K boats

clibb
22nd September 2013, 18:16
The previous thread on Masters got me pondering on the rather curious arrangement we had back in the 60's for manning Henderson's K boats. The crewing - before amalgamation - was that the officers and engineers would be Henderson men, and two ED Writers would accompany them, a dubious priviledge for these two, who saw serving on K boats as somewhat demeaning compared to mailboats, E's, O's etc that they had done their early time on. According to my Dis A I served on six K boats on this basis before being returned to the fold, something of a rite of passage. I remember being on one where Christmas was not celebrated at all, but all hell broke loose at Hogmanay. Another where the Writers were treated as just another couple of Cadets, and denied any alcoholic refreshment at all. A third, the Kaladan, was an old split-accommodation tramp which for some reason had a fully equipped hospital. As the deck officers were all Scots, and the engineers Northern Irish, there was perhaps a need. However, when the staff amalgamation took place it went very well, presumably because both sets of staff recognised the qualities of the other, having served in the same trade for many years. A pity the same could not have been said for the later ED/Blue Flue amalgamation.

purserjuk
23rd September 2013, 09:26
I sailed on 5 "K" boats (including "Kaladan") and the "Bhamo" during my ED career as a Writer. I never found that I, or my fellow Writer, were ever treated as Cadets, - I actually made 4 consecutive voyages on "Bhamo" as I liked her so much. However, I have heard some horror stories - especially in the early days when EDs first became involved with Paddys.

eldersuk
24th September 2013, 00:12
However, when the staff amalgamation took place it went very well, presumably because both sets of staff recognised the qualities of the other, having served in the same trade for many years. A pity the same could not have been said for the later ED/Blue Flue amalgamation.

Clibb,
Have to agree with you on that.

Derek

stan mayes
25th September 2013, 12:36
Kindat -
As a rigger in Tilbury Docks I was working on Florence Holt on
21st November 1957...Kindat was berthed ahead of us,loaded and
preparing to sail.
At midday a new Master, Captain Hunter? joined the ship and immediately the West African crew walked of the ship and stood on the quay.
It seems that many of the crew had sailed with him on another ship and had received loggings,pay stopped etc.
Discussions with Elder Dempster shore staff regarding the Master's replacement failed so the crew were arrested and taken to Chelmsford prison
We riggers on Florence Holt were sent aboard Kindat to take her into the river to anchor to await a new crew which Elder Dempster hoped to get from their other ships in UK ports.
This also failed so after five days at anchor ( most of this time we riggers were in watches and ringing the bell due to persistent thick fog) we re-entered the docks.
Captain Hunter left the ship suffering ill health and a few hours later the crew were released from prison and rejoined the ship.
Stan

Rogerfrench
25th September 2013, 16:53
The only Paddy boat I sailed on was the Pegu, on the Rangoon run. Apart from there being more Scots, it wasn't so different from a regular ED ship.

Almost all the Writers and A/Ps I sailed with said they enjoyed the K boats, but I guess there were exceptions.

salvina
25th September 2013, 20:23
Pardon my ignorance.....but what exactly is a writer?

bbarr
25th September 2013, 22:17
I too would like to know exactly what a 'writer is.

stan mayes
26th September 2013, 00:09
The previous thread on Masters got me pondering on the rather curious arrangement we had back in the 60's for manning Henderson's K boats. The crewing - before amalgamation - was that the officers and engineers would be Henderson men, and two ED Writers would accompany them, a dubious priviledge for these two, who saw serving on K boats as somewhat demeaning compared to mailboats, E's, O's etc that they had done their early time on. According to my Dis A I served on six K boats on this basis before being returned to the fold, something of a rite of passage. I remember being on one where Christmas was not celebrated at all, but all hell broke loose at Hogmanay. Another where the Writers were treated as just another couple of Cadets, and denied any alcoholic refreshment at all. A third, the Kaladan, was an old split-accommodation tramp which for some reason had a fully equipped hospital. As the deck officers were all Scots, and the engineers Northern Irish, there was perhaps a need. However, when the staff amalgamation took place it went very well, presumably because both sets of staff recognised the qualities of the other, having served in the same trade for many years. A pity the same could not have been said for the later ED/Blue Flue amalgamation.

BBarr and Salvina -
Much here about writers.
Regards
Stan

Ron Stringer
26th September 2013, 08:56
The writer on a passenger ship was a clerical assistant in the Purser's department. Assisted with the production of the extensive documentation that the department (and the ship) required to meet its obligations to the passengers, the Master and shore authorities. Apart from items like stores lists, crew and passenger lists, they also dealt with bar bills and the exchange of foreign currency.

A recruiting advertisement can be seen at http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1300&dat=19740925&id=KdFaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=MpIDAAAAIBAJ&pg=1838,5643656

purserjuk
26th September 2013, 09:09
In Elder Dempster the Writer was, as stated the Purser's assistant. However it was also the first step to becoming an Assistant Purser-in-Charge, then to full Purser. Later Cadet Pursers were employed as well as Writers. "K" boats normally carried 2 Writers as they were only really concerned with the cargo paperwork other than Kroo Labour accounts. Charter ships usually only had 1 Writer appointed.

salvina
26th September 2013, 10:47
Thanks to you both for the replies. I had never heard the term before but not having crewed on passenger ships not surprising.

alan ward
26th September 2013, 14:38
I was a Cadet Purser on a K boat,the Kohima,and whilst certainly different it was not an experience I would like to repeat.My shoreside winter clothes grew mouldy hanging in my cabin and the musty smell of my extremely expensive Aquascutum coat hung around for a bit! Remember that peculiar cheesy smell of the bales of latex? I wasn`t overfond of west Africa and 4 trips over a year down there cured me of it completely,how some of you spent whole careers up the creeks beats me.There were much better places to earn a living must have been a particular form of masochism.