Ships Nostalgia - View Single Post - Training ship City of Lucknow (merged threads)
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Old 18th January 2008, 21:25
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Ron Stringer Ron Stringer is offline
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Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Radio Officer
Active: 1960 - 1966
Join Date: Mar 2005
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On that visit (at the end of December 1962) to Newcastle, NSW to load wool for various European ports, we had an 'experience' ashore involving the Old Man.

He was a small man (about 5' 4") with an exaggerated sense of his own importance in the world. As the Master of Ellerman Lines' training ship 'City of Lucknow' he behaved as if he knew all there was to know about all aspects of merchant shipping. As a Yorkshireman, he knew that the rest of the world was occupied by lesser breeds of man.

In Newcastle, NSW, he requested the ship's agent to provide a self-drive hire car for his convenience. One afternoon, as I was walking through the docks with the 2nd Mate, we were overtaken by the Capt driving the hire car, accompanied by the ship's doctor. The car stopped and we were invited to accept a lift into town. It was mid-summer and we were grateful to avoid the long trek under a hot sun, so accepted with alacrity and got into the back seats. He drove with a flourish and was somewhat disdainful of the rights of other road users. The 2nd Mate and I were soon exchanging glances at each near miss and I was trying to work out how soon we would be able to claim that we had reached our destination, and ask the Old Man to drop us off.

We entered the town and began to move through fairly busy streets. Turns left and right were made with full confidence and we believed that he knew just where he was going. As it was the first time that either of us in the back seats had been to Newcastle, we hadn't a clue where we were. Suddenly a very large Australian policeman appeared in front of the car holding up his arm to signal us to stop. Stop we did and through the open window our Captain asked if he could help the officer in anyway. First of course (in true RNR fashion) the formalities had to be observed.

'Officer, I am Captain Bernard Theodore Wortley, RNR, Master of the training ship 'City of Lucknow' on urgent ship's business. I'd like you to meet my Surgeon, my Chief Communications Officer (me, the Sparks) and,' pointing to the 2nd Mate besides me, 'this is my Navigating Officer.' The policeman looked singularly unimpressed and said, 'I don't care if he is Christopher-bloody-Columbus, you can't go the wrong way down a one-way street. Now turn around and get the hell out of here.'

And we did.

Never regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many. Don't worry about old age - it doesn't last.
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