M V Retainer

jim garnett
19th October 2009, 02:08
I served as a second engineer on the M v Retainer in 1953 when she was chartered out to Montreal shipping company.
.She had been built as the Chunking by Jardine Mathieson for the China trade but Mao put a stop to that so she was taken over by the government. At the end of the charter she was to be converted
to an navy workshop ship.She would have been ideal for that duty,being a typical cargo/passenger ship
of that era.Iwould be interested if anybody could enlighten me as to what became of her.
A lovely ship of which I have great memories as it was my first job as second engineer.

Jim Garnett

BR_Reef
19th October 2009, 06:46
Jardine Mathieson ? Maybe John Swire ?

BillH
19th October 2009, 08:33
RETAINER

O.N. 1843289. 9,393g. 3,781n. 459.7 x 62.2 x 30.8 feet.
Post 1955: 9,451g. 4,150n.

6-cyl. 2 S.C.S.A. (670 x 2,320mm) Doxford type oil engine made by the shipbuilder. 6,800 BHP. 15 kts.

19.1.1950: Launched as CHUNGKING by Scott’s Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd., Greenock (Yard No. 649) for the China Navigation Company Ltd., London.

11.1950: Completed and chartered to Cie. Des Messageries Maritimes France for 18 months.

3.1952: Purchased by The Admiralty, London, (Buries Markes Ltd., appointed as managers).

11.1952: Renamed RETAINER.

7.1954: Arrived at Palmer’s Ltd., Tyneside for conversion to storeship and removed from management.

4.1955: Work completed.

19.11.1979: Arrived at Barcelona under tow from Rosyth for demolition by Desguaces Cataluna S.A.

2.1980: Work well advanced.

Lancastrian
19th October 2009, 09:02
Several of photos of RFA Retainer (Ammunition Replenishment Ship) to be found in the Gallery.
Nice one here - http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=170945

jim garnett
19th October 2009, 11:53
RETAINER

O.N. 1843289. 9,393g. 3,781n. 459.7 x 62.2 x 30.8 feet.
Post 1955: 9,451g. 4,150n.

6-cyl. 2 S.C.S.A. (670 x 2,320mm) Doxford type oil engine made by the shipbuilder. 6,800 BHP. 15 kts.

19.1.1950: Launched as CHUNGKING by Scott’s Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd., Greenock (Yard No. 649) for the China Navigation Company Ltd., London.

11.1950: Completed and chartered to Cie. Des Messageries Maritimes France for 18 months.

3.1952: Purchased by The Admiralty, London, (Buries Markes Ltd., appointed as managers).

11.1952: Renamed RETAINER.

7.1954: Arrived at Palmer’s Ltd., Tyneside for conversion to storeshi
4.1955: Work completed.

19.11.1979: Arrived at Barcelona under tow from Rosyth for demolition by Desguaces Cataluna S.A.

2.1980: Work well advanced.

Thanks for the full history.The photo inthe adjacent shows considerable changes from the photo I have before me taken in 1953.I would post it but i'm too computer illiterate to do so.Cant teach an old dog
new tricks.

Jim Garnett

BillH
19th October 2009, 12:42
Jim,

In your original post you mentioned Montreal Shipping as charterers. They were also managers for some vessels operated by Montships which was an associate of Buries Markes and both BM & Montships were part of the French controlled Louis Dreyfus et Cie.

As RETAINER was managed by BM then quite possible Montreal Shipping were involved somewhere as you state.

Bill

Interesting to note that in Jim's post some of the text in the middle of the quoted posting has vanished. Is that an electronic gliche?

Lescudjack
20th October 2009, 14:07
The Retainer had a refit in 1966 in Devonport Dockyard which included modifications making it possible for the ship to sail through radioactive fallout. The crew spaces were made self sufficient for air and the main engine and generators fitted with intake ducting to outboard.

snooper
20th October 2009, 14:59
I have fond memories of RFA Retainer & sister ship RFA Resurgent in the early 70s.They were frequent visitors to Portland Harbour,always moored on the southern breakwater bouy.They looked good solid ships of the old design for the Tropics.

johnboy55
2nd February 2013, 18:52
Retainer was my first trip as a cadet engineer , in late '73. I joined in Rosyth, she was out on a buoy as ammunition carrier. It was a vile wet, cold and windy night. I knew very little about the ship as she was n't one of the newer 'p.r ' vessels which were in the R.F.A promotional material at the time.
I recall we were out exercising for a while then across to Kristiansand in Norway for a week or so. Think we also moved on to Zeebrugge for a while before Christmas in Portsmouth, maybe Plymouth.
Then early in the New Year '74 across Atlantic to Port Canaveral for a decent stopover ( this made up for the particularly rough crossing which took nearly 3 weeks as we were actually making no headway in 100mph winds and for what seemed like days were rolling around beam on at the mercy of the seas as we had lost power and steerage, due to shipping so much water that the diesel tanks had contaminated with sea-water via the gooseneck breathers high on deck . I do remember being instructed in bleeding the fuel lines/ filters in what seemed a desperate attempt to get water out of the fuel.
I also remember the ship rolling dreadfully, 53degrees , long , slow and horrible. Some of the old hands said it was the worst they'd seen. The purser fell down stairs , broke his wrist, the Christmas tree in the Officers Bar went through the French Doors and over the side with a sparkling of lights .There was some structural damage around the accomodation.
Some names, Reynolds , then Foster for the States trip were Captains. 'Gentleman Jim Foster ? I think. Cant remember the C.E.O., 2nd Eng. was Ken Lacey, really good bloke . . . and I remember Bob Smith and Jim Ramsey who were J.E.O's. Gavin ? and Sandy Barbour were Leckys.They looked after us . ( Steve Barnes was the other Eng. Cadet. Nick and Andy , Deck Cadets.
There were a lot of people on board as we had S.T.O(N) STAFF as well.
After the return trip, late Jan/Feb 74 I had a short leave before joining the m.v Derwentdale which was in refit in Camel Lairds ( think it had become Western Shiprepairers by then ). We sailed sometime in the Feb '74 for a long trip to Gulf, Singapore, Sydney and Singapore again. I flew home from there to do Phase 3 at college, a changed person !

Steve Oatey
3rd February 2013, 18:32
Hi johnboy55 - it seems we were cadets at the same time (1971 intake). I did Phase 1 at Hull, and ph.3 at Shields. First ship Hebe, joined in Istanbul!

johnboy55
3rd February 2013, 21:53
Hi Steve,
All seems a long time ago ( it was ! ) but being on this site really makes one dig deep and some things are clearer than what I remember having for tea earlier today ! Nice to see some old names and faces in the RFA Nostalgia site .
Looking back I have often regretted leaving the RFA as soon as I did, ( late '76 after a couple of trips as J.E.O ), followed by a year with T.J Harrisons. But I was young and impulsive. ( I had first joined as a Deck Cadet but my dad, who taught M.Eng at Riversdale persuaded me to change branch to E.R a month or two before the college course started in Sept.'71) . . . and I realised that I struggled in confined spaces and have ever since really.
How long did you stay in, or are you still ?

Regards,
John

stonkingjohn
4th February 2013, 23:03
Retainer was my first trip as a cadet engineer , in late '73. I joined in Rosyth, she was out on a buoy as ammunition carrier. It was a vile wet, cold and windy night. I knew very little about the ship as she was n't one of the newer 'p.r ' vessels which were in the R.F.A promotional material at the time.
I recall we were out exercising for a while then across to Kristiansand in Norway for a week or so. Think we also moved on to Zeebrugge for a while before Christmas in Portsmouth, maybe Plymouth.
Then early in the New Year '74 across Atlantic to Port Canaveral for a decent stopover ( this made up for the particularly rough crossing which took nearly 3 weeks as we were actually making no headway in 100mph winds and for what seemed like days were rolling around beam on at the mercy of the seas as we had lost power and steerage, due to shipping so much water that the diesel tanks had contaminated with sea-water via the gooseneck breathers high on deck . I do remember being instructed in bleeding the fuel lines/ filters in what seemed a desperate attempt to get water out of the fuel.
I also remember the ship rolling dreadfully, 53degrees , long , slow and horrible. Some of the old hands said it was the worst they'd seen. The purser fell down stairs , broke his wrist, the Christmas tree in the Officers Bar went through the French Doors and over the side with a sparkling of lights .There was some structural damage around the accomodation.
Some names, Reynolds , then Foster for the States trip were Captains. 'Gentleman Jim Foster ? I think. Cant remember the C.E.O., 2nd Eng. was Ken Lacey, really good bloke . . . and I remember Bob Smith and Jim Ramsey who were J.E.O's. Gavin ? and Sandy Barbour were Leckys.They looked after us . ( Steve Barnes was the other Eng. Cadet. Nick and Andy , Deck Cadets.
There were a lot of people on board as we had S.T.O(N) STAFF as well.
After the return trip, late Jan/Feb 74 I had a short leave before joining the m.v Derwentdale which was in refit in Camel Lairds ( think it had become Western Shiprepairers by then ). We sailed sometime in the Feb '74 for a long trip to Gulf, Singapore, Sydney and Singapore again. I flew home from there to do Phase 3 at college, a changed person !

Hi Johnboy55,
You must have been a year behind me. I joined Retainer in Oct '72 in the middle of Portland Harbour. Lovely ship and Ken Lacey was also my 2E/O, a good man who I believe went onto become Technical Superintendent or similar. Accompanied HMS Albion on her final trip to Halifax NS before returning to UK, Devonport (by the breakwater), Glendouglas (now called somewhere else) and Falmouth for refit and paid off before Xmas.

OLD STRAWBERRY
4th February 2013, 23:12
Stonkingjohn, Glen Douglas could be Glen mallen in Loch Long.

Pat Thompson
5th February 2013, 08:02
Greetings,

It's RNAD Glen Douglas served by Geln Mallen Jetty.

OLD STRAWBERRY
5th February 2013, 09:25
Thanks Pat. You recall the long road that went up to the RNAD well I walked up there one Sunday afternoon. On reaching the Depot I got chatting to MOD Police and they gave me ride around the Depot in their car. There were sheep and red deer and wonderful views of the Glen. I also did the same at Crombie. I was wandering around there with a pair on Binocculars and was spied by the MOD Plod. I told them I was doing a bit of Bird spotting. Unfortunately I had forgotten my ID Card so I was taken back to the ship (RFA Fort Austin) to get My ID and was then taken around that Depot as well. What an exciting life I led in those days.

AGAMEMNON
10th February 2013, 15:14
Hi Johnnyboy55, I was 2/O Navigator on the voyage you described so graphically. I wouldn't disagree with a word of it either!! Scary stuff. You are correct with the names you mention (as I recall) CEO was George Thompson, 2EO was the now late Ken Lacy who ended up as Commodore (E). If you would care to get in touch via the website, I could forward the copy I have of the official report on that Atlantic crossing....you will see how good your memory is!

johnboy55
10th February 2013, 21:08
Thanks Agamemnon, I would love to read that account, then I can show it to off-spring etc ! When you say get in touch via the web-site what do you mean exactly ? ( apologies for being a wee bit dim, learning slowly ! )
I remember the C.E.O now and sad to hear that Ken Lacey has passed on. He had his wife and family with him just before we sailed for Florida,there was a Christmas or New Year party. Too much C.S.B ! Regards, John.

Steve Oatey
12th February 2013, 19:40
Hi johnboy, did you receive my e-mail?

Steve

johnboy55
12th February 2013, 20:33
Hi Steve,
Thanks , yes , received the mail. Chris Riley was in my year at Riversdale ( demolished several years ago to make way for a housing estate ! ) We were in different groups though. I think there were five RFA cadets . You must have got a good grounding in the running of the LSL's then , three on the trot ! I had four months on the Sir Geraint end of'75 . Up to various Norwegian ports including Bodo and Narvik, in the snow. Dropping Royal Marines off here and there for their wintry exercises. I was quite envious really, I like my mountains !

bjd
26th February 2013, 20:19
I was JEO on that trip and remember the times when we were the governor for the engine stopping it cutting out. The 3rd EO was Dereck ????. I trying to remember who the CEO was who had to wait for our arrival at Cocoa Beach who had a tough time waiting for us

bjd

johnboy55
27th February 2013, 18:41
Hi Brian ?,
I can't remember the CEO in Port Canaveral awaiting , 'Geordie Thompson I think was the CEO on the way across . You were on I think when I joined in the September, Rosyth I think .I seem to remember that there were six JEO'S, three watch-keeping and three daywork . . . and vaguely now recall the human governor ! That was my first experience of a Doxford engine. Mighty impressive, and a wee bit scary for a rookie cadet when it was racing ! There was a 3EO, Dereck, on day work , and a watchkeeping 3EO , John , who was a wee bit deaf !

bjd
27th February 2013, 20:52
Hi There john

You were correct 6 JEO's 3 day work 3 watch-keeping doing a month about I think the 3EO was John Harpum I had my 21st birthday on board and was led astray no more bacadi cokes since. I remember going ashore with Ken Lacey in Plymouth for Chicken in a Basket or was it soup in the basket

that was the time we went from Canaveral through the canal to Near Seattle to discharge the cargo from Zeebrugge BEWARE OF THE BEARS IN THE WOOD

Regards

Bryan (bjd)

johnboy55
2nd March 2013, 08:20
Hi Brian, I thought it was you !
Yes, the name John Harpum sounds right, I think Bob Smith was the watchkeeping J.E.O on the 4-8, evening when I 'stopped the job' middle of Dinner . It's been an entertaining tale over the tears but was certainly not an entertaining experience at the time. Bob and I were changing over fuel lines , my inexperience with Instantor/instanter valves became apparent with the depressing sound ( and sight, being a Doxford ) of the main engine coming to a halt. Bob's face was not amusing but he was very generous in his feedback ! ! I mentioned John's deafness because he hadnt heard the engine stopping ! I always remember the appearance of Ken Lacey and numerous other E.Os over the rails from the changing room, having been interrupted in the midst of their meal. Ken was very supportive too, think I was hiding behind a purifier ! That was late 73 on the run to Kristiansand probably , cant remember. Seriously it could have ended badly . . . Hope you are well ,RegardsJohn