slave labour?

jimthehat
11th June 2009, 12:11
seeing so many entrys from B/L apps from the early 50s got me to wondering how we were treated.
When I joined maplebank in aug 52 the senior app was placed on day work and the other 3 put on watches.I was allocated to the 8-12 watch and on departing the Surrey comm docks that evening found my self on second wheel. For the next 18 months we worked under the control of the bosun and only ate in the saloon while we were in port,so we were only classed as second class JOS,never received my correspondance course til I joined my second ship.
nevertheless I had a great time with Weirs and have some wonderful memories,and yet I never met any of the old bankliner who grace the SN site.
JIM(K)

John Campbell
11th June 2009, 16:39
Jim, I tend to agree with you regarding our treatment whilst apprentices.
I was hospitalized in Calcutta with dysentery after my second month at sea on my first trip. The Mate and the old man were very hard on us three lads and I was lying in my hospital bed when the Super Captain Gale came to see me. He gave me a rollicking for not utilizing my time there by neglecting my correspondence course. He went mental when I told him I had not got such things and when I got back to the ship our Master Capt Smith gave me a right dressing down for telling Gale about it. He had the C. Course in his room all the time and for some reason never handed them out.
Made you appreciate that you must never let the "B's" grind you down Jim.
JC

Alistair Macnab
11th June 2009, 17:12
Although I was an apprentice later on than Jim and John were, I did sail with one particularly sadistic Mate who made the three apprentices life perfectly miserable. We even plotted to murder him but never carried it out. Didn't have the nerve! He actually plotted traps for us to fall into so that he could spend hours bollocking us out at all times of the day or night.
Bottom line was that all three of us resolved not to continue a sea career but after two years we were actually hardened to the mental abuse and able to carry on our lives despite the old bugger.
Was it good 'training'? I think not. The man was obviously psychotic and should never have been put in charge of teenagers.
The company also had reservations about him because he was passed over for promotion to Master several times and was quite the longest serving Mate in the company but eventually he was given command. By that time he was much older and had the aleviating effect of his wife sailing with him to curb his excesses.

jimthehat
11th June 2009, 22:37
going slightly off track,can anyone remember who capt. gales deputy in calcutta was?/Whilst we were up in Chittagong holding the berth over xmas ,he came up with his wife and spent a few days,for those who know the ships he was in one of those nice delux cabins just under the bridge.

JIM

Bill Davies
11th June 2009, 22:48
Slave Labour? I think this arguement has been well overplayed with respect to Middy's, cadets, apprentices etc. I do not recall Middy's in the China being used as 'slave labour' or being abused in any way and I do not recall Cadets/apprentices in other company's I sailed in having it that bad. It was all part of the process. I do however, remember being at anchor in some obscure port as Ch.Mate and having regular dialogue with a German Ch.Mate on an NBC 'Ore' carrier and the real concept of 'slave labour' dawned on me.
I did something about it.

Bill

Alistair Macnab
12th June 2009, 00:35
Captain Gale's number two was Captain Eady and later Captain John Mackenzie after Gale and Eady separately went to London. Many of you will remember Eady as the Arch Cassab. He was also aboard the t.s.m.v."Speybank" and was a POW in Germany. John Mackenzie was the roving super and relieved in Calcutta, Durban and Rabaul.
Engineer Superintendent in Calcutta was Mr. Smith.

Alan Rawlinson
12th June 2009, 07:55
I remember getting a sh.....y personal letter from one of the Weir family in the London Office (still have it somewhere in the loft) about being slack with the correspondence course etc. terribly disappointed etc etc.. My answer then was the same as it is now - begins with B. ( I fondly imagined he was being trained in how to deal with the seagoing staff)

The truth is the whole system creaked along, and we were all at the mercy of the drunks, tyrants, and misfits who played God for up to 2 yrs or more.

The happy memories, and ' magic ' moments shine through and endure better than the downside, thank goodness!

AL

xrm
12th June 2009, 11:54
I was a Bank Line Apprentice from 1967 to 1970 or there abouts. Sailed with a variety of mates - good and bad, drunk and sober. One broke his leg after a bad "fall" and another got shut in a deep tank - by mistake you understand.

Two or three apps could turn out the same work as the entire deck crew so it is easy to see why they often had a heavy work load.

Anyway it taught me to face life head on and when I left to sit my ticket there was very little I didn't know about the upkeep and running of a cargo vessel or watchkeeping.

Would I do it again - why not - if it existed!

Jim Harris
12th June 2009, 13:08
I was apprenticed shore-side and although not slave labour,
it was definitely very cheap labour.

And like some of the other posters, there were certainly some
obnoxious bosses to contend with, but at least we could go
home at night and didn't have to worry about it 24 hours a day
7 days a week.:sweat:

But I think that you've summed it up, Jim.

The good and happy times that you had, just swamp and sweep
the bad ones away.(Thumb)

Regards,

Jim.

James_C
12th June 2009, 14:24
On Tankers it was much the same, especially during tank cleaning where you could be working continuously for a couple of days at a time, kipping when you got a chance in either the deck store or in the top of the pumproom.
All this so the Mate didn't have to get the crowd out and pay them overtime!

GWB
12th June 2009, 14:51
An apprenticeship is a course of learning and development to improve yourself, along with advice and training from seniors with study to hopefully ensure you improved on their skills and knowledge to be better than they where, there is no greater satisfaction than seeing a apprentice achieving more than you.

GWB

Jim Harris
12th June 2009, 15:34
And I wonder what sort of Masters and Mates that you all
turned out to be?

Did you seek revenge for the treatment that you received, or
were you more benevolent and understanding after your
experiences?


Regards,

Jim.

John Campbell
12th June 2009, 15:46
I was on the Eskbank - his last trip as seagoing master-with Capt. Eady - he was a New Zealander and a fine chap. We were going into Beira and maneuvering to pick up the pilot when we collided with the S.T. "Davanger" putting a big dent in our bow and destroying a bit of the superstructure on the tankers stern. Eady was sure he was going to get a super's job then. He was then relieved a few months later by first trip master Capt. Allen. Eady eventually went to the London office I believe.

jimthehat
12th June 2009, 19:48
Yup,
Capt. eady was a great guy, I can remember standing at the gangway every morning waiting for the bank line sampan to bring him on board.
yes a bank line app in the 50s was definitely cheap labour when there was a white crew on board,as i have mentioned previously the mate handed us 4 apps over to the bosun who then had us for 18 months.

jim

lakercapt
12th June 2009, 21:26
Yup,
yes a bank line app in the 50s was definitely cheap labour when there was a white crew on board,as i have mentioned previously the mate handed us 4 apps over to the bosun who then had us for 18 months.

jim

As an apprentice with Ropners I would say that tramp ships tended to treat their apprentices as reliable cheap workers and on call whenever the deck crew had a boozy run ashore.
For three years we never ate in the saloon (except on Christmas day) and any time spent on the bridge was steering, lookout or polishing the bright work.
When I achieved a mates/masters job I always ensured that they were treated well with proper instruction in the arts of navigation etc.
Made certain they knew the deck work side too.
There were no correspondence courses and each year we got an exam from the MN Training board with no time to study for it.
Would I do it again
NO WAY
Course there are many others that were treated well but alas I was not one of them

Macphail
12th June 2009, 21:39
Palm Oil Deep Tanks...

The "Wings" tank cleaning squad in Singapore prepared the tanks on the China boats with Harry Chow in charge.

Bank Line, before loading in Rabaul, the deck cadets prepared the tanks under the whip of the Mate, I did feel very sorry for them, steaming out the the tanks with caustic pellets in the water, no protective clothing with caustic burns on there legs, all for the fat faced b*****d owner.
YES cheap slave labour did prevail.

John

John Rogers
12th June 2009, 21:58
When I was on the Moraybank in 1948 the apprentices were all in their senior year and were fine crop of young men, I met one of them three year later and he was the third mate on a Port Line ship so he didn't stay with the Bank line. The master and mate were also fine gentlemen,the masters name was R.H. Hunghton or something like that(hard to read his name in my book)after all these years,he was a man getting on in years.

John.

peter3807
12th June 2009, 22:37
I served my time with a tramp company in the early 70's and still look back on it as the best 3 years of my working life. I was like a pig in s**t. We worked hard on deck, had to be cleaned up and in the saloon for our meals, on the bridge 4 to 8, lots of s**t jobs, loved it. Sailed with some excellent young company mates and a few more elderly off the pool. Always got encouragement and given responsibility. Worst experiences were working with young crews off a certain pool where the regular liner trades were declining. They were no longer welcome on the container line signing on in that port so had to take the tramp. Absolute nightmare, big chips on shoulders, violent and threatening, drink and drugs. A couple of them were asked to make up some wire strops, Bosun found them in the focsle with a book trying to work out how to do a wire splice. The cadets finished the job. The bullying was pretty bad, I ended up in a fight ashore reminiscent of Newby and Hermannson. Still enjoyed the trip. Like a previous poster said, we remember the the good times. I also remember the bad times, but thats life we get on with it. Nothing I experienced at sea was as bad as I experienced in my careers ashore. I was probably lucky.

Peter

Johnnietwocoats
12th June 2009, 22:39
Cheap labour........Yup....

See photo of three Apprentices having a Smoke after cleaning the holds of Carbon Black in Lyttellton......Guess we figured there was just a little bit more room in the lungs for a a little more pollution....LOL

For your info.....John Pye, Lefty (Howard) Wright, and Paddy (Dave) Ramsay. My first trip on the Eastbank from july 60 to July 61. I had a great time on that ship....Loved every minute of my first year.....Johnnietwocoats


http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/155228/ppuser/31929

BTW. The crew list for the Eastbank that year was as follows.
Master.........R. Lidstone. First trip master I think
Mate............S Mallory
2nd Mate.....M J Arthur
3rd mate.....W. Mclennan
Apps 1........ Dave Ramsay
Apps 2........ H Wright
Apps 3 ....... J Pye
Ch. Eng ...... N harrison
2nd Eng ..... J J Brown
3rd Eng ...... H Nesbitt
4th Eng ...... N A M MacRaild
5th Eng....... K Hill
6th Eng....... A Bell
Lecky.......... R A Todd
2nd Lecky...... E C Winters
R'O........ C A S Hodgson

JimC
13th June 2009, 20:02
In '52, I wrote to several companies for an Apprenticeship - including B/L.
So glad I chose Denholms!!!!!!!

Hugh Ferguson
13th June 2009, 20:40
I'm sure glad I went to sea as an apprentice in the Blue Funnel Line!!
We always ate in the saloon and would have preferred not to on account of having to clean-up, don a uniform and back into working gear after-and all in just 60 minutes.
Some years later I had the amazing coincidence of passing a tramp ship in the Red Sea which required a doctor's attendance. I took the boat away with our doctor and whilst he was about his business I went aboard and found myself in the Cape St. David-what's amazing about that you may ask!
Some ten years before, having failed to gain entry into a liner company I resorted to the Pool and the first ship to be offered was the Cape St. David (sometime in 1943). I was not able to join on account of having to await some dental treatment. It was then I realised just how lucky I had been!!

jmcg
14th June 2009, 11:04
From the various postings above it appears to me that we all wanted to go to sea, we all wanted a job but a large number didn't want to WORK. Hard work cannot be construed as "Slave Labour".

Without labouring (sic) the point (covered elsewhere on SN) I sailed with one of most demanding and unforgiving Bosuns in Blue Flue. He worked us hard (including the middies when/where appropriate), was generous when the task was accomplished to his satisfaction but most damnatory when poor quality or slack attitude was presented.

Extremely hard work coupled with low pay: YES
Slave labour : NO

BW

J

Bill Davies
14th June 2009, 11:20
Good post John. Somewhat more direct than my post # 5.
Hard work went hand in glove in the China. It made no difference if you were one of 'the crowd' or a 'middy'.

Brgds

Bill

James_C
14th June 2009, 13:43
It wasn't uncommon on those ships which permanently had a couple of cadets/apprentices onboard for the company concerned to reduce the number of ABs by the same number. These lads were expected to do the same jobs yet were paid less.
Cadets didn't get paid any overtime either, however as you know the crew most certainly did, with the result that the former could and would be required to turn to regardless of the time simply because they didn't have to be paid overtime.
Since Cadets were to all intents and purposes supernumeraries the Mate could get away with working them continuously, sometimes for days - however if he tried that on with the AB's then they would quite rightly refuse. These Apprentices had no recourse to this treatment, if you didn't like it you were gone, however if the ABs didn't approve of their treatment you had the NUS to fall back on. The only reason this was accepted was because it was a means to an end, no more.
By anyones definition that's cheap/slave labour.
There's a distinct difference between being having a thorough and in depth practical and theoretical understanding of your job and what was in some cases downright abuse.
Still, shouldn't complain, it was all part of lifes rich tapestry after all.

joebuckham
14th June 2009, 14:03
It wasn't uncommon on those ships which permanently had a couple of cadets/apprentices onboard for the company concerned to reduce the number of ABs by the same number. These lads were expected to do the same jobs yet were paid less.
Cadets didn't get paid any overtime either, however as you know the crew most certainly did, with the result that the former could and would be required to turn to regardless of the time simply because they didn't have to be paid overtime.
Since Cadets were to all intents and purposes supernumeraries the Mate could get away with working them continuously, sometimes for days - however if he tried that on with the AB's then they would quite rightly refuse. These Apprentices had no recourse to this treatment, if you didn't like it you were gone, however if the ABs didn't approve of their treatment you had the NUS to fall back on. The only reason this was accepted was because it was a means to an end, no more.
By anyones definition that's cheap/slave labour.
There's a distinct difference between being having a thorough and in depth practical and theoretical understanding of your job and what was in some cases downright abuse.
Still, shouldn't complain, it was all part of lifes rich tapestry after all.
_______________
Regards,

Jim


hi james, i was a cadet with albyn line and we certainly were paid overtime, albeit an insulting amount, a shilling an hour in the first year if i remember rightly . i thought that was one of the differences between apprentices and cadets

James_C
14th June 2009, 14:12
Joe,
Thanks for that, I didn't realise anyone did. Yes, as a cadet you were more a recognised 'employee' so to speak rather than an indentured man.
Saying that, with many Cadets/Apps etc if you grafted above and beyond etc you'd occasionally be rewarded with a case of beer!

joebuckham
14th June 2009, 14:52
Joe,
Thanks for that, I didn't realise anyone did. Yes, as a cadet you were more a recognised 'employee' so to speak rather than an indentured man.
Saying that, with many Cadets/Apps etc if you grafted above and beyond etc you'd occasionally be rewarded with a case of beer!

i must'nt have been working hard enough(?HUH) (Jester)

jmcg
14th June 2009, 15:33
Save for one occasion never ever received a case of beer from the OM or Mate for "crowd" consumption. The one exception was from Capt Ronnie Safe on Jebsens Binsnes. Came up from the foc'sle and never forgot it either.

BW

J

randcmackenzie
14th June 2009, 15:43
I was paid overtime as a Denholm apprentice. Not a big hourly rate, but it made a BIG difference to your earnings.

I would say I was worked very hard, but not abused.

James_C
14th June 2009, 16:23
i must'nt have been working hard enough(?HUH) (Jester)

Joe,
When a first tripper myself and the other Cadet earnt a case of beer after painting the (very tall) funnel between us, as the crowd weren't keen!
Mind you the Mate there was fond of the amber nectar and probably just wanted someone to drink with!
(Pint)(Jester)

JimC
16th June 2009, 18:49
Think the point is being missed here!

As a cadet, Apprentice, Middy or whatever, you were supposed to be there to be trained and learn about your chosen trade. If you still have your Indentures - they're well worth a re-read.
Most lads were under the age of 18 when they started and as such were in the care of the Master. I don't remember any Master I sailed with encouraging the young lads to hit the booze. What I do remember though is that every watch had a 'learner' who was paid in 'washers' while the other two were paid a reasonable going rate. As for the long hours chipping, scraping, sougey-ing, painting, cleaning out holds, night watchmaning, cargo watching, tallying etc. and all those other enjoyable, educational tasks which seemd to take up most of our working lives - I suppose there was some psychology to it - you know: 'I was abused as a child therefore I will abuse my children'. Why else would some of the old hands look back on these demeaning, sometimes pointless tasks as being 'good for the soul' or the other old sweetie: 'character-building' ? OK! slaves were not paid - we were, but how much of your time as a 'learner' was actual tuition by your peers?

David E
16th June 2009, 23:55
Think the point is being missed here!

As a cadet, Apprentice, Middy or whatever, you were supposed to be there to be trained and learn about your chosen trade. If you still have your Indentures - they're well worth a re-read.
Most lads were under the age of 18 when they started and as such were in the care of the Master. I don't remember any Master I sailed with encouraging the young lads to hit the booze. What I do remember though is that every watch had a 'learner' who was paid in 'washers' while the other two were paid a reasonable going rate. As for the long hours chipping, scraping, sougey-ing, painting, cleaning out holds, night watchmaning, cargo watching, tallying etc. and all those other enjoyable, educational tasks which seemd to take up most of our working lives - I suppose there was some psychology to it - you know: 'I was abused as a child therefore I will abuse my children'. Why else would some of the old hands look back on these demeaning, sometimes pointless tasks as being 'good for the soul' or the other old sweetie: 'character-building' ? OK! slaves were not paid - we were, but how much of your time as a 'learner' was actual tuition by your peers?

Well said. Starting in 1949,I think I probably qualify as the most ancient,ancient of the Bank Line Apprentices. As you commented,the undertakings in our Indentures were not honoured properly and the degree of training in watchkeeping and navigation depended entirely on the Master and Mate. I was lucky in that I spent over half my time in the "Inchanga" with first class opportunities and training with the officers we had there. The other half, in the rest of the fleet, was a waste of time.
Reflecting earlier comments, I did not see a correspondence course throughout my time and was told to take away and finish at leisure the only annual exam I ever saw. I think Bury Street had an illusion of care that simply did not exist.
I enjoyed a lot of the years,did not feel that I was being used as "slave labour" but left the Company at the end of my time .

Johnnietwocoats
17th June 2009, 00:37
In my four years as a Bank Line Apprentice I never stood a watch on the bridge with an Officer. I did however spend a lot of time on the wheel on the Fleetbank under Captain Charlie Howe.

I did stand a watch with Captain Williamson on the Streambank going to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam as the second mate returned on board under the influence.

I have a copy of the Ship's Log which confirms that event.

I went up on the bridge on the Fleetbank on my own time on the 3rd mates watch. Captain Charlie Howe came up and threw me off the bridge.

Bank Line used me and other Apprentices whatever way the Mate wanted us to work.

When I finished my time my Indentures were noted and said that I served my Apprenticeship and was "Now a good Seaman"

Nothing to do with being a potential Officer.

Did I learn anything. Most certainly did but not from people like the aforementioned Master.

Would I do it again?........Probably as I met a lot of nice folk and learned that Bank line was not the end all and be all of going to sea. When I finished my time and attained my Second Mates I went with a great company. Caltex Tankers. Later to become Texaco. They were a Company who treated their Officers and Cadets as they should be treated.

Sincerely.

Johnnietwocoats

China hand
19th June 2009, 18:44
Joined WESTBANK at 0900 as ordered. (Charlton buoys). all beutiful in uniform. Up gangway "who's that man up there with the beard n funny hat?".
He's a Seacunnie, and has forgotten more about ships than you will ever learn" (this from Dad, ex Blu Flu). To Mate's cabin. My new cabin, change gear, to senior appy, to No.3A ladder, tin of caustic, deep tank, and so forth. My first day at sea. YES(K)

Al W
20th June 2009, 02:19
I stumbled on this site and this forum brings back many memories.

I was a Bank Line Apprentice from 1966 to 1970, Lossiebank, Willowbank and 2 trips on the Hollybank. It was, for the most part, a good experience. Hard work, long hours, bad smells (nothing beats a well fermented bilge) and I can still eat anything put in front of me but I don't miss the fresh meat in the cornflakes. Even today when younger co-workers complain about being hard done by because of a little extra work that is required, I just smile and get on with it. I would love to do it again.

Bill Davies
20th June 2009, 09:43
I stumbled on this site and this forum brings back many memories.

I was a Bank Line Apprentice from 1966 to 1970, Lossiebank, Willowbank and 2 trips on the Hollybank. It was, for the most part, a good experience. Hard work, long hours, bad smells (nothing beats a well fermented bilge) and I can still eat anything put in front of me but I don't miss the fresh meat in the cornflakes. Even today when younger co-workers complain about being hard done by because of a little extra work that is required, I just smile and get on with it. I would love to do it again.

A refreshing well balanced post to read on this Saturday morning.

johnb42
20th June 2009, 09:52
I stumbled on this site and this forum brings back many memories.

I was a Bank Line Apprentice from 1966 to 1970, Lossiebank, Willowbank and 2 trips on the Hollybank. It was, for the most part, a good experience. Hard work, long hours, bad smells (nothing beats a well fermented bilge) and I can still eat anything put in front of me but I don't miss the fresh meat in the cornflakes. Even today when younger co-workers complain about being hard done by because of a little extra work that is required, I just smile and get on with it. I would love to do it again.

What a great post. I have mused on this thread for a while wondering if I should contribute. I did work for the Bank Line but did not serve my time there. As Mate in the Bank Line, I believe I worked the Apprentices hard but treated them fairly and I believe I made some contribution to them becoming seamen and officers - in that order.
As regards my own Cadetship, I did no time on the bridge at all except as look-out and to clean the brass and a do bit of painting as required. I did find this a handicap when I got my ticket and had to stand a watch but it did'nt stand in my way.
Your last couple of sentences AI W, sum up pretty much my feelings and at 67 and still working, I am still well regarded in my office.
I believe I learned a lot more than seamanship from going to sea.

Hugh Ferguson
20th June 2009, 10:01
I wonder if there is anyone reading this post who is old enough to remember the Leslie brothers, Davis Leslie & Jimmy Leslie? They were Scots and both were colleagues of mine in the Trinity House pilot service.

Alan Rawlinson
20th June 2009, 16:46
Re the widely accepted view that serving ones time was '' slave labour ''.

For me it was a fun time with no complaints, so much so that I recall being a bit envious of the lads on deck when my time came to ascend the bridge ladder and loll around there for 8 hours a day. Yes, we were sometimes tired and/or hungry, but nearly always happy and up for any challenge, as one should be in the teens.

Ships and Mates of course varied in their treatment and attitude to apprentices, and in the Bankline it was a lottery whether any instruction, course work, or training was to be applied. I always took the view that my career destiny was in my hands alone, and not dependent on others, - apart from ' him ' upstairs.

As for the pay - I started on 4.11.08 per month, no complaints here either.

My financial education started when working temporarily with the shore gangs of the Aussie wharfies. Riches beyond belief! After doing almost nothing for a day on the quay or in the hold, the foreman would come along with a wadge of notes representing several months wages to me! Bliss!

Does anyone else remember this windfall?

Cheers/AL

John Campbell
20th June 2009, 20:43
Re the widely accepted view that serving ones time was '' slave labour ''.

For me it was a fun time with no complaints, so much so that I recall being a bit envious of the lads on deck when my time came to ascend the bridge ladder and loll around there for 8 hours a day. Yes, we were sometimes tired and/or hungry, but nearly always happy and up for any challenge, as one should be in the teens.

Ships and Mates of course varied in their treatment and attitude to apprentices, and in the Bankline it was a lottery whether any instruction, course work, or training was to be applied. I always took the view that my career destiny was in my hands alone, and not dependent on others, - apart from ' him ' upstairs.

As for the pay - I started on 4.11.08 per month, no complaints here either.

My financial education started when working temporarily with the shore gangs of the Aussie wharfies. Riches beyond belief! After doing almost nothing for a day on the quay or in the hold, the foreman would come along with a wadge of notes representing several months wages to me! Bliss!

Does anyone else remember this windfall?

Cheers/AL

Yes I do and the largesse was the best ever - I bought great gear and going ashore for bacon and two eggs and chips was splendid , We were not however chuffed when our chief mate - an alcoholic= who was found guilty of fraud - claiming for ficticious crew wages called " Abdul Steampipecasing " and "Mustafa Alotoftimeoff" and so forth- the agent and the old man were in a great rage and we apprentices so enjoyed the carry on which ensued but we got our whack - I think
Thanks for that moment of nostalgia
JC
]]]

Alistair Macnab
20th June 2009, 22:25
We've all talked about how 'hard' we were treated and how we were brought up in the seagoing business as cheap labour as Bank Line appprentices. But look at us today? Can any of the hard men who have contributed to this thread truly say that it blighted their mental and physical growth?
From what I gather, most, if not all, of the respondents ended up at the top of their career path (whatever it was) and we can all look back on our experience as Bank Line apprentices as something to boast about!
"Arr, lad, I were 'prenticed in the evil, hard old days". Its good for our image as 'ancient mariners'!

jimthehat
20th June 2009, 23:06
As i started off this thread i suppose that after reading all the interesting replies I might try and bring it to a close.
yes my first 18 months were hard as we were employed by the bosun and hopefully came out of it as first class seamen,(painting,chipping,spliceing,and as most of the crew were off on the p**s it was the apps who did all the topping and lowering of derricks) bank line was my only deep sea company but i would not have missed the experience.

jim

IRW
21st June 2009, 01:04
Do not agree with 'slave labour' BUT were over worked and therefore underpaid. Within 12hrs of joining Nessbank 'green as grass' were sliding round top plates to take off steam blanks in after DP Tks. Then I was on 12-4 watch as we sailed to NE German ports via mine cleared routes only to be working 07-17 and on watch again this was 57. BUT and a BIG one when I was up for myfirst orals I was asked to rig a derrick BUT when I said sustey guy I was hauled up = What?? Sorry Preventer! sir - what did you say - what company were you with Bank line sir! OUT stop wasting my time! Honest But some BI types were sent back for sea-time.

lakercapt
21st June 2009, 02:19
Its a fact that when going for our 2nd mates certificate of competency on looking at your "papers" the examiner seldom questioned you on the practical side of seamanship.
As a "tramp ship" apprentice you were well versed on that aspect of your examination.
Did we enjoy it.
Well I do not have masochistic urges and I still to this day resent the way that we were treated and it was only my own initiative and stubbornness that helped me achieve the desired results.
Sailing as master after gaining all the necessary qualifications.
Nothing to thank "Ropners" for (except if I had not done that like many of my ilk I would have been conscripted and served Queen and country and possibly been killed in the process.)
I appreciate that not all that served as apprentices, cadets or midshipmen had the same experiences that I did but I believe I was not alone.
A couple that I sailed with quit as it was not what they were told the lifestyle was to be and the visions of an officer waking about in a uniform was an illusion.

Johnnietwocoats
22nd June 2009, 21:10
Re the widely accepted view that serving ones time was '' slave labour ''.

For me it was a fun time with no complaints, so much so that I recall being a bit envious of the lads on deck when my time came to ascend the bridge ladder and loll around there for 8 hours a day. Yes, we were sometimes tired and/or hungry, but nearly always happy and up for any challenge, as one should be in the teens.

Ships and Mates of course varied in their treatment and attitude to apprentices, and in the Bankline it was a lottery whether any instruction, course work, or training was to be applied. I always took the view that my career destiny was in my hands alone, and not dependent on others, - apart from ' him ' upstairs.

As for the pay - I started on 4.11.08 per month, no complaints here either.

My financial education started when working temporarily with the shore gangs of the Aussie wharfies. Riches beyond belief! After doing almost nothing for a day on the quay or in the hold, the foreman would come along with a wadge of notes representing several months wages to me! Bliss!

Does anyone else remember this windfall?

Cheers/AL


I remember that as well. I was working in the hold with the Aussies and they discovered that I was going to be paid a flat rate through the "Mate"/"Master"
As it was at night and they were on time and a half they made sure that I would be paid the same as them and directly from the Stevadore......
Always liked Aussies(==D)
On the "Eastbank" the Master was asked to prepare the ship for discharge prior to docking in Duneden.....It was a Saturday afternoon and we were turned to. I know that the Master and Mate were paid for this from the Stevadores but none of it was passed down to us.......
Johnnietwocoats

David E
22nd June 2009, 23:23
I remember that as well. I was working in the hold with the Aussies and they discovered that I was going to be paid a flat rate through the "Mate"/"Master"
As it was at night and they were on time and a half they made sure that I would be paid the same as them and directly from the Stevadore......
Always liked Aussies(==D)
On the "Eastbank" the Master was asked to prepare the ship for discharge prior to docking in Duneden.....It was a Saturday afternoon and we were turned to. I know that the Master and Mate were paid for this from the Stevadores but none of it was passed down to us.......
Johnnietwocoats

We got the same support from the Stevedores in Wellington. They asked us what money we were getting through the ship-found that 45% of it was vanishing somewhere and insisted that we were paid directly by their company.
I don't know if this was a general problem.In Bank Line it appeared to depend on the Master.At one time,we were carrying a lot of animals from East Africa to Colombo, while they restocked the Zoo there.A wide range-lions,monkeys,giraffes,pelicans etc.etc.The Apprentices fed,watered them and cleaned their cages.The shippers,generously,put a "tip" aboard for the "Keepers".One Master always passed it on to us:the other kept it for himself. In a later year, he was in command of the last Bank boat I joined: he had a screaming fit at the Mate;fell down a hatch, broke his legs and was replaced before we sailed.Selfishly,I rejoiced !!

Dave E

Alan Rawlinson
23rd June 2009, 07:34
Re working with the wharfies.....

I was lucky enough to do this on quite a few occasions - also as a '' seagull ' in NZ ports...

Don't recall being paid through the Mates/Masters acting as a filter, so enjoyed the weird and wonderful pay structure directly from the foreman, and with many bonuses... I recall working discharging dry cargo from the deeptanks, and the ' wages ' included 'stoop ' money, for having to bend low under the beams etc! Also, 'dirt money ' if anything like carbon black was involved. There were other ' top up ' payments, the names of which escape me now, but it all added up to a whopping payment. The way it seemed to work in Australian Ports was that there was a sort of abjudicator assigned to each ship, and he was called whenever a reason could be dreamed up - after assessement, he would award the appropriate extra payment. The work was steady, and the banter great also!

Cheers/AL

Alistair Macnab
23rd June 2009, 16:20
I wonder if there is anyone reading this post who is old enough to remember the Leslie brothers, Davis Leslie & Jimmy Leslie? They were Scots and both were colleagues of mine in the Trinity House pilot service.

Did Davis Leslie come from Troon in Ayrshire? I once met him as a friend of a friend when I was thinking about going to sea. He was then in South American Saint Line and I believe he ended up in Trinity House.
Could be a connection.

E.Martin
23rd June 2009, 18:38
Apprentices Slave Labour?,not in my time at sea in fact they were not allowed to work with any of the deck crowd except the bosun, the Chief Officer kept them on their toes they were always on the bridge at noon taking sights they were there to learn their trade, every now and again as a bosun i would teach them to splice wire.
While i am putting pen to paper what is all this Blue Flue, China thing, in my time at sea Blue Funnel were known as the Liverpool Navy, very well built ships other than that nothing special, i think if i had asked any AB joining the ship if he carried a Green River his reply would have been in two words the last word being off.
Reading all the postings on Ships Nostalgia i think the Merchant Navy as i knew was alot differant after the fifties, i have read about drunken deck officers i cannot say i ever sailed with any.
Also in my time no seaman would ever call the Merchant Navy Merch,if any one had called it that way back in the fifties they would have been "Keel Hauled".

Hugh Ferguson
23rd June 2009, 19:12
Did Davis Leslie come from Troon in Ayrshire? I once met him as a friend of a friend when I was thinking about going to sea. He was then in South American Saint Line and I believe he ended up in Trinity House.
Could be a connection.

Yes, Alistair, that certainly sounds like Davis. We came into the Trinity House pilot service about the same time in 1957. He married a girl called Pat-my wife and I attended. He had, not long before, stood in for me when I took the day off to be married. I'm sorry to say he died, very prematurely, a long,long time ago as also did his brother Jimmy. Regards, Hugh.

Bill Davies
24th June 2009, 10:37
While i am putting pen to paper what is all this Blue Flue, China thing, in my time at sea Blue Funnel were known as the Liverpool Navy, very well built ships other than that nothing special,
Also in my time no seaman would ever call the Merchant Navy Merch,if any one had called it that way back in the fifties they would have been "Keel Hauled".

In my time at sea they were known as the Welsh Navy, never Liverpool Navy, although that was their home port.
As for 'the China' being special, that is subjective and requires one to have sailed in that company to know. The training I received therein was special to me.

The expression 'Merch' I do not like but 'Keel Hauling'????
Well OK,........ only if they were union or ITF members.

dunsteaming
24th June 2009, 14:01
met up with a few bank line apprentices in calcutta in the 1950s we all complained of overwork and under paid,but all good fun with the girls in the bristol and isiahs bar,between marking gunnies etc

jimthehat
24th June 2009, 15:56
Isiahs bar brings back memories,But the Calcutta swimming club was the place to chill out,two swimming pools and lots of rum and coke.membership cards were always one of the first things to come on board after arrival,either at the kiddapore docks or on the bore moorings at GARDEN REACH.

jim

Charlie Stitt
24th June 2009, 17:20
During the first two years of my Apprenticeship with Weirs, I got my fair share of bilge diving, tank cleaning and many other unsavory jobs. These jobs had to be done by someone, and it was only right for Apprentices to have the experience as one day they would be Mate giving the orders. Don't tell a person to do a job that you have not done yourself. Remember that saying ? Yes I only had two years of the mucky stuff, as like many other Apprentices with Weirs I spent the other two years as Acting Third Mate.(Thumb)

Bill Davies
24th June 2009, 17:38
For all it is worth, and I think this is the appropriate thread to post following. I sailed with several Blue Funnel Bosuns (the big three) who all seemed to agree that they thought that Ropners was the place to learn your stuff. I can think of no greater compliment to the men who worked in Ropners ships considering the status of the men who made it.

Bill

pete
24th June 2009, 19:01
I must confess I didn't serve my apprenticeship with Bank Line but joined with the ink still wet on my 2nd Mates ticket. However, having risen to the "Dizzy Heights" of Chief Mate I don't feel I was exceptionally "Hard" on the young lads I sailed with. However, whilst at sea if you turned to with a hangover ,"Here's your chipping hammer Lad, Go find a bilge or a stretch of deck and knock the living Sh*t out of it!!! Having done that a couple of times, it was lesson learned, especially with a "Windy Hammer"..............pete

lakercapt
24th June 2009, 22:14
For all it is worth, and I think this is the appropriate thread to post following. I sailed with several Blue Funnel Bosuns (the big three) who all seemed to agree that they thought that Ropners was the place to learn your stuff. I can think of no greater compliment to the men who worked in Ropners ships considering the status of the men who made it.

Bill

Wow
Such praise is praise indeed.
From one who made it in spite of the initial "training"

Alistair Macnab
24th June 2009, 23:22
Hugh.....

I remember Davis. He was a short chap, and I was very impressed with his neat attire! Don't forget this was in 1952 and young men were just becoming "fashion-conscious"!
He had very nice things to say about the Merchant Navy as a career and recommended it to me. He was extremely proud of the "St Essylt" and the "St.Thomas" of the South American Saint Line so from then on I was gung-ho to join them. I didn't know any other cargo ship company and even drew and painted one of their ships at school for a project. The Art Master asked me what it was meant to be. I still have the painting. It looks nothing like any ship you've ever seen! I obviously didn't know what a cargo ship was meant to do!
I'm sorry to hear he and his brother have died. I suppose Davis would be in his early 80s by now had he lived so, as you say, he died young.
Thank you for helping me to re-live an important but brief meeting 57 years ago!

John Campbell
25th June 2009, 10:44
When in port another favourite task for the Chief Mate in Bank Line was to get the Apprentices to repaint the draft marks. On a Copra boat in Bromborough Dock discharging copra we had a young apprentice join first trip. He had hardly got on board when he and the other two new joinings were ushered on to the forecastle to paint the forward Draft Marks. Using the SuezCanal Searchlight Davit the two senior lads swung the youngster out and then promptly dropped him into the dock clinging to his bosun's chair. What a start to a seagoing career. The lad was made of tough stuff and went on to have a great career - I wonder if he is reading this today?

jimthehat
25th June 2009, 11:30
After joining the maplebank in Surrey comm docks and we 4 apps had been allocated to the bosun(18 months)we were put to with the rest of the crew to paint overside.The dockers took umbrage to this and walked off and would not come back unless the painting stopped and a shore paint gang was brought in to do the work,surprised to hear the mersey dockers allowed ships crew to paint.
JIM

E.Martin
2nd July 2009, 19:15
For all it is worth, and I think this is the appropriate thread to post following. I sailed with several Blue Funnel Bosuns (the big three) who all seemed to agree that they thought that Ropners was the place to learn your stuff. I can think of no greater compliment to the men who worked in Ropners ships considering the status of the men who made it.

Bill

Blue Funnel Bosuns, The big three?, what is so special about the big three?,do they work miracles?,Ropners was the place to learn your stuff, I cannot see where you are coming from after all there is only one way to do your job as a Bosun and that is the right way, there are seamen and there are seamen always a few individuals stand out amongst the rest, they are taken advantage of because they can be relied on to do a good job.
A good Bosun or seamen can learn his "stuff" on any decent ship and do what ever crops up on any occasion,must admit it did pay to Think like a shrink at times".

Bill Davies
2nd July 2009, 19:32
I assume you never sailed with the Blue Funnel therefore rather pointless explaining.

jmcg
2nd July 2009, 21:09
I'd add another to make it 4. Little JB - all 5.2 of him against my 6.7 was a colossus in the China. He turned many an upstart into fine decent men.

BW

J

Thats another Story
2nd July 2009, 21:50
Apprentices Slave Labour?,not in my time at sea in fact they were not allowed to work with any of the deck crowd except the bosun, the Chief Officer kept them on their toes they were always on the bridge at noon taking sights they were there to learn their trade, every now and again as a bosun i would teach them to splice wire.
While i am putting pen to paper what is all this Blue Flue, China thing, in my time at sea Blue Funnel were known as the Liverpool Navy, very well built ships other than that nothing special, i think if i had asked any AB joining the ship if he carried a Green River his reply would have been in two words the last word being off.
Reading all the postings on Ships Nostalgia i think the Merchant Navy as i knew was alot differant after the fifties, i have read about drunken deck officers i cannot say i ever sailed with any.
Also in my time no seaman would ever call the Merchant Navy Merch,if any one had called it that way back in the fifties they would have been "Keel Hauled".

STILL GOT MINE AND SPIKE AND FID?

Donald McGhee
3rd July 2009, 00:56
Slave labour it was not, cheap it certainly was. I was apprenticed originally to Donaldsons of Glasgow and we got paid overtime. When Donaldsons folded I finished my time with bank Line; no overtime paid, but plenty of overtime done.
Some cargo watches were 18 hours solid, with minimal breaks especially around the islands, but I can't say I ever suffered from it unduly.
I, like many other ex Bank Line folk would do it all again,if I could but put the clock back, but better!

Johnnietwocoats
3rd July 2009, 02:25
Slave labour it was not, cheap it certainly was. I was apprenticed originally to Donaldsons of Glasgow and we got paid overtime. When Donaldsons folded I finished my time with bank Line; no overtime paid, but plenty of overtime done.
Some cargo watches were 18 hours solid, with minimal breaks especially around the islands, but I can't say I ever suffered from it unduly.
I, like many other ex Bank Line folk would do it all again,if I could but put the clock back, but better!


I was apprenticed originally to Donaldsons of Glasgow and we got paid overtime. When Donaldsons folded I finished my time with bank Line; no overtime paid, but plenty of overtime done.

Was it because you were paid "Overtime" that Donaldsons folded??????
Bank Line used their Apprentices......
Did the Appentrices learn their trade? Yes they did....
Some Mates and Masters treated them like Men....Some treated them like slaves......
Did we learn from both? Yes we did.
We learned how to live the rest of our lives.........
We took what was good and discarded what was bad........
Am I happy that I served my time with Bank Line?.......Absolutely......
Am I a better man for that experience?....Absolutely......
Could things have been better?....Absolutely....
Did I meet nice girls at the Calcutta Swimming Club?....Absolutely
Am I happy to be alive in White Rock BC Canada?........Absolutely

Take care all yousens what served their time at Sea. Johnnietwocoats(Hippy)

E.Martin
3rd July 2009, 08:41
I'd add another to make it 4. Little JB - all 5.2 of him against my 6.7 was a colossus in the China. He turned many an upstart into fine decent men.

BW

J

I can see this building up to The Magnificent Seven.

jmcg
3rd July 2009, 11:46
I can add George Birch and Tony Casson to make up to the Superior Six

BW

J

K urgess
3rd July 2009, 11:52
Isn't that strange.
I thought this thread was about Bankline apprentices in the Bankline forum not BF bosuns.
Back to the subject please.
Blue Flue go start your own thread on the subject.
In your own forum.

jimthehat
3rd July 2009, 12:02
well said marconi sahib,and may I clarify?the title only referred to my first 18month trip on a Bank line white crew ship where from the first day we were put on watches under the bosun and were treated like dirt ,never ate in the saloon and never got to learn any of the skills of navigation,but did learn seamanship and could splice wire with the best abs.
We were young and enjoyed every minute of the trip even when we were the only people sober enough to work on deck whilst in port.

JIM

jmcg
3rd July 2009, 12:13
I thought the thread title was Slave Labour.

BW

j

Alan Rawlinson
3rd July 2009, 12:19
Now , now, shipmates...

I have a good friend, ex Blue Funnel, and he appears to be in awe of the Bankline apprentices. Seems apart from the general admiration, he went aboard a Bankline ship in Mombasa, I believe, and the apprentices were working barefoot - like slaves!

Cheers//AL

E.Martin
3rd July 2009, 19:03
I assume you never sailed with the Blue Funnel therefore rather pointless explaining.

Yes Bill you assumed right i never sailed with Blue Funnel i did not need any special tuition, what i had learned stood me in good stead.
Makes me wonder what it would be like as a bosun with you as Chief Officer.
I reckon we would have crossed swords.

E.Martin
3rd July 2009, 19:11
Isn't that strange.
I thought this thread was about Bankline apprentices in the Bankline forum not BF bosuns.
Back to the subject please.
Blue Flue go start your own thread on the subject.
In your own forum.

Admit we have got off track regarding "Slave Labour" but it certainly is not the "Bank Line Forum"

K urgess
3rd July 2009, 19:47
Admit we have got off track regarding "Slave Labour" but it certainly is not the "Bank Line Forum"

If you look at the top of the page you will see that the words before the slave labour part are BANK LINE.
That means that this is in the Bank Line forum. A sub-division of the Shipping Discussion and Shipping Lines forum.

lakercapt
3rd July 2009, 20:33
If you look at the top of the page you will see that the words before the slave labour part are BANK LINE.
That means that this is in the Bank Line forum. A sub-division of the Shipping Discussion and Shipping Lines forum.

Oh I thouht that the thread was "Slave Labour" and Bank line was just a sub heading!!!!!!!!!!

K urgess
3rd July 2009, 22:17
Doesn't mean you can't join in, lakercapt.
As long as the subject is slave labour. [=P]

Johnnietwocoats
4th July 2009, 03:14
Doesn't mean you can't join in, lakercapt.
As long as the subject is slave labour. [=P]



Is it at all possible that there are other shipping Companies out there who trained their Apprentices as well as Bank Line did, or better........Weren't Bank Line the best....LOL
Twocoats

lakercapt
4th July 2009, 04:10
Is it at all possible that there are other shipping Companies out there who trained their Apprentices as well as Bank Line did, or better........Weren't Bank Line the best....LOL
Twocoats

I think there was, as I learned the right end of chipping hammers, sougie buckets, brasso, painting, bilge diving and the other many tasks that an apprentice needed to learn.
Sextants, charts, compass bearings etc not to my knowledge but I guess I was unlucky with the senior personnel I sailed with.
e.g. I joined my second ship off Dover harbour going out in a small boat after waiting all night.
Choppy ride out but went up the pilot ladder and was greeted with ,not welcome on board but get a seven bells breakfast as you are on the eight till twelve watch and you are first wheel. That from the mate!
Never improved in the eight month trip.
Yes Ropners were a wonderful learning experience!!!!!!!

tell
5th July 2009, 00:48
I was before the mast in a few tramps and was suprised how badly treated the apprentices were, and yes they got all kinds of dirty jobs, often wondered what the masters' motives were. Tell

Cutsplice
5th July 2009, 12:24
I never sailed with Bank Line so perhaps I should not post here on the topic described as Slave Labour.

Charlie Stitt
5th July 2009, 14:22
Sometimes the jobs we Bankline Apps were given were unsavory and sometimes downright filthy, but I don't believe anyone in their right mind could class it as Slave Labour.Slave Labour was more like stoking a hungry fire with coal to keep steam up, just imagine waking up every day to do that, especially on a steam trawler tossing all over the ocean. Makes our time served as B.L Apps real sissy by comparison. I now know the real meaning of slavery since my good lady took over in the driving seat, get that grass cut, trim those hedges, walk that dog,where are you going? you have'nt washed the dishes yet. Know of any steam trawlers signing on ?(Jester)

Pat McCardle
5th July 2009, 15:34
Slave labour in todays PC = 'Learning Curve'

China hand
5th July 2009, 20:23
Ah cummon; I served my time with Bank Line. Finished my indentures with around 35 quid, been around the world about ten times, spoke three languages relatively well and ten badly, served in one heap, one newish heap and a brand new one with a very YeeHaw engine (First dry cargo P type Doxford).Knew loads about India n S Africa, developed a love affair with S America.Nuff said about S Pacific. Could rig things with gear that some of my later contemporaries told me was impossible. Left them for ten years n then came back later for more!!. That, my friends, is not slavery, that's addiction![=P]

Johnnietwocoats
6th July 2009, 23:49
Ah cummon; I served my time with Bank Line. Finished my indentures with around 35 quid, been around the world about ten times, spoke three languages relatively well and ten badly, served in one heap, one newish heap and a brand new one with a very YeeHaw engine (First dry cargo P type Doxford).Knew loads about India n S Africa, developed a love affair with S America.Nuff said about S Pacific. Could rig things with gear that some of my later contemporaries told me was impossible. Left them for ten years n then came back later for more!!. That, my friends, is not slavery, that's addiction![=P]

So my friend.........You became an addicted slave(A)

Johnnietwocoats
6th July 2009, 23:54
Sometimes the jobs we Bankline Apps were given were unsavory and sometimes downright filthy, but I don't believe anyone in their right mind could class it as Slave Labour.Slave Labour was more like stoking a hungry fire with coal to keep steam up, just imagine waking up every day to do that, especially on a steam trawler tossing all over the ocean. Makes our time served as B.L Apps real sissy by comparison. I now know the real meaning of slavery since my good lady took over in the driving seat, get that grass cut, trim those hedges, walk that dog,where are you going? you have'nt washed the dishes yet. Know of any steam trawlers signing on ?(Jester)

Perhaps stoking a hungry fire was slave labour but I guarantee that the Stoker got paid a lot more than me and I worked twice as many hours.......

Naw my friends....The memories are good......We did learn a lot.....

But.......We were, lets say, Cheap labour.......

Doesn't sound as bad as Slave labour..........

Charlie Stitt
7th July 2009, 19:49
I still have my Indentures which I looked through with interest to-day. They told me in black and white, exactly how much the Company would pay me over the four year period, no one forced me to accept the terms and sign. Remember ALL Apprentices, ashore and afloat, were paid peanuts ''still are'', We all had the choice of serving before the mast and earning more dough, so why did we not ?? I reckon I slaved more as a C/O than I did as an Apprentice, but never complained, just resigned.(Thumb)

Bill Davies
7th July 2009, 19:52
Well Charlie,

With respect to your workload as Ch.mate I would agree. It was a job I thoroughly enjoyed nontheless.

Bill

jimthehat
7th July 2009, 23:36
I signed my indentures in front of a JP and a strict father,and I cant remember having the indentures read out to me ,or given any option ,just told "to sign here"my wages were 5.16.8p for the first year.
i started this thread cos I thought as a general rule we were hard done by in comparasion to apprentices on other ships/companys.)this was only on my first ship). On joining hadded over by a non company c/0 to a non company bosun and worked as deckhands for the next 18 months.
I had a great time ,same as i had on all the other Bank boats,only leaving 14years later to get married.
JIM

Cutsplice
7th July 2009, 23:42
Can I ask a question before I am incarcerated in the brig, was Slave Labour only experienced in Bank Line and did they have sole rights to it.

K urgess
7th July 2009, 23:48
Can I ask a question before I am incarcerated in the brig, was Slave Labour only experienced in Bank Line and did they have sole rights to it.

Why don't you try reading post #77 (?HUH)

Cutsplice
8th July 2009, 00:06
Sorry, post#75 must have frightened me and missed post #77 in the panic.

Johnnietwocoats
8th July 2009, 00:07
I signed my indentures in front of a JP and a strict father,and I cant remember having the indentures read out to me ,or given any option ,just told "to sign here"my wages were 5.16.8p for the first year.
i started this thread cos I thought as a general rule we were hard done by in comparasion to apprentices on other ships/companys.)this was only on my first ship). On joining hadded over by a non company c/0 to a non company bosun and worked as deckhands for the next 18 months.
I had a great time ,same as i had on all the other Bank boats,only leaving 14years later to get married.
JIM

When your 15 going on 16 I don't think that you pay much attention to reading the small print in our Indentures.........
Was proud to wear the uniform as an Apprentice and glad that I went to sea in the Merchant Navy......
Seems that some of us recognise the fact that we were mistreated at times and some are really just too stubborn or were great Company men after they served their time to admit to some sort of abuse.
It is way too late to attempt to change anyone's mind as we are older and I would hope a bit wiser.
If young folk were treated today in the same manner that some of us were treated the perpertrators would be in a little trouble.
Glad I left when I served my time and went to a great Company called Caltex, later to to become Texaco.
Johnnietwocoats

johnb42
8th July 2009, 00:17
I signed my indentures in front of a JP and a strict father,and I cant remember having the indentures read out to me ,or given any option ,just told "to sign here"my wages were 5.16.8p for the first year.
i started this thread cos I thought as a general rule we were hard done by in comparasion to apprentices on other ships/companys.)this was only on my first ship). On joining hadded over by a non company c/0 to a non company bosun and worked as deckhands for the next 18 months.
I had a great time ,same as i had on all the other Bank boats,only leaving 14years later to get married.
JIM

Jim,
I take it your wages were 5.16.08d per month for the first year, not 5.16.08d for the year.
John

jimthehat
8th July 2009, 09:15
Jim,
I take it your wages were 5.16.08d per month for the first year, not 5.16.08d for the year.
John
Yup sorry about that ,then monthly went up to 7,10s second year ,8.00 third year and the princly sum of 9 .10.6 for the final year,i did not get promoted to 3rd mate until somebody at head office realised that i had gone 5 months over my time out on the far east run and i was transferred to the eastbank for the trip home.
so we did have great times as apps especiall when sailing with bertie Holland -master and wilkie rutherford as mate.

JIM

johnb42
8th July 2009, 10:54
Yup sorry about that ,then monthly went up to 7,10s second year ,8.00 third year and the princly sum of 9 .10.6 for the final year,i did not get promoted to 3rd mate until somebody at head office realised that i had gone 5 months over my time out on the far east run and i was transferred to the eastbank for the trip home.
so we did have great times as apps especiall when sailing with bertie Holland -master and wilkie rutherford as mate.

JIM

Bertie (aka Trader) Holland. Yes a top man from the old school of gentlemen. Never sailed with him but did the Coast for about a month on the Elmbank. I think he was sort of retired at the time and just did a bit of relief work on the coast.
I met Wilkie a few times when he was in Durban, and I can imagine that he and Bertie were a good combination.

Charlie Stitt
8th July 2009, 12:37
Sorry chaps, I admit I am not really qualified to comment on this subject as I only served two years as an Apprentice and two soft years at that.The other two years of my Indentures were served as Acting Third Mate, so when I completed my time, I was loaded having been paid Third Mates wages for two years plus stacks of paid overtime.[=P] Where else would you get it, Thank you Lord Andrew for the privilege of serving my time on your Bankboats, how I wish I was sitting, in a dirty pair of shorts, on No 3 hatch, Myrtlebank , right now, and to all you wonderful shipmates I had the privilege to sail with, Cheers. (Pint)

Alan Rawlinson
12th July 2009, 06:58
Ah cummon; I served my time with Bank Line. Finished my indentures with around 35 quid, been around the world about ten times, spoke three languages relatively well and ten badly, served in one heap, one newish heap and a brand new one with a very YeeHaw engine (First dry cargo P type Doxford).Knew loads about India n S Africa, developed a love affair with S America.Nuff said about S Pacific. Could rig things with gear that some of my later contemporaries told me was impossible. Left them for ten years n then came back later for more!!. That, my friends, is not slavery, that's addiction![=P]

Well said China hand! I sometimes think that many of us ( especially on SN) failed to put the Bankline experience behind us and move on. It is always there in the mind, regardless of age, and why not - it was totally a unique experience for life. Those years acted as a bank ( no pun intended!) which provides answers for all sorts of situations in later life.

I also made an attempt to return in 1964, and was instructed to join the Beaverbank as c/o, only to withdraw at the last minute. Must have been the thought of reality and those blasted deeptanks!

Earlier, I had been appointed 3/0 of the '' Container Venturer'' of Sealink running between Heysham and Belfast ( All Master's tickets and dead man's shoes for promotion). On the first trip we approached Belfast Lough in the morning and a smart new Bankline ship was coming down the channel towards us, passing close alongside. (Can't recall the name, but it was summer 1961.) I was so ashamed somehow that I had to slink to the back of the wheelhouse to avoid being seen!

AL