Bankline - strandings, fires, collisions etc - Ships Nostalgia
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Bankline - strandings, fires, collisions etc

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  #1  
Old 6th October 2009, 16:57
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Alan Rawlinson Alan Rawlinson is offline  
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Bankline - strandings, fires, collisions etc

Have looked through the growing list of threads, and can't see one devoted to the above subject, in which I seem to have a morbid interest!

There has been discussion re the Forthbank bridge collision; the Lindenbank loss; the Westbank stranding; the Southbank loss; Trentbank collision: and the Forresbank loss, etc but I am sure there are many more interesting stories out there relating to casualties. In case anyone might think that the Bankline had more than their fair share, I would say that there was a big fleet visiting many out of the way places, which inevitably took its toll.

I remember the old Beaverbank stranding in the Line islands, and seeing a picture taken from the air of the scene after she had pumped out all of the coconut oil into the surrounding sea . There was a huge white layer surrounding the ship, of solidified oil. U.S.Navy tugs from Hawaii came down 700 miles to free her - after an effort.

Would be interesting to read any accounts of incidents - I can kick things off with a picture taken by me of the Kelvinbank at Ocean Island shortly after she went ashore. ( Capt Shorthouse?) This was 1955 I believe.
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Last edited by Alan Rawlinson : 7th October 2009 at 09:37. Reason: tidying up
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Old 6th October 2009, 17:51
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Alan, a nice and well worthwhile thread... well done Sir and thank you
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Old 7th October 2009, 09:26
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Shirrabank in the latter half of 1975
At sea and came down for watch at 4am and a lot of activity around a generator. From memory it was the governor giving problems so they decided to change over generators and when the load came off the troublesome one the revs started to increase and it wouldn’t shut down. Eventually with all taking cover she blew spitting parts everywhere.
The photo taken some time after the occasion shows what was left and on visiting the ship a year or so later the generator was still u/s.
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Old 7th October 2009, 09:39
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There was a Bankline ship that came off second best in a run in with a rock face in the Magellen Straits... Anyone recall this incident?
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Old 7th October 2009, 11:17
johnb42 johnb42 is offline  
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Must have led a sheltered life. The only "knock" I recall was when the Rosemary Everard bounced all the way down our starboard side in the Thames. We were at anchor on the Elmbank waiting to go up to Dagenham to discharge sugar. Visibility was starting to lift after heavy all-night fog and ships were getting under way in the upper Thames. Unfortunately we were sat in a little pocket that wasn't lifting at all and the Rosemary Everard was suddenly hit with a blanket of thick fog and we were suddenly hit with a Rosemary Everard. I was on anchor watch and although the noise and sparks were quite dramatic there was little structural damage. A bit hairy at the time though as I could see on the radar what was about to happen and could do nothing about it and also unaware as to what the radar blip represented.
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Old 7th October 2009, 11:49
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As mentioned in another thread..
maplebank sept52 major e/r fire as about to pick up pilot for port sulphur,fire boat down from new orleans ,spent over 3 weeks in todd johnson drydock.

Ettrick bank sometime between dec59-dec61 2/0 .four days out from singapore east bound ,smoke alarm from no i hold,blast C02 in until all cyls empty ,vents sealed head full speed for singapore.
met at anchorage by port fire boat .No 1 was lower hold plus two tween decks cant remember full cargo ,but l/h was copper concentrate in bags .lower t/d cords of wood and copper ingots ,upper t/d bales of sisal and other general.
fire appeared to be out but once hatches were opened and firemen and crew started to unload cargo firs flared up again ,so hatches sealed ,full Co2 cyls had been brought and manhandled down to the Co2 room ,this was blasted in to the hold and given 8 hours before opening up again this was carried out three or four more times before some bright spark thought up the idea of building a manifold on the deck adj to no 1 with hoses going down the hatch then a barge lay a/side full of cyls ,then it was blast a bank of co2 into the hold change over the bottles.
once we got into the swing of things we were dumping all cargo over the side until the P&i club rep said no more and a number of barges were brought in and all cargo had to be dumped in them.
anyway we had to work our way through two tween decks down into the lower hold where the source of the fire was found to spontainous combustion in the copper concentrate.
We were 6 weeks in the dangerous cargo anchorage for 6 weeks before the fire was declared out ,the port firemen worked two12 hour shifts for all that time and two firemen were lost due to fumes getting thru their primative breathing gear ,we had to were them but only for quick inspections.They were designed on some sort of artifical lungs.

jim
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Old 7th October 2009, 15:02
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Alan...
The ship that got into trouble in the English Narrows of the Magellan Passage was either the "Meadowbank" or the "Moraybank", unfortunately I can't remember which but I know it was one of the two Doxford wartime Bank Boats. The story was often told to me by the 'stars' who were aboard at the time - John Mackenzie, John Shaw and Spen Lynch. They were returning to India from Tocopilla with a cargo of bagged Nitrates and ran aground on a terminal moraine when the pilot lost his bearings and went through the wrong slot between some islands. They beached on a nearby sliver of sand (something of a rarity in that region, I suspect) near Eden Harbour. Got the ship sound and made it to Galveston where they were repaired in Todd's Drydock. They then got caught in a hurricane whilst in drydock and had to hunker down because they could not go anywhere with plates off the bottom.
Seems you have to have come through a major accident to get a Super's job provided its not your actual fault! Not true of which in one case that I have intimate knowlege !
On reflection, I'm sure it was the "Meadowbank".
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Old 7th October 2009, 20:55
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Alistair,

There, but for the grace of God, etc.....

By the time I got to hear the story, they had run into a rock wall without touching bottom - unless of course, that was another incident?

I have mentioned it elsewhere in these threads, but have a lasting memory of coming down the outside ladder from the bridge on a starlit and peaceful night in mid Pacific, at 0400 hrs or close, after handing over to the mate. I heard a rustling noise and saw white water breaking to starboard, a few cables away. This was a island reef we were supposedly passing at a safe distance.
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Old 8th October 2009, 13:29
david bennett david bennett is offline  
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hi....i was on the lindenbank in 1975 when she ran aground and was abandoned weeks later
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Old 8th October 2009, 17:27
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Dave....

What rank were you? I came out from New York and was the liaison with the U.S. Navy and their salvage attempts. We must have met!
Alistair.
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Old 8th October 2009, 22:18
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A sure way of getting a super,s job

Alistair, your quote Seems you have to have come through a major accident to get a Super's job provided its not your actual fault! Not true of which in one case that I have intimate knowledge ! reminds me of the following incident In 1956 when I was app on the Eskbank

we were inbound to Biera with a full cargo of bagged grain from Port Lincoln . We were approaching the pilot vessel and pilot boarding area awaiting the pilot, it was a fine afternoon in calm seas and we awaited our pilot which we subsequently found was on the outbound Norwegian tanker "Davenger". This was in the days before VHF and somehow Capt Eaddy who was in command managed to manouevre the Eskbank into collision with this tanker. The Eskbank smashed Davengers starboard side bow area into the port side stern area of the light ship tanker tearing rails and opening up the tanker,s accommodation. The Eskbank sustained damage to the starboard hawse pipe driving the starboard anchor into the fore-peak. The bow plate was distorted so much that the fore topmast stay pulled the mast into a severe bow. The noise of the collision caused the Indian crew, some of whom had been at sea during the war, to panic and many rushed to the lifeboats. Thank goodness the collision area was aft of the gas filled cargo tanks as there was an almighty shower of sparks when we struck.

At the time I was on the bridge at the movement book and I distinctly recall Capt Eaddy remarking at the time - "thats a supers job for me now". sure enough Capt Eaddy was relieved several months later by first trip Master Capt Allen.

Capt Eaddy went to Calcutta as super.
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Old 10th October 2009, 18:21
Joe C Joe C is offline  
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Strandings,fires,collisions etc

The title includes "etc," this is an "etc". We were in Pyremont I think discharging sulphur when we had a small fire,not an unusual occurence,but this one got a grip and soon was a big fire, so the 3rd donned the smoke helmet,a wonderful apparatus with a helmet (designed by Jules Verne I think,or was it Flash Gordon?) a hose pipe and a bellows.'He shot off down the ladder into the hold see the extent of the fire while we pumped the fumes that were belching out of the hold back down to him via the smoke helmet, bellows and hose.He came up the ladder much quicker than he went down and we called the fire brigade who arrived resplendent in their shiny brass helmets, brass buttons and very shiny hose nozzles.In no time at all they emerged having put the fire out very professionally but unfortunately for them,with green helmets,green buttons and very green hose nozzles together with very blue Aussie vernacular! Another day in the life of an apprentice on the Moraybank in 1955.Where could you enjoy an experience like that today!
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Old 10th October 2009, 19:15
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I love the story of Captain Eady and, of course, the daddy of all stories is the Belfast 'flier' the "Laganbank" that was lost by grounding on Huddamatti Atoll in the Maldives in 1938 with no less than Captain Gale on board. Must be a coincidence that the route to shoreside super is via a ship casualty! As you know, aftewr Calcutta, Captain Eady went to the London office where he was put in charge of the Stores Department and earned the title of "Arch Cassab". He retired early for health reasons but what is not generally known is that he was captured and interned by the Germans in 1941 when they took over the "Speybank" in the South Atlantic subsequently operating her as a minelayer called "Doggerbank". Someone in Hitler's Germany had a sense of humour! He was liberated in 1945 and was longer in a prisoner of war camp that in a typical Bank Line two-year trip.
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Old 10th October 2009, 20:30
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Yes Alistair I remember Capt. Eady telling me one night when he came on the bridge when I was Temp Acting Third Mate a few stories about his time as a POW. He said they had a better time there than they expected and the senior officers and Masters set up Nav Schools in the camps so that the apprentices and junior officers were ready to sit for their tickets on release. I think there was some credit given, by the BOT, for time in POW as sea time for tickets but I am not sure.
Capt Eady was a New Zealander and got a great reception from his friends and relations when we were there on the Eskbank. He was a kind and generous man who ran a good ship and taught me a lot. He had to handle a very difficult situation when the Chief Officer , a sixty year old ex Lake Maracaibo pilot and a Shetland Islander, who found the job too much for him. He turned depressive mad and accused Mrs Eady of attempting to poison him. We were at sea at the time and Eady put me on watch with this man and it was a headache for me to watch him as he was suicidal. Anyway we put into Colombo and he was taken off and sent for psychiatric treatment.

Mrs Eady was a meme-sahib of the old school having lived most of her pre married life in Calcutta - she demanded and had all officers to get to their feet when she entered the saloon to dine. We all complied except the old Irish Chief Engineer Doyle who refused and spent the entire time taking the Mick out of her. I remember she invited us three Apps up to their cabin.There she gave us a great lecture about the perils of associating with the girls at the dances the Marine Club or Mission in Calcutta saying- they were Anglo Indians looking for husbands (like May and Daphne)-according to her- we of course took this advice and headed straight for Isiah's and Free-e school street. Happy days
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Old 10th October 2009, 23:04
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I remember capt and mrs Eady well. i was 3/0 on the isipingo and we were sent up to chittagong to sit on the berth to await a cargo ,the super and his good lady joine us in calcutta as they were going to spend xmas and new year with us ,they were in the port side de lux cabin just under the bridge.
On news years eve I had been on a Bi ship having a few drinks when i came back on board and trying to climb up the port stairs to the bridge i fell hed over heels with a terrible clatter and waking up the super and his lady,they came out checked me out and dragged me off to bed.
Nothing was said other than a polite enquiry at breakfast on the state of my head.

jim
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Old 11th October 2009, 08:02
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Fires,Collisions, Strandings etc.

While previously mentioned in another thread, is there any other 'poster' who was present in the 'Marabank', apart from myself and 'boatlarnie' at the time of her conflagration in Lourenco Marques, in mid-1965.
The lower hold of No 4 was loaded with baled 'gunnies and - possibly ? - bagged rice, which was/were in the process of discharge.
Shore labour knocked off for the night and 'Jolly Jack' ashore, en masse, 'sub' in one hand, the other hand namelessly engaged'
At about midnight, with 'jack' fostering Anglo-mozambiqan relations in a bar,
whose named escapes but was at the opposite end of the street from 'Maxims', when the door burst open and in rushed 'Sparky' gasping that the ship was on fire, and we werr all required back on board.
It eventually sank in that he was serious and half filled glasses were abandoned in the mad dash back to the ship, about 2-300 yds away, totally over-running the so called 'security' on the dock gate.to be confronted by thick smoke billowing from No 4 hatch.
the on-board watch had already started to fight the fire and more hoses were 'flaked' out as required.
With the seat of the fire centred in the lower hold, it was difficult to locate precisely and it soon became obvious that our hose efforts were not having much effect, apart from flooding the bilges, so a Harbour suction dredger was brought alongside and in a matter of minutes, back-pumped water to fill the lower hold and the fire was doused.
Next, the problem of removing the water. As most will be aware, the bilge suctions in the holds are not really designed to handle large amounts of water and so are of modest capacity. Nevertheless the de-watering was set in motion and if memory serves took about 24hrs to drain the lower hold.
(With the arrival of dawn, a weary figure was seen approaching the ship, and on boarding, enquired what the problem was. The 3rd Mate had been in the 'little boys room' when 'Sparky' had issued his call to arms, and on emergence thought all others had moved on, and so continued his amorous advances to its natural conclusion).
Having been submerged for up to 24hrs the 'gunnies' had begun to swell creating severe pressure on the ships structure so much so that the for'd bulkhead was bulged to reduce the walkway behind the Main Switchboard in Engine Room on the other side, to about two feet.
The swollen gunnies were prised out with great difficulty, many still wedged in as the ship was removed to Durban, before eventually being extracted.
Temparary repairs were carried out, - by Dorman,Long, ? - to allow the ship to continue its voyage, and were permanent repairs were carried in Kawasaki, Japan
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Old 11th October 2009, 16:52
Jim Cobban Jim Cobban is offline  
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That afternoon permission was obtained from the Chief Officer by the Second and Third Officer to go ashore during the stevedores lunch break to further the three apprentices education. Permission being granted we (the three apprentices) polished our flip flops and reported for educational duties.

Such was the diligence by all concerned that we missed the clocking back on by some hours.

On return the Chief Officer was waiting to welcome us back at the top of the gangway. I felt that there was malicious glee in his voice when he told the senior app. that the Old Man would like to also welcome us back. When asked where we had been, the senior man truthlfully replied "Ashore Sir". The torrent of abuse that greeted this honest reply was somewhat unwarranted.

Shore leave and tap was stopped for the rest of the trip. We were only about seven months into the voyage. A lifetime awaited us.

Having a few Escudos left and having been released from the chipping hammers we decided to sneak ashore as the Escudos would be of no further use afterwards. Fortunately we got away with it and when summoned by the Sparks we returned to lend our assistance.

It was a long night and in the morning the Old Man who was underneath it all a decent chap rescinded.

I would like to take this opportunity of thanking BoatLarnie for all his diligent extra curriculum tuition - which stood me in good stead in later life.
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Old 11th October 2009, 17:10
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I have read in another entry that there had been an fire in the reefer lockers in No.4 Hatch on the "Inchanga" before I was on board (1958 - 1960) but we had our own excitement in the same location in, I think, January 1960 in Calcutta. Captain Harry Allen was Master and Wilkie Rutherford Mate. To celebrate the Captain's birthday, a goodly crowd of shoreside wallahs and their memsahibs was aboard. Gathering on the Bar Verandah after dinner the party was interupted when smoke started coming out of the No4 ventilators. Wilkie sprung into action and climbed down the after hatch ladder to an admiring audience. The fire was still small at this stage so he yelled up to the Second Mate, Alan Macgregor, to lower down a fire extinguisher. During the lowering down on the end of a heaving line, the extinguisher was swinging about. The plunger struck the ladder and Rutherford got covered in foam. Unfortunately he was still wearing his mess kit!
Confusion reigned for some time as we were in drydock and there was no water on the deck line. The guests were quickly ushered ashore and the fire eventually put out with other extinguishers. There was some talk of a sabotage attempt but on the other hand it may have been a dock worker hiding away for a surreptitious drag on his biddy. Captain Allen, for sure, remembered that birthday celebration for a long time!
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Old 11th October 2009, 19:08
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On the Clydebank in 1955 - I was Senior App and we had an alcoholic Chief Mate. This fellow appointed me Casab of the Mates Store in the Lazarette. This store, as many will recall, contained a gold mine of items from bolts of duck canvas, sail needles, paint brushes, soft soap, hand cuffs etc. On this ship we also had a box of fumigating smoke bombs shaped as small cones, probably leftover after some cockroach purge.

It was Xmas day and we were in Rabaul and we had a huge party on the old man's deck. Capt Hale had been an excellent host and we enjoyed ourselves, in port alongside and no cargo work, so after a huge lunch and many beers we all retired to our bunks under the blast of the ubiquitous fans in those non A.C. days.

For some reason this drunken Mate, who knew about these cones and now fully tanked up with gin at the party was now out of his mind . About an hour after retiring we Apps were rudely aroused and turned to by our alcoholic Ch.Off demanding that we get the keys and accompany him to the Lazarette store. There to my disgust and dismay he seized upon the smoke bombs and with great glee he headed with them towards the saloon.

Those of us, who have has the luck to serve on his class of vessel, will recall that the saloon had a skylight which opened out just below the ports of the Captains day room on the boat deck. Well the mate laid out the cones on the saloon table and lit them. It was about fifteen mins before all hell was let loose.The Captain was roaring fire fire and everyone who lived midships got out thinking the accommodation was on fire - we two amid ship Apps (the other two lived with the sparks aft of the funnel.) were already out on the hatch watched this with mirth. There was an almighty row then between the Master and the Mate when Capt Hale discovered the source of the smoke but as we were homeward bound with copra he was stuck with the incumbent C/O who it must be said was a different person at sea and got no access to alcohol. The accommodation stunk of the smell of this smoke which permeated everywhere, as it was designed to do, for days and it certainly made it a Xmas to remember as well as rendering death to all copra bugs and assorted cockroaches. The Mate got a double DR, I remember, on return to Bromborough..

JC

Last edited by John Campbell : 12th October 2009 at 09:04. Reason: spelling and general tidy up
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Old 11th October 2009, 22:54
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jOHN,WE MUST HAVE PASSED LIKE SHIPS IN THE NIGHT,i JOINED THE CLYDEBANK IN KEIL IN APRIL 55 AS SENIOR APP AND LEFT IN DURBAN IN aUG 56.
BERTIE HOLLAND WAS THE MASTER AND WILKIE RUTHERFORD THE MATE A VERY HAPPY SHIP.
JIM
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Old 13th October 2009, 17:16
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Alan Rawlinson Alan Rawlinson is offline  
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John,

Who was it? We might of known him. I'm on his side anyway!


David Bennett Esq,

Hi David,

Greetings from Cornwall.......... ( Falmouth for orders)

What happened on the Lindenbank? - would be interesting to hear ( read) your account of the proceedings?

Last edited by Alan Rawlinson : 13th October 2009 at 17:32. Reason: afterthoughts
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Old 3rd November 2009, 05:51
Abbeywood. Abbeywood. is offline  
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Eastbank.

Anybody recall an Australian Chief Eng. named Ian Dingle.
Was 'the leader of the pack' during my first trip under Bank Line colours, on the Eastbank, (June - Nov' 1963), on the Copra run.
He was returning to 'Oz', with his wife. and leaving the Company,
Remember that during one of the breakdowns, (Water leak in the crankcase, I think) that 'Mrs Chief' was making herself useful in the ER, cutting CAF joints, and making the tea, while we were engaged inside the crankcase. Hardly front room presentation but very much appreciated.
The couple did the PNG ports and left in Port Moresby, can't remember who took over for the homeward trip.
Met Ian and his 'mem-sahib' when I was in the Marabank calling at Port Lincoln, S. 'Oz'
Other names you may wish to remember are Colin Jackson 3M on the Marabank during my first trip in the ship while during my second trip names like Alan Smalldon,2M (aka 'boatlarnie'); Andy Walker,3M; John Grant, C.Eng,
with his wife Isabel; Jimmy Innes, Elect'; Jim Cobban, Senior Apprentice; and Sunil Ratnayake, from Sri Lanka, 5 Eng.
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Old 12th November 2009, 08:53
aussiesparks aussiesparks is offline  
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Westbank

In about 1962 the Westbank was northbound after doing the copra cruise and going through the panama canal stopped at the Cut to allow a southbound convoy through. When the engine was restarted every release value blew,,, one cylinder was full of water. We were towed through the canal to Christobel and spend 4 or 5 weeks trying to get the engine repaired. We eventually creeped back to the UK on 4 of the 5 cyclinders,, don't know how the engineers did i,, I was only the sparks,, but the engine sounded very strange for that trip.

4 / 5 week in Christobel,, well that was another story,, I know everyone was broke when we left.. except maybe the Indian crew who had been lending money out to the officers at exorbitant rate..

Aussiesparks
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Old 12th November 2009, 09:13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abbeywood. View Post
Anybody recall an Australian Chief Eng. named Ian Dingle.
Was 'the leader of the pack' during my first trip under Bank Line colours, on the Eastbank, (June - Nov' 1963), on the Copra run.
He was returning to 'Oz', with his wife. and leaving the Company,
Remember that during one of the breakdowns, (Water leak in the crankcase, I think) that 'Mrs Chief' was making herself useful in the ER, cutting CAF joints, and making the tea, while we were engaged inside the crankcase. Hardly front room presentation but very much appreciated.
The couple did the PNG ports and left in Port Moresby, can't remember who took over for the homeward trip.
Met Ian and his 'mem-sahib' when I was in the Marabank calling at Port Lincoln, S. 'Oz'
Other names you may wish to remember are Colin Jackson 3M on the Marabank during my first trip in the ship while during my second trip names like Alan Smalldon,2M (aka 'boatlarnie'); Andy Walker,3M; John Grant, C.Eng,
with his wife Isabel; Jimmy Innes, Elect'; Jim Cobban, Senior Apprentice; and Sunil Ratnayake, from Sri Lanka, 5 Eng.
John Grant the C. Eng, - left Bank Line in the late 70,s to become an Offshore Installation Manager (OIM)with Shell in the North Sea and worked there until his retirement.
JC
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Old 22nd November 2009, 02:54
Johnnietwocoats Johnnietwocoats is online now  
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Viet Nam Medal

I may be out to lunch but is there a Medal awarded by the Americans to Merchant Navy men who carried cargo to Saigon during the war.?

TC
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