Capt Brittain

Albert Bishop
28th April 2009, 15:54
Did anyone sail with Capt Brittain. and was he the strict disciplinarian he was reputed to be, I believe his brother was sargent major Brittain, well known for his loud voice on the parade ground. Sailed with him once but it was just a weeks run job and I found him ok. Cheers, Albi

mclean
28th April 2009, 16:32
Albert, I sailed with Jimmy Brittain on two occasions during my apprenticeship, ACHATINA in 1958 and HYRIA 1959/60. Never did figure out what I did wrong to deserve this. He hated to see apprentices idle and was constantly on our backs. Yes the rumour was that his brother was a Sargent Major. He would constantly tell me that I would never pass 2nd.Mates. and when I did, was told by a friend who was sailing as 3rd.mate with him that his comment was..good lad that mclean knew he would pass! Go figure. He passed away some ten years ago around the Tyne area. Rgds. Colin

KEITH SEVILLE
28th April 2009, 18:01
Albert

I didn't sail with Jimmy Brittain but had the experience of looking after his ship in port. I remember the Asprella being his last command before retiring and he was a very difficult man to please. He had a very shrewd personality and I can recall on one occasion when he had docked into Eastham Locks on the Mersey he arranged for the ships gangway to be fitted so that his wife
had no trouble getting onboard. They boarded the ship as if they were King
and Queen !
I came off the ship with him when he retired and I guess there was a sigh of relief to see him go. Captain George Bennison took over from him ,a completely different person and easy going.

Regards
Keith

Wilco
28th April 2009, 23:09
I had the misfortune to sail on two occasions with Jimmy Britten, once as an apprentice . The second time was as third mate in the early 50's. Our original master was landed sick in Las Palmas & on arriving in Curacao my heart dropped as there on the quay stood Jimmy. The vessel was the "Newcombia". Where as an apprentice he had hounded me & my mate once he found that I was now married his approach was "Step out of line once & I'll break the two of you."
About the only time he was anything like human was if after listening to the football results on a saturday on the BBC overseas service Newcastle had won, if they hadn't beware.
I had to suffer a further 10months of Jimmy, the longest 10months of my time at sea & one of my main reasons for leaving Shell.

Wilco

Albert Bishop
29th April 2009, 18:52
Seems J Brit lived up to his reputation. He was notorious in the fleet, and I admit I was not pleased on joining the Hemiglypta in Dundee to find him skipper. However God must have takem pity on me, as it turned out to be just a run job to Wales. So we never really saw much of him. Cheers Albi

mclean
30th April 2009, 00:13
Wilco, I can relate to all you say. Unfortunately he made life quite miserable for us all, especially when you are stuck with it for up to a year. One funny story....ACHATINA proceeding through Kiel Canal. On the bridge Pilot,3rd. Mate and myself (apprentice). Jimmy was in his cabin. 3rd. Mate name of Jennings, spots a few lovely girls in bikinys sun bathing on the beach. 3rd. Mate climbs over port bridge wing onto port sidelight waving to the girls. I was on the wing of the bridge, and all I could see was the 3rd. Mates right ha nd holding onto the bridge wing. I turned round and there was Jimmy coming out from the wheelhouse. He went really ballistic. Jennings who was a great character took it all in his stride with Jimmy jumping up and down on the wing of the bridge. Jennings left Shell and joined the Police Force. I irst met Jennings when up for my interview with Shell at Ibex House and he was the Apprentice attending the Shell booth at the Schoolboys exhibition in London in 1956. Rgds Colin

alan mason
9th August 2009, 00:26
my worst experience whilst with shell was during my first trip to sea 1956 1957 with C/e john Dunlevy this was the begining of camp humour and he got into his head i was gay and made my life a misery even to physical abuse I new more hiding places than the rats. but every chief after that made up for dunlevy probian 1

kalibah
9th August 2010, 20:40
Never sailed with J B but did sail with another of his ilk,Fingers Morrissreputed to have lost his fingers on both hands when some one herode to often slammed a tank lid on them,nasty doesnt describe this man..
Charles (Kalibah)

Aberdonian
22nd May 2012, 12:08
I sailed as extra Third Mate for just a month in 1959 under Captain Brittain in the Achatina. I had just obtained my Second Mates ticket after an apprenticeship in dry cargo vessels so I found the intricacies of white spirit handling a bit of a challenge! As for the good Captain, I was forewarned to keep a low profile. The name of Apprentice John Murray is the only other one that comes to mind right now.

During my 2 year contract with Shell I also sailed in the Helcion and, best of all, the Latia when she was under charter to Shell Italiano.

Aberdonian

TOM ALEXANDER
22nd May 2012, 17:18
Never sailed with the subject of this thread, but I did, when with the Army Cadets at Dartford Grammar School, circa 1954 have occasion when at summer camp at the Guards training camp in Pirbright to have the privilege of undergoing 45 minutes parade ground drill under Regimental Sergeant Major Brittain. Reputed to have the loudest voice in the British Army. Real stickler for detail, but that also reflected on the way he was turned out himself -- not a thing out of place.

abzexile
20th August 2012, 09:43
Sailed with him as first trip J/E. We had 'stood by' the 'Donacilla' being built in Thompsons of Sunderland.
He was only a 'wee' man from Belfast. (My father was in the BB with him). Anyway when he was giving you a rollicking he would get you to sit down and then he would stand up, made him seem bigger.
When JB said he would write to my dad and tell him of mis-demeanors, dad said to tell him to use the paper to wipe his a---. I never did of course.
There are lots of stories about JB, from wearing white gloves on Sunday inspections to not being allowed to sail with white crews.

oldbosun
7th September 2012, 16:25
I was AB with him on Shell's "Linga". A little man. Stood on a box to be able to see over the bridge wing. He had a monster size pair of binoculars. We were told they were range finders, captured from a Jap warship. They would bring alongside a ship that was on the horizon.
I must say he never bothered the sailors and it seems it was Cadets that mostly bothered him.
If you want a Shell Captain that did bother sailors and anyone else on the ship that was breathing. How about Captain Robertson of the "Theobaldius"? I did 7 months of sheer hell with that man. Nastiest man I ever sailed with on 28 different ships.

mclean
3rd June 2013, 02:20
I sailed as extra Third Mate for just a month in 1959 under Captain Brittain in the Achatina. I had just obtained my Second Mates ticket after an apprenticeship in dry cargo vessels so I found the intricacies of white spirit handling a bit of a challenge! As for the good Captain, I was forewarned to keep a low profile. The name of Apprentice John Murray is the only other one that comes to mind right now.

During my 2 year contract with Shell I also sailed in the Helcion and, best of all, the Latia when she was under charter to Shell Italiano.

Aberdonian

I sailed on Achatina as deck apprentice dec 4th 1958, (new building at Vegesack) to oct. 1959. Jimmy was Master throughout. Say no more!! rgds Colin

Aberdonian
3rd June 2013, 15:19
I sailed on Achatina as deck apprentice dec 4th 1958, (new building at Vegesack) to oct. 1959. Jimmy was Master throughout. Say no more!! rgds Colin

It looks like we sailed together, Colin. I joined the Achatina at Thameshaven on 19 June 1959 and paid off at Saltend the following month. We called at Rotterdam twice and Gothenberg between times.

Regards,

Keith

david dunlop
15th March 2014, 13:32
Yes I sailed with that B...... during the 50s on the TAGELUS. one of the remaining T.2s. I was E.D.H. at the time,as well as making our deck crew miserable, the poor cadets went through HELL. The worst 9 months I ever spent at sea.I do not know what was wrong with the man. I would never of had employed him,I did hear that one of his previous wives jumped over the side on one of trips with him how true I do not know,but understandable.

Aberdonian
22nd March 2014, 22:15
Wilco, I can relate to all you say. Unfortunately he made life quite miserable for us all, especially when you are stuck with it for up to a year. One funny story....ACHATINA proceeding through Kiel Canal. On the bridge Pilot,3rd. Mate and myself (apprentice). Jimmy was in his cabin. 3rd. Mate name of Jennings, spots a few lovely girls in bikinys sun bathing on the beach. 3rd. Mate climbs over port bridge wing onto port sidelight waving to the girls. I was on the wing of the bridge, and all I could see was the 3rd. Mates right ha nd holding onto the bridge wing. I turned round and there was Jimmy coming out from the wheelhouse. He went really ballistic. Jennings who was a great character took it all in his stride with Jimmy jumping up and down on the wing of the bridge. Jennings left Shell and joined the Police Force. I irst met Jennings when up for my interview with Shell at Ibex House and he was the Apprentice attending the Shell booth at the Schoolboys exhibition in London in 1956. Rgds Colin

Colin,

The attached photo is of the Second Mate of the Latia, taken in 1960, whose name I am now unsure of but believe it could be Jennings.
Can you please confirm either way?
Incidentally, another of the apprentices in the Achatina you may recall was Reynolds whom I bumped into some time later in Willemstad
when I was in the Helcion.

Regards
Keith

joe shell
25th March 2014, 07:46
in a nostalgic mood was trying to find a 1957 posting in the Straits Times, Connell House came to mind, clickingon the first post read I could have written myself by yourself. I have many a tale to tell of the 'months' spent there with a final eviction along with 3 Aus & I Kiwi Engineers and we greatly benefitted by it. I still regret the lost contact with the first finger I put a ring on. Only found this site 23/03/14Cheers.

kevancorcoran
6th April 2014, 19:00
I was a first trip 16 year old cadet on Asprella when Jimmy Brittain joined us for his final command before retiring. There were a lot of tales going around about him when we knew he was coming. Of course, I had never heard of him or his reputation before and although I only sailed with him for a few months, I have to say he treated me with respect and went out of his way to greatly help me at the start of my seagoing career.

david dunlop
6th April 2014, 20:25
I was a first trip 16 year old cadet on Asprella when Jimmy Brittain joined us for his final command before retiring. There were a lot of tales going around about him when we knew he was coming. Of course, I had never heard of him or his reputation before and although I only sailed with him for a few months, I have to say he treated me with respect and went out of his way to greatly help me at the start of my seagoing career.

Must have mellowed before retiring,First good word Ive heard about him.He hated cadets especially.