How long were waiting lists for "Leccies"?

13th November 2009, 23:29
I was talking to a bloke t'other day who reckoned he was an electrician in a coal-mine at Ashington in 1960 and, as he'd finished his apprenticeship, fancied going to sea.

He says he tramped the full length of Leadenhall Street, looking for a job, but he says that ALL shipping companies said although they'd be happy to set him on there was a waiting-list of at least three months.

However he was so keen to get away that he went back to Newcastle (he didn't say why he'd never tried at the Pool there first) and went into the Norwegian Pool, in Newcastle, and got set-on straight away.

It was a Friday when he got the offer of a job, was flown over to Antwerp immediately and signed-on on the Monday!!!!

Sounds a bit of a rum yarn to me!!! Salaams, Phil(Hippy)

14th November 2009, 08:26
Sounds like Tommy C, long time lecky on Luminetta; there can't be that many seagoing leckies who started with a British Coal apprenticeship at Ashington - or can there ?

Jim S
14th November 2009, 16:10
Quite a few electricians from the mines found jobs in the infancy of the North Sea Oil Industry. They were among the few at the time that had experience of electrical equipment in hazardous areas.

Don Matheson
14th November 2009, 16:16
Worked with some from the Stirling/ Fillin area in the oil industry. Much in demand due to experience in Hazardous area and SCR knowledge.
Good guys to work with as they had worked in heavy and hazardous areas prior to joining the oil industry.


14th November 2009, 16:24
When I went to sea in the 1959 waiting time was about 4 months.
Later when I moved to the North Sea oil industry in 1979 when I was involved in recruitment of electricians most of those we selected were either ex merchant navy or mines.

Don A.Macleod
14th November 2009, 21:38
In my own case early 63, there was no waiting time Phil, it all happened very quick.Wrote to Brocks got an interview(David McGrouther) and was taken on there and then.Letter next day confirming and to get my documents,uniform requirements etc. I dare say my knowledge of some of the ships helped, having worked on Mawana, Mangla and Mathura in the whole build programme and repair work on a few of the ships visiting Glasgow so knew a few Brocks men plus their local engineering rep.(a very nice guy called Burroughs).As I remember it all took less than ten days from interveiw to ship.Don.

16th November 2009, 17:36
No waiting as far as I was concerned. Got the tip that leckies with D.C. experience were needed, wrote to India Blogs, interviewed, asked when could I start? and off I went!. That would be June 1956.
It beat the hell out of National Service, I didn't fancy wearing heavy boots for 28 bob a week and going to Suez. Went past Suez anyway but under far better conditions.

18th November 2009, 19:04
Finished my apprenticeship in 1968 in a jute mill in Dundee. Saw the job with BP Tankers advertised in the Daily Express. Interview in Glasgow, and away about a month later.

Oil crisis of 1974-75 saw BP laying up ships. Got the chance to transfer to BP offshore during the commissioning of the Forties field. Came ashore in 1984 when all the maintenance was being computerised, and I ended up being the guy who put it all together for new fields.

Made redundant at the end of 1995, so got a job on the oil fields of Western Australia setting up maintenance management systems for 2 new fields there.

18 months later, back in Aberdeen and back working on BP maintenance management systems for the company that now had the BP contract.

Now retired, and after a wee bit of open heart surgery, enjoying myself with a wee yacht in Peterhead.

My career in a nutshell!

Nigel Wing
18th November 2009, 21:10
I joined the BP Tanker Co in July 1964. as an Electrician.
Finished my apprenticeship at Falmouth Docks on July 20th and joined mv British Resource at Isle of Grain, July 24th 1964.
No trouble at all with the local BP office, or the MN office at Falmouth, medical, Discharge Book etc all sorted quickly.
The British fleet was quite large then and I am sure there would have been no problem finding a job with any British outfit.

20th November 2009, 23:24
Having joined the exodus to the North Sea in 1975 as a senior electrician with Brown and Root, who by the way had over 700 electricians working on various North Sea oilfields, of which only about 35 were British.

I sat a 3 man interview panel at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, on 06-12-76 (1730 hrs) that lasted about 2 hours, for Blandford Shipping.

I subsequently recieved a letter of congratulation, on my successful interview, and to tell me they would be advising me of my start date after the Christmas break 1976.

I AM STILL WAITING, is this a record? In a couple of weeks time it will be the 33rd anniversary of the interview, and sounds like a visit to the pub, to celebrate my success is in order, hhmm I will run that school of thought past my better half, in the hope that her well rehearsed repertoire of reasons not to go to the pub, can be breached!!!!!

Best Regards

25th November 2009, 21:22
Came out RN as PO Electrician 64 started maintanance electrician with Clyde Paper Mill stuck it 3 months,,Went up to 120 St Vincent st Glasgow (Denholms) was asked to recite Ohms Law and was in South Africa 10 days later to join MV Morven (Oree boat) Should have stayed with Clyde Paper !!!

Regards, Vic..

25th November 2009, 21:42
went to Ashington Technical College in '69 to sit some exams to get into the merchant navy.

Alot of the other lads were either ready to go to the mines or the MN and alot including me went to Swan's to see about an apprenticeship, I fancied the travel more than anything and some of the lads that were going to the mines wanted to do that and then come to the ships.

I met alot of electricians & fitters from the mines and all were good ahrd working folk who I am sure would have been as good if not better than alot I met.

I never realized there were waiting lists for anybody to go to sea.

26th November 2009, 00:04
In the early 1960's I also 'fancied' being a leccy at sea. I was a time served electrician just out of my 'time'. I was advised to buy the Liverpool Journal of Commerce and look for adverts, but whenever I applied for a position, they always wanted seemed to want electricians with sea going experience, but without going to sea, I wasn't sure how I could get the experience! It was so frustrating, and I never did make it!!! As things worked out for the 'Merch', it did me a favour,

12th December 2009, 16:52
finished my "time" with the NCB(ch.elect at pit told all apprenticies to leave and see the world as no future in pits) joined benline a month later most of the"leckies"I met were from the fife/ north of england pits.My only problem was the fact that I had never worked on D.C.ships (joined 1968)picked it up after a day or so.At college we had been told that D.C as motive power was a thing of the past and the future was A.C.never sailed on an A.C. ship until about 1974.(convinced crew dept. thought A.C. meant air conditioned).

12th December 2009, 18:01
After serving my time with C.A.Parsons in Newcastle I left on my 21st birthday and went to Swan Hunter for a year before going to sea. Joined the RFA via the Newcastle office. However a few years later I joined a new class of ship and found that the two first trip junior leckies were, (a GPO phone eng, and a mine electrician from Doncaster!) One lasted two trips and the other a two year contract! The lad from the pits was a good leckie but would not listen to advice regarding ships procedures, and was emtied out when not following instructions when synchronising alternators via sychroscope, and tried it by hand with the bus coupler in! He was 180 degrees out of phase when the incoming alternator hit the board!