Esso Wandsworth - Ships Nostalgia
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Esso Wandsworth

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  #1  
Old 17th September 2010, 16:21
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Esso Wandsworth

Anyone out there who remembers this old timer? I joined her in Milford Haven in 1964 as 4th engineer. I vividly remember a group of us standing on the jetty as she came alongside, and the first question was "which b****y way round is she?" since the bow and stern looked similar and her steering was a little uncertain (she hit the jetty).

In the engine room everything was driven by steam recip engines and DC motors, and the twin triple expansion engines had no rev counters, so responding to telegraph instructions was a matter of uneducated guesswork. On "full away" we used to try to match the speeds of the engines by standing between them and trying to match the rate of movement of the HP con rods, and we rarely got it right so the bridge would assist us by telling us what steering angle they had to maintain to go more or less straight, following which we would carry out adjustments (or not as we thought fit).

The one thing I really remember, apart from the twin scotch boilers that would blow rivets at regular intervals and blow back from the furnace fronts if they took exception the you, was the 'fridge system that worked on chlorine gas. Every now and again the 'fridge pumps would start to attempt pumping liquid chlorine, and that caused a massive overload in the DC pump motors. The result was a dimming of the engine room lamps and, if we didn't get to the pumps quickly enough, an enormous bang as the fuse blew and blasted the back panels off the switchboard.

On my watch I had a greaser who would insist on sneaking off behind the panels for a pee in the bilges, and however many times I warned him with a logging or a flogging, he kept doing it -- until the day when the 'fridge fuse blew while he was at his ablutions. He staggered out and muttered " F**** me four-oh, I think I'd rather have the logging if it's OK by you!"
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  #2  
Old 18th September 2010, 03:29
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Keltic Star Keltic Star is offline  
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From what I remember the "Esso Wandsworth" and her sister. the "Esso Lambeth" were old shallow draft, U.S built steamers originally used on Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. In Europe, Esso used them for delivering HFO to power stations. In the early sixties, I was on the smaller Esso Brixham and Esso Hythe and on exceptional neap tides when they could not get in, we used to milk them in Plymouth Sound and transfer the cargo to the power station.
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  #3  
Old 18th September 2010, 10:53
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I sailed on the Wandsworth in the late 1950s with Capt. Petrie, I sailed on one of her sisters the Esso Chelsea as well with Capt. Shields.
Bruce.
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  #4  
Old 18th September 2010, 11:17
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Keltic Star you are correct. The old "Dingbats" were built for Maracaibo. She was built for Creole Petroleum apparently, by Barnes Duluth in the USA in 1943 according to a Google search. Being a lake boat she was not best designed for sea service I guess as her maneuverability in any sea way left a bit to be desired, and she could roll like a pig when minded to.

The ships laundry room was on the other side of the companionway to the engine room door, and when she rolled to a certain angle the washing machine would shoot out of the laundry room and into the engine room.

The galley, I recall, had an oil fired range that blew up quite regularly, so a plentiful supply of carbon in the food was fairly common. And in the engineers accommodation all of the bunks were against the ship's side under portholes that always leaked. This made all us engineers well preserved as we were thoroughly salted.

I did six months on Wandsworth in 1964 and 1965, and although she was great fun there was, of course, no bond locker, and in any case I was trying to get in sufficient sea time for my second's ticket so I could have done without coastal work.
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Old 18th September 2010, 11:18
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ART6,

There are six photographs of ESSO WANDSWORTH on this page.
Scroll towards the bottom of the page.
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  #6  
Old 19th September 2010, 18:36
bill connolly bill connolly is offline  
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I was on the Esso Chelsea twice.
The period of roll was 4 seconds, 2 degrees either side or 22 degrees.
It was the only ship where you had to stow the chart rubbers to stop them falling of the chart table

Bill
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Old 20th September 2010, 07:55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill connolly View Post
I was on the Esso Chelsea twice.
The period of roll was 4 seconds, 2 degrees either side or 22 degrees.
It was the only ship where you had to stow the chart rubbers to stop them falling of the chart table

Bill
I recall once on Wandsworth that we were called upon to take bunkers to (I think) the Queen Mary in Cherbourg because the weather in the Channel was too severe for her to risk Soton! That's when we really found out how a Dingbat could roll. The period of roll didn't come into it -- it got close the revs per minute!
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Old 16th October 2011, 16:17
wavedweller wavedweller is offline  
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Esso Chelsea

Hi Bill,
I was on the Chelsea for about 3 months after joining her in South Shields. I distinctly remember havimg to carry our plates of food from the galley on the starboard side across the engine fiddley to our mess-room on the port side. I also remember one rough trip from Milford Haven ( where I have lived for 50 years) to Dingle on the Mersey--I think we passed the South Stack light 3 times in 8 hours.
I got transferred to the Esso Preston (much more refined, and sooo warm in winter)

Best regards
Colin
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  #9  
Old 16th October 2011, 21:30
billmaca billmaca is offline  
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Sailed on her sister ESSO LAMBETH when we got rammed by one of the trader boats as we turned into Tilbury power station,
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  #10  
Old 9th August 2018, 15:52
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My Dad sailed on the Wandsworth for many years. I often went with him and my mum. I remember one trip on the Thames and we went aground. Captain blamed the self steering gear??!!! We have a short cine clip of my dad standing stride a crack on the deck as it opened and closed. From my memories dad brought her and others back from U.S - he said he knew what “cork in the Atlantic” meant. His name was Billy McAdam
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  #11  
Old 14th August 2018, 10:43
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The steering on these Dingbats were notoriously bad, and I believe that a number of modifications were made, I am not sure if any of these were successful. There was a joke/saying by the Southampton pilots that, there wasn't enough room in Southamton Water for two of them to pass each other.
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Old 15th August 2018, 00:31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by price View Post
The steering on these Dingbats were notoriously bad, and I believe that a number of modifications were made, I am not sure if any of these were successful. There was a joke/saying by the Southampton pilots that, there wasn't enough room in Southamton Water for two of them to pass each other.
I will second that Bruce, I spent a few months on the Esso Lambeth in 1965. Terrible accommodation for the AB's, decent feeder, plenty of overtime but ho' how I hated doing two hours on the wheel. Good skipper, Capt. Shields, I think you sailed with him.

Bill has gone to Lebanon for a couple of weeks with his daughter and family. Hope you are keeping well,
Regards....Alec.
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Old 15th August 2018, 16:11
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Originally Posted by Trader View Post
I will second that Bruce, I spent a few months on the Esso Lambeth in 1965. Terrible accommodation for the AB's, decent feeder, plenty of overtime but ho' how I hated doing two hours on the wheel. Good skipper, Capt. Shields, I think you sailed with him.

Bill has gone to Lebanon for a couple of weeks with his daughter and family. Hope you are keeping well,
Regards....Alec.
Hello Alec, nice to hear from you, Yes, I agree, Capt Shields was a good Skipper, I sailed with him on the Esso Chelsea, Mr Wilcox was mate and Joe Clinton was Bosun. I later sailed with Mr. Wilcox on the Esso Cheyenne and later met him when he was master of the La Loma, nice guy. I sailed in the Esso Wandsworth with Capt. Petrie.
I hope that Bill has a good trip to the Lebanon, Give him my best wishes when you see him. Take care, best wishes. Bruce
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  #14  
Old 15th August 2018, 17:52
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I was second mate on Esso Fulham in 1965 and we had automatic steering that worked off the magnetic compass.

It was strange at first as you had to turn a ring on the compass to port if you wanted to alter to stbd and vive versa.


Sailed with Capt Shields on Esso Guildford but he was out of place and couldn't wait to get back to his "Beloved Dingbats"


I joined the dingbat from Esso Lancashire but it didn't take more than a few days to realise what a good job it was on the London River
with the odd deep sea trip to Fawley and even Plymouth.
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