Bankline - Best trip, and why?

Alan Rawlinson
16th May 2010, 08:07
Mulling this over, I decided that there were many memorable trips, all different, but if you were forced to name your best trip, which one would it be?

I nominate the Ernebank April/December 1954. Only 8 months, but magic places, shipmates, and experiences. Uk- Cuba - USA (New Orleans) - Cuba again - Japan ( Kobe, Yokohama - Moji) - Solomons - Rabaul - Suez and home.

It was the time of the Queen's coronation, and we slept on the boatdeck on self made folding canvas bunks, under the stars in Cuba. Wild times ashore. Then Japan, and more wild times ashore! Rabaul - and - you guessed it, more wild times....

Apart from the steep learning curve about all sorts of things, not least human nature, this sort of experience could never be bought with all the money in the world, and no posh travel company could ever put this package together.

rcraig
16th May 2010, 09:03
Wild times ashore in Rabaul! The mind boggles!

To me, part of an Eastbank run, S. Africa to Japan.

Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, E. London, Durban, Beira, Lourenco Marques, Zanzibar/Dar-es-Salaam (if only for their names), Mombasa, Colombo, Rangoon with its golden pagodas as the dawn rose up itself golden green in that magic way that you only get in the Far East, the air still, just before the heat of the day creeps in, Port Swettenham, Hong Kong, Yokohama, Kobe, etc., and on this particular trip, then straight to Tarawa, Viti Levu, Samoa, and the Fannings....

What an adventure as a 17 year old. What an adventure it would be as a 70+ year old!

Apart from the individual memories of places, I have spread out in front of me the wall map of the world, glorious in its imperial red blotches covering still much of the world with its Imperial stamp, which I dutifully filled in over two years, and somehow hung on to, as I duly travelled around the world in my various travels.

Alan Rawlinson
16th May 2010, 12:18
Wild times ashore in Rabaul! The mind boggles!

To me, part of an Eastbank run, S. Africa to Japan.

Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, E. London, Durban, Beira, Lourenco Marques, Zanzibar/Dar-es-Salaam (if only for their names), Mombasa, Colombo, Rangoon with its golden pagodas as the dawn rose up itself golden green in that magic way that you only get in the Far East, the air still, just before the heat of the day creeps in, Port Swettenham, Hong Kong, Yokohama, Kobe, etc., and on this particular trip, then straight to Tarawa, Viti Levu, Samoa, and the Fannings....

What an adventure as a 17 year old. What an adventure it would be as a 70+ year old!

Apart from the individual memories of places, I have spread out in front of me the wall map of the world, glorious in its imperial red blotches covering still much of the world with its Imperial stamp, which I dutifully filled in over two years, and somehow hung on to, as I duly travelled around the world in my various travels.

Wild in Rabaul for not the usual reasons... As I recall we were split into 2 camps - fitness freaks and p... artists. The local Missions to Seaman padre was into climbing at that time and would appear at a silly hour in the morning ready for a serious climb, complete with boots, rope, etc. I was in the other camp, and seriously hung over like many others. However, to appease him we all made an effort, so the the whole time was bizarre partying with strenuous climbing inbetween. It was all a sort of blur, but memorable.

Ray, I also enjoyed a great trip as 2/0 on the Eastbank, which made it onto my shortlist. US Gulf - NZ - Japan - BA - Brazil(Vitoria) , and home to Newcastle with iron ore ( like you do)...

jimthehat
16th May 2010, 16:15
difficult choice,will nominate the Maplebank,for the experience of sailing with a wild white crew,and we seemed to go everywhere in the world.
I think my number one choice would be as senior app on the Clydebank ,mastercapt.Holland and mate wilkie rutherford,have not a clue who the 2/0 and3/0 were ,but the engineers were a good crowd with a couple of Boks among them,AND of course two years on the far east run,pure heaven.

jim

John Dryden
16th May 2010, 16:45
Best trip for me was my first trip on the Olivebank in 1969,pure magic, 13 and a bit months aged 17.Great old man and C/O(Capt. Wigham and George Milne)I learnt a lot.The R/O was PC Smith from Liverpool who had a guitar and could play anything so plenty of singing!Joined the ship at Gravesend loaded with sugar after discharge at Silvertown these are the ports we went to:
Hamburg,Rotterdam,London,Durban,Port Moresby,Lae,Madang,Wewak,Kavieng,Rabaul,Ringi Cove,Honiara,Noumea,Townsville,Christobal,St Johns NB,Houston,New Orleans,Balboa,Gladstone,Brisbane,Newcastle,Sydney ,Burnie,Melbourne,Adelaide,Thevenard,Port Lincoln,Trincomalee,Vishakapatnam,Calcutta,Chalna, Mombassa,Dar es Salaam,Beira,Lourenco Marques,Durban,Santos,Buenos Aires,Rosaria,Buenos Aries,St Vincent,Antwerp then paid off in Hamburg.
I,d only been outside of Yorkshire once up till then so it was pretty mind blowing.

Alistair Macnab
16th May 2010, 18:39
I think I have to nominate my two years on the "Inchanga" in 1958 - 1960. I was Third Mate and the ship's staff were superb! Wilkie Rutherford has already been mentioned. He was Mate, The late Alan MacGregor was 2/M and we had three Masters in the time I was aboard, Captains Jackson, Allan and Williams. R/O was a character from Marconi called Tom Scott-Weir, with or without the hyphen and the three Apprentices were John Mellows, Andy Lavies and John Baird. Chief Engineer was Mrs.Gibbons and her husband and the Stewardess was Ma Bowness.

The fact that I can remember all the names was because these were the only Europeans and it was a star-studded cast! The engineers, surgeon and pursers staff were all Calcutta - based and they certainly added to the distinguished assembly of professional seafarers.

The run? Well, you all know that it was Calcutta to Durban and back again via all the East African and Bay of Bengal ports including Colombo. I think we did the round trip eight times. Mombasa was the most called-at port southbound and northbound and we used to get into a great deal of trouble there starting off at the Mission then going downhill from there. The Star Bar is a name I seem to remember. Somewhere near the big tusks on Kilindini Road put up for Princess Margaret. Usually, it was a Harrison White Crew that got the blame for rowdiness in town at 3 AM, never the sahibs from the 'white ship'!

But Durban was the most civilized port. The Officers Club on Aliwal Street then the Playhouse. Lunch time was spent in the Smugglers and I think the Criterion. We were too chicken to go to these last named after dark!

But after regular visits, there was not a duff port of call. Each one became a must-go-ashore port as familiarity set in and instead of saving money between Durban and Mombasa, we found ourselves constantly hard up. Same thing in Colombo and Madras so by the time we reached Calcutta, we were scraping the bottom of the money locker but what-the-Hell, tomorrow was another day!

Of course, there were friends ashore and passengers' invitations to join them after their voyage, from time to time. All in all, the two years just flashed by on a bridge that had a steering wheel,a magnetic compass and a twin screw engine room telegraph. That's all! We never seemed to miss the mod.cons. that were becoming prevelant on more modern ships.

Buenos Aires? The South Sea Islands? the Japanese Main Ports? Bangkok? All are pleasant memories but cannot rise the the "Inchanga"s ports!

Charlie Stitt
18th May 2010, 10:59
NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. As a young healthy 2nd Mate on the Inverbank, maiden voyage 1962/63, with all the excitement of tramping around the World for just under two years. Capt J Kemp MBE Master, Joe Hanover Chief Eng, Carl Jacob Mate, Jim Cairns 2nd/Eng. Need I say more ? with four senior officers like that, it would be impossible not to have a happy ship. Yes the copra run was good, but even tramping on the Inverbank we managed to get on the Aussie coast three times. From Bremen we did the usual PNG ports and Noumea, then our first phosphate run. Our ports of call during the trip included, Monty, BA and Rosario, US Gulf Ports , Japan (twice), East/South Africa (twice), Bangkok,Saigon, etc etc, and Yes we even got to SANDHEADS FOR THREE WEEKS,followed by a pleasant visit to Calcutta, Chalna and Chittagong. (itch itch, scratch scratch )On a Bankboat, in my opinion, there was no such thing as a perfect trip, but believe me, the Inverbank with her great bunch of Officers was close.

Alan Rawlinson
18th May 2010, 12:45
Is it because we were fit, free and randy that the Bankline trips are etched in our brain???

After all, in my later career, I was lucky (?) and frequently travelled worldwide, often first class, and into the best hotels, but the experience was nothing compared to the early days in the Banklline ships.

Maybe we were more impressionable, but who wouldn't be with the variety on offer. Don't think it would be the same in our 70's somehow!

Donald McGhee
24th May 2010, 02:23
Yeah Al, we were young, fit and randy with an unquenchable thirst! My best days were on Inverbank, with Chop Whittle, Chris Randell and BJ Peterson and his Missis.
Not a long trip by Bank Line standards, but memorable, especially the time in Hamburg and around the continent, that was special.
A great crowd and a lot of adventures, going alongside the wrecked sailing ships in Noumea and Chop acquiring a porthole of all things. I remember it was a real bugger to get off. He still has the damned thing apparently and is still at sea! One of the few.
Raiding gardens in Honiara and stealing fruit, usually just a step ahead of the very angry owners! Gulf Ports in the US, The islands run in New Guinea and a few sugar runs between Mourilyan and Singapore.
The liver has never fully recovered.
Those were the days to be a teenager with all the "attributes" of the first paragraph! All I have now is the thirst and the memories.
The times we had ashore, the booze we got hold of and the 'ladies" of our acquaintance were a never to be forgotten period of time in my life.
God Bless Bank Line for the experience, which although relatively brief was the best and convinced me never, ever to grow up.
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