Recruiting for shortage of 3rd.mates

John Cassels
30th July 2015, 19:58
In the late '60's early '70's , Denholms had a serious shortage of 3rd.mates. Even the bounty system didn't work and we were asked by head office for ideas on how to recruit.

I recently came across the piece I sent in ;

If you're an AB in demand,
or a trawler 2nd.hand,
having served on boats to date,
exceeding twenty tons net weight,
please join us now with no delays,
we're taking anyone these days,
tickets need not worry you,
your local bus firms one will do.

Not long ago , an office dream,
we used the bounty hunting scheme,
our men were offered sums of money,
(but thought it all as rather funny),
to search the land and bring to heel,
recruits who'ld share share the bounty deal.

But all of this was no avail,
other chaps just would not sail,
with J & J and furthermore,
their companies became quite sore
to hear of this and so alas,
another plan just had to pass.

Perhaps because our ships are staffed,
by much less men than other craft,
or that our mates should be avowed,
to work together with the crowd.
If you're a third mate you'll see red,
because the guy that makes your bed,
the GP system gives him due,
to earn a little more than you.
So now perhaps you get the picture,
your watchman is a little richer.

So join the fold and rue the day,
"move with the times", forget the pay.
A small reminder please be clear,
in ignorance if you do come here,
please remember once you do,
we pay our GP's more than you.


It's 45 years or so ago since I wrote that but remember getting a rather short reply from St.Vincent street saying that my contribution was not appreciated.

chadburn
30th July 2015, 20:06
How did Denholms do after National Service finished?

George Porteous
30th July 2015, 20:57
The good thing about the shortages of 3rd mates was that quite a few of the final year cadets got promoted to 3rd mate which was great, especially financially and when you went for your 2nd mates tick t you were paid 3rd mat s salaries instead of final year cadet! I was one of the lucky ones and was 3rd mate on Naess Trader spending a good part of the summer of 1966 in Port Talbot due to the seamanship strike. I was also lucky later when serving as 2nd mate on the Greenland Sea they could not get a relief for the mate so I got promoted once again great, although the company got th in pound of flesh on that old "rust bucket"!
George Porteous

John Cassels
31st July 2015, 08:47
Then the same thing happened to both of us George , after the MAR course.

My first trip 3rd.mate was Arisaig also summer 1966 and also in Santa portablo
for the strike.

Tonykshaw
31st July 2015, 12:21
I remember in the early sixties a few Harrison Line ships were held up in the Mersey for several days trying to find 3rd mates. In the office they were told not to reveal their salaries as, I think, everybody had a different rate, depending on demand at the actual moment in time. Also ,the masters were told not to antagonise these young officers unduly as skippers were ten a penny at the time. I really don't know how true that last bit was !

Stephen J. Card
31st July 2015, 14:49
Put up to 3rd in EUROLINER. In fact we had two 3rds on board.

Later it cost me two months sea time when I went up for 2/M. My Disch. Book said as Cadet then above.. 'Temp 3rd. Mate'. The examiner cancelled the two months and had a two months penalty.... but I was not put down cadet... stayed as 3rd.... and kept the star wages!

Cwatcher
31st July 2015, 18:48
BP also had a shortage of Third Mates, certainly in the early '60s.
I joined the Queen as Senior Apprentice in June '62 up in Finnart. I still had 8 months to serve on my indentures. Unfortunately at this time, my indentures went AWOL somewhere in Britannic House & I had to sign on the Queen as a Cadet & this was entered in my Discharge Book.
We did one trip to Tripoli & back to Finnart where my indentures were waiting. I was called up to the Old Man's cabin (Captain J.T. Smythe) & informed that I was being promoted to Uncert. 3/O & was to join the Gannet in Grangemouth without delay. A big increase in pay immediatley came into force - I think I jumped from £17/month to £55/month.
BP had a minibus that ran between Finnart & Grangemouth & I remember removing my gorgettes from my uniform jacket & trying to sew on a very old, tatty 3/0's stripe that the 3/O on the Queen had given me, on the same jacket whilst on the minibus. Still have the jacket.
I was not penalised, sea-time wise, for the 3 weeks I was signed on the Queen as a Cadet. I did a month coasting on the Gannet (baptism of fire crossing the North Sea in those days with all the drifters around) before being transferred to the Clyde Guardian, still as Uncert. 3/O, to complete my sea-time before taking my 2nd Mate's ticket at King Ted's in May '63.
The pay as Uncert. 3/O certainly helped me survive study leave !

Julian Calvin
31st July 2015, 22:09
In '71, after getting 2nd Mates, had a heavy lunchtime in Captains Cabin, Victoria St, L'pool. In flip flops, shorts and T shirt staggered into Harrison's. "Any jobs going?". Can you join today was reply.
Apparently three ships awaiting third mate
Got home eventually and found urgent telegram from Sugar Line also asking if I was immediately available.
Oh happy days.

John Cassels
1st August 2015, 10:15
In '71, after getting 2nd Mates, had a heavy lunchtime in Captains Cabin, Victoria St, L'pool. In flip flops, shorts and T shirt staggered into Harrison's. "Any jobs going?". Can you join today was reply.
Apparently three ships awaiting third mate
Got home eventually and found urgent telegram from Sugar Line also asking if I was immediately available.
Oh happy days.


That's for sure , those were the days.

NZSCOTTY
1st August 2015, 11:21
In the late '60's early '70's , Denholms had a serious shortage of 3rd.mates. Even the bounty system didn't work and we were asked by head office for ideas on how to recruit.

I recently came across the piece I sent in ;

If you're an AB in demand,
or a trawler 2nd.hand,
having served on boats to date,
exceeding twenty tons net weight,
please join us now with no delays,
we're taking anyone these days,
tickets need not worry you,
your local bus firms one will do.

Not long ago , an office dream,
we used the bounty hunting scheme,
our men were offered sums of money,
(but thought it all as rather funny),
to search the land and bring to heel,
recruits who'ld share share the bounty deal.

But all of this was no avail,
other chaps just would not sail,
with J & J and furthermore,
their companies became quite sore
to hear of this and so alas,
another plan just had to pass.

Perhaps because our ships are staffed,
by much less men than other craft,
or that our mates should be avowed,
to work together with the crowd.
If you're a third mate you'll see red,
because the guy that makes your bed,
the GP system gives him due,
to earn a little more than you.
So now perhaps you get the picture,
your watchman is a little richer.

So join the fold and rue the day,
"move with the times", forget the pay.
A small reminder please be clear,
in ignorance if you do come here,
please remember once you do,
we pay our GP's more than you.


It's 45 years or so ago since I wrote that but remember getting a rather short reply from St.Vincent street saying that my contribution was not appreciated.
Excellent poem John but to much truth in it thus the reply from your head office. Looks like Ben Line and Denholm were pretty similar in there attitude. - bastards I have known Ben and Den!

Tonykshaw
1st August 2015, 17:50
Was Stu Blythe in the office then Julian overseeing recruiting. Nice chap !

kudu
1st August 2015, 18:42
I had a similar experience to Julian,although it was with Ropners.A friend of mine was going for an interview with Ropners for a 3rd mates position.Five minuits later he came out,and he had got the job.He also said that the needed another 3rd mate as quickly as possible.He told them that I was outside in the car,and looking for a job(I had just finished my apprenticeship in january1969).I was asked to go in for a quick word.Acouple of minuits later I was a 3rd mate with Ropners!. I needed to be in Rotterdam next day,so train and ferry tickets,or passes were issued there and then.A quick trip to Manchester house in Middlesbrough for a 3rd officer's epaulettes,and I was on my way that night(my brother had found me a sextant for£30).My mate joined his ship in Vancouver some days later.

Angus Murray
4th August 2015, 15:42
In 1970 when on the Sir Andrew Duncan, a new 3rd Mate joined us. Ex trawlerman from an east coast of England fishing port. No previous MN experience. On passage to Nouadhibou, I arrived on the bridge at midnight to take over the watch, to be met by an array of bright lights and visible neon signs. We had overshot the a/c position by some considerable distance and heading close inshore at Las Palmas!. Third Mate's comment was " I was wondering what these were!" Needless to say, he was paid off on return to uk.
Re 3rd Mate shortage - paid off Naess Endeavour after a 10 month trip, but with 5 months seatime to complete before 2nd Mates. Joined the Crinan (no longer a training vessel - Capt George Macintosh) in Port Talbot as uncertificated 3rd Mate, and wages jumped from £47 pm to superstar wage of £120.

chadburn
4th August 2015, 16:13
I had a similar experience to Julian,although it was with Ropners.A friend of mine was going for an interview with Ropners for a 3rd mates position.Five minuits later he came out,and he had got the job.He also said that the needed another 3rd mate as quickly as possible.He told them that I was outside in the car,and looking for a job(I had just finished my apprenticeship in january1969).I was asked to go in for a quick word.Acouple of minuits later I was a 3rd mate with Ropners!. I needed to be in Rotterdam next day,so train and ferry tickets,or passes were issued there and then.A quick trip to Manchester house in Middlesbrough for a 3rd officer's epaulettes,and I was on my way that night(my brother had found me a sextant for£30).My mate joined his ship in Vancouver some days later.

Manchester House rings some bells, sold my much loved Dommi 88 to Charlie Graham Motorcycle Shop just up the same road and then into M.H. for my Uniform. What a waste of money that was I hardly ever wore it, wish I had kept the bike.

George Porteous
4th August 2015, 20:01
Hi Angus, I was 2nd mate on Sir Andrew Duncan with George McIntosh as o/m. He was master on my first trip on the Ormsary, a bit eccentric to say the least, he often had his wife and daughter, Sheila, on board. I was also mate on the Naess Endeavour, only for one trip, I was taken off at Singapore and sent to Le Harve to join Naess Viking. George Porteous