MV. Debrett

20th May 2006, 23:34
Anybody out there who sailed on the Debrett??

21st May 2006, 14:10
Hi Kevin, (Thumb)

I worked by Debrett in the 60s in Liverpool and was on the Rubens in Receife when Debrett had that terrible engine room fire which killed the Chief Fridge Engineer and the Donkeyman.


21st May 2006, 16:10
Hi Kev,

We have swopped a couple of postings before about the Debrett, on this site and others, but to recap:

I sailed on the Debrett in 1959-60 as a first trip cadet, Captain Legg was the skipper. The other (senior) cadet was a Welsh chap, with whom I distinctly remember not getting on too well with.

Does anyone recall that someone had 'engraved' the words 'PEGGY SUE' on the wheel position indicator. It was impossible not to keep playing it in your head whenever you were on the wheel!

Talking about being on the wheel, she did not have automatic pilot (or radar either), so a turn on the wheel was two hours of concentration, for me anyway. I remember, during one of my early stints, being called out on the wing by the 3rd. to have a look at our wake. He said there were no U-Boats about anymore so we didn't have to zig-zag! The log must have recorded a few extra miles that trip, I did improve as time went by though, honest. ;)

I have posted a picture of her bridge, the only usable photograph that I can find at the moment.

19th June 2006, 21:27
Hi Kevin, (Thumb)

I worked by Debrett in the 60s in Liverpool and was on the Rubens in Receife when Debrett had that terrible engine room fire which killed the Chief Fridge Engineer and the Donkeyman.


Hi there I was on the Debrett in 1960,did not go deep sea went to the Roscoe was the name of the fridge engineer Proven.

Morris Robertson

19th June 2006, 21:36
Sorry Morris, I cant remember his name, long time ago I am afraid.

The Chief Officer was Glyn Houston and one of the Cadets was John Webber, but thats all I can remember of her crew.


22nd June 2006, 20:25
Fridge Engineer's name was Willy Spurr - bit of an odd-ball character, tall and skinny, and sweating cobs all the time!
Captain Legg was a nice guy - fancied himself as a bit of a woodworker and had a workbench set up on the deck, aft of the bridge accommodation. Once when the ship was constantly stoping due to breakdowns and scavenge fires, he made a pair of oars and put them by the Chief Engr's plate at dinner with his knife and fork. Chief definately NOT amused! Chief's name was Ferguson.
I did my first deepsea trip on Debrett as Junior Eng. My job was to maintain those bloody steam winches - my nickname was Aladdin because I always carried an oilcan which looked like an old lamp....
Happy days, if sweaty and hardworking. If I had my time all over again, I'd still go to sea on the dirty, smelly, oily,wonderful DEBRETT!! (Thumb)

18th October 2006, 19:24
Photograph of the Debrett here that I had not seen before:

Plenty of pollution to!

Pete Axon
19th June 2007, 15:27
Hi Kev, I joined the Debrett in Liverpool 1963 as Junior Eng.This was the ill fated trip that had the engine room fire in Recife. I was down below at the time when the boiler blew back and set fire to the ERoom.Myself, the 4th & 3rd Engineers escaped through the tunnel and up the ladder over the stern gland area.Donkeyman died along with the Chief Freezer, think his name was Ken Sturm but everyone called him Andy Gumps. He had two canaries in his cabin called Bing & Little Bee, both perished due to the smoke.On the outward trip, the engineers steward died at sea and was duly buried a day later with all the formality befitting such an event, Union Flag over the deceased who was stitched inside a sail cloth "coffin" weighted down with scrap metal etc, never forget that, ever.Only did that one trip on the Debrett but would love to hear from anyone who did that trip. Can only remember three names, Doug Cuningham ( Jun Eng ) Jim Christie, ( 2nd Eng ) Eddie Rooney 4th Eng. Regards, Pete Axon. Poulton-le-Fylde UK

27th February 2009, 22:30
I have many memories of the old Debrett's engineroom! When manoeuvring, and we got "Stop" on the telegraph, the junior on watch had to run round speeding up the steam-driven Lub.oil and FW Circ. pumps, then slow them down again as the engine started and increased revs. (these systems had engine-driven pumps via a very large chain drive in the middle of the crankcase, so when the engine stopped, so did these pumps) The L.O. filters had big handles which had to be turned regularly to keep oil pressure up.
Scavenge fires were frequent, sometimes every watch. The indication of a fire was a sudden drop in revs, and large volumes of smoke and sparks at the affected unit. \action was to reduce revs and lift the fuel pump on the unit. This involved fitting a big tee-handled lever into a slot in the (big!) fuel pump, you then had to time lifting the pump so as to rise up with the pump stroke - if you got it wrong, you may get a badly bruised shoulder, or worse! All this amid dense smoke and sparks. After a short time, the smoke would clear and the engine control lever could be advanced again to full RPM.
Once, on watch, the engine suddenly slowed right down, but with no sign of the (normal) scavenge fire. It turned out to be the engine intake grids choked with a solid mass of dragonflies! Remedy - stop engine, and all hands turned to with brooms and brushes to clear the filters.
So many memories! Sunbathing on the afterdeck - alongside in Monte and BA, eating steaks with the argentine wharfies at lunchtime because everybody refused to eat with the Chief; docking at La Boca and crossing the big bridge to get to the town (bars on 25th.Mayo) crossing the railway lines to get to town from Darsena 4, the Mission in Avenida Cochabamba where the Padre gave us beers to stop us going "up the road" but where we tanked up on the cheap, and then went up the road with more money for the girlie bars. What wonderful, carefree days those were - if only we could go back and experience it all again........