Bankline in the 50's.... - Page 2 - Ships Nostalgia
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Bankline in the 50's....

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  #26  
Old 19th August 2009, 14:45
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jimthehat jimthehat is offline  
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Nice photo of the Springbank.where was the wheelhouse?/on the maplebank we had a little hut on the top bridge ,which had a wheel and was just big enough for the man on the wheel and the oow plus a lookout. The main wheelhouse was never used in 18 months plus tere were gun platforms on the port and stb wings ,I cannot remember seeing them on any other sam boat.

JIM
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  #27  
Old 19th August 2009, 16:25
Charlie Stitt Charlie Stitt is offline
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Yes Jim, on the Ericbank, we also had a henhouse type wheelhouse up top, steering, telegraphs, phones etc etc moved up from the origional wheelhouseThe OM,Henry Allan used the origional lower wheelhouse as a lounge for entertaining, including my 19th Birthday party just after I was promoted to acting 3rd mate. He took that out of my first month's wages of course.
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  #28  
Old 20th August 2009, 17:30
rcraig rcraig is offline  
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Despite having been on her for about 6 months, and done a lot of time on the helm (as part of the company's intensive training programme, of course!) I am damned if I can remember where the wheelhouse was located. Don't remember it being separately located on top. But even if I did remember I would still treat the recollection with care!
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  #29  
Old 20th August 2009, 22:43
rcraig rcraig is offline  
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You will all have been aware of the high standard of PPE in Bank Line...just in case there guys out there even older than me....personal protective equipment..........and even more the high standard of training in corrosion engineering. This was a well kept secret outside of Bank Line.
There may be mysteriously attached..and just as likely not so attached..photos of Gordon Bruce and I on the Eastbank between 1952 and 1954
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  #30  
Old 20th August 2009, 22:45
rcraig rcraig is offline  
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Or unattached as the case may be
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  #31  
Old 20th August 2009, 22:48
rcraig rcraig is offline  
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Funny thing looking at these photographs that some apprentices thought that we were directors's sons because we were on the "new" ships. I think the Eastbank was 47/48
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  #32  
Old 21st August 2009, 16:43
Charlie Stitt Charlie Stitt is offline
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Ray, I sailed with Gordon Bruce on the Laganbank 1960. He was 2nd Mate,I was 3rd Mate. If I remember right, he had returned to Bank Line after having worked as a prison officer in Peterhead. Would that be right?
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  #33  
Old 21st August 2009, 20:47
rcraig rcraig is offline  
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Charlie,

I blieve that is right. I met him for the first time after that first trip we shared on the Eastbank, possibly mid to late 70's when he was sailing on the then P & O ferries as one of the mates, running up to the Orkneys.
Regrettably, I then met him perhaps about 1992 leaning up against the doorway of M & S in Aberdeen trying to get his breath back, having had the news about his lungs just that day. I think he was about 55 as we were of similar age. He had always been a heavy smoker and he died not long after. He had no regrets.

Ray
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  #34  
Old 21st August 2009, 21:07
Charlie Stitt Charlie Stitt is offline
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Thumbs up First Response

A few of you will recognise this letter heading and the famous signature. I was on my way at last.
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  #35  
Old 21st August 2009, 21:59
Johnnietwocoats Johnnietwocoats is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Stitt View Post
A few of you will recognise this letter heading and the famous signature. I was on my way at last.
Alas I do not have that letter but I do remember Scoobie Doo.......

Everyone told me he didn't really exist.......LOL
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  #36  
Old 22nd August 2009, 10:10
kwg kwg is offline
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The first letter...

Last edited by kwg; 6th May 2010 at 14:44..
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  #37  
Old 22nd August 2009, 21:04
rcraig rcraig is offline  
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Bank Line, as an apprentice in the 50's was-

Burning off the wire grids on all the hatch vents using a paraffin burner on top of a black metal deck in the Red Sea whilst wearing only shorts. Hell, it was hot.

Drinking our lime juice every day with tepid water and for a prolonged spell with no sugar because that was not part of the BoT requirements.

Standing confusedly on my own in darkness on the fo'c's'le in Nagoya whilst at the buoys there, wondering what was going on, having been shouted out by the mate in some panic. Conscious suddenly that there were strange creaking and whipping noises around me before becoming belatedly aware that the source of these noises was the wires to the buoy breaking as the squall increased violently and they were snaking viciously all around me.

Scenting in the clean sea air the perfume of Japan from the......no, no, not that.....well, not then,.... pine wood thirty miles off to the west.

Being called up to the bridge by the Old Man (Holbrook...not one of nature's natural romantics) to see the detached snow capped top of Mt. Fujiyama etched to the north, looking like one of these beautiful Japanese etchings as we ploughed the Inland Sea for Yokosuka.

Squirming at the prospect of cleaning out the oak line chill rooms in the 'tween decks designed for shellac on the non-existent round the world trade, opening them up to prepare for tea cargo, and watching hundreds of thousands of "Bombay canaries" rustling in their golden dark brown shells and dropping all around us.

Having Christmas day off whilst at anchor in the entrance of the River Plate with the tops of skyscrapers many miles distant, but looking forward to the meal before suddenly getting orders to sail immediately for Rosario to load grain for India and spending the rest of the day in the bilges cleaning strum boxes and bilge of rotten copra, sludge, and dead "Bombay canaries" whilst survivors dropped around me.

Sailing acting third mate for almost 8 months of my c. 40 months sea time.

Locking with Gordon Bruce in mortal combat with the Indian stewards one of whom I caught spreading the butter for the toast with his forefinger to make it spread further. Pots, pans, brushes an awful lot of noise and a reverbating roar from the Old Man as his formidable figure appeared from on top.

Learning perfectly a verse of "Shina na yoru" as I dreamed of Noriko, so perfectly that I was able to croon it to a Japanese girl in Daliburgh, South Uist last year where she was learning the pipes (as one would expect them to do!) and I was there doing Gaelic very badly and I got my first ever English translation only 55 years later. (Honest!)

And no regrets
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  #38  
Old 22nd August 2009, 21:30
K urgess K urgess is offline
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"(Holbrook...not one of nature's natural romantics)"
Perfect description.
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  #39  
Old 25th August 2009, 20:14
rcraig rcraig is offline  
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There must be more persons around with memories of the 50's. If we don't record them now we shall one day waken up dead and regret it! So...once upon a time....

One day the Eastbank was lying alongside the quay in either Beira or Lourenco Marques. A Union Castle cargo liner was lying astern of us. We were loading/discharging cargo. It was a hot humid enervating night. I was on cargo watch sharing acting 3M with Gordon Bruce at the end of our first years apprenticeship. I think that the sharing was designed to avoid us being paid.

It was late at night. The winches were occasionally moving. It was tediously boring.

The Old Man (Holbrook) was seen to leave the ship, proceed to the cargo liner and in due course return with a bunch of its crew and proceed up to his cabin. To add insult to injury the sounds of great jollity and enjoyment could be heard through the Old Man's windows.

As I leaned over the rail I saw looming through the darkness the squat granitey stocky figure of the Chief (Paterson?) swaying along the quay.

He and the Old Man did not get on. Both it was claimed, were the most senior in the company.

He rolled his way along the deck, only part of the roll being accounted for by having been at sea for some weeks. "Where is the Old Man, laddie?" I told him and he replied with a gleam in his eye to the effect that he was going to have some fun.

Shortly after, the sounds of a fracas could be heard coming from on top.. Shortly after that again, the Old Man stuck his head out and bellowed out "Polizia, polizia", the noise echoing around the warehouses in the sudden silence.

Immediately a group of Portuguese police could be seen at the double on the quayside, hands clutching revolver holsters.

Within minutes the Chief was being frogmarched down the gangway hands behind his back, and roaring "Shut the b.....d down, second, shut her down". And the wiry conscientious second, petrified of the Chief, did.

Winches whined to a halt, slings suspended in mid-air, lights died out, and the fridges went as the genny's ground to a halt and total silence fell on the ship. And stayed that way till mid morning. And the Chief stayed in clink too.
And the super came up from Durban (Banks-53?). And the ship was delayed for several hours. On being released the ship then sailed.

And everyone lived happily ever after. We carried on for the next year and no one seemed in the least bit put out.

It later transpired that the Chief had gatecrashed the party, got clobbered by a steward from the cargo liner, had then gone below to call out his loyal troops who had run up top, had forced the door and one of the juniors, an Aussie amateur boxer had knocked down the assailant.

Both as I remember it were over 60 or thereabouts. And the moral of the story? There is hope yet for us old b......s!

Last edited by rcraig; 25th August 2009 at 20:19.. Reason: spelling
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  #40  
Old 25th August 2009, 21:21
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John Campbell John Campbell is offline  
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Ray -Enjoying your posts - there is a rich vein of humour and I enjoy logging on each day to wallow in true nostalgia. Many thanks . JC
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  #41  
Old 25th August 2009, 22:45
Johnnietwocoats Johnnietwocoats is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcraig View Post
There must be more persons around with memories of the 50's. If we don't record them now we shall one day waken up dead and regret it! So...once upon a time....

One day the Eastbank was lying alongside the quay in either Beira or Lourenco Marques. A Union Castle cargo liner was lying astern of us. We were loading/discharging cargo. It was a hot humid enervating night. I was on cargo watch sharing acting 3M with Gordon Bruce at the end of our first years apprenticeship. I think that the sharing was designed to avoid us being paid.

It was late at night. The winches were occasionally moving. It was tediously boring.

The Old Man (Holbrook) was seen to leave the ship, proceed to the cargo liner and in due course return with a bunch of its crew and proceed up to his cabin. To add insult to injury the sounds of great jollity and enjoyment could be heard through the Old Man's windows.

As I leaned over the rail I saw looming through the darkness the squat granitey stocky figure of the Chief (Paterson?) swaying along the quay.

He and the Old Man did not get on. Both it was claimed, were the most senior in the company.

He rolled his way along the deck, only part of the roll being accounted for by having been at sea for some weeks. "Where is the Old Man, laddie?" I told him and he replied with a gleam in his eye to the effect that he was going to have some fun.

Shortly after, the sounds of a fracas could be heard coming from on top.. Shortly after that again, the Old Man stuck his head out and bellowed out "Polizia, polizia", the noise echoing around the warehouses in the sudden silence.

Immediately a group of Portuguese police could be seen at the double on the quayside, hands clutching revolver holsters.

Within minutes the Chief was being frogmarched down the gangway hands behind his back, and roaring "Shut the b.....d down, second, shut her down". And the wiry conscientious second, petrified of the Chief, did.

Winches whined to a halt, slings suspended in mid-air, lights died out, and the fridges went as the genny's ground to a halt and total silence fell on the ship. And stayed that way till mid morning. And the Chief stayed in clink too.
And the super came up from Durban (Banks-53?). And the ship was delayed for several hours. On being released the ship then sailed.

And everyone lived happily ever after. We carried on for the next year and no one seemed in the least bit put out.

It later transpired that the Chief had gatecrashed the party, got clobbered by a steward from the cargo liner, had then gone below to call out his loyal troops who had run up top, had forced the door and one of the juniors, an Aussie amateur boxer had knocked down the assailant.

Both as I remember it were over 60 or thereabouts. And the moral of the story? There is hope yet for us old b......s!

Great story.....So the Old Man was willing to hang out with common crew members i.e. stewards from another ship.....
What about the old adage....."Familiarity breeds comtempt" which was drummed into us Apprentices......

TC
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  #42  
Old 25th August 2009, 22:49
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ray ,
good story,can only remember going ashore in LM or Beira and having a good time in one of the pubs drinking cold beer and eating tasty prawns dipped in chilli sauce.
Payed off the Clydebank in Durban Aug 56 and signed on the eastbank as supernumary 3/0 to go home for second mates payed off in rotterdam nov 56,but cant remember which route we took to get home or what cargo, the old man was Mendus.

regards

jim
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  #43  
Old 27th August 2009, 14:48
Mike Lindsell Mike Lindsell is offline  
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In regard to the Old Timers I spent 6 months of my apprenticeship on the M.V. Clydebank (1926 vintage), and was 3rd Mate on the M.V. Irisbank (1930's vintage,) with Capt Mendus. Looking back although they may be considered as were rough times they were great times, and I have no regrets re the 9 years I was with Bank Line (1953 - 1962).
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  #44  
Old 27th August 2009, 18:23
rcraig rcraig is offline  
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Hey, am I alone out there? No one else with memories of the early 50's?

O.K. then. Bank Line was.......

Being ordered over the side at sea to take the after draft on the Eastbank and I'm damned if I can remember where or when. The Fannings? Perhaps.
She was pitching and a swell running and the draft varied over several feet. I was very lonely and awful feart at the end of a rope in the bo's'un's chair. But not so feart as I was of the Old Man, Holbrook. For some reason he was very displeased with my wild guess.

Tallying drums of bitumen from the poop two weeks into my first trip at the anchorage off Point Fortin with hatches 4 and 5 being worked from opposite sides and then covering all hatches at smoke-o's and meal breaks. Wondering in my panic how I could possibly match the super men who could tally all 5 hatches. Turned out all right in the end as we got them to the nearest million.

Walking through the fireflies to a house and listening to a guitar strumming singer calypsoing "Rum and coca cola" whilst drinking (of course) rum and coca cola. Y'all know it: "Jack and Jill went up the hill, to get a little hanky-panky,
Jack came back with a dollar bill, Jill came back with a Yankee". Every time I hear it....................

Standing on top of disembowelled and tatty sacks full of a fibrous type substance in hold #4 looking up at the shimmering pretty effect as the tropical noonday sun beat down, rays of light through the floating fibres enhancing the scene, breathing in slowly only because I somehow thought that it might not be good for me. Grey, blue, brown...I think that was the range of colours for asbestos. Then later reading that mesothelioma....not a word to say with loose dentures....might not show up until 10 years after exposure to asbestos. Yahoo, sigh of relief. Then 20 years. Oops. Then as I became responsible for instructing post mortems even more aware that it could be 30, or 40 years. Now, the irony is that having apparently evaded that problem, I am too bloody close to natural extinction for it to matter anymore.

Walking back in from the bridge wing counting 01, 02. 03........to the chronometer and the early excitement of fixing a position line.

Standing on the bridge wing with glasses glued to the horizon from dusk through to midnight looking for One Degree island, the OM having set course for it from the morning star sight stating that by so doing the chances of hitting it were negligible and continuing on at full speed, and he wanted two pairs of young eyes for lookout. We never hit it and we never saw it. Bit obvious that, if we hadn't hit it!

Ah yes, I think I remember it well...

I think
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  #45  
Old 27th August 2009, 20:17
K urgess K urgess is offline
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Not a lot I can add, Ray.
I'm a 60s and 70s participant but keep 'em coming.
I can recognise some of the names and faces like Holbrook.
Cheers
Kris
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  #46  
Old 27th August 2009, 20:43
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John Campbell John Campbell is offline  
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Here,s a few although I doubt if I can match your style ,Ray.

Bilge diving to clear the blocked strum boxes in the Lower Holds after hosing down after discharging a cargo of grain. The smell of fermenting damp grain will live with us ever more.

Being given the hellish job of coating the lifeboat fall wires with some dreadful sticky black gunge that adhered to everything and fouled the mate.s pristine hollystoned boatdeck when it dropped off. And having to endure a bollicking for making a mess.

Keeping a look out - dead tired- on the bridge wing and desperately fighting sleep having had to do this after a hard day stowing dunnage in the tween decks.

Sunday Inspections with Captain Bob Smith and Ch.Mate Tom Orford and their bulling attitude (Capt.Bligh would have loved them) We Apps thought it would be a good idea to paint the brass impeller of the cabin fan and they had a fit.We spent the rest of the day burnishing it back to perfection. We came to dread Sundays.

Being tasked with painting out the captain's bathroom and having to endure all sorts of abuse re runs- hollidays etc.

Weevils in the porridge and eating the Bank line Breakfast of Minced Collops.

Lining upwiththe rest of the officers to get a TAB or Cholera or some such jag from Doc Gangully in Kidderpore - all done with the same old blunt needle in the happy days before aids came on the scene

Xmas and New Year Parties and the huge spread put on then - also the Xmas menus typed with great ornamentation by the Butler.

The channels and the first glimpse of the UK coast when returning after a two year trip.

That's enough for tonight.

JC
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  #47  
Old 27th August 2009, 23:16
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Point Fortin! a blast from the past,a full cargo of drums of bitumen for karachi,horrible stuff ,when it came to discharge it seemed every second drum was leaking.
jim
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  #48  
Old 28th August 2009, 09:22
boatlarnie boatlarnie is offline  
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Irisbank

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Lindsell View Post
In regard to the Old Timers I spent 6 months of my apprenticeship on the M.V. Clydebank (1926 vintage), and was 3rd Mate on the M.V. Irisbank (1930's vintage,) with Capt Mendus. Looking back although they may be considered as were rough times they were great times, and I have no regrets re the 9 years I was with Bank Line (1953 - 1962).
Hi Mike,
Your name and comment rang a bell although I doubt whether you will remember a little first trip Appy on the Irisbank called Alan Smaldon. Like you, I have no regrets for my time with Bank Line, (1957-1971), we enjoyed life although 2 months in Calcutta up top-end of Kidderpore Docks was almost enough to send me elsewhere.

Alan
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  #49  
Old 28th August 2009, 11:11
rcraig rcraig is offline  
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John,

You remind me of some other instances so you can hold yourself responsible for the consequences! Funny how things get triggered off from the recesses of what now passes for my mind.

Food! I remember it being explained to me (having anything explained in those days was pretty unique) that the silvery green colour on the outside of the tough meat, if that indeed was what it was (some of us speak that way in Aberdeen), was characteristic of what they called silverside of beef.
To this day I am still not sure. But if it was so then why was it not called greenside of beef? It was certainly more green.
They could have marketed it using modern P.R. and prolonged the company's life. Mowbray pies, Cornish pasties, Bank Line greenside.
Is there still an Inverforth to put this proposition to?
There could be another career opening up.
Appreciate your reminiscences
Ray
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  #50  
Old 28th August 2009, 21:21
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Alistair Macnab Alistair Macnab is online now  
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Compared to some of you I'm a newby only starting in 1953 but that's the early 50s too, so I shall consider myself as part of this distinguished group.

My first ship was the maiden voyage of the "Fleetbank" joining in Belfast at the shipyard. The taxi took me down to the ship from the agents and when I told him the ship's name, he said "That'll be a Weir ship" I thought he said 'wee-er' ship so my heart sank but when I got to the gangway, I thought she was enormous!

Other apprentices were Tom Pierce from Troon in Ayrshire (I was from Dundonald in Ayrshire) and Peter Cross from Romford (?) in Essex. Both were in mid-apprenticeship as opposed to me who had come direct from high school.

We sailed about two weeks later to Point Fortin, Trinidad to load drummed pitch for India. On the way across the Atlantic light ship, the sadistic Mate sent me down the lower fxl store to tally stores. The bow was rising and falling like a lift/elevator operated by a madman and the occasional thumps as it plowed into a hard one was pretty frightening for someone who had never experienced anything like it before. As for the smell of paint and tarred rope..... it was all I could do to keep my breakfast down. But I did although my ears were stuffed up with the continual variation in air pressure that the violent pitching produced.

As mentioned, the Mate was a sadistic b.st.rd, he created dramas as a teaching tool. One time, when I had been in a masthouse checking something and locked the door behind me, he later called my out, dragged me to the masthouse and opened it without a key. He said I hadn't locked it. I said I had. He spent four hours bollocking me on the necessity of checking doors
after turning the key just to make sure. I was dumbstruck. No one had ever spoken to me like this sod. But I've never locked a door since, on land or sea, without checking to see that it is secure!

All this within the first week of going to sea.

Well, needless to say, I am still around. Altogether, I was 29 years with Bank Line but I shall never forget my first few days with old whatsisname. Can't bring myself to reveal the identity of this sadistic so-and-so.

Went to Point Fortin. All the excitement of a full cargo of drummed bitumen has already been discussed so no need to elaborate. We too, were thought of as 'golden boys' because we were on the newest ship. Nothing could have been further from the truth!
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