Bombay 6 Wheeler

25th October 2007, 20:23
I was once standing in the galley chatting with the Chef (sic) when I spotted some movement inside the sandwich which was on the unit waiting for my attention.

At first there seemed to be slight vibration, then the whole top slice of bread moved left and right (port & starboard) about half an inch.

"What's happening" I asked.

"Ah! No problem Sahb" said the chef "It's only a Bombay 6 Wheeler!"

My question is, "where did this name come from?"

also, "What would it have tasted like?" After all, people eat all kinds of things these days....!

Anyone ever eat one?


K urgess
25th October 2007, 20:27
Not consciously but I'm sure some of the brown bits in the wholemeal bread were not exactly the "grain".[=P]
Just like some of the more crunchie rice krispies.
No complaints "fresh meat" was always at a premium. Somewhat nutty flavour if I remember correctly.
Maybe that's the Indian description.
We tended to call them "Bombay Canaries".

John Campbell
25th October 2007, 20:30
We used to call them Bombay Canaries - my goodness how they could go I remember my mate in the top bunk got struck in the face by one which was spat from the Thermotank Punka Louvre. They were awesome at first sight and were giants until I came across Rhinoceros Beetles in Rabaul.

K urgess
25th October 2007, 20:41
The Rabaul version of "Bombay Canaries" were something to behold as well.
6 inch long albino ones inhabiting Japanese tunnels.

Talk of Rabaul always reminds me of copra bugs that were small and vicious and bred a lot faster than rabbits. Had very strong jaws and could get into the most unlikely places.

John Campbell
25th October 2007, 21:02
The Rabaul version of "Bombay Canaries" were something to behold as well.
6 inch long albino ones inhabiting Japanese tunnels.
Talk of Rabaul always reminds me of copra bugs that were small and vicious and bred a lot faster than rabbits. Had very strong jaws and could get into the most unlikely places.

Yes you are spot on Marconi Sahib these copra bugs could bite but one somehow got used to them. I left Bank Line before you joined so I would be pleased if you may be able to tell me if when you were in Rabaul, loading copra, you tied up to a wrecked Japanese freighter that was used as a wharf?

K urgess
25th October 2007, 21:46
Certainly did, John.
There's a thread on here somewhere about her and if you look here ( there's some history and pictures.

John Campbell
25th October 2007, 22:04
Thanks Kris. That was excellent info and I enjoyed reading about the wreck which I remember was covered with the names of all the Bankline ships that had tied up alongside.

31st October 2007, 12:49
Not sure what they were called but recall on Maihar a flying beetle that actually made a "click " when it landed on the mosquito screen in the porthole. You had to actually stand on it to kill it, hitting it with an oil sodden baseball cap had no effect.

31st October 2007, 13:29
Going through the Red Sea on one ship, my wife was on the Monkey Island with the 4th's wife. They came down in some distress because of a creature up there, which proved to be a large cockroach. They bravely asked for some insect spray, which I provided. I also gave them a hammer, for when the spray didn't work. Which they told me they thought very droll, in a sarcastic, huffy tone, not realising that I wasn't being funny.....

31st October 2007, 18:23
I guess these are what we called Bombay Tigers. I got one in the radio room on the Malakand one night. Tried dropping a large tin full of nuts and bolts on it - absolutely no effect. Tried whacking it with the hammer from the toolkit - still didn't succumb and it eventually escaped under the furniture. It was still scurrying about floor the next morning and finally expired after it got a good squirt of carbon tetrachloride from the old fashioned brass fire extinguisher.

Anyone remember the large black hornets (?) that we used to get in Chittagong and chalna - about two inches long and black and sounded like a Lancaster bomber in flight? They were also just about impossible to kill.

All the best,


31st October 2007, 19:38
I also knew them as Bombay Tigers, First came across one after anchoring in the Hooghly overnight. Walking from the focs'le head something caught my eye flashing past the foremast floods in a vertical power dive. Hit the deck full pelt with an audible smack, hauled itself the right way up and trundled off, apparently without a scratch ! He was the first of an increasing shower and getting a deckhead above one's skull became imperative !!


31st October 2007, 23:05
These were the only roaches that I have aver seen that could compare to the size of a small mouse and if you thought you have splatted one and lifted up your foot, it just shook its front end and ran off ! Though with relation to the 6 wheeler in a sandwich I don't think the tiger's would fit - well, maybe if they were new borns (tigerettes)

Personally I never came accros the expession '6 wheeler' , some kind of weavel ?

(Pint) (Smoke)

Tony Selman
1st November 2007, 11:01
I knew them as Bombay Tigers as well, so it looks as if that was the general expression in Brocks at the time that some of the above posters were there. I can recall two main things about them from my time with Brocks (1964 - 1970) both during my first two trips on Matra. The 2nd Electricians cabin had a samson post running through it and cockroaches used to have a path running northwards from wherever it started to the upper deck and freedom. The first incumbent of that cabin, Donald Macleod, and I used to have flip flop throwing contests trying to kill them whilst having a Tennents or two. We got pretty good in the end but I don't think we ever actually killed any with a direct throw and the sequence usually was to dislodge it with a direct hit and then finish it off with a bout of frenzied bashing with said flip flop. The second incident was when a group of us were walking ashore in Colombo along the quay one evening and the whole dockside was plunged into darkness. We made slow progress but suddenly started feeling and hearing something crunchy beneath our feet. Shortly afterwards some lights came on and it turned out we were in the middle of a cornucopia (collective noun?) of quite the biggest cockroaches I had ever seen. These seemed to be impervious to normal stamping as a method of extermination and also managed to resist me jumping on them from a flight of steps. As I was 6' 3" and 15 stone at the time and only marginally slowed them down this was no mean feat. I don't know what breed they were but they were mighty tough.

1st November 2007, 11:07
I was on the Lumen (older version Circa 1950) and we were in Dumai, Indonesia, and we were attacked by a "swarm" of 'orrible flying beetles about 3" long. This was my first introduction to tropical bugs, the damn things would squeak at you as you passed by. The whole accomodation block was covered in them. Another incident was up in that "wonderful" port of Chalna when we were invaded by swarming grasshopper type Bugs. The next morning the local bird life (feathered) had one hell of a feast and all we were left with was millions of legs and carapaces to sweep of the deck. As for Bombay Tigers, Canaries, or as I knew them, Runners, well 'nuff said (==D) .................pete

2nd November 2007, 06:11
Shurely, Bombay Eight Wheelers, capable of flying straight thro' a Mozzy Screen!!
Yours aye,

2nd November 2007, 09:04
Pete, how did you manage to get 'wonderful' and 'Chalna' in the same sentence ??(Thumb)

2nd November 2007, 09:55
Through the use of irony, otherwise it would be impossible!

2nd November 2007, 13:30
Lots of other creepy crawlie stories in the thread "Mahseer. The Third Passenger."

John T.

2nd November 2007, 14:52
Lots of other creepy crawlie stories in the thread "Mahseer. The Third Passenger."

John T. I did a thread, soon after joining SN, about the dreaded jute-moths in Chalna and how, in the engine-room, your eyes would swell shut from all the dust which came off the little bleeders wings. In the morning the plates looked as if they were covered with snow from all the battered bodies of jute-moths that had encountered the spinning blades of the vent-fans as they were transferred from the night-sky to the engine-room at high-speed!!! The mynah birds used to have a field day (night?) once the sun had set, the ships deck lights were switched on and the jute-moths appeared in their billions! Happy days! NOT! Salaams, Phil(Hippy)