The War

Julian Calvin
16th April 2011, 21:38
To old coasters this always refers to the Biafran war.
What stories do you have?
Always remember the NN flagship, the destroyer "Nigeria" sailing past Apapa quays when an aircraft flew overhead. It's the enemy went up the cry. Guy at heavy machine gun fired enthusiastically whilst traversing his gun. Unfortunately he was watching the aircraft but his gun was horizontal. If I remember correctly, five vessels were hit including the "Accra" but, amazingly, no one was hurt.
Another time explosions occured in Lagos. Later it transpired that guy in anti aircraft gun let loose but was firing "contact" shells. What goes up must come down!!

Boatman25
16th April 2011, 23:23
I was in Cammell Lairds on a standby about 1969 to 70, the NN Nigeria was there too and a shell was being used as a door stop by everyone, it exploded

Peter Martin
17th April 2011, 11:20
Remember being in Lagos at the time of General Gowan's wedding in the Cathedral. There was a fly past by the Nigerian Air Force. Couple of Jet Provosts and a MIG I seem to remember. They flew down Harbour parallel to Apapa Quay and then quickly whipped round the back and down the Harbour again. It gave the impression of a vast armada of aircraft. The crowd roared their approval. How we laughed!

Peter Martin
17th April 2011, 11:26
Also remember hearing about the Biafran air raid on Lagos. A very old DC3 loaded with tea-chests full of home made explosives tipped out of the rear door.

Joking aside, bad times for the Ibo people from Eastern Nigeria. Any crew we had who were of this tribe were landed in Takoradi or Tema and collected on the way back. They would have not survived. Still remember seing corpses in the water at Lagos floating out of the Lagoon.

Anboby remember the TV propaganda?

"To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done!"
"Don't sit on the fence, join the Civil Defence!"

eldersuk
18th April 2011, 00:17
Alongside Apapa during the war, a strict blackout was enforced. E.R. skylights closed and all external lights extinguished - UNLESS YOU WERE WORKING CARGO, when everything possible was lit up!

Derek

Julian Calvin
18th April 2011, 08:07
The army Colonel nicknamed "The Black Scorpion" who was ordered to get things moving in the port. Would be picked up from the quay by union purchase with one arm wrapped round the hook and bull whip in the other then lifted into the hold. Woebetide any dockers asleep or not working.
Another time the bullnose was blocked with uncleared vehicles. He just lined up some bulldozers and pushed them over the side (only heard about this one).
He certainly was effective though.

ART6
18th April 2011, 10:24
Also remember hearing about the Biafran air raid on Lagos. A very old DC3 loaded with tea-chests full of home made explosives tipped out of the rear door.


I sailed as J2E on the Esso Durham from Antwerp to Nigeria during the Biafran rebellion -- and what a heap that ship was, at least mechanically. Everything that could go wrong did so enthusiastically.

When we arrived at the terminal we were supposed to load from, half the storage tanks were on fire. Cargo heating was deemed to be unnecessary at least in the short therm! We were told that the rebels had loaded an old DC3 with explosives in dustbins and, as you say, carried out a bombing run by simply chucking then out of a door.

The rebels were, reportedly, on the opposite bank of the river and inclined to take pot shots at anything that moved. As a result we had armed Nigerian troops on the maindeck, supposedly to protect us. However, the Master, being conscious of the consequences of someone deciding to let loose with an automatic rifle when the deck was thick with gas, soon disabused them of that idea!

A rumour went round that the rebels had been swimming out to ships and sticking limpet mines on their sides, and our 4/E enjoyed himself by wandering about muttering "Tick - tick" until someone sat on him. Ahead of us on the berth was a BP ship, and she sailed before us. A short while later we heard that she had blown up on her way down the river, which to us was confirmation of the rebel threat.

The story was probably untrue, but it did little for our peace of mind when we finally sailed with a cargo of very hot oil!

Peter Martin
18th April 2011, 18:08
I have transparency of the said "Scorpion" wielding a golf club, a 4 iron I think, with the head cut of at a crowd of dockers who had surrounded him. Think it's in a cupboard, I'll try and look it out.
The army Colonel nicknamed "The Black Scorpion" who was ordered to get things moving in the port. Would be picked up from the quay by union purchase with one arm wrapped round the hook and bull whip in the other then lifted into the hold. Woebetide any dockers asleep or not working.
Another time the bullnose was blocked with uncleared vehicles. He just lined up some bulldozers and pushed them over the side (only heard about this one).
He certainly was effective though.

Julian Calvin
18th April 2011, 18:56
I have transparency of the said "Scorpion" wielding a golf club, a 4 iron I think, with the head cut of at a crowd of dockers who had surrounded him. Think it's in a cupboard, I'll try and look it out.
Hi Peter,
We know each other (I think). Joined ED just before the merger in '67and finished my apprenticeship in '71. Went away then rejoined in '76 until '81. Went ashore but my West Coast background caught up with me. Was posted to Lagos by Caleb Brett and have been here since (except for four years in Malawi). Our background gives us a great grounding.
Have been Lloyds Agen t for 5 years, ran a distillery for five years, then with Guinness, after ran a soap factory. Now back to my roots as Marine Advisor with Mobil, still in Lagos.

Peter Martin
19th April 2011, 21:34
Perhaps you'd like to send me a message and we can initiate a chat!

John Gillespie
16th February 2012, 23:36
I transferred from the Aureol to the Dixcove in Lagos January 1968 at the height of the Biafran War.The Nigerian army commandeerd the vessel to carry military supplies into Biafra.
So off we went to Calabar with all hatches loaded with ammo,tanks,trucks, etc.Four hundred troops on the foredeck and 200 head of cattle on the aft deck.
The Nigerian Navy guaranteed an escort going up the Calabar river but didnt materalise and we were fired on.
Spent ten days in Calabar discharging. What an experiance.Got the 100% war bonus.
Capt.Dickie Dunne, a horrible little man, was the Master,which made life more unpleasant.

SuperClive
1st August 2012, 20:40
Ah yes, the Lagos blackout... Not!

Bloated bodies floating down past Egori at Apapa Quay. Being invited to a shooting party at Tarkwa beach (the Federals had caught an Ebo). We politely declined saying we had too much to do down the engine room... We took the motor lifeboat down there for a trial run a few days later and the stake, surrounded by blood stained sand was still there... Loading 500 tons of out of date UK army mortar bombs for the Federals into no. 3 hold at the dangerous goods anchorage off Southend... Seeing various ships coming back into Lagos from the creeks all shot up and with casualties...

Yes, I remember it all too well as an 18yr old engineer cadet on his first voyages to sea!

A.D.FROST
2nd August 2012, 08:52
"Don't Mention the WAR!"
A.Coward

johngeoffreynicholls
15th August 2012, 14:20
I was on board ACCRA when the above event took place so I can verify that this was in fact correct.
I was 3rd mate and the firing of ammo took place around lunch hour when hands were on deck having a glass of Wrexham lager.
Quite a bit of noise when the ammo hit the ship. 2nd mate Mike Llewellyn
was on nights and asleep in cabin near the area but never budged.
It's a long time ago, hope my memory is correct.
Chief off was Mike Forster. Senior 2nd mate ?? Jordan
4th mate Hector Thompson. Purser Jimmy Cowden.
memory gone.

ccurtis1
15th August 2012, 22:45
Wasn't the "Black Scorpion" Colonel Benjamin Adekunle who was allegedly poisoned by Gowan or his entourage some little time later?