The heat in the stokehold - Page 3 - Ships Nostalgia
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The heat in the stokehold

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  #51  
Old 19th August 2015, 22:23
rab.m. rab.m. is offline  
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Organisation: Royal Navy
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Active: 1963 - 1978
 
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At the opposite end of the scale.On HMS Maidstone at Faslane in '64 one boiler was kept steaming for aux's.During the winter we had to wear cold weather clothing as the forced draught fans blew freezing cold air and even snow directly on to the blr.front plates,bloody miserable place to be.
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  #52  
Old 20th August 2015, 13:32
tsell tsell is offline
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We left port one stoker short - he had been murdered ashore a few hours before we sailed. A week out the heat on deck was so bad we had to wear leather shoes to save our feet and the prickly heat made you want to tear your skin off.
We had no air-con and no cold water, what we did have tasted like liquid lard. The Punkah Louvres delivered hot air into the cabins, but it was just as bad trying to sleep on deck.
A couple of weeks out, two stokers had a fight below and both were badly burned. The mate ordered some of the deck crew into the stokehold.
We were each paired with a stoker as trimmers. I didn't think it could get any hotter than it was on deck, but it was a very rude awakening as it was hard to catch a breath at first.
I was paired with a great guy from, I think, West Africa. He was only about five and a half feet tall and his skin was ebony and the muscles on his back stood out like salamis. His name was Soloman and we got on like old friends and he showed me how to get the coal down from the bunker. It would have been a hell of a task, even without the heat, but in no time it knocked the crap out of me as it did my mates alongside. It was hard keeping up the supply for the stoker.
Soloman suggested we swap for a while, but he had to show me how to use the banjo and how to keep the right amount of coal 'up the throat'. I was surprised that stoking was easier for me than trimming, but I wasn't quite fast enough and couldn't lift enough coal on the shovel to do the job efficiently. I soon found that there was a lot more to stoking than bunging a few shovels full of coal into a fireplace! - so back to trimming.
The rest of the deck crew were rotated and we became stronger and more efficient over the next three weeks, but the weirdest part of the experience was that though the heat was far greater below we were more comfortable down there than we were on deck or in our cabins.

Taff
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  #53  
Old 20th August 2015, 16:05
tunatownshipwreck's Avatar
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My guess is that the heat in the stokehold was a dry heat, and elsewhere it was high humidity. Whatever they paid you, it wasn't enough.
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You can call me Eric, just don't call me late to dinner.
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  #54  
Old 20th August 2015, 22:13
tsell tsell is offline
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Yes Eric, I guess the dry heat was the reason. I don't recall if we were paid any higher wages though - probably not!

Taff
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  #55  
Old 20th August 2015, 22:27
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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Oh yes it was not just a matter of shovelling coal into the furnace.
It had to be placed just right.
There was a sequence that was followed.
Left of furnace at back
Right of furnace at back
Centre of furnace at back.
Then repeat again at the front.
It was a wedge shaped fire that was the most efficient.
A big heap was asking for problems.
Funny how you never forget!!!!!
That was a long time ago and its amazing that something triggered the sequence.
Now where did I put the car keys!!!!

Last edited by lakercapt; 21st August 2015 at 03:34.. Reason: additional text
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  #56  
Old 20th August 2015, 22:50
tsell tsell is offline
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That's it! You just brought the sequence back. More than one shovel load hit the deck as I caught an edge and the jar went through my arm and shoulder. Bloody painful. I can still feel it though it was 63 years ago!
Many years ago I was telling this story to the fireman on a steam train and he told me that putting too much coal on the fire at once could actually slow the train. Apparently you had to maintain a constant heat.

Taff

Last edited by tsell; 20th August 2015 at 22:53..
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  #57  
Old 20th August 2015, 22:58
randcmackenzie randcmackenzie is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scelerat View Post
I do indeed (7 years delay) I got two suits made by him. Mind you, his boiler suits shrank loads! City of Wellington, 1976.
Was it not Ganumal?
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  #58  
Old 21st August 2015, 01:56
kauvaka kauvaka is offline  
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Active: 1959 - 1963
 
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Yep, first thing when going on watch was to inspect the plates at the boiler front to see if any had "sprung" edges, wear the belt buckle at the back. Not many firemen could afford neck chains in those days or as a previous poster has mentioned they could be a problem. Back to the pool for a new ship and the doctor syringed the coal dust from my ears
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  #59  
Old 22nd August 2015, 10:53
steamer659 steamer659 is offline  
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Probably the hottest trip I had as a Fireman-Watertender was in 1978 aboard the USNS Comet. Twin Screw Steamer. May to August 1978- Rota, Iskenderun, Port Said, Al Aquaba, Jeddah, Dammam, Hodeida, Lisbon, Port Arthur (TX)-

Average temps on the Fireroom gratings ran around 120 degrees F., straight mechanical burner tips, changed every 4 hours at sea, we also alternated cleaning the strainers... Worst part about the trip was no AC in the accommodation space (except the messhall), hottest, most miserable trip I can recall...
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