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Old 6th May 2009, 18:50
jackman jackman is offline  
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Any shipmates left?

In the shelter where I live. An ex merchant seaman resides. We sit and chew the fat,and he tells me his expierences in the war. Itold him about this

site and he sak me to see if any old shipmates are around. I said they must be all dead by now. He said " I'm alive " I can't argue with that. He went to sea in 1940 as a deck boy on the SS Orion, trooping , on the way to Capetown in convoy,there was a collision with HMS Revenge, they made it to Capetown for emergence repairs. Then on to Singapore to dry dock the ship and a major repair. They got out of Singapore two weeks before the japs took over. one of the last ships to leave. Next ship, SS Ormonde trooping ,quiet trip. Then joined the SS Orcades August 1942 troops to Capetown,disembarked troops. Sailed we various personnel. 365 miles out. first torpedo struck, followed by four more. They took to the boats. The SS Narvic came and picked up all who had survived. Very brave there were U boats in the area. taken to Capetown. Came home DBS. Joined the SS Fort
Ellice,suplies to north africa. .Assigned to crew an AFD [ floating dock ] to algeria. [I had to ask him what an AFD was ] he said it was very hard work.. Next ship SS Orontes to north africa, to join up with the americans to invade Salerno. They were there three days, took of the sick and wounded. Home again,two weeks leave. Up to scotland to join a tanker SS San Ubaldo down to the solent, joined the invasion fleet, the job was to refuel navel ships and landing craft. After taking a break ,joind the MV Drake coasting between London and Leith. His health wasn't to good at this time,and after a few trips I was rendered unfit for sea duties . This is just a brief outline of one mans war. Got some lovely yarns. His name Dennis Goddard. If any of this rings a bell. let me know and I'll tell him
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Old 6th May 2009, 20:05
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John Rogers John Rogers is offline  
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Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Engineering
Active: 1947 - 1954
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One of the many silent HERO'S of the war and a great generation.

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Old 6th May 2009, 21:57
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paisleymerchant paisleymerchant is offline  
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Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Hotels / Catering
Active: 1975 - 1991
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Have to agree with John alas a case of an Unsung Hero people seem to forget that most Merchant Seamen were volunteers during those times.
You can't help but respect them for all their sacrifices.
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Old 7th May 2009, 01:07
terence terence is offline  
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nice story
terry music man

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Old 7th May 2009, 02:24
tsell tsell is offline
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Hats off to Dennis and thanks for the post Jackman.
He was a brave lad to sign on in such a turbulent time in our maritime history.
Let's hope there are some on this great site who remember him and his ships.

I am sure that I speak for many of our members when I say we look forward to more of his yarns.


Taffy R556959
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Old 7th May 2009, 12:10
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exsailor exsailor is offline  
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Great story - I salute the man. One of the many unsung heroes; the world would have ended up a different place if not for the silent deeds of the Merchant Navy.

Should Dennis be inclined, it would be great to hear more of his wartime experiences. Libraries are full of war stories of the Armed Forces and/or people from them, but alas, there is small mention of the silent 'fourth service' that quietly got on with the job, but paid the biggest sacrifice.

Regards (to Dennis as well),
Dennis (yes, another one!)
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Old 7th May 2009, 16:40
jackman jackman is offline  
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Some people express suprise that fourteen year olds went to sea as deck, galley, cabin boys. in war time. Unless you went on to higher education. All boys and girls left school at 14, and started work. I myself left school in 1943 at 14 [ Teenagers hadn't been invented then. ] The merchant service was a civilian ocupation, like any other job, was open to 14 year olds. These boys weren't called up, they volunteered for this. In my opinion this showed an enormous amount of courage. They knew what the job entailed. Dennis was on the TS Arethusa moored on the Medway. He joined on Jan 2nd 1940 at 14. The boys were asked if they wanted to join the royal or merchant navy. To join the RN they had to wait until they were 16. or join the merchant navy at 14. Dennis opted for the merchant navy. and in July 1940 sent up to Liverpool to join the SS Orion. A small snippet of history. The HMS Ajax came up to the Chatam Navel Dock Yard after the battle of the River Plate, for repairs. and the Captain invited all the boys on the TS Arethusa on board and gave them a tour of the ship. they saw all the battle damage. Met a few of the crew. An unforgetable expierence.
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Old 12th June 2009, 11:08
Gill Fields Gill Fields is offline  
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So pleased to read this message. My Dad, John Fields also went away to sea at 14. He was also on board ss Orion throughout WW2, took part in the first convoy and the last.

Dad is now 93 and sadly in the later stages of Alzheimer's Disease, but still reverts back to his "happy times" on board. He has spoken about the collision with Revenge many times - if I can I'll try to upload a photograph of from his collection if I can work out how to do it!!!

Dad started as Bell Boy then worked as a Steward. Post-war went into the Ships Shops. If anyone remembers him we would be delighted to hear from them!

Your friend Dennis may remember "Robbie" Robinson (a good friend of my Dad's - sadly no longer with us.) He was in the Deck Crew of Orion throughout the war, and moved to live in Hobart.

Another name from that era (another good friend of my Dad's & sadly also passed on) was Bill Izzard ("the Wizard"). Bill was in the Purser's Dept, think he was probably also a steward.

If any of these names ring a bell - please get in touch.

I followed in Dad's footsteps and spent 12 happy years at sea with P&O Cruises as Children's Hostess.

Kind Regards

Gill Fields (Southampton)
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Old 21st June 2009, 18:01
jackman jackman is offline  
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Hi Gill.
I'II ask dennis if he knew your father and "Robbie " Robinson. The timing sounds about right
What P&O ships were you on? I sailed on the
Strathmore April 1953 to Jan 1954. Then the Maloja. Followed by the Himalaya May 1954 to November 1954. Then the Stratheden December 1954 to June 1955. I've just noticed I was on the Ranchi, trooping.We brough the troops home from Singapore.April 1947 Small world eh?
Iwill let you know about your dad
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Old 24th June 2009, 21:36
Gill Fields Gill Fields is offline  
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Hello Jackman

Thanks for your reply and message today - much appreciated. Have sent you a reply and will tell Dad about our exchange of messages. I wonder if there are any other old shipmates of my Dads' out there who sailed on Orion during the war?

I have remembered another name ffom that era - Johnny Purser (another good friend of my Dads - sadly no longer with us.) He was a Steward too I believe.

Will have a go at downloading some Orion photos that I scanned for Dad's "memory book".

Thanks again for your reply & our very best regards to you and your friend Dennis.

Gill Fields
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Old 1st July 2009, 09:51
60'sgirl 60'sgirl is offline  
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Three catering boys served on the Himalaya 1968-1969 Alan Wales,Butch and Dave where are they now ?
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Old 5th February 2010, 08:02
dean butler dean butler is offline  
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hi there, I am in New Zealand and am trying to find out more about my birth father, Brian Walsh from Sussex, Isle of Wight. He was an Able Seaman who sailed on MV Athel Prince and Athel Princess around 1962. They were hauling phosphate from Nauru Island to ports around NZ. He dabbled as an amateur photographer, and his mother's name was Rose. Would anyone be able to help with any information at all about him? Many thanks Dean Butler
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Old 14th October 2010, 16:20
sagalout sagalout is offline  
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Very special men the whole of that generation, but we forget the debt we all owe to the guys in the Merch The Royal my have won the sea war but it was fought by those merchant men putting their lives on the line day after day without any on board protection. So thanks Dennis & all your mates where ever they are.
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