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Old 13th January 2008, 21:19
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Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson is offline  
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An interesting exercise that needed to be undertaken consequent of my contacting J.Johnston Abraham's daughter Jill, was on discovering that she had never seen a photograph of the ship her father had sailed in.
That lack was easily taken care of, for on p.43 of Clarkson, Harvey & Fenton's excellent book, Ships In Focus, Blue Funnel Line, there is a splendid photograph of that very ship. No sooner had Jill set eyes on that but she was keen to know if it was possible to discover the location of her father's cabin!
I knew from having read the book umpteen times that the engineer officers' accommodation was on the port-side of the centre castle deck, and the deck officers' was on the starboard side. The photograph, fortunately, was stern on on the starboard side, and the row of cabin port-holes was well defined. But, how to discover whose was whose!!
The only thing I could think of doing was to read the book again, which was no hardship, and there on p.273 was the clue. The ship is in Soerabaya and loading molasses........it leaked from the tubs as it was being hoisted from the lighters and trickled down the ship's side. I (the good doctor writes)
had to screw up my port-holes to keep it out of my cabin.........
So, some 90 years later, the daughter of Dr.James Johnston Abraham knew the ship her father had sailed in and the very cabin he had occupied during the five months long voyage. She was delighted.

(I think this must have been the last class of Blue Funnel ships in which there was crew accommodation in the centre-castle deck with ports situated along the ship's hull. It later became valuable cargo space, especially when there were motor cars to be stowed).
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