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Yokefleet

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To my eyes now -a wonderful typical British coaster...
But not how I saw it many years ago..
During the war not many deep sea ships came to London due to
the hazards on the East Coast..mines,air attacks and E boat attacks.
January 1943 at Tilbury Shipping Pool I was told to sign on Yokefleet.
I decided to see her first -she was in Tilbury Basin.I boarded her and I
did not like what I saw.
The cabins were filthy and I was expected to supply my own bedding
and cup,plate and cutlery.
I returned to the shipping office and refused to sign on...I was then told
to attend Grays Court the next day..
I was fined £10 - the Essential Works Order was in force.
A pal and myself then went up to Glasgow where there was a choice of
many ships... we signed on Cape Howe for her maiden voyage..
In later years I regretted my hasty actions as I sailed with many coasting
seamen and they were great lads to sail with..
I should have realised that the cabins were untidy -not dirty.They worked
four on and four off so who could blame them for neglecting to do a thing
or two.
My apologies to any who I upset at the time.
I saw Yokefleet quite often during the war and she had a good record -
I am pleased that she survive it.
Stan
 

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Spent my first year at sea on one Stan, the Blisworth, built in 1902 as the Kathleen ,and later to become the Holdernidd, best described as coal burning submarines, they kept one very nimble when loaded ,just getting amidships from the forrad accomodation, they could bury their head so fast. The reason I stayed a year was when I left Gravesend the shipping master in Goole made me aware of the fact that the deck boy rating was not used on the coast, so I was signed on as JOS with wages to suit, and from my very first day was standing a watch of 4-4 me and an AB, and an AB with a Sailor on the other watch, no peggies job for me, then when I joined my next ship deep sea I signed on as SOS(I think it was an oversight on somebodies part but I wasn't about to point it out)
 

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Yes Stan, the old girl was a coasting tramp which I enjoyed very much,however times change and after running up the "Gulf" with BTC for a while, and also getting Married I tried the colliers for a few years, at least one was assured of good grub, a steady run schedule, and lots of time off with the north east coast agreement, however that became much like driving a bus after a while, so off to Canada I did go
 

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This is to compliment the photo of Holdervine being commented on today..
John Masefield -
Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack.
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days.
Stan
 

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