Foremost Prince, dredger, Newhaven, 1947

Jolly Roger
31st August 2009, 02:14
Hi, Everyone;
I'm Jolly Roger, a newcomer here; just joined ShipsNostalgia.
I'm getting on in years, and enjoy thinking back to ships on which I served.
There's something about ships that gets to me!
I suppose it's the fact that they don't remain still for very long, like me; they're always on the move, going from one exotic place to another, and I've always been something of an adventurer and a romantic, flitting here and there, and what better means of doing that than by ship.
Planes take you to places faster, of course, but you don't get to see anything on your way from A to B, other than clouds in the sky.
The first vessel I ever worked on was the Foremost Prince, a dredger based in Newhaven Harbour, Sussex, in 1947. Not a very romantic introduction to the sea, you might say, but I believe each and every vessel ever built has its own distinctive character, no different to that of people.
Our raison d'etre was mud; again, not a very interesting topic, but without us, Newhaven would have silted up years ago.
Ports, often located at the mouths of rivers, require dredgers, so we performed what I call a very noble and essential task, not unlike that of garbage collection, despite the smirks on the faces of those who worked on "cleaner" vessels bound for faraway places.
The bottom line is that someone had to do it, and we were it!
Is there anyone out there who remembers the Foremost Prince?

31st August 2009, 02:28
Welcome aboard Jolly Roger from Brisbane enjoy the trip, you will find there is plenty onboard to put your dredging experience to good use.


31st August 2009, 03:23
aboard from the Philippines. Enjoy all this great site has to offer.

I was born and bred in Newhaven and knew the foremost prince well. I even went to school with Captain Cluestons son Victor.
After she was retired from Newhaven she went to New Zealand and worked the for quite some years before moving to Singapore. A few years after that she was broken up

31st August 2009, 03:25
You may even know my late Father "Jock Still. came to Newhaven on a trawler during the war seconded to the RNVR as a petrty officer. He later became mate on The Foremost 22 and the tidworth

Jolly Roger
31st August 2009, 06:17
Thanks, Guys, for the warm welcome.
I think I should put things in their right perspective, however, otherwise you might think that I'm a seasoned old salt, who spent much of his time on dredgers.
I found myself ashore in Newhaven at the time, 1947, and was asked if I would join the Foremost Prince to fill in for the permanent crew who were about to take their summer holidays, staggered, that is. That would put me aboard for a little over two months.
Short though it was, I enjoyed that spell, learning first-hand exactly what a dredger did and how, and, more importantly, I was to play a small part!
I spent most of the time on the port bow steam winch, winching in the chain (anchored to the piers on either side of the harbour) which pulled the Prince to one side of the harbour, then slowly releasing the same chain while the starboard winch did the pulling. In such manner we crossed the harbour from side to side. Then we'd advance a little, our buckets digging into the wall of mud on the harbour seabed. Judging by what I saw brought up in those buckets, it was apparent it would be a neverending task. When the hold was full, we'd sail out into the Channel and dump it.
Unfortunately, being so long ago, I don't remember any of the names of the crew with whom I worked. I seem to recall that the captain was a shortish, clear-complexioned man of around 40, a very conscientious person who took his job seriously.
I even filled in for the ship's cook (two weeks), though I knew very little about cooking, other than what I had seen my mother do, but I was the substitute and did whatever I was asked to do (except fill in for the captain or take over the engineroom).
I remember that all crew members (about 10) would bring me their potatoes first thing in the morning, and I would boil them for lunch. My main job was to remember which belonged to whom. So I would study those spuds trying to remember their shape and other peculiarities and tie them to their owners, but after I had peeled them, they had changed shape, and I had to go back to square one trying to make sure that everyone got the same ones he had brought.
Judging by the strange looks I occasionally got, I know that I must have failed a few times. Don't know how the permanent cook did it, but I was more than happy when he returned from his vacation and I was able to get back to my relatively benign position behind the port winch.
All in all, however, it was happy time, and the crew were a friendly lot, which is why I recall the Foremost Prince with much fondness.
In 1948, I moved to London, joined the Admiralty, and eventually the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (tankers and storeships), which took me around the world, but that is another story.

bert thompson
31st August 2009, 07:27
Welcome to this great site
Best wishes

Jolly Roger
31st August 2009, 08:31
Thanks, Bert, for your warm welcome!

31st August 2009, 09:44
Greetings JR and welcome to SN. Bon voyage.

Jolly Roger
1st September 2009, 05:56
Many thanks for your warm welcome!
Is that a ship's registration number? Just curious!
By the way, are there any ex-RFA SN members out there?
I spent five years with the RFA (1950-54), serving on just two ships.
Being single at the time, with no shoreside responsibilities, I just stayed aboard those two vessels to which I had been assigned, instead of signing off articles after every 6-month voyage.
Wave Conqueror, tanker (18 months), and HMHS Maine, hospital ship (3 years). I was a Ship's Writer. Now they call them Supply Officers.
Also did a stint as Assistant Purser on the passenger liner Oriental Queen out of Sydney, mainly on the Sydney-Auckland run, but also on cruises to Fiji and New Caledonia, and one special "nostalgic" cruise to several WWII, Pacific battlegrounds.

K urgess
1st September 2009, 10:53
Welcome aboard from East Yorkshire.
I see you've met some of our crew.
Find your way around and have a good trip.

1st September 2009, 21:04
Welcome from Lancashire - I hope you will enjoy the site.

Jolly Roger
11th September 2009, 09:52
Hi, Marconi Sahib and Benjidog;

Thanks for your warm welcome.
This has nothing to do with the sea, but I spent a little over two years in Lancashire during the war (Oldham), and about the same amount of time in Yorkshire (West Riding -- Harrogate, Tadcaster and Ulleskelf) working on farms. Farming was not exactly my cup of tea, but it was either that or the coal mines.

Jolly Roger
11th September 2009, 10:07
Hi, Billybob;

I have downloaded three photos of the Newhaven dredger Foremost Prince from the Internet, but I can't post them because I don't have permission to do so. Seems they were taken a long time ago -- two in Newhaven harbour and one at sea, probably on her way out into the Channel to dump a load of silt.
It's quite possible that you may already have them.
If not, I can always send them to your private e-mail address.

Jolly Roger