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Harry Nicholson 21st July 2019 18:03

Andrea Doria
We've just past the 62nd anniversary of Andrea Doria loss.
Has an account - and a picture of her wireless room.
When it happened, I'd turned 18 and had just left the Nourse tramp 'Hughli' for the Tyne collier 'Corburn':

Mam and Dad are astonished when the taxi pulls up and I emerge. They make a quiet sort of fuss; they are quiet people, but their delight is obvious. I have a supper of fried potato and bacon followed by one dreamless night in my childhood bed.
In the morning, Mam is worried that I'm off to sea again. She's just heard on the wireless that the damaged liner Andrea Doria has capsized and sank. While 1,660 passengers and crew were rescued and survived, 46 people have died with the ship as a consequence of the collision. I promise to take care, then hurry up Warren Road to Winterbottom Avenue where I catch the red double-decker United bus to the railway station. The bus is crammed with working people; the only seats free are upstairs, amongst the pipe tobacco.

Bob M 23rd July 2019 10:11

Hi Harry,
Just read your book. Very enjoyable. I joined Marconi a couple of years after you, in April, 1958 aged 16, in Glasgow. My first ship was Falaise Soton to St Malo. 3 round trips a week, no Sunday sailing. Then Golfito. All out of Southampton Depot. Like you I found the manager and staff very friendly. Although I had my MOT radar ticket, one of the shore techs gave me a good session on the Quo Vadis (?) .
Anyhow, hope to read your next part soon

Harry Nicholson 23rd July 2019 20:03

Hi, Bob. By gum, you started young. You must have zipped through college. South Shields MN college would not take me until I was 16 - I had to pedal a coop errand boy's bike for a year first.
Pleased to hear your favourable comment on the memoir. Writing is a solitary business and feedback is scarce. I'm at 35k words with the sequel - that's about half way. For the cover, a local ex engineer and marine artist, Bill Wedgwood of Robin Hoods Bay has painted an image of my last ship, the Brocklebank 'Marwarri'. Sadly, (with about 300 others - folk had to stand outside the Methodist chapel) I was at Bill's funeral yesterday so he did not see it finished - though he had read everything I'd written so far (put me right on a couple of points too). Bill painted the cover for the one you have just read. It is the Dalton Hall - one of his ships.

Bob M 24th July 2019 07:28

Hi Harry,
I started at the Watt Memorial in Greenock in September 56 at 15.
Sat my 2nd class part one in December 57, right before Christmas. Came back after holidays and the results were in and I had passed. Unfortunately, the examiner was also waiting g for us for part two. No swotting up regs and brushing up morse, we almost al, failed. A radar class was starting, however, due to the Easter break being early, the normal 3 month course was cut to two months. Lots of lage nights. However I passed and had a couple of weeks respite before re-sitting part two of the PMB successfully this time. So I joined Marcomi the same day I got my results and ticket. Joined Falaise a month before my 17th birthday.
After travelling down from Glasgow overnight sitting up in BR's old carriages, then travelling across London and down to Southampton, we sailed that evening on the usual q4 hour trip. The chief, a great old guy, took the watch till 0100. He sat in with me for half an hour or so, then told me it was all mine. No mucking about. I was straight into watch keeping. Wish it was starting over. Don't we all?

gordonarfur 28th July 2019 02:31

You guys did the sensible thing by starting young and dodging the british army and all its stupid BS. i did things **** backwards and did,nt start my PMG until i was 23, fortunately I managed to dodge employment with Macaronis and went direct employ, much more enjoyable.

Bob M 28th July 2019 07:33

Hi Gordanarfur,
Knock it off. National Service had finished before my time!
I actually found Marconi quite a good experience. Going with them, you certainly never knew where your next ship would be bound. I did enjoy my time as direct employ with Union SS Co in NZ, but after a couple of years of going all round NZ and Aussie, I was getting itchy feet. Then went ashore, something does not sound right, which is probably why I was always up for a move somewhere new. But have spent the last 33 years in Gent Belgium.
Cheers Bob

gordonarfur 28th July 2019 23:05

Andrea Doria
Hi Bob did you honestly enjoy the USS? initially I got lumbered with the Kaitawa with its battery operated TX and receivers which I forgot to charge when in Greymouth and then had to run a line from the engine room to the radio room to recharge them. Fortunately I was transferred long before the ship went down with all hands. Did,nt enjoy it all after the conference lines.

spongebob 28th July 2019 23:33

Gordon, you couldn't have picked a bigger lemon than Those K boats on the coal run .


gordonarfur 29th July 2019 00:21

Andrea Doria
Hi Spongebob - I had no option, I certainly did,nt choose it, they just shoved me onto the Kaitawa then after a few weeks I was upgraded to the Kawatiri (where the old man tried to tell me how to take a DF bearing ) so that trip was fairly short!! then the Karitane and finally a half decent ship the Koromiko for a couple of ozzie trips.

spongebob 29th July 2019 07:31

Gordon , you sure drew the short straws

Bob M 29th July 2019 09:32

Hi Gordon,
Yes, like you, I did a trip on the Kaitawa. I was on the Kaitoa in Auckland and we were expected to be in port for about a week. The Kaitawa was up at Portland and was due to change articles in Auckland. There was no Sparks on board, so I was despatched up to Portland to do the wages etc for the change. Was only on her 4 or 5 days and only made the few hours voyage to Auckland. My memory of my time on her is zero.
But yes, I really enjoyed my time with the Union Co. Generally speaking, good shipmates and except for my first ship, the old Kauri, which I also joined in Portland (what a trip out along that wharf) luckily got a ride on the cab of one of the wee shunters. But again, a good bunch to sail with, except a drunken 1st Mate.
Cheers Bob

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