Bankline in the 50's....

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Alan Rawlinson
18th June 2009, 07:34
Wood decks, open rails, serene quiet progress across the oceans...
stifling heat in the cabins, lucky to have an oscillating fan, or a wind cowel to stick out of the port
steam winches, cracking and banging, draining and jerking
heat your own water, with a steam line in the bath
then there was the wire sounding line! ( only used it once)
followed by an ultra modern wet paper echo sounder - OK if the paper was wet...
D/F - the less said the better

Would put it all to poetry if I had time, but too busy 60 years on...
Cheers/AL

jimthehat
18th June 2009, 08:02
heat your own water,Ah remember it well ,and us poor apprentices having to carry the Fw from the aft peak every morning to fill up all the tanks in the mid ship bathrooms,sinks in the cabins ,but no pipes to drain the water away.
JIM

John Campbell
18th June 2009, 11:48
And remember the hand pump , on the midship FW tanks, which was kept padlocked and the apprentices had to dole out two buckets per crew member per day and woe betide anyone who asked for more. I had that job under the beady eyes of Capt Hale. Remember how when passing through Panama opportunity was taken to replenish the FW from the lakes. I recounted this fact to several fellow cruisers as we passed through that waterway last year - they shook their heads at this tale saying that we would have all died of dysentery etc.

Thinking back remember the dreaded Water Barge in Kidder-pore and how we sometimes were desperate for pani and had to doctor the water with chemicals from the medicine chest. Did we really go through all this or is it my imagination?
JC

K urgess
18th June 2009, 12:37
Still used to pick up water passing through the lakes at Panama in the 60s.
Sweetest water you could find. Certainly saved on soap.
Probably a lot safer in them days.

johnb42
18th June 2009, 12:53
Going out on deck and showering in the rain when washing water was limited to 15 mins at the end of each watch. The old Beaverbank.

johnb42
18th June 2009, 13:26
Hot and cold running "boys". No - not even I am that old.

Charlie Stitt
13th July 2009, 10:40
Yes Kris, there was a good reason why we took on FW during PC transit, nothing to do with water qualiy of course. Bankboats also arrived hogged at Cristobal as the ships were always checked amidships , not fore and aft.The Belfast built ships of the 1950's, were in my opinion, the best of Bankline during my time,wood sheathed decks and loads of boatdeck for games and other leisure use. I also remember well, my excitement when,receiving a letter from the Company at the end of my leave,tearing it open, my eyes darting first to the underlined ships name at the top, ''Laganbank'' ''Foylebank'', great a short trip, on the phone to my girlfriend to share the good news. ''Ericbank'' oh no, whats this ?. I also remember enjoying my time as 2nd Mate more than at any other time, chart corrections, cargo plans, medical locker etc, but now I'm getting into the 1960's so I will go and have a cuppa,(Thumb)

Jim Harris
13th July 2009, 11:08
Hurry up with that cuppa, Charlie and get back to the 60's!(Thumb)

And I too remember the excitement of getting new orders, and
wondering what was in store....(Hippy)

Great days, and wonderful memories.

Regards,

Jim.

TonyAllen
13th July 2009, 11:51
Charlie. Make your self a flask and get back to what you do best and tell those tales of the bank boats,I thought I had good memories of the blue funnel(which I have) but loved the bank boat story.Has anyone put it all down to paper, it was you who made me aware that my elder brother had sailed with the bank line .Kind regards Tony Allen

Alan Rawlinson
13th July 2009, 14:27
Yes Kris, there was a good reason why we took on FW during PC transit, nothing to do with water qualiy of course. Bankboats also arrived hogged at Cristobal as the ships were always checked amidships , not fore and aft.The Belfast built ships of the 1950's, were in my opinion, the best of Bankline during my time,wood sheathed decks and loads of boatdeck for games and other leisure use. I also remember well, my excitement when,receiving a letter from the Company at the end of my leave,tearing it open, my eyes darting first to the underlined ships name at the top, ''Laganbank'' ''Foylebank'', great a short trip, on the phone to my girlfriend to share the good news. ''Ericbank'' oh no, whats this ?. I also remember enjoying my time as 2nd Mate more than at any other time, chart corrections, cargo plans, medical locker etc, but now I'm getting into the 1960's so I will go and have a cuppa,(Thumb)

Youv'e jogged a few memories there, Charlie....

Would agree that the time as second mate was an enjoyable time, and add that the navigation was also a pleasure.... I had an unusual trip mid fifties on the Eastbank when, for odd reasons, no-one bothered much with sights, and I had the fun and responsibility of 90% of the navigation - making landfalls etc accurately - well, within a few miles let's say! After a run to Japan, we loaded gunnies in the Bay of Bengal ports, and ended up discharging in B.A. before loading grain spasmodically, ( Hasta Munyana) in Enginerio White, for the UK. Spent weeks there in Argentina. Played football in the day, and went on the razz at night. We were exhausted - for all the right reasons! Happy days.

Cheers/AL

jimthehat
13th July 2009, 16:15
Yup,for me second mate on the far east run was the best,must admit getting all the cargo plans completed before sailing westbound was a bit hectic,multi load and discharge ,AND all done in brilliant colour.
somebody mentioned that we should not get too excited about our time in bank Line as there was life thereafter,there certainly was ,I spent 13 good years with ASN/Townsend before being chucked ashore with medical problems,but I think that it was the growing up in bank line that set it all off.
Great crowd of ex bank line on Ships nostalgia AND I never sailed with one.

JIM

Alistair Macnab
13th July 2009, 17:08
I found making accurate and colourful cargo plans to be one of my most pleasurable experiences. I had kept a portfolio of "Ettrickbank" cargo plans on the Oriental African Line for many years but in a house fire three years ago, they were lost.
The marks details on a cocoa or coffee stow plan from the Pacific islands were very intricate and the end result produced a feeling of great pride in penmanship.

I was never happy with the Kelvin Hughes chart portfolios and rearranged their sequece in the chart drawers as well as the individual chart sequences in each portfolio. I prepared a sweeping review which I took to the Master to send to either Head Office or to K-H direct and he chewed me out! Pretty disappointed as I felt that in particular, the folios covering the regular Bank Line runs were not logically compiled. I still have by revisions from 50 years ago!
It seems we are debating the pleasures of a second mate's regular duties. Yes, it was a good job and I liked the fact that I was largely left alone during the 12-4. It was a time when Master's were comfortable with your professional competance.

But surely the Chief Mate's job was the best? Keeping the ship clean and smart at all times, organizing the cargo stow and keeping the crew gainfully employed!

John Hebblewhite
16th July 2009, 16:49
Members of Bank Line will remember the description of the House Flag...
red the blood we sweat...blue the sea we sail on...separated by the thin white line of starvation..I served in the Bank Line from 1963-1973...apprentice to 2/O.

Rgds John.H

Johnnietwocoats
17th July 2009, 00:29
Red to the Mast,
Blue to the Last
And the white streak of
starvation down the middle........
Anon...

Charlie Stitt
28th July 2009, 19:01
On this Bank Line Forum, to us older hands, there is one name very conspicuous by it's absence, and that is Captain Scobie. I remember all the letters from Weir's to me ref my application to join the company were signed A Scobie. Superintendents Department. I remember thinking, this must be a very important man, and I suppose he was just that. I don't remember when Capt Gale took over from him but I'm sure someone here knows the story. Extract from one of Capt Scobie's letters to me joining Myrtlebank. ''We enclose a Railway Voucher for your journey when joining, which please fully complete, in accordance with our further instructions, before exchanging for a ticket at the Booking Office.''. No mention of Airports back then, and that particular ticket turned out to be one from Larne to Tilbury Docks, via Stranraer. The telegram that followed these letters usually ended, '' kit readiness join acknowledge'', yes I remember going to bed with those words buzzing around in my head, no chance of sleep, going away to-morrow.(Sad)

David E
28th July 2009, 23:51
I'm pretty certain Captain Scobie was the Senior Superintendent in Bury Street.Digging back through the old paperwork,he seemed to sign all the letters I had from Head Office.
Charlie's comment "No Airports back then....." summed up the attitude of the Company to repatriation after long trips in the early 50's.The cheapest route,however long it took. Leaving the "Inchanga" in Colombo, after 2+ years away,I moved to the "Myrtlebank",in port at that time.She sailed,so I spent the next three weeks in the old GOH.The "Lochybank" eventually staggered in, and I joined her, eventually getting back to the UK three months after leaving "Inchanga"
Finishing my time in "Forresbank" in Bombay the next year,my return to the UK was an even longer safari. After an initial two week stay in the MN Club in Bombay,I was sent across India by train to Calcutta-a night,day,night trip Joining the "Roybank",I eventually sailed in her to Colombo.Leaving her,I joined the "Weybank" for the final passage home.An interesting ship.I remember the Chief Engineer was on some energy saving drive.Lighting would be normal for a short period after dark-then after a couple of hours would begin to dim and by 2100 reading was impossible.It took ten weeks from the "Forresbank" to the final,welcome,escape in Birkenhead.The next step was to Fyffes,a very different company.
I enjoyed a lot of my time in Bank Line but felt I wanted to move on. A variety of Masters-good and bad,across the whole spectrum. The worst, a homosexual,who targeted the younger Apprentices.The best,Stafford-Watts. The only time I ever saw him loose his cool was in Calcutta during a Hooglhi Bore standby.A particularly violent Spring Bore carried away a forward cable.S-W requested "Slow Ahead".Nothing happened.After a time the phone rang and the J/E on watch asked "Did we mean that movement-if so,he'd better call the Second" A moments silence:B****r shouted S-W,hurling the blancoed topee he wore on duty,night and day, over the side
I suspect that the standards improved in the later fifties, they were pretty basic BOT minimum in my time,even extending to different menus for Officers and Passengers in "Inchanga"-unheard of in Fyffes

Hamish Mackintosh
29th July 2009, 03:22
And remember the hand pump , on the midship FW tanks, which was kept padlocked and the apprentices had to dole out two buckets per crew member per day and woe betide anyone who asked for more. I had that job under the beady eyes of Capt Hale. Remember how when passing through Panama opportunity was taken to replenish the FW from the lakes. I recounted this fact to several fellow cruisers as we passed through that waterway last year - they shook their heads at this tale saying that we would have all died of dysentery etc.

Thinking back remember the dreaded Water Barge in Kidder-pore and how we sometimes were desperate for pani and had to doctor the water with chemicals from the medicine chest. Did we really go through all this or is it my imagination?
JC
Greetings John!
I had the pleasure of sailing with Capt' Freddy Hale on the "Ivybank" circa 50-52, a great chap, but you are the first to make mention of him

Alistair Macnab
29th July 2009, 05:17
Captain Alec Scobie had been the Marine Superintendent in Calcutta and was replaced by Captain Gale sometime before 1950. Scobie was Chief Marine Superintendent in London when I joined the company in 1953. I don't remember when he retired but it must have been around 1963(?) when he was replaced by Captain Gale. Scobie and John Hawkes (chartering director)were the driving forces behind Bank Line in the 50s and early 60s. They worked very well together, in fact, Lord Inverforth (II), Morton Weir, had to chastise them when they went too far by promoting their own ideas against his on one notable occasion! This caused a row and Scobie and Hawkes were retired soon afterwards! Nevertheless, Captain Scobie is remembered with great affection by all who worked with him. He was strict but fair and his knowledge of Bank Line ships was legendary. In Calcutta, his No.2 was Captain Chalmers who was succeeded by Captain Lidstone when Gale arrived. I can't remember the pecking order in the London office under Scobie. Perhaps someone else can enlighten us?

Alan Rawlinson
29th July 2009, 08:04
Capt Scobie had a nephew in the Bankline - Jim Scobbie, who is well and lives in Colchester. He was a superintendent with Sealink for many years after leaving the Bankline as 2/0. We have been friends since the mid fifties when we had a 2 yr voyage on the IRISBANK together 2/0 and 3/0 under Capt. Palmer.

There are plenty of anecdotes about this trip, but one of the best concerns our frequent ' run ins ' with Palmer. Jimmy was hauled onto the bridge during my 8 to 12 evening watch when we were rounding the Cape of Good Hope and a ' new ' lighthouse appeared on the coast, which wasn't on the chart... Palmer found it in the pile of Notiice to Mariners on the chartroom settee, and after the expected dressing down, he shouted at Jimmy, '' If your uncle wasn't Capt Scobbie in the London Office, this would be very serious and I would ask for you to be relieved! ''

Jimmy had a 'so so' relationship with his Uncle, as he had complained about the food to him during a ship visit in a UK port. It caused a slight rift between them.

AL

ernhelenbarrett
31st July 2009, 05:32
I sailed in the Tweedbank/GBYC in the fifties, she was built in 1930, typical Bankline trip Cuba/New Orleans/Texas ports/Mexico/Australia/New Guinea/Colombo/Uk. We took a Tissue paper Chart of Kavieng in New Ireland on board in Sydney as none of the Admiralty charts were up to date and can remember margins in the border with such comments as" after passing shed with red roof steer 274 degrees " somebody had scored out "red" with comment shed now painted green, and comments like "dont anchor here or you will have a Japanese Zero on the end of the anchor !! I ended up in the Islands Radio Station working point to point with RabaulRadio as the Islands R/O had done a "wander" into the jungle!!
Ern Barrett

rcraig
18th August 2009, 18:16
And I remember in about 1953-54 sailing on Bank Line's last sailing ship between Calcutta and Durban. What do you mean I'm talking nonsense?!
See the very proof before your eyes on the attached picture.

Charlie Stitt
18th August 2009, 20:20
Looks more like the Old Man was flying his Kite. Had to be seen to be believed, so well done for getting the photo.Is it to be taken serious ???(==D)

rcraig
18th August 2009, 22:00
I think they were drawing a piston. It was the Eastbank, and the mate was trying to reduce the rolling by putting a hatch tarpaulin up. It was fairly obvious it was not going to work and it came down pretty hurriedly when we thought we saw movement on the topmast.

mahseer1
18th August 2009, 22:28
I think they were drawing a piston. It was the Eastbank, and the mate was trying to reduce the rolling by putting a hatch tarpaulin up. It was fairly obvious it was not going to work and it came down pretty hurriedly when we thought we saw movement on the topmast.

I was an apprentice on Brock's "Mahronda" in the late 50s. Anchored at Sandheads and rolling quite heavily. The Mate had a hatch tent hauled up the after shrouds in the hope that the wind would prevail against the current. It made no difference whatsoever and, frankly, looked a bit stupid. I suppose he could have argued that the hatch tent needed drying.

rcraig
19th August 2009, 14:26
Memories of the 50's

Trailing dhoby at the end of a heaving line and forgetting about it until too late. Soaking underpants and hankies in a corrosive Tide solution in the wash bowl vainly hoping the movement of the ship was the same as a washing machine. And leaving it so long things fell apart.
Painting freehand the name of the Springbank on her bow so that the S was out of kilter from the rest of the name and appears so in the few shots I have seen of her.
Amongst other things

jimthehat
19th August 2009, 14:45
Nice photo of the Springbank.where was the wheelhouse?/on the maplebank we had a little hut on the top bridge ,which had a wheel and was just big enough for the man on the wheel and the oow plus a lookout. The main wheelhouse was never used in 18 months plus tere were gun platforms on the port and stb wings ,I cannot remember seeing them on any other sam boat.

JIM

Charlie Stitt
19th August 2009, 16:25
Yes Jim, on the Ericbank, we also had a henhouse type wheelhouse up top, steering, telegraphs, phones etc etc moved up from the origional wheelhouseThe OM,Henry Allan used the origional lower wheelhouse as a lounge for entertaining, including my 19th Birthday party just after I was promoted to acting 3rd mate. He took that out of my first month's wages of course.

rcraig
20th August 2009, 17:30
Despite having been on her for about 6 months, and done a lot of time on the helm (as part of the company's intensive training programme, of course!) I am damned if I can remember where the wheelhouse was located. Don't remember it being separately located on top. But even if I did remember I would still treat the recollection with care!

rcraig
20th August 2009, 22:43
You will all have been aware of the high standard of PPE in Bank Line...just in case there guys out there even older than me....personal protective equipment..........and even more the high standard of training in corrosion engineering. This was a well kept secret outside of Bank Line.
There may be mysteriously attached..and just as likely not so attached..photos of Gordon Bruce and I on the Eastbank between 1952 and 1954

rcraig
20th August 2009, 22:45
Or unattached as the case may be

rcraig
20th August 2009, 22:48
Funny thing looking at these photographs that some apprentices thought that we were directors's sons because we were on the "new" ships. I think the Eastbank was 47/48

Charlie Stitt
21st August 2009, 16:43
Ray, I sailed with Gordon Bruce on the Laganbank 1960. He was 2nd Mate,I was 3rd Mate. If I remember right, he had returned to Bank Line after having worked as a prison officer in Peterhead. Would that be right?

rcraig
21st August 2009, 20:47
Charlie,

I blieve that is right. I met him for the first time after that first trip we shared on the Eastbank, possibly mid to late 70's when he was sailing on the then P & O ferries as one of the mates, running up to the Orkneys.
Regrettably, I then met him perhaps about 1992 leaning up against the doorway of M & S in Aberdeen trying to get his breath back, having had the news about his lungs just that day. I think he was about 55 as we were of similar age. He had always been a heavy smoker and he died not long after. He had no regrets.

Ray

Charlie Stitt
21st August 2009, 21:07
A few of you will recognise this letter heading and the famous signature. I was on my way at last.

Johnnietwocoats
21st August 2009, 21:59
A few of you will recognise this letter heading and the famous signature. I was on my way at last.

Alas I do not have that letter but I do remember Scoobie Doo.......

Everyone told me he didn't really exist.......LOL(Smoke)

kwg
22nd August 2009, 10:10
The first letter...

rcraig
22nd August 2009, 21:04
Bank Line, as an apprentice in the 50's was-

Burning off the wire grids on all the hatch vents using a paraffin burner on top of a black metal deck in the Red Sea whilst wearing only shorts. Hell, it was hot.

Drinking our lime juice every day with tepid water and for a prolonged spell with no sugar because that was not part of the BoT requirements.

Standing confusedly on my own in darkness on the fo'c's'le in Nagoya whilst at the buoys there, wondering what was going on, having been shouted out by the mate in some panic. Conscious suddenly that there were strange creaking and whipping noises around me before becoming belatedly aware that the source of these noises was the wires to the buoy breaking as the squall increased violently and they were snaking viciously all around me.

Scenting in the clean sea air the perfume of Japan from the......no, no, not that.....well, not then,.... pine wood thirty miles off to the west.

Being called up to the bridge by the Old Man (Holbrook...not one of nature's natural romantics) to see the detached snow capped top of Mt. Fujiyama etched to the north, looking like one of these beautiful Japanese etchings as we ploughed the Inland Sea for Yokosuka.

Squirming at the prospect of cleaning out the oak line chill rooms in the 'tween decks designed for shellac on the non-existent round the world trade, opening them up to prepare for tea cargo, and watching hundreds of thousands of "Bombay canaries" rustling in their golden dark brown shells and dropping all around us.

Having Christmas day off whilst at anchor in the entrance of the River Plate with the tops of skyscrapers many miles distant, but looking forward to the meal before suddenly getting orders to sail immediately for Rosario to load grain for India and spending the rest of the day in the bilges cleaning strum boxes and bilge of rotten copra, sludge, and dead "Bombay canaries" whilst survivors dropped around me.

Sailing acting third mate for almost 8 months of my c. 40 months sea time.

Locking with Gordon Bruce in mortal combat with the Indian stewards one of whom I caught spreading the butter for the toast with his forefinger to make it spread further. Pots, pans, brushes an awful lot of noise and a reverbating roar from the Old Man as his formidable figure appeared from on top.

Learning perfectly a verse of "Shina na yoru" as I dreamed of Noriko, so perfectly that I was able to croon it to a Japanese girl in Daliburgh, South Uist last year where she was learning the pipes (as one would expect them to do!) and I was there doing Gaelic very badly and I got my first ever English translation only 55 years later. (Honest!)

And no regrets

K urgess
22nd August 2009, 21:30
"(Holbrook...not one of nature's natural romantics)"
Perfect description. (Thumb)

rcraig
25th August 2009, 20:14
There must be more persons around with memories of the 50's. If we don't record them now we shall one day waken up dead and regret it! So...once upon a time....

One day the Eastbank was lying alongside the quay in either Beira or Lourenco Marques. A Union Castle cargo liner was lying astern of us. We were loading/discharging cargo. It was a hot humid enervating night. I was on cargo watch sharing acting 3M with Gordon Bruce at the end of our first years apprenticeship. I think that the sharing was designed to avoid us being paid.

It was late at night. The winches were occasionally moving. It was tediously boring.

The Old Man (Holbrook) was seen to leave the ship, proceed to the cargo liner and in due course return with a bunch of its crew and proceed up to his cabin. To add insult to injury the sounds of great jollity and enjoyment could be heard through the Old Man's windows.

As I leaned over the rail I saw looming through the darkness the squat granitey stocky figure of the Chief (Paterson?) swaying along the quay.

He and the Old Man did not get on. Both it was claimed, were the most senior in the company.

He rolled his way along the deck, only part of the roll being accounted for by having been at sea for some weeks. "Where is the Old Man, laddie?" I told him and he replied with a gleam in his eye to the effect that he was going to have some fun.

Shortly after, the sounds of a fracas could be heard coming from on top.. Shortly after that again, the Old Man stuck his head out and bellowed out "Polizia, polizia", the noise echoing around the warehouses in the sudden silence.

Immediately a group of Portuguese police could be seen at the double on the quayside, hands clutching revolver holsters.

Within minutes the Chief was being frogmarched down the gangway hands behind his back, and roaring "Shut the b.....d down, second, shut her down". And the wiry conscientious second, petrified of the Chief, did.

Winches whined to a halt, slings suspended in mid-air, lights died out, and the fridges went as the genny's ground to a halt and total silence fell on the ship. And stayed that way till mid morning. And the Chief stayed in clink too.
And the super came up from Durban (Banks-53?). And the ship was delayed for several hours. On being released the ship then sailed.

And everyone lived happily ever after. We carried on for the next year and no one seemed in the least bit put out.

It later transpired that the Chief had gatecrashed the party, got clobbered by a steward from the cargo liner, had then gone below to call out his loyal troops who had run up top, had forced the door and one of the juniors, an Aussie amateur boxer had knocked down the assailant.

Both as I remember it were over 60 or thereabouts. And the moral of the story? There is hope yet for us old b......s!

John Campbell
25th August 2009, 21:21
Ray -Enjoying your posts - there is a rich vein of humour and I enjoy logging on each day to wallow in true nostalgia. Many thanks . JC

Johnnietwocoats
25th August 2009, 22:45
There must be more persons around with memories of the 50's. If we don't record them now we shall one day waken up dead and regret it! So...once upon a time....

One day the Eastbank was lying alongside the quay in either Beira or Lourenco Marques. A Union Castle cargo liner was lying astern of us. We were loading/discharging cargo. It was a hot humid enervating night. I was on cargo watch sharing acting 3M with Gordon Bruce at the end of our first years apprenticeship. I think that the sharing was designed to avoid us being paid.

It was late at night. The winches were occasionally moving. It was tediously boring.

The Old Man (Holbrook) was seen to leave the ship, proceed to the cargo liner and in due course return with a bunch of its crew and proceed up to his cabin. To add insult to injury the sounds of great jollity and enjoyment could be heard through the Old Man's windows.

As I leaned over the rail I saw looming through the darkness the squat granitey stocky figure of the Chief (Paterson?) swaying along the quay.

He and the Old Man did not get on. Both it was claimed, were the most senior in the company.

He rolled his way along the deck, only part of the roll being accounted for by having been at sea for some weeks. "Where is the Old Man, laddie?" I told him and he replied with a gleam in his eye to the effect that he was going to have some fun.

Shortly after, the sounds of a fracas could be heard coming from on top.. Shortly after that again, the Old Man stuck his head out and bellowed out "Polizia, polizia", the noise echoing around the warehouses in the sudden silence.

Immediately a group of Portuguese police could be seen at the double on the quayside, hands clutching revolver holsters.

Within minutes the Chief was being frogmarched down the gangway hands behind his back, and roaring "Shut the b.....d down, second, shut her down". And the wiry conscientious second, petrified of the Chief, did.

Winches whined to a halt, slings suspended in mid-air, lights died out, and the fridges went as the genny's ground to a halt and total silence fell on the ship. And stayed that way till mid morning. And the Chief stayed in clink too.
And the super came up from Durban (Banks-53?). And the ship was delayed for several hours. On being released the ship then sailed.

And everyone lived happily ever after. We carried on for the next year and no one seemed in the least bit put out.

It later transpired that the Chief had gatecrashed the party, got clobbered by a steward from the cargo liner, had then gone below to call out his loyal troops who had run up top, had forced the door and one of the juniors, an Aussie amateur boxer had knocked down the assailant.

Both as I remember it were over 60 or thereabouts. And the moral of the story? There is hope yet for us old b......s!


Great story.....So the Old Man was willing to hang out with common crew members i.e. stewards from another ship.....
What about the old adage....."Familiarity breeds comtempt" which was drummed into us Apprentices......

TC (Smoke) (Smoke)

jimthehat
25th August 2009, 22:49
ray ,
good story,can only remember going ashore in LM or Beira and having a good time in one of the pubs drinking cold beer and eating tasty prawns dipped in chilli sauce.
Payed off the Clydebank in Durban Aug 56 and signed on the eastbank as supernumary 3/0 to go home for second mates payed off in rotterdam nov 56,but cant remember which route we took to get home or what cargo, the old man was Mendus.

regards

jim

Mike Lindsell
27th August 2009, 14:48
In regard to the Old Timers I spent 6 months of my apprenticeship on the M.V. Clydebank (1926 vintage), and was 3rd Mate on the M.V. Irisbank (1930's vintage,) with Capt Mendus. Looking back although they may be considered as were rough times they were great times, and I have no regrets re the 9 years I was with Bank Line (1953 - 1962).

rcraig
27th August 2009, 18:23
Hey, am I alone out there? No one else with memories of the early 50's?

O.K. then. Bank Line was.......

Being ordered over the side at sea to take the after draft on the Eastbank and I'm damned if I can remember where or when. The Fannings? Perhaps.
She was pitching and a swell running and the draft varied over several feet. I was very lonely and awful feart at the end of a rope in the bo's'un's chair. But not so feart as I was of the Old Man, Holbrook. For some reason he was very displeased with my wild guess.

Tallying drums of bitumen from the poop two weeks into my first trip at the anchorage off Point Fortin with hatches 4 and 5 being worked from opposite sides and then covering all hatches at smoke-o's and meal breaks. Wondering in my panic how I could possibly match the super men who could tally all 5 hatches. Turned out all right in the end as we got them to the nearest million.

Walking through the fireflies to a house and listening to a guitar strumming singer calypsoing "Rum and coca cola" whilst drinking (of course) rum and coca cola. Y'all know it: "Jack and Jill went up the hill, to get a little hanky-panky,
Jack came back with a dollar bill, Jill came back with a Yankee". Every time I hear it....................

Standing on top of disembowelled and tatty sacks full of a fibrous type substance in hold #4 looking up at the shimmering pretty effect as the tropical noonday sun beat down, rays of light through the floating fibres enhancing the scene, breathing in slowly only because I somehow thought that it might not be good for me. Grey, blue, brown...I think that was the range of colours for asbestos. Then later reading that mesothelioma....not a word to say with loose dentures....might not show up until 10 years after exposure to asbestos. Yahoo, sigh of relief. Then 20 years. Oops. Then as I became responsible for instructing post mortems even more aware that it could be 30, or 40 years. Now, the irony is that having apparently evaded that problem, I am too bloody close to natural extinction for it to matter anymore.

Walking back in from the bridge wing counting 01, 02. 03........to the chronometer and the early excitement of fixing a position line.

Standing on the bridge wing with glasses glued to the horizon from dusk through to midnight looking for One Degree island, the OM having set course for it from the morning star sight stating that by so doing the chances of hitting it were negligible and continuing on at full speed, and he wanted two pairs of young eyes for lookout. We never hit it and we never saw it. Bit obvious that, if we hadn't hit it!

Ah yes, I think I remember it well...

I think

K urgess
27th August 2009, 20:17
Not a lot I can add, Ray.
I'm a 60s and 70s participant but keep 'em coming. (Thumb)
I can recognise some of the names and faces like Holbrook.
Cheers
Kris

John Campbell
27th August 2009, 20:43
Here,s a few although I doubt if I can match your style ,Ray.

Bilge diving to clear the blocked strum boxes in the Lower Holds after hosing down after discharging a cargo of grain. The smell of fermenting damp grain will live with us ever more.

Being given the hellish job of coating the lifeboat fall wires with some dreadful sticky black gunge that adhered to everything and fouled the mate.s pristine hollystoned boatdeck when it dropped off. And having to endure a bollicking for making a mess.

Keeping a look out - dead tired- on the bridge wing and desperately fighting sleep having had to do this after a hard day stowing dunnage in the tween decks.

Sunday Inspections with Captain Bob Smith and Ch.Mate Tom Orford and their bulling attitude (Capt.Bligh would have loved them) We Apps thought it would be a good idea to paint the brass impeller of the cabin fan and they had a fit.We spent the rest of the day burnishing it back to perfection. We came to dread Sundays.

Being tasked with painting out the captain's bathroom and having to endure all sorts of abuse re runs- hollidays etc.

Weevils in the porridge and eating the Bank line Breakfast of Minced Collops.

Lining upwiththe rest of the officers to get a TAB or Cholera or some such jag from Doc Gangully in Kidderpore - all done with the same old blunt needle in the happy days before aids came on the scene

Xmas and New Year Parties and the huge spread put on then - also the Xmas menus typed with great ornamentation by the Butler.

The channels and the first glimpse of the UK coast when returning after a two year trip.

That's enough for tonight.

JC

jimthehat
27th August 2009, 23:16
Point Fortin! a blast from the past,a full cargo of drums of bitumen for karachi,horrible stuff ,when it came to discharge it seemed every second drum was leaking.
jim

boatlarnie
28th August 2009, 09:22
In regard to the Old Timers I spent 6 months of my apprenticeship on the M.V. Clydebank (1926 vintage), and was 3rd Mate on the M.V. Irisbank (1930's vintage,) with Capt Mendus. Looking back although they may be considered as were rough times they were great times, and I have no regrets re the 9 years I was with Bank Line (1953 - 1962).

Hi Mike,
Your name and comment rang a bell although I doubt whether you will remember a little first trip Appy on the Irisbank called Alan Smaldon. Like you, I have no regrets for my time with Bank Line, (1957-1971), we enjoyed life although 2 months in Calcutta up top-end of Kidderpore Docks was almost enough to send me elsewhere.

Alan

rcraig
28th August 2009, 11:11
John,

You remind me of some other instances so you can hold yourself responsible for the consequences! Funny how things get triggered off from the recesses of what now passes for my mind.

Food! I remember it being explained to me (having anything explained in those days was pretty unique) that the silvery green colour on the outside of the tough meat, if that indeed was what it was (some of us speak that way in Aberdeen), was characteristic of what they called silverside of beef.
To this day I am still not sure. But if it was so then why was it not called greenside of beef? It was certainly more green.
They could have marketed it using modern P.R. and prolonged the company's life. Mowbray pies, Cornish pasties, Bank Line greenside.
Is there still an Inverforth to put this proposition to?
There could be another career opening up.
Appreciate your reminiscences
Ray

Alistair Macnab
28th August 2009, 21:21
Compared to some of you I'm a newby only starting in 1953 but that's the early 50s too, so I shall consider myself as part of this distinguished group.

My first ship was the maiden voyage of the "Fleetbank" joining in Belfast at the shipyard. The taxi took me down to the ship from the agents and when I told him the ship's name, he said "That'll be a Weir ship" I thought he said 'wee-er' ship so my heart sank but when I got to the gangway, I thought she was enormous!

Other apprentices were Tom Pierce from Troon in Ayrshire (I was from Dundonald in Ayrshire) and Peter Cross from Romford (?) in Essex. Both were in mid-apprenticeship as opposed to me who had come direct from high school.

We sailed about two weeks later to Point Fortin, Trinidad to load drummed pitch for India. On the way across the Atlantic light ship, the sadistic Mate sent me down the lower fxl store to tally stores. The bow was rising and falling like a lift/elevator operated by a madman and the occasional thumps as it plowed into a hard one was pretty frightening for someone who had never experienced anything like it before. As for the smell of paint and tarred rope..... it was all I could do to keep my breakfast down. But I did although my ears were stuffed up with the continual variation in air pressure that the violent pitching produced.

As mentioned, the Mate was a sadistic b.st.rd, he created dramas as a teaching tool. One time, when I had been in a masthouse checking something and locked the door behind me, he later called my out, dragged me to the masthouse and opened it without a key. He said I hadn't locked it. I said I had. He spent four hours bollocking me on the necessity of checking doors
after turning the key just to make sure. I was dumbstruck. No one had ever spoken to me like this sod. But I've never locked a door since, on land or sea, without checking to see that it is secure!

All this within the first week of going to sea.

Well, needless to say, I am still around. Altogether, I was 29 years with Bank Line but I shall never forget my first few days with old whatsisname. Can't bring myself to reveal the identity of this sadistic so-and-so.

Went to Point Fortin. All the excitement of a full cargo of drummed bitumen has already been discussed so no need to elaborate. We too, were thought of as 'golden boys' because we were on the newest ship. Nothing could have been further from the truth!

John Campbell
28th August 2009, 21:44
Went to Point Fortin. All the excitement of a full cargo of drummed bitumen has already been discussed so no need to elaborate. We too, were thought of as 'golden boys' because we were on the newest ship. Nothing could have been further from the truth!

My first trip was the similar to yours Alistair but on "Southbank" in 1953. It was terrifying being down the hold tasked with rejecting leaking drums of bitumen and having to confront these huge black men who were not willing to handle any drums destined to be returned. I had a wonderful break from that hellish job as myself and the Ffth Engineer both developed infected smallpox jag site sores (blood poisoning) and were hospitalised at the Shell hospital. It was heaven - dusky young nurses in starched uniforms and iced water on tap. Food great and the Fiver and I were soon on the way to recovery and wondering how long we would be ensconsed in this paradise when on the fifth day in stormed Capt Smith and started roaring like a bull about our skiving etc and we accompanied him back aboard. He gave me 1 as a sub to go ashore with the lads to enjoy the first taste of VAT19 or was it VAT17 memory dimms.
JC

David E
28th August 2009, 23:31
My first trip was the similar to yours Alistair but on "Southbank" in 1953. It was terrifying being down the hold tasked with rejecting leaking drums of bitumen and having to confront these huge black men who were not willing to handle any drums destined to be returned. I had a wonderful break from that hellish job as myself and the Ffth Engineer both developed infected smallpox jag site sores (blood poisoning) and were hospitalised at the Shell hospital. It was heaven - dusky young nurses in starched uniforms and iced water on tap. Food great and the Fiver and I were soon on the way to recovery and wondering how long we would be ensconsed in this paradise when on the fifth day in stormed Capt Smith and started roaring like a bull about our skiving etc and we accompanied him back aboard. He gave me 1 as a sub to go ashore with the lads to enjoy the first taste of VAT19 or was it VAT17 memory dimms.
JC

John
Same place:same memories. Was there in the "Myrtlebank" early in 1950. The other disadvantage was the amount of dunnage laid down between each layer of drums and the stacking and removal after discharge. Apps got elected for that job.

It was Vat 19. In later years, in Fyffes, we clubbed together to get a supply in Port of Spain each trip-one or other of us went ashore on the" Vat 19" run.

Regards

rcraig
29th August 2009, 01:04
And just to give you a cheap thrill....should the picture of the bitumen barges actually be attached..

Charlie Stitt
30th August 2009, 16:03
As Apprentice in the 50's one of my favourate jobs had to be painting out the Butlers store room, we knew the Butler had made a careful list of all the stores but that did not stop us helping ourselves to the dried peaches etc, can't think why we thought they were so great at that time. On the Westbank we went a bit too far and half inched a tin of red salmon. By the time we got up to the study with this loot, the sharp eyed Butler had discovered the tin missing and come to me pleading I give it back to him in exchange for other goodies as the red salmon was the Captain Sahib's private stores. Yes we did quite well in that deal if I remember right. Can't remember ever being told to paint out where the bonded stores were kept, wonder why ? (Thumb)

Joe C
30th August 2009, 19:36
Charlie,remember Pt Fortin when loading the usual bitumen for N Z.Shared the quay with an American ship.Their crew were threatening to strike over the quality of their washing powder.Our bar soap and buckets seemed to work O K. Amused ourselves after work spearfishing from a stage for garfish,not for sport,for supper.For some strange reason I've kept a cargo plan coloured in beautifully by the 2nd mate.We were regular visitors to the"Shell Club"swimming after dark (sharing the pool with frogs).So if any cruisegoers ask "Have you cruised the Carribean?"I reply yes,then shut up. Joe C

rcraig
31st August 2009, 22:20
Funny how I can remember a great deal....perhaps not accurately.....of my first trip but very little of the old Glenbank, and the others.
I particularly remember going down on the train with my fellow apprentice Gordon Bruce both from Aberdeen for my first trip and meeting up by chance with a lad also from Aberdeen who happened to be joining a Chapman ship, which was also berthed at Bromborough and for some reason we went with him before going to the Eastbank.
We had no idea what to expect of course and our first experience of any large ship was the Chapman heap.
We walked along and then under steam operated cranes dated c. 1890's with water dripping down in the gloom towards a rusty tub flying high and empty.
Not a light was to be seen and we climbed up the very steep accommodation ladder to the deck. The only light on deck was the weak loom coming from distant dock lights. We walked along the deck piled high in parts with what seemed like piles of ash. All hatches were open. Not a living soul on this dead ship was to be seen.
We began to wonder with great misgiving if this is what we could expect.
Down aft we saw the flicker of a yellow light and we eventually traced a solitary watchman huddled over a paraffin light. The atmosphere and scene was like a Victorian film set (I know, I know, they did not do films then but you know what I mean).
After that, arrival on the Eastbank could only be seen as an improvement.
Often wondered what happened to the poor guy who joined that bum boat. It seemed a long way from Percy F. Westerman and his stories of patrol suit clad cadets with telescopes under the arm like wot we experienced with Andrew Weir.

rcraig
1st September 2009, 15:38
Lest we forget! Oh, the fun of it all.

Charlie Stitt
1st September 2009, 18:38
Super photo Ray, I must have looked down on a similar scene as this, some 54 years ago, wow!. So much dunnage you could say your cargo was bitumen and timber.

Alistair Macnab
2nd September 2009, 00:06
All that dunnage with a bitumen cargo! We discharged at Port Okha, Bombay, Madras and Calcutta and, of course, as was the normal thing before environmental considerations were thought of, the dunnage and the bitumen residues were tossed over the side between ports. As a first trip apprentice with red hair and a complexion to go with it, a morning spent on deck sorting out the odd clean plank from the rubbish was a warm job under the Indian Ocean sun (or was it the Arabian Sea?) Anyhow, my sunburn was extraordinary and the large bags of fluid that formed over the burns was horrible to look at and even more horrible to experience. The other guys were used to sun exposure and had the skin type to keep them from much harm.
This taught me to not be a hero and work on deck without a T-shirt and to always wear a bandana around my neck and a peaked hat over my forehead.
Ahhhh! The white man's burden!

rcraig
2nd September 2009, 08:26
Funny how inaccurate these photographs are. Never seem to quite match my memory.

Charlie Stitt
2nd September 2009, 09:28
I don't know what you mean by inaccurate Ray, that photo is spot on

jimthehat
2nd September 2009, 09:31
correspondance courses never seemed to reach us,but it looks as if every app had to spend time down the holds at point fortin rejecting damaged drums .

jim

mclean
2nd September 2009, 18:13
I was never with Bank Line, but really enjoying reading your pasts. Whilst sitting my tickets in Belfast,I seem to recall the company being referred to as the Belfast Shipping Co., something to do with the number of Mates/Engineers originating from Nth.Ireland!! Perhaps Charlie would remember this? Colin

rcraig
3rd September 2009, 08:45
Remember these hot steamy mornings with the barges alongside, the customs officers in their droves? Loading gunnies for weeks on end?

Charlie Stitt
3rd September 2009, 09:59
Awful hangover, thumping headache from drinking that local brew the night before. Was it worth it?? Yeah, who is going ashore with me again to night?

John Campbell
3rd September 2009, 10:50
Once in Kidderpore in the late fifties the third mate and I caused a certain amount of havoc with these barges. We had a certain babu who at about three in the morning would shout out in the alleyway right out side my cabin instructions to the bargees as to what hatch they should manouevre their craft loaded with these gunnies. The 3/O and I had acquired a certain amount of Hindustani and he managed to get enough of it to imitate the twang of this dhoti clad individual. He got hold of his megaphone and bawled out completely erroneous orders causing a great commotion and vociferous bawling and shouting before order was restored. It was wrong of him to do it but it certainly gave us a right good laugh at the time.
Those quality control weights and measures brigade all dressed up in whites and epaulets were another memory.
JC

jimthehat
3rd September 2009, 13:04
Hi here is me as 3/0 on ISIPINGO playing at being sparks.
jim

Alistair Macnab
3rd September 2009, 14:47
With reference to the three Bank boats berthed alongside each other in King George Dock, Calcutta in the gallery section and 'exchanging gunnies' from one ship to another. This exercise was fortunately not done too often but when the end-of-the-month came round and there were not enough Bank boats to place on the various berths (to East Africa, the River Plate, West Africa (EDs) and WCSA) it was necessary to have a physical ship 'on berth' to accept cargo for all these Lines in order to keep the obligations of the Conference otherwise an Indian-flag or fighting third-flag ship could take up the cargo instead.
Hardly ever were there not a sufficient number of Bank boats in Calcutta but once or twice it happened and the one that was in port was obliged to load for everywhere then pass the appropriate cargo on to another Bank boat when available.
Do you remember always sailing about the 10th of the month which was permissable with the previous months dated Bills of Lading? The only exception was an extra sailing on the 25th of the month to East Africa, a throwback to the Indian-African Line and the India-Natal Line.

rcraig
3rd September 2009, 14:54
That's interesting. We did the B.A-India run for the best part of a year and the photographs are of the only instance of triple lying that we were involved in. As an apprentice I was unaware of the reason why it was done.
As I've said elsewhere, the dominant feeling when involved in this exercise was the fear of a transfer over to the Isipingo.

rcraig
3rd September 2009, 15:19
John,

I don't know when you first met up with the custom lads. They were, when first I arrived in Calcutta ('52), all Anglo-Indian who had been used by the Brits for most of the lower managerial jobs in the railways, customs, and other government type jobs. With the gaining of independence they were being rapidly pushed out of these jobs, understandably, and were falling on hard times. By the time of my last trip to Calcutta, c. '55 my recollection is that they were either much diminished in numbers or even substantially gone. What is your recollection, or anyone else's?
Many of them clung on to their perception of an unknown past, speaking in an accent with a strong resemblance to Welsh influenced English, in a very old fashioned public school style with "old boy", "chap" etc., dropped quaintly into their conversation. They were very conscious of their status, but also conscious of their precarious position as they were not greatly loved by the populace as far as I could see. I felt quite sorry for them although they could be pedantically nit-picking. They were just washed away in the inevitable changes.
They were in those early days very much part of the Bank boat scene and memories

Hamish Mackintosh
3rd September 2009, 15:57
Compared to some of you I'm a newby only starting in 1953 but that's the early 50s too, so I shall consider myself as part of this distinguished group.

My first ship was the maiden voyage of the "Fleetbank" joining in Belfast at the shipyard. The taxi took me down to the ship from the agents and when I told him the ship's name, he said "That'll be a Weir ship" I thought he said 'wee-er' ship so my heart sank but when I got to the gangway, I thought she was enormous!

Other apprentices were Tom Pierce from Troon in Ayrshire (I was from Dundonald in Ayrshire) and Peter Cross from Romford (?) in Essex. Both were in mid-apprenticeship as opposed to me who had come direct from high school.

We sailed about two weeks later to Point Fortin, Trinidad to load drummed pitch for India. On the way across the Atlantic light ship, the sadistic Mate sent me down the lower fxl store to tally stores. The bow was rising and falling like a lift/elevator operated by a madman and the occasional thumps as it plowed into a hard one was pretty frightening for someone who had never experienced anything like it before. As for the smell of paint and tarred rope..... it was all I could do to keep my breakfast down. But I did although my ears were stuffed up with the continual variation in air pressure that the violent pitching produced.

As mentioned, the Mate was a sadistic b.st.rd, he created dramas as a teaching tool. One time, when I had been in a masthouse checking something and locked the door behind me, he later called my out, dragged me to the masthouse and opened it without a key. He said I hadn't locked it. I said I had. He spent four hours bollocking me on the necessity of checking doors
after turning the key just to make sure. I was dumbstruck. No one had ever spoken to me like this sod. But I've never locked a door since, on land or sea, without checking to see that it is secure!

All this within the first week of going to sea.

Well, needless to say, I am still around. Altogether, I was 29 years with Bank Line but I shall never forget my first few days with old whatsisname. Can't bring myself to reveal the identity of this sadistic so-and-so.

Went to Point Fortin. All the excitement of a full cargo of drummed bitumen has already been discussed so no need to elaborate. We too, were thought of as 'golden boys' because we were on the newest ship. Nothing could have been further from the truth!

Alistair! If you are ever again in touch with Tommy Peirce ask him if he knows what became of his cabin mate on the "Ivybank", a huge lad from Paisley, name of "Jock"Wylie (?). We on the lower deck would speculate on who among the Apps would "make" it, and poor "jock' was very low in the ratings, as was the senior, a John Appelby Le Barber he left us in Auckland to sit his ticket in India(not by his own choice I may add) he must have made it ,as he was spotted some years later as mate on a" Flattie" at Dunstan,cheers H

John Campbell
3rd September 2009, 16:12
John,

I don't know when you first met up with the custom lads. They were, when first I arrived in Calcutta ('52), all Anglo-Indian who had been used by the Brits for most of the lower managerial jobs in the railways, customs, and other government type jobs. With the gaining of independence they were being rapidly pushed out of these jobs, understandably, and were falling on hard times. By the time of my last trip to Calcutta, c. '55 my recollection is that they were either much diminished in numbers or even substantially gone. What is your recollection, or anyone else's?
Many of them clung on to their perception of an unknown past, speaking in an accent with a strong resemblance to Welsh influenced English, in a very old fashioned public school style with "old boy", "chap" etc., dropped quaintly into their conversation. They were very conscious of their status, but also conscious of their precarious position as they were not greatly loved by the populace as far as I could see. I felt quite sorry for them although they could be pedantically nit-picking. They were just washed away in the inevitable changes.
They were in those early days very much part of the Bank boat scene and memories

Yes Ray -my recollections mirror yours. I was told that they were the legacy of the British (Welsh) men who built and ran the great Indian Railway system. They were fascinating to listen to and watch and I was led to believe that they had a hard time of it after Independence.

We had our own Anglo Indian the famous Bank Line Third Engineer - Stan Sweeney - to whom we correspond at Christmas. He now lives in London where he worked in Bury St. for a time I think. He has the same accent being from Darjeeling I think.

Alistair Macnab
3rd September 2009, 19:21
I sailed with Stan Sweeney on, I think, the "Carronbank" (1960 - 1962) on the Oriental African Line. Stan was a great shipmate and always the life and soul of any party. He eventually went ashore in the London office and was responsible for engineroom stores. I think most of us eventually thought of him as one of us and his Anglo Indian origin became totally unimportant.
That was then, this is now. Today anyone with mixed heritage is usually taken for granted as likely to be in the majority rather than in the minority.

Another Anglo Indian was engineer, Pete Arrowsmith. I sailed with him on the "Inchanga". but he was around in other Bank boats for a number of years.
By the way we all loved the lilting accent and tried to master it!
I often wondered what the "licensious measurers" were doing and what it was for!

John Campbell
3rd September 2009, 20:27
Another recollection in connection with India was being given the task of compiling the Custom Declaration Form which had within its voluminous columns all sorts of weird things like declaring how many cutlasses we had on board as well as having to list how many gallons of paint etc, Forms that were never changed for years- India adopted the British Civil Service practices with gusto and those babus with their chitties and stamps live on I am told.

Another memory was when loading gunnies was Capt Gale boarding at about 0800hrs accompanied by a troop of supers, serangs and assorted dhotie clad babus accompanied by the ships Master and Mate going from hatch to hatch and issuing endless rollickings, which was passed down the ranks, if any cargo or stowage problem had come up. Not being of high enough rank to join this daily routine I was never party to what actually was said but from the looks on apprehension on the Mate, s and old man,s face they must have dreaded these morning routines.
JC

David E
3rd September 2009, 23:40
John,

I don't know when you first met up with the custom lads. They were, when first I arrived in Calcutta ('52), all Anglo-Indian who had been used by the Brits for most of the lower managerial jobs in the railways, customs, and other government type jobs. With the gaining of independence they were being rapidly pushed out of these jobs, understandably, and were falling on hard times. By the time of my last trip to Calcutta, c. '55 my recollection is that they were either much diminished in numbers or even substantially gone. What is your recollection, or anyone else's?
Many of them clung on to their perception of an unknown past, speaking in an accent with a strong resemblance to Welsh influenced English, in a very old fashioned public school style with "old boy", "chap" etc., dropped quaintly into their conversation. They were very conscious of their status, but also conscious of their precarious position as they were not greatly loved by the populace as far as I could see. I felt quite sorry for them although they could be pedantically nit-picking. They were just washed away in the inevitable changes.
They were in those early days very much part of the Bank boat scene and memories

They seemed the main part of an incredibly complicated Customs system that must have been a relic of the Raj.With a radio,leaving the Forresbank in Bombay and crossing to Calcutta by train,I remember I had to take the radio to the Customs House and hand it over. Customs then shipped it over to Calcutta where it was returned.
They could be unpleasant when mob-handed.For some,unexplained reason, "Inchanga" was searched every trip for about a year when we arrived in Calcutta. 20-30 Officers each time would treat the crew as a sub-species,particularly if they found any gold.Very unpleasant.

All part of the memories. I enjoyed the two years I had on the India-Africa run-some of the best times I had

David

McMorine
4th September 2009, 11:16
I sailed with Stan Sweeney on, I think, the "Carronbank" (1960 - 1962) on the Oriental African Line. Stan was a great shipmate and always the life and soul of any party. He eventually went ashore in the London office and was responsible for engineroom stores. I think most of us eventually thought of him as one of us and his Anglo Indian origin became totally unimportant.
That was then, this is now. Today anyone with mixed heritage is usually taken for granted as likely to be in the majority rather than in the minority.

Another Anglo Indian was engineer, Pete Arrowsmith. I sailed with him on the "Inchanga". but he was around in other Bank boats for a number of years.
By the way we all loved the lilting accent and tried to master it!
I often wondered what the "licensious measurers" were doing and what it was for!




I sailed with Pete Arrowsmith on the Riverbank, two year voyage 1961 to 1963, he was 2nd Engineer, but never heard of him after that. Pete Simpson was 2nd Officer and if I remember rightly the skipper was Captain Holden. If you look at my photos , there is a photo of Pete Arrowsmith, a great engineer.

Alan Rawlinson
4th September 2009, 11:28
My 1 year on the INCHANGA (1952) was a mixed bag, but left me with some very pleasant lifetime memories. many years later, driving or walking down in the Liverpool dock road, the spicy smell from the warehouses would instantly whip me back to the very wide alleyways on the Inchanga, with those massive cowls emanating the very same spicy smells, cinnamon sticks, cloves, etc.

I was plonked on the bridge for a longish spell as acting 3/0 without a real clue what was going on. Can remember the heightened tension going through the half degree channel in the Maldives, with a party going on below.

Next door to our cabin was a very randy Leckie, who bedded any attractive female passenger without much trouble, much to our ( naive) amazement - and envy!

As the ' white ship ' boys will know, the apprentices cabin was opposite the barbers shop, and in my time it was possible to buy boxes of chocolate and put it on the slate. never mind that the chocolate was covered in white mildew spots in the tropics. It still went down a treat.

Nights spent supervising the loading down in the 4 tween deck reefer rooms - freezing of course - and I seem to recall loading sacks of potatoes in them ...

Then there was the wood and canvas swimming pool below the bridge, with a natural wave motion if the ship happened to be pitching heavily.

Clambering in and out of the double stacked lifeboats checking biscuits etc and wondering how the boats would launch in anger with such an arrangement. Never found out, fortunately.

AL



They seemed the main part of an incredibly complicated Customs system that must have been a relic of the Raj.With a radio,leaving the Forresbank in Bombay and crossing to Calcutta by train,I remember I had to take the radio to the Customs House and hand it over. Customs then shipped it over to Calcutta where it was returned.
They could be unpleasant when mob-handed.For some,unexplained reason, "Inchanga" was searched every trip for about a year when we arrived in Calcutta. 20-30 Officers each time would treat the crew as a sub-species,particularly if they found any gold.Very unpleasant.

All part of the memories. I enjoyed the two years I had on the India-Africa run-some of the best times I had

David

Cisco
4th September 2009, 11:54
I sailed with Pete Arrowsmith on the Riverbank, two year voyage 1961 to 1963, he was 2nd Engineer, but never heard of him after that. Pete Simpson was 2nd Officer and if I remember rightly the skipper was Captain Holden. If you look at my photos , there is a photo of Pete Arrowsmith, a great engineer.

That would be my uncle ... Len Holden... Riverbank was, I think, his second last ship...

rcraig
4th September 2009, 12:34
So that is what I was missing between 1952-53-ish! Why does no one ever tell me these things in time.

You struck a chord with the Maldive channel. When sharing month about 3M on the Eastbank with the other apprentice for a couple of months or so about the end of the first year, I was on the 8-12 morning watch going up the east coast of S. Africa absolutely clueless as to where we were for the whole watch taking cross bearings of headlands and river mouths, real or imagined, and putting in panic stricken fixes.

I have been stretching my brain as to whether or not we had radar then, but I don't think we had.

jimthehat
4th September 2009, 12:40
Ah ,the white ships,what joy,beat you there Alan i was two years on the isipingo,NO radar as i recall so that made navigating all that more interesting.

jim

rcraig
4th September 2009, 12:47
The hopefully attached shot may remind some of one particular chore. Polishing the whistle either just before arriving in port or in port as soon as you arrived.

"Cherished" memories of arriving in Buenos Aires, working at the deep green verdegris accrued after 4 weeks at sea from Calcutta. Two weeks to Durban/Cape Town, then two weeks to B.A..

What a chore. But once burnished up, kept in all its shiny golden glory until departure. Then the same routine for India. Can't say that one way was less "verdigrisable" than the other!

I suppose it helped me to cope more easily with my subsequent time in the army.

McMorine
4th September 2009, 14:42
That would be my uncle ... Len Holden... Riverbank was, I think, his second last ship...
Captain Len Holden had already done a two year voyage when we joined the vessel in Singapore. (photo of him in my gallery) When we flew out to Singapore the ship was a week late arriving, so we stayed in Connel House for seven days. you can imagine the time we had. We flew out on a Comet aircraft, which was quite an experience.

Alan Rawlinson
4th September 2009, 16:45
My recollection is that we had radar on the INCHANGA in 1952 but it only got to be switched on for special occasions - i.e. I imagine just before running up the beach - or even after running up the beach. How daft was that?

Also, as 3/0 on the IRISBANK circa 1956, I recall the Master ( Capt. Palmer) demurring about switching on the radar when we had a Mississippi pilot on board, and the pilot said in a loud voice '' Captain, if you don't switch on the radar, we are going to anchor '', I tell you that. Needless to say, the radar went on. ( They never worked for any time in those days, hence the reluctance to tempt providence)

AL

Alistair Macnab
4th September 2009, 17:03
When I was shot down in flames over my faulty memory about what type of gyro compass we had retrofitted on the "Laganbank" (I was wrong, I admit that!) I hesitate to declare that the "Inchanga" had no radar. But on this I am absolutely sure! As 3/M there were lots of times when I could have used it, particularly when running through the passages in the Maldives and when northbound on the South African coast running less than one mile offshore to catch the countercurrent. But....No Radar!
This type of navigation grew hair on your chest and removed it from your head!

Cisco
4th September 2009, 21:53
Captain Len Holden had already done a two year voyage when we joined the vessel in Singapore. (photo of him in my gallery) When we flew out to Singapore the ship was a week late arriving, so we stayed in Connel House for seven days. you can imagine the time we had. We flew out on a Comet aircraft, which was quite an experience.

I only recall meeting him twice before he retired. First time was early 50's when he was on one of the - even then - older ships that berthed at Gellibrand Pier, Williamstown, probly loading bagged flour. I scored a football and a scooter on that visit. Next time I saw him was when he was on Shielbank just before she was handed over to the Greeks. That time I scored his Hallicrafters radio and my sister was given the prayerbook that the Bishop of Calcutta had given to the ship after the fatal explosion aboard her in the approaches to that port in the late 40's.
He never married and I think he did 3 years in Riverbank.

David E
4th September 2009, 23:31
My 1 year on the INCHANGA (1952) was a mixed bag, but left me with some very pleasant lifetime memories. many years later, driving or walking down in the Liverpool dock road, the spicy smell from the warehouses would instantly whip me back to the very wide alleyways on the Inchanga, with those massive cowls emanating the very same spicy smells, cinnamon sticks, cloves, etc.

I was plonked on the bridge for a longish spell as acting 3/0 without a real clue what was going on. Can remember the heightened tension going through the half degree channel in the Maldives, with a party going on below.

Next door to our cabin was a very randy Leckie, who bedded any attractive female passenger without much trouble, much to our ( naive) amazement - and envy!

As the ' white ship ' boys will know, the apprentices cabin was opposite the barbers shop, and in my time it was possible to buy boxes of chocolate and put it on the slate. never mind that the chocolate was covered in white mildew spots in the tropics. It still went down a treat.

Nights spent supervising the loading down in the 4 tween deck reefer rooms - freezing of course - and I seem to recall loading sacks of potatoes in them ...

Then there was the wood and canvas swimming pool below the bridge, with a natural wave motion if the ship happened to be pitching heavily.

Clambering in and out of the double stacked lifeboats checking biscuits etc and wondering how the boats would launch in anger with such an arrangement. Never found out, fortunately.

AL
Al
The "double deckers" would probably not have launched in anger! We had a snap survey in 1950 when the surveyor,unsportingly, requested that both port and starboard upper boats be swung out.No movement,total failure,as both of them had been painted into their chocks.Total panic.
One benefit was that,for a long time afterwards,they were always put in the water in Mombassa and used for picnics during the long periods spent at anchor waiting for a berth.

Dave

David E
4th September 2009, 23:38
My recollection is that we had radar on the INCHANGA in 1952 but it only got to be switched on for special occasions - i.e. I imagine just before running up the beach - or even after running up the beach. How daft was that?

Also, as 3/0 on the IRISBANK circa 1956, I recall the Master ( Capt. Palmer) demurring about switching on the radar when we had a Mississippi pilot on board, and the pilot said in a loud voice '' Captain, if you don't switch on the radar, we are going to anchor '', I tell you that. Needless to say, the radar went on. ( They never worked for any time in those days, hence the reluctance to tempt providence)

AL

Was that C.S Palmer? Caught him in "Weybank"

Dave

Alan Rawlinson
5th September 2009, 07:15
Alistair,

Thanks for that - no radar - OK. I did sail on a few ships where the radar was only switched on by express permission of the ' old man ' and this is what has blurred the memory!

David,

I remember the Mombasa picnics with the lifeboats being exercised - the habit must have carried on, and was a pleasant way of spending an afternoon - once the engine could be coaxed into life!

Yes, Capt C.S. Palmer. Could write a book about him, subject to the censors. He was an unsmiling uncompromising disciplinarian, of the old school. As 3/0 on a 24 month voyage on the IRISBANK I was told many a time to stay out on the bridge wing, and not to venture inside unless absolutely necessary. The compass error was to be entered into the book every watch without fail, and woe betide if the actual error was markedly different from the previous one. He was unable to fly back from Bathurst with us, due to a heart condition, and he sadly died after returning on an Elder Dempster passenger vessel.

AL








AL

jimthehat
5th September 2009, 12:16
not sure which thread to enter this one,BUT,I payed off the Isipingo in calcutta on the 8.6.59,and signed on the Fleetbank two days later as supernumary 3/0,I then payed off in Birkenhead 32days later,cant think what that run was called or cargo.
Oldman for the trip home was TS robertson.

jim

John Campbell
5th September 2009, 13:22
Jim,
I too sailed with TS Robertson as 3/O on Fleetbank from 12.7.58 to 5.1.59 and was also with him before on Foylebank 26.7.57 to 30.12.57 - when he took a heart attack in Mid Pacific bound for Brisbane with Sulfur, Cotton and Tractors.
This was the first time I had an experience of someone with a heart attack and we had medical assistance from the Doc. on the Rangitata , a day or so behind us.
We landed TS at Tahiti with his wife and Ch Off Yates went in command.Capt Thorne joined us later on Aussie Coast and we all had to revert to previous Rank.
We had a whale of a time in Papeete only there for about five hours and no sub. The Engineers had a tarpaulin muster of all available currencies and went ashore led by 3/E Sweeney . Poor Mr Yates was worried stiff that they would not come back and I was sent to round them up in a dockside pub. It was a great party and how I got them back I will never know but they did all have Frangipani garlands hang around their necks and bottles of Benedictine in their hands.
I often wonder what happened to Yates - He was a grocer in St Helen's and had spent the whole war on the Jersey and had a narrow escape from being executed by the Germans for attempting to escape. A real nice fellow and a good seaman.
JC

Alistair Macnab
5th September 2009, 16:51
This thread is developing into a great site for remembering old shipmates. Good. I have two today to mention that have been mentioned before.
Captain Palmer was the first Master of the "Fleetbank" in 1953, taking the ship out from Belfast. We did, Trinidad- India with bitumen then India-River Plate with gunnies. In BA. Captain Palmer had a heart attack and was invalided home. He was replaced by Captain Kemp of St. Ives. But during Captain Palmer's command, I confirm that he was a strict disciplinairian and didn't often bend to notice apprentices!
As for Chief Officer Yates, I sailed with him on one of the copra boats on the copra run. I was Master. Must have been the "Fleetbank" in 1968 He was an experienced and careful officer and inclined to be a bit nervous, at least with me. Perhaps it was the spread of years between us? I liked and admired him very much.

Joe C
5th September 2009, 17:21
Alistair,

Thanks for that - no radar - OK. I did sail on a few ships where the radar was only switched on by express permission of the ' old man ' and this is what has blurred the memory!

David,

I remember the Mombasa picnics with the lifeboats being exercised - the habit must have carried on, and was a pleasant way of spending an afternoon - once the engine could be coaxed into life!

Yes, Capt C.S. Palmer. Could write a book about him, subject to the censors. He was an unsmiling uncompromising disciplinarian, of the old school. As 3/0 on a 24 month voyage on the IRISBANK I was told many a time to stay out on the bridge wing, and not to venture inside unless absolutely necessary. The compass error was to be entered into the book every watch without fail, and woe betide if the actual error was markedly different from the previous one. He was unable to fly back from Bathurst with us, due to a heart condition, and he sadly died after returning on an Elder Dempster passenger vessel.

AL








AL

Alan,as an apprentice I suppose we were in awe of the captain but I remember with great respect, when we had the misfortune to lose a crew member overboard south of New Zealand when dumping dunnage after discharging bitumen, we returned to the position he went over and recovered him,alas too late.But light ship in poor weather no mean feat.He also as I recall gave short shrift to the officials in Visag who refused to unload grain from Freemantle because it was "highly contaminated".Perhaps the pith helmet,long stockings and shorts to match carried some weight in those days. Joe C

Alan Rawlinson
6th September 2009, 08:37
Hallo Joe,

We seem to have the same recollections re IRISBANK so the old brain must still be working OK!

I do have a fund of stories involving Capt Palmer, but do not intend to print them up here. He did have the one quality that I most admire in individuals - and that is integrity. Occasionally, in the dark, on the 8 to 12 watch, he would come out to my post on the bridge wing, lean over the dodger, and talk on a personal level. Looking back, I suppose he wanted to chat to someone and get away from the loneliness of being stuck in splendid isolation in the master's cabin.

Cheers// Alan

David E
6th September 2009, 23:21
Alan,as an apprentice I suppose we were in awe of the captain but I remember with great respect, when we had the misfortune to lose a crew member overboard south of New Zealand when dumping dunnage after discharging bitumen, we returned to the position he went over and recovered him,alas too late.But light ship in poor weather no mean feat.He also as I recall gave short shrift to the officials in Visag who refused to unload grain from Freemantle because it was "highly contaminated".Perhaps the pith helmet,long stockings and shorts to match carried some weight in those days. Joe C

That sounds like A.Stafford-Watts. Always immaculate in that tropical rig + dark glasses.Tremendous man and a remarkable Master. Always defended his ship and his crews to the death-believed they had a right to privacy and had a notice on his door which began "To whom it may concern,no matter how important they may consider themselves to be........" directed I think to Gale in Calcutta. He fought a bitter battle with the MN Club in Aliwal Street in Durban on their refusal to admit the Anglo-Indian officers we had on board.Aloof,but gave me tremendous support in my first spell as a windy Uncert. 3/O-taught me watch keeping priorities that lasted my time at sea.

Crankcase
9th September 2009, 04:37
I joined the Clydebank 17/10/57 in Colombo transfered from the Laganbank for my sins. Fourth Engineer in the 'Laganbank' to "Junior Second" on the Clyde. She was the worst fed worst maintained work house I have ever had the miss fortune to sail on. However I learnt alot about how to work a dead horse. I can't remember the name of the Skipper but the Chief was a scott named Scott. He had his wife with him her name waqs Corra. The Chief and she pretty much kept to their cabin. The Second eng was just about drunk all the time, and come to think about it so was almost every body else apart from the crew. The ship had picked up a cargo of Carsburgh for India and some of the cases got broken. How ever I paid off in Liverpool. The ship then went to Holland and then to be broken up. Amen

jimthehat
9th September 2009, 08:49
i must have had rose coloured specs,I was on the Clydebank for 2 years paying off 12 months before crankcase joined.
With bertie holland as master and Wilkie Rutherford as mate she was a well fed ship and with 3 apps being taught their trade by Wilkie she was one of the best ships for her age,as I have said before she was the best ship I had sailed on.

JIM

rcraig
13th September 2009, 16:52
Because my time with Bank Line was comparatively short, there are not many names I can quote from the past apart from the masters and some supers. So I am limited to experiences.
One which I remember vividly (but not thereby more accurately perhaps) is one which I have put out elsewhere.
It may not be known by many of the older mariners on this site but the lavatory bowls for the Old Man's "lavvy" in north-east (Scotland...see how sensitive I am to Geordie sensibilities?) parlance, shared a common overside discharge pipe on the Eastbank with that of the junior apprentices' lavatory bowl. I'll bet that not many of you knew that!

In the event therefore that the overside discharge pipe blocked then it blocked for both lavatories. (See, Dad, I could have been an engineer after all!).

So it came to pass one fine morn when we were leaving the gilded tropical isle of Fiji, Suva, to be precise, for the Line Islands...still so isolated even Google Earth cannot find them..... the overside discharge did block. And nothing we could do would clear it. Especially the added weight of crapping on top of it. And if the Old Man, Holbrook, continued to do that, the results were of course, given that the blockage was below our deck, our lavvy bowl would continue to dishcharge its bowels over our lavatory deck.

With remarkable magnanimity, did the O.M. not tell us in his loud voice that he would use the mate's lavatory?

And with remarkable magnanimity he did use it. For a very short time indeed. We became unnaturally interested in his bowel movements that trip. Mainly because we had to clean out the lavatory on a regular basis.

So by the time we reached Fanning Is., we had a great incentive to clear the blockage.

Anchor down, stage and rope ladder over and the Chinese chippy and I clambered down to just above sea level. The water was pellucid blue, and the atmosphere all around clear and sharp, all that a tropical atoll reef could be. I had donned my up to the minute personal protective equipment, shorts and sandals. The chippy had on his overalls. A reticent man, perhaps because he spoke very little English, but he could swear fluently.

Using our specially designed and crafted waste removal equipment, a bamboo cane we began to poke and probe. It was solid. I leant to the left with one hand, and he leant to the right both grasping the cane gingerly and pushed. Thirty feet of congealed crap and paper shot out in a khaki spray with us at the periphery. No, we didn't get the full blast. Part of it.

And boy, was the chippy fluent in swearing interspersed with roaring bursts of Cantonese/Mandarin (?)!

It was a hilarious scene, at least for those on deck. Not perhaps much that was particular to the 50's I grant you, but part of that rich tapestry of life which was a Bank Line apprentice's lot in those days.

Moral of the story; never trust a promise.

Damn. This was meant to be in the 50's thread

K urgess
13th September 2009, 17:52
Moved that for you. (Thumb)

John Campbell
13th September 2009, 18:50
My very first job as an App., just the morning after joining the Southbank in Royal Albert Dock in 1953 was to take a group of Indian Crew about a dozen to see the doc. in those days the poor seamen,oilers and seacunnies could only get shore leave for any length of time and it was always a good ploy to get a day off for and ask to get to see the Doc. Dentist or Post Office. In those far off days the Indian crew seemed to be prematurely old little men and ,save for the Serangs, spoke little English

I was sent ,with scant directions, to take these lads from the ship to the Seamen's Hospital Dreadnought and had to get there on foot and by bus. My knowledge of Hindi was nil and I was terrified of both losing my way and of losing my "crew"as they persisted in walking in "Indian" file. I remember being present when each Lascar was ushered in and the quack and I had to do our best to elicit what ailed the fellow. "Something paining" was the common complaint and each got a paper bag of assorted potents and back to the ship.
That whole exercise took a whole afternoon and I was quite pleased with myself as I had got to go ashore in my brand new uniform. Next day there were no more susti jobs for me as I was down the tween decks from dawn till dusk stacking dunnage among the copra bugs.

When we got to Vizag later on that voyage Capt Bob Smith , in order to forestall the crew going ashore to see the Doc - he got the Doc to come to the ship and also the Dentist. Much to the dismay of the crew and I will never forget the antics of the Dentist who set up in the hospital and extracted a good few teeth there and I can still see the spattering of blood that coated the bulkheads after he left. No hygiene what so ever just a couple of pairs of rusty forceps.

I googled up the "Dreadnought"and lo and behold it still exists in much reduced form.

Johnnietwocoats
13th September 2009, 21:42
My very first job as an App., just the morning after joining the Southbank in Royal Albert Dock in 1953 was to take a group of Indian Crew about a dozen to see the doc. in those days the poor seamen,oilers and seacunnies could only get shore leave for any length of time and it was always a good ploy to get a day off for and ask to get to see the Doc. Dentist or Post Office. In those far off days the Indian crew seemed to be prematurely old little men and ,save for the Serangs, spoke little English

I was sent ,with scant directions, to take these lads from the ship to the Seamen's Hospital Dreadnought and had to get there on foot and by bus. My knowledge of Hindi was nil and I was terrified of both losing my way and of losing my "crew"as they persisted in walking in "Indian" file. I remember being present when each Lascar was ushered in and the quack and I had to do our best to elicit what ailed the fellow. "Something paining" was the common complaint and each got a paper bag of assorted potents and back to the ship.
That whole exercise took a whole afternoon and I was quite pleased with myself as I had got to go ashore in my brand new uniform. Next day there were no more susti jobs for me as I was down the tween decks from dawn till dusk stacking dunnage among the copra bugs.

When we got to Vizag later on that voyage Capt Bob Smith , in order to forestall the crew going ashore to see the Doc - he got the Doc to come to the ship and also the Dentist. Much to the dismay of the crew and I will never forget the antics of the Dentist who set up in the hospital and extracted a good few teeth there and I can still see the spattering of blood that coated the bulkheads after he left. No hygiene what so ever just a couple of pairs of rusty forceps.

I googled up the "Dreadnought"and lo and behold it still exists in much reduced form.

John....
Loved our Indian Crews both on Bank Line and Caltex/Texaco. Always had the greatest respect for them and them for us.
"It's a lesson not too late for the Learnin"

TC(Smoke)

PS...Hope you are well. I am looking up my Caltex/Texaco crew lists.

jimthehat
13th September 2009, 22:48
My very first job as an App., just the morning after joining the Southbank in Royal Albert Dock in 1953 was to take a group of Indian Crew about a dozen to see the doc. in those days the poor seamen,oilers and seacunnies could only get shore leave for any length of time and it was always a good ploy to get a day off for and ask to get to see the Doc. Dentist or Post Office. In those far off days the Indian crew seemed to be prematurely old little men and ,save for the Serangs, spoke little English

I was sent ,with scant directions, to take these lads from the ship to the Seamen's Hospital Dreadnought and had to get there on foot and by bus. My knowledge of Hindi was nil and I was terrified of both losing my way and of losing my "crew"as they persisted in walking in "Indian" file. I remember being present when each Lascar was ushered in and the quack and I had to do our best to elicit what ailed the fellow. "Something paining" was the common complaint and each got a paper bag of assorted potents and back to the ship.
That whole exercise took a whole afternoon and I was quite pleased with myself as I had got to go ashore in my brand new uniform. Next day there were no more susti jobs for me as I was down the tween decks from dawn till dusk stacking dunnage among the copra bugs.

When we got to Vizag later on that voyage Capt Bob Smith , in order to forestall the crew going ashore to see the Doc - he got the Doc to come to the ship and also the Dentist. Much to the dismay of the crew and I will never forget the antics of the Dentist who set up in the hospital and extracted a good few teeth there and I can still see the spattering of blood that coated the bulkheads after he left. No hygiene what so ever just a couple of pairs of rusty forceps.

I googled up the "Dreadnought"and lo and behold it still exists in much

reduced form.

yes the Dreadnought is now a single ward in St thomas hospital in london,was going to go there for my bypass,but too far for the wife to travel so went to papworth.
jim

Alan Rawlinson
14th September 2009, 08:05
My very first job as an App., just the morning after joining the Southbank in Royal Albert Dock in 1953 was to take a group of Indian Crew about a dozen to see the doc. in those days the poor seamen,oilers and seacunnies could only get shore leave for any length of time and it was always a good ploy to get a day off for and ask to get to see the Doc. Dentist or Post Office. In those far off days the Indian crew seemed to be prematurely old little men and ,save for the Serangs, spoke little English

I was sent ,with scant directions, to take these lads from the ship to the Seamen's Hospital Dreadnought and had to get there on foot and by bus. My knowledge of Hindi was nil and I was terrified of both losing my way and of losing my "crew"as they persisted in walking in "Indian" file. I remember being present when each Lascar was ushered in and the quack and I had to do our best to elicit what ailed the fellow. "Something paining" was the common complaint and each got a paper bag of assorted potents and back to the ship.
That whole exercise took a whole afternoon and I was quite pleased with myself as I had got to go ashore in my brand new uniform. Next day there were no more susti jobs for me as I was down the tween decks from dawn till dusk stacking dunnage among the copra bugs.

When we got to Vizag later on that voyage Capt Bob Smith , in order to forestall the crew going ashore to see the Doc - he got the Doc to come to the ship and also the Dentist. Much to the dismay of the crew and I will never forget the antics of the Dentist who set up in the hospital and extracted a good few teeth there and I can still see the spattering of blood that coated the bulkheads after he left. No hygiene what so ever just a couple of pairs of rusty forceps.

I googled up the "Dreadnought"and lo and behold it still exists in much reduced form.

The memories of taking Indian crew to the doctor's triggered recall of an occasion when I was instructed to take a very thin and feeble looking Indian with acute Diabetes to the doctors in Birkenhead. His name was Tabarak Ali. I waited outside, and the doctor came out in an agitated and dramatic fashion and said '' You will never get this man back to the ship alive '' I trotted back alone and relayed this to the Captain, and we left him behind in hospital.

About a year later at anchor at Sandheads, another bankline ship sailed close by and lo and behold, Tabarak Ali was one of those waving from the stern.

jimthehat
14th September 2009, 13:28
Once had to take 3 or 4 crew to the doctors in Sydney,after going over the crew with a fine tooth comb the doc said that there was nothing wrong.he then stated that he was getting fed up with the number of indian crew being brought to his surgery,he told me that the best thing to do on morning medical call was to give an injection of vit c,he wrote a letter to the super suggesting this proceedure.
Vit c was then added to our medicine cabinet ,these injections were given on a daily basis and all crew were happy everafter.

JIM+

Alan Rawlinson
14th September 2009, 15:57
Once had to take 3 or 4 crew to the doctors in Sydney,after going over the crew with a fine tooth comb the doc said that there was nothing wrong.he then stated that he was getting fed up with the number of indian crew being brought to his surgery,he told me that the best thing to do on morning medical call was to give an injection of vit c,he wrote a letter to the super suggesting this proceedure.
Vit c was then added to our medicine cabinet ,these injections were given on a daily basis and all crew were happy everafter.

JIM+

Seems we have a medicine thread going here..........

In my time the stocking up of the medicine locker included a whacking great jar ( 2 gallons or more?) of cough linctus, which the Indian crew absolutely loved. There was a queue every morning until the big jar on the deck was empty. I believe this stuff has a mild narcotic effect - maybe someone out there can confirm.

Kenneth Morley
15th September 2009, 05:30
Anybody ship out on the HAZEL BANK? 8 fires built for 12 what a ship will never forget her. Kenneth

Alan Rawlinson
15th September 2009, 07:37
Anybody ship out on the HAZEL BANK? 8 fires built for 12 what a ship will never forget her. Kenneth

Greetings Kenneth,

Spent a short spell on the coal burner HAZELBANK, in 1951. I remember the piles of ash on the deck when I joined in Adelaide, and the dusty bunkering process. Another memory is how quiet the engines were when we were in the apprentices cabin. Not easy to tell if we were under way! It was a happy ship under Capt Newton, and we had a fun '' crossing the Line '' ceremony heading north.

Re your PAMIR time. What a memory that must be. I went aboard her in Buenos Aires on an open day just prior to her tragic loss with all those lives.

rcraig
15th September 2009, 09:48
Seems we have a medicine thread going here..........

In my time the stocking up of the medicine locker included a whacking great jar ( 2 gallons or more?) of cough linctus, which the Indian crew absolutely loved. There was a queue every morning until the big jar on the deck was empty. I believe this stuff has a mild narcotic effect - maybe someone out there can confirm.

Don't know about cough lozenges, but I remember the change over of the lifeboat stores. We consumed jars of barley sugars and to this day can't stand the stuff. The condensed milk was so old that it came out a brown colour and was used for the galley and we sucked them like bairns on a breast. Now, that was different. The tins, that is. We really did enjoy them but of course we were acclimatised to them as that was the only milk...and evaporated....that we got on the ship.

Joe C
15th September 2009, 14:23
Seems we have a medicine thread going here..........

In my time the stocking up of the medicine locker included a whacking great jar ( 2 gallons or more?) of cough linctus, which the Indian crew absolutely loved. There was a queue every morning until the big jar on the deck was empty. I believe this stuff has a mild narcotic effect - maybe someone out there can confirm.

Alan I seem to remember Jim could induce communal passing -out just by waving his syringe!Reduced the sick queue though.

jimthehat
15th September 2009, 17:19
linctus was a favourite ,much easier to dispense than Black draught.i suppose we gave hundreds of injections,but as far as i can remember it was NOT part of the ship captains mwdical course.
jim

John Campbell
15th September 2009, 21:38
In Bank line it was always the 2nd Mates job, in the 50s to give jags. All of us will remember our first one. I was hoping it would be a casab, topass or tindal but no it had to be the "old man" - Captain Beavis. Now I was pretty nervous about giving jags - we had our scant First Aid Lectures and the Ship Captains Medical guide as our medical education. I had watched other 2/Os boiling up the paraphernalia and using the meth fueled boiling device, getting the penicillin V out and the vials of distilled water.

To cut a long story short - Beavis had hacked away with his pen knife at an ingrowing toenail and consequently got blood poisoning. Beavis and I were not friends - I did not like him as he had a bullying attitude and the 3/O and I had to suffer from his manners - noon sights were always a time of extreme worry as B----t Beavis displayed his prowess with the sextant. Now he had a very sore toe and was going to die if he did not get a jag. He came to me in absolute humility and inquired if I was any good at giving jags. I lied and said I was alright - not wanting to get another dressing down. Anyway with great worry and anticipation I got the gear boiled up, syringe loaded and knocked nervously at the Masters Cabin Door. I will always remember him bending over his bunk and hauling down his blue shorts, Beavis was a huge guy and I was faced by this huge white backside - remembering -upper and outer quadrant - the pic in the SM Guide - I stabbed and plunged the needle in one swift movement. I was aghast as a spurt of blood came out on withdrawal of needle and swabbed the area according to the book. Beavis turned round and said that was great 2nd Mate - hardly felt a thing. If ever I needed a Glenmorangie -it was then.
Beavis was much more human after that and his toe got better but that is one moment in my long life that I will always remember as if it was yesterday - giving my very first jag.

Joe C
20th September 2009, 13:03
Things medical are not really the thread but I'm sure we all lived in dread of being ill and having to declare all to the 2nd mate.But worse than that,I had the priviledge of being treated by an M D London (failed) in Chittagong and lived to tell the tale.I recall a short arm inspection in the States when my fellow apprentice rolled up his sleeve!(Until he was referred to his "toggle*by the 2nd mate)

rcraig
20th September 2009, 17:28
In Bank line it was always the 2nd Mates job, in the 50s to give jags. All of us will remember our first one. I was hoping it would be a casab, topass or tindal but no it had to be the "old man" - Captain Beavis. Now I was pretty nervous about giving jags - we had our scant First Aid Lectures and the Ship Captains Medical guide as our medical education. I had watched other 2/Os boiling up the paraphernalia and using the meth fueled boiling device, getting the penicillin V out and the vials of distilled water.

To cut a long story short - Beavis had hacked away with his pen knife at an ingrowing toenail and consequently got blood poisoning. Beavis and I were not friends - I did not like him as he had a bullying attitude and the 3/O and I had to suffer from his manners - noon sights were always a time of extreme worry as B----t Beavis displayed his prowess with the sextant. Now he had a very sore toe and was going to die if he did not get a jag. He came to me in absolute humility and inquired if I was any good at giving jags. I lied and said I was alright - not wanting to get another dressing down. Anyway with great worry and anticipation I got the gear boiled up, syringe loaded and knocked nervously at the Masters Cabin Door. I will always remember him bending over his bunk and hauling down his blue shorts, Beavis was a huge guy and I was faced by this huge white backside - remembering -upper and outer quadrant - the pic in the SM Guide - I stabbed and plunged the needle in one swift movement. I was aghast as a spurt of blood came out on withdrawal of needle and swabbed the area according to the book. Beavis turned round and said that was great 2nd Mate - hardly felt a thing. If ever I needed a Glenmorangie -it was then.
Beavis was much more human after that and his toe got better but that is one moment in my long life that I will always remember as if it was yesterday - giving my very first jag.

The photos in the Ship Captain's Medical Guide that I remember were the ones which could put you off some members for life.
Funny old world isn't it? In those good old days the thought of syphilis was one that terrified many (although many of the many soon forgot that the moment they stepped ashore) whereas now it would almost be a cry of relief if that is all they had. Just a passing thought, why was it called that. Syphilis? If I was a Phyllis I would be pretty disgruntled. Why is it not called, say, symary, or syjennifer?
Don't blame me. Its John who started the medical! Well, somebody did.

But to pull away from the romantic. Before joining Bank Line I can remember the thrill and anticipation that I got from studying the Journal of Commerce and Lloyds List and checking out the shipping movements. Obsessed by going to sea, I looked at the advertisements for Saint Line to S. America, imagined trips up the Amazon with Booth's, Ben Line to Japan (even at 16 I fancied learning Japanese from a gorgeous Japanese girl) but above all was hooked on the wee square box which Andrew Weirs put in. Little did they know that their small cheap ad served the double function of recruiting too. Who else travelled so far and so widely? Then once given the job after an interview in Hope St., Glasgow, checking out on the movements of the Eastbank until I eventually joined her. And joining her meant experiencing the never to be forgotten smell of copra and Bromborough Docks.

Looked forward to climbing masts. Yahooo. Knew that would not be a problem.
Until one day as I again climbed up the carefully ergonomically designed ladder on the after mast, which had been placed on the after side with rungs so tight to the mast that you could not get the balls of your feet fully on to it, the ship rolling and the overhang of the cross tree to negotiate, my sphincter muscle took over and I froze. Eventually very "feart" I got on to the cross tree and had to lean over to take the weight of the lamp to then pull up and break free the locking handle, before then lifting the lamp in to change the bulb. It then became the job I dreaded above all. The fear of heights never changed after that. It was no relief to know that Doug Scott the snr. app. had been known to shin up the topmast to carry out some function or other.
And to return after 25 months to some thug of a custom's officer with no flexibility and be screwed for duty for the cigarettes, lighters and china taken home for the family with the allowance exactly the same as if you had done a short tourist trip to the Continent.

China hand
20th September 2009, 18:27
Capt Betts didn't like Mate, 2nd Mate, 3rd Mate on FIRBANK. Guess who gave him his jabs? and on TESTBANK. Big Man, I knew him pretty well.

Alistair Macnab
20th September 2009, 18:32
Might as well go there... the fear of heights!
Always managed to avoid the issue, going down a hold ladder from the upper deck was bad enough but I got used to that. The problem was going aloft which I had managed to avoid for 18 months or so until we were coming across the Pacific and looking for a pass through between the Philippine Islands and Borneo in hazy weather and smooth seas. The Master was getting quite worried as nighttime was apporoaching and our ETA indicated we should be seeing something but nothing in sight. Somehow the radar was unreliable, don't know why.
Then the Old Man turned to me as Apprentice of the Watch with the Mate: "Shinny up the foremast, son, and keep a sharp lookout for breakers!"
Gulp! Couldn't refuse, so off I toddled to the foredeck with dread in every step. Up the masthouse ladder. Hmmmm. Easy enough. Start on the mast ladder, easy peasy... but then... the higher I got, the tighter was my grip on the rungs until the rigging platform was reached. Oh God! I have to swing out to the left to make it on to the platform! Will my foot connect with the suspended rung or will I end up handing in space by my sweaty palms and cramping biceps? Made it on to the table. Master yells: "Higher...higher. Go to the crosstrees, you'll see better from there!"
A pause to settle my furiously beating heart then upwards again. This time up the side of the topmast with the ship's gentle pitching threatening to fling me to oblivion at every dip. Until the yard arm hit me on the head and I had to think about navigating around the spar and getting astride of the blessed thing. Last heave and I was clinging on to the yard with the trembling knees and to the topmast like a Tommy returning from the trenches and embracing his sweet love for the first time in four years.
Now all was silent except for the hiss of the parting seas under the bow and the faint throb of the engine exhaust so very far away and below me. The easy dip and recovery of the ship's movement became a comforting rythmic and soothing influence and the clean warm air gradually dried the sweat of fear off my face and body.
I was up here safely and somehow I would get back down again but meantime I would look out for breaking water or signs of land. I even waved to the bridge but they were busy with their binoculars anxiously scanning the horizon ahead.

Charlie Stitt
20th September 2009, 18:55
Ray, you know quite well, the mainmast on the Eastbank was a piece of cake. What about that skinny, makeshift of a topmast on the samboats, I remember Polly Parsons the Mate of the Ericbank sending me up there to fix a halyard block, to-day I just about manage to get up to my house gutter, about 10 feet off the ground. It always makes me shudder when I think of the way we sped up and down those slippery hold ladders, never dawned on us the consequences of missing a rung.----Splat!! I suppose nowadays there would be a health and safety walla checking we were all kitted out with hard hat and safety harness etc etc. I wonder, would we have had to wear the hard hat when bilge diving? (Jester)

John Campbell
20th September 2009, 21:10
Ray and Charlie,s posts reminds me of the first time I was sent aloft in 1953 Royal Albert Dock.

I had the privilege of having Mr Broadly as Chief Mate for the first week on my first ship the "Southbank . He was leaving the ship to go as Master I remember.

Well he grabbed me and took me with him to the monkey Island and explained that I had to remove the inspection doors on the Radar Mast. As you know the Radar Mast is not that high but high enough for a first tripper and it was not a particular easy job for a first tripper with no previous safety training etc. I got the bottom one off to access the wave guide, if I remember, then I went up to the platform underneath the scanner.

Progress was slow and Broadly came up on the monkey Island to access my progress and shouted up to me as to how I was managing. Clumsy and nervous I somehow contrived to drop the shifting spanner missing Mr Broadly by inches.

Getting down the twenty or so feet and expecting the biggest rollicking of my brief career I was astounded to be addressed by a calm Chief Officer who proceeded to give me my very first safety lecture re when aloft make sure that all tools were fitted with a lanyard.

I often recall that incident and how near I was to ending the life of one of Bank Line's most competent Seafarers and how he dealt with me.

jimthehat
20th September 2009, 23:09
was it written in banl line head off instructions to masters that apprentices be made to perform the most dangerous tasks around,I was sent up the mainmast in dodgy weather on the maplebang to replace a bulb in the steaming light.
Another hair raising task was sitting on a hatch beam with agaping lower hold beneath and lifting the hatch boards off,or standing on the whistle platform and pulling down on the lever every time the third mate shouted out from the wheelhouse all in blinding rain in the bass strait all because the wire from the wheelhouse to the whistle had parted.sweet memories.
JIM

Alistair Macnab
20th September 2009, 23:09
John...
I'm glad you remember Bob Broadley with affection for he was , indeed, a most competent seafarer, a product of Trinity House, Hull where he did his pre-sea training. I relieved him for a couple of summers in New York where he was Marine Superintendent and Owner's Representative. On the last, sad time that I relieved him, it was Easter and he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He was dead a couple of months later. He left a wife and a son who was at the time serving in the U.S. Navy. Captain Broadley was well respected and his quiet word was law as far as agents and stevedores were concerned. What a change from Captain Andoe, his predecessor, who ruled by intimidation whereas Bob ruled by the respect he engendered in others.

Joe C
21st September 2009, 20:40
Ray and Charlie,s posts reminds me of the first time I was sent aloft in 1953 Royal Albert Dock.

I had the privilege of having Mr Broadly as Chief Mate for the first week on my first ship the "Southbank . He was leaving the ship to go as Master I remember.

Well he grabbed me and took me with him to the monkey Island and explained that I had to remove the inspection doors on the Radar Mast. As you know the Radar Mast is not that high but high enough for a first tripper and it was not a particular easy job for a first tripper with no previous safety training etc. I got the bottom one off to access the wave guide, if I remember, then I went up to the platform underneath the scanner.

Progress was slow and Broadly came up on the monkey Island to access my progress and shouted up to me as to how I was managing. Clumsy and nervous I somehow contrived to drop the shifting spanner missing Mr Broadly by inches.

Getting down the twenty or so feet and expecting the biggest rollicking of my brief career I was astounded to be addressed by a calm Chief Officer who proceeded to give me my very first safety lecture re when aloft make sure that all tools were fitted with a lanyard.

I often recall that incident and how near I was to ending the life of one of Bank Line's most competent Seafarers and how he dealt with me.

I didn't even make it to my first trip on the Moraybank (where I changed the bulb on the mainmast nav. light,we all seemed to get this job)Whilst doing my stint on the Wendorian at K.E.Vii,someone kindly pulled the anchor ball line out of the block and muggins here was hoiked up the forestay in a bosuns chair to replace same.The first time your fingers get trapped in the shackle you are careful not to let it happen again.That must be what they meant by Pre-sea Training!

Alan Rawlinson
22nd September 2009, 10:31
Another '' up the mast story ''

Joe C will remember we lost a man overboard south of Stewert island on the IRISBANK, circa 1956. I volunteered to climb up the maintopmast with binoculars and spent some uncomfortable half hour or so perched at the truck scanning the horizon in a choppy sea. What with the ship pitching and rolling, and the vibration, the top end of the mast seemed to whip through the air with me clinging to it. Not too pleasant. Unfortunately, it was all in vain as we spent an hour or so steaming up and down before we spotted the birds feasting on the young Indian seaman. This happened as we were about to resume course on passage, giving up the search.

We launched the old cumbersome No 1 wooden lifeboat in rough conditions, and I was the one that rolled the body over the gunwale and onto the stowed oars when we got to the site. had to beat the birds off . His cheeks (the most tasty bit I suppose if you are a hungry seagull.)
were eaten away exposing all the teeth -
There is a lot more to this incident, but I do remember the crew taking charge of the burial, lowering the body on a stage rigged over the side at no 4 hatch. Unfortunately, before they could complete the ceremony, a wave came along and swept the body back into the sea and washed over the whole arrangement.
AL

Joe C
22nd September 2009, 15:36
Another '' up the mast story ''

Joe C will remember we lost a man overboard south of Stewert island on the IRISBANK, circa 1956. I volunteered to climb up the maintopmast with binoculars and spent some uncomfortable half hour or so perched at the truck scanning the horizon in a choppy sea. What with the ship pitching and rolling, and the vibration, the top end of the mast seemed to whip through the air with me clinging to it. Not too pleasant. Unfortunately, it was all in vain as we spent an hour or so steaming up and down before we spotted the birds feasting on the young Indian seaman. This happened as we were about to resume course on passage, giving up the search.

We launched the old cumbersome No 1 wooden lifeboat in rough conditions, and I was the one that rolled the body over the gunwale and onto the stowed oars when we got to the site. had to beat the birds off . His cheeks (the most tasty bit I suppose if you are a hungry seagull.)
were eaten away exposing all the teeth -
There is a lot more to this incident, but I do remember the crew taking charge of the burial, lowering the body on a stage rigged over the side at no 4 hatch. Unfortunately, before they could complete the ceremony, a wave came along and swept the body back into the sea and washed over the whole arrangement.
AL

The sort of sad incident that stays with you all your life.We had a letter sent to the ship from someone on Stewart Island where our lifebelts were washed up asking for details.I believe there was an enquiry when we arrived in Calcutta.Captain Palmer would'nt let the apprentices crew the lifeboat,you can understand why.

Alan Rawlinson
23rd September 2009, 08:03
It was the port aft lifeboat - number 4 - can't see why that was the one with the engine, but it was. We were using the bog standard radial davits and the boat half filled with water from the E.R. discharge before we even got to the sea. ( I always thought afterwards, that this helped us a lot as the boat was deep and sluggish in the quite steep waves) Jimmy Scobbie was in charge, and did a great job, steering up into each oncoming wave, before resuming course. I was scared out of my wits, and remember singing loudly out of fright. As usual in a small boat, everything disappears when you are in a trough, including the ship, and this is quite worrying!

When we returned with the body it proved almost impossible to hook on under the davits, but eventually we did, with me trapping a hand in one of the blocks. Once clear of the water, the boat was smashed repeatedly against the side of the IRISBANK as we swung out and back, and eventually the airtanks were hanging out of the inboard side, as the planking had gone. We got it in the chocks, but it was a mess.

As I remember it, Capt Palmer ordered a resusitation attempt on the body, but this was rather bizarre given the condition. Won't go into details.

Joe mentioned the manning of the lifeboat - strange how when we are young not a thought is given to the risk, but later, and perhaps wiser, wild horses come to mind.

rcraig
23rd September 2009, 10:30
Whilst on this subject, does anyone know of the incident when an apprentice called Simmers who came from the Aberdeen area was washed over the stern (so the story went) of what perhaps was a Sam boat around about 53/54?.
We were at the pre-apprentice navigation school in Aberdeen together.
I never did hear what actually happened.

jimthehat
23rd September 2009, 15:27
i was on the Maplebank (sam boat) sept52-jan 54,so it was not her,i did hear tha a app from my first ship was later lost somewhere up nauru /ocean island way name of willoughby.

JIM

Joe C
30th September 2009, 15:57
"There but for fortune" We arrived off Brisbane in very bad weather on the Moraybank (1955) and the pilot boat took one look at us and told us to go away and try again tomorrow.So we steamed up and down off the coast all night and of course,every time we changed direction the apprentices were turned out to swing the vents back to the weather.Now being a first tripper (my only excuse)at around three in the morning I ended up in the weather side alleyway with the inevitable consequences.No one has ever held on to a deck line tighter than I did that night and no one has ever appreciated the strength of the chippy's cement boxes.I was soaking wet and very rattled but never let on to a soul what a pratt I'd been, at least not until today!

rcraig
7th October 2009, 21:21
Bank Line in the '50's, (but it could have been the '60's too).

A very fussy mate called Waterson(?) from the Isle of Man who taught us exactly how he expected the Old Man's deck bulkheads to be done.
Chip only on the rust flakes. Do not hit clean steel as it spoiled the surface and caused eventual further erosion. Wire brush until the metal shone and then clean with cotton rags. Not cotton waste as it simply caught on the surface.
Apply boiled linseed oil, and once dry then apply red lead followed by red oxide (I think). Then two coats of undercoat white all of course coupled with chamfering the edges of the old paint with pumice stone to smooth it out. Then ultimately finishing off with gloss white.
Don't think he was a company man and don't think he made master. But we got acclimatised to his standards and took most unkindly to a rather posh and far too sloppy mate whose name escapes me and followed me on to the Glenbank in due course. Just to annoy me, as it did, although I grew to quite like him in the end. We did find his practice of painting over dirt disconcerting at first, albeit it meant that we did actually get more work done that way.
Remember the art, too, of smartening up the paintwork with a good soojie followed by a coat of raw linseed oil which then looked as if you had just finished painting down? Well, for a little anyway.

And walking down Chowringee at the height of the Communist marches where tens of thousands might be involved. Never caught up in any trouble although we took the precaution of keeping on the other side of the road. Funny how in all those days in all the places around the world that I went to I cannot remember a single incident where there was any trouble of consequence at all.
Nearest was sharp remarks from French ratings in a bar in Uraga where someone fancied the Japanese girl who was due to teach me Japanese that night, I hoped. The threatening presence of a number of the ship's crew and the intervention of a large presence in Capt. Holbrook who for some reason was ashore with us and in the same bar (come to think of it there was only one bar in Uraga) and who decided to intervene on my behalf, very loudly....he must have understood my burning desire to learn the language in two nights......shut them up.
No, I'm not telling you if I learned the language. (Well, OK...arigato...I did).
And then the other occasion was when the rickshaw driver took us two apprentices up a back lane in Cochin and appeared to be demanding money with hidden menaces, until the third passenger who was one of our engineers and a very nice Anglo-Indian lad, told him where to get off in his own language much to his surprise.
Changed days now, where even if you were allowed ashore you would not wish to go in any event.

rcraig
19th October 2009, 17:26
As one of those alleged to be a "director's" son on the "new" Eastbank (only then about 5 years old, i.e., the ship) you could see how this came about in the attached shot sent in for my application for an apprenticeship.
Dressed in pater's sports jacket carefully tailored by hand from behind using only the best of safety pins, the sleeves left deliberately too long to create the right impression, how could the company not employ me? Indeed, for it must have been he, how could Inverforth himself entertain any doubts?
I condescended to join them when they begged me to.

stocksie
22nd October 2009, 23:02
Oyie Teen Malim Sahib......wot u doin in my chair?.........Oh..Sorry
wrong ship!!
Have you been at my photo album??
Quiet a likeness eh! Inevitable in such a small radio room.
Had classic "double take" moment when I saw you!!
Photo is of INCHANGA radio room circa 1956
Capt. Jackson, Ch Off Hoskins.2/O macauly? (Belfast), 3/o From Clacton, Dr Roy. The memory fades!!
30 years later and I am posted to Plymouth office. Took up digs and the landlady (Mrs Grubb) has
a 4ft x 2ft picture in the hallway of the Calcutta fire brigade 1956.Hubby was
Calcutta Fire Brigade chief in 1950s. She knew of Isiahs so I
glossed round that!!

John Rogers
22nd October 2009, 23:24
As one of those alleged to be a "director's" son on the "new" Eastbank (only then about 5 years old, i.e., the ship) you could see how this came about in the attached shot sent in for my application for an apprenticeship.
Dressed in pater's sports jacket carefully tailored by hand from behind using only the best of safety pins, the sleeves left deliberately too long to create the right impression, how could the company not employ me? Indeed, for it must have been he, how could Inverforth himself entertain any doubts?
I condescended to join them when they begged me to.

That is some suit I must say,they must have took it for Hop Sack,well at least they were half right.
Glad they hired you.(Thumb)

johnb42
23rd October 2009, 00:20
Definitely an inherited sense of sartorial elegance

Alistair Macnab
23rd October 2009, 15:56
Stocksie...
You make no mention of Ma Bowness, was she not the stewardess when you were aboard "Inchanga"? I think too, that Dr. Roy's son was probably the assistant purser but maybe there had been big changes from your time to mine in 1958? I too am a survivor of Captain Jackson, his monocle and his crafty use of the ship's money float for personal trading gain!

stocksie
23rd October 2009, 17:14
Alistair.
Yes Ma Bowness was aboard at the time and remember her well, I had mentioned her in a previous post about the "White Liners" and was trying for something new! I had totally forgotten about Dr Roys son being the "dip"
Memories are fading and I am mixing up shipmates from Hains and Shaw Savill
and Stricks!
Out of interest was R/O Wier (appropriate) aboard in 1958? He was,nt too
happy relieving me June 57. (until he found my docking bottle, that is)

Alistair Macnab
23rd October 2009, 17:29
You are correct. Tom was not a happy camper because he was used to being on Class One passenger ships and the "Inchanga" didn't measure up as far as he was concerned! He was R/O for most of the time when I was aboard. He had a running row with the Old Man whom you may remember lived just beyond the jalousie door adjacent to the R/O's cabin. He would always comment loudly and unfavourably about the master especially when accompanied by the 'docking bottle'. He had his tap stopped many times but used to slip down to the Bar where he had a paid buddy in the bartender.
Like you, almost forgotten memories but wonderful to recollect! Cheers!

Andy Lavies
24th October 2009, 10:23
I remember both cockroaches and bedbugs in the 'Inchanga' but I can't recall any of the Sparks's there during my 32 months in her between 1958 and 1960, perhaps because they didn't bite!
Andy

Charlie Stitt
24th October 2009, 10:30
When I think back to the 50's on Bankboats, I remember how I dreaded being on nights trying to keep up with cargo lights packing in. Even the ones on the booms up the masts would go pop just when you were under pressure trying to keep a supply over the coamings. Of course there was no Lecky, I think it was the 3rd Eng who fixed them,he was never amused to find a heap of these lights marked US sitting waiting for him in the morning. On the Myrtlebank with two blast job engines to look after, the 3rd Eng had enough to get on with, it was a brave Apprentice who would approach him to ask when he would have the broken cargo lights fixed.:sweat: The poor young first trip guy was of course the one sent to do this, and we were ALL there at one time,- remember? Anyone who served their time on ships with electric winches where,not one but two Lecky's were carried, don't know just how lucky they were.

Joe C
24th October 2009, 16:24
When I think back to the 50's on Bankboats, I remember how I dreaded being on nights trying to keep up with cargo lights packing in. Even the ones on the booms up the masts would go pop just when you were under pressure trying to keep a supply over the coamings. Of course there was no Lecky, I think it was the 3rd Eng who fixed them,he was never amused to find a heap of these lights marked US sitting waiting for him in the morning. On the Myrtlebank with two blast job engines to look after, the 3rd Eng had enough to get on with, it was a brave Apprentice who would approach him to ask when he would have the broken cargo lights fixed.:sweat: The poor young first trip guy was of course the one sent to do this, and we were ALL there at one time,- remember? Anyone who served their time on ships with electric winches where,not one but two Lecky's were carried, don't know just how lucky they were.

We were forever being asked to get the lights working for the crew when they went out (the lights, not the crew) with the shout "No isteem sahib".I'm afraid even now I bemuse my wife if a bulb blows by using the same phrase.I remember on the Moray or Iris when we were in the Gulf and had a shore crew working overnight we apprentices were promised a case of beer each to keep the lights working,I must go back and collect it sometime.

jimthehat
24th October 2009, 17:21
remember those clusters well,big wooden plugs that you had to ram up into the box and the cable always getting cut.

jim

Charlie Stitt
24th October 2009, 18:48
When the wharfies started to cover up in the rain, they would sling the flimsey cargo clusters onto the deck, if that did'nt put them out of action, the rain soon did before the Apprentice could rescue them. The big wooden plugs Jim,its amazing we were not electrocuted pulling them out with our wet hands. I can also still smell the melting pitch when a lit cluster was left face down on the wood sheathed deck.

rcraig
25th October 2009, 23:21
It seems that there is but a handful of surivivors from the '50's still alive and kicking, however gently. Someone remarked elsewhere on the shortage of contributors (from all eras) and the reasons being the obvious ones of actual numbers surviving, computer literacy, etc. It is a pity. Just about the last survivors who could have connected up with the tales of the '30's are those of us from the '50's and frankly, I am not one of those with the recollections of that era who has had anything passed on. Regrettably, I can remember very little about the Glenbank from the few months I was on her and have virtually nothing in the way of photographs to illustrate her layout etc.
I suppose it's the problem in all spheres, the superficially mundane everyday working life is often ill recorded.
However, I remember a Manx Bank Line mate telling me the story of a Geordie based tramp he was on during the war with the standard old davits fitted.
She was well west of Gibraltar and sailing in calm seas when she was torpedoed.
She started to go down rather fast. They got to their lifeboat station and found their boat stuck fast with paint. With the superhuman strength to be found from fear, they physically seized it and broke it free. He described the difficulty of trying to clear the lifeboats (Inver class types will know) in a gently rolling vessel with a beam sea running.
But again fear found a way and they all got off the ship successfully. Not only that, the Old Man also got all the necessary papers off...apart from those to be dumped.....but with the noticeable exception of all papers relating to overtime or anything else related to crew payments. And because of their proximity to Gib., they were all picked up successfully.
The same mate carried out what I assume was a pretty rare task. We had been anchored on the Eastbank, and I cannot remember where, with both anchors out, and despite every effort we finished up with the cables intertwined. Either there was no tug available or the old man did not wish to pay for one, but it was decided to hang off one of the anchors and then disconnect it at one of the shackles. It proved a singularly difficult job and took a long time leading to some words passing between the old man and the mate.
To remind me how it was done, I checked out my 1915 Admiralty of Seamanship at p. 309 (just before the pages showing all the sails and gear for a square rigged ship and some pages after the flags for the Balkan states....I take it you have all found it) which lies by my bed, of course, next to my 1933 Navigation manual. Well, you never know when it might come in useful!
Anyone else experience this exercise? The fouled anchor one that is?

jimthehat
25th October 2009, 23:59
cant remember anything with a foul anchor,BUT berthing in one of the islands where the ship entered the lagoon then swung and ropes taken away from the stern.
I was 2/0 aft and lowering a line down to the boat,told the bridge the rope was being lowered ,but for some reason the old man went astern,rope ended up wound round the prop,spent the next 3-4 hours in a boat under the stern unwrapping the rope with the turning gear engaged ,the old man and i had a blazing row afterwards.

jim

Alan Rawlinson
26th October 2009, 08:56
Yes, agree about the limited number of contributors which is a shame - I know ex Bankline friends who for some reason do not want to participate, and only have a passing interest. Can't really get my head round this, because whatever the experience, it was a chunk of their lives.

I happened to find some old Bankline Magazines in the loft recently, and from 1980. Fascinating they were, because amongst other stuff, there was a first hand account of the sinking of the INCOMATI 300 miles south of Lagos written by a first trip gunnery man. Seems the submarine surfaced and fired at the sinking ship, mercifully leaving the lifeboats alone.



It seems that there is but a handful of surivivors from the '50's still alive and kicking, however gently. Someone remarked elsewhere on the shortage of contributors (from all eras) and the reasons being the obvious ones of actual numbers surviving, computer literacy, etc. It is a pity. Just about the last survivors who could have connected up with the tales of the '30's are those of us from the '50's and frankly, I am not one of those with the recollections of that era who has had anything passed on. Regrettably, I can remember very little about the Glenbank from the few months I was on her and have virtually nothing in the way of photographs to illustrate her layout etc.
I suppose it's the problem in all spheres, the superficially mundane everyday working life is often ill recorded.
However, I remember a Manx Bank Line mate telling me the story of a Geordie based tramp he was on during the war with the standard old davits fitted.
She was well west of Gibraltar and sailing in calm seas when she was torpedoed.
She started to go down rather fast. They got to their lifeboat station and found their boat stuck fast with paint. With the superhuman strength to be found from fear, they physically seized it and broke it free. He described the difficulty of trying to clear the lifeboats (Inver class types will know) in a gently rolling vessel with a beam sea running.
But again fear found a way and they all got off the ship successfully. Not only that, the Old Man also got all the necessary papers off...apart from those to be dumped.....but with the noticeable exception of all papers relating to overtime or anything else related to crew payments. And because of their proximity to Gib., they were all picked up successfully.
The same mate carried out what I assume was a pretty rare task. We had been anchored on the Eastbank, and I cannot remember where, with both anchors out, and despite every effort we finished up with the cables intertwined. Either there was no tug available or the old man did not wish to pay for one, but it was decided to hang off one of the anchors and then disconnect it at one of the shackles. It proved a singularly difficult job and took a long time leading to some words passing between the old man and the mate.
To remind me how it was done, I checked out my 1915 Admiralty of Seamanship at p. 309 (just before the pages showing all the sails and gear for a square rigged ship and some pages after the flags for the Balkan states....I take it you have all found it) which lies by my bed, of course, next to my 1933 Navigation manual. Well, you never know when it might come in useful!
Anyone else experience this exercise? The fouled anchor one that is?

Billieboy
26th October 2009, 09:10
Not so much a fouled anchor, but I did have to help the Cheng on a Hain s/s co ship, unshackle one anchor and couple the cable to the bitter end of the other, so that we could be towed. We were loaded, headed for Yokohama in a typhoon in '63, with no fuel and nearly out of food too. That afternoon the wind dropped to force 6, and we could work on the fo'csle, still bloody cold though.

David E
26th October 2009, 12:47
Yes, agree about the limited number of contributors which is a shame - I know ex Bankline friends who for some reason do not want to participate, and only have a passing interest. Can't really get my head round this, because whatever the experience, it was a chunk of their lives.

I happened to find some old Bankline Magazines in the loft recently, and from 1980. Fascinating they were, because amongst other stuff, there was a first hand account of the sinking of the INCOMATI 300 miles south of Lagos written by a first trip gunnery man. Seems the submarine surfaced and fired at the sinking ship, mercifully leaving the lifeboats alone.

That seems a fairly general experience.By '49 when I started most of the 3M and 2Ms were all of the post-war vintage.A lot of the Masters and Mates had started in the 30's and survived the war-yet I can never remember any description of those years.The occasional,flippant, comment, that if you were carrying ammunition or iron-ore you took your clothes off when you went to bed-otherwise not.The war-years seemed to block description of the difficult pre-war years,where seamen with Masters' Tickets were signing on as AB's,simply to get work.
Even the very senior officers were loth to describe their part in historical events. Lord Tovey, who was C in C Home Fleet,responsible for the sinking of the Bismarck would come and talk to me, a lowly 3M,on the 8-12 in the Cavina.He would describe his time in the Navy in the early 1900's-the ships he has served in but the never the War.He made one comment-the terrible loss of life on that occasion in German and British ships
I think the different attiude of society,then and now,has an effect.Those remarkable generations believed they had a job to do,got on with it.They did'nt see themselves as heroes and would laugh at the modern use of that word

K urgess
26th October 2009, 13:00
Captain Alan Newton must have sailed with Bankline through the war but never mentioned it. The only thing he ever said was that he'd sailed under the swastika when taking delivery of a Bankline tanker from Hamburg and that he'd seen der fuehrer speak from the balcony of Hamburg town hall. Probably when he was a curly-haired Bankline apprentice. :)
Captain Holbrook was in BA for at least part of the war as a naval attache. One of his favourite stories involved ignoring the officers from the Graf Spee when they met in one of BA's famous night clubs. Other than that it was just a bit of a lark.
By the time I got to sea it was only the Masters and Chief Engineers who had experienced the war years and before. They didn't talk about it at all. I suppose they'd put it behind them in the intervening 20 years.

kwg
26th October 2009, 14:20
Capt. Freddy Feint (spelling?), or Commander as he insisted on being referred to, once gave a Sunday evening radio interview in Sydney, "In Port To-Night" mid 1960's, Weirbank, I think. The radio station somehow discovered he was on the bridge of the Flagship at the sinking of the Bismark.

Alistair Macnab
26th October 2009, 15:44
Its a day or two since I read all the new entries in this thread so I shall comment on those that ring a bell.
Captain (Commander) Freddie Feint was a gentleman and I principally remember him as organizing church parades in Australian ports. If we went to church, he would thank us by paying for a slap up meal at a good hotel afterwards. I was his Mate and I don't even remember a cross word with him which was unusual because as a young whipper-snapper I was not always very understanding of a Master's position and experience. For example, I was a know-it-all Mate to Captain Barry Mitchell. He must have disliked me tremendously!
[Statute of Limitations surely applies to this mea culpa]

On the topic of throwing around anchor cables, we went to the aid of the s.s."Anto" on the North China Sea. Her propeller had dropped off and taken the rudder with it and she was lying in the path of a pending typhoon. Being the nearest ship to her cry for help, we proceeded towards her as the sky became leaden and the wind arose.

She was found wallowing in a beam swell but having advised her by radio what we proposed to do, they had hung off one of her anchors and had the end of the chain ready to connect with us. On our part, we had hung off the starboard anchor and manhandled the chain all the way down the starboard side of the deck towards the quarter taking a turn around any bitts in the way. When the cable was flaked out and its end was hanging over the stern, we reattached the anchor as a toggle.

Idea was to use the insurance wire attached to our cable at one end and to "Anto"s cable at the other end, then have her lower out her chain to six or seven cables to create drag.

I was in charge of the Schermully to throw a heaving line to her and when it went off, I jerked back in reaction so that the first line went right up into the air and landed back in the ocean no more that ten yards from our stern!
Second shot was much better and landed across the fore part of the "Anto"

They heaved our insurance wire aboard, attached it to their free chain but only ran out a shackle or two. Anyhow, off we went with our tow which lacking power or steering picked up momemnum and threatened to overtake us, first broad on one quarter then broad on the other with the result that when she dropped back, her deadweight placed too great a strain on the insurance wire and it snapped.

Did the connecting thing all over again as the wind rose and the sky was black and threatening all around the horizon. Lightning which had been merely a reflection on the clouds now leaped into jagged flashes followed by omenous grumbles of thunder. We were a little bit frantic by this time. Started towing again, but again, they would not let out enough chain to dampen the towing force.

Got about ten miles and the wire again parted but by this time the "Anto" was somewhat in the lee of Formosa and there was a Moller's tug coming out from Hong Kong to her assistance. We waited around until the big salvage tug arrived then went on our way towards Shanghai and into the storm with the flaked out starboard chain still to put back to its customary place down the spurling pipe. Have you any idea what its like to haul about two cables back from aft? And in teeming rain?

End of story. We eventually got some salvage money. As 3/M I received GBP150.00. The Old Man, Captain Jim Williams was pretty generous and made sure that the Indian crew got something as well.

Final point, when I was up for my 2nd.Mates in Glasgow (I had been an uncertified 3/M) the examiner asked me to discuss the towing of a disabled ship. I embarked on my yarn with great relish and he stopped me. "You've done this before haven't you?" I replied "Yes". He sighed and said that that was the trouble with Bank Line candidates, they've done everything!

rcraig
26th October 2009, 17:44
A great story! Worth the waiting for.

rcraig
26th October 2009, 17:49
And having as usual started at the end story, I have just read the others and how true I think are the comments.

China hand
26th October 2009, 19:24
And having as usual started at the end story, I have just read the others and how true I think are the comments.

Up for Mates, talked about booming off at Villa Constitucion embarcaderos on the Parana. Hard look from Capt Kosh, then: "Ah well, Bank Line I suppose". I was rather tickled as I was on a Blue Star A Boat then, and he came down to do the pre sail boat drill the next day.
We used to have races as to who could split a kenter shackle fastest at SandHeads. Even now I smile.

johnb42
27th October 2009, 01:25
A long time since I heard the term "insurance wire". Remember seeing a lot of them, either coiled under the foc'sle head or on a drum there. Until I learned better, I kept being told it was a "towing spring" not an "insurance wire"

Alan Rawlinson
27th October 2009, 13:19
A long time since I heard the term "insurance wire". Remember seeing a lot of them, either coiled under the foc'sle head or on a drum there. Until I learned better, I kept being told it was a "towing spring" not an "insurance wire"

I remember arriving in Adelaide 1951 as a first trip apprentice on the ( old) Forthbank- on the poop as we approached the berth - relaying messages from the bridge to the 2/0. The order came to run out the insurance wire. Having been the recipient of various first trip spoof jokes before - e.g. go down the engine room and ask for the ' long wait ' etc , I refused, and convinced it was another trick, just laughed it off, which caused a bit of confusion and anger. It was a new term to me at the time.

kwg
27th October 2009, 16:00
First trip app, 1st port of call Havana for bales of cotton. On way to New Orleans smoke detector in fwd stbd deep tank not working...I had no idea what was going on, old mate looked at me, shook his head and said no way son and sent one of the the other apps on an errand...he actually wanted a bottle of smoke!! to test the smoke detector.

rcraig
27th October 2009, 19:26
Reminds me of being instructed to find the golden rivet, but fortunately, I had heard of it before. And of course, the sky hook which did take a lot of innocent apprentices in. I remember one who spent much of the morning hunting for it before the mate, who was not into the hoax, exasperatedly asked him what the hell he had been doing all morning.

But no Bank Line apprentice could compare with the lad I sailed with in E.D.'s, who when told to make my breakfast for midnight on the 1800-0600 cargo watch in port, and that I wanted scrambled eggs, made it with pure condensed milk. The same lad who walked down the foredeck with a pot of paint swinging beside him, spilt some, turned to see, stepped into it and fell flat in the middle of it. He was fairly unique.
One day, when clearing out the hold of cargo gear just before sailing, he stood immediately under the cargo runner. He pushed the hook aside with some force, to gather in the four corners of the cargo net, whereupon as he bent over, it swung straight back into the vertical position it came from, not unsurprisingly, concussing him as he fell to the hold floor. He was like the Hoffmann sketch about the brick layer. No?!
I wonder if he became an E.D. master?
Of course it is still a Bank Line tale! I am simply underlining our superiority!
(E.D. types should not take this too seriously. I enjoyed sailing with them for two years, despite their lack of serious Bank Line type experience)

rcraig
8th November 2009, 20:51
Among the many things I don't remember, I do remember some of the list of useful, nay, vital items we had to take with us when joining our first ship.
Amongst them were:-
M.N. uniform recommended by the tailor to be of moleskin material. I think I wore this on very few occasions and mostly for posing photographic reasons outside my parent's house and rarely, if cold enough, and also to try to get rid of mould.
Oilskins of the original variety which lay congealing in the store under the bench seat in the apprentices' cabin until thrown over the side in a stuck together mass at sea one day
Bridge coat made of very good quality material and which I remember cost either 17, or 27, whichever, an awful lot of money for my father to pay on such a smart but very useless garment. Finally disposed of last year (56 years on) as a fashion item to a woman in the area who may or may not be putting it to good use.
If only I had had the chance to march to Moscow and put it to good use! Never used in anger or otherwise. Despite the high quality of the material it had actually shrunk over the years, would you believe!

John Dryden
8th November 2009, 21:35
I remember the gear I had in my case was so heavy I could hardly lift it never mind carry it,the porters at Kings Cross came in handy.Second trip case was much lighter,left the raincoat at home amongst other items including the sou'wester!
Yuo are right though it was all top quality material in those days,cost a fortune now.

Joe C
9th November 2009, 12:59
I remember the gear I had in my case was so heavy I could hardly lift it never mind carry it,the porters at Kings Cross came in handy.Second trip case was much lighter,left the raincoat at home amongst other items including the sou'wester!
Yuo are right though it was all top quality material in those days,cost a fortune now.

I went ashore wearing my mac in Galveston.They were still taking the p*** 18 months later when we paid off!

Charlie Stitt
9th November 2009, 15:49
Ray, You must have come from a ''Very Well To Do'' Family who could afford all the up market gear you went to sea with, Doeskin Uniform? Greatcoat? cor. I remember joining the Myrtlebank in Tilbury 1955, humping a canvas kit bag over the footbridge,:sweat: inside that bag was the greatest collection of oddments you could imagine. My Dad joined HM Coastguard when de mobed from the RN after WW2, his pay was peanuts and with four hungry lads plus a Wife to feed etc, there was precious little left to kit me out. It was ok though, for when I joined the Myrtle, I soon discovered that most of what was on the ''Kit Required'' list, was not required at all . After my first visit to Calcutta, I really did have a full Bank Line uniforn kit including not one but two pairs of flipflops and a Bank Line blazor badge. ( Got a Blazor when I got Home )(Thumb)

rcraig
9th November 2009, 17:37
Charlie!
Well to do! Seven deep in two Aberdeen tenement rooms with a landing " lavvy" shared with the other flat and the lavvy paper from the local daily rag cut up into the appropriate sizes and no hot water except by kettle.
Mind you, we were probably really middle class 'cos we only used one side.

Listen matey, it was so tough that I had no sympathy for the beggars on Chowringee who at least had heating all around them and a lavvy very close by.
The doeskin was a recommendation. But the bridge coat...yes, true, I must already have had by then a full sense of my real class potential....!
Must have cost the old man about 3 to 5 weeks pay at that time, depending on which of my probably highly inaccurate memories of the price is right.

rcraig
9th November 2009, 17:39
I went ashore wearing my mac in Galveston.They were still taking the p*** 18 months later when we paid off!

Just your mac? Don't they arrest people for that?

Joe C
9th November 2009, 18:07
Just your mac? Don't they arrest people for that?

I knew I was in for that reply,served me right.But the oilskins were the only protection we had when hosing out the deep tanks after steaming clean with caustic.The sou'wester wasn't quite big enough to stop your neck being burned and the sleeves,despite being tied at the ends still left you with weals around your wrists,now about my mac,. I used it to cover up my doeskin.

Joe C
9th November 2009, 18:14
Charlie!
Well to do! Seven deep in two Aberdeen tenement rooms with a landing " lavvy" shared with the other flat and the lavvy paper from the local daily rag cut up into the appropriate sizes and no hot water except by kettle.
Mind you, we were probably really middle class 'cos we only used one side.

Listen matey, it was so tough that I had no sympathy for the beggars on Chowringee who at least had heating all around them and a lavvy very close by.
The doeskin was a recommendation. But the bridge coat...yes, true, I must already have had by then a full sense of my real class potential....!
Must have cost the old man about 3 to 5 weeks pay at that time, depending on which of my probably highly inaccurate memories of the price is right.

You were lucky,I was brought up in Buckie before we emigrated to England

Billieboy
9th November 2009, 18:20
I went ashore wearing my mac in Galveston.They were still taking the p*** 18 months later when we paid off!

Don't worry Joe, I was in Houston one day when it snowed, I didn't have a mac either. It was chaos on the roads and the TV weather guy, that evening, pulled a snowball out of the freezer!

Charlie Stitt
9th November 2009, 19:00
Now who could find fault with this fine turnout. Excellent footware. At the time I actually felt proud to wear that as uniform(==D)

Joe C
9th November 2009, 19:24
Now who could find fault with this fine turnout. Excellent footware. At the time I actually felt proud to wear that as uniform(==D)

Doeskin flipflops,where's the mac?

rcraig
9th November 2009, 20:21
You were lucky,I was brought up in Buckie before we emigrated to England

Buckie?! No, I can't beat that.

rcraig
9th November 2009, 20:24
Now who could find fault with this fine turnout. Excellent footware. At the time I actually felt proud to wear that as uniform(==D)

Now I've looked very, very hard, Charlie, but tell me, which bit were you proud of? (You are smaller and older than me, I hope?)

Charlie Stitt
9th November 2009, 21:20
This photo was taken shortly after joining as a young green as grass first tripper, I believe I had some assistance from others in getting so smartly dressed. I do remember on more than one occasion, being dressed up by my good shipmates, then sent up to the Old Man to deliver some ridiculous message, the old Man, bless him, would then send me on to the Chief Engineer with a further silly message. Ah but, If they could see me now, all those good friends of mine. La La La .:cool:

McMorine
10th November 2009, 13:53
Don't worry Joe, I was in Houston one day when it snowed, I didn't have a mac either. It was chaos on the roads and the TV weather guy, that evening, pulled a snowball out of the freezer!

I remember when I was on the Westbank in Coatzacolcas in Mexico, loading sulphur, going ashore wearing shirts and shorts. The police on the dock gates sent us back to the ship and told us to put longs on as wearing shorts in a public place was not allowed in Mexico.(Jester)

Alan Rawlinson
10th November 2009, 15:59
I remember when I was on the Westbank in Coatzacolcas in Mexico, loading sulphur, going ashore wearing shirts and shorts. The police on the dock gates sent us back to the ship and told us to put longs on as wearing shorts in a public place was not allowed in Mexico.(Jester)

ERNEBANK in Cuba loading sugar in 1953 - second mate and apprentices set off in a lifeboat for a few beers and a swim from one of the islands nearby. The local (armed) police arrive in a launch and demand that we lower the red ensign that was flying from the stern. Second mate refuses ( like you do) They then tried to help by suggesting we fly the Cuban flag as a courtesy. Second mate explains we don't happen to have a Cuban flag handy. Then we were all marched to the town Calaboose at gunpoint. As we were in shorts and shirtless, the locals booed us as we passed, and we all ended up in jail, waiting for the 'old man' to come and get us out, which he did.

There is no moral to the story, except it pays not to be so stubborn on some occasions!

Charlie Stitt
10th November 2009, 16:09
Like many Bank Line Apprentices, I served about half of my time as Acting 3rd Mate, good wages plus overtime, so when I come ashore to sit 2nd Mates I had a few extra quid which I spent on a near new Morris Minor 1000. While at college, I had to put up with snide remarks about Bank Line from some guys who served with posh companies, Bank Line is rubbish, their ships are old crocks,Officers all drunkards, can you not afford a decent suit?, you are not going back with that lot,are you? etc etc. One chap in particular, from Blue Flue, really laid into me, until one day we went out the door together, and made towards our cars, I went to my shiny Minor and he to his clapped out ford prefect. I don't remember my precise words, but it would have been like a loud laugh followed by, '' is that the best you Blue Flu guys can afford''. After that, if he opened his mouth to criticise Bank Line conditions, I would ask him if his old banger has expired yet, he would then clam up. Before parting company, those guys were actually treating me as an equal.Perhaps some even joined Bank Line. (LOL)

Johnnietwocoats
11th November 2009, 02:23
Like many Bank Line Apprentices, I served about half of my time as Acting 3rd Mate, good wages plus overtime, so when I come ashore to sit 2nd Mates I had a few extra quid which I spent on a near new Morris Minor 1000. While at college, I had to put up with snide remarks about Bank Line from some guys who served with posh companies, Bank Line is rubbish, their ships are old crocks,Officers all drunkards, can you not afford a decent suit?, you are not going back with that lot,are you? etc etc. One chap in particular, from Blue Flue, really laid into me, until one day we went out the door together, and made towards our cars, I went to my shiny Minor and he to his clapped out ford prefect. I don't remember my precise words, but it would have been like a loud laugh followed by, '' is that the best you Blue Flu guys can afford''. After that, if he opened his mouth to criticise Bank Line conditions, I would ask him if his old banger has expired yet, he would then clam up. Before parting company, those guys were actually treating me as an equal.Perhaps some even joined Bank Line. (LOL)


Good story Charlie. Mine is completely opposite. When I was doing my 2nd Mates in 1964 I was broke. I was getting 4 Quid a week on the Dole in Corporation Street. I met my new best friend John Taylor in Blythe Street. He was with BP and was getting paid while he was doing his ticket. He had a great car and drove me everywhere, even to the Dole on Friday afternoons.
He also bought me a suit from Burtons for doing my tickets especially Orals. He ended up being my best man at my wedding. I think I repaid the suit loan. If I didn't he doesn't want it anymore.
Still friends to this day.
Take care

TC(Smoke) (Smoke) (Smoke)

jimthehat
11th November 2009, 09:01
bank line were very good at keeping you on full pay whilst up for tickets.Whilst up for mates i was even flush enough to buy a second hand morgan which used to get admiring glances when it was parked in the car park behing Sir john cass,but had to sell it when i found that I was off to the far east run for two years.

jim

Charlie Stitt
11th November 2009, 13:52
JTC, if you were not on full pay minus dole money from Bank Line, then it was probally because you resigned from their service at the end of your Apprenticeship. I was paid full company wages less dole money for all the time at college. I sailed with John Taylor on the ferries, great guy.

Johnnietwocoats
21st November 2009, 08:41
JTC, if you were not on full pay minus dole money from Bank Line, then it was probally because you resigned from their service at the end of your Apprenticeship. I was paid full company wages less dole money for all the time at college. I sailed with John Taylor on the ferries, great guy.

I think they fired me cos I reported aul Charlie Howe to the MNOA.....(Smoke)

Lot of good it did us Apprentices. The MNOA Rep came on board in Liverpool after 14 months of hell. The Chief Engineer at the time spoke up for us. The mate didn't. He was also abused by CH. The MNOA Rep went up to CH's Cabin, had a drink, and that was the end of it.
Here I am at 65 years old and he still interferes with my life

Maybe I should have gone to a Shrink years ago.

Some of us were mistreated. That's a fact. If we say we were most on this Forum call us whiners.

JTC(Smoke) (Smoke)

Charlie Stitt
21st November 2009, 14:46
John, I must have been the luckiest Apprentice - Mate in Bank Line, I am not spoofing when I say, I had the privilage of sailing with some of the best Masters and Mates at that time. I heard many damning reports of a few Masters, I don't know how I would have handled sailing with them, thank goodness I never had to find out,:sweat: in your case, 14 months of misery would surely have left its mark. Bury Street were aware of these misery merchants, why they did not take some sort of action toward them we will never know. In a way we were quite fortunate, as we only had a few bad ? ackward ? niggling ?pain in the backside ? Masters, but MANY great ones. I left Weirs in 1967, having served two years as Mate, and as Capt Gale said, good prospects of advanvement, only because I wished to get married, and did not approve of wives carried on board. It was a very hard dicision to make, as it felt like I was leaving my family, and in a way, letting my mates down. It took me some time to come to terms with the fact I no longer enjoyed the luxury of being a Bank Line employee, I felt lost, and asked myself many times, what have I done ? then I got a lust for business and my whole life changed for the better, so it was an ok decision after all. (Thumb)

Johnnietwocoats
21st November 2009, 16:46
John, I must have been the luckiest Apprentice - Mate in Bank Line, I am not spoofing when I say, I had the privilage of sailing with some of the best Masters and Mates at that time. I heard many damning reports of a few Masters, I don't know how I would have handled sailing with them, thank goodness I never had to find out,:sweat: in your case, 14 months of misery would surely have left its mark. Bury Street were aware of these misery merchants, why they did not take some sort of action toward them we will never know. In a way we were quite fortunate, as we only had a few bad ? ackward ? niggling ?pain in the backside ? Masters, but MANY great ones. I left Weirs in 1967, having served two years as Mate, and as Capt Gale said, good prospects of advanvement, only because I wished to get married, and did not approve of wives carried on board. It was a very hard dicision to make, as it felt like I was leaving my family, and in a way, letting my mates down. It took me some time to come to terms with the fact I no longer enjoyed the luxury of being a Bank Line employee, I felt lost, and asked myself many times, what have I done ? then I got a lust for business and my whole life changed for the better, so it was an ok decision after all. (Thumb)

You were indeed fortunate Charlie. We have a few friends in common. I know you spent a lot of time as Acting 3rd Mate. Your pay while at school would have been pretty good. What would/should they have paid me. Last years apprentices wages? I think the dole was more than that...My time at school for all my tickets was always fun.
As you know I went with Caltex after I got my Ticket. Great Company and Great Masters/Mates.
Despite CH and certainly not because of him I ended up a good seaman and a mature adult at the end of my Apprenticeship.
The Company must have known about the reputation of these few bad apples but didn't seem to do much about it.
Life is great and I wouldn't change one bit of mine. One should always suffer a little bad to realise how good the good can be.
Take Care
TC(Smoke)

China hand
21st November 2009, 18:38
Don't think that you are alone in your views of Mr CH, Master Mariner.
There are times when the term "an affront to the profession" come to mind.
But how many more could we name? Ossie? Jack?, me no savvy.(K)

Johnnietwocoats
22nd November 2009, 02:40
Don't think that you are alone in your views of Mr CH, Master Mariner.
There are times when the term "an affront to the profession" come to mind.
But how many more could we name? Ossie? Jack?, me no savvy.(K)

Thank you China......

I recall being off Madras, I think, and the Pilot Boat was coming out to us. They called us up on the Aldis Lamp......

CH picked up our Lamp and the Acting Third Mate, who shall remain nameless, was actually calling the letters of our Ships name to the same CH from a Morse Code book.

Sad to think that neither the Master nor the Acting Third Mate could send or receive Morse on the Aldis Lamp.

I was the Senior Apprentice down on the Boat Deck and was reading everything clearly to the Engineers, who were watching, as it was so slow......

As you say...An affront to the rest of us...,

TC(Smoke) (Smoke)

jim garnett
28th November 2009, 01:15
Great to read all the Bank line stories.I never sailed on one but our firm did all their repairs in
Melbourne .I remember very well the Tweedbank,when it sailed into Melbourne with a bent prop.
We made great money out of it as the spare prop and shaft didn't fit so we had to do the job twice.
I also recall the Deebank being held up at Gellibrand pier in Williamstown for about 3 months while the boiler end plate was welded.Who can forget the dear all rustbucket Birchbank.She was a first war
built ship still sailing in 1950.A mate of mine sailed on her and we met up in Colombo.He spent more time on my ship, the La estancia helping to get rid of our spply of Aussie beer.She had four coal fired
boilers.The second engineer was aNew Zealander and the third a reformed alcoholic who wasn't quite
reformed.My mate survived the trip but only just.
Jim Garnett

jimthehat
28th November 2009, 22:59
Hi all,
just thinking back to my time on the Isipingo circa 57-59 and remembered that we have spoke of the stewardesses on board,but can anyone remember the barber and his little shop ,maindeck stb side (ithink).i was only 22 when i joined and on my first haircut the barber said i had grey hairs and from then on he would pull them out on every visit.

jim

Charlie Stitt
29th November 2009, 10:24
So Jim left the Isipingo two years older and BALD. (==D)

Alan Rawlinson
29th November 2009, 15:38
Hi all,
just thinking back to my time on the Isipingo circa 57-59 and remembered that we have spoke of the stewardesses on board,but can anyone remember the barber and his little shop ,maindeck stb side (ithink).i was only 22 when i joined and on my first haircut the barber said i had grey hairs and from then on he would pull them out on every visit.

jim

Hi Jim,

The barber's shop on the Inchangs was almost opposite the apprentices cabin - as you say main deck starboard quarter. I remember it for the mouldy boxes of chocolate he stocked. Covered in white mildew spots, but still tasty!

Joe C
29th November 2009, 17:57
Hi Jim,

The barber's shop on the Inchangs was almost opposite the apprentices cabin - as you say main deck starboard quarter. I remember it for the mouldy boxes of chocolate he stocked. Covered in white mildew spots, but still tasty!

No such luxuries on the Irisbank,one of our engineers,Gerry Fallon I believe, used to make a very fine job of it.Unfortunately his speciality Crew Cut which I always ended up with resulted in me acquiring the nick-name "Butch" which I was relieved to get rid of when I transfered to the Levernbank.But when I left the Levernbank for the Fleetbank I was welcomed up the gangway by an engineer (ex Irisbank of course) and once again became "Butch"Gerry would have to be a miracle worker to produce a crew-cut from my sparse growth now, I just have a "number 4" which takes all of 30 seconds .

Alan Rawlinson
12th December 2009, 14:30
No such luxuries on the Irisbank,one of our engineers,Gerry Fallon I believe, used to make a very fine job of it.Unfortunately his speciality Crew Cut which I always ended up with resulted in me acquiring the nick-name "Butch" which I was relieved to get rid of when I transfered to the Levernbank.But when I left the Levernbank for the Fleetbank I was welcomed up the gangway by an engineer (ex Irisbank of course) and once again became "Butch"Gerry would have to be a miracle worker to produce a crew-cut from my sparse growth now, I just have a "number 4" which takes all of 30 seconds .


Hallo Joe,

Found an old IRISBANK ( built 1930 ) snap taken on the boat deck in the mid 50's- has got you in it.
Front row: Lecky (from Liverpool, but what name?) - Bethell ( trumpet playing sparky - may have been the one referred to in another thread) - yours truly with arm around Sparks
Back Row: G Forsyth 2/E - another engineer (name?) - J Coghill ( with original '' Butch '' haircut) - McMillan?(Engineer) unknown - B Smith ( 4th Engineer from Largs) - Gerry Fallon ( 3rd Engineer) of haircut and singing fame.
Box girder derricks behind.

Happy Days, - I wonder. Just to think I had absolutely nothing in the bank at that time, and locked on board with a crabby Master!

Joe C
12th December 2009, 16:41
Just returned from a fun morning christmas shopping, sinking into semi-conc iousness when I found your blast from the past.
The engineer with the glasses is Pete,the guy on my left,Robby, the engineer next to him,Eric but I can't remember lecky's name.I recall he was a good laugh though,whenever he returned to the ship plastered he more often than not decided to jump ship and we found him hanging out of his porthole one night lacerated from his neck to his navel by the bug-screen which he hadn't bothered to remove.It didn't help that we had to shove him back into his cabin.He probably still bears the scars!
Brian Smith was always fun to go ashore with,do you remember his version of Spike Milligans "elephant joke"involving a very long blazer and a certain amount of indecent exposure? Frightening

Alan Rawlinson
13th December 2009, 07:19
Just returned from a fun morning christmas shopping, sinking into semi-conc iousness when I found your blast from the past.
The engineer with the glasses is Pete,the guy on my left,Robby, the engineer next to him,Eric but I can't remember lecky's name.I recall he was a good laugh though,whenever he returned to the ship plastered he more often than not decided to jump ship and we found him hanging out of his porthole one night lacerated from his neck to his navel by the bug-screen which he hadn't bothered to remove.It didn't help that we had to shove him back into his cabin.He probably still bears the scars!
Brian Smith was always fun to go ashore with,do you remember his version of Spike Milligans "elephant joke"involving a very long blazer and a certain amount of indecent exposure? Frightening

The Leckies surname was Walsh - was it Paddy?

Joe C
13th December 2009, 13:24
The Leckies surname was Walsh - was it Paddy?

I think you're right,I'm sure he came from Liverpool so there's a fair chance he was called Paddy!
We rescued him on one occasion when he was sound asleep in the "hammock" area when a cargo tent has not been raised to it's fullest height, and separating him from the tank top were two or three loose wedges.
The two of us on watch grabbed him and dumped him on the deck.He didn't approve of this rough treatment and didn't appreciate we had probably saved his skin!

rcraig
19th December 2009, 13:23
Bit off the "'50's" track, or at least not exclusiveto it.
Anyone remember what if felt like to come back at the end of a long trip? Coming home after 25 months, I remember arriving at the door of my parents' house surprised to find it unlocked with a stranger meeting me as I went in, and wondering what was going on. Couldn't recognise my brother.
No question of meeting the returning conquering hero in those days. Meet my mother when she returned from the shopping....priorities were different in those days....and then my father when he had finished work, and thinking about both of them how old they had got over the two years. My mother would have been all of 47...how old can you get?
Think I caught the bus from the station to get to the house. With about 14 in my pocket...the second last country of call having been Japan there was not a great deal of money left over after that....money for taxis and telegrams would have been a luxury

John Campbell
19th December 2009, 19:51
Ray, I returned after twenty months arriving at the tiny station of Bower Caithness with all my 4 pieces of sea going gear and no one to meet me, no taxis nothing except the station master. Fortunately an old farmer was passing with a tractor and trailer and he kindly took me two miles to the village school at Gillock sitting atop a load of straw with my gear. My young ten year old brother was in the playground and after the initial shock at seeing me reluctantly handed over his bike. I loaded and hung my bags on the bike and walked the final 2 miles to my home on the farm. My folks saw me coming up the road but did not come to meet me as they thought I was an Indian Peddler who used too tramp the roads of Caithness at that time. Like you I saw a great difference on all my folks after such a long time. With e-mail etc now how easy it is to let everyone know your whereabouts but we took it all in our stride - we had no telephone and telegrams were too expensive and anyway you never could say when you would arrive with any certainty
JC

rcraig
19th December 2009, 20:03
John,

Boy, they were certainly different days! I'll pass on that story to Margaret.

Ray

Charlie Stitt
19th December 2009, 20:25
What I remember MOST about extended voyages was, when I went away, I had a girlfriend, when I got back I did'nt, and had to start all over again.(Flowers) Kept the last one by putting a ring on her finger, and my signature on a letter of resignation to Bankline.

jimthehat
19th December 2009, 21:09
payed off in Bromborough after 18months on the maplebank hoping for a decent spell ashore ,imagine my shock when 14 days later I was in Avonmouth joining the Etivebank(coalburner).the joys of a bank line app.

jim

Alistair Macnab
19th December 2009, 22:25
It was my fifth trip on Bank Boats before I had the opportunity to arrive in Home Waters so I was past being a giddy first tripper. But I remember well coming up the Channel and hearing the BBC Light Programme and catching a glimpse of the White Cliffs on the port side. I felt quite light headed and swear that the 'Channels' is a verifiable condition! Looking back, we all were running about gabbling and on a high - and that was before the docking bottle was issued! I tried to tell myself that the White Cliffs were not 'home' in the true sense of the word (that would come several day's later when the train passed over Shap and ran down to Gretna) and we were berthing at Rotterdam and not the UK but it made no difference....the 'Channels' exists!

John Campbell
10th January 2010, 20:30
When I was senior apprentice - one of our chores was completing the annual inventory of stores for the Mate. It was a tedious business , usually done when the weather was bad and we could not get out on deck. We meticulously counted each drum of red lead and zinc chromate primer to the last brass eyelet or inglefield clip. I wonder what ever did the gnomes on their high stools in FHQ do with those documents ?

Winebuff
14th January 2010, 22:45
The Channels are not just a MN issue, in the armed forces there is evidence that soldiers are at greater risk in the last few days of a tour as they take their minds off the job in hand. I am still much less effective as a holiday approaches than I am at other times of the year.

Peter Smith

Alan Rawlinson
20th January 2010, 09:28
Reading the ' saving rainwater ' thread, reminded me of the palava getting a HOT bath on the Irisbank. There was a fitted steam hose with a valve on the side of the tub, and the copper pipe was swivelled into the water and the valve opened to get a really hot soak... Not sure about the health and safety aspects of this, but it worked fine.

rcraig
20th January 2010, 09:32
The Channels are not just a MN issue, in the armed forces there is evidence that soldiers are at greater risk in the last few days of a tour as they take their minds off the job in hand. I am still much less effective as a holiday approaches than I am at other times of the year.

Peter Smith

The Channels! So that's what I've got!! Thank heavens for that. I thought it was senility.

Ron Stringer
20th January 2010, 11:26
Reading the ' saving rainwater ' thread, reminded me of the palava getting a HOT bath on the Irisbank.

Never sailed on a ship with a bath, only ever experienced showers. Hated showers at school - freezing cold after games - but thought they were wonderful when I went to sea. Was such a convert that I have fitted one in every house that I have had since coming ashore. Only have a shower in my present house, took the bath out as a waste of space and replaced it with the washing machine and the tumble dryer.

Alan Rawlinson
20th January 2010, 15:39
Never sailed on a ship with a bath, only ever experienced showers. Hated showers at school - freezing cold after games - but thought they were wonderful when I went to sea. Was such a convert that I have fitted one in every house that I have had since coming ashore. Only have a shower in my present house, took the bath out as a waste of space and replaced it with the washing machine and the tumble dryer.

Can't recall a shower in the Irisbank ( 1930 built) but could be mistaken. Joe C might remember? The bath came in useful for Dhobi sessions, and the odd long fish caught at anchor...

Alistair Macnab
20th January 2010, 16:12
Does nobody remember the patent washhand basin called a Compactum? This was a device that was fitted in each officer's cabin that consisted of a top tank hidden behind a mirror, and a bottom tank behind a door, both made of galvanized metal. Between these two tanks was a porcelain folding down wash hand basin and a single valve. When you wanted to use the basin, the user pulled down the sink into the horizontal position and filled it with cold water from the upper tank. When you were finished, you folded the sink back into the cabinet and the dirty water spilled out via a shaped lip in the porcelain and was collected in the bottom tank.
Very convenient and useful. No plumbing required. All that was needed was a topass to fill and empty the tanks!
In the officers' bathroom, we had a full-size conventional bath with two taps and a drain. The taps were just for show and were not connected to anything. Adjacent to the bath tub, was a cut-down 40-gallon drum nicely painted in Bank Line buff with the top removed and the raw edge thoughtfully folded over to prevent slit wrists. Hanging from the rim of this tank was a specially designed scoop made from perhaps a soup can with the end of the handle bent into a hook to keep it handy and available to the bath user. The drum was topped up each day, again by topass power and the bather scooped water out of the drum and applied the cold water to his head and body as required.
For those weenies who wanted hot water, there were a steampipe and two enamel buckets in a wooden holder on the bathroom floor and a wooden platform that could be placed athwart the bath edges with a hole cut in it to receive one of the enamel buckets that had had its cold water turned into hot by the application of live steam.
m.v."Ettrickbank" built 1937 and not modified until 1957.

John Campbell
20th January 2010, 18:44
Does nobody remember the patent washhand basin called a Compactum? This was a device that was fitted in each officer's cabin that consisted of a top tank hidden behind a mirror, and a bottom tank behind a door, both made of galvanized metal. Between these two tanks was a porcelain folding down wash hand basin and a single valve. When you wanted to use the basin, the user pulled down the sink into the horizontal position and filled it with cold water from the upper tank. When you were finished, you folded the sink back into the cabinet and the dirty water spilled out via a shaped lip in the porcelain and was collected in the bottom tank.
Very convenient and useful. No plumbing required. All that was needed was a topass to fill and empty the tanks!
In the officers' bathroom, we had a full-size conventional bath with two taps and a drain. The taps were just for show and were not connected to anything. Adjacent to the bath tub, was a cut-down 40-gallon drum nicely painted in Bank Line buff with the top removed and the raw edge thoughtfully folded over to prevent slit wrists. Hanging from the rim of this tank was a specially designed scoop made from perhaps a soup can with the end of the handle bent into a hook to keep it handy and available to the bath user. The drum was topped up each day, again by topass power and the bather scooped water out of the drum and applied the cold water to his head and body as required.
For those weenies who wanted hot water, there were a steampipe and two enamel buckets in a wooden holder on the bathroom floor and a wooden platform that could be placed athwart the bath edges with a hole cut in it to receive one of the enamel buckets that had had its cold water turned into hot by the application of live steam.
m.v."Ettrickbank" built 1937 and not modified until 1957.

This was more or less the same arrangement as I remember on the "Clydebank" and I substituted the galvanized receptacle for a conventional bucket. This earned me a bit of a rollicking from Old Man Hale one Sunday but then he turned round and said "good idea son carry on using it "- there was no option as I had slung the original device over the side as there was a hole in it.

Joe C
20th January 2010, 19:19
Can't recall a shower in the Irisbank ( 1930 built) but could be mistaken. Joe C might remember? The bath came in useful for Dhobi sessions, and the odd long fish caught at anchor...

Can't clearly remember but 70% we had a shower.Put another way I can't remember having a bath on the Irisbank so after the long trip we did its no surprise you had me transferred to the Levernbank.

David E
20th January 2010, 23:47
This was more or less the same arrangement as I remember on the "Clydebank" and I substituted the galvanized receptacle for a conventional bucket. This earned me a bit of a rollicking from Old Man Hale one Sunday but then he turned round and said "good idea son carry on using it "- there was no option as I had slung the original device over the side as there was a hole in it.

"Myrtlebank" '49 had them.The single bath boasted two taps providing cold salt water:a plank across the bath held a bucket that had to be hand pumped from storage and heated on the Galley stove-useless for cleaning up after carbon black.I was back in her briefly in '52,by then more modern facilities had been put in-showers: running water in all the cabins."Forresbank" had been modernised in the same way by
1952.Can't remember "Inchanga".We certainly had "hot and cold" on the Bridge deck,probably in the Engineers and Apps cabins but I think we still had the bucket and salt water regime in the Apps/Engineers facilities-Alan may remember.

Dave E

Alan Rawlinson
21st January 2010, 09:01
"Myrtlebank" '49 had them.The single bath boasted two taps providing cold salt water:a plank across the bath held a bucket that had to be hand pumped from storage and heated on the Galley stove-useless for cleaning up after carbon black.I was back in her briefly in '52,by then more modern facilities had been put in-showers: running water in all the cabins."Forresbank" had been modernised in the same way by
1952.Can't remember "Inchanga".We certainly had "hot and cold" on the Bridge deck,probably in the Engineers and Apps cabins but I think we still had the bucket and salt water regime in the Apps/Engineers facilities-Alan may remember.

Dave E

Hallo David,

Can't recall anything about the shower or bath arrangements on the Inchanga, which is strange considering how fussy I am now about having a high pressure power shower as a No 1 priority! The mind is so selective.

Can recall the ' compactum ' on other Bankline ships - I always thought it was a pretty useless Victorian sort of gadget, with a dopey name. Also, having to trampse up the foredeck with buckets to hand pump water from the forepeak for a clean up. If relations were not too good the apprentice filling the buckets would depart silently leaving the one down below still sweating over the pump. Happy days - or were they?

McMorine
21st January 2010, 12:48
First trip 2nd Electrician on the Westbank 1959, there was only a cold water tap to the wash basin, don't remember what rank you had to be to get hot water, but I was promoted at the end of the six month voyage and the 1st Electricians cabin was the same.
Regards Mac.

Joe C
21st January 2010, 15:46
Hallo David,

Can't recall anything about the shower or bath arrangements on the Inchanga, which is strange considering how fussy I am now about having a high pressure power shower as a No 1 priority! The mind is so selective.

Can recall the ' compactum ' on other Bankline ships - I always thought it was a pretty useless Victorian sort of gadget, with a dopey name. Also, having to trampse up the foredeck with buckets to hand pump water from the forepeak for a clean up. If relations were not too good the apprentice filling the buckets would depart silently leaving the one down below still sweating over the pump. Happy days - or were they?

The "facilities" on the older ships in the 50s were unbelievable,literally!You watch the eyes glaze over if you talk about them today.The Iris and Levernbank were as described above,the Ivybank much better,a Samboat, the Fleetbank was brand new and luxurious when I was on her.
After reading your threads I didn't realise how sophisticated we were on the Moraybank.We collected rainwater on a tarp stretched across between the stowed derricks,into an oil drum off a large crowbar which acted as a weight and a sort of tap/runoff.
Conditions improved for me in 1959 though,unlimited hot and cold running water.By then I was in the RAF(not from choice!)

David E
21st January 2010, 23:47
Hallo David,

Can't recall anything about the shower or bath arrangements on the Inchanga, which is strange considering how fussy I am now about having a high pressure power shower as a No 1 priority! The mind is so selective.

Can recall the ' compactum ' on other Bankline ships - I always thought it was a pretty useless Victorian sort of gadget, with a dopey name. Also, having to trampse up the foredeck with buckets to hand pump water from the forepeak for a clean up. If relations were not too good the apprentice filling the buckets would depart silently leaving the one down below still sweating over the pump. Happy days - or were they?

Happy Days ?-Yes they were. Essentially it was a people thing, nothing to do with the Company. Long voyages were a certainty so the atmosphere seemed to stay peaceful and friendly with very little friction. In later years I found the same thing in Mobil,where trips would last up to a year. In Fyffes,the trips were short-five weeks maximum. Crews tended to rotate fairly rapidly so you seldom knew much about them-things tended to be civilised but often impersonal.

David E

Joe C
25th January 2010, 14:57
We were in Aukland on the Irisbank in October 1956, and the local vicar came on board and told Captain Palmer that he was celebrating Trafalgar Day with
a church parade and service and would we like to take part.
Of course we would,the Apprentices would love to join the scouts and the brownies and parade the house flag through the town and the church and take part in the service.
We were duly informed that we had volunteered,shook the green mould off our uniforms and managed to be out of step throughout the whole ceremony.Probably followed by tea and tabnabs.
I've attached a photo of the welcoming party when we returned,Jim,Alan,myself and Eddy.

Alan Rawlinson
25th January 2010, 18:13
We were in Aukland on the Irisbank in October 1956, and the local vicar came on board and told Captain Palmer that he was celebrating Trafalgar Day with
a church parade and service and would we like to take part.
Of course we would,the Apprentices would love to join the scouts and the brownies and parade the house flag through the town and the church and take part in the service.
We were duly informed that we had volunteered,shook the green mould off our uniforms and managed to be out of step throughout the whole ceremony.Probably followed by tea and tabnabs.
I've attached a photo of the welcoming party when we returned,Jim,Alan,myself and Eddy.

Nice one Joe! Remember it well - Was it the Kiwi girl guides you wanted to get in amongst!

rcraig
31st January 2010, 18:42
I referred briefly before to a connection with the '50's picked up in South Uist last year.

Japan was of course, the dream, never-never land of many an apprentice's youth. On my first trip there, I picked up the words and music of the song "Shina no Yoru" and used to sing it to myself on the rare occasions I finished up on watch on my first trip.

"Shina no yoru, Shina no yoru ohh,
Minato no akari, murasaki no yo ni,
Noboru junku no yume no fune....."

A bit of nostalgia wrapped up with my time as an apprentice on the Eastbank. Knew the first verse word perfectly and with the right intonation. Never knew what it meant. Nor cared.

At a Fis, Celas, in Daliburgh in South Uist, 2008. There was a Japanese girl learning the pipes (naturally) so with all the brashness of youth and being a biker (I live in hope, but it does wear your optimism down when the women tell you to keep your helmet on..) I went up to her and sang (I use language quite loosely at times) the first verse, and asked for a translation.

I got a partial translation, told that parts were quite old and she would send a translation from Tokyo when she spoke to her father on return. And I took it for granted that this would happen. And it did.

And she also sent a CD complete with the songs of the female singer recorded between 1920-40.

Ahh, the memories. As my wife would say, pathetic. But I don't care!!

There really were some great memories

56 years on and still word perfect. Alas, nothing else is. Including whether or not I've told this story before.

Alan Rawlinson
31st January 2010, 21:07
I referred briefly before to a connection with the '50's picked up in South Uist last year.

Japan was of course, the dream, never-never land of many an apprentice's youth. On my first trip there, I picked up the words and music of the song "Shina no Yoru" and used to sing it to myself on the rare occasions I finished up on watch on my first trip.

"Shina no yoru, Shina no yoru ohh,
Minato no akari, murasaki no yo ni,
Noboru junku no yume no fune....."

A bit of nostalgia wrapped up with my time as an apprentice on the Eastbank. Knew the first verse word perfectly and with the right intonation. Never knew what it meant. Nor cared.

At a Fis, Celas, in Daliburgh in South Uist, 2008. There was a Japanese girl learning the pipes (naturally) so with all the brashness of youth and being a biker (I live in hope, but it does wear your optimism down when the women tell you to keep your helmet on..) I went up to her and sang (I use language quite loosely at times) the first verse, and asked for a translation.

I got a partial translation, told that parts were quite old and she would send a translation from Tokyo when she spoke to her father on return. And I took it for granted that this would happen. And it did.

And she also sent a CD complete with the songs of the female singer recorded between 1920-40.

Ahh, the memories. As my wife would say, pathetic. But I don't care!!

There really were some great memories

56 years on and still word perfect. Alas, nothing else is. Including whether or not I've told this story before.

On the subject of musical memories....

Sailed with Doug Christy from Aberdeen on the Ernebank - he was the senior apprentice, and he taught me a lot - mostly in the ' run ashore ' department. I had a rapid education in the more important things in life starting with up to 10 pints a night whilst berthed in Bromboro... Anyway, he was always singing a very plaintive country and western song as we worked on deck, and I also knew all the words after many repetitions. Later, I came to recognise the tune as ' Cold Cold Heart' and sometimes run across it today on ' Spotify ' when trawling through the songs. It takes me straight back to the Bankline days on the old Ernebank.

Doug promised me a box of Aberdeen kippers after we paid off, and sure enough, I had only been home a few days when a box of delicious kippers arrived!

Anyone have any news of him? I do know he was 2/0 of the Ericbank for a while, and suffered some ill health at that time.

Charlie Stitt
31st January 2010, 21:17
Ray, My favourite music memories come from the South Pacific Islands. One in particular I often play on my mandoline and harmonica, I know how some of the words are pronounced, but hav'nt a clue how they are spelt. I think the song is about Suva. It starts off, and I will spell the words the way I pronounce them. DON't LAUGH.
e say e say
ver langa las a dena
e say e say
ver lang a las a dena
I know the tune so well, I play it, close my eyes, and picture the hip swinging , grass skirted beauties gracefully dancing(Hippy) , while I sip cava from a half coconut shell and savour the smell of the wild hog roasting on the spit,.(Eat)
Please don't waken me up just yet.

Charlie Stitt
31st January 2010, 21:30
Alan, I sailed with Dougie on the Ericbank in 1957, he was 2nd Mate, I was acting 3rd Mate. Except for The Northern Lights Of Old Aberdeen I never heard Dougie sing a serious song, it was more like, We Come From Queen Street, Good Girls Are We, We take pride In Our Virginity. ETc Etc Etc. He was a first class bloke, sailed with him again on the Laganbank 1959/60. He was in good health at that time.(Thumb)

rcraig
31st January 2010, 22:27
Charlie,

A tune from the islands which rings a bell, and l just love the rhythm and tunes and harmony in the island music, is one called "Isolei" which comes from the Fijian islands.
Not that one by any chance? Try Youtube if you haven't already done that. It is astonishing what is in there. Punch in the island name and see what comes up.

Alan

"Cold, cold heart" by Hank Williams. South Atlantic, 1953, hand wound gramophone and the yellow label 78, the needle spinning off if the ship rolled too far. And volume control by means of a sock, often washed but not always, stuffed into the box.

"O Mein Papa", by Eddie Calvert, and "Rose, Rose I love you". Boo hoo! 'Nuff to make an old man greet.

John Campbell
31st January 2010, 22:40
Hallo David,

Can't recall anything about the shower or bath arrangements on the Inchanga, which is strange considering how fussy I am now about having a high pressure power shower as a No 1 priority! The mind is so selective.

Can recall the ' compactum ' on other Bankline ships - I always thought it was a pretty useless Victorian sort of gadget, with a dopey name. Also, having to trampse up the foredeck with buckets to hand pump water from the forepeak for a clean up. If relations were not too good the apprentice filling the buckets would depart silently leaving the one down below still sweating over the pump. Happy days - or were they?

Alan , crossing the Pacific to Aussie one of my special jobs as an App on the Clydebank in 1954 was to tend the hand pump in front of the galley, at the rear of No. 3 hatch in direct view of Capt Hale as he gazed down from his deck above. Between the hours of 1600 and 1700 it was my job to unlock this pump and watch as the Lascar would hand pump two ( 2gallon paint drums) of fresh water per crew member which they carried slung on a pole to their crew quarters forad for ablutions and cooking.

They did their washing and dhobey on deck on one side and cooking on the other abeam the foremast. I remember the lovely smell of curry and the vile one of rancid ghee mixed with the smoke from the bhandaries galley on the Starboard bridge wing and the foul smells of effluent on the port side.

I was told by Capt. Hale in no uncertain terms that if any crew member was to ask for extra water that I was to sling their empty bucket over the side. Draconian measures indeed but it worked and Hale used to sometimes keep an eye on me to see that I stuck to his orders but I must admit that one Seacunnies was a bit of a character and I sometimes gave him an extra bucket.

As I write this I can hardly believe that we did those things and my kids flatly think I am making it up so if any of you Apps out there had to do this kind of task in the 50s let us hear of it.

JC

David E
31st January 2010, 23:12
Alan , crossing the Pacific to Aussie one of my special jobs as an App on the Clydebank in 1954 was to tend the hand pump in front of the galley, at the rear of No. 3 hatch in direct view of Capt Hale as he gazed down from his deck above. Between the hours of 1600 and 1700 it was my job to unlock this pump and watch as the Lascar would hand pump two ( 2gallon paint drums) of fresh water per crew member which they carried slung on a pole to their crew quarters forad for ablutions and cooking.

They did their washing and dhobey on deck on one side and cooking on the other abeam the foremast. I remember the lovely smell of curry and the vile one of rancid ghee mixed with the smoke from the bhandaries galley on the Starboard bridge wing and the foul smells of effluent on the port side.

I was told by Capt. Hale in no uncertain terms that if any crew member was to ask for extra water that I was to sling their empty bucket over the side. Draconian measures indeed but it worked and Hale used to sometimes keep an eye on me to see that I stuck to his orders but I must admit that one Seacunnies was a bit of a character and I sometimes gave him an extra bucket.

As I write this I can hardly believe that we did those things and my kids flatly think I am making it up so if any of you Apps out there had to do this kind of task in the 50s let us hear of it.

JC

"Myrtlebank" '49; same Master,same rules,same checks

David E

rcraig
31st January 2010, 23:54
John,

You did have a soft existence! We did the job of handpumping and carrying the water for the midship's crowd on the Glenbank.

Johnnietwocoats
1st February 2010, 03:27
Ray, My favourite music memories come from the South Pacific Islands. One in particular I often play on my mandoline and harmonica, I know how some of the words are pronounced, but hav'nt a clue how they are spelt. I think the song is about Suva. It starts off, and I will spell the words the way I pronounce them. DON't LAUGH.
e say e say
ver langa las a dena
e say e say
ver lang a las a dena
I know the tune so well, I play it, close my eyes, and picture the hip swinging , grass skirted beauties gracefully dancing(Hippy) , while I sip cava from a half coconut shell and savour the smell of the wild hog roasting on the spit,.(Eat)
Please don't waken me up just yet.

Charlie...Waken up to the memories...

One of my big favourites......Manys a wee doll in Fiji, Samoa or Tonga.

This is by the Seekers...

Click and enjoy....TC(Smoke) (Smoke)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xxJyMtyMgw

Another version....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNZZKYrSiLQ

And yet another...All bring back memories

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XhJnISIMWs

This one is from the fifties.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XhJnISIMWs

Johnnietwocoats
1st February 2010, 03:52
Ray, My favourite music memories come from the South Pacific Islands. One in particular I often play on my mandoline and harmonica, I know how some of the words are pronounced, but hav'nt a clue how they are spelt. I think the song is about Suva. It starts off, and I will spell the words the way I pronounce them. DON't LAUGH.
e say e say
ver langa las a dena
e say e say
ver lang a las a dena
I know the tune so well, I play it, close my eyes, and picture the hip swinging , grass skirted beauties gracefully dancing(Hippy) , while I sip cava from a half coconut shell and savour the smell of the wild hog roasting on the spit,.(Eat)
Please don't waken me up just yet.

Charlie. In case you want to get the mandolin out in the wee Campsite in Islandmagee here are the words....

Maybe if I ever get back to Norn Iron I will sing it with you....

Isa Isa vulagi lassa dina
Nomu lako au na rarawa kina
Cava beka ko a mai cakava,
Nomu lako au na sega ni lasa.
Chorus:
Isa Lei, na noqu rarawa,
Ni ki sana vodo e na mataka
Bau nanuma, na nodatou lasa,
Mai Suva nanuma tiko ga.
Vanua rogo na nomuni vanua,
Kena ca ni levu tu na ua,
Lomaqu voli me'u bau butuka
Tovolea ke balavu na bula.
(Chorus)
Domoni dina na nomu yanuyanu,
Kena kau wale na salusalu,
Mocelolo, bua, na kukuwalu,
Lagakali, maba na rosi damu.
(Chorus)
[English Translation]
Isa, Isa you are my only treasure;
Must you leave me, so lonely and foresaken?
As the roses will miss the sun at dawning,
Every moment my heart for you is yearning.
Chorus:
Isa Lei, the purple shadow falling,
Sad the morrow will dawn upon my sorrow;
O, forget not, when you're far away,
Precious moments beside dear Suva.
Isa, Isa, my heart was filled with pleasure,
From the moment I heard your tender greeting;
'Mid the sunshine, we spent the hours together,
Now so swiftly those happy hours are fleeting.
(Chorus)
O'er the ocean your island home is calling,
Happy country where roses bloom in splendour;
O, if I could but journey there beside you,
Then forever my heart would sing in rapture.
(Chorus)

Charlie Stitt
1st February 2010, 10:26
ABSOLUTE MAGIC John, Thank you very much,brings back many many memories, and a tear to my eyes. I will now have to get another box of tissue. Cheers.(Pint)

Charlie Stitt
1st February 2010, 11:45
To me, this was Bank Line in the 50's. My first trip to Fiji, Somoa and Tonga on the Westbank 1956. The return trip Eastwards from Aussie through these Islands, was real magic, much better than the other way Home via PNG. If the copra run had of been the Bank Lines only service, what a rush there would have been to join, even if copra bugs had of been the only thing on the menue. Yes the 50's, those were the years to experience the unspoiled South Pacific Islands. I don't want to know how time has transformed the natural beauty of these Islands into one big bustling, greedy,tourist attraction. I will cling to my cherished memories, thank you very much.(Thumb)

rcraig
1st February 2010, 13:00
What was the other way Charlie? On the Eastbank we did P.N.G., Gilbert and Ellice islands, Fiji, Samoa and the Fannings.

Charlie Stitt
1st February 2010, 13:59
Ray, a couple of trips, I remember doing the usual Rabaul,Gizo,Yandina,Honiara,Madang,Lae,Samarai and Rabaul, then Home via Colombo, where we changed crew. On one occasion, Laganbank 59/60 we called at Genoa, Italy to pick up a consignment of wine. But yes the usual way Home, Eastward across the Pacific. On 4 degrees North, we sail along, looking for a current strong. What was that chart called? was it the SE Sheet. Pacific chart, you know the one, water water everywhere, it took a couple of weeks to get off it.(Night)

Joe C
1st February 2010, 14:01
To me, this was Bank Line in the 50's. My first trip to Fiji, Somoa and Tonga on the Westbank 1956. The return trip Eastwards from Aussie through these Islands, was real magic, much better than the other way Home via PNG. If the copra run had of been the Bank Lines only service, what a rush there would have been to join, even if copra bugs had of been the only thing on the menue. Yes the 50's, those were the years to experience the unspoiled South Pacific Islands. I don't want to know how time has transformed the natural beauty of these Islands into one big bustling, greedy,tourist attraction. I will cling to my cherished memories, thank you very much.(Thumb)

I was really dissapointed to miss out on an island trip. I'm sure they must have changed,but I have noticed from various documentaries that Calcutta hasn't changed a bit,apart from the spelling.

Charlie Stitt
1st February 2010, 14:45
Joe, some guys served years in Bank Line and missed out on the copra run. I had the luck of the Irish, one round trip Appy on Westbank, two round trips 3rd Mate Laganbank, one round trip 2nd Mate Laganbank, one round trip 2nd Mate Foylebank, two one way, US Gulf Aussie, 2nd Mate Inverbank, one round trip, with a diversion, India/Canada in between outward and Homeward legs, c/o Forresbank. So no complaints from me then. In the 1950's only Bankboats would be seen around the Islands, but by 1966 I do recall seeing Dutch and Japanese ships coming on the scene.That was a good time to get out.

ccurtis1
1st February 2010, 15:14
Joe, some guys served years in Bank Line and missed out on the copra run. I had the luck of the Irish, one round trip Appy on Westbank, two round trips 3rd Mate Laganbank, one round trip 2nd Mate Laganbank, one round trip 2nd Mate Foylebank, two one way, US Gulf Aussie, 2nd Mate Inverbank, one round trip, with a diversion, India/Canada in between outward and Homeward legs, c/o Forresbank. So no complaints from me then. In the 1950's only Bankboats would be seen around the Islands, but by 1966 I do recall seeing Dutch and Japanese ships coming on the scene.That was a good time to get out.

China Navigation Company had 4 ships on similar runs to the Bank Line around the Islands, but the home ports were Sydney and Melbourne.
New Guinea Chief, Papuan Chief, Coral Chief and Island Chief were the ships.
I was on the New Guinea Chief, voyage consisted:- Sydney, Brisbane, Port Moresby, Lae, Madang and Wewak , then back to Sydney. 1966ish

boatlarnie
1st February 2010, 16:18
Can't recall a shower in the Irisbank ( 1930 built) but could be mistaken. Joe C might remember? The bath came in useful for Dhobi sessions, and the odd long fish caught at anchor...

Hi Alan,
My first trip in Bank Line was as Apprentice on the Irisbank way back in 1957. Did not know my elbow from my a-----e so myself and the other Apprentice, John Acheson, lived quite happily in the one cabin opposite the bathroom. This consisted of a salt water shower, a sink, a hot water geyser and a toilet so whatever you went in there for, you had to leave the door open as it was shared by the 3 Mates as well as us Apprentices. One scrounged a bucket of water, had a salt water shower using company issued soap, then rinsed down with the fresh water from the bucket. If you needed a shave, then bucket of water was poured into geyser, heated up and transferred to sink via bucket. Our cabin, which measured about 8 feet by 6 feet, had 3 bunks, a cupboard and a settee; porthole faced aft and there was no fan, no blower and definitely no A/C. Oh, the OM's s--thouse pipe pasede over one of the bunks so you prayed there was never a blockage.
How's that for memories.
Boatlarnie

Joe C
1st February 2010, 16:44
Hi Alan,
My first trip in Bank Line was as Apprentice on the Irisbank way back in 1957. Did not know my elbow from my a-----e so myself and the other Apprentice, John Acheson, lived quite happily in the one cabin opposite the bathroom. This consisted of a salt water shower, a sink, a hot water geyser and a toilet so whatever you went in there for, you had to leave the door open as it was shared by the 3 Mates as well as us Apprentices. One scrounged a bucket of water, had a salt water shower using company issued soap, then rinsed down with the fresh water from the bucket. If you needed a shave, then bucket of water was poured into geyser, heated up and transferred to sink via bucket. Our cabin, which measured about 8 feet by 6 feet, had 3 bunks, a cupboard and a settee; porthole faced aft and there was no fan, no blower and definitely no A/C. Oh, the OM's s--thouse pipe pasede over one of the bunks so you prayed there was never a blockage.
How's that for memories.
Boatlarnie

I remember the cabin well but needed reminding about the "facilities".Lived in that very cabin in 1955/6 Complete with white painted tongued and grooved bulkheads (and Eddy Garnham)

Alan Rawlinson
1st February 2010, 17:02
Hi Alan,
My first trip in Bank Line was as Apprentice on the Irisbank way back in 1957. Did not know my elbow from my a-----e so myself and the other Apprentice, John Acheson, lived quite happily in the one cabin opposite the bathroom. This consisted of a salt water shower, a sink, a hot water geyser and a toilet so whatever you went in there for, you had to leave the door open as it was shared by the 3 Mates as well as us Apprentices. One scrounged a bucket of water, had a salt water shower using company issued soap, then rinsed down with the fresh water from the bucket. If you needed a shave, then bucket of water was poured into geyser, heated up and transferred to sink via bucket. Our cabin, which measured about 8 feet by 6 feet, had 3 bunks, a cupboard and a settee; porthole faced aft and there was no fan, no blower and definitely no A/C. Oh, the OM's s--thouse pipe pasede over one of the bunks so you prayed there was never a blockage.
How's that for memories.
Boatlarnie


Hallo Alan,

Good recollection, that's for sure. However, there was a steampipe with a sort of swivel joint that allowed the bathwater to be rapidly heated - remember? Or maybe it had been removed on a refit.

From what I can piece together, after we paid off in Bathurst, W Africa, and flew home, the Irisbank went back to Calcutta and then home on a Brocklebank voyage charter, so I guess you joined her then?

Incidentally, I remember boiling eggs in the geyser, dropped in the bottom of a sock and with the top of the sock trapped under the lid! Worked great in bad weather, when the galley was out of action.

boatlarnie
2nd February 2010, 05:05
Hallo Alan,

Good recollection, that's for sure. However, there was a steampipe with a sort of swivel joint that allowed the bathwater to be rapidly heated - remember? Or maybe it had been removed on a refit.

From what I can piece together, after we paid off in Bathurst, W Africa, and flew home, the Irisbank went back to Calcutta and then home on a Brocklebank voyage charter, so I guess you joined her then?

Incidentally, I remember boiling eggs in the geyser, dropped in the bottom of a sock and with the top of the sock trapped under the lid! Worked great in bad weather, when the galley was out of action.

I joined the Irisbank in Bathurst when you paid off, I believe you had just completed one of the infamous 2 year trips. We went to Calcutta after fumigating in Durban, spent 2 months there before being chartered to Brocklebank with a cargo mainly of tea. That was for Tilbury, Avonmouth and Manchester where I paid off hoping for a more modern vessel. Was then appointed to Lossiebank, sister to Irisbank where I spent 14 months avoiding the battles which went on amongst the Enginers. Port engine was made up of Scot Protestants whilst the Catholics ran the stbd engine; boy, did they mix it up on occasions when they'd had a few drinks. Paddy and I though enjoyed watching the Chief Enginers wife do her morning exercises in her cabin right by their forward facing porthole which we could see plainly whilst having our smoko on No. 3 Hatch. I am sure she did that delibrately.

Regards, Alan

Regards,
Alan

Alan Rawlinson
2nd February 2010, 06:57
I joined the Irisbank in Bathurst when you paid off, I believe you had just completed one of the infamous 2 year trips. We went to Calcutta after fumigating in Durban, spent 2 months there before being chartered to Brocklebank with a cargo mainly of tea. That was for Tilbury, Avonmouth and Manchester where I paid off hoping for a more modern vessel. Was then appointed to Lossiebank, sister to Irisbank where I spent 14 months avoiding the battles which went on amongst the Enginers. Port engine was made up of Scot Protestants whilst the Catholics ran the stbd engine; boy, did they mix it up on occasions when they'd had a few drinks. Paddy and I though enjoyed watching the Chief Enginers wife do her morning exercises in her cabin right by their forward facing porthole which we could see plainly whilst having our smoko on No. 3 Hatch. I am sure she did that delibrately.

Regards, Alan

Regards,
Alan



Hallo Alan,

Interesting... I have been exchanging notes with Mike Lindsell here on SN, and believe he was 3/0 with you from Bathurst to Calcutta, where he was transferred.

Johnnietwocoats
2nd February 2010, 16:58
I joined the Irisbank in Bathurst when you paid off, I believe you had just completed one of the infamous 2 year trips. We went to Calcutta after fumigating in Durban, spent 2 months there before being chartered to Brocklebank with a cargo mainly of tea. That was for Tilbury, Avonmouth and Manchester where I paid off hoping for a more modern vessel. Was then appointed to Lossiebank, sister to Irisbank where I spent 14 months avoiding the battles which went on amongst the Enginers. Port engine was made up of Scot Protestants whilst the Catholics ran the stbd engine; boy, did they mix it up on occasions when they'd had a few drinks. Paddy and I though enjoyed watching the Chief Enginers wife do her morning exercises in her cabin right by their forward facing porthole which we could see plainly whilst having our smoko on No. 3 Hatch. I am sure she did that delibrately.

Regards, Alan

Regards,
Alan

Would the Paddy you speak of be Paddy Ramsey? (Dave)
TC

boatlarnie
2nd February 2010, 18:04
Would the Paddy you speak of be Paddy Ramsey? (Dave)
TC

Hi JTC,
Yes, it was Dave (Paddy) Ramsey; we were together for 13/14 months and he ended up with a cockney accent whilst I had a bit of an Irish lilt in my speech. Should you still be in touch with him, ask him if he remembers the little Fijian lady I smuggled back on board during our 2 weeks in Suva. We were working down the deep tanks preparing them for coconut oil so a little bit of sexy entertainment was great. Little RJ was the Old Man and spent the homeward voyage consuming all the whisky so there were no docking bottles for the lads when we arrived at Liverpool. Paddy and I spent the whole time chopping up hatchboards to keep the galley fires burning (literally) as the Mate had forgotten to order coal prior to going round the islands.
Regards,
Boatlarnie

boatlarnie
2nd February 2010, 18:06
Hallo Alan,

Interesting... I have been exchanging notes with Mike Lindsell here on SN, and believe he was 3/0 with you from Bathurst to Calcutta, where he was transferred.

Yes Alan, I remember Mike Lindsell, he was replaced by 3/Off J.Cole at Calcutta as you mentioned. Doubt he remembers a snotty little first tripper who probably got under his feet all the time.

Boatlarnie

rcraig
6th February 2010, 00:06
Is there anyone alive out there...I tend to find they communicate better than the other ones...who remembers, took part in or has heard of the time when the apprentices and other deck and engineroom wallahs on a Bankline ship took part in a film made I think, in the '50's, in the Pacific islands when they acted as soldiers? Can't remember if they were on the German side or the British, but the quality of their drill and weapon handling was a prime example of a major failing on the part of the company to train their staff properly.

Alistair Paterson was one of the culprits. I remember seeing the film a couple of times. Can't remember the island and not sure it was ever mentioned anyway.

The story I heard was that everyone got paid for the exercise. I wonder if the Inland Revenue were informed? Hmm. Is there anyone left to blackmail?

Not sure if this did not come up in some distant thread many moons ago.

Alan Rawlinson
7th March 2010, 07:48
Here's a couple of snaps from a voyage on the Maplebank , the trip after the one made by Jim, when she had the fire.

The first is heavy weather in the Tasman Sea on the phosphate run - foredeck full of water... She was a tough old work horse, and had taken part in the successful allied landings in Sicily as the Samwash - her original name.

The second shows yours truly and Jim Haig the other App shovelling s..t over the side after leaving New Zealand. We look fitter than now!

rcraig
7th March 2010, 08:56
I hope this is but the start of your garage shots, Alan. The one shovelling really brings back memories.
Had they by then fitted the T beams under the main deck to reduce the risk of them cracking up? I think they had, but I am not sure.

jimthehat
7th March 2010, 10:12
I loved that ship,I see that the vents are still on ,can anyone remember under what circumstances and what cargoes we removed them and plugged and canvas covered them,I seem to remember doing it quite frequently.

jim

Joe C
7th March 2010, 11:05
I hope this is but the start of your garage shots, Alan. The one shovelling really brings back memories.
Had they by then fitted the T beams under the main deck to reduce the risk of them cracking up? I think they had, but I am not sure.

I came home on the Ivybank in 1958 having been told about their tendency to break and was amazed that the fore deck,from the bridge front was "corrugated", in a series of wave-like humps.Were all the Samboats like that?
It didn't bother us though as it was covered in green weed and too slippery to walk on! Crazy ship.
When in Visag once on the Irisbank we were tied up opposite a Samboat that had been lengthened with four hatches forrard .A bit brave maybe.

Alan Rawlinson
7th March 2010, 11:35
I came home on the Ivybank in 1958 having been told about their tendency to break and was amazed that the fore deck,from the bridge front was "corrugated", in a series of wave-like humps.Were all the Samboats like that?
It didn't bother us though as it was covered in green weed and too slippery to walk on! Crazy ship.
When in Visag once on the Irisbank we were tied up opposite a Samboat that had been lengthened with four hatches forrard .A bit brave maybe.

Their record was good, but there were incidents - brittle fracture of the steel from icy conditions was a problem, as it is with all steel.

We ( I ) never gave a thought of any danger although running through very heavy seas both loaded, and empty when we were pounding heavily in the Tasman. Sitting on the poop in heavy weather and looking forward you could see a certain amount of flexing...

Ray, Not sure about the strengthening beams - Jim might know. I also loved that ship for some strange reason, Jim, I even had a model of her put in a bottle by some kind Gent advertising in Sea Breezes, and I still have it.

jimthehat
7th March 2010, 12:22
No extra strengthing in my time on board,was interesting to see the fwd part flexing in a seaway,BUT what was worse was whilst on lookout during the farmers 12-4 and looking aft and seeing the whole ship flex,used to wonder if the whole bow was going to break off with you on it.
just to clarify we 4 apps on the maplebank were handed over to the bosun at the start of the trip ,3 on watches and senior app on daywork.


jim

Joe C
8th March 2010, 11:50
Here's a (not very clear) picture of the lengthened Samboat previously mentioned.

Hamish Mackintosh
8th March 2010, 15:39
I came home on the Ivybank in 1958 having been told about their tendency to break and was amazed that the fore deck,from the bridge front was "corrugated", in a series of wave-like humps.Were all the Samboats like that?
It didn't bother us though as it was covered in green weed and too slippery to walk on! Crazy ship.
When in Visag once on the Irisbank we were tied up opposite a Samboat that had been lengthened with four hatches forrard .A bit brave maybe.

I was on the Ivybank 50-52 and I recall she had a humungus great beam just below the tweendeck which ran the full length of the ship on both sides,( at least you could see it in every hold)And I notice in a thumbnail on an earlier post of a "Sam" an open section in the bulwark on the foredeck, the Ivybank didn't have this

jimthehat
10th March 2010, 19:14
Hi Alistair,reading your profile i see that you were 3/0 on the inchanga 58-60,I was 3/0 on the isipingo june 57-june 59 wonder if we waved to each other when passing somewhere,hoping to have a thumbnail with this its me playing sparkie,otherwise i have lost it in the cyber world

Joe C
10th March 2010, 21:01
Here's a pair of dry-dock photos of the Irisbank in Calcutta,1956 I think

Alan Rawlinson
11th March 2010, 09:25
Here's a pair of dry-dock photos of the Irisbank in Calcutta,1956 I think

Nice ones, Joe. I remembered the lengthened Liberty too. It must have altered the displacement and the stability quite a bit. Never read much about it, but imagine they substantially strengthened with longitudinal beams etc. Wonder if the powerpack was beefed up?

Here's a couple of snaps from the 50's.

Crossing the Line ( Northbound?) on Hazelbank - 3rd mate putting on the stockholm tar on yours truly lashed to the rails. ( This type of bondage would be suspect, these days!)

Next one - playing cricket on Ocean Island with the Maplebank team. I got a duck, I remember going for a six....


Left to right - E.R.;Deck;E.R;Engineer; Bos'n; Me; Deck; John Whiteside ( later Capt. Whiteside) 2nd Engineer;Jim(?) McCoy2/0;( later Master) Smith EDH, later Bos'n;and Chief Steward. The outfield consisted of rock pinnacles where the phosphate rock had been removed, so usually '' lost ball ''.

Anyone else play cricket on Ocean Island?

jimthehat
11th March 2010, 12:19
never played at ocean island,but on the isipingo we had avery good cricket team,our senior app had played for Rhodesian schoolboys and a few of our engineers had played club cricket in India,I was wicket keeper and captain.
We had all our own gear as well as our own coconut mat pitch,we used to arrange in advance withe missions to arrange matches in India and the east and south african coast,needles to say we won most of our matches due to our strong team,sadly no photos.

jim

jimthehat
12th March 2010, 18:17
dont know ,but me inboard with an appy THINk it may be the Eastbank going home as super 3/0 after finishing my time on the clydebank,wish i had taken the time to write on the back of the photo.

jim

Alistair Macnab
12th March 2010, 20:01
Jim.....
That's not the "Eastbank" but it may be the "Forresbank" or "Trentbank" witness the lifeboat slung on the side of the second deck of accommodation, the 'windows' and the sampson post visible at the poop.
Alistair.

jimthehat
12th March 2010, 20:53
thanks for the detective work Alistair ,I was on the forresbank as 2/0 from may 62 to dec 63 so even tho i say it myself a very young looking 2/0 will now date the photo.
i have found somewhere to transfer my slides ,so i will have some more snaps of 50s/60s soon.
jim