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The Ben Line A.B's Lament.
The Ben Line A.B's Lament.
I posted this to the Ben Line web site a few years ago, and was surprised nobody had heard it before. Some S.N. members may be a wee bit 'sensitive' to character references of certain crew members, so I've altered two verses slightly.
Other than that it is in its original state, as sung to me by 'Aul Tam' a Dundee Fireman on Benalder in Singapore, 1957... He was full of "Fikh" (Feek)at the time.
Oh come all ye sailors and listen tae me,
To hear the sad tale of a Ben Line A.B.,
We left good old London the month was July,
And all we have seen since is water and sky.
Departed Holehaven, sailed down through the "Bay",
Passed the rock of Gibraltar on a warm sunny day,
For seven more days then, we cruised through the "Med",
Then picked up the Pilot to enter Port Said.
Out of the Suez and into the "Red",
Bunkered at Aden ,then eastward we sped,
O'er the long Indian Ocean with its lazy beam swell,
Till we sighted Malaya, the gateway to hell.
Discharged at three ports, and then Labuan,
But it was at Hong Kong, work really began,
The holds they were painted, to make them look nice,
And enrich the flavour of copra and rice.
In and out harbours, gave "Sparkie" a thrill,
To watch the poor sailors at their 'derrick drill',
Arriving and leaving its grand to behold,
The Mate standing forr'ard, instructing his 'fold'
The "Old Man's" a good sort, the "Chief Off" is too,
'Cause they never bother the "Benalder's" crew,
But on some of the Ben boats that sail out of Leith,
You get some pure B####### so just grit your teeth.
As I stand on the lookout, and we're heading west,
Thats part of the voyage, that I like the best,
'Neath a sky filled with starlight, I gaze o'er the sea,
And think of my loved one, who's waiting for me.
When I get back to U.K. I know what to do,
Join a dirty 'aul' collier, with ten of a crew,
So keep your big Ben boats,and their long, long runs,
I'll be happy on a coaster, of 800 tons.
"Heave away, heave away,
From the Lighthouse to the S####house
Is a mighty long way.
Regards Jim Morrison.
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