Major project - I need your help!!

rushie
4th April 2006, 13:50
Hi all,

For my sins I have decided to investigate undertaking a major project - writing a book about the lives of BP people at sea....no minor task!

The reasons for me doing this are -

My father was with BP for over 30 years, and has relayed many a fascinating tale of his times at sea. He loved the company.

I have enjoyed the banter and anecdotes which I read on the website, and obviously there is so much to tell that would be of interest to all, ex BP or other. There is so much comradeship between you all - that is marvellous.

The history of the company and ships has been done - but not the people who made it all work.

I was due to join BP as a Nav Cadet but didn't realise until the medical that I was short-sighted in one eye. I dearly miss not going to sea.

I think it will be a fun, interesting and worthwhile task to undertake.

So all...I need your help!!

Any experiences, anecdotes, disasters, recollections of BP seafaring "characters", your own experiences, tales of ports, ships, shipmates, the good years, the bad years, life on board, how life at sea changed over the years, new technology, war zones, exotic and strange places you visited....and the awful ones! Anything you can provide would be a marvellous start.

Obviously photos, not just of ships, but people at work, ashore, social events, copies of ships data, menus, anything you nicked..! Fleet News magazines would be a major bonus, as I would want to illustrate the book with as much memory rekindling info as possible.

If there are people who you know could help in any way, then I'd be glad to hear from you.

As for my writing experience, I currently have two books at the publishers (Ferries of Devon and Ferries of Cornwall) and am currently finishing off a third.

The more data and info you can provide the better.! Obviously I'd be happy to receive anything by either open or private e-mail, and can supply my contact details if required.

Many thanks in anticipation, lookforward to being deluged with stuff.!

Rushie.

macjack
4th April 2006, 20:40
What a wonderful project, and the prospect of purchasing such a book, exciting. There are many SN members more qualified than I who I sure will assist in this venture. For starters have a look at Graham Wallace's website
http://members.allstream.net/~wallaceg/index.html
With respect I suggest you contact him personally and he will also offer help.
BTC/BP deck apprentice - 3/0 1952-1960.
Best Wishes,
Mac.

rushie
4th April 2006, 21:52
Cheers Mac...that'll be a great start.

Thanks,

Rushie.

rushie
4th April 2006, 22:08
Cheers again Mac....even managed to find a reference to my late father (shown as D.Roberts Nav App) on the British Triumph on a 1962 copy of the crew lists out of dry dock! Amazing.!

Rushie

non descript
4th April 2006, 22:31
Rushie,

A great project and I wish you every success on such a worthwhile endeavour. Given the style and support of this site you should do very well for back-up information and input. Good luck and good fortune to you Sir.

Put me down for a copy.

Kind regards
Tonga

rushie
5th April 2006, 08:45
Thanks Tonga,

It'll be a long hard slog....but with plenty of fun along the way!

You're spot on about the observations about the site, so many good people with interesting tales and expert knowledge...can't go wrong really.!

Cheers,

Rushie

paul0510
5th April 2006, 12:05
apart from my humble self who spent 8 very happy years with BP, there are several other officers and gentlemen on this site who, I am sure, would only be too glad in helping to increase your word/page count. Remember seeing your father's name on crew lists but never had the opportunity to sail with him.

rushie
5th April 2006, 14:13
Thanks Paul.

What I'll probably do is make lists of people who respond, and then contact them directly.

I'll also go through website comments that have been posted in other threads as I can get a lot of info and contacts that way.

One thought I did have, and I hope someone may be able to help me, is does anyone know if BP has a museum, or holds artifacts etc, or does anyone have a contact at BP HQ who may be able, or willing to assist with compiling information, photographs etc? That would be a great bonus.

Cheers for now,

Rushie

macjack
5th April 2006, 17:39
Rushie,
Try here I think restricted hours and days but certainly worth a try, many years ago they were very helpful with a request I made.
Warwick University give them a call.
http://www.bp.com/genericarticle.do?categoryId=2010123&contentId=2001507

Regards,
Mac.

rushie
5th April 2006, 18:23
Thanks Mac.

That's a great help.

Regards,

Rushie

richardc
5th April 2006, 19:52
Hi Rushie,
I spent 8 years with BP as N/App to 2 Mate from 64 to 72. Feel free to contact me for any help etc. Good luck with the project.
Richard.

rushie
5th April 2006, 20:21
Thanks for the offer Richard, I'll no doubt be in touch!

Rushie

jonsea
8th April 2006, 11:53
Happu to get involved too. I have some BP stuff floating around here and there . . . (Applause)

Jon

rushie
8th April 2006, 19:34
Jonsea,

That's great stuff..thanks. Anything considered, it's really a case of getting stuff together to find out what I can use and work on, but anything is much appreciated. That goes to all you ex BP people - especially if any of you may wish to send me anecdotes or tales of sea going experiences. Please feel free to use the pivate e-mail section if you prefer.

Thanks,

Rushie

albertwebster
9th April 2006, 00:47
I joined the British Bulldog (official number 184521, 18,593 grt) at the Isle of Grain refinery on the 2nd May 1959. The Suez Canal was closed at this time because of the Arab Israeli war, so we had to go south about, calling at Durban for bunkers before heading north again for Mena Al Ahmadi in the Persian Gulf where we loaded a cargo of crude oil for Wilhelmshavn in Germany. We turned around and headed for Europe, calling at Capetown for bunkers. We discharged our cargo at Wilhelmshavn then went to Falmouth for drydocking where I signed off on the 8th August 1959.
It was almost like being on a cruise, when your watch was finished, nothing to do but laze around and sunbathe. Unfortunately, as she was going into drydock for some time I had to sign off and look for another ship.

rushie
9th April 2006, 11:13
Many thanks Albert.

Rushie

John_F
9th April 2006, 16:16
I joined the British Bulldog (official number 184521, 18,593 grt) at the Isle of Grain refinery on the 2nd May 1959. The Suez Canal was closed at this time because of the Arab Israeli war, so we had to go south about, calling at Durban for bunkers before heading north again for Mena Al Ahmadi in the Persian Gulf where we loaded a cargo of crude oil for Wilhelmshavn in Germany. We turned around and headed for Europe, calling at Capetown for bunkers. We discharged our cargo at Wilhelmshavn then went to Falmouth for drydocking where I signed off on the 8th August 1959.
It was almost like being on a cruise, when your watch was finished, nothing to do but laze around and sunbathe. Unfortunately, as she was going into drydock for some time I had to sign off and look for another ship.Albert,
I think you'll find that the reason you went round the Cape was because of a lack of demand for oil in the UK at that time. The Arab - Israeli war didn't happen until 1967 when the Canal was shut until 1975, although it was closed briefly during 1956-57. I sailed through the Canal on 11th May 1959 on British Glory as a first trip apprentice.
At this time, BP used their larger vessels as floating storage tanks & these trips round the Cape were done at half speed, initially without any stopovers in Durban or Capetown. The round trip used to take 80 days & BP, to their credit, recognised the fact that this was a boring trip & not very good for morale. You were not allowed to go any further than the rest rooms on the jetty at Mena, other places were even worse - Umm Said for example. If you were not a Scotsman & had to discharge at Finnart then the trip was even worse!
The stops at Durban & Capetown were ostensibly introduced as bunkering stops but, unofficially I think, became a 24 hour R&R stop & very welcome they were too.
Kind regards,
John.

albertwebster
9th April 2006, 21:32
Thanks John, You are probably right, the brain box is getting worse with age.I remember the trip but not the reason.

regards, Albert.

jonsea
10th April 2006, 08:34
John and Albert,

Yes, sadly the business of "slow steaming" (as its was refered to at the time was repeated in the late '70's . . . only 4 or 6 knots from Gulf to NWE . . . enough to drive you mad!!

Jon (Hippy)

Tony Maskell
16th April 2006, 08:52
Rushie.
I have gleaned from a book that you may be able to get in your researches, far easier than I here in Austrlia.
Seedies Book of Naval Honours and Awards 1939 to 1959. This lists all Naval personnel who were awarded any sort of distinction, from Commendations to the VC, Empire Medals to KBE's. Not just RN personnel and British Officers, but everyone who had some maritime connection.
There are 50,000 names contained in it. To buy new is a costly item GBP200 or thereabouts, but you might find a second hand copy at Ross on Wye.
Failing that give me your private e-mail and sometime when I get the time I will give you all the BP personnel who were decorated in some way between 1939 and 1959 which I have roughly copied into an exercise book.
Tony Maskell
Ex BP a long time ago now.

rushie
16th April 2006, 09:14
Many thanks Tony, that'd be some valuable info.

Rushie

Arthur Paternoster
2nd May 2006, 20:49
Hi Rushie
Iwas on the British Patriot in 58 for seven months if you are interested I have a story or two from that time(one or two quite funny).
I was also on the Ensign and Advocate(each has a story)
Hope your'e interested
Arthur

daveyjones
2nd May 2006, 23:39
Well done Rushie! You are correct in saying there are many books written on the many shipping co. that sailed out of the UK. There are also many books by Skippers who have penned the events of their lives at sea. Very few books come from the lower decks from serving seafarers. My book 'Oceans Of Time' is one. As a prolific diarist I was able to take the reader on all my voyages, penning names, pubs and events that have long been forgotten from the golden era in the 50's and 60's. Who remembers Mr Moxley NZSCo or Mr Pook Shaw Savill...maybe Reggie the Rat, Shipping Master KG5. Had a lot of run ins with that bugger! How about Ma Harvey at the Mission in CustomHouse? Times in the Kent Arms, North Woolwich. Those were the days my friend...and so were the characters on the Kiwi Coast. The only tanker I sailed on was from Fawley Southampton. Called the 'Pass of Leny' its crew was the maddest bunch of Irishman I had ever sailed with...including the skipper! All in my book... in the b/shops mid August.
Rushie go to allatsea.cx at peruse the pics of seamen, ships and the pubs we used all over the world and keep the crew posted as to how your book is going. (Applause)

Daveyjones

Terry Adams
3rd May 2006, 15:14
I was on the British Power in 1962 and the Captain was going on leave,unfortunately
H M Customs would not allow him to take his cat.At a later date there were two BP
tankers stopped at sea and a cat was transferred by lifeboat and I`m sure that was
not entered in any log book.

Terry Adams

rushie
3rd May 2006, 21:02
Cheers Terry and Davey,

Things are gathering pace and coming along nicely.!

If anyone else wants to contribute, however small the tale may be...then please do.!

Regards,

Rushie

Graham Wallace
17th May 2006, 06:07
I did two consecutive trips on the Justice as E/A in 1959 ,round the Cape to Mina and back again stopping at Durban on way out and Capetown on the return. Steaming on one boiler at 10 knots, what wonderful memories ! and I thought I had put them all out of reach. I suppose it was one way of spending 6 months, yuck.

Graham Wallace

rob mcbride
9th July 2006, 09:22
hello rushie just returned after 11 weeks on british fidelity visited n.z.japan,china,two weeks at anchor off singapore then a ship to ship transfer off malaysia,after that a 12day run back to aussie.heaps of photographs taken.regards rob.

rushie
10th July 2006, 15:19
Cheers Rob,

That's very kind of you.

I'll be in touch.

Rushie

rob mcbride
11th July 2006, 00:41
No worries rushie,look forward to hearing from you.weather here in perth is cold and a top temp of 14degs,makes me want to return to the warmer climes of the tropics.Anyway have a great day from downunder.

Ships Agent
11th July 2006, 08:44
Albert,
I think you'll find that the reason you went round the Cape was because of a lack of demand for oil in the UK at that time. The Arab - Israeli war didn't happen until 1967 when the Canal was shut until 1975, although it was closed briefly during 1956-57. I sailed through the Canal on 11th May 1959 on British Glory as a first trip apprentice.
At this time, BP used their larger vessels as floating storage tanks & these trips round the Cape were done at half speed, initially without any stopovers in Durban or Capetown. The round trip used to take 80 days & BP, to their credit, recognised the fact that this was a boring trip & not very good for morale. You were not allowed to go any further than the rest rooms on the jetty at Mena, other places were even worse - Umm Said for example. If you were not a Scotsman & had to discharge at Finnart then the trip was even worse!
The stops at Durban & Capetown were ostensibly introduced as bunkering stops but, unofficially I think, became a 24 hour R&R stop & very welcome they were too.
Kind regards,
John.
And what is wrong with Finnart? all those beautiful hills sheep ,more sheep and even more sheep and even more hills.You might even catch a sight of a haggis if the moon is full and the bottle empty or even an occasional glimplse of a great big orange ball in the sky I think they call a sun when it makes an odd apearence from behind a rain cloud.

Allan Wareing
11th July 2006, 12:29
Rushie
Just a little snippet of info which might be of use to you. I did a trip as AB in British Commodore out East from Jan to July 1946.
The only name I remember from that trip is Captn.John Thornton who was a great bloke. The main reason that I recall his name is because I remembered him being in the German POW camp Milag Nord where we both were for most of the war. He was Master of the British Commander when captured
Allan Wareing.

John_F
11th July 2006, 13:15
And what is wrong with Finnart? all those beautiful hills sheep ,more sheep and even more sheep and even more hills.John,
The trouble was that you had to run fast otherwise you got an ugly one & after 80 days at sea I couldn't (run fast!).
Yes - it is a beautiful spot but when you're 17 you're not exactly looking for beautiful scenery, as innocent as I was. The nearest pub was in Garelochead, a good bus ride away & although it served a good pint of heavy & decent pie & chips its not exactly the only thing you're looking for. Unfortunately, Finnart & Garelochead couldn't provide much else & there was never time enough to sample the fleshpots of Glasgow.
Kind regards,
John.

rushie
11th July 2006, 20:44
Thanks a lot Allen.

Still not enough info coming through guys....!!

Cheers,

Rushie

Geoff_E
26th November 2006, 18:05
Rushie,

Rather a belated follow up but I've only just joined this merry band. I do have a copy of the "BP Service", ie. "Order of service to be followed by those serving on BP Tankers". A humorous monologue copy of which was given to me by Harry Scott-Dickens. At the time he was Master of the "Guardsman" (1973 I think) and I was Senior Cadet. The file is on my computer at home so can't do much about it for another 2-3 weeks. Let me know if it's of interest - has anyone else come across it?

Best Wishes,
Geoff.

rushie
29th November 2006, 10:30
Thanks Geoff, I'd love to have a look.!

Rushie.

Geoff_E
29th November 2006, 12:39
Rushie,

Found that file on my laptop, it's an MSWord doc. How do I get a copy to U?

rushie
29th November 2006, 12:55
Cheers,

I'll send you a PM with my e-mail address.

Regards,

Rushie.

pete8
5th December 2006, 13:19
Hi Rushie, What a commendable project and wish you great success.
Apprentice with BP from '52 till 56 on Renown (1928) Warrior, Union, Ardour and Skill.
One notable memory....The Br. Renown broke down with serious engine problem mid Pacific on passage Aruba to Cairns, Queensland. Two days drifting whilst emergency repairs carried out. Entire engine room staff should have been awarded a row of medals each (perhaps they were!!) but all the while they were down below up to their necks in sweat and engine parts the rest of us went shark fishing using meat hooks baited with odds and ends from the galley.... might have been the next day's dinner! A number were caught and some were winched up onto deck (poop) and de-hooked and then returned to the sea. The business of extracting the hook was carried out by an AB called Buchan who was said to have had experience of this on the Australian coast. Anyhow, it was non the less very scary. The biggest was probably 8 to 9 feet .
If not already known to you can recommend excellent book by George King
"A LOve of Ships". He was seagoing with BP and eventually became MD of BP Shipping Co. Lots of characters mentioned.
Best Wishes
Peter Graham.

GeorgeM13
7th December 2006, 00:34
Good morning all. I've just found this site in the last few days and it certainly has awoken many memories for me.
Geoff E it was 1973 for the Guardsman and I still remember Las Palmas.

heglig john
20th December 2006, 00:47
joined B.P. in 1959 straight out the wallsend Slipway,,first ship British Sovereign. British General ,British ROVER..BRITISH GULL..until 1965...then PORT LINE..

john barker
16th August 2008, 16:49
I sailed on the Britsh Trust in1974 as an engine room boy. We were alongside in Oslo discharging crude on the 5th of November, at about 12.00 the ship suffered a massive failure to the port boiler. Due to the time of day ther were only two crew in the engine room, a junior on the bottom plates and the fireman. The fireman (19 years of age) was found in the steering flat lying in about three inches of water. He was evacuated to hospital but sadly lost his fight for life two days later. The junior was ok.
We ended up in Amsterdam drydock for major repairs and sailed on the 23rd December.

Jim S
16th August 2008, 20:12
Hi John,
A very sad event on British Trust. - The young fireman must have suffered a lingering death.
The rest of you were fortunate that it was around lunchtime or there could have been more casualties.
Was the cause of the boiler failure established? - Loss of water?

tom roberts
25th August 2008, 11:15
Sailed as deck boy BRITISH SUPREMECY 27.4.54 capt C.W.URIDGE bosun was a Cornishman cook was a Pole called every one Biily donkeyman was Maltese paid of 20 9 54 Grangemouth.

Michael Parkes
25th August 2008, 12:53
(A) I was on the British Justice twice both with Captain Uridge whom I found to be a nice bloke.

I am trying to found my misplaced discharge book, but my ships were:

British Justice Including trips to Bombay and Kwinana
British Soldier (two voyages)
British Justice Joined in Antwerp to Bandar Mashur thence Milford Haven
Brithsh Ambassador
British Judge
British Splendour Refined products Grain to Norway, Sweden, Denmark
British Signal (three voyages)
British Lancer Maiden voyage, Belfast. Mena, Isle of Grain 1963

Catering boy and Assistant Steward I was

Good ships, great crews.

Michael

ramsay
30th August 2008, 09:18
I was on the Br Forth 30/11/78 - 26/3/79 and think it was then I sailed with your father and your mother including Drydock in Sembawang, was this the correct ship?
Regards, Ramsay

Pobydd
3rd April 2014, 18:47
Rushie

A shot in the dark perhaps after eight years, but did you ever finish your book? I'd love to buy a copy.

Richard BPTC NA/NC & 3/O 1965-1970

retfordmackem
5th April 2014, 06:56
Hi all,

For my sins I have decided to investigate undertaking a major project - writing a book about the lives of BP people at sea....no minor task!

The reasons for me doing this are -

My father was with BP for over 30 years, and has relayed many a fascinating tale of his times at sea. He loved the company.

I have enjoyed the banter and anecdotes which I read on the website, and obviously there is so much to tell that would be of interest to all, ex BP or other. There is so much comradeship between you all - that is marvellous.

The history of the company and ships has been done - but not the people who made it all work.

I was due to join BP as a Nav Cadet but didn't realise until the medical that I was short-sighted in one eye. I dearly miss not going to sea.

I think it will be a fun, interesting and worthwhile task to undertake.

So all...I need your help!!

Any experiences, anecdotes, disasters, recollections of BP seafaring "characters", your own experiences, tales of ports, ships, shipmates, the good years, the bad years, life on board, how life at sea changed over the years, new technology, war zones, exotic and strange places you visited....and the awful ones! Anything you can provide would be a marvellous start.

Obviously photos, not just of ships, but people at work, ashore, social events, copies of ships data, menus, anything you nicked..! Fleet News magazines would be a major bonus, as I would want to illustrate the book with as much memory rekindling info as possible.

If there are people who you know could help in any way, then I'd be glad to hear from you.

As for my writing experience, I currently have two books at the publishers (Ferries of Devon and Ferries of Cornwall) and am currently finishing off a third.

The more data and info you can provide the better.! Obviously I'd be happy to receive anything by either open or private e-mail, and can supply my contact details if required.

Many thanks in anticipation, lookforward to being deluged with stuff.!

Rushie.

Welcome Rushie . I was a Lecky in the 70s with BP doing some long trips round Africa to the Gulf. Also a couple of anecdotes to recall if you wish to e-mail me for details .Such as being on a ship with a dodgem car on board.(Jester)(Jester)

IAN M
5th April 2014, 20:05
Rushie

I hope your project is progressing well.

My book, SHIPPING COMPANY LOSSES OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR, may be of some use to you as it gives details of all British Tanker Co. Ltd. (the forerunner of BP) ships lost.

Regards

Ian

david freeman
13th April 2014, 08:27
I was on the British Power in 1962 and the Captain was going on leave,unfortunately
H M Customs would not allow him to take his cat.At a later date there were two BP
tankers stopped at sea and a cat was transferred by lifeboat and I`m sure that was
not entered in any log book.

Terry Adams

An interesting tail and a bit of a yarn. Often debated by my ships fellow crew men was:'How did a cat survive on a tanker pre IG systems? ( and centre island tankers)[=P] as the deck wether on a Crude or product carrier was liable to cargo gasses. The cargo tanks had an individual stove pipe out of the hatch coaming with the Vent valve individually each release gas to the atmosphere. (About 3 foot high was a stove pipe/vent pipe?) I believe-I could be living in cucukoo land, but something somewere rings a bell of gases and no cats/dogs. This would be in the early 60's.B\)(Ouch)

matthew flinders
14th April 2014, 13:27
An interesting tail and a bit of a yarn. Often debated by my ships fellow crew men was:'How did a cat survive on a tanker pre IG systems? ( and centre island tankers)[=P] as the deck wether on a Crude or product carrier was liable to cargo gasses. The cargo tanks had an individual stove pipe out of the hatch coaming with the Vent valve individually each release gas to the atmosphere. (About 3 foot high was a stove pipe/vent pipe?) I believe-I could be living in cucukoo land, but something somewere rings a bell of gases and no cats/dogs. This would be in the early 60's.B\)(Ouch)

Clyde Pioneer 1961 was home to a young female cat called Squeekie. She must have got ashore as some stage as she eventually produced kittens in the drawer under the second mate's bunk. We always wondered where her latrine was and it was not until we repainted the Chief Engineer's bathroom that we found out.

Cwatcher
14th April 2014, 19:32
An interesting tail and a bit of a yarn. Often debated by my ships fellow crew men was:'How did a cat survive on a tanker pre IG systems? ( and centre island tankers)[=P] as the deck wether on a Crude or product carrier was liable to cargo gasses. The cargo tanks had an individual stove pipe out of the hatch coaming with the Vent valve individually each release gas to the atmosphere. (About 3 foot high was a stove pipe/vent pipe?) I believe-I could be living in cucukoo land, but something somewere rings a bell of gases and no cats/dogs. This would be in the early 60's.B\)(Ouch)
I never sailed on a tanker that had that sort of ventilation system! Ventilation pipes from each tank led to a central vent pipe which exited half way up the masts, not at deck level. I think you may be confusing the vent pipe with the ullage pipe, through which the level of the cargo could be checked when loading or unloading. During these operations the ullage pipe would be open but at sea they were securely closed.
Getting back to cats on board - we had one on the British Beacon in 1959. She came aboard in Genoa where we had stopped for repairs after her maiden trip. She disappeared about six months later - presumably washed overboard - on one of those slow speed trips round the Cape to the Gulf & back.

Tony Maskell
16th April 2014, 01:23
All cargo tanks on BP ships, at least until 1970's, were connected via a vent system from each tank to a central pipe/vent to the "flying bridge" then to the mast where the riser went some 20 feet up the mast. In the case of vessels with amidships accommodation a separate line to the foremast, and a separate line to the mainmast.
I sailed with a number of cats during that time, plus one dog who disliked seagulls or kites!!! During loading off course there would be gas coming out of ullage plugs during the ullaging procedure, whilst loading, there were ullage caps carried, where you placed these over the ullage pipe between taking readings these were of a temporary nature basically a gauze disc of brass. The gas would congregate and would lay on the deck - British Crown !! for example. Does this help?
Tony Maskell

derekhore
16th April 2014, 08:57
During loading off course there would be gas coming out of ullage plugs during the ullaging procedure, whilst loading, there were ullage caps carried, where you placed these over the ullage pipe between taking readings these were of a temporary nature basically a gauze disc of brass. The gas would congregate and would lay on the deck - British Crown !! for example. Does this help?
Tony Maskell

Don't forget the oil impregnated sandbags that sat on the brass gauze spark arrestors, to stop them being blown off by the exiting gas/air pressure!