Merchant Navy College Greenhithe

jeraylin
16th April 2012, 12:46
I was quite surprised there is no thread on the Merchant Navy College Greenhithe in this section - so here is a starter!
I did pre-sea there in Sept 1978 as a Houlders Deck Cadet but it was mostly filled with Sparky cadets who spent 2 years at college before going near a ship.
Back for the old ONC phase 1 and phase 3 in '79 and '80 plus the usual EDH and Lifeboat exams. The 3 day firefighting was done down the road at the "Peanut factory" in Gravesend AKA the Sea School.
Happy times spent at Greenhithe include a lot of boatwork and dinghy sailing on the Thames, Rugby every weekend either for the college or Gravesend 5ths, Drinking in the village at "The Pier" and trips to "the muscle factory" AKA the girls PE college in Dartford. Once we carried the MN flag for remembrance service at St Pauls, Andy Cook,Mark Coomber and myself, we did it again at Tower Hill the following year.
The Padre was Bill Mcrae - recently retired from the Sailors Society in Southampton - I will never forget his Tannoy announcements every Sunday morning inviting any students in his heavy N.Ireland accent to attend "A short Interdenominational Church Service" in the staff room ending with a comment like "Including the rugby squad who came in at 0300hrs this morning" Jerry Ayling(Jester)

Duncan112
16th April 2012, 16:10
Hi Jerry, there are a few on this site that were there but like you I'm surprised no thread yet. I was in Greenhithe a couple of years back and took the photo of the "Worcester Memorial" in the gallery. Be warned though the parking at the housing development is run by low lifes who think nothing of sending out speculative invoices masquerading as "Parking Charge Notices" and may even clamp. Better to park in the vilage and walk back if you are visiting. Pier unchanged but "White Hart" no the "John Franklin", gentrified with indoor toilets!!

Cheers,

Duncan

Treborvfr
16th April 2012, 18:05
I had an interesting week in Greenhithe during the summer of 1979 when I went there to attend a Survival instructors course for a week along with 5 other BP Deck, Engine and Radio Officers. This was part of our training for a one year secondment as ships Visiting Safety Officers.

My arrival should have been an indication of what was to follow. I arrived quite late on a Sunday evening, having driven down from Morecambe. When I went to reception area to register, there was a tutor sat at the desk handling admissions. It turns out there was a large intake of Navigation Cadets that day and I, at 24 being the youngest of my group, was mistaken for one of the new intake. The tutor proceeded to give me a right bollocking for being late, and being somewhat taken aback I stood there and took it. Though in my mind I was thinking who on earth does this idiot think he's talking to, I'm not a school kid. Finally, when he let up, I was able to explain I was there for a Survival Instructors course and I wasn't told there was a time limit on my arrival. Realising his mistake he apologised profusely and I was able to complete my registration.

A couple of nights later, our group of 6 went to one of the village pubs and had rather a few drinks. Walking back to the college, if I remember correctly, there is a snicket that takes you round the side of the grounds to the accommodation. As we arrived at this snicket a car pulled up and two young girls got out of it and went down the path we were taking. We all had a bit of banter with them and a bit of flirting to which the girls took umbrage and retorted that their dad was the duty tutor at the college and they'd report us. Basically, we said big deal, we'd done nothing wrong or said nothing offensive or done anything that could be considered threatening. The girls disappeared of to which was probably their house and we carried on to the accommodation. As we approached our room the same tutor that had bollocked me on arrival came storming round the corner shouting the odds and saying we'd attacked his daughters. I made the mistake of trying to tell him what actually happened, recognising me, and probably because I was the smallest and youngest, he made a beeline for me and proceeded to attack me! Fortunately the other guys grabbed him before he did any harm, but I did end up on the floor.

The guy was, in mine and my colleagues opinion, an absolute nutter and bully, he should no way be in charge of young adults. The next day we reported him, I believe he was given a warning and we got an apology.

The rest of the week went without mishap, but the course was absolutely knackering. Although we left just after midday on Friday I was extremely tired and should have stayed overnight, but I had another course to attend in Exeter on the Monday and I wanted to get the most out of the weekend. So I set off home in my trusty Morris Marina 1.8 TC Coupe. On the M1, just north of London, in the build up to the rush hour, I shut my eyes for a split second and ended up writing off my car and a van. I spun the car across 5 lanes, 3 motorway and 2 for the joinig junction, hitting the van on the way, evetually ending up on the hard shoulder facing the right way! I was lucky to walk away from it. Oh how the Police Officers laughed when they heard I was returning from a survival course!

One thing for sure, I'll never forgot my week in Greenhithe!

Bob

Rob Pithers
5th December 2012, 17:07
Hi Jerry, I must have been at Greenhithe about the same time as you. I was a deck cadet with P&O and there were 7 of us there for our ONC about '79 and '80. I particularly remember rowing and sailing lifeboats on the Thames in winter. We used to drink in the Railway Tavern, cos there were regular lock ins. When the doors were locked, they used to feed us as well!! Also remember the 'Muscle Factory' very well. We were associate members of their Social Club and went there regularly. Many happy memories!
All the best
Rob

Athaz
17th January 2013, 22:16
I cant believe that no other 'Old Worcester' cadets like myself havent posted until now. Its been a long time since I visited this site, and even longer since I left the infamous TNTC - aka HMS Worcester. (April 1964-June1966, Fore Division). Yes I left just 2 years before they decommissioned the old girl.
The college had a real heart with history and lineage of Captain Superintendants going back into the previous century. I believe Captain Argles was her last Captain. While I was there, Commander King had become a close friend to my father, also a Naval Commander, as they saw action in the convoys as did Capt Argles.
I visited other Naval Colleges during and after my 'apprenticeship', the last one at South Shields in 1986 to do my Oilrig Offshore survival certificate.
All these places brought back great memories including the antics that we 'cadets' got upto during our limited time off. I was always up for sneaking girls onto 'the ship', and was almost caught more than once.
I remember the PE college in Dartford but escaping to there was a feat in itself (in those days we werent allowed off college premises.) I bought an old BSA Bantam and kept it at Everards for when I would do the 'Great Escape' run.
I only ever saw 2 ex cadets after I left, and Cmdr King once, but no other officers.
Great times, collectively we should all write a book.!

Rob Pithers
11th February 2013, 12:07
I've posted a picture of the Greenhithe Rugby team in 1979 or '81 in the gallery. Any help with names would be much appreciated.

markcable
10th March 2013, 13:13
I was at Greenhithe various times between 1979-1981 doing a Class 5 Trainee Deck certificate with Onesimus Dorey's of Guernsey alongside Ian Diaper, also in my class were Alex Gibbons, Chris Poole-Gleed and Nigel Podger of Rowbothams, Ivor (Fred) Minnis, Kevin Baker of FT Everards. We all had a great time there and I have some happy memories of the student bar and the "White Hart" in the Village.

regards, Mark

Cumba42
26th June 2013, 01:20
I was quite surprised there is no thread on the Merchant Navy College Greenhithe in this section - so here is a starter!
I did pre-sea there in Sept 1978 as a Houlders Deck Cadet but it was mostly filled with Sparky cadets who spent 2 years at college before going near a ship.
Back for the old ONC phase 1 and phase 3 in '79 and '80 plus the usual EDH and Lifeboat exams. The 3 day firefighting was done down the road at the "Peanut factory" in Gravesend AKA the Sea School.
Happy times spent at Greenhithe include a lot of boatwork and dinghy sailing on the Thames, Rugby every weekend either for the college or Gravesend 5ths, Drinking in the village at "The Pier" and trips to "the muscle factory" AKA the girls PE college in Dartford. Once we carried the MN flag for remembrance service at St Pauls, Andy Cook,Mark Coomber and myself, we did it again at Tower Hill the following year.
The Padre was Bill Mcrae - recently retired from the Sailors Society in Southampton - I will never forget his Tannoy announcements every Sunday morning inviting any students in his heavy N.Ireland accent to attend "A short Interdenominational Church Service" in the staff room ending with a comment like "Including the rugby squad who came in at 0300hrs this morning" Jerry Ayling(Jester)

Jez - Was there a seamanship lecturer there called Fruity Fuller, who advocated using electric flex as a wire stopper?

knighta
26th June 2013, 03:01
After I left school in 1967, I worked as a barman for the summer. One of my customers was Commander Gordon Steel, V.C., who had been in command of "Worcester". When I told him that I was planning to become a Deck Apprentice with Shell Tankers (U.K.) Ltd., he gave me a book on Ship Construction, which I still have in my possession.

jeraylin
22nd August 2013, 16:56
Jez - Was there a seamanship lecturer there called Fruity Fuller, who advocated using electric flex as a wire stopper?

Oh yes there was - he used to do the sea survival courses - "Straight away lads" was his catch phrase. (LOL)

jeraylin
22nd August 2013, 17:00
Hi Rob, sorry for the late posting of a reply. Yes we must have been there same time but I don't remember your name. Two classes for phase 1 and 3 were ONC Nash and ONC Needles, about 30 in each class. :(

Nigeb22
21st September 2013, 22:10
Ha
Fruity Fuller.. remember him and his all naked survival course in the liferaft on the pool, i remember he leaned out to grab the tender and showed us his full moon...
Sheetzz, anyone ..

We were on the Worcester 1974 induction then came ashore for phase 1
we crept over an painted her funnel in the Esso colours as it was a surefire like
we rang Esso the next day and asked what their MV Worcester was doing moored on the THames..
Great days if you were lucky you could get up at 6am to bring the cooks over from the jetty

Swampy69
27th January 2014, 16:24
I've posted a picture of the Greenhithe Rugby team in 1979 or '81 in the gallery. Any help with names would be much appreciated.

I Think the picture is '77 I was there '81 and don't remember any of those faces. Do remember Rick The Brick The PE dude

Swampy69
27th January 2014, 16:28
I was at Greenhithe various times between 1979-1981 doing a Class 5 Trainee Deck certificate with Onesimus Dorey's of Guernsey alongside Ian Diaper, also in my class were Alex Gibbons, Chris Poole-Gleed and Nigel Podger of Rowbothams, Ivor (Fred) Minnis, Kevin Baker of FT Everards. We all had a great time there and I have some happy memories of the student bar and the "White Hart" in the Village.

regards, Mark

I think i remeber you Mark although there was a sparky lass called Cable too. Deffo remeber Ivor Minnis. A legend! Once let him wait for the toaster to toast his bread for a whole hour before he realised in his drunken state that he hadn't plugged it in. oh how we howled! Sad really but you needed to get your laffs somehow. vaguely remeber Gibbo (blonde guy I think).

alaric
27th January 2014, 17:00
I had an interesting week in Greenhithe during the summer of 1979 when I went there to attend a Survival instructors course for a week along with 5 other BP Deck, Engine and Radio Officers. This was part of our training for a one year secondment as ships Visiting Safety Officers.

My arrival should have been an indication of what was to follow. I arrived quite late on a Sunday evening, having driven down from Morecambe. When I went to reception area to register, there was a tutor sat at the desk handling admissions. It turns out there was a large intake of Navigation Cadets that day and I, at 24 being the youngest of my group, was mistaken for one of the new intake. The tutor proceeded to give me a right bollocking for being late, and being somewhat taken aback I stood there and took it. Though in my mind I was thinking who on earth does this idiot think he's talking to, I'm not a school kid. Finally, when he let up, I was able to explain I was there for a Survival Instructors course and I wasn't told there was a time limit on my arrival. Realising his mistake he apologised profusely and I was able to complete my registration.

A couple of nights later, our group of 6 went to one of the village pubs and had rather a few drinks. Walking back to the college, if I remember correctly, there is a snicket that takes you round the side of the grounds to the accommodation. As we arrived at this snicket a car pulled up and two young girls got out of it and went down the path we were taking. We all had a bit of banter with them and a bit of flirting to which the girls took umbrage and retorted that their dad was the duty tutor at the college and they'd report us. Basically, we said big deal, we'd done nothing wrong or said nothing offensive or done anything that could be considered threatening. The girls disappeared of to which was probably their house and we carried on to the accommodation. As we approached our room the same tutor that had bollocked me on arrival came storming round the corner shouting the odds and saying we'd attacked his daughters. I made the mistake of trying to tell him what actually happened, recognising me, and probably because I was the smallest and youngest, he made a beeline for me and proceeded to attack me! Fortunately the other guys grabbed him before he did any harm, but I did end up on the floor.

The guy was, in mine and my colleagues opinion, an absolute nutter and bully, he should no way be in charge of young adults. The next day we reported him, I believe he was given a warning and we got an apology.

The rest of the week went without mishap, but the course was absolutely knackering. Although we left just after midday on Friday I was extremely tired and should have stayed overnight, but I had another course to attend in Exeter on the Monday and I wanted to get the most out of the weekend. So I set off home in my trusty Morris Marina 1.8 TC Coupe. On the M1, just north of London, in the build up to the rush hour, I shut my eyes for a split second and ended up writing off my car and a van. I spun the car across 5 lanes, 3 motorway and 2 for the joinig junction, hitting the van on the way, evetually ending up on the hard shoulder facing the right way! I was lucky to walk away from it. Oh how the Police Officers laughed when they heard I was returning from a survival course!

One thing for sure, I'll never forgot my week in Greenhithe!

Bob
You were training as a Safety Officer? You sound dangerous to me.
This is the second tale I have heard in the last few months from Safety Officers who describe similar accidents. The other was not quite so lucky as you. Are there any more out there?

Treborvfr
28th January 2014, 08:34
You were training as a Safety Officer? You sound dangerous to me.


I'm not sure what you mean? I'm assuming you are linking the Safety Officer bit to the motor accident and, if so, implying I shouldn't have been in safety if I was capable of such an accident.

If that is the case you must be one of those perfect beings that has never, ever, made an error of judgement, misread a situation, or made a mistake in your entire life. (*))

Unfortunately I am not quite that perfect, I do make mistakes from time to time, and I continue to do so on occasions. Fortunately I do tend to learn from those mistakes and, generally, don't repeat them.

It has been 35 years since that accident, I have just taken early retirement, but during my working life (the last 25 years on gas platforms) I have never been involved a workplace accident or caused anyone else to have one.

I have only been involved in one motor accident since then, on my motorcycle in 2006, and that was the fault of the third party who was duly prosecuted. So no, I don't think I am dangerous.

However, the fact that I ride a motorcycle will make some people think I am risk averse, which may be true, but I do my best to mitigate this by having completed the highest training available to civilian motorcyclists and I am retested every three years to maintain the qualification.

Bob

derekhore
3rd February 2014, 14:22
also in my class were Alex Gibbons, Chris Poole-Gleed and Nigel Podger of Rowbothams

Sailed with Alex a couple of times when I was mate on the Tillerman - he was a tall blonde lad as somebody has stated.
He either left to join the police or joined Rockies from the police .. cannot remember!
Both the other names ring a bell as well, though don't think I ever sailed with them.

martynps
13th December 2014, 23:36
Jerry- I was at Greenhithe on the same Deck ONC as you at same time (78-82). A few names: Andy Hebb, Andy Mallion, Chris Turgeon, Russell Hay, Jerry Lord. Also remember a few dodgy lecturers: Fruity Fuller and a Navigation bloke who lived on site....not to be trusted. Shame it was all demolished.

Martyn Sexton (BP)

tabnab44
18th January 2015, 11:19
I was at MNC Greenhithe with the first lot of Class 5 Deck Trainee's from 1979 -1981 a mad lot , Ivor "Fred" Minnis , Kevin Bunten ,Stuart Vallis, Simon Nozworthy, Dave Morris, Ian Diaper, Mark Cable, Rick Hooper , Chris Poole-Gleed, Jim Podger, Ian Hutchinson, Neil Gordon, Alex Gibbons, Jim McKewen ,Andy Joscelyne etc 2 from Cunard , " from Doreys ,4 from Rowbothams and the rest from Fred Everards .Great bunch of lads ,last I heard of Ivor was he was a Ship Manager out in Kiwi . Remember going to FLICKS night club in Dartford on the weekends ,with its glass stair cases and the new McDonalds back in 81 . When we were there some ONC's let off a parachute flare in one of their cabins and it bounced off the walls a few times at supersonic speed b4 going out through the open window ! Think there were 3 of them in the room at the time ..all got away uninjured ...but a bit shaken !!

derekhore
18th January 2015, 11:32
Chris Poole-Gleed, Jim Podger & Alex Gibbons I knew through Rowbothams .. sailed with Alex Gibbons when he was 2/O on the Tillerman and I think another ex-Class 5 who I keep in touch with is also friends with Jim Podger (from Bridport area)

jeraylin
27th January 2015, 22:03
Martyn - yes I remember you, which Andy played in the rugby team? I have a photo taken from phase 1 or 3 and will post it if can get some names together. The Nav lecturer was John ..... he kept a day sailor at the college and did relief Master jobs for Everards in the summer holidays. Last time I heard he had bought a boatyard on the suffolk coast.

Duncan112
27th January 2015, 22:32
Martyn - yes I remember you, which Andy played in the rugby team? I have a photo taken from phase 1 or 3 and will post it if can get some names together. The Nav lecturer was John ..... he kept a day sailor at the college and did relief Master jobs for Everards in the summer holidays. Last time I heard he had bought a boatyard on the suffolk coast.

John Haigh - last I heard he was crook with throat cancer

Athaz
2nd February 2015, 12:32
Dear Jeraylin;
you posted "John Haigh - last I heard he was crook with..."
perhaps you could refrain from posting news of people who are in late life with over specific details...? friends and relatives also view these pages, could be upsetting.

jeraylin
14th March 2015, 21:34
Dear Jeraylin;
you posted "John Haigh - last I heard he was crook with..."
perhaps you could refrain from posting news of people who are in late life with over specific details...? friends and relatives also view these pages, could be upsetting.

Sorry mate - I did not post that - please check your facts.
(Cloud)

jeraylin
14th March 2015, 21:36
Dear Jeraylin;
you posted "John Haigh - last I heard he was crook with..."
perhaps you could refrain from posting news of people who are in late life with over specific details...? friends and relatives also view these pages, could be upsetting.

I Think you need to complain to "Duncan 112" who is a Senior Member.(K)

dave kirkham
6th March 2016, 21:57
Hi Guys,
I was on what I believe was the first ONC course kicking off in September 1970. We had 2 weeks pre-sea training on HMS Worcester, then away with our companies for our first trip, back at HMS Worcester for 18 weeks in 1971, then back to Merchant Navy College Tower Hill for our final 18 weeks in 1973.
Happy times, I remember Capt Argles, I remember an instructor getting us all to strip off and swim bollock naked so we could snuggle up in the Life raft and learn how warm it was! (We were of course naive schoolboys who hadn't been to sea) But lots of good fun, the escape committee used to take us to The Cherry Tree at Dartford or the Cavendish, or was it Clarendon at Gravesend?
Failing that I spent a fair bit of time in The Pier and the Brown Bear.
Names I recall are Dave Griffiths (Hain-Nourse), Keith Miller and 'Taff' Uren from BP, Paul Moorhouse and Bob Hooley from Holder Bros, Alan Lybird (LOF) 'Hutch' from Trident Tankers, and many more who's names escape, after all it's 45 years ago!
:)
Dave

tedu
3rd May 2016, 10:48
Just read your thread. Nice to be remembered! I am Ted Uren. Yes I remembered those days on the Worcester. I also have had a long career in the MN. I have recently retired back to South Wales. A few years ago I bumped into Gordon Amos. He was the salvage Master on relocating a wreck in the Dover Strait, and I was representing the company who hired their company. We remembered those days on the Worcester! Despite the "Worcester" I am pleased to have had a long and successful career.

dave kirkham
11th May 2016, 22:30
Hi Ted,
I have this image of you, on the jetty waiting for the boat crew to take us back onboard one night, drinking from a bottle of beer, whilst simultaneously having a piss, you came out with the imortal words 'In one end out the other!'.
Gordon Amos comes to mind, was he a fair haired lad from Ipswich?
I think I bumped into him in the Florida Bar in Rio one night, and that was the start of another piss up!
:)
Dave

jeraylin
5th October 2016, 19:15
Just had a flashback after a long standby up the Elbe river to Hamburg. One of the sparkies 77-80 was John Oliver - he played regularly in the rugby team.

dave kirkham
3rd June 2017, 00:36
So sad, over a year since I last posted and only Ted Uren has come back to me, what happened to all of those heroes, where are you today?

Nick Balls
16th June 2017, 10:32
Hi Guys,

I was on the Worcester 1972 with a few people I can recall. Chris Bailey, Simon Ayshford, Paul Adams, Paul Whitehead. The Pier Hotel at that time was quite some place with its long connections with Everards, and the traditional coasting folk. I seem to remember the Cherry Tree in Dartford was often frequented by local Nurses....hence our interest.
Tower Hill and digs down in Poplar (Mariners Hotel) came later, I worked for LOF until they collapsed and continued working at sea in the offshore industry until 2005 when I had to give up, rather unexpected due to bad health.
Brilliant days with escapades that you could simple never get away with today.

Nick

DURANGO
16th June 2017, 15:27
I was a boy in the Worcester at the end of 1957 washing up for 5 miserable months but I got through, it stood me in good stead throughout my life discipline wise ,I did a few of voyages in the catering I swapped over to deck as soon as the chance came when I was a boy in the old Asia peeling spuds out and back across the north Atlantic during the winter that tends to focus a young man,s mind on the fact that there must be something better I could be doing , there was no room in the galley for me to sit and peel spuds so the cook found me a nice spot just outside the galley lee side of course then I had to bash on the galley door when I was done I hate to brag but I reckon I was the fastest spud basher this side of of anywhere it,s cold , I spoke to the Bosun who in turn spoke to the mate next voyage I was back as deck boy oh how my chest swelled out at last I was a sailor mind you I had to get passed the the sink in the seamans mess but I was on my way I can well remember assisting an EDH leaving Montreal we had to pull a wire from a tug inboard hand over hand my gloves where a pair of old socks as soon as the wire started to come aboard I had to dump the soaking wet socks, would anyone remember the supply officer Mr David Love who I have often thought of over the years a man who helped me start my life in the merchant navy a decent man who gave a boy a chance and for that I am forever grateful for 12 years of mostly wonderful times and experiences I was there when it was cold and miserable but I reckon that,s the best time to learn being cold and miserable we tend not to forget the things we are being taught best regards to all hands Dave .

STORM
27th December 2018, 15:52
I've posted a picture of the Greenhithe Rugby team in 1979 or '81 in the gallery. Any help with names would be much appreciated.

I think it's Andy Holdsworth next to the Captain and John Briffa next to him. The guy in the middle at the back with the broad smile is Sean Harvey and the one with the beard at the back is Jim (Chapman?). I recognise a lot of the others but can't put names to faces.

Could it possibly be the 1977 team as I was there in 1979 and played as did Richard Carlton, Paddy Shrimpton, Dick Weston, Mark Whittaker and Taff Walters - none of whom are in that photo.

Andy.

Rob Pithers
3rd January 2019, 17:08
Hi Andy,
It has to be either '79 or '81, as those were the my 'Phase 2' and '4' years. I remember playing with Paddy (played his early rugby at Redcar?), but haven't a clue why he wouldn't be in the 'photo.
Rob