Ibby - Ships Nostalgia
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  #1  
Old 21st April 2016, 04:00
Ibbotson Ibbotson is offline  
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Ibby

I was fortunate to join the m.v."Northumbrian Prince" at Manchester in February 1965 as part of the then Furness Withy group. Standards of accomodation and quality of life on board seemed a tad better than what I had been accustomed to on the s.s."Pacific Reliance", though that had been quite O.K. at the time.
We, of course, traded the Mediterranean area, calling at SO many ports between Malta and Beirut, where a shipmate's father was stationed and was able to show us around. Beirut was much better in those days and was called "The Paris of the Middle East" We low-life apprentices were put on watch with the 1st Mate, who had us merry lads dancing to his tune as lookout, helmsman, cleaner, polisher and general factotum. Cyprus was tense at that time, especially when we ventured into the Turkish quarter of Famagusta. Blue helmets were first deployed on the old town ramparts there. I was transferred to the North Atlantic later that year. Learnt most seamanship with Prince Line with painting on stages and in bosun's chair and rope ladder. We ran the 4 to 8 watch the whole trip, as was normal in Prince Line I believe. "Norman Prince" was supposed to be identical but was said to handle differently, although built alongside each other on the slipway. I have a nice photo of "my ship" which I may post later on for added verisimilitude !! She looks like a yacht to me now !
Great memories, although a crewmate said that I shouldn't worry about the occasional cockroach, as where there were cockroaches, there would be no bedbugs ! Our captain was such a character. Used to yell down at "Desdemona", our antiquated, Famagusta tug, "You couldn't pull the skin off a rice pudding". Every trip he threw that insult down on her ! Maybe it was a challenge of sort come to think of it. One trip we called at three ports in one day !!
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  #2  
Old 21st April 2016, 05:18
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Keltic Star Keltic Star is offline  
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I did 3 trips as Apprentice on the Northumbrian Prince in 1960. A nice little ship kept like a yacht on the relatively fair weather Medi run.

My last trip on her was during the Seaman's strike when we transited the Manchester Ship Canal crewed by Cadets from whatever company ships were in the UK and then picked up and dropped off a scab crew by tug passing Liverpool. We had to remain off the decks while passing under the canal bridges because of the bricks chucked at us by pickets and their families.

Captain Angus Murray was Master and an absolute gentleman.
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  #3  
Old 23rd April 2016, 02:35
Jon Vincent Jon Vincent is offline  
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Capt Stevens was the master, crusty old soul and long term master, it was called Stevens yacht.
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Old 23rd April 2016, 07:47
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Keltic Star Keltic Star is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Vincent View Post
Capt Stevens was the master, crusty old soul and long term master, it was called Stevens yacht.
I stand corrected Jon, Manchester Stevens was the Master. (Angus Murray was relieving on the Cyprian Prince for a couple of voyages). I say Manchester Stevens because Prince Line also had Captain Bert Stevens know as "Hull Stevens"

I sailed with both of them. Manchester Stevens considered the Cadets as his free boat building labour force. He would buy small scrap navy boats in Malta and Cyprus and had the Chippy and Cadets repair them on the way home. When on turnaround in Manchester, we worked from his house not on board ship, building sailing dinghies in his spare bedroom. Aided by his constant shouting, we then launched them out of the window with ships gear. He very generously gave us our bus fares each day and we got hell if we were late for work. He wasn't a crusty old soul, he was a complete ars-hole but I did learn how to build a better boat than he could.

Hull Stevens, Master of the "Western Prince" on the other hand was a man respected by all the crew. I sailed with him as Cadet and Fourth Mate and couldn't have asked for a better mentor. He used to let me have a couple of days off in Montreal each trip to be with my fiancée and in return, I agreed to do the ships payroll which was a reward in itself as it got me out of lock standbys going up the MSC.
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  #5  
Old 24th April 2016, 00:46
Jon Vincent Jon Vincent is offline  
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When I say crusty I was being polite, I concur with your opinion. I learnt from my first trip to sea on the "Black Prince " that if the master weren't assshole the mates were or both were and the company philosophy was we were cheap labor. I fair better than most with Stevens as my uncle was Capt (yogi) Barid the senior marine super and I was the last cadet to get Prince line indentures. When I completed my sea time, I ended up short due to coastwise halftime rule, I thought they would give me an ucert third mates job, you could have heard a pine drop in the office when I asked, I was told I would be lucky if I got re-employed when I got my ticket, as they had too many junior officers. I went to Houlders, night and day.
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  #6  
Old 24th April 2016, 04:46
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Keltic Star Keltic Star is offline  
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Quote:
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When I say crusty I was being polite, I concur with your opinion. I learnt from my first trip to sea on the "Black Prince " that if the master weren't assshole the mates were or both were and the company philosophy was we were cheap labor. I fair better than most with Stevens as my uncle was Capt (yogi) Barid the senior marine super and I was the last cadet to get Prince line indentures. When I completed my sea time, I ended up short due to coastwise halftime rule, I thought they would give me an ucert third mates job, you could have heard a pine drop in the office when I asked, I was told I would be lucky if I got re-employed when I got my ticket, as they had too many junior officers. I went to Houlders, night and day.
I met Captain Baird a few times when he visited ships in port and he actually signed off my indentures. As cadets, we were in awe of him but he was very pleasant. The one all deck ranks tried to keep a low profile around was his assistant, Captain Jowett but I have to confess I probably emulated him on a few occasions when I reached dizzy heights in ship management.
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Old 24th April 2016, 23:10
Jon Vincent Jon Vincent is offline  
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Originally Posted by Keltic Star View Post
I met Captain Baird a few times when he visited ships in port and he actually signed off my indentures. As cadets, we were in awe of him but he was very pleasant. The one all deck ranks tried to keep a low profile around was his assistant, Captain Jowett but I have to confess I probably emulated him on a few occasions when I reached dizzy heights in ship management.
Your dead right about Capt Jowett, his protege was "Parish" the chief mate on the Black Prince my first ship, combine that with a class act as senior cadet Terry Ely, it was eight months of hell, it took all of Capt Bairds time to stop me quitting right there. Yes you were very proficient seaman when you completed your indentures, but they also taught you how not to treat people when you became c/o and master.
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Old 25th April 2016, 04:40
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Keltic Star Keltic Star is offline  
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Your dead right about Capt Jowett, his protege was "Parish" the chief mate on the Black Prince my first ship, combine that with a class act as senior cadet Terry Ely, it was eight months of hell, it took all of Capt Bairds time to stop me quitting right there. Yes you were very proficient seaman when you completed your indentures, but they also taught you how not to treat people when you became c/o and master.
I feel for you, Parish was C/O on the "Sycamore" on my first trip, but fortunately I was transferred to the "Javanese Price" as she needed an extra Cadet (slave) the day we docked back in Birkenhead and as Junior Cadet with no leave due, I drew the short but lucky straw.
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  #9  
Old 4th May 2016, 02:16
Jon Vincent Jon Vincent is offline  
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It wasn't all bad, I had a good year on the "Stuart" with Capt Jimmy Gilzean and Tony Collop as C/O, Also a good time on the "Lancastrian" with Capt Kent, the "Northumbrian" was also good. There were a lot of good people as well as the truly bad and Like many learnt to be good seaman which stood me in good stead as C/O, it was very sad to see all the "Prince Line" boats come into Falmouth docks, my home port and see them handed over to new owners, the end of an era. I often wonder what happened to all the great bridge front emblems they had.
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Old 4th May 2016, 06:35
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Keltic Star Keltic Star is offline  
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It wasn't all bad, I had a good year on the "Stuart" with Capt Jimmy Gilzean and Tony Collop as C/O, Also a good time on the "Lancastrian" with Capt Kent, the "Northumbrian" was also good. There were a lot of good people as well as the truly bad and Like many learnt to be good seaman which stood me in good stead as C/O, it was very sad to see all the "Prince Line" boats come into Falmouth docks, my home port and see them handed over to new owners, the end of an era. I often wonder what happened to all the great bridge front emblems they had.
It was all good, we learned a lot about human nature with some of what we considered bad guys during our apprenticeships. I don't regret one moment of my time with Prince Line/Furness Withy and in future years used them as agents in London, and agents/stevedores in Montreal, Saint John and Trinidad. I also placed our companies marine insurance with Furness Holder for quite a few years until the organization slowly sank below the horizon.

There was never any problem in the hierarchy accepting and working with an ex Cadet and junior Officer as a customer. It think at times they were tickled pink. What a shame I didn't know Parish was working in Head office, I could have dropped in for a spot of tea!
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Last edited by Keltic Star; 4th May 2016 at 06:38..
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  #11  
Old 4th May 2016, 06:44
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Keltic Star Keltic Star is offline  
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Ibby:

My apologies, we seem to have unintentionally Shanghaied your thread but thanks for the opening. Please join in with your Prince Line experiences plus there are quite a few other ex-Furness group members on SN who may want to part with a few gems.
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  #12  
Old 4th May 2016, 11:31
doxfordsix doxfordsix is offline  
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My second trip as 3/E in Maltese Prince was a six wk nightmare. Pierhead jump 2/E, 4/E taken off sick in Malta, six on six off rest of trip. C/e wouldn't miss his evening drinks with the passengers! Broken rudder pintle spotted by me at steering gear test but told by the chief and c/o I was seeing things! Ran out of lub oil and fridge gas requiring unscheduled stop in Algiers. Oil sent in 5 gall cans. Foreign Legion threatened to shoot a passenger who wanted to break the curfew. Getting the 2/e for his watch was like waking the dead. More like seven on five off. Told c/e I wasn't coming back. Surprised to see my relief on the dock. surprised to get recall telegram! Replied I would not rejoin even if resignation was the regrettable alternative. Call from Super offering me 3/E in Sagamore. Yes please
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  #13  
Old 5th May 2016, 01:37
Jon Vincent Jon Vincent is offline  
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Hi Keltic Star. The Last time I saw "Parish" was 1068, I was third off on the "Royston Grange" and we had just docked at our home berth in Vic docks, he was the first person up the gangway, resplendent in his uniform and cape, and four strips on his sleeve. I was standing with Dave Revell the 2/E, he said you know him, I said I wish I did not. for one horrible moment I thought he was going to relieve Capt Don Murray. Thankfully he was the cargo super for the Furness Group in the Royal Docks and after a short do with our C/O left, I made dam sure he never saw me.
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