Ben Line MAR; courses.

ian keyl
25th March 2009, 13:03
I attended like many other MN cadets a Mid apprentice Course at Londons King Edward VII college in Whitechapel.
These were usually three month courses to bring cadets up to date with thier correspondance courses and bring on hopefully thier academic skills.

I was there from the17 .September 67 to 16th December 67, I was on leave just prior o the course and broke my ankle twa days before the cousre commenced , I contacted out marine supt in Edinburgh capt robb who said i was to continue to attend, sofor the forst two weeks i was on crutches which was hell but all the other lads there gave you a helping hand. Once off the crutches it was full steam ahaed with all the rest doing the rounds of all the haunts the Prospect of Whitby, Lee Green nurses home fo dances and others, various indian and chinese resturants or carry outs for chips and curry sauce no big spenders on our wages.
There were lads from BP,trident ,Clan line ,P&O and others.
I remember tyaking my lifeboat ticket at St Kathrines dock and there was an old man who took us for our training and exams his nick name was DOG F**k and what a fog horn of a voice he had if you were across at the other side of the dock and were making a mistake of some sort he would ball out saying he would give you some of the above (nick name ) when you got back alongside. His voice used to echo on the walls of the old warehouses that sourrounded the dock. Your first time at amking a mistake you crapd yourself incase he did carry out his threat. You certainly made sure you paid attention once he had shouted out your name.

We had a cadet from Jersey his name was Pete Brown (his parents had a hotel in St Hillier I think ) Pete was at sea with Trident I think and his nick name was peanuts but a great guy.

One night at the Propect we were celebrating his birthday and there were loads of americans in there and Peanuts ended up being debagged to the point the only reckonisable part of his clothes was the "Y" of his y fronts which we put on his head like a skull cap. I used to always carry a rolled up plastic mack and i loned to him to wear otherwise the land lord was going to throw him out. we eventually staggered up to Commercial Road and caught a bus back to whitechapel ,on the way back Peanuts was the focus of attention as the plastic mack was very ligh grey in coour and somewhat seethru.

On the course we had to to do three??? (maybe more) days on the Glenn Strathalen for radar observers training ,restricted radio telephone and ships handling.

While on this vessel which was great cadets took in turn to make the night cap of cocao after the evening lessons, there was a small pantry outside the skippers cabin which was used for this and they had a calor gas bottle with a burner on a stand to boil the water. Usually the vessel was anchored off Southend pier which was used for radar observations and ploting other vessels in the river.

The PLA used to give out notices to traffic to pass slowly and not too close as were were an observation vessel of some sort. on the evening It was my turn with a fellow cadet to boil the water and dish ot the mash a vessel passed cloe to at speed and caused a large swell. As you can guess the Glens rocked and pitched a fair bit being a fine hull. The next thing i was standing in the pantry and this boiler tipped over and scalded my legs and ankles and the burner then set fire to my trousers, the lad who was with me propelled me out of the pantry onto the floor in front of the old mans cabin he came out to all my shouts of anger and pain they dragged me into his cabin and he gave me a small phile dose of morphine and a pillow to bite on . I was in great pain as i had 2nd degee burns on my ankles and lower legs.

The crew had summond the PLA health dept who sent out the doctors launch which was coming down from Gravesend, I t seemed like ages for the launch to come and i understand it was against a flood tide . When they arrived they decided a conventional strecher was too big for the narrow allyways so they put me in a Neilson strecher.

Leaving the Glenn Strathallen I was turned always up and down to get me off the vessel passing me over the bulwark from a pretty high free board to the launch at alower level with the Thames flowing fast below me was an ordeal and again seems likes ages suspended between the two vessels.

The next thing i remember was lying on the table inthe surgery and looking up thru the skylights and seeing the blue lights pulsating in the dark.

I was taken to the North Kent hospital and was threre for four days before they let me out and back to college just in time for end of the course.

besides all the miss haps it was a great experience and a very good group of friends unfortunatley i cannot remember any of thier names .

Just to add back at college down in the laundry room where they had a huge steam pipe drying room and all the dhobi gear we used to gather and have free Hot Chocolate from the college machine , we used to pull it away from the wall and with a wire coat hanger thru a hole in the back we would switch it to free vend,normally 4p for a cup?? If any of you were there at the time i would love to hear from you.
Keep her steady.

Rgds Ian

EBenarty
25th April 2009, 22:50
I was there in May 1968 and enjoyed it !! I took my Lifeboat and EDH cerrtificates in St. Katerines dock and fine do I remember Dog Fu** the instructer!!! The Glen Stratallan we did 4 days for the RT restricted ticket and slept in hammocks .I believe she was sunk in the 70,s. The prospect of Whitby was our hang out !!

Waighty
31st May 2011, 20:16
I was there in May 1968 and enjoyed it !! I took my Lifeboat and EDH cerrtificates in St. Katerines dock and fine do I remember Dog Fu** the instructer!!! The Glen Stratallan we did 4 days for the RT restricted ticket and slept in hammocks .I believe she was sunk in the 70,s. The prospect of Whitby was our hang out !!

Likewise. I was MAR April to July 1968. Don't remember learning anything academic but remember a lot about keg beer! Cooper's Arms (Bill and Grace (now gone and replaced by flats)), The Grapes (the only one in it's original style), The Prospect (a shadow of its former self - sanitised, gastro and characterless), City Arms (still there but also gastro and completely changed), Star of the East (corner of Commercial Rd and West India Dock Rd, building's still there but all boarded up), The Blue Post (completely gone in an act of unwarranted vandalism; it was a true blue tiled Victorian masterpiece just out side the dock gates).

I remember the dockers canteen in London Dock just over the way from St Katherine Docks, great lunch for "one and six". Where the lifeboat davits used to be is now a seating area for a faux old pub called the Charles Dickens (reputedly made from the old timbers of knocked down warehouses. Dogf**k was some character but at least he got the knowledge into us. I seem to recall an AB from Shell who when asked to box the compass from NE to SE said "NE, don't know, SE" - he didn't pass.

The Glen Stathallan was sunk deliberately somewhere south of the Isle of Wight to be a fishhaven, however they missed the pre-agreed sinking position by a wide margin! At the time they had five folk with Extra Masters on board - navigation? The mind boggles.

John Cassels
1st June 2011, 08:10
There have been a number of threads on this subject over the years.

Was there jan - april '66.

CaptainG
16th February 2014, 21:04
I was there in 1970, even then exactly the same, including old DF....He fell in the dock off our boat and was still yelling orders whilst hanging on to the gunwhale. Said he was going to tell his wife he took the dog for a walk in the long wet grass to explain his sodden trousers......chuckle. Great days, and don't forget the female teachers training college at Greenwich? I think!

Waighty
18th March 2014, 17:11
I was there in 1970, even then exactly the same, including old DF....He fell in the dock off our boat and was still yelling orders whilst hanging on to the gunwhale. Said he was going to tell his wife he took the dog for a walk in the long wet grass to explain his sodden trousers......chuckle. Great days, and don't forget the female teachers training college at Greenwich? I think!

It was called "Raggy Mags" (official name Rachel MacMillan Teachers Training College, Female) and they were great fun; more Deptford than Greenwich I think although you had to use the Greenwich Foot Tunnel to reach the place.

CaptainG
29th March 2014, 22:13
Oh Yeah Thanks, Raggy Mags....Yep, I walked through that tunnel a few times......