 22:51
Never knew McMillan was in the 'Gunung Djati'. I sailed with him in the late 50s and not a pleasant experience.

My Dad was 1st Mate on the Gunung Djati and regarded Capt. McMillan as a good Catain, the only problem he had with him was that he liked to discuss issues at length which meant that it was hard to get a quick decision off him other than that he was very good

Bill Davies
25th August 2008, 23:48
My Dad was 1st Mate on the Gunung Djati and regarded Capt. McMillan as a good Catain, the only problem he had with him was that he liked to discuss issues at length which meant that it was hard to get a quick decision off him other than that he was very good

Michael,

I was merely giving my opinion and afterall, I would not have got to know him as well as your father.

Brgds
Bill

MICHAEL SQUIRES
26th August 2008, 14:27
Michael,

I was merely giving my opinion and afterall, I would not have got to know him as well as your father.

Brgds
Bill

No worries Bill,

I was just intrigued by your comments and had a word with my Dad about it. Since I found this website it has aroused my curiosty about all things Blue Flu, I've been badgering him to tell me his story but he's not keen to talk about the past although once I get a drop of booze into him he loosens up.

With regards to the Gunung Djati he joined her in December 1958 in Glasgow for her first voyage. They had two chief Officers on board, one to manage the Pilgrims and the other to manage the ship. My Dad was the Pilgrim Officer
and he says it was Ok but once they had been to Mecca a lot of them gave up the will to live and he had a lot of burials to supervise.

He was also 1st mate on the Tyndareus in 1953.


Regards

Mike

Bill Davies
26th August 2008, 14:40
No worries Bill,

I was just intrigued by your comments and had a word with my Dad about it. Since I found this website it has aroused my curiosty about all things Blue Flu, I've been badgering him to tell me his story but he's not keen to talk about the past although once I get a drop of booze into him he loosens up.

With regards to the Gunung Djati he joined her in December 1958 in Glasgow for her first voyage. They had two chief Officers on board, one to manage the Pilgrims and the other to manage the ship. My Dad was the Pilgrim Officer
and he says it was Ok but once they had been to Mecca a lot of them gave up the will to live and he had a lot of burials to supervise.

He was also 1st mate on the Tyndareus in 1953.


Regards

Mike


Michael,

Many thanks your prompt reply.
Your fathers name was known to me and I have to say all I heard was good.
You might advise your father that Capt Hughie Davies (Chwilog, North Wales) passed away early this year.

Brgds

Bill

jimmys
26th August 2008, 17:41
If I remember correctly some of the A boats in Blue Funnel carried pilgrims to the Hadj. They had tween decks accommodation space.
There was a good half dozen of them.

regards
jimmys

jmcg
26th August 2008, 18:17
Yes

Clytoneus, Autolycus and other A Class ships did indeed carry Pilgrims or Haddjis. The above class had the portholes in the 'tween decks "blacked" out when I first went "away" in '66. Cannot give an exact year when carrying haddjies ceased in the A Class.

The Gunung Djati was an old ship then and as far as I am aware operated out of Singapore and Swettenham. Cannot comment on other ports of call.

BW

J.

Bill Davies
26th August 2008, 18:27
jimmys/John,
The 'adje boats' as we used to refer to these vessel were more readily recognised by those 'A' class having wooden well decks. Clearly, the purpose of the wooden sheathing was insulation for the 'pilgrims' below in the tween decks.
The Bosuns on the 'adje boats' (Goblowski & Co) used to welcome cattle homeward bound in Djibouti as their 'waste' when evenly distributed over the well decks and used to clean the decks better than any caustic 'barbarising'.

Brgds

Bill

jimmys
26th August 2008, 20:44
The Gunung Djati was a very good looking ship, a passenger ship. She was in Aden regularly which was the main Red Sea port before Jeddah. She did not look old even though in the 1960's she was. I just saw her never sailed in her.
The old engineers said she had a water problem, always short.
I was under the impression about 1964 there was still Blue Flue persons on the vessel I am not sure. So many stories.

regards
jimmys

Pat Kennedy
26th August 2008, 21:08
I heard that the Indonesian Government bought the Gunung Djati after Blue Funnel finished with her, and used it for a naval training ship for many years.
I was in Glasgow on the Cyclops, which was also a pilgrim ship, when the Gunung Djati was laying across the dock in KGV fitting out. Some of us went aboard for a look around, and she was a lovely ship, the accommodation for the pilgrims was far superior to that on the Cyclops.
Pat

Hugh Ferguson
26th August 2008, 23:34
If I remember correctly some of the A boats in Blue Funnel carried pilgrims to the Hadj. They had tween decks accommodation space.
There was a good half dozen of them.

regards
jimmys

Ian Jackson (dcd.) was an old shipmate of mine in that little known Blue Funnel ship, SAMCREE, in early 1947. he soon after became 3rd mate of the Ajax when she carried pilgrims on the second leg of a "double yorker".
He wrote it up in a 94 page booklet a copy of which he presented to me a year or so before he died. The title is, ONE MAN'S VOYAGES, and there's a fine painting on the front cover of the AJAX, his favourite ship.
I'll look into it and see if there is anything which could be of interest.

Bill Forster
26th August 2008, 23:57
English Catholics on the pilgrimage to Compostella in Spain very sensibly went by ship to La Coruuna from whence they travelled in style by coach! Much more sensible than walking!

Does anybody know about the ships who plied this trade? Were they ordinary merchant vessels? And when did this practice cease?

Pilgrims still walk & cycle a 1000 kms from St Jean pied de Porte, across the Pyrenees via Roncavelles to Compostella in the north west of Spain but I guess the English pilgrims (at least in former days) preferred to pay and travel in greater comfort.

Bill Forster

Hugh Ferguson
30th August 2008, 13:54
Further to my post (#26) regarding a pilgrim voyage of the Blue Funnel, Ajax, I have been given permission by Joan, Ian Jackson's widow, to take extracts from his folio, ONE MAN's VOYAGES, in which he describes that experience in 1947.
First preparations began in Singapore with the arrival alongside of lorry loads of extra lifeboats. The ship had extra tall davits to accommodate these boats so that they could be carried above the ones already on the chocks.
Then came the crates of the provisions a lot of which would be stored in the 8 extra lifeboats.
The passage up from Fremantle had consumed a certain amount of diesel fuel and these tanks were now cleaned in order to carry additional supplies of water in order to cope with the demands for fresh water of 1,200 pilgrims.
The bosun and his merry men now had a field day of marlinespike seamanship, running jack stays in stanchions above the bulwarks and along the centreline over which to spead the awnings all over both well-decks, and hanging wind-shutes from the standing derricks to funnel air into the 'tween decks. And while this sailorising was going on the carpenter had turned farmer, building pens for the live goats and sheep that the pilgrims would bring with them to sustain themselves on the voyage. (To be cont.)

The thumbnail is of the 2nd, 3rd & 4th Mates and the venerable purser of the Ajax, on Christmas day in Halifax.

Hugh Ferguson
31st August 2008, 15:33
Cont. The pilgrims dealt with the company through brokers who bought the space, and sold it on to their clients at a profit. The brokers were responsible for feeding their customers, so while all the shipboard preparation was going on they were bringing their clients' stores aboard, alive and dead.
And then, in due course when the ship was ready for them, the pilgrims turned up in lorries on the wharf and were embarked and shown their 'tween deck homes for the voyage. The noise and confusion were beyond belief for the passengers were of all ages and sexes, with a sprinkling of ladies who would give birth before Jeddah and frail old people who would redress the balance.

With the Singapore complement aboard the midshipmen set up the signposts, one each on the fore and after well decks, pointing the way to Mecca; signposts which had to be tended to on every alteration of course between departure and arrival lest someone should inadvertently pray in the wrong direction. With that done and the brokers aboard tending their flocks, both two and four footed, Ajax sailed for Penang.

Next morning in the Malacca Strait, the brokers in conference with the mate, sprung their first surprise. For reasons good for them but not good for Mr Collet, many of their clients and they didn't know which, had not had their vaccinations, nor their T.A.B. jabs, without which they wouldn't be allowed ashore in Jeddah. The brokers were terribly sorry but it was just one of those things and they were sure Mr Collet would be able to solve the problem. Of course many of the pilgrims would have been immunised off their own bats but we, the brokers, can't say which or how many. Wireless messages flew and sufficient syringes and serum were ordered to await us in Penang.

With a thousand passengers on board already we were due to collect another 200 at Penang. On arrival there the brokers suggested to the mate that lots of their clients had friends and relatives in Penang and would surely expect to be able to go ashore to see them; would this be alright? Mr Collet hadn't the heart to say no so a hastily concocted and inadequately controlled system of shore passes was set up, to be heartily abused by pilgrims, friends, relatives, brokers and assorted villains. What with those legitimately coming and going while the ship was alongside in Penang, and those joining as passengers, and the assorted mob some of whom got on board as passes flew back and forth across the rail we undoubtedly sailed from Penang with more passengers than had paid for their passages. One hopes that the brokers, who no doubt found the stowaways out and charged them a fare, had allowed for that in providing the stores. To be continued

Hugh Ferguson
1st September 2008, 11:28
Cont. Came evening and Ajax sailed for Aden where, with some of her fuel tanks taken up with water, she must bunker. Came the dawn and the mate consulted the ship's doctor, Dr Sperber, fresh from incarceration in Buchenwald who explained that, with the best will in the world he couldn't vaccinate and T.A.B. jab twelve hundred passengers single handed. And how was he to keep track of who had been done, and who had not. He would need assistance and lots of it.

So the action plan was drawn up. The foredeck pilgrims would be mustered onto the centrecastle deck and lined up around No.3 hatch and back down to the foredeck on the other side. The afterdeck lot would make a similar trip around No.4 hatch. Bar the man at the wheel every sailor in the ship would be involved in this operation and every off-duty mate, midshipman, engineer and steward would be armed with the kit to vaccinate and jab the whole complement of passengers. (See thumbnail in next posting of Bill Lambert 4th engineer, straight out of the engine room in a filthy boiler suit filling a syringe surrounded by admiring? pilgrims). To be cont.

Hugh Ferguson
1st September 2008, 12:11
Cont. Jabs were easy but vaccination was trickier. If, as you should, you put the drop of vaccine on the skin before scratching it you can easily lose sight of it and scratch in the wrong place which is a bit of waste of time and vaccine. But, we mastered it and the whole operation, as far as we know, worked a treat and we immunised all of the passengers in the course of the day.

So now, Ajax could settle into the passage due west from Pulo Weh to Dondra Head. Normal watches but with an hour or so of extra work at the end of each to go around the 'tween decks to see that all was well-that nobody was lighting fires below decks. To check that there were no signs of illness or epidemic. To discover the corpse should any have died, or the child if anyone had given birth. To see that all of the stand pipes were locked, for they were only opened at certain limited times of the day. To tell your relief that all was apparently well, and turn in.

jmcg
1st September 2008, 20:52
Hugh

Excellent!


BW

J

Bill Davies
1st September 2008, 22:12
Good post Hugh!

Brgds

Bill

Hugh Ferguson
2nd September 2008, 11:26
Cont. Before Dondra Head we had both our first birth and our first death. The latter, an old man whose chance of reaching Mecca had always been slight, was buried at sea. Shrouded and weighted and lowered to sea level on a hatch board to be washed off and begin his fall to the ocean floor.
The child, a boy, throve in the sea air despite the less than salubrious conditions in the 'tween decks. The flocks of sheep and goats, and of fowl, dwindled as they were ritually and gruesomely slaughtered each morning. The pilgrims prayed twice daily, in the right direction thanks to young Denning and his fellow midshipmen. We drank our oily water, complained about it, but came to no harm.

As Ajax rounded the southern point of Ceylon and altered course a little northward for Socotra the South West monsoon strengthened and water began to come aboard. At first just enough to increase the middies' workload when it washed the signposts into the scuppers but then increasing until, one night, the seas coming aboard wrecked the foredeck awnings and we had to slow down to make the 'tween decks and welldecks liveable,and to repair the awnings. As we approached Socotra the seas moderated and we were able to increase speed again, eventually racing across the Gulf of Aden to tie-up at an Aden fuel buoy on the morning of June 26th 1947.
To be continued

Sister Eleff
2nd September 2008, 23:08
Keep it up Hugh, I am enjoying your story - as usual (Read) (Applause)

Bill Davies
2nd September 2008, 23:15
Hugh,

You missed your vocation!

Bill

Hugh Ferguson
3rd September 2008, 11:34
Cont. We came to Aden prepared, unwilling to embark anymore stowaways. Every hosepipe in the ship was connected to the mains and the sailors were stationed around the decks armed with them (the hoses), and quantities of billets of old dunnage with orders to drive all bumboats away, and allow no-one on board except those entitled to come aboard. the agent arrived, did his business with Captain Whitehouse, and departed. We fuelled, tug and pilot came, we cast off and proceeded to sea in the afternoon without incident, and with the same number of passengers that we had on board on arrival. We were learning!
The tension in the ship, with Jeddah and the real start of the Hajj only two or three days away, was mounting: the excitement was tangible. away we went for the Gates of Hell, rounding Perim in the early hours and reaching Kamaran in the early afternoon. In those days, Kamaran, a small island off the coast of Yemen, was British and for some obscure reason we had to go there to get clearance for Jeddah in Saudi Arabia-it's a funny old world!
Through the coral reefs and into the anchorage we went. To amuse ourselves we threw coins for small boys to dive for in the clear water whilst we waited for the agent to complete his business. That done we hove up and sailed on the final passage of the pilgrim voyage, going at less than half speed to arrive at the reefs off Jeddak at the dawn. To be continued.

Hugh Ferguson
4th September 2008, 17:11
Concl. Dawn arrived and with the pilot aboard we crept in through the coral to the anchorage, for in those days there was no quay, nowhere to go alongside. Down went the anchor, the decks being already thronged with pilgrims, their possessions bundled up, ready for the shore and their great experience. But there was no gangway as there had been in Singapore and our passengers had to await the arrival of a fleet of dhows to ferry them ashore. There was strident haggling as the dhow masters did their best to deprive their fellow Muslims of so much of their hajj money as possible.

There were lurid, apocryphal, tales of dhow masters cutting the throats of their passengers, ditching them and going back for more. No doubt it had happened, but but our clients left throughout the day in an orderly manner. Their brokers, and what was left of the livestock, went with them and by evening we had the ship to ourselves again. We hadn't realised how much we had missed that. We'd been in her nearly a year and she was home to us and paying guests are all very well but now we were homeward bound, which didn't impress those of us who were young and footloose, but meant a lot to the oldies and the married.

Came the dawn and Ajax crept out through the reefs to begin the two days run to Suez, reporting today's weather this time instead of forecasting it. The equipment related to the pilgrims was made ready for discharge. The awnings, their jackstays and stanchions, came down; the stairways were lifted out of the holds and the pallets got up on deck and the extra lifeboats were stripped of their stores. Everything was prepared for landing, to be picked up by the next ship that would take the pilgrims back from whence they had come.

Another dawn arrival, this time in Suez Bay where we anchored to receive a lighter to take the pilgrim gear away. The extra boats were lowered into the water where they promptly sank to their ballast tanks! Last over the side were the extra well-deck davits and then Ajax was, once the searchlight and the mooring boats were aboard, ready for the canal transit and the passage home. Fini

jmcg
6th September 2008, 00:00
Hugh

Wonderful nostalgia.

I'm not getting much work done -but at least I have a good start to the day reading from this site.

BW

J

makko
6th September 2008, 03:55
Thanks, Hugh,
Wonderfully nostalgic! You have a goldmine of reference works!
Rgds.
Dave

R651400
10th September 2008, 11:58
Thanks Hugh for providing us with a truly nostalgic part of Blue Funnel life.
I did one trip on Ajax/GJXM to Australia via the Cape after the Suez crisis and it astonishes me that she had the capabilities to carry 1200 pilgrims including livestock and other necessary facilities to cater for such numbers. I'm sure Tony Green will be delighted by this first hand account of a haj voyage.

Hugh Ferguson
12th September 2008, 09:48
I've just printed out the whole of this thread and am about to post it off to Joan. I know she's missing Ian terribly and I hope this will bring her a little consolation to read the comments.

BillH
12th September 2008, 11:33
GUNUNG DJATI Steel passenger steamship.
O.N. 180806. 17,516g. 9,981n. 576' 9" x 72' 4" x 26' 6" oa
As built; Six steam turbines made by the shipbuilder reduction geared to twin propeller shafts. 11,000 SHP. 16 kts.
Post 1972: Two, 6-cyl. 4 S.C.S. A. (520 x 55mm) M.A.N. vee type oil engines made by unspecified builders. 12,000 BHP. 16 kts.
12.1936: Completed as PRETORIA by Blohm & Voss K.a.A., Hamburg (Yard No. 506) for Deutsche Ost Afrika Linie, Germany. 1945: Taken over as a war prize and allocated to the Ministry of War Transport, London, (Orient Line appointed as managers), renamed EMPIRE DOON and laid up with boiler defects. 1949: Re-boilered, and renamed EMPIRE ORWELL for the Ministry of Transport. 11.1958: Purchased by the Ocean Steamship Company Ltd., refitted as a ship for 106 1st class passengers and 2,000 pilgrims, by Barclay Curle & Company, Glasgow, and renamed GUNUNG DJATI. 1962: Sold to the Government of Indonesia, (Pelerayan Nasional, managers). 1964: Sold to P. T. Perusahaan Pelajaran Arafat, Indonesia. 1972: Re-engined. 1979: Renamed KRI TANJUNG PANDAN. 1982: Sold to the Indonesian Navy, for employment as a troopship. 1984: Laid up at Tandjung Priok, as an accommodation vessel. 1987: Sold for demolition.

R651400
12th September 2008, 11:43
When Tyndareus/GMKX was committed purely to the Haj service, she lay off in Singapore roads during the non Haj season with a skeleton crew on stand by.
Another sought after number almost r and r, if one wanted to spend a lot of time enjoying the delights of Singapore.

BillH
12th September 2008, 11:49
TYNDAREUS (1916 - 1960) Bellerophon class steel steamship.
O.N. 137527. 11,347g. 7,118n. 507.0 x 63.2 x 41.6 feet.
Two T.3-cyl. (22½", 38" & 65" x 54") engines (set No. 523), made by the shipbuilder driving twin propeller shafts. 6,000 IHP. 14 kts.
3.3.1914: Ordered from Scotts' Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd., Greenock (Yard No. 460) for the Ocean Steamship Company Ltd. 30.3.1914: Keel laid. 1.8.1916: Launched. 11.10.1916: Completed at a cost of £203,014. 21.11.1916: Delivered, and taken up under the Liner Requisition Scheme. 6.2.1917: Whilst on a voyage from Liverpool via Table Bay to Yokohama with troops and stores, exploded a mine in a position 10 miles off Cape Agulhas and was towed into Simonstown naval base, S. Africa, for repairs. The mine was laid by the German raider WOLF. 1920: Resumed commercial service. 1940 - 1946: Employed as a troopship and supply ship. 1949: Converted for pilgrim trades. 9.9.1960 Arrived at Hong Kong for demolition.

Pat Kennedy
12th September 2008, 20:01
http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/136850/ppuser/12939

A photo of the Tyndareus here, pictured off Alfred lock Birkenhead. A very rare visitor to her home port, I never saw her anywhere but anchored in Singapore Roads,
Pat

BillH
12th September 2008, 22:04
Have a photo of her in the dock system taken by Keith Byass and presume during the same visit.

Hugh Ferguson
12th September 2008, 22:50
http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/136850/ppuser/12939

A photo of the Tyndareus here, pictured off Alfred lock Birkenhead. A very rare visitor to her home port, I never saw her anywhere but anchored in Singapore Roads,
Pat

I once piloted her into Aden (with pilgrims) in 1956. A remarkable ship and nice to handle. Met an old ship-mate as I gained the deck which made it even more memorable!

R651400
13th September 2008, 06:08
While coasting Glen Line in '57 Tyndareus docked in Royal Albert London something rare for a BF ship in those days. She was in pristine condition as if straight from dry-dock and my guess was loading for Singapore prior to starting the pilgrim season. Being light ship Tyndareus dwarfed anything else around.
BF's "football or goalpost" class started with Bellerphon in 1906 ending with Philoctetes in 1922 of which Tyndareus 1920 to 1960 was the longest serving.
Originally built for round the world service the goalposters in their time were reputedly the world's largest cargo ships.
Tyndareus complete with hospital and cinema had the original capability to carry 2000 pilgrims which was later reduced.
BF anticipating the possibility Tyndareus would fail the 1961 survey decided to retire her and purchased replacement Empire Orwell/Gunung Djati.

tonygreen
29th September 2008, 06:33
Cont. Jabs were easy but vaccination was trickier. If, as you should, you put the drop of vaccine on the skin before scratching it you can easily lose sight of it and scratch in the wrong place which is a bit of waste of time and vaccine. But, we mastered it and the whole operation, as far as we know, worked a treat and we immunised all of the passengers in the course of the day.

So now, Ajax could settle into the passage due west from Pulo Weh to Dondra Head. Normal watches but with an hour or so of extra work at the end of each to go around the 'tween decks to see that all was well-that nobody was lighting fires below decks. To check that there were no signs of illness or epidemic. To discover the corpse should any have died, or the child if anyone had given birth. To see that all of the stand pipes were locked, for they were only opened at certain limited times of the day. To tell your relief that all was apparently well, and turn in.

This is a belated response to your very interesting posting of Ian Jackson's notes from 1947. Many thanks for posting this. It gives me more things to think about. The idea of random groups of people 'lighting fires below decks' seems a disturbing thought. Up to the Second World War there was quite a history of shipping lines not providing food and people doing their own cooking, which seems like accidents waiting to happen. Compared to that the photograph I have from John Spain in Essex of pilgrims on deck preparing bread rolls for baking seems eminently civilised.

jimmys
29th September 2008, 13:14
I enjoyed Hugh's stories about the Pilgrim Ships. Again before my time.

Just a little bit about hotel services on the Blue Funnel ships. They were fitted with substantial domestic fresh water systems and in conjunction with standpipes and double bottom tanks were all able to deliver domestic water for large amounts of persons. The pipes were fitted and were blanked when not in use.

They had substantial boilers and were able to deliver steam to the deck. Water boilers fitted with steam coils were used to cook soups, stews, rice and anything else reasonably fluid, we called these boilers sallymanders. They could supply hot water to shave etc.

Baking was by kerosene stoves similar to farm Rayburn's with six inch dia. round wicks. You could cook on top of the baking oven as well. Kero is easy to carry and handle. The cooking was set up under canvas.

For carrying troops etc. the refrigerated cargo spaces could be set up as meat and veg. rooms to feed the troops. These were kept at temperature with chilled and frozen brine supplied from the main refrigeration system in the engine room. I was told food for two months for eight hundred men.

I have never carried them but I have seen all the equipment and on these ships I knew how to use it all.

Toilet facilities were of course by the time honoured method of thunderbox.

regards
jimmy

Hugh Ferguson
29th September 2008, 21:10
Any Blue Funnel ship you may have seen with a row of deadlights ranged along the centre-castle deck was capable of carrying deck passengers in large numbers. My earliest experience of this was during my first post-war voyage,still as a middy. The ship was the GLENFINLAS (ex Elpenor) and we had a white crowd (Bosun Tommy Boswell, an old shell-back). Our final port outward was Hong Kong. Whilst in Singapore we removed all of the dead-lights and made other preparations to receive on board many hundreds of Chinese who were returning to Hong Kong after having been used as forced labour by the Japanese during the war. They had, quite literally, been slaves.
Most of their compatriots had perished. They must have endured the most horrendous deprivations you could possibly imagine and they were returning to a China where life would continue on the fringes of mere survival. It is simply beyond belief the capacity some human beings have for surviving such incredible hardships imposed upon them by their fellow human beings,let alone having to survive the many diseases nature can inflict on them when being forced to exist in such circumstances.
(Glenfinlas was a coal burner: Singapore to Hong Kong 5 days!)

Bill Davies
29th September 2008, 23:13
Hugh,
Tommy Boswell was before my time but I remember everyone spoke very highly of him.
Brgds
Bill

Hugh Ferguson
2nd October 2008, 23:21
The last I ever saw of Tommy Boswell we were homeward bound from the Far East (I was 3rd mate in the same ship back to her original name, Elpenor) and we picked up Tommy in Singapore. His wife had been taken ill and he had left his ship and was returning with us as a supernumerary. The only accommodation for poor old Tommy was some kind of a lazarette in the f'c'stle. Being young and much more thoughtless than now I still think of that poor old worn out seaman, who had probably gone to sea in sail as a fourteen year old, undoubtedly lived through two wars and lived a married life most of which would have been apart from his family. Oh, how I now wish I had been thoughtful enough to have offered him the use of my settee!

Bill Davies
2nd October 2008, 23:36
Hugh,

We all have regrets as I illustrated in my post 'WW2 Amazing Happenings'
The good thing about this site is that reflection on the good times usually outweigh the bad.

Brgds

Bill

ken calvert
20th February 2009, 00:49
Have been approached by one Anthony Green, Singapore, to help him in writing a book on the pilgrim trade. Are there any BF member who can help with first hand knowledge eg Tyndareus or Gunung Djati?
I was a junior Engineer on the Tydarius, approx March to December 1955 Making 2 trips from Indonesia to Djedda and two return trips. Also we were press ganged into 1 trip taking Pilgrims from Suez to Djedda I will help if I can. We had births and deaths during these trips and one of our Midshipmen was killed in an accident at Singapore. I also have old (box camera photos). What would you like to know?

Ken Calvert

R651400
21st February 2009, 19:07
Hello there
I'm the Anthony Green mentioned, and you're correct - I'm interested in any experiences of working on the pilgrim ships. I've posted a 'Hi' note somewhere to briefly describe what I am looking for (sorry, but I'm new to the site and the posting business, so please excuse my clumsiness).
I've already had some very interesting details and some good photographs from a number of people but I would be happy to hear from anyone who worked on these pilgrims runs and has any information to share.
Ken welcome aboard SN.
Site member tonygreen as per quotes above I'm sure will welcome any first hand experience of Tyndareus in the fifties pilgrim trade as would any SN Blue Funneller of this unique chapter in AH history particularly photographic.

R58484956
22nd February 2009, 12:44
Greetings Ken and welcome to SN on your first posting. Bon voyage.

steve2
26th February 2009, 13:39
Seem to remember a tale that on the G.J. the public rooms had arrows mounted on the deckheads. These had to be alligned to Mecca before prayers so that the pilgrims could pray in the correct direction. One day the Middy missed out one arrow...........
Steve2

eriskay
26th February 2009, 15:45
The steamer 'Gunung Djati' - one of my first jobs as a first year apprentice in Barclay Curle's Elderslie Drydocks, Scotstoun West, on the Clyde. I recall working on her for about 6-8 weeks, which was a long time for one job in these days, but it was a big job - major refit and conversion work. (This would be around December 1958 / February 1959 approx)

Recall being told she was a German 'Strength Through Joy' vessel during WWII and had been the trooper Empire Orwell before Blue Funnel had her converted at Elderslie Drydocks.

One vivid memory was seeing, somewhere deep down below, some 'padded cells' redolent of her trooping days when it could happen that some poor souls 'lost it' and had to be rendered secure and where they could not self-harm.

Steam turbines, twin screw, as I recall, and by 1959 she was definitiely not in the first flush of youth, but an impressive big liner nonetheless.

Angus Mac Kinnon

ken calvert
16th March 2009, 22:37
Have been approached by one Anthony Green, Singapore, to help him in writing a book on the pilgrim trade. Are there any BF member who can help with first hand knowledge eg Tyndareus or Gunung Djati?

I don't know who will see this but, here goes;- Tyndarius was built circa 1914 and therefore survived 2 world wars. The most visual reminder of this was evident in the engine room where all shipside valves below the waterline were encased in huge concrete blocks. I never saw this on any other ships though I was told it was not uncommon.
She had 9 cargo holds and was powered by twin screw triple expansion reciprocating steam engines fed from 3 double ended scotch boilers, originally coal fired but she had been converted to oil burners with 6 furnaces to each boiler. Each boiler contained 50 tons of water thus they couldn't be filled or emptied without arranging with deck officers to trim the ship!
General cargo was shipped, as normal, to the far east then in Singapore the cargo holds were converted for passengers! This involved putting in ventilation fans and ducting, access stairwells and row upon row of 'Bali balies'(?) i.e. wood based beds. I think we could carry upwards of 1600 passengers per trip but accommodation was certainly not 1st. class! Passenger food was cooked on board by Indonesian cooks (all our pilgrims boarded in Djakarta and Surabaya) and was preceded by ritual killing of livestock! yes, we did carry live goats and chickens on board! Passenger control was in the care of special pursers who, amongst other duties, were supposed to ensure that pregnant ladies did not board. Very strange then that two babies were born on the trips to Mecca! Was money changing hands? I'm sure that to this day one of the newborns would be easily identified because he was christened 'Mohammed Tyndarius'. Are you there?
The schedule was to carry 2 lots of pilgrims to Jeddah then, after carrying out maintenance at Suez, take 2 lots back to Indonesia. During these trips the drinking water was rationed by midshipmen only taking locks off the water taps at certain times of day. Pilgrims got round this by filling hundreds of buckets and storing them in every piece of clear deck space. One of the
downsides to this was that because so many passengers opted to bed down anywhere on deck there were some guys who would urinate over the ship side then rinse their hands in the nearest available bucket! Cheers!
On the trips back from Mecca we had 4 people who died. Very sad, but I guess they had fulfilled a life’s ambition and wouldn't have chosen a better time. They were all buried at sea with a 'stopped engines' service. During the night following the burial of one of the men his wife went missing and was never seen again. Presumably she jumped overboard to join him. Real heartbreak!
We had a surprise awaiting us at Suez. It seemed that one of the ships which had been planned to carry some 1500 Arab pilgrims had failed to turn up and their passengers were rioting on the warf. Despite our protestations and the need for maintenance we were ordered by the embassy to take them to Jeddah. These people were really angry, we had no food for them and needless to say, the midshipmen were not called upon to lock off the water taps during the 2 day trip!
Every cloud has a silver lining however and we crew members were rewarded with a trip to Cairo, the great pyramid, and a 2 nights stay at the renowned Mena House Hotel. Oh yes, we were photographed on camels!
There were three other sad incidents during the 10 month voyage. At Singapore the Chief Steward died of heat exhaustion and one of the midshipmen died when tha taxi bringing him and his friends back to the ship one night ran off the jetty and in to the water. Unfortunately his friends were unable to get him out of the car in time to save him. There was a full uniform funeral service for him held at Connell House which was attended by all the available crew. How sad for one so young. The third incident involved the 5th. Engineer who fell in the engine room, broke his arm, and was shipped back to the UK
Finally, at Singapore again the vessel was refitted for cargoes, loaded, and then back to Liverpool in time for Christmas 1955.
Unfortunately after all this time I can only remember the name of the 6th.Engineer, Arthur Milne so if you’re out there Arthur do say Hello.
I do have some poor quality photos and if anyone would like a copy please let me know where to send them and I'll see what I can do

Trident
17th March 2009, 05:03
Hi Ken, A great story, How about the flys and the smell....Al

R651400
23rd March 2009, 08:50
Ken sincere thanks. Tony Green is a SN member and I hope he picks up your first-hand account of a Tyndareus pilgrim voyage.
Have one for me in the "Swinging Sporran."

Hugh Ferguson
26th March 2009, 14:47
Ken, whilst reading your post (#61) on Tyndareus I searched my Aden log to see if I may have piloted her on the occasion you were there. I discovered that I once piloted her inwards (with pilgrims) on the 2nd June 1955, and on another occasion, outwards, on the 28th May 1956. So, I guess we missed!
Incidentally, during my 19 months as an Aden pilot, I piloted 1,204 ships and of those, 62 were Blueys or Glens: that is an astonishing 5.15% of the ships I piloted, and during my first year there (1955) more than 5,000 passed through the port. I very much doubt if any other shipping company came anywhere near that percentage for ships of all companies and nationalities calling at the port of Aden.

ken calvert
2nd April 2009, 20:34
Ken, whilst reading your post (#61) on Tyndareus I searched my Aden log to see if I may have piloted her on the occasion you were there. I discovered that I once piloted her inwards (with pilgrims) on the 2nd June 1955, and on another occasion, outwards, on the 28th May 1956. So, I guess we missed!
Incidentally, during my 19 months as an Aden pilot, I piloted 1,204 ships and of those, 62 were Blueys or Glens: that is an astonishing 5.15% of the ships I piloted, and during my first year there (1955) more than 5,000 passed through the port. I very much doubt if any other shipping company came anywhere near that percentage for ships of all companies and nationalities calling at the port of Aden.

Hugh, I would have been onboard on 2nd. June 1955 but I guess you didn't go down the engine room so that will be why we missed each other! Pity really, I would have been very happy to join you in a G&T! especialy if you were buying. (once a yorkshire man etc.etc.)
Your figures regarding the numbers or Blueys and Glens dont really surprise me, I'm sure there must be lots of old salts who,like me,thought the company was the biggest and best! I went 'ashore'in Dec 1962 but never lost that feeling of 'belonging' and it was very sad to watch the eventual disappearance of the company (along with many others).
Best wishes Ken

Hugh Ferguson
4th April 2009, 11:32
Ken, I'm sure if I had had the time I would have gone below for a look-see in the engine room of one of those twin screw, nine hatch Blueys the like of which you will never see again. I loved looking and watching big marine engines doing their stuff.
There were several of that class still around during my time (1943/53) in the company, and although I always seemed to be ship-mates with people who had been in them I never got that opportunity, nor even to go on board. Twin screw ships were not all noted for their steering qualities-I remember the the Bay boats were noted for that- but, as far as I recall, the Tyndareus handled like a dream on that occasion, bung light and no wind.
Incidentally, there's one occasion when I did have an opportununty, whilst piloting a ship, to nip down below, and that was when we had come to anchor in a big BP super tanker powered by a huge slow revving diesel. To my amazement-we were only going to be at anchor for a few hours-they had un-shipped the crank case doors for a look at the bottom-ends. Since the ship would have been alongside not many hours later what on earth could have been the urgency to do that!?!?

ken calvert
9th April 2009, 21:47
I was a junior Engineer on the Tydarius, approx March to December 1955 Making 2 trips from Indonesia to Djedda and two return trips. Also we were press ganged into 1 trip taking Pilgrims from Suez to Djedda I will help if I can. We had births and deaths during these trips and one of our Midshipmen was killed in an accident at Singapore. I also have old (box camera photos). What would you like to know?

Ken Calvert

Sorry everybody for spelling the ships name incorrectly! On checking back through my Discharge book, Tyndarius should have been Tyndareus. Stupid me!
Ken Calvert

bev summerill
11th April 2009, 23:16
I waqs with ocean for several years finally being made redundant as chief off in 1983 last ship patroculusI have the engine room bell)
I was then on two libyan passenger ships which did the hadj run from libya

Bev Summerill R754471

tonygreen
12th April 2009, 12:32
Ken sincere thanks. Tony Green is a SN member and I hope he picks up your first-hand account of a Tyndareus pilgrim voyage.
Have one for me in the "Swinging Sporran."

I've finally picked up on the account! Many thanks to Ken Calvert, and profuse apologies for my slow response. I have been 'out of the loop' and pre-occupied with work and other matters.
I'd love to see any photographs that you have, Ken. I'm trying to put together a book that shows the history of the journeys and just how how they were made, the networks of organisation and support, and so on.
Sorry if this is too much - so anything you can recall would be interesting.

Best wishes
Tony

ken calvert
24th April 2009, 23:35
I've finally picked up on the account! Many thanks to Ken Calvert, and profuse apologies for my slow response. I have been 'out of the loop' and pre-occupied with work and other matters.
I'd love to see any photographs that you have, Ken. I'm trying to put together a book that shows the history of the journeys and just how how they were made, the networks of organisation and support, and so on.
Sorry if this is too much - so anything you can recall would be interesting.

Best wishes
Tony
Sorry Tony But I did not have anything to do with the organisation at all so I don't think I can be of much help to your project. Regarding pictures, the passage of time was not kind to the photographs taken with my old box camera. I did manage to salvage only one photo to a reasonable quality with the aid of a digital camera program and my computer. This picture can now be seen in the Passenger ship classification in the 'Gallery' but I could e-mail a copy to you if that would help you. Of course I would need your address!
Good Luck
Ken

lurline
15th July 2009, 14:28
hi friends
i search a picture from the funnel ankersymbol for my model of the GUNUNG DJATI

Hugh Ferguson
26th June 2011, 18:20
Hugh,

You missed your vocation!

Bill

Not quite sure what that implies!

Hugh Ferguson
26th June 2011, 18:23
Should be read in conjunction with Aden Pilot No.7 in the file, Ports, Docks and Harbours.

Hugh Ferguson
26th June 2011, 20:55
I was a junior Engineer on the Tydarius, approx March to December 1955 Making 2 trips from Indonesia to Djedda and two return trips. Also we were press ganged into 1 trip taking Pilgrims from Suez to Djedda I will help if I can. We had births and deaths during these trips and one of our Midshipmen was killed in an accident at Singapore. I also have old (box camera photos). What would you like to know?

Ken Calvert

Ken, Our paths must have crossed for I piloted the Tyndareus into Aden at 0644/2nd June 1955.
I have a marginal note in my log stating that, on arriving on deck, I was greeted by an old ship-mate, Marc Stone by name. We had sailed together in the Glenroy for two voyages in 1951.
I wonder if you knew him-he may have been 2nd mate but I'm not sure about that.
(He died last December 2010).

Hugh Ferguson
26th June 2011, 22:49
Cont. Jabs were easy but vaccination was trickier. If, as you should, you put the drop of vaccine on the skin before scratching it you can easily lose sight of it and scratch in the wrong place which is a bit of waste of time and vaccine. But, we mastered it and the whole operation, as far as we know, worked a treat and we immunised all of the passengers in the course of the day.

So now, Ajax could settle into the passage due west from Pulo Weh to Dondra Head. Normal watches but with an hour or so of extra work at the end of each to go around the 'tween decks to see that all was well-that nobody was lighting fires below decks. To check that there were no signs of illness or epidemic. To discover the corpse should any have died, or the child if anyone had given birth. To see that all of the stand pipes were locked, for they were only opened at certain limited times of the day. To tell your relief that all was apparently well, and turn in.

Bill Lambert was 4th engineer in the Ajax in 1948: I guess he would have been aged in his early twenties which would place him now in his mid eighties.
I cannot imagine any junior engineer emerging from the engine room these days, at the end of his watch and still in his oil stained overalls, having a hypodermic syringe thrust in hands and being expected to get on with the job of injecting pilgrims with T.A.B.C.. See post #31 for thumbnail.
Anybody ever remember a Bill Lambert?

Hugh Ferguson
27th June 2011, 10:53
This thumbnail is of the last page in my old ship-mate, Ian Jackson's memoirs, recorded in his, ONE MAN'S VOYAGES.

Hugh Ferguson
27th June 2011, 11:59
Ian Jackson's first and last ships-Antilochus and Ajax.
In the Antilochus a war-time voyage to South America!!
In the Ajax a "double yorker" finishing, after a year, with pilgrims to Jeddah.

As far as the Blue Funnel Line is concerned you could not imagine two such differing voyages in two such differing ships!!

Glen Mandagie
4th September 2011, 16:41
I sailed on Gunung Djati late 1950's as Midshipman with Capt. Macmillan in command. Found him to be sometimes overstrict, however, fair with it. Later sailed as 3rd.Mate with him in command, finding him to be a good egg.