Christmas Tree on the Foremast

Derek Roger
30th December 2005, 22:26
In Brocklebanks it was a tradition to have a tree tied off to the Foremast ( With Lights ) I also remember that most British and German vessels followed the tradition . Were there other countries ?? Is the tradition still alive .

flyer682
31st December 2005, 00:41
When I was a lad growing up in Timaru NZ, all the ships in port over the Xmas/New Year period had a Xmas tree at the foremast. It's a sight I've not seen for a few years, so perhaps it's another tradition gone..........

J Boyde
31st December 2005, 08:42
The tree used to be common in NZ many years back. Mind, there were more ships then and trees were not loaded onto ships and great loads.
Jim B

ruud
31st December 2005, 08:51
Ahoy,

It still is a tradition, in the Netherlands, and specially in the Northern Counties, as Groningen and Friesland, here seen the Anda,[old preserved coaster]taken by Bert Romeling in Delfzijl;
http://members.home.nl/lmromeling/Anda%2020-12-2005.JPG
®©Bert Romeling

moaf
31st December 2005, 13:18
All the Wightlink car ferries have a Christmas tree tied to the mast

gdynia
31st December 2005, 15:00
In Brocklebanks it was a tradition to have a tree tied off to the Foremast ( With Lights ) I also remember that most British and German vessels followed the tradition . Were there other countries ?? Is the tradition still alive .
Derek
From my experience its a declining tradition.With our vessels being at sea constantly they will not allow us to put a tree up as some prize idiot in a office reckons the lights will distract the helicopter pilots on landing approach.

agentroadrunner
4th February 2006, 14:10
Cal-Mac vessels usually had tree a up the foremast or on the monkey island at xmas but it's slowly dying out. More often now they are put up in the entrance foyer or bar / lonuge.

Pat McCardle
4th February 2006, 18:19
When I was with Stevie clarkes in the early 80's we used to have a Christmas tree lashed to the fore mast over the festive season, in port & at sea. See gallery (Thumb)

froggie
4th February 2006, 19:11
I remember in ORCADES at Naples around Christmastime in 1964 we had an illuminated tree at the masthead. I can't remember what they did in ORSOVA - the mastless liner.

Hendo!
4th February 2006, 19:34
I remember RMAS Gooseander used to at least have Christmas lights stretched between masts.

jim barnes
4th February 2006, 20:13
I can recall having a xmas tree up the mast but try as i might i can not remember which ship or ships(senior moments again) think i was on a tanker when we had a few trees, picked them up in Hamburgh to be passed onto other shell tankers abroad, stored midships(FOG IS BEGINING TO THIN OUT A BIT)memories are coming back all the time on SN

vix
4th February 2006, 20:32
I can recall having a xmas tree up the mast but try as i might i can not remember which ship or ships(senior moments again) think i was on a tanker when we had a few trees, picked them up in Hamburgh to be passed onto other shell tankers abroad, stored midships(FOG IS BEGINING TO THIN OUT A BIT)memories are coming back all the time on SN
I was at sea a few times for Xmas...RML, BP, Lyles of Glasgow...don't remember any Xmas Trees...I do remember a minimum of Xmas spirit on all of them...and I don't mean liquid spirit! (Cloud) On one BP we were all issued 2 cans of beer each (company's regards) and the skipper sent down ½ dozen bottles of Chianti (red) between about 30 men. I had an aunt worked at Brittanic House (BP HQ) at the same time, she said they had a party lasted 2-days...all for free...and the food/drink left over was shared out or thrown out! Vix (Night)

jim barnes
4th February 2006, 20:43
I was at sea a few times for Xmas...RML, BP, Lyles of Glasgow...don't remember any Xmas Trees...I do remember a minimum of Xmas spirit on all of them...and I don't mean liquid spirit! (Cloud) On one BP we were all issued 2 cans of beer each (company's regards) and the skipper sent down ½ dozen bottles of Chianti (red) between about 30 men. I had an aunt worked at Brittanic House (BP HQ) at the same time, she said they had a party lasted 2-days...all for free...and the food/drink left over was shared out or thrown out! Vix (Night)
Dead right Vix, biggest thrill was to have dinner served to the crew at dinner by the officers, usually glad when that fiasco was over, can't remember any free drinks though??? :@ Maybe Boson got there first.LOL

vix
4th February 2006, 21:05
Dead right Vix, biggest thrill was to have dinner served to the crew at dinner by the officers, usually glad when that fiasco was over, can't remember any free drinks though??? :@ Maybe Boson got there first.LOL
Hi Jim, No, I don't remember ever having any officer serving me. The RML Loch Loyal we were supposed to be in KGV but got fog bound off Southend Pier...no officer had the courage to come near the mess room, which was a communal one. One fellow threw the white table cloth on the floor and said..."If I'm not good enough to have a table cloth yesterday, I'm not good enough today or tomorrow, either"...that's the kind of Xmas's I remember at sea. On that one all we got was 1 tot of rum and we had to sign for it...so we didn't get a second one...and the C/S didn't want to give me mine because I was only 17...you should have heard the cat calls from everyone behind me...thanks to them I got my tot...and signed for it! (Cloud) Vix

jim barnes
4th February 2006, 21:16
Hi Jim, No, I don't remember ever having any officer serving me. The RML Loch Loyal we were supposed to be in KGV but got fog bound off Southend Pier...no officer had the courage to come near the mess room, which was a communal one. One fellow threw the white table cloth on the floor and said..."If I'm not good enough to have a table cloth yesterday, I'm not good enough today or tomorrow, either"...that's the kind of Xmas's I remember at sea. On that one all we got was 1 tot of rum and we had to sign for it...so we didn't get a second one...and the C/S didn't want to give me mine because I was only 17...you should have heard the cat calls from everyone behind me...thanks to them I got my tot...and signed for it! (Cloud) Vix must say never had it bad only once but no one's fault realy. told in a previouse thread"Christmas at sea" had to jump from a german supply vessel at sea of W/africa at dinner time Xmas day germans had a good spread on, i left and jumped onto our Brit supply vessel heading in and yes you got it there was no food aboard, all our supplies where in a container on the dock waiting for us, but thats another story>

airds
4th February 2006, 23:51
Cal-Mac vessels usually had tree a up the foremast or on the monkey island at xmas but it's slowly dying out. More often now they are put up in the entrance foyer or bar / lonuge.


Here's last year's (2005) going up on the Clansman ....

billyboy248
7th November 2006, 20:34
flyer682 which years did you spend as a lad in Timaru?
I was in port off and on from 1960/65

RayJordandpo
7th November 2006, 23:34
Even on the tugs for United Towing we put a Christmas tree up the mast. Where we got them from is another story especially when we where tied up in a Norwegian port.
Ray Jordan

King Ratt
8th November 2006, 09:28
Many of the RFAs I sailed in sported Christmas trees if in port over the festive season. One or two of the Kirkcudbright fishing fleet aslo brighten up the harbour each year...we'll be watching, Dougie!

Nick Jones
11th November 2006, 01:27
Was there another tradition, that the youngest member of the crew rang the ships bell at midnight New Year. I have a vague memory (Alcohol induced no doubt) of being up forward with the junior purser on one of the ships I was on, making a terrible racket with the bell until we were pulled of it. Also blowing the whistle when we were in port for New Year, I remember using all the steam out of the Donkey boiler on the Matra in Colombo, in 1969.

Cheers,

Nick Jones.

Porky
11th November 2006, 03:53
Also blowing the whistle when we were in port for New Year, I remember using all the steam out of the Donkey boiler

Now that I remember doing in Auckland a couple of trips. Along with just about every other ship in port doing the same thing.

Yep, in a drink induced state, but is there any other state to be in at New Year.

jrx
11th November 2006, 12:31
Seem to remember on shell tankers flying the lebanese flag as it was the nearest thig to a christmas tree we had in tropics.

jock paul
12th November 2006, 18:18
Hi. It used to be the custom, at least on ships I sailed on, for the youngest crew member to ring sixteen bells at New Year. Eight for the old year and eight for the new. Also recall while lying in port at New Year, with malice aforthought tying a line to the lever of the steam whistle. At midnight when they blew the whistle I lashed the tail end of the line to the bottom of the funnel ladder and made a swift departure! Eventually they shut off the whistle steam valve at the boiler. Regards Jock.

Hawkeye
13th November 2006, 00:13
Hi
We always had a christmas tree up the fore mast when I was with P&O Ferries. I don't think the custum carried after we had Polish crew aboard, but I could be wrong. (Try telling a Polish seaman what you want him to do with the tree, and you get a funny look, and a comment which I hope translated to something like 'Crazy Englishman').
On the subject of the bells, I thought the youngest & oldest crew members rang the 16 bells, 8 for the old year & 8 for the new. Can anyone confirm this?

It will soon be upon as again, the shops around where I live had Christmas gear in September.

Regards
Karl

James_C
13th November 2006, 00:45
Karl,
Certainly on the ships I was on it was 8 bells each from the Oldest and youngest aboard.

japottinger
13th November 2006, 12:10
Firts Christmas tree I ever saw was as a youngster in Shetland when some of the Shetland bus boats brought them over. I recall my grandfather stuck one in the back yard, but it never took!

Bridie
13th November 2006, 13:42
I can recall having a xmas tree up the mast but try as i might i can not remember which ship or ships(senior moments again) think i was on a tanker when we had a few trees, picked them up in Hamburgh to be passed onto other shell tankers abroad, stored midships(FOG IS BEGINING TO THIN OUT A BIT)memories are coming back all the time on SN
Jim
Didn't we make our own Christmas tree for the Salvonia. Remember tying rope strands to a wire frame in the shape of pine branches, then painting it all green. We sprinkled soap powder over the whole lot to represent snow. Luckily it didn't rain(Jester)
or am I having a KRAFT moment as well(?HUH)

Bridie
13th November 2006, 13:47
Hi. It used to be the custom, at least on ships I sailed on, for the youngest crew member to ring sixteen bells at New Year. Eight for the old year and eight for the new.
On the America Star as the youngest I rang 8 bells for the New Year after the oldest member of the crew had rung 8 bells for the old.

Bearsie
13th November 2006, 15:55
Seem to remember on shell tankers flying the lebanese flag as it was the nearest thig to a christmas tree we had in tropics.

LOL well at least you knew how to help yourselves!!! (Thumb)

We always had a xmas treeon the mast. On the "Egerland" we even had an Advents wreath in the mess.
Which the captain sent me to get while we were in Brest, so off I marched putting my best french forward (all 3 mis-pronounced words lol)
The upshot was that a female Gendarme (cop) took pity on me and I got my wreath plus a nite at her place (Thumb) I think now a days they'd call that "protective custody" ?

The memories of xmas' past :)