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  #1  
Old 25th April 2008, 05:51
Philthechill Philthechill is offline  
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Thumbs up Brocklebank characters!

In this dull PC world we have to inhabit, these days, let's bring some life back into it by remembering some of the fantastic characters who formed such an integral part of "The Brocklebank Experience"!

Who could ever forget the wonderful Tommy Jones, Chief Engineer extraordinaire?

His plaintive, "Have you got a beer for the old Chief?", when he had located the source of the latest cabin-party was as familiar as his dipping into his own bar account was not!!

His drinking gear of lengthy (grey-ish) shreddies and murky singlet could only have belonged to a true character and his stentorian voice (when he'd had enough grog to lubricate his vocal-cords), bellowing-out some patriotic Welsh song, is remembered now with the fondness many years of dulling the pain of this experience has turned it into! It now lives in the part of my memory labelled, "Happy days".

I'm sure there are many stories which can be told about these stalwarts and will brighten our PC life.

So dig into the memory and let's hear them------------but nothing to denigrate, please! Salaams, Phil
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  #2  
Old 25th April 2008, 07:21
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Pat Kennedy Pat Kennedy is offline  
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My cousin, Dick Carberry, was a Chief Steward/Purser in Brocks for a few years, in the 50's and 60's. He was, and still is a "character". Family legend has it that Dicky, who was an inveterate gambler and fond of a drink, was caught one night in Calcutta, selling all the spare mooring ropes on the ship.
Does anyone out there remember him?
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  #3  
Old 26th April 2008, 07:21
Philthechill Philthechill is offline  
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Unhappy Ah well p'raps not!

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Originally Posted by Philthechill View Post
In this dull PC world we have to inhabit, these days, let's bring some life back into it by remembering some of the fantastic characters who formed such an integral part of "The Brocklebank Experience"!

Who could ever forget the wonderful Tommy Jones, Chief Engineer extraordinaire?

His plaintive, "Have you got a beer for the old Chief?", when he had located the source of the latest cabin-party was as familiar as his dipping into his own bar account was not!!

His drinking gear of lengthy (grey-ish) shreddies and murky singlet could only have belonged to a true character and his stentorian voice (when he'd had enough grog to lubricate his vocal-cords), bellowing-out some patriotic Welsh song, is remembered now with the fondness many years of dulling the pain of this experience has turned it into! It now lives in the part of my memory labelled, "Happy days".

I'm sure there are many stories which can be told about these stalwarts and will brighten our PC life.

So dig into the memory and let's hear them------------but nothing to denigrate, please! Salaams, Phil
At the time I put this thread on it seemed a brilliant idea (but, of course, I AM slightly biased!!!) but it would appear that there are no "character-memories" (at least the type that could be put on here without risk of legal-action from either the person concerned or their irate relatives!!!) worth inclusion!!! Toodle-pip! Phil
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  #4  
Old 26th April 2008, 14:59
ken carr ken carr is offline  
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Tommy Jones

Tommy Jones was an absolute classic, I personally sailed on a few coastal voyages with him. The first thing Tommy did on a typical voyage was to make sure he knew his senior staff 2nd 3rd eng and the electrician. If he knew these guys Tommy would go on a bender, this how it would start by inviting the " Fiver" to put his uniform on and come and have beer with the old Chief
As the fiver walked into the Chief's cabin he was handed a chit to sign for a carton now this young Eng thought it was the bee's knee's to be drinking with Chief, normally he managed to consume two beer's then asked to leave, Tommy then started out on a bender Which would last for days or maybe longer His senior staff ran the ship for him, It was always arranged for Tommy to be sober on return to UK the reason being that our Tommy did his abstracts in perfect copper plate writing which nobody could copy all the hard work was done by the second Eng Tommy just had to copy it all. As I said our Tommy was classic I have heard stories as to why Tommy was a hard drinker I wonder what realy caused his problem? to me he was a great character and a great gentleman
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  #5  
Old 26th April 2008, 15:20
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I only once sailed with Tommy ; round the coast on the Maidan as 4th Engineer.

He had a ritual of calling head office or having a junior engineer call for him to tell them that all was ready to sail and what the condenser pressure was 29.2 inches of vac etc. Goodness knows why ??

He was invited to Princess Margaret's wedding and had to be relieved to attend .Senior Cunard and Brocklebank people who were not invited were apparently quite miffed !
Tommy Lyons from Dundee was 2nd Eng and Batman was the sparks ; Talk about getting all the Characters on one ship at the same time !
Enough there to write a book on the one coastal alone .

Cheers Derek
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  #6  
Old 26th April 2008, 17:42
Jim S Jim S is offline   SN Supporter
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I only coasted very briefly with Tommy Jones. One story I heard about him involved a turbine inspection. Despite a number of attempts to lower the top half of the turbine casing it still hung up on the guides and would not lower into place. Eventually Tommy Jones got involved and ordered all the engineers to stand on top of the casing and link arms and on his command to take a small jump into the air. - Suffice to say the turbine casing dropped into place. One episode that I did witness was with a Welsh 4/E who thought he would ingratiate himself by speaking to Tommy in Welsh.
To his credit Tommy cut him off and told him if speaking to him to do it in English.
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  #7  
Old 26th April 2008, 18:18
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japottinger japottinger is offline  
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I did coast with Tommy Jones on the Manipur and Masirah. Told before but got his comuppence when he crept down to the top of the engine room on the Manipur and shut in the steam supply to the air ejector which was sited at the top of the engine room. The 3rd, forget his name, saw him and challenged him and called him what for. The bold Tommy said he would report him to the super, great said the 3rd and I will tell him the whole story. Nuff said and all was forgotten.
On the Masirah at a party at Middlesborough he did pull the old story of a beer for the chief, but also a girl for the old chief!

No harm done, all goes to establish the legend of what was a great company to sail with.
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  #8  
Old 26th April 2008, 18:23
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japottinger japottinger is offline  
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PS another story re Tommy Jones at risk of repeating myself. Apparently he had a relative from Wales who was quite a good singer and well known in musical shows. Anyway the bold Tommy met up with the said singer in the West End before a show and had a few jars, result was that the star fell off the stage drunk and broke his leg.
End of career in the West End music business.
Honestly, it was Tommy that told the story!
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  #9  
Old 26th April 2008, 18:48
Jim S Jim S is offline   SN Supporter
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As Philthechill started this perhaps there are some stories about him - he has certainly kept us entertained with his own exploits.
Alternatively what about Eric Lorimer who seems to have been a bit of a legend.

ps Sorry Phil I did not mean to infer that that you and Eric come from same mould.

Last edited by Jim S; 26th April 2008 at 19:08..
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  #10  
Old 26th April 2008, 19:14
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We were in Visag. on the Maihar(I) loading iron ore.
This was done by rigging a bamboo staging up the ship's side in steps, and most of it was loaded by girls. At the end of the shift they all washed under a hose stand pipe on the quay. We soon cottoned on to this and gave them some soap if they would strip off, not so, only if it was toilet soap, not the usual carbolic for dhobying. Anyway Jim Sunners our Chief Steward persuaded one of the more delectabe maidens to come aboard and allowed her to go into the shower and then kitted her out with some finery in the form of a sarong. Actually she was gorgeous when all dinged up and paraded herself on deck to the astonishment of her colleagues on the quayside.
I later heard that Scouser Jim, good lad, had died somewhere on the W. African coast, possibly on a ED ship.
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  #11  
Old 27th April 2008, 00:00
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Trouble with talking about characters is that sometimes one finds he was one !



Derek
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  #12  
Old 27th April 2008, 00:13
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All the Characters were not senior people . I had one 5th engineer who had a great collection of one liners . His previous job was a soccer player with Wolves ( mainly 2nd string )
In talking about a girl friend he described her as having a snooker set ( teeth ) every color except the black !!


His defining moment was in Lyttleton in the British Hotel in the bar when after some banter with the locals during a pause he inquired of me " Hey Sec do you know why Kiwis cant fly ???????' To which I replied "No "

Because they are all full of Sh-t !! says he .

Thats when the tables and chairs became airborne .

We were lucky to leave intact

Happy Days Derek
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  #13  
Old 27th April 2008, 07:51
Philthechill Philthechill is offline  
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Thumbs up "Pritch".

Captain Owen Pritchard was another character I remember with great affection.

"Maipura" was the ship we were on and "Pritch" had been good-as-gold with never a drop passing his lips for the first part of the voyage.

We were on a MM charter with the redoubtable Serge Callou as supercargo.

We had arrived in Colombo and were at Walkers Quay loading rubber, tea and, possibly, coconut oil.

There were two/three other "Brock-boats" in at the same time (names of which escape me but I think "Mahseer" was one-------irrelevant anyway) and Pritch had gone ashore to meet-up with his opposite numbers off them, first to the Agents and then for a yarn at the GOH.

We'd knocked-off for the day and were all leaning over the rail having a couple of ales when a taxi pulled-up at the gangway and "Pritch" virtually fell out of the door!

That was the start of a couple of months bender!!

It was not unknown for "Pritch" to be waiting for watch-keepers, coming off watch, to find him waiting in their cabin for them to join him in a couple (or several!) snifters. I, myself, was "caught" once! I was J3E and doing the 8-12 and, coming off at midnight, found "Pritch" sat in my busti with half-a-dozen Tennents!

Just before he decided he'd stop his own tap, again, came the factor which probably triggered this cut-off point.

We were steaming up the West coast of Italy heading for Genoa and "Pritch" said to Reg Seubert (Chief Engineer), "Chief! You'll have to come out on deck tonight as we'll be passing Stromboli and it will be a sight worth seeing!"

We'd gone past Stromboli twenty-four hours previously!!

A great character and a top bloke.

As to MY being a character (as mooted by Jim!) the only thing I might be remembered by (which hardly puts me in the same bracket as "Pritch", Tommy Jones, "Pem", Taff Roberts etc. etc.) was my having a set of pub optics secured to the head of my bunk so I didn't have to get of my pit if I fancied a tincture or two!

(I don't mind being "lumped-in" with Eric in the slightest Jim. I am one of the rare number of people who actually sailed with Eric deep-sea-------!! You are right, about him, being a character in his own right of course). Salaams Phil

Last edited by Philthechill; 27th April 2008 at 20:25.. Reason: A bit of fine-tuning was required!!
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  #14  
Old 27th April 2008, 08:04
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oglebilluk oglebilluk is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim S View Post
I only coasted very briefly with Tommy Jones. One story I heard about him involved a turbine inspection. Despite a number of attempts to lower the top half of the turbine casing it still hung up on the guides and would not lower into place. Eventually Tommy Jones got involved and ordered all the engineers to stand on top of the casing and link arms and on his command to take a small jump into the air. - Suffice to say the turbine casing dropped into place. One episode that I did witness was with a Welsh 4/E who thought he would ingratiate himself by speaking to Tommy in Welsh.
To his credit Tommy cut him off and told him if speaking to him to do it in English.
I wonder how often this solved the problem of dropping the turbine casing; distinctly remember the same solution from George Black as C/E on Matra!
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  #15  
Old 28th April 2008, 06:13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by japottinger View Post
We were in Visag. on the Maihar(I) loading iron ore.

I later heard that Scouser Jim, good lad, had died somewhere on the W. African coast, possibly on a ED ship.

Seem to recall that Jim paid off a Brock. Ship in Dakar and was bitten by a mosquito there. Jim fell ill after his arrival back home and died in hospital of malaria.

Brgds. Martin.
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  #16  
Old 28th April 2008, 06:45
Philthechill Philthechill is offline  
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Yellow fever.

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Seem to recall that Jim paid off a Brock. Ship in Dakar and was bitten by a mosquito there. Jim fell ill after his arrival back home and died in hospital of malaria.

Brgds. Martin.
Martin! Not wishing to sound pedantic (he said pedantically) I believe it was yellow-fever Jim succumbed to, not malaria. A great loss though whatever it was he died from. Salaams, Phil
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  #17  
Old 28th April 2008, 21:12
Nick Jones Nick Jones is offline  
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Pilot, (Martin)
What about the Common (Colin) Heard on the Matra he was quite a character though maybe of the comical kind. His pomposity (If thats a word) was overwhelming.

Cheers,

Nick Jones.
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  #18  
Old 29th April 2008, 01:10
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Nick ;
I sailed with Colin once when he was mate ( One of my last deep sea trips with Brocks on the Mahsud )

He was I must say very useful in London in that he was able to arrange for numerous very nice young ladies to attend parties on the ship .

Cheers Derek
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  #19  
Old 4th May 2008, 07:50
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Three of the Brocklebank characters I clearly remember were all Chief Engineers.

George Black on the Matra from 1957, had the regular habit of mournfully playing Jimmy Shand records in the bar on Sunday mornings. So preventing anyone else from using the room

Alf Manley on Malancha from 1960. Had a nickname for everything, and everyone, on board. Taking stores was hilarious; sadly the only one I can remember was “Bedlam” packing

“Pa” Defty coasting Maturata in 1962. The day-aboard man had to regularly check the Chief’s cabin in case he’d fallen asleep, and the constant cigarette hadn’t fallen out to set alight the old grey cardigan he seemed to live in.
We’d overhauled one of the alternators and planned to give it a light load run-in on a Sunday whilst cargo wasn’t being worked. After repeated attempts none of us could get it to stay on the board resulting in both tripping out. Eventually “Pa” made it to the switchboard asking why the lights kept going out; he demanded the biggest screwdriver we had, disappeared behind the board for a couple of minutes, then said try it now. Of course everything worked normally. Afterwards we wondered if he knew he was looking at an a.c. job!!
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  #20  
Old 9th May 2008, 22:07
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Peter Eccleson Peter Eccleson is offline  
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Anyone remember Les Flockhart from East Seton, Scotland? I think he was one of the best Chief Stewards in the business and a great guy to boot!
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  #21  
Old 28th May 2008, 12:51
John Ringrose John Ringrose is offline  
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Anyone

Anyone remember Colin Kingston - he was mate on the Mahout when I sailed with him in the 70's. I had a 2nd R/o called Peter Geoffrey Harper-Roberts - Colin called him Harpic because he reckoned he was "Clean round the bend".

Or Ben Lion? - unfortunately he topped himself the same voyage - lovely guy as well.

Also a big Leckie from the Middlesbrough area "Ray" - can't remember his surname - Rum lad to say the least. When coasting the Manipur he came to the radio room to make a link call to his Mum. She asked him where he was - He said to her - "I'm in the channel Mam" - she said "Why Ray I've never heard of that pub" - "No" says he - the English channel you daft bat.

John
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  #22  
Old 28th May 2008, 13:57
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Brocklebank characters

I never sailed with Brocks but did any of you ever sail with an engineer from the Shetlands called Eddie Knight? He was on the Manaar at one time. We grew up together and in the Grand Hotel in Lerwick the manager the late Jerry Pottinger always referred to us as "Mundie Knight"
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  #23  
Old 29th May 2008, 05:46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Ringrose View Post
Anyone remember Colin Kingston - he was mate on the Mahout when I sailed with him in the 70's. I had a 2nd R/o called Peter Geoffrey Harper-Roberts - Colin called him Harpic because he reckoned he was "Clean round the bend".

Or Ben Lion? - unfortunately he topped himself the same voyage - lovely guy as well.

Also a big Leckie from the Middlesbrough area "Ray" - can't remember his surname - Rum lad to say the least. When coasting the Manipur he came to the radio room to make a link call to his Mum. She asked him where he was - He said to her - "I'm in the channel Mam" - she said "Why Ray I've never heard of that pub" - "No" says he - the English channel you daft bat.

John

I think you are referring to Ray Palfreeman ? Was Ben Lyon the 2nd Engineer or Chief ??
Derek
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  #24  
Old 29th May 2008, 08:51
John Ringrose John Ringrose is offline  
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Ray

Thats the one I remembered on my way home last night - Ray Palfreeman.

Ben was at that time Chief Eng on the Mahout.

Hi Yes,

That is them. Colin was somewhat uncouth to say the least.

Ben was a lovely guy - played cards with my wife all the time. He had a wedding anniversary on the ship and bought champagne for everyone etc but it was obvious his wife was not interested - he received some communication from her and he was very down. One evening he stood up and told my wife he was just off to the dispensary - she asked if he was OK - he said "Yes - or I will be" - she thought no more about it. He was found next day with a sink full of vodka and empty bottles - loads of tablets all over & he was very cold & stiff. We were going into Jeddah. His wife was contacted but she didn't want his body sent home - so we got the message!!! - we buried him at sea between Jeddah and Port Sudan.

John

Last edited by John Ringrose; 29th May 2008 at 09:00..
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  #25  
Old 29th May 2008, 09:52
Philthechill Philthechill is offline  
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Unhappy What a shock!

Ben Lyon was 2/E on my very first ship (Maskeliya) when I joined her in Tilbury in 1961.

An absolute gentleman and I knew he had died but what I didn't know ('til I read it here) was that he'd done away with himself.

Isn't it amazing that, after 47 years, I've only just found out. Admittedly the 15 years I was in the MN were when I was most likely to have heard about it. However I've kept in touch with several people from those long ago days and not one of them ever mentioned it, possibly because (1) they didn't know themselves, (2) they thought I probably knew about it or (3) it's not the sort of thing you mention in idle conversation.

How unutterably sad.

Incidentally there is a photo of Ben on "Members Faces", or "Life on board", in the Gallery taken when all hands were ashore in Gan, having a blow, away from the trials and tribulations known in Brock's as "Maidan"!!

On a lighter note. I sailed with Colin, but on what ship I can't recall. Good skin though. He took up a shore-side job in Liverpool didn't he working alongside Alan Lord at Seaforth? Salaams, Phil

Last edited by Philthechill; 29th May 2008 at 10:03..
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