Agents and Stevedores - characters...

Alan Rawlinson
9th April 2010, 07:10
The exchanges about Rabaul started me thinking about colourful characters worldwide that we met when they were Bankline Agents and stevedores .... In many ports a smiling familiar face would come up the gangway, and with some of them, you knew there was a wild time ahead - for a few days at least...

The Agent in Beira ( or was it Lourenco Marques?) was a chap called Mossy Bluett and he loved hosting parties ashore, providing transport and booze plus various types of entertainment to local ex pat events, where regretfully we tended to lower the tone - just a bit.

Happy days

K urgess
9th April 2010, 11:16
What about the other odd characters like the local police chiefs out in the islands?
And the local government agents.
In fact there were quite a few rather strange "Ex-Pats" if I remember right. [=P]

boatlarnie
14th April 2010, 20:33
Just wondered how many of you out there remember Doug Dudley, stevedore manager in Mombasa, affectionately known as 'the voice of Kenya'. He moved down to Durban sometime in the 90's and worked there before retiring. When he talked you could hear him 2 vessel lengths away; when he raised his voice, the whole dockside fell silent in wonderment or was it utter disbeleif. A big man with a big heart he was also one of the friendliest guys you could to ever hope to work with.

John Dryden
14th April 2010, 21:36
Didn,t have much contact with agents and stevedores but have not so fond memories of Doctor Gangooly? in Calcutta.His surgery seemed to be often visited,at least by me.Nothing serious fortunately just for a good jolt of penicillin,cleared everything in those days!I remember him as a bit abrubt and unsmiling but he did the job allright.

trotterdotpom
14th April 2010, 22:21
"Doctor Gangooly" sounds like a Robert Burns description of a pox doctor! Never met him but I did meet his mate in Karachi. Heard he treated the same disorder with cough medicine. Bastard!

John T.

John Dryden
14th April 2010, 22:32
Yes,I think you got the drift JT,some very apt words in there.I reckon this doctor must have made a fortune off Bank Line alone,probably bought penicillin by the gallon!

jimthehat
14th April 2010, 22:54
HI all,
remember Dr Gangooley very well I was one of his best customers,was always having trouble with my tonsils and visited the companys doctors all over the place,then the doc in Sydney told the company they would have to come out and when I left the forresbank I went into hospital,where i spent six weeks then back to join the taybank.

jim

Duncan112
14th April 2010, 23:09
Didn,t have much contact with agents and stevedores but have not so fond memories of Doctor Gangooly? in Calcutta.His surgery seemed to be often visited,at least by me.Nothing serious fortunately just for a good jolt of penicillin,cleared everything in those days!I remember him as a bit abrubt and unsmiling but he did the job allright.

Could be relevant to many companies but who remembers Dr Frew in Auckland, a gentleman, one of my colleagues asked him if he could drink whilst on medication, Dr Frews response "why yes", my colleague then asked "Does that mean I can go up K road and get absolutely slaughtered?" Dr Frews response "If you can afford it"

Some of the officers from Union Company bought Dr Frew a personalised number plate for his birthday (in NZ you can make up your own plates) this one read D1K DOK.

The doctor in Melbourne (Who's name escapes me, was another character, had flown Lancasters from Kirmington (now Humberside International) during WW2. I went to see him with a damaged finger, he took 2 minutes to say that I had been properly treated by the mate on board and just needed a few more days on antibiotics then the next 45 minutes on his wartime exploits.

trotterdotpom
15th April 2010, 01:11
When I presented with a presistent aching groin, an Indian doctor in Sydney decided I had a twisted testicle and should have it removed! Seeing the horrified expression on my face, he said: "Don't worry, you can still fire on one barrel."

I asked, fingers crossed, if I should pay off, he said no because there was no panic (that's what he thought!). After about 4 months gnawing my knuckles, I got to see my own doctor and told him what had been said. He said: "That's a bit drastic, isn't it?" After that the pain disappeared - it must have been all in the mind (demonstrating the truth of what women have been saying for years about where men's brains are).

John T.

Joe C
17th April 2010, 11:03
Just wondered how many of you out there remember Doug Dudley, stevedore manager in Mombasa, affectionately known as 'the voice of Kenya'. He moved down to Durban sometime in the 90's and worked there before retiring. When he talked you could hear him 2 vessel lengths away; when he raised his voice, the whole dockside fell silent in wonderment or was it utter disbeleif. A big man with a big heart he was also one of the friendliest guys you could to ever hope to work with.

In the late fifties,on my way home on the Fleetbank having dipped the eyesight test I found the offices of the stevedoring company in Mombasa with a view to asking for employment there.
I knocked on the (open) door of the Managers office,he looked up and carried on writing.I waited for some minutes in full view of him and knocked again,whereupon he gave me a bollocking and told me to wait.I didn't,he obviously wasn't Doug Dudley!

Joe C
17th April 2010, 11:12
Here's acouple of advertisements from 1955, that might ring a few bells.

jimthehat
17th April 2010, 11:56
In the late fifties,on my way home on the Fleetbank having dipped the eyesight test I found the offices of the stevedoring company in Mombasa with a view to asking for employment there.
I knocked on the (open) door of the Managers office,he looked up and carried on writing.I waited for some minutes in full view of him and knocked again,whereupon he gave me a bollocking and told me to wait.I didn't,he obviously wasn't Doug Dudley!

All i can remember of the East African stevedores was that they were a mixture of brits and germans whose first job of the day was to go into the saloon and eat up all the eggs .

jim

Alan Rawlinson
17th April 2010, 16:33
Can recall being amazed at the Portugese foreman stevedores in Beira and Lourenco Marques in the 50's working alongside the African labour. Stripped to the waist and giving it all as well as directing the other gangs. There was a good relationship or so it seemed. Certainly, plenty of laughter, mixed with a few clouts now and then.

Anyone remember the strong beer and the beans, served as a nibble, which were eaten by nipping the skin in the teeth ( assuming you had any) and popping the inside into your mouth?

Joe C
17th April 2010, 23:46
Can recall being amazed at the Portugese foreman stevedores in Beira and Lourenco Marques in the 50's working alongside the African labour. Stripped to the waist and giving it all as well as directing the other gangs. There was a good relationship or so it seemed. Certainly, plenty of laughter, mixed with a few clouts now and then.

Anyone remember the strong beer and the beans, served as a nibble, which were eaten by nipping the skin in the teeth ( assuming you had any) and popping the inside into your mouth?

Didn't they have an onion beer with very spicy shellfish "nibbles",you didn't dare break wind for at least a week!

Alan Rawlinson
18th April 2010, 07:12
Didn't they have an onion beer with very spicy shellfish "nibbles",you didn't dare break wind for at least a week!

Correct Joe - Draught onion beer it was, but not sure about the origin of the name, and Google not much help... Any brewing experts out there, or maybe the Isipingo/Inchanga regulars have the answer?

jimthehat
18th April 2010, 09:25
All i can remember is that the beer was wet and cold,but i do remember that in LM in the bars they kept one supplied with little dishes of very hot chili prawns,now they were little bombs.

jim

Alistair Macnab
18th April 2010, 23:20
I don't remember the onion beer in Lourenco Marques or Beira but do remember a 'Catembe" a mixture of green Portuguese wine and Coca-cola which sneaked up on you and left you legless at the end of a session ashore.
The curried prawns were known as piri piri prawns and were wonderful. To take away this great flavour, a kilo tin of piri piri cashews lasted up to Calcutta and back as snack fodder to go with the Castle beer provided your tap wasn't stopped by the Master. This last was a regular occurrence after every high jinks caper but could be got round by bribing the barman and negotiating the bar chits under the counter as it were!.

In Beira, the stevedore superintendent was a Pole. He was very good at his job but did rely on friendship from the officers on the various ships. He was known affectionally as "the Lonely Pole" The stevedoring company was known as the Manica Trading Company, if I remember correctly. Loading cargo were copper and zinc ingots and wattle bark and asbestos in gunny sacks which we had previously brought down from Calcutta. Latterly, of course, the Royal Navy engaged in the "Beira Blockade" to stymie Ian Smith's UDI. I do not recall this having any adverse effect at all on our cargo tonnage either inbound or outbound. As far as we were concerned, the Rhodesia question was whether there would be any Rhodesian girls in bikinis holidaying at the Beira beach hotels!

John Dryden
18th April 2010, 23:37
I think Joe C and Allan had too much beer in Mozambique,onion beer even looking at it in print tastes horrible!

Alan Rawlinson
19th April 2010, 07:56
I think Joe C and Allan had too much beer in Mozambique,onion beer even looking at it in print tastes horrible!

You could be right, John - after extensive research I can only find draft beer made from maize in Mozambique - must have been an onion of our imagination! ( Those long trips, you know)

Alan Rawlinson
19th April 2010, 09:15
You could be right, John - after extensive research I can only find draft beer made from maize in Mozambique - must have been an onion of our imagination! ( Those long trips, you know)



On reflection, I think our use of the word onion was probably a phonetic sound, i.e. the Portugese nh sounds like the nio in onion. So, it was probably what the barman said referring to the local brew or reference to the draft or tap etc... Being Brits abroad we named it ' onion ' like you do.....

I realise I have gone all pedantic over this, but if there are any native Portugese speakers out there - please help!

Joe C
19th April 2010, 10:02
On reflection, I think our use of the word onion was probably a phonetic sound, i.e. the Portugese nh sounds like the nio in onion. So, it was probably what the barman said referring to the local brew or reference to the draft or tap etc... Being Brits abroad we named it ' onion ' like you do.....

I realise I have gone all pedantic over this, but if there are any native Portugese speakers out there - please help!

Whatever the recipe you still daren't break wind for at least a week!

Duncan112
19th April 2010, 12:14
Stevedore in (I think) Kimbe - Ken Kearney - smashing chap used to join us for breakfast beers!! Met his predecessor in Auckland where he had a part time job at Pegasus car rentals in Fort Street, sadly next time I was in Auckland to rent a car Fort Street was in the process of being "Gentrified" and the car hire place had gone.

Joe C
19th April 2010, 12:52
Whatever the recipe you still daren't break wind for at least a week!

Do you think a Portuguese " pedant "who owned a lighter in L M could be an "Onion Bargee"?

boatlarnie
19th April 2010, 16:57
Didn't they have an onion beer with very spicy shellfish "nibbles",you didn't dare break wind for at least a week!

I'm surprised none of you L.M. experts remembered the name of the 'onion' beer; it was called Laurentino and was only matched in taste by a Canadian beer known as Molsens. However, plates of piri piri prawns, green salad smothered in olive oil and munched with a real Portugee roll smothered the taste of the beer. This repast was then followed by a wander down Cinco Cent de Mayo or the Street of a Thousand Whores. There was the new Texas Bar, Central Bar with the batwing doors and a host of others.

Where, oh where have those days gone??

John Dryden
19th April 2010, 19:57
Heres another from Beira.

Johnnietwocoats
19th April 2010, 20:38
My outstanding memory of LM was watching a short stocky white Portugese racist/stevadore slapping a big coloured guy and belittling him in front of everyone on deck.......

I felt so sorry for the big guy....Maybe it's just the Irish in me......

Seems to me that Portugese nationals treated their coloureds/blacks worst of all although the White South Africans were pretty bad....

TC

rabaul
20th April 2010, 18:40
my last visit to mozambique was in the early 1980's - the portugese had gone and the russian were departing - i think it was on the Riverbank - trying to load a hold full of sugar that had been transported across from Zimbambe. The port was a shambles - a scrap yard of rotting steam trains - the sugar was being loaded from a shed by elevator into the hold. People were obviously hungry and as groups of folk gathered to collect the sugar that fell from the elevator big angry looking soldiers in combat fatigues and armed with rifles and fixed bayonets were brought in to move them on.

LM may have been a good night ashore at one time but Maputo in 1981 was a place to stay in the ships bar and knock back a castle , a lion or a tusker beer or two and realise that there are somethings you can do little about....

E.Martin
20th April 2010, 19:58
Stevedores!!,All round the world they were the biggist bunch of thieving crooks and no one dare say anything to them.
Have seen dockers laid out in the bottom of the hold drunk as the lord while discharging spirits at Victoria Docks nothing was ever said,have seen tins of Dundee cake opened had a bite and thrown away,best thing that ever happened was when containers were brought in.

rcraig
20th April 2010, 20:28
How could containers have been an improvement when they cut down the time in B.A., Japan, S. Africa, Montevideo and so on? Where are your priorities?!
I wonder what stories will be told in 20 years time?
Hey, do you remember that ship, the Thingummyjig? She used to stay in port for almost 7 hours and I heard you could actually see out of the porthole in the cabin and spot a horizon some trips.

Alistair Macnab
20th April 2010, 22:09
Remember, after the Lord Mayor's Parade comes the sweepers to pick up the horse droppings. For Lord Mayor's Parade read the British Merchant Navy prior to 1980 (or so) and the Sweepers by their better known description as Sh1t Picker Uppers as the Container Age!
There won't be any nostalgic talk except in Hindi,Tagalog and perhaps a little Russian. Anyhow, we wont know them! So they won't know what they've missed!

Johnnietwocoats
20th April 2010, 23:51
Remember, after the Lord Mayor's Parade comes the sweepers to pick up the horse droppings. For Lord Mayor's Parade read the British Merchant Navy prior to 1980 (or so) and the Sweepers by their better known description as Sh1t Picker Uppers as the Container Age!
There won't be any nostalgic talk except in Hindi,Tagalog and perhaps a little Russian. Anyhow, we wont know them! So they won't know what they've missed!

I agree with you 100% Alistair....I was fortunate to have been deepsea as an Apprentice with BL from 60 until 64.....

Through Thick and Thin I learned a lot and had a great time doing it....TC(Applause)

Alan Rawlinson
21st April 2010, 07:35
Stevedores!!,All round the world they were the biggist bunch of thieving crooks and no one dare say anything to them.
Have seen dockers laid out in the bottom of the hold drunk as the lord while discharging spirits at Victoria Docks nothing was ever said,have seen tins of Dundee cake opened had a bite and thrown away,best thing that ever happened was when containers were brought in.


Didn't totally stop the London dockers...

I had a few years on what was one of the biggest container terminals at the time in the 70's - 39 Berth Tilbury which handled the ' baby ' Bay boats to and from Australia. Given the number of ' accidents ' there was always plenty of stuff in the Dockers canteen and in the boot of the cars - steaks being fried up - spirits freely available at times -. Containers with something worth going for could be slammed on the ground by the drivers - especially spirits which conveniently ran out under the seal to be collected in paper cups!

There were always plenty of characters and wags on the terminal - As manager, I would allow blue movies to be shown in a 40ft container on the night shift. The deal was that the allocated loading or discharging work had to be finished first. The foremen and manager were connected by walkie talkie, and I got used to being called up when the films were on - '' Hey Al, come on down here, we think it's you on the screen! "

China hand
21st April 2010, 18:32
Rennies asked us to do a "do" for a visiting Zimbabwe trade mish in Maputo. Big Russian cruiser just ahead of us. Question "why not hold it there?". Answer" well, you Bank Line guys throw a better party". Sight of the niight: Zimbabwian trade minister (later killed) wearing my uniform cap, being photographed at the wheel. Talk about a pimple on a pigs ass! Interviewed by local press man, Rennies op clammed a hand over my mouth before I could say the truth, and stated "Of course, we have the utmost faith in the future prosperity of the Zimbawian people under this new, independant and forward looking government". I called him a hypocritical lying bastard, but then, I can sleep at night.

Joe C
23rd April 2010, 10:36
Meandering slightly off the thread, the scene on the Aussie dockside in the fifties was always "tense"following what had been a pretty acrimonious strike and the phrase "Call the Delegate!"seemed to ring out every five minutes.
The word "scab"was also commonly used and there was obvious resentment to anyone who might have been involved in strike breaking.
The concessions they seem to have won included the most amazing bonuses for the different conditions they had to work in and surely some of them must be nonsense including;- Stoop money,embarrasment money,dirty money,etc,etc.
Those of you who spent much more time on the Aussie coast than I did must have some tales to tell!

Alan Rawlinson
23rd April 2010, 11:34
Meandering slightly off the thread, the scene on the Aussie dockside in the fifties was always "tense"following what had been a pretty acrimonious strike and the phrase "Call the Delegate!"seemed to ring out every five minutes.
The word "scab"was also commonly used and there was obvious resentment to anyone who might have been involved in strike breaking.
The concessions they seem to have won included the most amazing bonuses for the different conditions they had to work in and surely some of them must be nonsense including;- Stoop money,embarrasment money,dirty money,etc,etc.
Those of you who spent much more time on the Aussie coast than I did must have some tales to tell!

Joe, Not sure if we enjoyed it on the Irisbank, but I had several very enjoyable spells working alongside the wharfies ( at a regular pace, of course..) and my favourite was smell money. Also, opening up a hatch or hold, it was common to be awarded the famous ' stoop ' money for having to get in under the coamings! ' Dirt money ' was awarded for handling the tubs or bags of carbon black. Best of all was the wadge of cash in hand at the end of the shift. Our eyes were opened to another world - never to be forgotten.

Both in Oz and N.Z. ( where we were called seagulls) the idea behind employing the ship's members to make up gangs that were short handed was that a foothold or precedent was not created as we were leaving with the ship, of course. - Well, most of us were.

Ian Harrod
7th May 2010, 11:04
Aussie wharfies: In the US gulf on the Testbank, we loaded a tween deck half height with bagged drilling mud then dunnaged over that to load cars. Didn't quite fit under the boxbeam so the yanks let the tyres down and got the cars into the wings then re-inflated the tyres.
The fun started in Sydney and the mate let it go on for an hour or so until he couldn't contain his laughter any longer and let the wharfies know the secret.
Of course, once landed on the wharf they drove all the cars along the wharf and into the shed with flat tyres!

yarddog
28th June 2010, 19:00
I'm surprised none of you L.M. experts remembered the name of the 'onion' beer; it was called Laurentino and was only matched in taste by a Canadian beer known as Molsens. However, plates of piri piri prawns, green salad smothered in olive oil and munched with a real Portugee roll smothered the taste of the beer. This repast was then followed by a wander down Cinco Cent de Mayo or the Street of a Thousand Whores. There was the new Texas Bar, Central Bar with the batwing doors and a host of others.

Where, oh where have those days gone??

Certainly brings back memories. :)
i remember one of the portugeses barman took a fancy to our 3 eng, we always got supplied with ample LM prawns when the 3 eng was with us :)
yes the beer was laurentino, not a bad beer
oh and the Moulin Rouge, Central Hotel, and if i remember, the goldern slipper night club

and always radio LM.. best radio station down that coast

Pat Kennedy
28th June 2010, 21:48
One of those East African ports, I think it was either Lourenco Marques, or Port Louis Mauritius, had a "prison port" seperate from the main port where ships would discharge cargo direct to the prison's own wharf.
Does anyone remember anything about it?
Pat