The Bankline experience - was it really different?

Alan Rawlinson
21st November 2009, 15:06
The demise of the Bankline and our enthusiastic postings on this sub-forum set me thinking about the experience from afar, and if it really was different in any way. After all, there were lots of shipping companies..

My personal view is that it WAS somehow unique, and for the following reasons - (a) Long voyages (b) challenging situations (c) loading/discharging in some very remote locations on the planet, (d) a ' can do ' attitude which prevailed. Add to this the usual mantras about character building, self reliance, etc etc . There was a strong bankline camaraderie between ships and shipmates, but there again I imagine this exists in other companies. Some of you that sailed in a variety of ships may have a better idea.

Looking back, I think for some of us it was the sheer adventure, especially at a young age. It was summed up for me by a London cabbie delivering me to the Surrey docks, together with all my boxes and bags in the 50's. As we pulled up below the high side of a rather rust streaked Bankline ship, he said to me incredulously - '' You are going on here for how long? - Rather you than me, mate! ''

Charlie Stitt
21st November 2009, 15:25
The short answer to that Alan, is, YES it was different, especially if you were with the company for ten years or more, you become a real company man, who would maintain other companies could not hold a candle to Bank Line. Unfortunately, some of us could not handle being a long trip Bank Line man as well as being a Married man, so had no option but to part company

K urgess
21st November 2009, 15:39
Having sailed with Hungry Hogarths, Lamport and Holt, Port Line, PSNC, Wilsons, Blue Star, Ellerman's, Dalgliesh and Benline on the cargo ship side I still think Bankline was best.
Admittedly I did much longer with Bankline but that's only because I volunteered twice before Marconi could do anything about it.
Maybe I was lucky in that the majority of them were excellent and I made a lot of friends but Bankline seemed more of an adventure.
Probably because I loved the Pacific and 4 copra runs were like a dream come true.

jimthehat
21st November 2009, 16:54
My whole time at sea 52-79 was spent in only 2 outfits ,bank line and ASN both companies where you where not just a number.The grounding i got in weirs served me in good stead the rest of my working life.

jim

Alistair Macnab
21st November 2009, 17:01
I suppose I must contribute to this thread.
My seagoing career in Bank Line was the fulfillment of my dream, to make Master and command my own ship. That I was fortunate rather than gifted to be chosen for further service was far and beyond the satisfaction threshhold that I had envisaged at 16 but took me into realms of being something like Andrew Weir. I had my own shipping company for a few years and a group of magnificent superintendents as colleagues in action - Mike Ward, John Shaw, Jiggs Brauen and Roddie MacLeod.
Operating important liner services, fulfilling the conditions of charterers, supervising and guiding agents, yes... and all the time reporting to London, all these were what I consider my golden years and then it came to an end.

My 29 years with Bank Line were the defining years of my life on earth and even although so many years have passed since we parted company, there's not a day goes by when I don't think about these wonderful and fulfilling years.
Some of you might be saying: 'Well, he would think that, wouldn't he. Look at the advantage he got. Being appointed to replace Captain Broadley in New York at his age was just luck!' Guys... a lucky break is a lucky break. I was conscious of my good fortune and it made me more interested in the duties, responsibilities and opportunities that became possible.
Then to see these magnificent new ships come through the Gulf, ever-increasingly manned by professional career officers with gung-ho attitudes. There are many Masters and Mates that I remember who impressed me with their hard work and complete understanding of what we were trying to do. Not that I thought at the time, that it would all be for nothing. I really thought were were now in the vanguard of the new Bank Line. At the end of the day we were defeated by progress far and beyond what we could individually manage. Perhaps Roy Weir's unexpected accidental death at 50 had something to do with it? More likely it was 'time' and 'timing'.
No regrets!

Brandane62
21st November 2009, 18:22
Apologies for the slight thread "deviation" but do any of you Bank Line old timers remember my Grandfather, John (Jack / JK) Whitelock; he retired as Chief Engineer. He was from Clydebank, then later moved to the Isle of Bute. This is a bit of a long shot as he must have retired round about the time I was born, 1962.

My mother was actually born while his wife (Barbara) was with him on a trip in 1926. My mothers birth certificate gave place of birth as Rangoon.

Donald McGhee
21st November 2009, 20:49
Hi Stratheden, I too spent many years on the Isle of Bute and was an apprentice/uncert 3rd mate with Bank Line. I think my Father Harry knew Jack Whitelock and I'm sure I too have talked to him as well, long time ago. As well as having had the unforgettable experience of serving in three Bank Line ships I reckon the company gave youngsters a great deal of self reliance and this definitely held them in good standing in later life.
Very sad to see the demise of Bank Line. I am currently building a model of the Inverbank and have bought a Bank Line cap badge to further my memorabilia collection.
Quite a few "Brandanes" on the SN website list as members, but I was not one, although I look to Bute as my home.

John Dryden
21st November 2009, 21:34
Although I never sailed with any other company I got the impression Bank Line were different.I remember looking at the booklets we were given at Hull Trinity House school and other lines didn,t seem half as attractive as Bank Lines.I was proved right in my choice as I certainly saw the world instead of going backwards and forwards to the same place as other lines did.
We went to places where there wasn,t even a decent chart,never mind a pilot but we got there,thanks to the skills of the Bank Liner masters and all.

Alan Rawlinson
22nd November 2009, 07:38
The short answer to that Alan, is, YES it was different, especially if you were with the company for ten years or more, you become a real company man, who would maintain other companies could not hold a candle to Bank Line. Unfortunately, some of us could not handle being a long trip Bank Line man as well as being a Married man, so had no option but to part company

Hi Charlie,

Agree with your sentiments, and I guess I make it into your 10yrs plus category ( just) . It must have been a pain leaving quite close to being offered a command. I only made one trip as mate, and then made a decision to bail out, more or less for the same reasons - there was more totty ashore or on the home coast!

However, at the risk of ' raining on the parade ' I am more than conscious that there are swathes of ex Bankline people out there for whom it was a bad dream, and who would not like to be reminded of the experience. My brother in Law is one of them. After listening to me prattling on endlessly about the Bankline, he got himself an apprenticeship, and was sent to the Dartbank where he did a longish trip - never to return. I guess there were dozens like that who didn't fancy the ' experience ' but who had very successful careers ashore. To be fair, even this sort of abortive career still left its benefits.

Chris Isaac
22nd November 2009, 11:27
Having been a "liner" company man I always cast some envious eyes towards Bank Line.
I visited many in my time and as a cadet got pissed with many of their apprentices and in many parts of the world.
They always seemed to be having a bloody good time!
If I had my time again I would at least spend some of it with Bank Line.

Marcus C. Smith
22nd November 2009, 13:09
Whilst apologising for imposing on their subject area I would like to register my sadness and sympathies with ex “Bank Liners” at the demise of such an iconic Tramp Shipping Company.
During pre-sea training at KE7 I dreamt of joining them but the Director (Captain Smith or Chase?) pointed me in the direction of Medomsley & Crawford (Van Ommeren, London) although I never regretted it. Admittedly a much smaller tramp outfit, they fitted the bill and I had the pleasure of a similar existence as those of the “Bankers” i.e.- long voyages, adventure, a variety of destinations not provided by the majority of shipping companies and the mystery of not knowing where we would get to and when I would get home!
The “Beacons” were well found ships and generally good feeders. The company was run sympathetically and it was like belonging in a small family. I only did one trip less than 7 months, the longest being 15 & 1/2 months but thoroughly enjoyed them all.
Sadly, in 1966, the British crews found themselves redundant when the Dutch parent company took them all back under the Dutch flag. Strangely, you might think, I elected to join the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and was not disappointed to find that similar criteria of expectations applied with the addition of some interesting, albeit potentially dangerous situations, (I met my future wife while based at Portland Naval Base!!) and I was well content to stay with them until retirement in 2003.
I sincerely hope that the passing of such a well known company as Bank Line will be marked by the publishing of a record of the history of its ships, men and achievements. (If it has, please be so kind as to steer me in it’s direction).

Another nail in the coffin of the Red Duster!

Alan Rawlinson
22nd November 2009, 16:24
Whilst apologising for imposing on their subject area I would like to register my sadness and sympathies with ex “Bank Liners” at the demise of such an iconic Tramp Shipping Company.
During pre-sea training at KE7 I dreamt of joining them but the Director (Captain Smith or Chase?) pointed me in the direction of Medomsley & Crawford (Van Ommeren, London) although I never regretted it. Admittedly a much smaller tramp outfit, they fitted the bill and I had the pleasure of a similar existence as those of the “Bankers” i.e.- long voyages, adventure, a variety of destinations not provided by the majority of shipping companies and the mystery of not knowing where we would get to and when I would get home!
The “Beacons” were well found ships and generally good feeders. The company was run sympathetically and it was like belonging in a small family. I only did one trip less than 7 months, the longest being 15 & 1/2 months but thoroughly enjoyed them all.
Sadly, in 1966, the British crews found themselves redundant when the Dutch parent company took them all back under the Dutch flag. Strangely, you might think, I elected to join the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and was not disappointed to find that similar criteria of expectations applied with the addition of some interesting, albeit potentially dangerous situations, (I met my future wife while based at Portland Naval Base!!) and I was well content to stay with them until retirement in 2003.
I sincerely hope that the passing of such a well known company as Bank Line will be marked by the publishing of a record of the history of its ships, men and achievements. (If it has, please be so kind as to steer me in it’s direction).

Another nail in the coffin of the Red Duster!

Hallo Marcus - congratulations on an interesting contribution...

It's amazing how fate plays a hand in our lives. At the sea school ( Woolverstone Hall) where I attended, I don't recall any discussion or choice in where the lads were indentured or sent as Cadets. How was it decided that certain lads were Bankline material, or BP, or Union Castle prospects. Was it deliberate, I still wonder, or was it a case of flogging the cv's or academic record around the various shipping companies until a taker was found? Two of my pals went to the companies mentioned above, and we never did cross tracks again. Whoever it was, and however it happened, I thank them because I am sure the Bankline was the right place for me!

P.S. Chase was the boss at KE7 when I studied for second mates

Chris Isaac
22nd November 2009, 16:49
Hallo Marcus - congratulations on an interesting contribution...

It's amazing how fate plays a hand in our lives. At the sea school ( Woolverstone Hall) where I attended, I don't recall any discussion or choice in where the lads were indentured or sent as Cadets. How was it decided that certain lads were Bankline material, or BP, or Union Castle prospects. Was it deliberate, I still wonder, or was it a case of flogging the cv's or academic record around the various shipping companies until a taker was found? Two of my pals went to the companies mentioned above, and we never did cross tracks again. Whoever it was, and however it happened, I thank them because I am sure the Bankline was the right place for me!

P.S. Chase was the boss at KE7 when I studied for second mates

I too am an ex KE7 cadet and I dont tink that our CV's were hawked about... I joined UC as "daddy" worked in Cayzer House.

Marcus C. Smith
22nd November 2009, 17:47
Hi Alan

I think you are right, Captain Chase was principal and Captain Smith was the senior lecturer. (1960).

As I remember it, at King Ted’s we weren’t formally interrogated as to where our aspirations lay, (at least I and the rest of my intake weren’t), although advice was readily available if required. Most of us were left to decide for ourselves and it was a matter of a lot of discussion between us, with a lot of light-hearted banter and gentle joshing. It was amazing the loyalty and pride some guys had, having made early choices and with no formal job offers, inscribing funnel colours, house-flags etc. on the covers of their workbooks!!

In retrospect, how ridiculous were some of the parameters that we used to choose our prospective employers, - attractive colours and streamlining of funnels, hulls and accommodation, size of ships, etc. Hardly the attributes of Bank Line at the time! Young and starry eyed, we had no values for the aesthetic attributes of many companys’ ships! One guy’s uncle was Commodore BP Tankers at the time. No prizes for guessing his choice especially as the rather imposing “British Queen” had not long come into service!

I agree that principals probably touted our services prospective services in answer to the trawls of the various shipping companies in order to fulfil their requirements. At no time did the principal actively discourage me from joining Bank Line, but simply reminded me that there were other choices to suit my aspirations.
In truth, three of us undecided were first sent to interview with Lambert Brothers, who wanted two new apprentices. They eventually took only one who, most of his peers agreed, was more suited to the smarter passenger ship companies! (Sadly I don’t believe he lasted long). Perhaps a lucky escape for us according to some accounts!
Thus I eventually pitched up on Medomsley’s doorstep. No regrets!

rcraig
22nd November 2009, 19:01
The demise of the Bankline and our enthusiastic postings on this sub-forum set me thinking about the experience from afar, and if it really was different in any way. After all, there were lots of shipping companies..

My personal view is that it WAS somehow unique, and for the following reasons - (a) Long voyages (b) challenging situations (c) loading/discharging in some very remote locations on the planet, (d) a ' can do ' attitude which prevailed. Add to this the usual mantras about character building, self reliance, etc etc . There was a strong bankline camaraderie between ships and shipmates, but there again I imagine this exists in other companies. Some of you that sailed in a variety of ships may have a better idea.

Looking back, I think for some of us it was the sheer adventure, especially at a young age. It was summed up for me by a London cabbie delivering me to the Surrey docks, together with all my boxes and bags in the 50's. As we pulled up below the high side of a rather rust streaked Bankline ship, he said to me incredulously - '' You are going on here for how long? - Rather you than me, mate! ''
I think the last para. perhaps sums it up for me. The sights, smells and excitement of Kobe, Calcutta, Rangoon, Sapele, Apia, Cochin, Mauritius, Port Elizabeth, Lagos, Galveston, Melbourne, Darwin, Hong Kong and so on, stick in my consciousness as they would do from that early impressionable age. And there could not have been many companies where, at the age of 17+ you could experience your first stint as 3rd. Mate, however briefly, and then complete whole trips as such. I am sure other outfits must have had similar destination variety.

I only did about a quarter of my full sea time (17 yrs) with them, but as has been pretty obvious, the memories linger well (and inaccurately at times too).
I would not change whatever I have done if life could be repeated again.
But it would not be accurate for me to say that every moment was brilliant. I am sure others too remember the excruciating boredom at times. But even that was good training. Seven weeks working as a lawyer in a local authority without even the authority to sign a letter taught me what boredom really could be like. At least you could watch the flying fish during the 50+ days on the Glenbank when crossing the Pacific! And you had at least occasional authority over a paint brush.

And while we can extol the virtues of Bank Line, I learnt a damned sight more on my short stint as an apprentice on a European crewed Bank boat than I did on an Indian crewed one, not because they were better...I don't think they were....but because you were treated totally as part of the crew with no separation while working. You were cheaper too.

After leaving the company I deliberately tried tankers, with BP, coasters, sailing to Mantyluoto etc, in Finland and then Elder Dempster's all with the intention of tryng different types of ships; tankers, coasters. passenger vessels.

I did not find E.D.'s a company which neglected their apprentices and they were a good company to sail with. They could not compare with Bank Line for destinations, and I would not have changed my apprenticeship with their cadetship, but it is difficult to see what was essentially different with the training side of it. Neither seemed to do more or less than the other, and frankly, I do not remember Bank Line giving much more formal training than the intermittently received correspondence course.

And it was also possible to sail as second mate on a second mate's ticket much to the chagrin of the company men who were not in the right place at the right time.

But much still rested with the masters when it came to enjoying a trip. They had good ones too, and others. One who failed to inform the company that my wife was in hospital and that I had requested a short leave from a mail "boat" ( the Winneba ) locked out of the UK by a dock strike (but bound to sail on time, whether discharged or not). When a short, very sharp telegram was sent to the company office by me pointing out their treatment of mates as amoebae below the status of engineers and stewards (who were being relieved), the personnel manager gave me the leave wanted for as long as I wanted (unpaid of course) and I was then posted back on to a Sam boat, ships not really designed for West Africa. Never saw a mail boat again. Here my training with Bank Line came to the fore. The Springbank had already prepared me for the stinking heat and the inadequate punka louvres, and at least there was no attempt to cut back on the fuel bill by keeping the power down on the fan motor as had happened in Bank Line. Once.

I would not have missed my short time with the company for anything. But neither would I wish to have missed the other times too. Except as a local authority solicitor. There are limits.

Alan Rawlinson
23rd November 2009, 09:32
Hi Alan

I think you are right, Captain Chase was principal and Captain Smith was the senior lecturer. (1960).

As I remember it, at King Ted’s we weren’t formally interrogated as to where our aspirations lay, (at least I and the rest of my intake weren’t), although advice was readily available if required. Most of us were left to decide for ourselves and it was a matter of a lot of discussion between us, with a lot of light-hearted banter and gentle joshing. It was amazing the loyalty and pride some guys had, having made early choices and with no formal job offers, inscribing funnel colours, house-flags etc. on the covers of their workbooks!!

In retrospect, how ridiculous were some of the parameters that we used to choose our prospective employers, - attractive colours and streamlining of funnels, hulls and accommodation, size of ships, etc. Hardly the attributes of Bank Line at the time! Young and starry eyed, we had no values for the aesthetic attributes of many companys’ ships! One guy’s uncle was Commodore BP Tankers at the time. No prizes for guessing his choice especially as the rather imposing “British Queen” had not long come into service!

I agree that principals probably touted our services prospective services in answer to the trawls of the various shipping companies in order to fulfil their requirements. At no time did the principal actively discourage me from joining Bank Line, but simply reminded me that there were other choices to suit my aspirations.
In truth, three of us undecided were first sent to interview with Lambert Brothers, who wanted two new apprentices. They eventually took only one who, most of his peers agreed, was more suited to the smarter passenger ship companies! (Sadly I don’t believe he lasted long). Perhaps a lucky escape for us according to some accounts!
Thus I eventually pitched up on Medomsley’s doorstep. No regrets!

The reason Capt Chase sticks in my mind is that on leaving sea school for the Bankline, I was given a sealed letter addressed to Capt Chase, which I failed to deliver for some obscure reason. Months later at sea I opened it when it popped up among my things, and it was a request to supply me with a full set of Nicholls guides, and Nories Tables etc at the expense of the sea school! What a twerp I was!

Going back to the selection, my recollection is that someone casually told me one day - '' Oh, you will be going to the Bankline '' I dashed off to the Seamanship room where there was a fold out page in colour of the latest Bankline building ( must have been Eastbank in those days) and drooled over the details. Needless to say, I joined a much older and care worn ship, the Forthbank.

McMorine
23rd November 2009, 10:56
What happened to Roy Weir, Alistair?

iain48
23rd November 2009, 14:10
Was Bank Line different? as someone with only two companies to compare I am not sure. Bank Line and Safmarine were certainly very different. As a lecky who was probably promoted too quickly with Safmarine,to first lecky, I found the difference on Bank Line a bit of a leap at first. Basically on my own electrically, as the 2nd lecky (first trip to sea) watchkeeping and not really interested on doing overtime to learn things with me. A big difference from 2 daywork electricians and also some assistance from daywork engineers as we always had extras sailing. Most ports on the Safmarine trips had shore cranes so full ship's gear loading and discharging ports unusual. Therefore winches worked harder. Joined Elmbank on US coast and had lots of winch problems loading for Australia. However a bit of hard work (and bronzy) crossing the Pacific and same cargo discharged with very few breakdowns.
Also a bit of a change from the accommodation point of view as own toilet/ shower, or 1 between two was what I had experienced, and air conditioning. The amount of other officers on board was a big change as we had Master , three mates,sparky, usually at least 8 engineers, about 3 each navigating and engine cadets, a purser and assistant. We never had much problem getting a football team together.
All that said I soon settled to the Bank Line routine and loved the variety of ports. Once I had got used to the ship I really enjoyed it and would go back tomorrow. I left to go into offshore oil industry. Also I have kept in touch with a few of the Bank Line lads I sailed with but not so much with Safmarine so that must say something.

Alistair Macnab
23rd November 2009, 15:35
Roy Weir, Baron Inverforth III, was enjoying a day at home with his wife and children when he felt the need to take a whiff of oxygen to ease the asthma which he had had all his life. He left the family to go to the bedroom where the emergency oxygen was kept and when he didn't return Lady Inverforth went to look for him and he was dead when she found him. It was his 50th birthday. What a terrible tragedy!

McMorine
25th November 2009, 14:06
Thanks for that info Alistair, always wondered what happened to Roy Weir, very sad. What year did it happen?

jimthehat
25th November 2009, 22:44
Went to the same school as Alan albeit a year later ,i did not get a voucher for books ,but and I never found out who was the provider ,but was told to go to a well known naval outfitters in the city to be fitted out,which i duly was ,the full gubbins,uniform, monkey jacket ,oilskins ,welliea and burburry
jim

Alan Rawlinson
26th November 2009, 09:09
Went to the same school as Alan albeit a year later ,i did not get a voucher for books ,but and I never found out who was the provider ,but was told to go to a well known naval outfitters in the city to be fitted out,which i duly was ,the full gubbins,uniform, monkey jacket ,oilskins ,welliea and burburry
jim

Hi Jim,

Sounded a better deal, to me! Probably Monnery's outfitters?

I am curious if your experience was the same as mine when we were ' sent ' to the Bankline. How did you get informed, and did you have a say? One of the lads in 12 dorm called Loveday went to ' Hungry ' Hogarths, and I believe jumped ship a year or so into his apprenticeship. He was the brightest spark in the box, so hard to figure out any method in company selection by the school.

Cheers

kwg
26th November 2009, 10:11
On two occasions with 1st trip Apps. plus one in Oz. After a week or weeks joining the ship their parents came to see them before leaving for foreign ports the youngsters decided it wasn't the life for them and went home with their mum and dad. Each time it was a shock to the rest of the guys, we didn't know they were unhappy and concluded mum and dads visit was the problem...

jimthehat
26th November 2009, 11:01
Hi Alan,
from what i can remember it was a done deal,and that i was going to join the bank line.my father was advised that he would receive a set of indentures from bury street and that on receipt we were to go to a local soliciter and have my sig wittnessed which was duly done.
When it came time to join the maplebank my father was away so all on my lonesome I travelled to liverpool street then fenchurch street station and trained to Surrey comm and taxi to the ship.
capt duncan was the paying off master with Capt mountain taking over(lost at sea 3 months later) The mate first tripper handed us apps over to the bosun and he was our boss for the next 18 months ,BUT loved every miniute of it.

jim

TonyAllen
26th November 2009, 14:29
I've said this on another thread I posted, after reading most of all the Bankline postings on different threads I wish that I had gone with bankline instead of blue star,some of the trips you guys made it sound like a real adventure,never did cross the Pacific as such just the west coast of US and east coast of Japan so hold on to your memories Guys and keep posting.Having said that I loved the time I spent with Blue Funnell 55 to 60

Regards Tony Allen

Joe C
26th November 2009, 15:49
Hi Jim,

Sounded a better deal, to me! Probably Monnery's outfitters?

I am curious if your experience was the same as mine when we were ' sent ' to the Bankline. How did you get informed, and did you have a say? One of the lads in 12 dorm called Loveday went to ' Hungry ' Hogarths, and I believe jumped ship a year or so into his apprenticeship. He was the brightest spark in the box, so hard to figure out any method in company selection by the school.

Cheers

I didn't get sent from KE VII, I went of my own free will ! My father's friend, J Walker-Thompson who worked for Andrew Weir, but not in a sea-going capacity arranged for me to be indentured to them on completion of my years pre-sea training.I had 3 months wait before joining the Moraybank in Rotterdam (Dec 1954) and by coincidence took a job together with another lad waiting for his first ship, printing envelopes for Basildon Bond. We were only in it for the money,to help parents pay for that weird bag full of items mostly never worn, so every day we antagonised the union rep by printing far too many envelopes than was allowed, we were promised we would never get another job in the printing industry but we got a bonus every week.I never did get another job in the" Print"

John Campbell
26th November 2009, 16:10
Going to sea as an apprentice was not easy for us lads in the Wick in the North of Scotland. We could get away as deck boys but getting an apprenticeship was not easy in the early fifties.
Fortunately after writing and being rejected by dozens of companies, all demanding attendance, at pre sea courses - my father chanced to meet the local Harbour Master. He demanded to interview me and after doing so told me to apply to Andrew Weirs mentioning his name. This I did and back came a letter telling me to go to Leith Nautical College and do a six month course - this I did and passing a medical by local doc sailed away from Royal Albert Dock on M.V. Southbank on Coronation Day.

Alan Rawlinson
26th November 2009, 19:10
I've said this on another thread I posted, after reading most of all the Bankline postings on different threads I wish that I had gone with bankline instead of blue star,some of the trips you guys made it sound like a real adventure,never did cross the Pacific as such just the west coast of US and east coast of Japan so hold on to your memories Guys and keep posting.Having said that I loved the time I spent with Blue Funnell 55 to 60

Regards Tony Allen

Hallo Tony,

For me Blu Flu had the best looking ships ever - brilliant design with the tall funnels and solid accom - everything a ship should be. A colleague down here in Cornwall, called Andrew Bell was with them, not sure if you ever came across him? Believe he was on the last Blue funnel ship to transit the Suez at the time of the invasion and closure. He, in turn, seems to take a keen interest in the Bankline ships, ever since the day he visited one in port, where, allegedly, the apprentices were working barefoot!

TonyAllen
26th November 2009, 20:49
Hi Alan thanks for your post,sorry the name does not ring a bell but best regards to you Tony

Donald McGhee
26th November 2009, 21:54
I originally started my seagoing career with Donaldsons of Glasgow, on the Colina, which was a small ship to say the least, but a great wee sea boat despite that. Donaldsons went into liquidation in 1967 and I had to find some company to let me finish my sea time before second mates.
I must have tried at least a dozen or so before Bank Line said yes. Apparently there was a reluctance to take half trained appies at that time, as we might have learned bad habits from our previous employer(Pint) !

Bank Line was a culture shock to say the least, but a good one overall, longer trips, more varied ports, bigger ships, different crews ( I had been used to a West Highland crowd). Not a great deal of seamanship was taught on deck with Bank Line, whereas in Donaldsons we could all wire splice and do whatever the crowd could.
The lack of b******t was great in Bank Line, as we had to get changed for every meal in Donaldsons, where the use of the disposable paper collar became second nature. How many of you remember the packets of paper white collars, that you had to put the stud in at the back and change it around when it got dirty? All in all Bank Line was different, as only a tramp ship company could be from a regular sailing line like Donaldsons. I remember them both with great affection and the folk I sailed with.

rcraig
27th November 2009, 18:38
I attended Aberdeen Navigation school and we were not guided to any company for an apprenticeship. The school principal was a very nice old gentleman, Captain Cameron, who on my recollection, (probably in his fifties!..but old to us) had sailing ship qualifications. We wrote to companies and that was it. With a first class certificate you could get any company..they said. The only time in my life that I was ever good at maths. Useless at school but very good at spherical trig. at nav. school. Showed what motivation could do...and then lapsed back immediately after that to the previous standard. (Anyone know of any jobs for someone good at spherical trig 57 yrs. ago?).
Year after that they gave you a sextant if you got a 1st. You also got binoculars from the Sea Cadet Corps if you became a commissioned officer in the forces or merchant navy equivalent. Never got that either.
Promised a push-bike from my mother if I passed the 11 plus. Never got it. How deprived can you get?! And then accepted by Bank Line? Some of you guys don't know how lucky you have been.
When I went up for my second mate's... I think Bank Line paid for that.... (less dole money...funnily enough I think that I was so put off at standing in a queue at the "Broo" that I think I settled for the company`s cash...surely not, as an Aberdonian) there were three of us off to the pub every very long lunch time and as we pushed off on one occasion poor old Cameron turned to the rest and proclaimed that we would never get our tickets. Alas, for reasons we will never know but probably ruled by Sod`s law, only three did get it first time and two of them were from the pisshead gang. Alas, again, one of the gang duly died when he fell from the gangway in classic mode in the Outer Isles when sailing with a puffer company as second mate.

Johnnietwocoats
28th November 2009, 21:57
I originally started my seagoing career with Donaldsons of Glasgow, on the Colina, which was a small ship to say the least, but a great wee sea boat despite that. Donaldsons went into liquidation in 1967 and I had to find some company to let me finish my sea time before second mates.
I must have tried at least a dozen or so before Bank Line said yes. Apparently there was a reluctance to take half trained appies at that time, as we might have learned bad habits from our previous employer(Pint) !

Bank Line was a culture shock to say the least, but a good one overall, longer trips, more varied ports, bigger ships, different crews ( I had been used to a West Highland crowd). Not a great deal of seamanship was taught on deck with Bank Line, whereas in Donaldsons we could all wire splice and do whatever the crowd could.
The lack of b******t was great in Bank Line, as we had to get changed for every meal in Donaldsons, where the use of the disposable paper collar became second nature. How many of you remember the packets of paper white collars, that you had to put the stud in at the back and change it around when it got dirty? All in all Bank Line was different, as only a tramp ship company could be from a regular sailing line like Donaldsons. I remember them both with great affection and the folk I sailed with.

Depended on who the Mate or Master was. I reacall during most of my Apprenticeship and 5 ships that i had to change for meals.

Learnt lots of seamanship and rope and wire splicing with all the Indian Crews I sailed with...
TC(Smoke) (Smoke)

IRW
29th November 2009, 01:16
Agree: Turnto 0700/0800 saloon change for breakfast.then 0900 - 1200: saloon for lunch curry usually best course.KLnock off 1700 saloon 1730. Bit laid back come weekends but meal times set in stone. Only stand by at F/A deviations allowed ie phosphate islands or mooring at Calcutta.(K)

IRW
29th November 2009, 01:50
Further to my earlier post:
I joined April57-Nessbank but left after my trip on the Oakbank which was in 1970. During this time I'd been with Kent(down) Lynch (one of the best) Brant ditto. In fact very few adverse Masters until the last (initials DT) who was the reason I left. When I went into the LondonOffice not an eyebrow was raised when I declare I had had enough and please cash in my Bank Line provident fund while you are at it!! I did learn a great deal and it has stood me in good stead. Pity about the incomming DT type masters,(Jester)

Alistair Macnab
29th November 2009, 19:42
With Indian/Pakistani saloon crews, the labour agreement varied over the years and towards the end of my seagoing days, the evening meal had to be over and the cleaning up finished by 18:30 to avoid overtime. But most Masters kept to the 17:30 and 18:00 meal times. One Master that I sailed with called the 17:30 meal time the second sitting and the 18:00 meal time the first sitting. Apprentices had to be gone from sight at 18:00 when the burra sahibs sat down to eat!
On the "Inchanga" we had passengers sitting at the second mate's table which included the third mate and the R/O. Table was for six. Meal items that had a discrete asterisk beside them were for passengers only but we could usually talk the passengers into getting the saloon waiters to bring us a starred item if we wanted it! On high days and holidays, the waiters wore a long white tunic over white pantaloons and had bare feet. They outfit was completed by a broad sash of gold and red and a white turban with a gold and red cockade. White gloves were essential. Very splendid.

John Dryden
29th November 2009, 21:12
Interesting about the protocol regarding meal times.Every ship I sailed on it was a case of getting changed into something resembling a uniform before eating and it seemed to last for ages,course after course.It was a struggle sometimes getting clean enough to slip into a white shirt and shorts after chipping the deck but we always did.Occasionally if we really could not get the oil and rust off in time we ate in the engineers mess,always a pleasure.
The other thing is I used to here tales of the Bank Line passenger ships but by 1969 when I joined I think they had all gone.I do remember going on board a few BI passenger ships for refreshments though and imagine them being similar.

jimthehat
29th November 2009, 22:47
on the isipingo it was 3/0,doctor and stewardess at one table stb side aft of the saloon.dinner was an early meal for the third mate(me0 as it was a 1915relief of the mate so that he could go down and change into messkit for dinner,so the 8-12 was a long watch.

jim

John Dryden
30th November 2009, 00:08
Well I always found loads of scoff on the Bank Boats I was on but always remember toasted fried egg sandwiches in Aussie,battered shark in Tasmania and curried bangers in Calcutta.And of course the steak in Argentina,was it really two inches thick and tender in a loaf of bread for a few pesos?

Johnnietwocoats
30th November 2009, 03:54
Well I always found loads of scoff on the Bank Boats I was on but always remember toasted fried egg sandwiches in Aussie,battered shark in Tasmania and curried bangers in Calcutta.And of course the steak in Argentina,was it really two inches thick and tender in a loaf of bread for a few pesos?

Yep.....(Smoke) (Smoke)

Charlie Stitt
7th January 2010, 16:24
As Chief Officer Forresbank, going through the old routine of steam cleaning etc to prepare the deeptanks for coconut oil. As we were having the usual hassle of getting the steamcoils tight, Engineers, apprentices and myself had spent hours down in the suffocating heat of the lower tanks. I had just emerged out of the manhole into the tweendeck, dressed in shorts and shoes, sweat pouring off me, rusty oily streaks all over and with that distinctive smell of rusty steam up my nostril. Ah Mate, there you are, I have been looking everywhere for you, looking up I saw the Old Man dressed in his crisp whites, leaning over the coaming. We are getting two more passengers so would you get the Apprentices to paint out the hospital as soon as possible. Now believe it or not, I just looked my good friend straight in the eye and said absolutly nothing, in fact I think I smiled. The hospital DID get painted, somewhere around midnight. After a long hot shower, a couple of cold beers, ( complements of the Old Man), all was well again, and dear help anyone who criticised the Bank Line. However, were we in Bank Line, sometimes expected to be super human ? (?HUH)

Alistair Macnab
7th January 2010, 16:53
I don't know if other companies required deck officers and apprentices to supervise the separations between different coffee marks when stowed. This was in the breakbulk age and there could be a 'mark' as small as 20 bags or as large as 250 bags. Nevertheless, they had to be carefully separated on loading at the various PNG and Pacific Islands ports and meticulously identified on the Second Mate's very colourful and detailed stowage plans.

Separation nets and separation paper were used. We tended to block stow more or less horizontally, but we used to have to fight the dockies in Europe from immediately plunging vertically down into the stow and wrecking all the good separation work!

The Bank Line Experience? You get to do everything concerning cargo-work and understand that the care and carriage of cargo is actually what we were on board for! But the beer and ports-of-call helped too!

rcraig
7th January 2010, 17:07
Did either of you keep any copies of cargo plans for posterity? I took a spare copy...I think that is the polite way of putting it...of a cargo plan for the SS Cabano of E.D's and it is a fascinating record of the past and the cargoes exported.
I do remember many years ago ( late '80`s?) when I had the daft idea of doing a potted anecdotal history of Bank Line writing to Bank Line head office asking if there was access to log books and cargo plans to give me some background but they said nothing was retained by them.

Charlie Stitt
7th January 2010, 19:03
No Ray, I did'nt keep any copies of my cargo plans, except in my memory of course. I remember, in the early 60's taking great pride in drawing up and colouring the plans, even when I had the Mate and agent etc breathing down my neck in New Orleans for that one completed copy which had to go ashore before sailing. Big deal, we had until arrival Cristobal to complete the other copies, and if I remember right, these had to be done in our off watch time, just because we loved the job, ( and Bankline of course ) No Ovies.The US Gulf plans were not what you could call complicated, it was the fact that the last few hours of loading was usually umpteen small parcels in the tweens, and then of course the tonnage distribution table. WE were, as 2nd Mates, all geared up for that task, so at the time, it was a piece of cake, and no different to other Companies I suppose. We were just better at it.(Thumb)

jimthehat
8th January 2010, 12:23
ray & charlie,
re cargo plans,I never kept any,but can remember all my lovely creations after 4 years on the far east run in late 50s,i did ask on SN a year ago or so and was graciously sent a few of the 60s era by China hand for which i am in his debt.
I did keep on looking for 50s plans ,hoping that one of my own may have turned up,about 12months ago I contacted the bank line super ,but he said that a few years ago there had been a fire in the basement at Bury street and all cargo plans were lost.cargo plans were a love hate relationship and on the far east run I remember sitting in the office waiting for the last figures and trying to get the hatch and port tonnages right,pilot on board ,the agent leaning over my shoulder while I finished off six copies.HAPPY DAYS
jim

Joe C
8th January 2010, 21:13
ray & charlie,
re cargo plans,I never kept any,but can remember all my lovely creations after 4 years on the far east run in late 50s,i did ask on SN a year ago or so and was graciously sent a few of the 60s era by China hand for which i am in his debt.
I did keep on looking for 50s plans ,hoping that one of my own may have turned up,about 12months ago I contacted the bank line super ,but he said that a few years ago there had been a fire in the basement at Bury street and all cargo plans were lost.cargo plans were a love hate relationship and on the far east run I remember sitting in the office waiting for the last figures and trying to get the hatch and port tonnages right,pilot on board ,the agent leaning over my shoulder while I finished off six copies.HAPPY DAYS
jim

I have an Irisbank cargo plan completed in the second mate,Jim Scobie's best Scottish copper-plate handwriting from 17th September 1956, when we loaded 8066 tons of bitumen at Point Fortin for Auckland (yellow),Napier (green),Wellington (blue) Lyttleton (brown) and Dunedin (red).All outlined in coloured pencil,none of your modern high-tec highlighters. The information included in the cargo plan is much more comprehensive than I remembered but then I completed my Apprenticeship then had to leave the sea, so I had all the" fun " with none of the responsibility!I seem to remember we loaded one and two holds first so that the engineers could inspect the port propellor and gland .Was this normal practice or a bit unusual?

Charlie Stitt
9th January 2010, 19:30
Found myself daydreaming earlier and my thoughts took a leap back to the kind of guys I sailed with in Bank Line.The ones who stood out from the others were the Marconi Sparks,who had the experience of sailing with different companies, come on board a Bankboat, and settled in as if they had already spent years with us. I can not remember a Marconi Sparks making a big issue out of the food,conditions on board or the Bank Line, they just got on with their job, mixed in well with the rest of us, and supped our beer. So if any Marconi ex Bank Liner reads this. While with us, you were one of us. Cheers, (Pint)

Pat bourke
9th January 2010, 19:41
Having sailed on the Clydebank in 1976 and the Inverbank in 1977 as an R/O, I'm delighted to read Charlie Stitt thread. I enjoyed my time with Bankline and never had too many complaints. Thanks for thinking of us Sparkies.
Cheers Pat.(Thumb)

Johnnietwocoats
10th January 2010, 03:54
Found myself daydreaming earlier and my thoughts took a leap back to the kind of guys I sailed with in Bank Line.The ones who stood out from the others were the Marconi Sparks,who had the experience of sailing with different companies, come on board a Bankboat, and settled in as if they had already spent years with us. I can not remember a Marconi Sparks making a big issue out of the food,conditions on board or the Bank Line, they just got on with their job, mixed in well with the rest of us, and supped our beer. So if any Marconi ex Bank Liner reads this. While with us, you were one of us. Cheers, (Pint)

That's cos they had the best job on the ship......(Thumb)

A full nights Kip every night......(==D)

Lots of time off in Port especially when we used to be in some ports a week at a time.....

If I'd been a Sparky I would have been girled out by the time I was 17....TC(Smoke)

Charlie Stitt
10th January 2010, 10:09
So John, why were you not a Sparky ?:confused:

Joe C
10th January 2010, 14:32
So John, why were you not a Sparky ?:confused:

Now I'm feeling I really missed out.I did'nt sail as a Sparky but ended up as one when I came ashore,well sort of.I did my National Service as a WTDF OP(A) in the RAF.Had to upspeed the morse a bit! Does this make me an "associate member"of the Sparky club?

Alan Rawlinson
10th January 2010, 16:25
Now I'm feeling I really missed out.I did'nt sail as a Sparky but ended up as one when I came ashore,well sort of.I did my National Service as a WTDF OP(A) in the RAF.Had to upspeed the morse a bit! Does this make me an "associate member"of the Sparky club?

Joe,

Do you remember ? Bethel, the sparky on Irisbank? Great bloke, but very restless, and always up for anything to change the boredom. Played the trumpet, loved traditional Jazz, and appeared at the VERY stern dining table in the saloon one day, sporting a Mohican haircut. The silence around the table sounded like thunder!

If he happens to read this - greetings shipmate - how goes it!

Joe C
10th January 2010, 17:07
Joe,

Do you remember ' Boppie ' Bethel, the sparky on Irisbank? Great bloke, but very restless, and always up for anything to change the boredom. Played the trumpet, and appeared at the VERY stern dining table in the saloon one day, sporting a coloured Mohican haircut. The silence around the table sounded like thunder!

If he happens to read this - greetings shipmate - please pen us a few words here!

A couple of Boppie memories.
I have a picture of Jim ,Brian Smith, myself and Boppie in the Racecourse Bar in Bourbon Street, New Orleans,mid fifties.He was drinking cokes all night to save himself a few pennies and then found out that all drinks cost a dollar regardless. On another occasion he decided to make some homebrew in a large plastic bottle,(a carboy?) which blew up in his wardrobe!The crew weren't too happy with his trumpet rehearsals in the steering flat either.So when I ended up as a wireless operator I was not too surprised by the antics of some of the guys we worked with. Great times.

China hand
10th January 2010, 18:35
With the greatest of respect to Marconi Sahib: ALL R/O's were nutters. I cannot recall a single Sparkie I sailed with who was totally normal. Guys who played the trumpet; had a gemstone polishing grinder in his cabin; a very gentle man with the shakes who would happily go into a Decca TM 109 with a screwdriver; the guy who wore his airplane hat in bed whilst doing "dawn patrol over the Yalu river".
An awful lot of the Marconi men I met went via Dublin; but even the Eastern guys, from Hong Kong, Manilla, Singapore, were all the same. Delightful crackpots.
Of course they had the spare time we didn't, in old times. But they were always good party organisers.
In later days, let us be honest, we "Old Men" missed Sparks when it came to bashing out an extra crew list or 2 (00)??
I'm often asked what I missed most when the industry became modern: I also quote an ex-sparkie friend whom I came across on a (then) big box boat in Singapore; "When I was Sparks , I talked to everyone, now I'm C/El/O(coms) and I live in an isolated container extension".
Naaa, Sparkies were GOOD.(Thumb)

Johnnietwocoats
10th January 2010, 23:18
So John, why were you not a Sparky ?:confused:

I was striving for the Glamour Job at the time.....(==D)

Johnny(Smoke) (Smoke)

Johnnietwocoats
10th January 2010, 23:21
With the greatest of respect to Marconi Sahib: ALL R/O's were nutters. I cannot recall a single Sparkie I sailed with who was totally normal. Guys who played the trumpet; had a gemstone polishing grinder in his cabin; a very gentle man with the shakes who would happily go into a Decca TM 109 with a screwdriver; the guy who wore his airplane hat in bed whilst doing "dawn patrol over the Yalu river".
An awful lot of the Marconi men I met went via Dublin; but even the Eastern guys, from Hong Kong, Manilla, Singapore, were all the same. Delightful crackpots.
Of course they had the spare time we didn't, in old times. But they were always good party organisers.
In later days, let us be honest, we "Old Men" missed Sparks when it came to bashing out an extra crew list or 2 (00)??
I'm often asked what I missed most when the industry became modern: I also quote an ex-sparkie friend whom I came across on a (then) big box boat in Singapore; "When I was Sparks , I talked to everyone, now I'm C/El/O(coms) and I live in an isolated container extension".
Naaa, Sparkies were GOOD.(Thumb)

They were good, they were nuts and they had lots of time off.....

That's why I was jealous of them(Smoke) (Smoke)

John Dryden
10th January 2010, 23:55
The sparkys I sailed with in Bank Line were all good and nuts.Seem to remember they were told just a short trip,3 months Aussie and back.Pressganged!

Johnnietwocoats
11th January 2010, 02:00
The sparkys I sailed with in Bank Line were all good and nuts.Seem to remember they were told just a short trip,3 months Aussie and back.Pressganged!

I have to look up some aul piccies of them in Bank Line......

I remember when I was Second Mate with Texaco the Sparks came on the bridge and asked me to show him on the Chart where we where.

We were in the Indian Ocean North of Madagasgar.......

In a very short while we ran into a Typhoon/Hurricaine/Cyclone/ or whatever it was called in that part of the world......while we were Tank Cleaning.....

The Old man was furious...He called Sparks to the Bridge and asked if he had weather reports.....

"Yes" says he......

"Why didn't you post them on the Bridge?"....Sez the Old man...(K)

"I asked the Second Mate where we were and I looked at the chart and the system was a long way from us so I didn't think it was important" Sez a now trembling wannabe Navigating Officer.....(MAD)

This is the same Sparks that the Old Man threw off the Bridge for taking photos while we were trying to keep the Ship afloat in a bad storm.....

But other than that he wasn't a bad Laddie...

TC(Smoke)

Charlie Stitt
19th October 2010, 21:05
Bank Line experience. Does anyone else remember the trick of mixing diesel and old engine oil, to put on the freshly chipped steel decks prior to painting? I do'nt remember which Mate I learnt this from, but it worked a treat. (Thumb)

pete
20th October 2010, 14:49
Charlie, as far as I remember this was a common practice as that was a good way of doing things, leave it for a few days and scrape it off. Any sticky bits get the "Windy Hammer" out. Not too close to the Accomodation though, it would destroy my PM Zizz................pete

John Dryden
20th October 2010, 14:55
Funnily enough I was only thinking about that the other day and the mess it used to make in the alleyways,not to mention the flip flop damage!

Alistair Macnab
20th October 2010, 16:56
Before the days of scheduled ship maintenance programmes dictated by head office and choreographed by a check list of when certain operations were expected to be done, when they were actually done and how much time and material were used in their accomplishment, ship maintenance was something that the Master and Mate decided by virtue of physical inspection and perceived need.

In other words, no paperwork was involved and it was not ever necessary to chip the forecastle deck in a howling gale just because it had been ordained that that particular job had to be accomplished at that particular time.


I was told by a very successful Mate (Wilkie Rutherford) that you should always arrive at a Superintendent's port - especially Durban, Calcutta or Sydney - looking like 'Daddy's Yacht" even if it meant tiddling up only one side of the ship in a desparate attempt at perfection and praying like hell that that was the side that would be alongside the wharf. (Nearly always starboard but you never knew for sure!)

Nevertheless, he advised, you should always leave one noticable 'job in progress' like a sampson post brightly red-leaded, just to demonstrate your on-going commitment to ship maintenance. A little 'game playing' was always a good thing and never hurt promotion prospects!

But one time I got a well-deserved rocket from the visiting Super. At the time I was enamoured of a ligher shade of plain-old Bank Line buff and toned down the masts, ventilators and derricks with gallons of white paint mixed into the buff to create a deep cream. I thought it made the traditional funnel buff stand out. Lesson: You can go so far to attract attention but don't mess with tradition!

Final nostalgia footnote:

Captain David Gale on taking over from Captain Scobie as Chief Marine Superintendent made one of his first round robin instructions to do away with the black 'footings' that had heretofore been the method of finishing off white bulkheads. It was fine when the bulkhead was secured to the deck by means of a riveted flange making sure that a straight line was achievable. But when bulkheads were welded to the deck and the connection was obscured by wood deck sheathing, the black footings had become an artifical trimming taking up a lot of time and causing some very wavy lines in the process of their implementation.

Henceforth, white bulkhead paint was to be taken right down to the steel or wooden deck. Seemed a good idea but when implemented, much bulkhead corrosion was revealed that had been hiding behind the black paint.

What Captain Gale's fiat subsequently brought about were the reattachment of deckhouses that had been in danger coming adrift at some future stressful time and the sight of Apprentices painting in black the line of pitch adjacent to a white bulkhead in order to maintain the sharpest delineation between wood and steel.

Ahhhh! Happy Days!

China hand
20th October 2010, 18:35
Didn't we all put in our maintenance reports " decks treated as per circular 101 ( or something)", knowing we lied in our teeth because it was such an efficient way of making a ship filthy?

Joe C
20th October 2010, 20:47
On the subject of ship maintenance, as an apprentice I only ever "did it" rather than " plan it"as you senior men did.
In my 4 years I only experienced coming home twice in true Bank Line fashion.
On the Moraybank (1950s) the panic extended to zigzagging between the squall showers so that the rust covering white paint wouldn't be washed off and the Ivybank was so knackered there was no point painting anything. We were probably the only Bankboat with a green (eco friendly you would call it now) deck.Mind you it was too slippery to walk on!

Hamish Mackintosh
20th October 2010, 20:59
On the subject of ship maintenance, as an apprentice I only ever "did it" rather than " plan it"as you senior men did.
In my 4 years I only experienced coming home twice in true Bank Line fashion.
On the Moraybank (1950s) the panic extended to zigzagging between the squall showers so that the rust covering white paint wouldn't be washed off and the Ivybank was so knackered there was no point painting anything. We were probably the only Bankboat with a green (eco friendly you would call it now) deck.Mind you it was too slippery to walk on!

What year were you on the IvybankJoe?

Joe C
21st October 2010, 11:30
What year were you on the IvybankJoe?

Early 1958,briefly, Colombo to Bromborough.

jimthehat
21st October 2010, 12:51
Early 1958,briefly, Colombo to Bromborough.
early 58 I was 3/0 on the isipingo having joined her in dakar sept 57.

jim

Alan Rawlinson
9th November 2010, 16:56
It was different from most companies in a few subtle respects.....

The voyage length was unknown - maybe anticipated that a trip on a copra run vessel would not exceed 6/7 months, but with the knowledge that the orders could easily be changed in Australia/N.Z. and often were..

The destination and way ports were unknown..

The sense of belonging (camaraderie) was especially strong..

Lastly, and more controversially perhaps, for me, the feeling of being trapped on board was overwhelming.

Anyone, any views?

Charlie Stitt
9th November 2010, 18:58
Yes Alan, as you say, The sense of belonging was especially strong. Among us Company men that is, there are of course others who would disagree. ( their loss) I remember how proud I was to be a Bankliner and how, on the Ernebank 1 in Sydney as we stood on the boatdeck looking around at all the ships, Blue Star, Port Line etc with their funnels floodlit, we decided to do something about ours. We spent quite a long time rigging up cargo clusters, all around our big BUFF and BLACK TOPPER, that will show them who we are,we thought, as we proudly strolled off to someones cabin to b***h about the grub or poor conditions. Only us were allowed to do that.