Ben Boats

wully farquhar
1st April 2006, 19:21
Anybody out there remember "Wongs Virgins" who used to come aboard in Singapore and clean out the deep tanks before loading latex,the tanks had to be more or less shining. (*))

EBenarty
1st April 2006, 20:58
Aye fine I do , I remember the bamboo staging being set up ,And Wongs Virgins cleaning these tanks and they did some job . then the tanks had to be waxed before the latex was loaded. But prior to cleaning the Chippy and Cadets used to have to get the tanks ready for pressure testing and all the bolts were done with a ring spanner The tanks were then pressed up for the surveyor, then dried out before the virgins arrived !! Palm and coconut oil was even worse with all these heating coils !!
Iused to remember having to go down and record the top, middle and bottom temperatures once the oils were loaded !! (*)) It would open the eyes of our younger generation !!

EBenarty
1st April 2006, 21:12
Does any one remember Mable Ma who came on board in Hong Kong with her shop in Hong Kong or the Milk Girls in Singapore not forgetting the dunnage girls in Bangkok !!

Roddy Munro
2nd April 2006, 15:27
Hi EBenarty I well remember Mabel Ma and her shop in the alleyway.where else in the world could you get a blue and white Ben Line cap Still have the remains of one.
On Wully,s topic of latex tanks, who remembers keeping a jar of the stuff for patching shorts and denims.Better than a palm and needle!!!
Cheers------------Roddy

EBenarty
3rd April 2006, 22:29
Hi EBenarty I well remember Mabel Ma and her shop in the alleyway.where else in the world could you get a blue and white Ben Line cap Still have the remains of one.
On Wully,s topic of latex tanks, who remembers keeping a jar of the stuff for patching shorts and denims.Better than a palm and needle!!!
Cheers------------Roddy


Roddy,
Remember that well when the jeans got a hole in the knees we used to cut the legs off and turn them into shorts instead of sowing latex was the thing we were ahead of our time !! LOL !!
Billy

EBenarty
3rd April 2006, 22:34
Roddy,
You could'na beat Mable Mas jockeys or vests !! She had some good gear and did not cheat us much and she would get us anything a lot cheaper than we would have to pay in the shops!!
Aye Good Times,
Billy

wully farquhar
10th April 2006, 21:30
Aye, dunnage girls,Billy!!!!????
Cheers,--------Wully.

EBenarty
10th April 2006, 22:40
Wully,
Youcanna forget them !!!!
Billy.
PS Got the boatie up to the top of muirtown bassin the day - ready for the off !!

EBenarty
10th April 2006, 22:54
Wully,
Was talking to Duncan Sutherland another Ben Line man today in Inverness and he was asking about Jimmy MacDonald the Chief Steward from Halkirk. Do you know him and is he still around !! I sailed with Jimmy on the Lawers and Cruachan a fine geel he was !!
Billy

Leonard Nicol
11th April 2006, 05:44
Wully,
Was talking to Duncan Sutherland another Ben Line man today in Inverness and he was asking about Jimmy MacDonald the Chief Steward from Halkirk. Do you know him and is he still around !! I sailed with Jimmy on the Lawers and Cruachan a fine geel he was !!
Billy

I'm an old Ben Boat man from Inverness. Sailed on the Benledi, Benvrackie and Benvcruachan in the fifties. Nice to know there are others from the old town who still have memories of the Ben Line. The Benvrackie was the best of my three, being launched the year before I joined. Len Nicol

James MacDonald
11th April 2006, 15:06
I remember Ma Mable of Kowloon side & the girls who used to clean up the accom & sell the left over grub to the dockers. I dont think anyone took advantage of these girls. I was o/s on the Benalder in 64/65 with Sharky Robertson the mate & the Whippit ( Bosun ) from Middlesbrough. The Chippy was big John Dalziel from the Shetlands.Duncan MacClellan A/B from Mallaig, Jimmy MacMillan A/B from S Uist, Big Dodds A/B from Aberdeen I think I remember you Roddy ,did you have an uncle Donald Munro A/B from Stornaway onboard. Happy days ,Tiger Draft in Tobbys Paradise bar.

Roddy Munro
11th April 2006, 22:45
Well James you certainly hit the nail on the head with all these names. The whippet,he was some bosun,and was well named,not a lot of him!! Also Walter Macintosh Aberdeen,great footballer.We had a good team on Benalder.I have quite a few photos taken that trip,not sure how to post them on SN.Wonder how many of these guys are still living.Donald Munro was a distant cousin of mine.Lived in Enfield Midd.He died aboard ship and was buried at sea a number of years back.Maybe theres someone else out there who these names might ring bells.
All the best James.----------Roddy
.

wully farquhar
12th April 2006, 13:11
Sailed with big Duncan Macclellan,think it was on the Benvenue and i heard not to long ago that he had passed on,also the nephew of John Dalziel,never heard of him since i sailed with him,can not remember his first name,they say it is old age.lol!!
Cheers --------Wully

EBenarty
12th April 2006, 23:47
You were before my time. Ijoined them in 1966 and sailed on all of these ships but a newer version of the Cruachan you were on.

Makari
13th April 2006, 07:33
Sailed with big Duncan Macclellan,think it was on the Benvenue and i heard not to long ago that he had passed on,also the nephew of John Dalziel,never heard of him since i sailed with him,can not remember his first name,they say it is old age.lol!!
Cheers --------Wully
Wully I think Johnnie Dalzeils nephew would be Jimmy Dalzeil, Johnnie also had a brother that sailed chippy called Willie, very famous man! he had a tragic accident on the local ferry and never recovered. Mac

Rusty
13th April 2006, 08:24
I remember coasting the Bencleuch in '57 and discharging latex into drums while in Antwerp. If any latex just happened to be spilled, the dockers collected it and rolled it into a football for an impromptu game on the dockside. We then moved to Hamburg and the ship was debugged - lousy with cockroaches (and other things). The whole crew was allocated rooms in a nearby hotel, but not one single bed was used.

EBenarty
13th April 2006, 22:50
I remember coasting the Bencleuch in '57 and discharging latex into drums while in Antwerp. If any latex just happened to be spilled, the dockers collected it and rolled it into a football for an impromptu game on the dockside. We then moved to Hamburg and the ship was debugged - lousy with cockroaches (and other things). The whole crew was allocated rooms in a nearby hotel, but not one single bed was used.

When I was Cadet I was helping Iain MacIntosh / Jim Gray the Leckies with a port fan into the firemans galley,when we unbolted the fan a load of cockroaches fell into a pot of Chinese Chow and the cook replied no problem - Good Chow and stirred them in !!

wully farquhar
13th April 2006, 22:56
Yes Mak that was his name,any idea what he is doing now,he was a big course sort o'guy,anothr Sheltie i sailed with on the Loyal was Lourie Laird fae Hillswick but went to see him the last time i was up there,sailed with a few Shelties but canna remember their names.Do you ken peedie Jeemie Irvine fae Whalsa.
Cheers,--------Wully.

wee bobby
14th April 2006, 22:59
My first trip to sea was on the Benmacdui-I can remember the Milk girls they just walked into my cabin and woke me up[we were lying at anchor in the Rhodes]????? {Singapore}'60-

EBenarty
15th April 2006, 00:04
Did you buy the milk > LOL

EBenarty
15th April 2006, 00:20
Yes Mak that was his name,any idea what he is doing now,he was a big course sort o'guy,anothr Sheltie i sailed with on the Loyal was Lourie Laird fae Hillswick but went to see him the last time i was up there,sailed with a few Shelties but canna remember their names.Do you ken peedie Jeemie Irvine fae Whalsa.
Cheers,--------Wully.

Wully,
Was that Laurie the cousin the Chirf Steward of the St. Ola who had the same name ?

wully farquhar
15th April 2006, 12:43
Not sure Billy,never heard him speak about Lourie that was the steward on the Ola. (Thumb)

wully farquhar
15th April 2006, 12:46
Wee Bobby,did you get an awful fright.!!! (*)) (Thumb)

Ben Boat Jim
5th May 2006, 05:17
I certainly remember 'Wongs virgins'....First trip "Peggy" on the Benmacdhui,in 1956 I wandered blithely into the A.B's bathroom in Singapore with my long scrubber and tin of Vim, only to find the place full of semi-naked women of all ages, using the place to get changed, prior to descending into the deep tanks, to clean them.
The ladies were not offended, one toothless old crone, cackling and stroking my leg.
I got a helluva fright and must have blushed instantly.
Now at age 66 wish i could see those sights again, ah....they were days of magic.
Kind Regards....Jim Morrison...ex Buckie now New Zealand.

wully farquhar
5th May 2006, 22:18
Aye Aye Jim,i bet you got a fright,what did you do with your long scrubber,fit did ye leave a sunny place like Buckie to settle in Kiwi.
Cheers,-----------Wully (Fly)

Ben Boat Jim
6th May 2006, 02:31
Ahoy Wully,
I went back tae Buckie for a holiday, first time in 39 years, about 4 years ago, talk about experiencing a cultural shock!!!!!
I am attempting to write a book...an autobiography, and would be grateful if any of the lads could refresh my memory, as regards the milk girls, dunnage girls, in fact anything on the Ben boats in the Far East. I sailed on the 'Albanach built 46 The 'Macdhui 48 The 'Vrackie 56 the Cleuch, Lawers,and Venue, but my memory is'nt what it used to be, and I would dearly love to 'fill in the gaps' about our runs ashore on "Willie Thomson's Navy".
I remember in 56 it was 8 straits dollars to the quid, and 16 Hong Kong dollars to the quid.
Kind regards Jim Morrison. (*))

Makari
6th May 2006, 08:07
Yes Mak that was his name,any idea what he is doing now,he was a big course sort o'guy,anothr Sheltie i sailed with on the Loyal was Lourie Laird fae Hillswick but went to see him the last time i was up there,sailed with a few Shelties but canna remember their names.Do you ken peedie Jeemie Irvine fae Whalsa.
Cheers,--------Wully.
Lowrie Laird, very famous man! I think he is still around Wully and I am not sure what Jimmy is up to these days, if I remember right, he was at the fishing when we still had a fishing fleet up here but sadly, just like the Merch. it has all but gone now, I know who Jimmy Irvine is but dont know him personally, all the best. Mac.

wully farquhar
6th May 2006, 12:50
Ben boat Jim,You would have known Jimmy Jamieson,he was bosun on the Benloyal when i was on there in the mid sixties.Jimmy was never to keen to put his feet on Japanese soil,i think he was a prisoner there during the war.He belonged outside Edinburgh,he was a bit of a character.
Cheers,----------Wully.

Ben Boat Jim
6th May 2006, 21:50
Wully,
The name Jimmy Jameson seems to ring a bell somewhere, trouble is there were so many colourful characters in the Ben boats, its hard to remember them all, the Far East seemed to bring out the best in them...certainly there was no shortage of humour.
Jim Morrison.

wully farquhar
10th May 2006, 18:57
Well Jim how many of Mable Ma's watches did you buy,I had bought one once and i don't think it did a whole round of the clock,still she was not a bad old stick,don't know if she went aboard any other ships or not,but every Ben boat that i was in she was always first at the top of the gangway when we docked at Kowloon,you know Jim they "were" the good old days.I don't know nowadays how they handle swingin from a mast or samson post in a bosun's chair with a frayed old gauntlet.I think the H.S.E would have some thing to say about it (Read) (Thumb)
Cheers,--------Wully.

Ben Boat Jim
10th May 2006, 21:27
Good Day tae ye Wully,
Aye, a good pal of mine is still at sea age 58, he was telling me, you need saftey harness, hard hats, just to swing from a bosuns chair and gantline, you have to report to the bridge and tell them where you are rigging stages, also on a tanker you have to tell the bridge, you are going under the Foc'sle (in case of gas).
Christ.....we used to run along stages, hang upside down, lift a stage up, with our feet crossed under it....Aye, heart attack material for a safety Inspector.
Regards Jim Morrison.

jaigee
11th May 2006, 17:45
Anybody out there remember "Wongs Virgins" who used to come aboard in Singapore and clean out the deep tanks before loading latex,the tanks had to be more or less shining. (*))
In the novel 'The Antigone' by Richard Woodward, which narrates a voyage on a Blue Funnel boat in the sixties, he gives a fascinating description of this and the dunnage girls etc. etc..

wully farquhar
12th May 2006, 21:40
Cheers jaigee will have a look for the book.
All the best,---Wully (Thumb)

fitlike
14th October 2006, 14:09
I remember my first trip I was on the Ben Attow, I was peggy, I was cleaning the aft toilets on our way up the river to Bangkok, and a head popped through the port hole from the out side, and asked if I needed a hand!!!!!

Taleso
18th October 2006, 20:46
(==D) (==D) Hi Wullie,

There are two Ben Line songs, first that covers a dunnage girl and second a milk girl…anybody remember them?

Best regards,
Taleso

NZSCOTTY
20th October 2006, 00:50
Yes you bring back memories of these tank cleaning times with the virgins and their gold teeth (if any teeth left in mouth). Remember our junior radio officer being carried on board by them (Benledi). He was too pissed to walk!!

Trader
21st October 2006, 01:26
Anybody out there remember "Wongs Virgins" who used to come aboard in Singapore and clean out the deep tanks before loading latex,the tanks had to be more or less shining. (*))

Hi Wully,

I remember the "Wong Virgins" well although I never heard them called that. Mind you I was on the opposition...Blue Funnel. They used to light a fire on the well deck to melt the wax and then poured it into 5 gallon open drums, carry it up the ladder to the centrecastle and lowered it down the hatch to the men in the deep tanks who brushed it quickly on the bulkheads before it could set. All this in bare feet, no health and safety in those days.

The thumbnail was taken in Singapore in 1955 on the "Astynax", it is a bit blurred as I took it through the porthole. I also remember screwing down the lids after the latex had been loaded. You certainly sweated some weight off doing that job.

Trader.

joller6
10th February 2008, 01:15
My first trip to sea was on the Benmacdui-I can remember the Milk girls they just walked into my cabin and woke me up[we were lying at anchor in the Rhodes]????? {Singapore}'60-

Hi Wee Bobby,
See your first trip was on the BenMacdhui,and the reason i am posting this to you is would you by any chance have remembered the call sign for her?
Long shot i know.
And is she now redundant?
Cheers
Joller6

fintray
9th March 2008, 16:40
It brings back fond time hearing of Mable Ma coming aboard in Hong Kong and the Blue and White caps or Ben line caps . The 1965 to the 1970 on the Ben Line was a great part of my life and met some great people on the ships Like the Benledi BenValla Benhiant Bencruachan Bendoran

R58484956
9th March 2008, 17:15
Benmacdhui = MADX

barrinoz
10th March 2008, 09:23
Any of you Ben line boys ever sail with a lad from Fort William by the name of Ian Kerr? Had a brother Hughie. Both deckhands. Would love to get in touch with Ian. Cheers. barrinoz.

ian keyl
13th March 2008, 23:33
If the HSE was to have ben around in those days shipping would have gone bust way back. I remember the pile of sand on the main deck where the fire was lite to melt the parrifin wax then they would lower it over the hatch combing in 5 gallon drums then down the deep tank ,this was a drum of hot boiling wax on the end of a wammie and a hook made out of a six inch nail.
They would allbe balancing on the bamboo staging inside the deep tank with small cans of wax painting it on the tank walls,when they had finished they would remove the staging and again balance on the bamboo poles with a brush tied to a broom handle touching up the areas above them where the bamboo was in contact with the walls.
Some of these women were no young lassies the older they were the more gold in the mouth weighed thier head down. If any were injured or burnt with the wax the supervisor would not come to you they would just send them down onto the quay to get in the truck and wait till the rest were finished.

Sometimes we had them sweeping hatches as the crew were too busy on other things besides shore leave.

Does anyone remember Mary Jordan and her husband of the Jordan watch company in Hong kong, I used to buy most of my watches from her.
I remember Fraser(George)Walker 1st mate on the Valla, his dad was a master on the trinity house light vessel and he had given fraser an old watch when he went to sea and Fraser wanted the illuminous numbers and spots redoing ,Mary took it ashore and brought it back that night and the she had done the whole face it was like brand new. Fraser was fair chuffed. He used to get his jesus sandles made by the shoe man , then ashore to YUK Kee just off Nathan rd for two new suits even in those days 65 you got them in a plastic zipper back with the tailors name on the bag and the wooden coathanger embossed with the name. Yuk Kee made great khakis for deck work ,short shorts with ,shirts with square tails to be worn out as many pockets and pen pockets you wanted, the shorts came with a webbing belt .

Mary used to trade her wares in the smoke room and she usually had two brief cases full of the latest watches Sekio,Cyma,Eterna, omega,Rolex(for those Chinese quartemasters or no1 painters only folk who could afford them) Rado,Tudor, super slim Tissots and expensive lighters in gold for those who wanted them.
I remember Hang wee Dan ch cook on the Valla and all the e/room chinese fitters having thier collers felt by Japanese customs when we arrived in Yoko from HK, somebody had stached a load of Colibri gold lighters behind a engineers locker in a brown paper bag. Han we dan got off by paying one of the fitters to take his wrap,most of them spent a night in jail till they coughed.

Talking about Collibri lighters does anyone remember the night club in Hamburg called the Collibri ,I was there on business a few years ago and it still exists ,I took a collegue there to see the phanthom of the opera, it was done very tastefully..

One tale leads to another ,its on the same subject lighters (for your fags).
In Londonwe used to load Ronson gas lighters in the tween deck lockers, the cargo used to arrivejust before sailing with the Royal Mail . The lighters were packed into very secure plywood boxes edged with a steel strip on all corners,so all the edges were locked into each other then banded.

We loaded nearly 70 cases this time for two ports in the far east Bangkok and Keelung, we had cadets in the locker ,in the hatch square and mates on the deck,P&O had just had a huge amount stolen in the royals.
In the locker space we had trimming hatches which were barred down and secure.The loker doors were padlocked and bolted,the upper t/dk had all the hatch boards in place and the trunk way doors were locked ,so in theory no one could go anywhere.
It was lunch time so the lads and chippy closed the hatch and dropped a pair of wheels, You are all thinking what happened next , well we arrived in Bangkok ,opened the locker for the mail ,whiskey and Ronson lighters, only 18 cases of Bangkok cargo was in there, The questions started to be asked only three of us were on board for the voyage when we loaded this cargo so what did we see.

In the afternoon we got down into the ford end of the lower hold no5 ,this is where we had all theevaporated and condensed milk from Hamburg and Rotterdam, I noticed the Thai dockers were being very cautious of me wondering around , then i saw one of them reading an instruction leaflet for (yes you guessed it ) ronson lighters, I charged down into the lower hold and looked around there was hundreds of mt lighter velvet boxes and thuosands of pcs of broken wooden cases . down the back of the spar ceiling was a ton of broken cases and leaflets and the tiny wire spirral cleaning brushes whicch came with each lighter. I never found one lighter..

Back in the Royals in london i remember all the dockers used to wear army camaflague trousers with loads of pockets , an electrican said he could remember the dockers going ashore regular from No 5 as he was working on a winch next to the quay and they were only ashore minutes.

We eventually phatomed it out how they did the job under our noses, they kept men in the lower hold whilst we loaded in the upper tween deck they were ther during lunch, then they came up through the hatch boards into the tween deck unscrewed the pins in the hinged locked doors and opened on single sleeve door andcarried the 18 cases out and threw them down into the lower hold ,where they did thier stuff after lunch when the trunkways were unlocked they had thier exit and escape. The London docker like the Grangemouth and Middlesbrough ones were very hard to catch if they were up to no good.

I suppose if they were caught in todays world they would get an ASBO .
Rgds Ian.

petemac46
18th October 2008, 16:20
This is a sad sight!!----I remember Mabel in the allyway , the milk girls, wongs virgins ,ben line elsie,and all the things that made life great in the 60s.
Keep up the good work!