Humorous Anecdotes From the Bank Line

johnb42
13th October 2009, 23:10
There has to be so many of them, but one that has always stayed in my mind is this.
Ken Berry was as I remember, head of Forwarding Department which encompassed a wide sphere, with loosely defined boundaries.
Ken visited the Elmbank in Dagenham one morning and told us this tale.
He had been tasked with completing some important documentation and ensuring it was "forwarded" the following day. The documents were taken home, and Ken anxious to see the job completed properly set out for Bury Street the following morning. Sod's Law took over and on a wet and miserable morning his car broke down. Ken called a cab and arived at No 21, somewhat rain drenched but pleased with himself at his efforts. As he got out of the cab, the Lord Inverforth's limo pulled up and discharged his Lordship.
Deferentially Ken stood back to allow his "boss" to enter first. His Lordship cast a withering glance at Ken, made an over-emphasised gesture of checking his watch and said "Morning Berry, late again ", and left a wet and deflated head of Forwarding standing on the steps.

Alan Rawlinson
14th October 2009, 09:19
Coming up the River Plate with a pilot on board on a bright sunny morning - A Blue Star ship slowly passed down the port side, very close. We were on the Eastbank with a rather tiddly Master on the bridge wing, complete with cravat and a very affable mood - goodwill to all men etc... As we drew level, bridge to bridge, our Captain gives a very cheery wave to those on the other ship, who all stood po faced without responding at all. The inevitable happened - the affability suddenly disappeared, and they all got a tremendous V sign with a full arm motion, and a loud raspberry, which only we could hear!

jimthehat
14th October 2009, 13:35
wilkie rutherford on the clydebank doing his party trick for the apps and engineers in his darkened cabin,always went down a treat.

jim

rcraig
14th October 2009, 16:28
Was it a Bank line ship where someone painted a skeleton on a sheet with luminous paint and lowered it over the front of the wheelhouse on a very black night on the 3rd mate's watch?
Mind you, with the food on some of them you could have lowered an apprentice over and shone a torch on him.

Joe C
15th October 2009, 16:02
We were loading timber in Miri or Sandakan on the Levernbank in 1957,when a swarm of giant Bornean bees descended on the ship.When they had settled on the bridge front around the bell and quietened down,(the noise was frightening without the sting threat)we then had the problem of removing them as the ship had stopped loading. The C/O had a cunning plan,(eat your heart out Baldrick)we tied a bucket on to a halyard, lit a flare in the bucket and hauled it up to the bees.The idea was to upset the bees so that they would clear off.The first part of the plan worked ,they were very upset but unfortunately before the "go away" bit happened the bucket melted and molten galvanised bucket and magnesium dripped into No.2 hold.So we put the fire out,it was safe in the hold the bees didn't like the acrid smoke,fetched another bucket,soaked some cotton waste in paraffin,repeated the process and this time the bees flew,all over the ship,very angry and looking for trouble! After about half an hour we crept out of cover and found they had settled in a cargo light.No problem,we switched on the light and they had had enough and flew to shore.Life returned to what passed for normal.

Joe C
17th October 2009, 19:49
Where's the humour out there? You've all gone quiet!

R58484956
18th October 2009, 15:32
Visited a Bank line ship on the African coast some where and while sitting in an engineers cabin having a drink a man walked past the door in some awful looking underpants and a peak cap on but no peak on it, Who is that I asked, Thats the Chief off to feed his chickens in the steering gear, he has one killed about once a week and tells the catering department that under no circumstances must the master have any of his chicken. Apparently they did not get on too well. !!

johnb42
18th October 2009, 22:08
Visited a Bank line ship on the African coast some where and while sitting in an engineers cabin having a drink a man walked past the door in some awful looking underpants and a peak cap on but no peak on it, Who is that I asked, Thats the Chief off to feed his chickens in the steering gear, he has one killed about once a week and tells the catering department that under no circumstances must the master have any of his chicken. Apparently they did not get on too well. !!

Can well believe that one.
I was 2nd Mate on the (old) Beaverbank and this apparition wearing a dhoti would appear regularly on the fore deck during the night 12-4. Turned out to be the Chief Eng., just a little bit blown away. No names, no pack-drills, but anyone who was there 68-69 will know who I mean.
John

McMorine
19th October 2009, 11:52
Can well believe that one.
I was 2nd Mate on the (old) Beaverbank and this apparition wearing a dhoti would appear regularly on the fore deck during the night 12-4. Turned out to be the Chief Eng., just a little bit blown away. No names, no pack-drills, but anyone who was there 68-69 will know who I mean.
John

M.V Beechbank Captain Kent, I sailed on this vessel April 1966 to April 1967. One particular day the Chief Steward is informed by the cook that he's found some maggots in a bag of rice. So the Old Man is informed, not very happy I may say, but even less happy when all the bags of rice prove to be contaminated. Anyway the Old Man has a brilliant idea, spread a clean tarpaulin out on the deep tank hatch, empty each bag of rice out and with all the stewards turned too, they get on their hands and knees and proceed to pick the maggots out one by one, not an easy task to say the least. then all the rice was rebagged. Problem solved, need I say more. Not many Officers ate curry and rice after that. Mind you what the eye doesn't see!!!!

Alistair Macnab
19th October 2009, 15:25
New funny stories? Most of the good ones have appeared in other threads but I can add one more that I haven't told before.
Merry party exiting from Isiah's and encountering an ancient native in a loin cloth pushing a heavy cart along Free School Street. Laughingly pushing said native aside to comandeer the vehicle: two merry guys pushing and three companions leaping on top of the cart as it careens towards Park Street.
Suddenly someone notices the cart's contents. It is dead bodies! Mother Theresa's collectors had been out doing their nightly pick-up. Bit of a sobering experience! Sheepishly deliver cart to the Lady Herself and receive expected lecture. Spend two years bringing in medicines from South Africa at Her request!

Joe C
19th October 2009, 16:46
Singapore on the Levernbank,this was obviiously a trip to remember!A bunch of us went to Bugis St.for dinner at those Chinese mobile restaurants,(barrows) then on to the Straits Caberet for a drink and a dance.A dollar a dance,cheap at half the price,then back to the ship in the early hours.Unfortunately during the course of our entertaining evening John W.,a fellow apprentice from Capetown lost the ability to walk very well,being a South African he wasn't used to staying up late(or so he said afterwards)So at the dock gates we found a convenient dust-cart and loaded him on.Unfortunately the dock police didn't approve and asked us to return it.When we remonstrated with them,explaining John's temporary immobility(he was up late)they arrested him.So we told them "If you are going to arrest him,arrest us as well",so they did!Along came the Land Rover "hurry-up"wagon and we were hauled off to the Police Station.By now the alcohol was wearing off and reality was creeping in,as was dawn.We were all interviewed ,finger-prints taken and lined up by the charging officer who advised us that since John had been accused of assaulting a police officer and was in no condition to assault himself out of a paper bag the charge was dismissed and we were told to go away,much to our relief.Unfortunately the Mate was waiting for us and a whole lot of brass was cleaned over the following weeks.

John Dryden
19th October 2009, 22:29
Don,t panic Joe C,more anectdotes forthcoming,at least you lot will believe ,em!

johnb42
19th October 2009, 23:27
New funny stories? Most of the good ones have appeared in other threads but I can add one more that I haven't told before.
Merry party exiting from Isiah's and encountering an ancient native in a loin cloth pushing a heavy cart along Free School Street. Laughingly pushing said native aside to comandeer the vehicle: two merry guys pushing and three companions leaping on top of the cart as it careens towards Park Street.
Suddenly someone notices the cart's contents. It is dead bodies! Mother Theresa's collectors had been out doing their nightly pick-up. Bit of a sobering experience! Sheepishly deliver cart to the Lady Herself and receive expected lecture. Spend two years bringing in medicines from South Africa at Her request!

"Bit of a sobering experience"?.
I imagine this was instant sobriety without the addition of hot water. [=P]

Abbeywood.
3rd November 2009, 10:06
As speculation builds, the 'Marabank', and presumably the 'Speybank' too, were fitted with little jolly-boats, about 14ft oa, which were stowed on the Poop deckhouse.
While laying at anchor in Vancouver for a few days, a week ?, waiting to load grain the 'Old man' arranged for the hire of an Evinrude outboard, so that hands could get ashore occasionally. This outboard was stowed in the ships office when not required, mounted on the back of a chair.
It was only a matter of time before adventurousness popped up and all hell broke loose when 'a person' decided to give the engine a run.
Any body tried stopping a chair driven by an outboard motor. It takes a bit of doing, with the office enveloped in exhaust smoke and fumes.
You don't have to be mad to work here but it helps.

Alan Rawlinson
30th November 2009, 16:35
Where's the humour out there? You've all gone quiet!

Humorous anecdotes - Come on - Couldn't have been that grim, surely?

Have been racking my brains - or what is left of them, and decided that any stories I have in this category fall into the black humour or tragic categories.

A Liverpool crowd ( Maplebank) provided plenty, such as the time in Buenos Aires in the early hours, staggering back to the ship behind some of the deck crew, and hearing loud gunfire ahead. We found them in the messroom, shaking, but still cracking jokes, after being fired at by the dock police - presumably for smashing up any obstacle that got in the way.

Joe C
1st December 2009, 15:17
We were in Colombo on the Iris, Moray, Fleet, Levern or Ivybank .Always ended up in Colombo! I think it was the Moraybank,when we had to launch the motor life-boat,don't know why,and off we set round the harbour.However the engineer in charge of the engine wasn't too happy about the small piece of cork keeping the sea out,so he gave it a couple of firm taps with his little hammer from his tool kit,knocking the brass nut clean through the bung. Five minutes later as we rowed back to the ship,sitting up to our waists in water,he was not the most popular man in the boat but we entertained the rest of the ships in port. Thank goodness the buoyancy tanks worked but we should have had a spare bung, or maybe the aforementioned engineer should have inserted an appendage.(no, lets not go there!)

McMorine
2nd December 2009, 12:30
We were in Colombo on the Iris, Moray, Fleet, Levern or Ivybank .Always ended up in Colombo! I think it was the Moraybank,when we had to launch the motor life-boat,don't know why,and off we set round the harbour.However the engineer in charge of the engine wasn't too happy about the small piece of cork keeping the sea out,so he gave it a couple of firm taps with his little hammer from his tool kit,knocking the brass nut clean through the bung. Five minutes later as we rowed back to the ship,sitting up to our waists in water,he was not the most popular man in the boat but we entertained the rest of the ships in port. Thank goodness the buoyancy tanks worked but we should have had a spare bung, or maybe the aforementioned engineer should have inserted an appendage.(no, lets not go there!)

We were anchored off in Cairns Queensland on a Bank Line ship, the name escapes me. Anyway it was decided to launch the motor lifeboat for an afternoons adventure. Someone decided we should fly the red ensign from the stern and a piece of rope was required to lash it to the boat hook. being ever so helpfull, I spotted the very item in the bottom of the boat and giving it a good tug, out came the drain bung followed by a spectacular water spout. It was quite an effort to ge it back in, I can tell you. Not amusing at the time, but worse was to happen later.(Another time)

John Dryden
4th December 2009, 00:05
This tale is hazy for obvious reasons.I was in Durban on the Shirrabank when another Bank boat tied up nearby.On this nameless ship was my old schoolmate who shall also be nameless.Anyway we met up did the rounds in the bars and decided to go to Johannesburg to visit a girl my mate had met on a previous visit.Bearing in mind this was late at night we started hitching a lift.
The first car that stopped took us all the way to Jo.burg,we woke up about 7 in the morning in the middle of the city bleary eyed and hungover,300 miles away with no money.
Made it to girls house and her father threw us out,penniless so off we went hitching back to Durban.
24 hours later we made it back(god knows how)no cash no food.
Got back to the docks and no sign of my mates ship,it had sailed.Anyway we ended up in the supers office(Lynch)got a real bollocking but it was an adventure and humorous after the event.

Joe C
21st December 2009, 16:08
Looking out on our festive snowy landscape with Christmas approaching prompted me to think back to some less than memorable Christmases past.
We were in Visaghapatan in 1956 discharging grain which was loaded bulk in Fremantle and unloaded bagged by hundreds of wharfies who bagged it in the holds faster than the gear could cope with it.The unloading was accompanied by all the usual chaos,noise,dust,smell,betel nut stains and sh*te hawks wheeling overhead.One of the wharfies had been hurt by a bottle screw on the end of a swinging wire as they dismantled the shifting boards and we got him out of the hold to be taken off by ambulance.Just another working day. When two ABs from a Russian ship which was tied up ahead of us came aboard,signed to us that it was Christmas and we should join them on their ship for a celebratory drink.We thought it over( for nearly a second) then joined them.It was an amazing experience,bearing in mind our relationship with the Russians in the fifties,they were fantastic hosts and the ABs who, by the way looked a lot like Giles used to draw truck drivers,and also by the way were women,produced the Vodka wich we drank in the traditional way.The language barrier was a problem initially as they couldn't speak English and we couldn't speak Russian but after half an hour or so it didn't matter as we couldn't string a sentence together in any language.I don't remember any more but I havn't managed another Christmas like it since.

Alan Rawlinson
22nd December 2009, 10:08
Looking out on our festive snowy landscape with Christmas approaching prompted me to think back to some less than memorable Christmases past.
We were in Visaghapatan in 1956 discharging grain which was loaded bulk in Fremantle and unloaded bagged by hundreds of wharfies who bagged it in the holds faster than the gear could cope with it.The unloading was accompanied by all the usual chaos,noise,dust,smell,betel nut stains and sh*te hawks wheeling overhead.One of the wharfies had been hurt by a bottle screw on the end of a swinging wire as they dismantled the shifting boards and we got him out of the hold to be taken off by ambulance.Just another working day. When two ABs from a Russian ship which was tied up ahead of us came aboard,signed to us that it was Christmas and we should join them on their ship for a celebratory drink.We thought it over( for nearly a second) then joined them.It was an amazing experience,bearing in mind our relationship with the Russians in the fifties,they were fantastic hosts and the ABs who, by the way looked a lot like Giles used to draw truck drivers,and also by the way were women,produced the Vodka wich we drank in the traditional way.The language barrier was a problem initially as they couldn't speak English and we couldn't speak Russian but after half an hour or so it didn't matter as we couldn't string a sentence together in any language.I don't remember any more but I havn't managed another Christmas like it since.

Had a similar experience on a Russian ship which has remained with me. She was moored ahead of our Bankline ship. It was surreal - like a step back in time, with an austere messroom with a well used piano in one corner, a picture of Lenin on the bulkhead, plus extremely welcoming and friendly Russian hosts, some of whom were playing target practice with air pistols in between drinks.

I later came to enjoy Russian hospitality on business trips to Moscow, and the conviviality and heavy drinking became quite a problem when the object of the trip was to secure a signature ( even a blurred one!) to a deal. Meals started with a big bowl of punch on the table, bottles of Vodka etc etc, and the usual massive hang over the next morning - whilst hastily checking the paperwork to see who had signed what the night before!

Joe C
22nd December 2009, 19:49
Had a similar experience on a Russian ship which has remained with me. She was moored ahead of our Bankline ship. It was surreal - like a step back in time, with an austere messroom with a well used piano in one corner, a picture of Lenin on the bulkhead, plus extremely welcoming and friendly Russian hosts, some of whom were playing target practice with air pistols in between drinks.

I later came to enjoy Russian hospitality on business trips to Moscow, and the conviviality and heavy drinking became quite a problem when the object of the trip was to secure a signature ( even a blurred one!) to a deal. Meals started with a big bowl of punch on the table, bottles of Vodka etc etc, and the usual massive hang over the next morning - whilst hastily checking the paperwork to see who had signed what the night before!

We could be referring to the same incident.I'm sure it was when I was on the Irisbank.
I always thought Visag was one of the few ports that could make you look forward to going to Calcutta!

kwg
6th January 2010, 12:24
There was in the 60's a certain Master and C/E who were a pair of 'old' drunks to say the least. One evening they were guests of the company agent in Colombo. Both were stoned as usual, drinking pinkies on the house veranda. When a white rabbit skips across the patio stops washes its face with its paws and disappears into the night. It was said that neither commented, made hurried excuses and left. It later transpired the agents children's white rabbit had the run of the garden....

Abbeywood.
9th January 2010, 11:13
We could be referring to the same incident.I'm sure it was when I was on the Irisbank.
I always thought Visag was one of the few ports that could make you look forward to going to Calcutta!

Visag was one of the few ports that would make you look forward to going anywhere. What a shambles. Especially the so-called Main Street with the drainage ditch down the middle and a shiny Bata shop on the side
Most convivial.

Winebuff
13th January 2010, 16:01
Beaverbank - Caracas 1976- Billions of Venezuelan Bolivars in the bullion locker, loaded and welded shut in Glasgow.
When we came to unload the wharf was cleared, the ship was cleared and all but a handful of crew allowed on deck. The armed military police manned the derricks and the locker was cut open. The crates were loaded into a couple of trucks then all hell broke loose. They had only loaded 21 of the 22 crates on the manifest, somehow we had lost millions of currency.
After much shouting, threats and waving of guns the trucks were unloaded and the crates again checked.
Yes you guessed it, the idiots could not count.

Peter Smith

kwg
13th January 2010, 18:01
Winebuff...your story reminded me of the time we loaded crates of newly printed 'postage stamps' for Sydney, the locker was duly welded shut. When it was opened in Sydney the crates were not there. As you say all hell broke loose (no guns though), later the crates turned up in open stow in no 3 tween deck.

John Dryden
13th January 2010, 20:00
Also on the Olivebank i remember we had an armed guard to load a few tons of pure heroin to be made into morphine for B.A.,same thing they welded the special cargo locker door and another armed guard in B.A. discharging.What they never knew was you could access the locker through an inspection plate via the engine room,probably worth more than gold.

Alan Rawlinson
15th January 2010, 07:39
Also on the Olivebank i remember we had an armed guard to load a few tons of pure heroin to be made into morphine for B.A.,same thing they welded the special cargo locker door and another armed guard in B.A. discharging.What they never knew was you could access the locker through an inspection plate via the engine room,probably worth more than gold.

Had a similar experience - heroin for B.A. welded into a locker on the Eastbank ( 1957?) when I was 2/0. However, we arrived in B.A. and plastic bags of the stuff were all over the tween decks and hidden among the gunny bales - they had obviously been got at.... and the crew were No 1 suspects - rightly or wrongly. The ship swarmed with armed police, and the recovered bags were dumped in my cabin for safe keeping as they appeared.
I wondered what all the fuss was about, at the time, and in my innocence....

Colin419
21st January 2010, 07:36
Hehe! The Shirrabank ?1981?ish Charles and Diana engagement party. Dead ship in the middle of the Indian Ocean, only the emergency generator running.

Everybody in the bar on the Skippers tab. One watchman on the bridge and the Junior engineer to visit the engineroom once and hour.

We sold her at the end of the trip which was a shame, cos she was a good boat. I still have her Red Ensign which I took with me as the last Brit to leave the ship. Happy happy trip.

John Dryden
21st January 2010, 17:01
Hehe! The Shirrabank ?1981?ish Charles and Diana engagement party. Dead ship in the middle of the Indian Ocean, only the emergency generator running.

Everybody in the bar on the Skippers tab. One watchman on the bridge and the Junior engineer to visit the engineroom once and hour.

We sold her at the end of the trip which was a shame, cos she was a good boat. I still have her Red Ensign which I took with me as the last Brit to leave the ship. Happy happy trip.

I too thought she was a fine boat and the fastest Bank boat I was on.I remember at the end of one of my watches being amazed she had been doing 21 knots off West African coast.

John Campbell
21st January 2010, 18:16
I was a first trip App on the Southbank in 1953 and was sent ashore by the Mate and Old man to get steak sandwiches (remember them?) when we were berthed loading grain at San Lorenzo on the River Paraná.

Whilst ashore along came a line squall or pampero as I struggled back to the ship with a large parcel of those delicious snacks and being buffeted and soaked to the skin. Just as I got almost on the accommodation ladder all the mooring lines either parted of slacked off and the ship soon ended many cables from the wharf.

I made my way up the cliff past the Marinero in his hut and up to the village hoping to find sanctuary in a pup etc. It was well after 2200 and with the pampero raging the shutters were up all round. Wandering about I chanced upon a ceramic factory which was going on producing beer bottles and I was invited in and snuggled down in front of a glowing furnace. I also ate all the soggy steak sandwiches as they paper wrapping was disintegrating and I was cold and hungry too.

When the wind died down I got onboard at day light - getting a rollicking and abuse for being ashore all night and missing all the hard work in the terrible weather to get the ship safely tied up again and especially for having not brought back the sandwiches and spent all the money to boot.
JC

Johnnietwocoats
21st January 2010, 21:18
I was a first trip App on the Southbank in 1953 and was sent ashore by the Mate and Old man to get steak sandwiches (remember them?) when we were berthed loading grain at San Lorenzo on the River Paraná.

Whilst ashore along came a line squall or pampero as I struggled back to the ship with a large parcel of those delicious snacks and being buffeted and soaked to the skin. Just as I got almost on the accommodation ladder all the mooring lines either parted of slacked off and the ship soon ended many cables from the wharf.

I made my way up the cliff past the Marinero in his hut and up to the village hoping to find sanctuary in a pup etc. It was well after 2200 and with the pampero raging the shutters were up all round. Wandering about I chanced upon a ceramic factory which was going on producing beer bottles and I was invited in and snuggled down in front of a glowing furnace. I also ate all the soggy steak sandwiches as they paper wrapping was disintegrating and I was cold and hungry too.

When the wind died down I got onboard at day light - getting a rollicking and abuse for being ashore all night and missing all the hard work in the terrible weather to get the ship safely tied up again and especially for having not brought back the sandwiches and spent all the money to boot.
JC

Great story John....TC(Smoke)

Charlie Stitt
29th May 2010, 10:26
I sailed on a copra boat with a Mate who was quite overweight and broad in the beam, he was middle aged and it was his first trip with Bank Line. In some Aussie port, the Super was on board, and for some reason he and the Mate went down No 2 hatch, I stood by at the coaming, the super went first then this big Mate threw his leg over the coaming and planted his No 12's on the super's fingers. I did'nt know whether to laugh or cry. Later when we were getting the deeptanks ready for oil, he was to go down to check coils or something, This poor Mate could not get through the manhole, he just stood there red faced, tutting and blowing and shaking his arms around, so funnyl. Well until I realised, I would have to go down instead. That Mate was such a nice chap to sail with, he just was'nt a Copra Run Mate.

Alistair Macnab
30th May 2010, 19:04
Maiden voyage of the "Ernebank" from Sunderland to Beaumont TX light ship. We had had all sorts of fun with the novel (to us) true motion radar coming down the Florida Straits and keeping the land steady and the shipping in movement. We were doing 19 knots against the current!
On the way across the Gulf towards Texas we were feeling very pleased with ourselves and gave our ETAs to the Beaumont agents and arrived at the pilot buoy right on time.
No pilot! Huh! Americans not as good as they make out! So call the pilot boat on the VHF.
"Heh! We're here at the pilot buoy, where are you?"
"So are we, Cap'n. Bin lookin' out for you this past hour"
"Well, we're here!"
"Don't think so Cap'n but we see an echo on our radar lying off Lake Charles. Wouldn't be you, by any chance"?
"Oops! We'll be with you in an hour!"

WildBill
21st June 2010, 08:24
I hope nobody minds an old Benliner idly browsing your stories. I was reminded of the time, at Leith College in 1974, doing Chief's Part A. There were five of us including Jim, (second name long forgotten), from Bank Line, and a very nice young chap from Esso Tankers whose main burden in life was a serious BBC/Oxbridge accent!

Esso was explaining how their Safety incentive system operated. Each month all the ships with no reportable accidents, ship's names in the hat, one ship is drawn out. The names of all the staff currently on that ship, into the hat. One name is drawn out, the winner, who is then presented with a beautiful latest spec. colour television. Very commendable we all agreed.

"That's nothing", cried our Jim. "In Bank Line we have exactly the same lottery, and if your name comes out, you get to go on leave".

Riotous laughter from all, including Esso.

Alistair Macnab
21st June 2010, 15:05
I loved Wild Bill's contribution and he needn't feel embarrassed about reading this Bank Line site. Its the 'salt' of the British Merchant Navy in microcosm incorporating tankers, trampers and liners.

I've told this one before but it may stand a repeat outing:

My mother was invited to a ladies' function at which other Merchant Navy mothers were in attendance. One very superior mother on learning that my mother's son was in Bank Line said: "I hear from my son in Clan Line that Bank Line do long trips!" My mother pulled herself up to her full 4'10" height and replied with vigour: " Oh no! Not so! They have just reduced the voyages to 15 months!"

As is said: 'a titter went round the room'!