Deck Passengers

Peter Martin
12th March 2008, 18:34
Freetown seemed to be the place where deck passengers were boarded, southbound, and I think I remember dropping off as far north as Bathurst. These along with Kroo Boys were interesting additions.
There was, on the 'Aureol', a very 'dapper' chap, dressed in khaki drill who was signed on as 'Master-at-Arms'. I remember several conversations with him over the years. He was in the King's African Rifles for many years until they were disbanded in the late 50's / early 60's.
I think some of the West African crowd on other ships used to make a lucrative income in 'renting' their accommodation to the deck passengers for the Coastal run.
The 'Kroo' Boys, so named as being from the village of Kroo to the SE of Freetown, were really good seamen. The could stitch, splice paint. In fact eveything that needed to be done, they could do.
When they left the ship northbound, they carried huge quantities of dunnage, odd scraps of wire & rope; empty Tepol cans. You name it, it had a value to them.
I wonder what they do nowadays?

Roger Turner
12th March 2008, 22:10
Yes I remember the deck passengers - had to collect the fares! It was mostly "Mammies" and their "piccins" who did the trading between most of the West African Ports
Kroo Boys - usually picked up in Freetown, some had strange names "Steam on Deck" "Poor Man No Friend""No Mark" etc, you knew they had arrived when the "African "Ensign" (windy bog)was erected over the Poop Rails and the Dhobie man erected his hatch board on top of the deck cleat aft of No 5 hatch and then proceeded to send all the whites back ram-rod stiff with starch so you all ended up with the "Dhobies" and had to have it painted by the Chief Steward with Gentian Violet - he also liberally stained the whites with rust as well.
The worst memory of kroo boys is lying outside Lagos, usually for more than a fortnight and the manic mate deciding to chip the decks, I`ll never forget that sound - jack hammers are not worse, nor the sight of Africans sitting in a row on a plank chipper in one hand and the other holding the forehead, to try and stem the headache which was undoubtedly in there

28th October 2008, 04:55
Hears a couple more of the strange names we called a couple of the Kroo boys.... 6 o-clock start and Mr No name, but my they could work as long as they did,nt sing, who dat dare, is am me here, who dat dare, and so on and on and on

18th January 2009, 21:43
Yes indeed they were a hell of a lot smarter that those they "served". If any of you want to see a few images of them during their evening meal have a look at my website at =Mike ex R/O 1959-1968

john sutton
12th April 2009, 08:22
i remember him when i was on the accra in 1950.he used to wear a bowler hat with "steam on deck" painted on it
john sutton