River Hooghly Pilot Service. - Ships Nostalgia
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River Hooghly Pilot Service.

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  #1  
Old 1st May 2014, 11:19
Hugh Ferguson's Avatar
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River Hooghly Pilot Service.

This is the first of several pages of a publication made by the Hooghly pilots to commemorate their tercentenary in 1969.
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File Type: jpg Hooghly Pilots.jpg (93.3 KB, 134 views)

Last edited by Hugh Ferguson; 1st May 2014 at 11:28..
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  #2  
Old 1st May 2014, 11:37
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I have been trying to find information about John Norman who was a pilot on the Hoogli before, and during the early years of, the Second World War. John was called out when a fire broke out on a ship during the night. There was an explosion and he was the only man killed.
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  #3  
Old 1st May 2014, 12:54
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Another page
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  #4  
Old 1st May 2014, 15:38
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A group of Hooghly pilots in 1969 and four of the splendid Pilot vessels cruising at Sandheads over a period of 74 years.
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File Type: jpg Hooghly pilots in 1969.jpg (85.6 KB, 148 views)
File Type: jpg Pilot Vessels 1890 to 1964.jpg (118.7 KB, 134 views)
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  #5  
Old 1st May 2014, 17:12
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Attached is a message from the Harbour Master (River).
These were the pilots who took the ships to, and away, from the buoy moorings in the river. See HERE
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  #6  
Old 1st May 2014, 19:59
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The first 2 pages of the history of the service.
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File Type: jpg History of the Service, page 1.jpg (107.5 KB, 44 views)
File Type: jpg History of the Service, page 2.jpg (105.3 KB, 31 views)
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  #7  
Old 1st May 2014, 20:34
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Hugh
Rmemeber them well. Came aboard with a servant and golf clubs - they practised their shots on the pilot vessel. I remember too their saying that Indian pilots could never do their job. Also they did the minimum of chat with the dock pilots at Calcutta whom they thought of as below them.
We've come a long way since then !!
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Old 1st May 2014, 21:13
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Two more pages of the history of the service.
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File Type: jpg History of the Service, page 3.jpg (126.8 KB, 29 views)
File Type: jpg History of the Service, page 4.jpg (111.2 KB, 24 views)
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  #9  
Old 1st May 2014, 21:34
Cwatcher Cwatcher is offline  
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Remember going up the Hooghly to Buj Buj as first time 3/O. Pilot came aboard on my watch & spent half an hour with me. The Old Man then invited him down to his cabin for pre-lunch drinks. "Just keep her between the buoys 3/O" said the Pilot as they disappeared......very relieved to see the 2/O at 12.00.
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Old 2nd May 2014, 09:57
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Another page.
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  #11  
Old 2nd May 2014, 12:49
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The pilot service that William Stanton had difficulty in gaining access to, the Cinque Ports Pilots, was the same service from which Messrs. George Herron; James White; Thomas Massen; James Ferborne; John Ffloyd & Thomas Bateman came from to help establish the Hooghly pilot service in 1668. See HERE

Click on, "How William Stanton got to be a Cinque Ports Pilot".

Last edited by Hugh Ferguson; 2nd May 2014 at 15:34..
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  #12  
Old 3rd May 2014, 10:25
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Pure nostalgia and half the views of "botched execution".
Why bother?
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  #13  
Old 4th May 2014, 00:07
Robert Bush Robert Bush is offline  
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Capt Ferguson

Thanks for very interesting posts.

Have pleasant memories of the Pilots and Harbour Masters from prepartition times up until 1960. Remember British and Indian Pilots boarding from row boats together with a servant and a bed roll.

Many were quite wealthy having tea estates and race horses.

The HMs were masters at dredging down up river on the ebb.

The Survey Department, very efficient, still had a few Brits and the buoys both mooring and navigational were most reliable so were the fixed marks.

I had several ex Dufferin cadets as friends and ship mates. Some were Anglo Indians.
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Old 4th May 2014, 00:49
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good day hugh ferguson sm,1est may, 2014,20:19.re:river hooghly pilot service .thank you for a verry informative post.great history.and a long one.regards ben27
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Old 30th August 2016, 18:20
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Link here to .pdf of On The Hooghly by Malcolm Hamilton Beattie Hooghly Pilot 1878 - 1914.
Well worth reading.
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  #16  
Old 23rd June 2018, 20:58
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Thanks

I know this thread is now several years old, but I just found it, and wanted to add my appreciation to that already voiced to Hugh for having posted copies of his history.

A valuable document which now, hopefully, will not be lost to posterity.

Cheers,

Glen,
In Our Dominion of the North
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Researching the people, ships, organisation, and activities of the Royal Indian Marine (1892-1934), Royal Indian Navy (1934-51), the Ceylon Naval Defence Force (1938-43) and the RNVR (Ceylon), (1943-50).
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  #17  
Old 16th September 2018, 14:07
Ben47 Ben47 is offline
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Travel on the Hooghly

I know this is a long shot given that the thread is 8 years old but..
I used to live in India back in the late 1960s and visited Calcutta various time always wanting to boat down the Hooghly- but never did. Couple questions:
1. Can you describe the land as it was back then along the banks of the river from Sagar Is to the city? How would you characterize the land? Large trees, jungle, open farm land, villages, huts, commercial buildings...
2. How long did it take to pilot a ship up river from Sagar Island to the wharfs (I presume the pilot joined the ship at the island). Thanks.
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Old 16th September 2018, 15:55
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River Hoogly Pilot Service

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben47 View Post
I know this is a long shot given that the thread is 8 years old but..
I used to live in India back in the late 1960s and visited Calcutta various time always wanting to boat down the Hooghly- but never did. Couple questions:
1. Can you describe the land as it was back then along the banks of the river from Sagar Is to the city? How would you characterize the land? Large trees, jungle, open farm land, villages, huts, commercial buildings...
2. How long did it take to pilot a ship up river from Sagar Island to the wharfs (I presume the pilot joined the ship at the island). Thanks.
I'm sure someone on here will attempt to answer your question but very unfortunately it will not be the person to who you directed it. Hugh is no longer able to use the computer and has not been for some time. I believe he lost the use of his sight though someone else may have more up to date info.
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  #19  
Old 16th September 2018, 20:59
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Thanks much. I'm sorry to hear about Hugh.
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  #20  
Old 16th September 2018, 22:51
IRW IRW is offline  
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memory fading a bit but on the way up on Bank boats there were quite a number of brickworks. then Bata factories. Lots of paddy fields with bullocks working the ploughs.
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  #21  
Old 16th September 2018, 23:58
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Thanks, IRW. I appreciate your memories.
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  #22  
Old 17th September 2018, 09:41
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The Pilot boarded at "Sandheads" in the vicinity of the
"Western Channel Light Vessel". It was (if I remember correctly) two or 3 hours Pilotage to Sagar Island.


The time taken from there to Calcutta varied as deep vessels
had to anchot from time to time to wait the tide height to get
over the various Bars.


The Pilot took the ship to just above BudgeBudge where the docking
Pilot or "Harbourmaster" took over to berth in Kidderpore,King George Dock, or the Buoys.


I think it took a minimum of 12 hours with no anchoring from Sandheads
to being all fast in Calcutta. (Again Memory ??)



TC
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  #23  
Old 17th September 2018, 18:52
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Thanks, Tony. A further question for everyone. Did the leadsman have duties other than depth sounding using the lead and line? And at what point was the lead replaced by technology for echo (sonar) sounding? At this point was the leadsman no longer needed? Thanks.
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  #24  
Old 17th September 2018, 20:10
Michael Taylor Michael Taylor is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben47 View Post
Thanks, Tony. A further question for everyone. Did the leadsman have duties other than depth sounding using the lead and line? And at what point was the lead replaced by technology for echo (sonar) sounding? At this point was the leadsman no longer needed? Thanks.
I remember clearly the pilot boarding along with his "boy" who carried his bag to the bridge an acted as his servant. He then acted as leadsman in the chains when need. As apprentice in Ellermans we had the opportunity to swing the lead under his instruction which often involved hitting the accommodation front, much to others annoyance .
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  #25  
Old 17th September 2018, 21:44
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Great story, Michael. Thanks. Do you remember when sonar took over? Must have been in the 60s maybe?
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