Welsh Navy

Kasia
15th November 2005, 15:43
Could anyone explain why Blue Funnel were referred to as the Welsh Navy

nigelcollett
15th November 2005, 16:26
Hi Kasia

Thats a new one on me, will also be interested to hear the answer.

NigelC

cheddarnibbles
15th November 2005, 16:29
Probably for the same reason that Liverpool (Blue Funnel's home port)was always known as the capital of Wales.

Tmac1720
15th November 2005, 16:49
Probably for the same reason that Liverpool (Blue Funnel's home port)was always known as the capital of Wales.

I always thought Liverpool was the capital of Ireland.

Ken Green
15th November 2005, 16:59
I sailed in Blue Funnel ships for many years, from 1946 onwards, and there were always quite a few "Taffs" in the crew. The story is that when a young Welsh lad reached the age of fifteen he was taken to the top of mount Snowdon, pointed in the direction of Vittoria dock in Birkenhead and told "Yonder lies the promised land"!!
Some of the best seamen sailed in Blue Flu.

gdynia
15th November 2005, 17:30
I sailed one voyage with Blue Funnel and 90% of the crew were from Wales hence the referral to the Welsh Navy.It was also roughly the same when visiting other Blue Funnel vessels in foreign ports - could be your answer

Ken Green
15th November 2005, 18:39
Regarding the capital business. The saying in Liverpool where I was born and bred, was, " Home rule for Wales and give Liverpool back to the Irish"!
Shops would also take Irish money.

neil maclachlan
15th November 2005, 18:47
Hi Gang,
Always new Holt line as Alfie Holts,thought they were mostly crewed by Chinese,hence the large number of chinese restaurants in Liverpool?Liverpool was to my Knowledge the capital of Ireland, God Bless Liverpool,he's already blessed the Irish?
Neil Mac.

R651400
15th November 2005, 19:10
Blue Funnel's funding of the Outward Bound School at Aberdovey could also be another reason, where their Midshipmen and Deckboys trained as well as at Odyssey works Birkenhead.

One of the more unusual messages I handled at sea somewhere in the Indian Ocean was a family news tome entirely in Welsh from the RO on an outward bound Bluey to his brother our 3rd Engineer on Adrastus.

Nice story of the Welsh Bue Flue skipper getting irate at a Welsh coaster trying to nudge ahead of him into lock gates somewhere.
The exchange was apparently all in Welsh and went something like.
"Stand back there Captain, I am bound for San Franscisco!"
The skipper of the Welsh coaster apparently unperturbed replied.
"You stand back Captain, I'm bound for San LLandudno!"

Tmac1720
15th November 2005, 20:47
Just a wild thought and it's completely off the wall, perhaps the Greek mythological names given to the vessels sounded Welsh to the untrained ear. Yeah stupid idea isn't it. (Night)

Razor
14th January 2006, 10:33
I sailed one voyage with Blue Funnel and 90% of the crew were from Wales hence the referral to the Welsh Navy.It was also roughly the same when visiting other Blue Funnel vessels in foreign ports - could be your answer

My first trip with Bluies, Atreus in 70, the entire deck dept. was from North Wales, I was the only "white man" in the mast house! It was a relief to arrive in Singapore and hear a civilized language! LOL.

jim barnes
14th January 2006, 11:22
Probably for the same reason that Liverpool (Blue Funnel's home port)was always known as the capital of Wales.
Sorry Liverpool always known as capital of Irland (Night)

Allan James
14th January 2006, 13:24
Holts as the Welsh Navy?

Try looking at the site www.rhiw.com for an explanation. And if the answers not there, just enjoy the site!!!!!!

Regards

Allan

cheddarnibbles
14th January 2006, 17:40
Sorry Liverpool always known as capital of Irland (Night)

Welsh....Irish.....Scouse........Who cares ??????????..............
My apprenticeship with Blue Funnel will always be the best 4 years of my life.

John Rogers
14th January 2006, 20:17
With a choice of going down into the mines or going to sea there is no doubt to why you had a lot of fine young Welsmen onboard the Blues, anyhow somebody had to go out and educate the rest of the world didnt they boyo!!
John.

Coastie
14th January 2006, 21:58
John.

Most of the mining was done in south Wales, there wasn't so much of it done here in the north.

Tmac.

I have often heard it said that the Welsh are the Irish who couldn't swim, so I guess that Liverpool belongs to us both! LOL

graham
14th January 2006, 22:20
the best shipping line in the world so they required the best seamen in the world
graham

J Boyde
15th January 2006, 08:20
I wonder - could the welsh refer to Blue Funnel ship that ran away from Napier straight after the earthquake, 1932 I think. It didnt give any help but ran away. Blue Funnel was banned from NZ after this, never to be returned. Not even allowed there during the war. A lot of people have long memories.
JIm B (Cloud)

michael james
15th January 2006, 10:56
I wonder - could the welsh refer to Blue Funnel ship that ran away from Napier straight after the earthquake, 1932 I think. It didnt give any help but ran away. Blue Funnel was banned from NZ after this, never to be returned. Not even allowed there during the war. A lot of people have long memories.
JIm B (Cloud)

Jim,
I heard this story many years ago whilst I was at sea, was sceptical about its authenticity at the time, thinking that Alfred Holt as a company could not do such a thing. But with you reiterating it here does make it more credible.
Makes one wonder ?

Allan James
16th January 2006, 09:42
Jim and Michael,

I too heard this tale, going to do some digging when I get home later this week and see if I can find the story....may make a new thread-or do we perhaps leave sleeping dogs lie?

Regards

Allan

michael james
16th January 2006, 19:32
Jim and Michael,

I too heard this tale, going to do some digging when I get home later this week and see if I can find the story....may make a new thread-or do we perhaps leave sleeping dogs lie?

Regards

Allan


Allan,

Might be best for a peaceful life. (*))

Frank Holleran
16th January 2006, 20:30
Holts as the Welsh Navy?

Try looking at the site www.rhiw.com for an explanation. And if the answers not there, just enjoy the site!!!!!!

Regards

Allan

Thanks for the link re:site Alan...great story and pics on the Whalers'....will take a bit of time going through it all.
Regards
Frank

Rhiw.com
17th January 2006, 08:44
I recently took part in a radio programme on BBC radio Wales called the “Welsh Navy” which was broadcast in two separate parts on December 23rd and 30th 2005, they were again repeated in early January of this year. The first half hour program consisted of mostly A.B’s (myself included) talking about the company and some of the antics we got up to while Far East. The second programme was Masters and Officers, again giving their account of their life in the “Welsh Navy” One of these gentlemen gave a run down as to why Blue Funnel got this title. In 1938 Lawrence Holt, one of the company owners bought a manor house called “Pencraig” in the village of Chwilog on the Llyn Peninsula, north Wales, and word soon got around that this gentleman was getting jobs for local boys at sea. And apparently young lads flocked to see him, from all over Llyn plus a lot from Anglesey as well. They first had to go to the Outward Bound School at Aberdovey for a month, which was owned by Blue Funnel at that time. Apparently it was pretty well equipped having two small sailing vessels for training purposes, the Garibaldi and the Prince Louie. He went to see Lawrence Holt in February 1945, and by September he was away as deck boy on one of their ships, he retired in 1985, and for the last 12 years was Master on them.
I personally think the “Welsh Navy” thing is slightly exaggerated, yes there were a lot of Welsh seamen on them, but there were a lot of seamen from north Wales on most Liverpool ships at that time, because the nearest “Pool” was at the port. On my first deep sea trip on the Perseus in 1969, about six out of a total of sixteen on deck were from North Wales, but this was an exception in my time on them, I did a couple of trips on “Blueys”, and I was just about the only “Taff” on board. In my eyes they were very much a mixed crowd of lads, with the majority understandably from the Mersey side area, and I much prefer to call them the “China Boats” because that’s what we used to call them then.

As for the Napier earthquake of the 1930’s, (not that it has anything to do with this thread anyway) I too heard this when I was in Blue Funnel, but haven’t found a single word in print or otherwise to back this story up, in fact I have seen no record of Blue Funnel being on the New Zealand run at all ever. So if anyone can shed some light on this, I for one would like to read it. Regards Tony.

I’m away to sea today for a few weeks, so all the best to you all. (*))

R651400
17th January 2006, 16:24
I’m away to sea today for a few weeks, so all the best to you all. (*))
Whose a lucky boyo then??


The Port Napier story is the second account of BF doing a runner.
http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=2899&highlight=Dardanus
Still waiting on Jim Slater's update on above.
Frankly I think there is no substance to either.
Port Napier earthquake account indicates all vessels in the area helped out with the aftermath of the disaster.
As Rhiw.com rightly points out, what was Blue Funnel doing in NZ waters in 1931 when trade routes were sown up by Port Line, NZSC, Shaw Savill and others?
Malcolm

wully farquhar
18th January 2006, 22:37
Ithink there was always a bit of rivalry between the Blue Flues and the Ben Boats,i remember going past a Blue Flue in Singapore once when all the deckies "MOONED" at us,What a CHEEK!!! doing that to a Ben Boat crew,aye it was all good fun. (Ouch)

Stuart Smith
19th January 2006, 11:33
Wasn't it because all the crew took a pet sheep with them when going deep sea?!!!!!
Stuart

Clint
19th January 2006, 12:28
Wasn't it because all the crew took a pet sheep with them when going deep sea?!!!!!
Stuart
Story we were told the Welsh Seamen took away with then Brocks cadets and Rogered them.

michael james
19th January 2006, 19:41
Dont believe all you hear sunshine !

jim barnes
20th January 2006, 02:02
John.

Most of the mining was done in south Wales, there wasn't so much of it done here in the north.

Tmac.

I have often heard it said that the Welsh are the Irish who couldn't swim, so I guess that Liverpool belongs to us both! LOL
Yes they started digging in South Wales and surfaced in Liverpool , then the Irish decided to dig their way back to Ireland and ended up in Burkenhead, called it the Mersey Tunnel I believe? (Hippy)
Love you all JB

Torrin
29th March 2006, 20:18
I always thought Blue Funnel line was known as the Birkenhead Navy.

Hague
27th February 2007, 22:01
A very well reasoned and probably correct explanation of this term Welsh Navy.
Chwilog seemed to produce many fine sailors especially those Master's who came 'Up through the foc'sle'. I have good memories of Ale House Jones and Hughie Davies( only recently passed away) from that town . Yes, 'The China Boats' is the name I remember them by.
Hague

Peter4447
27th February 2007, 22:10
I had heard that it was because of the large number of Welsh crew members who manned the ships but obviously this appears to be incorrect. On the same subject, however, am I correct in thinking that Blue Funnel was not the only one to accquire such a title?
On the site I have seen Everards referred to as Freds Navy and was Clan Line not referred to as the Scottish Navy by some?
Peter4447(Thumb)

Keith Adams
28th February 2007, 01:44
P.S.N.C. was The Birkenhead Navy when their entire fleet ran out of there and
had their own ship repair facilities...at the time they were said to have had
more 'B S ' than P&O had in later years... Blue Flu and Clan Line could equaly lay claim to the title after WWll, but neither ever had as many vessels in port at one time as P.S.N.C. had in it's heyday. Snowy

David Wilcockson
28th February 2007, 10:37
I too remember the tale about NZ & Blue Flu, but have never seen anything in print so have come to the conclusion over the years that it`s an "urban myth", & as such who knows where they start or why. Have certainly seen PSNC refered to as the Birkenhead Navy as Snowy says in more than one book. This in no way diminishes what a fine company Blue Funnel was, mores the pity it`s not still around.
David

tedc
28th February 2007, 16:02
Could anyone explain why Blue Funnel were referred to as the Welsh Navy


Must be something to do with the number of leaks.....!

Conercao
6th August 2008, 15:06
Anyone ever heard that PSNC = Birkenhead Navy? - The ships were built at Cammel-laird, Birkenhead shipyard

Pat Kennedy
6th August 2008, 16:45
I was in one Bluey where everyone of the deck crowd, except me, was from Amlwch in Anglesey. they made me an honorary Welshman when I learned how to pronounce that LlanfairPG......, the longest place name in the world they told me.
Also, PSNC was known as the Birkenhead Navy

David Williams
31st December 2009, 15:19
Hi Kasia.
I was always under the impression that it
was to the amount of crews,especialy Skippers
who were Welsh.

Dave Williams(R583900)

Ps Never sailed with them myself,
or out from Liverpool

Tom Inglis
31st December 2009, 16:04
Blue Funnel was known as The Welsh Navy because a large number of the deck crews and deck officers came from Anglsey I too sailed on one ship where as Third Mate it was sometimes quite confusing because all the other offers and deck ratings were Welsh speaking. As a Scot I did find it rather difficult when the Master spoke Welsh on the bridge. The Blue Funnel Association still have a reunion every year at Holyhead . Pat Kennedy is correct, it seemed that most of the anglsey guys came from Amlwch. Famous masters and mates like Alehouse Jones , Baron Thomas of Anglsey.
Happy days

Tom Inglis

Tai Pan
2nd January 2010, 13:07
Sailed on Ulysses where the deck crew were from Holyhead. out came the pilot boat drawing aboutb 3 feet, however on returning to shore it drew about 6 inches. no problems with customs at Liverpool. they were good Crib players, and held a competition for all, I lost in the final.

IAN M
31st October 2014, 02:29
During my eight years with Blue Funnel, I never heard the Company described as either the Welsh Navy or The China.

spongebob
31st October 2014, 04:57
It was as a first tripper on Rangitane that I heard the expression " White Officers and Welsh crew"!
Concerning the Blue Funnel line's absence from NZ since the Napier Earthquake I can vouch for the fact that I saw a Blue Flue boat berthed at Queens wharf Auckland in the early 50's. I had spent 4 years travelling daily on the ferry between Bayswater and the ferry terminal basin between Princes and Queens as I attented school and had become an ardent ship watcher able to notice a stranger in our midst. A few ex marine Dockyard mateys remarked on her presence at the time and I am pretty sure she was in port while functioning as a heavy lift vessel. Is that a clue to which BF ship that it might have been?

Bob

DURANGO
31st October 2014, 11:57
I hear the name alehouse Jones quite a bit was he about 5'6"and was he master of the Pyhrrus in 1966 I was AB in her then regards .

Tom Inglis
31st October 2014, 19:17
Ale House was mate in the mid sixties when I sailed with him . He was a little runty chap who had to have a can of Guiness and a rolled fag by his bunk for when he woke up, and always wanted to be called 15 minutes before every one else.
One of his claims to fame was that once when on leave he took the baby out , down to the pub and after a few ales returned home leaving the baby in pram outside the pub! I think Blodwen was not too happy!
I have the feeling that he did not make it to Master.

Tom Inglis

DURANGO
2nd November 2014, 08:41
I just dug my book out I,m often wrong it looks like I,m wrong again the master at the time I was in Pyrrhus was Albert Lane , somewhere I have an email from the late Peter Brown who was third mate in Pyrrhus and I,m sure he mentions Alehouse Jones maybe he was one of the mates this was in 1966 by the way I have to say Peter Brown was one of the finest men I sailed with in my 12 years at sea regards .

alan ward
2nd November 2014, 11:30
Regarding the Welsh/Liverpool connection,the scouse accent is more north Welsh than Irish, first time I heard the voices on lads from places like Hawarden and other places in Flint for example I thought they were putting it on.I have heard people from Chester who sound like they ought to be in Kirkdale.

Scelerat
3rd November 2014, 10:23
During my eight years with Blue Funnel, I never heard the Company described as either the Welsh Navy or The China.

Although I never sailed with them, I often saw their ships in Birkenhead, and only ever heard them referred to as "Blueys". Like yourself, I never heard the apparently "popular" names for them.

Pat Kennedy
3rd November 2014, 12:42
Although I never sailed with them, I often saw their ships in Birkenhead, and only ever heard them referred to as "Blueys". Like yourself, I never heard the apparently "popular" names for them.

Known as "The China" mainly on the docks, not so much by the crews.
But we certainly did refer to them as "The Welsh Navy" when I was there, and with good reason. I never sailed in one without at least two or three of the deck crowd being from North Wales, often it was over half, and on one ship, I was the only non Welsh deckhand. The rest of the crowd came from the same village in Anglesey, Amlwch, and it was pretty hard going for me at first until they accepted me as an honorary Welshman.
Pat(Thumb)

Scelerat
3rd November 2014, 13:30
Looks like it was a private, "in house" name then.

Mickdunn
3rd November 2014, 14:55
Could anyone explain why Blue Funnel were referred to as the Welsh Navy

It was either Becouse blueys was on the welsh side of the Mersey or I think more like blueys was full of sheep lovers(Jester)[=P]

Pat Kennedy
3rd November 2014, 20:34
It was either Becouse blueys was on the welsh side of the Mersey or I think more like blueys was full of sheep lovers(Jester)[=P]

Mick,
The dockers pen on Corporation Rd in Birkenhead, right next door to Odyssey Works, was known as the China Box. Until the MDHB took over, this pen was run by Blue Funnel. So, if a docker was allocated to this pen he worked exclusively on Blue Funnel ships, and was " at the China".
There was another pen on Vittoria Dock that hired only for the Clan Line, known as Garrisons Gorillas, and the third pen on the Wallasey side, , the one I was in, hired for the rest, This was run by Smith Coggins.
I believe Blueys had their own pen at Gladstone Dock as well, but I was often sent to drive cranes at both Liverpool and Birkenhead Blue Funnel berths, even though I was in the Wallasey pen because there was often a shortage of crane drivers
I disliked the Blue Funnel cargo operation, there were two gangs at every hatch,slings flying everywhere, and too many bosses trying to make a name for themselves, hassling and yelling. Man management was not their forte.
The Clan was much more laid back, it used to take them 4 weeks to load a ship in Birkenhead!
Pat(Thumb)

jimg0nxx
3rd November 2014, 20:52
I never sailed with Blue Flue, but often heard them referred to as Welsh Navy. I understood it was because of the reasons given above, many Welsh among the crews.
Jim

sidsal
3rd November 2014, 21:53
Interesting posts ! I was brought up in N>Wales and there were usually 3 options for likely lads - work in the quarry, go to college and become a teacher( loads did), or go to sea. Anglesey was full of sailors - many did the whaling season's ( I nearly did but arrived too late and missed the departure).
I believe the Outward Bound School was not a factor - as far as I know it was only started there during ww2 ( We Conway boys used to have a spell there - and it was a holiday compared to the old ship).
Liverpool had a big Welsh contingent - many chapels etc. Birkenhead too. The National Eisteddfod of Wales was held there in 1917 or 18. It was famous in Wales as the chair awarded to the winning bard was draped in black as the winner- Eifion Wyn had been killed in the trenches.
The Irish of course were many in Merseyside. I posted a joke about them and L'pool some time ago. May do so again if I can find it in my Word file !!

DENIS.WILSON
4th November 2014, 00:50
I Sailed On Patroculas Peleus Late Sixties Not Many Welsh Lads Mostley From The Pool Some Good Lads On Deck Must Have Been The Start Of The Decline Of A Great Shipping Comany

sidsal
4th November 2014, 21:31
Not perhaps relevant but mention of Mersy Docks & Harbour Board reminds me of funny incident just after ww2. I was 3 rd mate on Brocklebank ship in Vittoria dock B,head. Dockers on strike for weeks - army called in to work ships.
One afternoon - mate gone for kip on his settee -master on leave.i was on deck supervising things when several limos drove up and a lot of braided army officers and men in suits came on board. Turned out they were chairman of MDHB and cronies and Major General Frier GOC Nortern Command -come to see things. They peered gingerly into the holds and an officer came to me and saluted and asked if Gereal Frier could have a word with the Captain. I explained there was only the C/Onon board so he asked if they could see him.I asked them to follow me so the General followed close behind me as I led them to the Mate's cabin where he was sleeping on his settee. I entered his cabin closely followed by the General and said -"Mr Hocking - Major Gerneral Frier to see you" Mate woke and said - Who the hell is Major General Frier ?" When he realised the situation he was all het up and saluted and made a right Pratt of himself.