Capt. George Holeyman

22nd September 2009, 22:47
As promised, herewith Palm Bulletin article on Capt. George Holeyman, alas the Bulletin is not dated, but numbered as Volume 23 No.2, and could be around 30 years old by now. Kind Regards, David Wilson.

26th September 2009, 12:00
Hi Dave,

Having a quick look through my extensive archive of Palm Bulletins (HA! I wish!) this issue was Winter 1983/84. Hope this helps,


26th September 2009, 20:56
My wife's cousin, Willis Thompson, was a chief steward with Palm Line in the nineteen sixty,s, he later married a lady from Hamburg and continued to sail under the German flag. Sadly passed over the bar last year. Anybody sailed with Willis.


25th November 2009, 22:39
Hi Macphail
I sailed with Billy Thompson on many occasions in the 1960's. The girl he married from Hamburg was called Dorrit and I was there when they first met. Billy was a wonderful character and I sailed with him the Makurdi, Bamenda and Badagry Palm. Sad to hear that he has passed on. A have many happy memories of times together.

Alan Malpas
14th December 2009, 13:23
Did my first trip to sea with Capt Holeyman,in Katsina Palm,
he had no side to him at all,was very down to earth,and excelent with the Aldis lamp,learnt a lot from George,However you would incur his wrath,
if had to say good morning to you first.I soon learnt to bid him good morning
first.He would be a good age if he is still about.

palmoil chop
3rd January 2010, 17:50
A quick update to confirm that both George Holeyman and his wife Gillian are still happily living down in New Quay on the shores of Cardigan Bay. I know this as we still exchange Christmas cards and I continually promise to go down and enjoy a palmoil chop with them both. His latest card reminds me that it's now over 20 years since we last met so I'd better get my skates on ! We sailed together between 1979 and 1984 on the Bamenda, Lagos and Lokoja Palms, taking the latter into service from Szczecin on her maiden voyage as the Wameru on a DAL charter. Incidents that I remember under his command include thumping a fish factory ship in Falmouth and my falling down a hatch on the Bamenda. Happy days indeed although, being both ex-Elder Dempster and ex-NNSL, he really suspected me of worming my way into Palm Line in order to sabotage what was by far the better company !
It was Stan Mayes who introduced me to this website and I really should visit it more often. I hope this update makes some amends for my long absences from these fascinating discussion threads. And I'll get down to New Quay for that palmoil chop yet !!

3rd January 2010, 20:41
John, good to read your posting. Glad to hear Capt. Holeyman is doing ok and good to hear a mention of "Stan the Man".

This here Palmoil Chop that you mention might not be allowed these days, the pepper quantity enjoyed by Capt. Holeyman and your goodself would leave a significant carbon footprint (remember the days when they were referred to as skidmarks !!!).

Keep Well.

Kind Regards, David Wilson.

stan mayes
3rd January 2010, 23:04
Hello John and David,
Thankyou both for your nice comments regarding myself.
John, I hope you do more postings as promised - you have many interesting stories to tell.
David, I hope you are keeping well and I am a bit envious of the nice weather you must be enjoying.
As an ex seaman I should know what weather to expect or not even mention it - but since I discarded my oilskins,seaboots and sou'wester I just cannot bear the cold...
Palm oil chop would be very welcome.
Best regards to you both

palmoil chop
9th January 2010, 15:27
Dave and Stan,
One thing about this (un)seasonal weather, it's a good excuse to stay inside in the warm and waste time on the computer ! I'm surprised at an old salt like Stan not hanging on to his heavy weather gear. I still have two or three Palm Line boiler suits that I break out for the painting jobs as required. I'm quite proud that I can get into them, just shows how the weight comes off when the palm oil supply is choked off. It actually had the cheek to snow down here in sunny Southampton the other day, in fact it's drifted to almost an inch in places. People are talking about 1963 once again but we've a long way to match that month. I was in Tilbury in January 1963, just joined my first ED ship, the 'Degema'. I'd never seen a log cargo up close before (I was more used to bulkheads of dead sheep) so I was fascinated to see it being handled. It was also convenient as it was a darned sight warmer than being on deck ! The logs were packed so tight from Takoradi that they'd trapped lots of nice steamy West African heat. It's a good thing that we had some hardy Tilbury riggers for the derrick work as the Freetown sailors wouldn't come out of their accommodation, backsides glued to radiators. Happy days !

stan mayes
9th January 2010, 17:35
Greetings John,
As a rigger we were issued with a boilersuit and totector footwear but I did wear my oilskins on occasion when I rode my moped during bad weather.
As you know ED's had their own shore gang and mainly engaged in maintainance and securing cargoes but when they had more than two ships in at same time -which was often - we would work one or two of them.
Also we always provided a gang to store their ships,so to Degema.
Checking my work diary for 1963.I was on Degema on 11th February and storing ship,she was berthed on 8 quay.
So is possible I had the pleasure of meeting or seeing you before Palm Line.
Your mention of a Freetown crew reminded me that many of them had the name Kamara,not sure if it is spelled correctly.
And yes John, happy days indeed!

palmoil chop
10th January 2010, 15:40
Well, Stan, you must have a very big work diary if you can go back that far ! I do know that we sailed on 15 February (because I remember my not receiving a Valentine card the day before, that did make me suspect that I'd been dumped by the current girl-friend !) You wouldn't have noticed me as I was the new 'small-boy' additional third mate too busy finding my way around the new company. We went down to the Chapman anchorage to load explosives and then to the coast via Safi for sardines. I think that we probably had a British crew on deck on that ship, some of Elders didn't have all African complements, that I do remember. As for the Freetown guys, yes, Kamara was one name and others were Conteh, Nipeh and Cole. A bit like NZS where all the deck crowd were called MacLeod, first name Hamish or Donald !!

stan mayes
10th January 2010, 19:07
There was a British deck crew in Degema during the 1960.s.I knew a Bosun from Dover who sailed in her for a few voyages.
I also recall she had a large goalpost instead of a mainmast..

palmoil chop
10th January 2010, 23:38
I can't now recall any of the crowd on that ship but I had my 21st. birthday in Bathurst on the way home and had my birthday party in the Atlantic Hotel. I was legless and it was the police who took most of us back to the ship, in exchange for a modest 'dash' of beer and cigarettes ! I missed my watch the next morning but the Old Man covered it for me, a real gent. Chippy made a Yale-type key out of plywood, about two foot long. All hands and the cook signed it with suitably ribald comments. I kept it as a souvenir for donkeys' years but then lost track of it during a house move. Maybe it'll turn up in 50 years' time on the Antiques Roadshow ??
By the way, you are partially right about the goalpost, but that came some time later. We just had the usual 20-tonners with the double purchase hauled two blocks and the single block hanging below. The goalpost was when they installed a Velle-type swinging derrick. A good idea, it's a pity that Palm Line didn't copy it. We had fun (!!) always changing gear from swinging to union purchase on the coast. Thank heaven for some savvy krooboys !

20th January 2010, 23:32
i was the 3 eng. on the bamada palm when it thumped the fish prosessing ship in falmouth. ken roberts was c/e and big john phipps was 2eng.and ithink neil jenkins was 4eng. i cannot remember anyone else except george holyman of course. matty roberts

palmoil chop
23rd January 2010, 14:55
You must remember all the stick that we got down the coast along the lines of the 'Barbecue Palm' calling in to pick up some charcoal for the voyage ? I was Mate so I had a grandstand view. Gentleman George the Chippy said to me as we got ready to strike and no orders to use the anchors : 'I think now might be a good time to go aft and get a cup of tea.' I think that I agreed as I just beat him down the ladders to the foredeck. Happy days !
I visited Falmouth this summer whilst sailing with some friends. The Bosun's Locker pub is still there and also the pasty shop nearby so we bunkered a good number of them for the night watches on the way back to the Solent.
George Holeyman sends me a card each year at Christmas and on this year's card he was complaining about the lack of mackerel in Cardigan Bay last year. His comment was that it was all due to factory trawlers and we should've 'sunk that bugger in Falmouth' instead of just putting a hole in him !
Thanks for the memory. Are there any other Old Palms from the engineroom around still ?

13th August 2011, 23:47
Hi i am Brian Melia I was an A/B with Palm Line from
Dec 1980 -Oct 1982 Bamenda Palm
Dec 1982-March 1983Lokoja Palm
March 1983-Sept 1983

I remember George Holeyman(wonderful man)
I was on the wheel when we hit the romanian fish factory ship
Remember Dave Wilson,George from Bolton, Les "Tilbury" Thompson
Well its been a ling time since but would love to hear from anyone
Great Site

14th August 2011, 01:28
Hi Brian, good to see you around again. Itīs hard to believe that it 30 years that have floated by. I often wonder what happened to everyone and still have a giggle remembering some of the characters ! Since selling the "Apapa" I have lived out here in Venezuela - sometimes thinking it was for the better, other times wishing for the old days. Keep Well, Kind Regards, David Wilson.

14th August 2011, 03:43
I don't know whether this is the place to enquire.
I was on a day out last week with my wife at Wells - next - the - Sea (yes, the port that Edwina Currie closed), and I wandered into a Ship Chandlers and there was a Video running.
It was a promotional film for the Merchant Navy and featured the EBANI and AURIOLE plus Blue Funnel and Ellerman City ships, it appeared to be early to mid fifties.
Does anyone have any more information on this film?
I sailed in Palm Line on the BADAGRY PALM 1963 -1964 as 4th. Mate.

Yours aye,


14th August 2011, 11:02
Hi Dave
Great to hear from you, glad that you are well I still live in Liverpool ,Roby
Cannot believe it was 30 yrs time flies saying that im 50 now lol
I have been working and still working on the railway, I am a design Engineer overseeing aand signing off for new rail construction
I have three kids 22,19 and 13 yrs am seperated but quite happy
Still miss pepper soup and yams mmmmm !
It was a privalege sailing with so many characters and wish you all well
Keep in touch