A Letter from son to his dad.

Hugh Ferguson
1st August 2011, 17:51
This is a very a very poignant reminder of how life was lived by many, many seafarers-in this instance 65 years ago-who spent most of the time away from their children as they were growing up.
I knew one master who, during his career, never spent one single Christmas with his family for the first 14 years of his marriage.

(It is doubly poignant to know that Donald, whilst a teacher at Clifton College, died in his forties in 1985, of cancer).

Hugh Ferguson
1st August 2011, 22:02
Andy's first two voyages in the Port Fremantle as the Chief Officer were still in wartime. The first was from Liverpool to New York and back in just 1 month and 3 days. He mentions several attacks from U.boats but no losses to the convoy, two U.boats sunk, S.O.E. (Senior Officer Escort) Peter Gretton.

Next voyage, still in wartime, was to South American ports, lasting 3 months 15 days. Final convoy, Freetown to Liverpool, was attacked by air and by U.boats-no losses in the convoy-escort included two so-called Woolworth carriers, H.M.S. Biter and Tracker plus 6 destroyers. Arrived Liverpool on 22nd May 1944.
Next voyage was a reversion to normal Port Line schedules: outward via Panama and homeward via Suez.
After the Port Fremantle he had a couple of voyages in the Port Dunedin with Captain Pinkney who had commanded the Port Chalmers, the Commodore ship, in the epic Pedestal Convoy, August 1942.

Sister Eleff
2nd August 2011, 02:09
I wonder if he did get the part mended for his bike!

Peter Fielding
2nd August 2011, 10:05
"Mum and I have lots of jobs waiting for you...."

That has a familiar ring to it!

Hugh Ferguson
2nd August 2011, 15:01
Anyone may well wonder how these once personal belongings, of Captain McClounan, came into my archives. The letter, from Donald, was discovered when I opened the pages of Andy's log book in which he had kept a record of his entire seagoing career which had all been served in the Port Line beginning on the 2nd Aug.1922.
It happened on account of me having a bit of back trouble and on being told of a neighbour's skills in administering shiatzu, I gave her a call. The first session did nothing and I was reluctant to have another but, more for her benefit than mine, I changed my mind.
After this session on the floor I changed the meaning of the therapy to shehitsyou, but it still only produced expense and no discernable benefit, BUT she did mention having an uncle who had gone to sea and would I be interested in seeing what he had left her when he died. Yes, indeed, I would and it ended with her giving me the lot, including a superb album of the photographs of every Port Line ship in which Andy had served.
So, if I hadn't had the second session I might not have even heard about Andy's log let alone come to own it. 'Twas the best thirteen quid I ever spent!

Hugh Ferguson
2nd August 2011, 16:55
The Port Chalmers was the only merchant ship in Pedestal Convoy to arrive in Malta undamaged and having suffered no casualties but just how close she came to disaster can be seen in the attached thumbnail.
A torpedo had become entangled in her paravane gear and to remove it involved stopping the ship, putting some sternway on her and thus getting the ship as far away as possible from the threat. That enabled them to cut the wire and thus free the ship from both paravane and its attachment which then sank and exploded far enough away from the ship not to cause any damage but to make itself felt when it exploded. The torpedo is the bit with its nose trailing in the water.

Port Chalmers was Captain Pinkney's first command-his awards, a D.S.O. and an M.B.E. from an earlier action.

ART6
2nd August 2011, 17:17
The Port Chalmers was the only merchant ship in Pedestal Convoy to arrive in Malta undamaged and having suffered no casualties but just how close she came to disaster can be seen in the attached thumbnail.
A torpedo had become entangled in her paravane gear and to remove it involved stopping the ship, putting some sternway on her and thus getting the ship as far away as possible from the threat. That enabled them to cut the wire and thus free the ship from both paravane and its attachment which then sank and exploded far enough away from the ship not to cause any damage but to make itself felt when it exploded. The torpedo is the bit with its nose trailing in the water.


You can just hear the "Famous last words" thread here -- "Where the f**k did that come from?"

Hugh MacLean
2nd August 2011, 20:40
Port Chalmers was Captain Pinkney's first command-his awards, a D.S.O. and an M.B.E. from an earlier action.

As usual with you, Hugh, another very interesting posting.

Captain Henry George Bacon Pinkney was master of 'PORT CHALMERS' when he received the DSO for the 'Pedestal' convoy.

He was the chief officer under Captain William Gordon Higgs when he was awarded the MBE(Civ). Captain Higgs and the chief engineer David Charles Jack received the OBE(Civ). I believe the latter awards were for convoy GM1 'Operation 'Substance' - Gibraltar to Malta, July 1941. The convoy was subjected to vicious air attacks. Admiral Somerville stated that 'Substance' was considered a complete success, due in large measure to 'the steadfast and resolute behaviour of the Merchant Navy crews.
Regards
Hugh

Hugh Ferguson
2nd August 2011, 21:48
This was Andy McClounan's record kept during the voyage in which he would have received the letter from his young son in Aden.
You can just imagine the contrast this typical peacetime Port Line voyage would have been after the previous ones in the wartime years.
Always amuses me the way Andy refers to his "staff" In this instance they were:- P.Thomas 2/o; H. Lunn 3/o & J. Newbery 4/o (The latter name probably misspelt: spelling was not Andy's strong point!).

I still see, once every year, the widow of Harry Garner, ex. Port Line officer & ex.Port Line select London Trinity House pilot. Harry died many years ago but Mrs Garner is a friend of mine and remembers Andy very well. Her husband, Harry, was captured and imprisoned when his ship, the Port Hobart was sunk quite early in the war.

stan mayes
2nd August 2011, 22:30
Hugh,
Just as Hugh says -another very interesting posting.
You have a treasure in memorabilia..
Regards,
Stan