"New" Boats.

28th November 2014, 18:05
In 1919/20 Elders bought 8 ships which became known as the "N" class. The Columbia was sold in 1933 and broken up in 1952. Five were sunk during WW2 and the Texas and the Brooklyn survived WW2 and resumed the West Coast run. The Booklyn was sold in 1954 and broken up in 1959. The Texas remained in E D's service throughout and after a full cargo of produce to Avonmouth she went light ship to Liverpool and shortly after went to Barrow for scrapping. The class was a standard design, coal burning, no running fresh water and the bridge section had inboard alleyways. The speed was 10 kts on a fine day, although this was not achieved leaving Freetown where the engine room staff had spent a night with their family. My third trip to sea was as clerk to Purser Jim Cowden and the skipper was Capt W.B.R. (Bertie) Bryan. I think the mate was Ginger Thomas, who subsequently was skipper of the coaster Warri which ran aground near Lagos and was a total loss. My next contact with the Texas was another out and home from Oct 54 to Jan 55 Captain Edmonson was the skipper and the mate was a tough B... who was always trying to shake your hand and crushing it. The third mate was Alan from Southport and the extra Third Mate was Mike Foster who I think had just finished his apprenticeship and the first of his tickets. Discharging in Avonmouth was hard. Snow and sleet and a cold ship. The food was obviously being run down and fairly basic. All in all we were all glad to get off her.

I would be very interested to know if there are any other survivors of the "New" boats.. We deserved a medal.

Bob Appleton

Roger Turner
28th November 2014, 23:23
Bob,thank goodness to see some movement on this thread at last.

My first voyage only started Oct.1953, but I did have the "pleasure" of seeing one of the "New" boats, don`t know which one, but I think it was lying off Accra, smoking like fury and generally looking very elderly, seemed to have a funny shaped stern - did they call it a "Coffin Stern"?

Bertie Bryan, sailed with him a few times - always lively, unstuffy, opinionated, sometimes made remarks without fully engaging his brain, but usually good company.

Roger Turner
28th November 2014, 23:29
Forgot to mention we carried Ginger Thomas back home on the Obuasi after the loss of the Warri, as Staff Captain June/July 1956

29th November 2014, 21:56
Thanks Roger, Yes they had what was called a coffin stern. The tough mate was Maurice Bird and the chief eng was Charlie Sowerby. He had been there for many years. Sadly down on the coast on that last trip he got word to go home as his wife was very ill. I think he went home on the mail boat. If I remember rightly he wasn't replaced. I think the writing was on the wall that it was her last trip.

2nd December 2014, 11:36
I was lead to understand that he who was in charge of placing the purser staff on various vessels had the sadistic habit of saying to young purser cadets of their first appointment 'I will let you sail on one of our New ships' whereupon not knowing any better the young hopeful thought that he was going on one of the newer vessels only to find that it was either the Brooklyn or Texas and a very rude awakening

28th December 2014, 18:41
Millard the cadet superintendent told me I was joining one of our larger vessels, S.S. Calgary, me on my first trip - she on her last. When I saw her in Antwerp she had a palm kernel fire in one hold and was loading cement as well and in a lovely state. If I had the fare I would have gone home - but turned out well another 50 years working with ships.