SS Northern Star 1962 - 1963

geralddixon
5th August 2016, 10:16
Hi there. My late father, David Dixon, served on the Northern Star 1962 - 1963 and I'm wondering if anyone may remember him and possibly have any photos on him working on the ship?

He also was involved in the attempted rescue of another sailor who fell from the gangway in Trinidad in 1963, for which he received an award from the Humane Society. I would like to know if anyone was on the ship when this happened, and knows who the sailor was who dad unfortunately was unable to save.

Cheers

Gerald Dixon

brandane
11th August 2016, 05:06
Hi Gerald ~ can pass on your message to members of the Shaw Savill Society in NZ, Aust and UK ~ to see if any of our group remember your father or the incident on Northern Star. I worked on the ship many years later .
cheers Jamie Shedden
Shaw Savill Society, NZ & Aust

brandane
13th August 2016, 05:06
Hi Gerald

Have now passed on your message to all our Shaw Savill Society members in Aust, NZ and UK and have asked anyone who has knowledge of your late father, to contact you directly. Hope you have some success in locating someone who has information.
Cheers Jamie
Shaw Savill Society, Aust & NZ Branch

alaric
13th August 2016, 08:20
I was Junior 5th Engineer on Northern Star at the time, and although I did not know David Dixon or the AB who was killed, and did not witness the accident, my memory of the tragic incident is reasonably clear, although I am not 100% sure of the dates.
I believe the accident occurred while berthing port side to at Port of Spain towards the end of Voyage 4 in late June 1963.
The victim was preparing to land a shore gangway into the entry port of the main foyer when he fell overboard and became entangled with a line suspended from above the port. My understanding was that the line somehow took a turn around the victim’s neck and he was effectively hanged before reaching the dock.
A large number of passengers looking over the rails saw the accident and the victim was well known to many of them as he was one of the Swimming Pool Attendants. A collection was made for the victim’s next of kin.
Just an outline of what happened from what I told, I don’t know what part David Dixon played, but he was probably one of the gangway party.
Hope this information is of use, I believe it to be correct, but I am working from memory and it was 53 years ago.

geralddixon
13th August 2016, 14:19
Yes, that's exactly how dad recounted the story to me. Someone cut the line and dad dived in between the ship and the dock to attempt to save him, putting himself at considerable risk, hence why he received the award from the Humane Society. I purchased a second hand copy of 'Splendid Sisters', and it mentioned the incident it in the book. It kindled my interest in finding out more about the sailor that died, and whether or not his family knew that someone tried their best to save him.

I'm collecting as much info as I can on dad's Merchant Navy life for my young children, so they know more about their late granddad's adventurous life at sea. I found by accident a photo on the internet taken of dad in 1959 aboard a Fyffes Banana boat ('Zent') and I'm hoping there may be other photos out there that other sailors have taken that he happens to appear in.

Barry Harris
23rd June 2017, 13:00
Hello Gerald,
I shared a cabin on the Northern Star with your Dad from April to October 1963. In fact I acted as his Best Man when he married in Wellington in I think September/October 1963. I had been standing next to your Dad when he jumped into the water in Trinidad to try and save Tommy Durrant who was a Leading Seaman (Bosun's Mate). It was an unfortunate accident which occurred as described in another post. Your Dad was great company and we were good mates but we lost touch when I returned to England in 1965. I am sorry to hear he has passed away. I was looking through some old photos this morning and found one of us together with a couple of other shipmates. I do not have a scanner but if you would like to see it I will try and send it to you later on.
Best Wishes,
Barry Harris - Southsea

geralddixon
26th September 2017, 12:14
Hi Barry, exactly the person I hoped would get in touch! I've sent you an email.

Kind regards

Gerald

AllanH78
9th January 2019, 22:03
Hi All,

I came across this post as I am researching my family history and interested in your story regarding the sailor that died.

My Uncle, John Pearson Hall, died in the Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago through asphyxiation by accident in June 1936. The way my father described it was almost word for word as Alaric's account.

I am trying to establish the facts surrounding his death and thought you guys might be able to help me? Any help would be appreciated. I am also after some photos as my father has only 2 photos of my uncle and he is desperate to have a few more.

geralddixon
9th January 2019, 22:33
Hi Allan

I think it must be strange coincidence as the incident my father was involved definitely happened in 1963, and the sailor that died was named Tommy Durrant.

Not being a sailor myself, I'm assuming that when they put the gang way out this was a dangerous part of the job.

regards

Gerald

alaric
10th January 2019, 08:54
Hi All,

I came across this post as I am researching my family history and interested in your story regarding the sailor that died.

My Uncle, John Pearson Hall, died in the Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago through asphyxiation by accident in June 1936. The way my father described it was almost word for word as Alaric's account.

I am trying to establish the facts surrounding his death and thought you guys might be able to help me? Any help would be appreciated. I am also after some photos as my father has only 2 photos of my uncle and he is desperate to have a few more.

Sorry I can't add any detail to my original post Alan.
If you do manage to get more information on your uncle's death please publish in this thread.
I have always thought the 1963 accident was rare to the point of being unique. To learn that a similar accident occurred in 1936 in the same place is remarkable.
Care is needed when putting out a gangway, but I have not heard of any other deaths while this was being done in the period I was at sea.

AllanH78
10th January 2019, 18:12
I thought it was a big coincidence too. I am going to speak to my cousin to try and get a few more details.

Will let you know if I find anything of interest.

geralddixon
13th January 2019, 10:29
Hi All

I've attached 2 newspaper articles from the Evening Post & Dominion in regards to when the Northern Star collided with Glasgow Wharf in Wellington, June 1963.

Thought you might find them interesting.

Gerald

geralddixon
13th January 2019, 10:35
And here is the article in regards to my dad receiving an award from the Royal Humane Society for trying to save Tommy Durrant after her fell overboard.

FYI, the woman in the picture, my mother, was a passenger on the voyage to NZ on the way down (1963).

Gerald

alaric
13th January 2019, 22:24
Hi All

I've attached 2 newspaper articles from the Evening Post & Dominion in regards to when the Northern Star collided with Glasgow Wharf in Wellington, June 1963.

Thought you might find them interesting.

Gerald
Thanks for the newspaper cuttings Gerald. They relate to the end of the outward voyage. The repairs carried out after this accident had a comic ending, unlike this unlucky ship's next accident homeward bound at Port of Spain. See thread 'Northern Star Machinery Problems' posted 16th June 2012. Posts 18, 20 and 21. Same Shaw Savill forum.

geralddixon
13th January 2019, 23:29
Just read the post in regards to the repair, that is absolutely hilarious! Pity dad isn't around to ask him about that.

AllanH78
14th January 2019, 21:24
Good Evening,

I have found some articles relating to my uncles death aboard the Northern Star.

One of the articles states that 3 individuals were involved in trying to save him:

Matthew McWilliams
Andrew Shipton
David Dixon

I hope that this hasn't opened a can of worms? This has created more questions than answers for me, such as the conflict in names. I am hoping to find time to do some more research but am a bit inundated with work at the moment.

alaric
14th January 2019, 22:00
It has now been established that the accident was one and the same and unique.
The 1936-1963 typo is easy to understand, but who was the real victim?

AllanH78
14th January 2019, 22:07
It has now been established that the accident was one and the same and unique.
The 1936-1963 typo is easy to understand, but who was the real victim?

It's all very strange. I have the death entry of the ships log and planning to look for Tommy Durrant in the entries. Unfortunately work seems to be getting in the way of my family history research.

geralddixon
14th January 2019, 22:38
Hi All

Yesterday I was checking all my research documents and I found a conflict with Barry's recollection of the sailor's name (Tommy Durrant) that may fit with Allan's. I have the original letter from Shaw Savill informing dad (Dave Dixon) that he will be getting an award. It lists the sailor as Bosun Hall !

I've attached the letter for your reference. If this does solve the mystery Allan, I'll be very pleased to talk some more with you as I also wanted to find the family of the man that dad tried to save.

Gerald

AllanH78
14th January 2019, 22:52
Hi All

Yesterday I was checking all my research documents and I found a conflict with Barry's recollection of the sailor's name (Tommy Durrant) that may fit with Allan's. I have the original letter from Shaw Savill informing dad (Dave Dixon) that he will be getting an award. It lists the sailor as Bosun Hall !

I've attached the letter for your reference. If this does solve the mystery Allan, I'll be very pleased to talk some more with you as I also wanted to find the family of the man that dad tried to save.

Gerald

Hi Gerald,

Thank you. I think the pieces are coming together! I'm sure we could talk some more. My father only has a vague recollection of my gran talking about it as he was very young when my uncle died and has suffered a stroke affecting his memory.

My cousin (Johns son) would probably be extremely interested also. I am trying to get in touch with him at the moment but he is a difficult man to get hold of.

Allan

alaric
15th January 2019, 09:10
It would be interesting to learn if the other two sailors, Matthew McWilliams and
Andrew Shipton mentioned in newspaper report also received Royal Humane Society awards.
Could your research be extended to cover this? Does anyone reading this thread remember them?

yogi t
15th January 2019, 11:26
I joined the Star April 1965 and was onboard for next 4 voyages.
I was puzzled by the name of deceased being Tommy Durant. I recall Tommy being a Bosuns Mate ie in charge of the ABs on watch 65/66.
If there was a security problem(fighting) or similar one of us from the bridge would meet up with the Master at Arms and the Bosuns Mate to sort it.Tommy being a big man was allowed to go in first!

AllanH78
15th January 2019, 17:09
It would be interesting to learn if the other two sailors, Matthew McWilliams and
Andrew Shipton mentioned in newspaper report also received Royal Humane Society awards.
Could your research be extended to cover this? Does anyone reading this thread remember them?

I can have a look but haven't got any time for the next week or so. I will update on here if I find anything.

geralddixon
14th April 2019, 12:07
It would be interesting to learn if the other two sailors, Matthew McWilliams and
Andrew Shipton mentioned in newspaper report also received Royal Humane Society awards.
Could your research be extended to cover this? Does anyone reading this thread remember them?

Hi All, I was doing some more research tonight and came across this article from the Liverpool Echo, Jan 9, 1964. It confirms that the other 2 sailors, John Williams & Andrew Shiston, received awards from the Royal Humane Society in attempting to save Bosun Hall. It also gives more details as to what happened.

I've attached it for you to look at.

Regards

Gerald

alaric
14th April 2019, 12:18
Many thanks for your good work Gerald, good to know they were all recognised for their brave efforts.