Bankline in the 50's.... - Page 23 - Ships Nostalgia
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Bankline in the 50's....

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  #551  
Old 13th June 2012, 08:21
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Alan Rawlinson Alan Rawlinson is offline
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Fire pump trials

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Originally Posted by David E View Post
Alan,

Remembered-once only,"Myrtlebank"1950, making a DR approach into the Irish Sea after a virtually sightless crossing across the Atlantic-2 Apps,three seemingly endless winds.The tallow inserted into the base of the weight-examined to determine the nature of the sea bed

Dave E
Reminds me of the dreaded (in my case) emergency fire pump, neglected and rusting in the foc'sle until the App's are ordered to get it going. Plenty of skinned knuckles and sore arms, and rarely any success...
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  #552  
Old 15th June 2012, 11:55
Aberdonian Aberdonian is offline  
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Captain Holbrook

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What I didn't know, was that you could actually suggest that to the Old Man! In two years of Captain Holbrook, I have difficulty remembering "conversing" with him. Except when he interrupted with a stentorian roar a battle beween the stewards and the two apprentices, our ire having been raised when we caught them spreading butter on toast with a forefinger.
It’s all a matter of communication skills, Ray!

In truth, Captain Holbrook spoke nary a word to me during the months I was in the Cedarbank even though I was frequently in his august presence when keeping the Movements Book.

That is, up until the time I paid off the ship on a transfer to the Fleetbank in Calcutta.
My hopeful admission that I had a bottle of Vat19 rum stored in the bond elicited a cold stare but no bottle.

Keith
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  #553  
Old 18th June 2012, 11:19
Aberdonian Aberdonian is offline  
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Tielbank

All the steel ladder handrails on the samboat Tielbank were covered with fancy ropework, or with woven canvas strips, painted over in white.
I was told it had been done by a Pacific Islander apprentice who excelled in this type of work.

Some years later, I heard he had come to an untimely end and have wondered since if this is true.

Aberdonian

Last edited by Aberdonian; 18th June 2012 at 15:19..
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  #554  
Old 18th June 2012, 17:42
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ropework

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Originally Posted by Aberdonian View Post
All the steel ladder handrails on the samboat Tielbank were covered with fancy ropework, or with woven canvas strips, painted over in white.
I was told it had been done by a Pacific Islander apprentice who excelled in this type of work.

Some years later, I heard he had come to an untimely end and have wondered since if this is true.

Aberdonian
Most of the ships ( in the 50's) had the handrails covered in white painted canvas, usually with turks heads at the top and bottom, and this was standard practice by the Seacunnies, and sometimes the apprentices. Great bell ropes were also produced. I don't doubt that some modern ships still sport these.

I sailed with Jim McCoy, when he was 2/0 on the Maplebank ( later Master) and he had a keen interest in fancy ropework, as did Capt. Stewart on the ( old) Ernebank.
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  #555  
Old 18th June 2012, 22:58
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cant rermember doing any fancy ropework,but can remember working with chippy making up a ships crest to fix under the quay in new orleans.

jim
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  #556  
Old 18th June 2012, 23:20
Aberdonian Aberdonian is offline  
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Thanks for the response, guys; perhaps the Tielbank apprentice in question merely assisted the seacunnies. I still wonder about the truth re origin of said apprentice and if anything untoward befell him.

I should add that the canvas and ropework on the handrails was just as you describe it, Alan, turks heads and all.

Aberdonian

Last edited by Aberdonian; 18th June 2012 at 23:27..
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  #557  
Old 19th June 2012, 17:43
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New Ship finishing

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Originally Posted by Aberdonian View Post
Thanks for the response, guys; perhaps the Tielbank apprentice in question merely assisted the seacunnies. I still wonder about the truth re origin of said apprentice and if anything untoward befell him.

I should add that the canvas and ropework on the handrails was just as you describe it, Alan, turks heads and all.

Aberdonian
I would be interested to know how the new ships left the yards, and how much detail was included with ' tiddly ' bits.

The nearest I got to a new ship was the Crestbank which I joined as 2/0 in Belfast after her maiden voyage when she was undergoing remedial work, I suppose.

I know the wood facings on the bridge front, and other adornments were gradually phased out as the years progressed, but did the ships ever leave the yard with covered handrails or fancy bell ropes as discussed above, or was it left to the first crew to add these items?

Our colleague in Houston, - Alistair - could probably enlighten me!

Last edited by Alan Rawlinson; 19th June 2012 at 17:48..
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  #558  
Old 19th June 2012, 18:51
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Stood by Testbank, Tweedbank and Dacebank (n 3 sisters) in Sunderland.
No fiddley bits on rails; ALL done by shipshands.

Re the P type Doxford. I remember on Testbank we had builders engineers sailing with us for oinks, we had side rods FLOWN out to us in Calcutta, we had amazing feats of liner changing ( maiden trip was a long one (1961 - Sunderland to 1963 - Hong Kong) Captain John Betts.)
That's why I recall Montana being P type #1, a BP tanker (name escapes me) being #2, and Testbank being #3 ~ thus the first Red Ensign DRY cargo P type.

Being quite small, I was very useful in confined spaces. I learned a lot about opposed piston engines that trip, and I was a deck apprentice. Never regretted a moment of it.
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  #559  
Old 2nd July 2012, 17:59
Aberdonian Aberdonian is offline  
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Bank Line Crew List

Here are some Bank Line names from the mid-fifties:

Cedarbank

Master: Charles S Holbrook

First Mate: Yates

Second Mate: Wigham

Third Mate: Bernard

Apprentice: Taffy Ivins

Apprentice: John F Dave Paul

Apprentice: Keith Innes

Radio Officer: Mills

Chief Engineer: Thomson

Second Engineer: MacAdam

Third Engineer: Malcolm

Fourth Engineer: Small

Fifth Engineer: Hendry

Sixth Engineer: Bassett

First Electrician: Gibson

Second Electrician: Kirtley

Year: 1954/55

I would particularly like to know more about the Mate of the Cedarbank, Mr. Yates.
My now less than reliable memory recalls an elderly man returned to sea upon the death of his wife. Slightly built with a moustache, he often sported a panama hat. He was a kindly man who did not treat his apprentices like coolies.

Aberdonian
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  #560  
Old 2nd July 2012, 18:20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aberdonian View Post
Here are some Bank Line names from the mid-fifties:

Cedarbank

Master: Charles S Holbrook

First Mate: Yates

Second Mate: Wigham

Third Mate: Bernard

Apprentice: Taffy Ivins

Apprentice: John F Dave Paul

Apprentice: Keith Innes

Radio Officer: Mills

Chief Engineer: Thomson

Second Engineer: MacAdam

Third Engineer: Malcolm

Fourth Engineer: Small

Fifth Engineer: Hendry

Sixth Engineer: Bassett

First Electrician: Gibson

Second Electrician: Kirtley

Year: 1954/55

I would particularly like to know more about the Mate of the Cedarbank, Mr. Yates.
My now less than reliable memory recalls an elderly man returned to sea upon the death of his wife. Slightly built with a moustache, he often sported a panama hat. He was a kindly man who did not treat his apprentices like coolies.

Aberdonian
Yes you are correct re Mr Yates - he was a gentleman and I sailed with him as 3rd Mate on the Foylebank in 1958 with TS Robertson as Master.
Yates used to tell me his life story - he spent the war years on Jersey under enemy occupation and played a large part in underground activities agaist the Nazis and had some near shaves. He went through the depression after serving his time and sailed on a Bank Line ship crewed entirely on deck by sailors with Deck Certs as no jobs were available - his wife made jam and he sold it door to door as they were destitute.
He was a chain smoker and often used to spend the first half hour of the 4-8 coughing his lungs up. (No cancer scares then)
When we had to land TS Robertson ashore in Tahiti with a heart attack we all got promoted and Yates went Master for 3 months until Capt Thorne joined and sadly Mr Yates returned to Ch Officer.
He lived in St Helens and loved the Rugby there.

That,s all I know - Aberdonian.
Best regards
JC
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  #561  
Old 2nd July 2012, 22:45
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names from the pastCapt Thorne...after the master on the maplebank disappeared at sea he joined in brisbane and stayed for the rest of the ship.

TS Robertson..was with him on the Fleetbank when they sent me home to sit for second mates,
and i was with him when i was second mate on the Forresbank,found him a fair man.

jim
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  #562  
Old 3rd July 2012, 15:13
Aberdonian Aberdonian is offline  
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Mr Yates

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Yes you are correct re Mr Yates - he was a gentleman and I sailed with him as 3rd Mate on the Foylebank in 1958 with TS Robertson as Master.
Yates used to tell me his life story - he spent the war years on Jersey under enemy occupation and played a large part in underground activities agaist the Nazis and had some near shaves. He went through the depression after serving his time and sailed on a Bank Line ship crewed entirely on deck by sailors with Deck Certs as no jobs were available - his wife made jam and he sold it door to door as they were destitute.
He was a chain smoker and often used to spend the first half hour of the 4-8 coughing his lungs up. (No cancer scares then)
When we had to land TS Robertson ashore in Tahiti with a heart attack we all got promoted and Yates went Master for 3 months until Capt Thorne joined and sadly Mr Yates returned to Ch Officer.
He lived in St Helens and loved the Rugby there.

That,s all I know - Aberdonian.
Best regards
JC
Thanks for an interesting account of Mr Yates’ background, John. It would seem adversity played a part in making him the fine man he was.

On our arrival at Calcutta at the end of March ’55, the Cedarbank was double-berthed inside the samboat Springbank. The Southbank and Ivybank were also at the Hooghly buoys. The following day two apprentices from the Springbank came on board to look over the latest Bank boat. One of these lads was rcraig. Neither Ray nor I have any recollection of the meeting which I had recorded in a diary a mere 57 years previously. Is this the onset of short-term memory loss?

Keeping the boat deck reserved for our use was ever a struggle since the port labour was attracted to shaded space under the awnings. When several labourers did manage to flake out on the boat deck, Mr Yates gently nudged one awake with his foot. There was instant uproar, followed by a threat to strike until he yielded to the demand for a written apology. A militant lot they were in post-colonial Calcutta.

Incidentally, T S Robertson was Master of the Foylebank when I transferred from her to the Tielbank at Colombo in July 1957. At the time, the Foylebank was UK-bound with copra.

Keith
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  #563  
Old 3rd July 2012, 15:57
John Dryden John Dryden is offline  
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Capt. Wigham was master of the Olivebank,my first trip app.1969.13 month trip and payed cribbage or scrabble practically every night at sea with him and his wife against me and the C/E.If I didn,t show up in the saloon he,d come down to my cabin and get me..no escape!
Next ship was 11 months on the Gowanbank with Capt. Thorne,another fine man but he never ventured into the saloon.
Theres a photo of Capt.Wigham and his wife in my gallery.
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  #564  
Old 4th July 2012, 18:09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aberdonian View Post
Thanks for an interesting account of Mr Yates’ background, John. It would seem adversity played a part in making him the fine man he was.

On our arrival at Calcutta at the end of March ’55, the Cedarbank was double-berthed inside the samboat Springbank. The Southbank and Ivybank were also at the Hooghly buoys. The following day two apprentices from the Springbank came on board to look over the latest Bank boat. One of these lads was rcraig. Neither Ray nor I have any recollection of the meeting which I had recorded in a diary a mere 57 years previously. Is this the onset of short-term memory loss?

Keeping the boat deck reserved for our use was ever a struggle since the port labour was attracted to shaded space under the awnings. When several labourers did manage to flake out on the boat deck, Mr Yates gently nudged one awake with his foot. There was instant uproar, followed by a threat to strike until he yielded to the demand for a written apology. A militant lot they were in post-colonial Calcutta.

Incidentally, T S Robertson was Master of the Foylebank when I transferred from her to the Tielbank at Colombo in July 1957. At the time, the Foylebank was UK-bound with copra.

Keith
Read the above with interest...

I recall the ever present threat in Calcutta of mob rule and severe action ( even death from a beating) for perceived slights. I'm sure some readers can add substance to my comments here, but I do remember the warnings not to do anything silly to the locals on board for fear of instant reprisals. There was a story doing the rounds in the 50's of a mate who was beaten to death on Howrah bridge, after trying to escape the mob. I also remember a story about human excrement ( s..., in other words) being smeared on the door of a cabin belonging to a mate who had abused people trying to bed down in an alleyway. All a bit frightening at the time.
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  #565  
Old 4th July 2012, 22:47
Aberdonian Aberdonian is offline  
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David Paul

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Read the above with interest...

I recall the ever present threat in Calcutta of mob rule and severe action ( even death from a beating) for perceived slights. I'm sure some readers can add substance to my comments here, but I do remember the warnings not to do anything silly to the locals on board for fear of instant reprisals. There was a story doing the rounds in the 50's of a mate who was beaten to death on Howrah bridge, after trying to escape the mob. I also remember a story about human excrement ( s..., in other words) being smeared on the door of a cabin belonging to a mate who had abused people trying to bed down in an alleyway. All a bit frightening at the time.
Yes, I fully agree with you, Alan, there had always been a dark side to Calcutta which is well documented in, “Calcutta, The City Revealed,” by Geoffrey Moorhouse (1971).

Before moving further into the subject, I’d like to ask if anyone has anything of interest to offer on David Paul, a fellow apprentice in the Cedarbank in 1955. I see occasional references to a Captain Paul in SN .

Keith
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  #566  
Old 5th July 2012, 16:52
IBlenkinsopp IBlenkinsopp is offline  
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Captain Paul, on Roybank 1978, from Hexham I think, told me I should be wearing a tie before he would sign me off.Went back with T shirt and tie, not amused, severe bollocking, happy days.
Eddie
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  #567  
Old 7th July 2012, 17:37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aberdonian View Post
Yes, I fully agree with you, Alan, there had always been a dark side to Calcutta which is well documented in, “Calcutta, The City Revealed,” by Geoffrey Moorhouse (1971).

Before moving further into the subject, I’d like to ask if anyone has anything of interest to offer on David Paul, a fellow apprentice in the Cedarbank in 1955. I see occasional references to a Captain Paul in SN .

Keith
Thanks for the book mention - I have got a copy now and and enjoying the read. Nice to get an overall view , but the Guy that wrote the book probably never experienced those magic moments on the Hooghly as the dawn broke - hard to put into words the atmosphere and stillness - the clammy heat and the fast flowing river with debris and the occasional body. Or the smoke rising from the compounds and the lilting Indian music wafting out in the cool of the evening. Here I go - all poetic again!

Last edited by Alan Rawlinson; 7th July 2012 at 17:40..
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  #568  
Old 7th July 2012, 23:10
Johnnietwocoats Johnnietwocoats is offline  
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Originally Posted by Alan Rawlinson View Post
Thanks for the book mention - I have got a copy now and and enjoying the read. Nice to get an overall view , but the Guy that wrote the book probably never experienced those magic moments on the Hooghly as the dawn broke - hard to put into words the atmosphere and stillness - the clammy heat and the fast flowing river with debris and the occasional body. Or the smoke rising from the compounds and the lilting Indian music wafting out in the cool of the evening. Here I go - all poetic again!


You have it down to a "T" Alan....

Wonderful memories....
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  #569  
Old 9th July 2012, 16:44
Aberdonian Aberdonian is offline  
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Fleetbank Crew List

Here are some Bank Line names from the mid-fifties:

Fleetbank 1955:

Master: John Kemp

First Mate: Jack Donald

Second Mate: Victor S West

Third Mate: Peter J Cross

Apprentice: Alistair M Macnab

Apprentice: Keith Innes

Radio Officer: J J Cameron

Chief Engineer: Robert Reid

Second Engineer: Donald Angus

Third Engineer: Kenneth Morrison

Fourth Engineer: Albert Howard

Fifth Engineer: William Lennon

Sixth Engineer: Matthew Cameron

First Electrician: Alex McHenery

Second Electrician: John Robinson
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  #570  
Old 16th July 2012, 16:43
Aberdonian Aberdonian is offline  
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Laganbank Crew List

Here are some more Bank Line names from the mid-fifties:

Laganbank 1955/56:

Master: A. Sandy Niblock then E P Stephens

First Mate: Bruce T Simmonds

Second Mate: John A. Appleby

Third Mate: Ian G. Joss

Apprentice: Alistair M Macnab

Apprentice: Keith Innes

Apprentice: John Kane

Radio Officer: E H R Dickson

Chief Engineer: A Smith

Second Engineer: E V Upton

Third Engineer: R McKay

Fourth Engineer: Rab Forsyth

Fifth Engineer: Doug Bruce

Sixth Engineer: M Stewart Hardie

First Electrician: R Fenton

Second Electrician: J Hovell
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  #571  
Old 16th July 2012, 18:53
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Fleetbank and Laganbank Maiden Voyages....

Here's a couple of notes to supplement Aberdonian's crew lists:

"Fleetbank"s maiden voyage from Belfast had Captain Conrad Palmer for the first five months or so for a voyage from Belfast to Point Fortin in Trinidad to load drummed pitch for India then an India-River Plate voyage where he paid off in Buenos Aires where Captain Kemp joined as his replacement.

Second Mate was originally Mr. (later Captain) Bill Awcock. Can't remember when he went home but everyone moved up a rank and Apprentice Peter Cross got his Acting Third Mate's position.

I sailed with Chief Engineer Bob Reed. He was my Chief on my first command - "Roybank" in 1966. He was replaced by retired Chief Engineer Gibby Gibbons who had been Commodore Chief Engineer as Bob Reed now was. Gibby and I has been on "Inchanga" together when I was Third Mate. Can you imagine a brand new Master with such senior Engineers? I must confess that they were very kind to me as we were former shipmates!

The Chief Engineer aboard "Laganbank: was Mr. A. Smith who becames Superintendent Engineer in Calcutta and then Chief Engineer Superintendent in London.
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  #572  
Old 17th July 2012, 16:10
Aberdonian Aberdonian is offline  
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Old Shipmates

Interesting comments, Alistair.

Regarding Captain Awcock, I’m afraid I misled Edra regarding her father inasmuch I had confused him with Victor West. Prior to realising my mistake, I put down the handsome image she posted of her father to the photographer’s art! I must ‘fess up sometime soon.

Victor could be a bit of a card. I remember on occasion being summoned from my work on deck to be haughtily given detailed instructions as how to make the tea (weak) he wanted brought up to the bridge; like I was his personal footman.

Referring in general to those Engineers and Electricians we sailed with in Bank Line, I recall many a convivial run ashore that would have normally been beyond my means as an apprentice were it not for their generosity. Most were the salt of the earth.

Something I have been meaning to ask; did you have a Pilot on board when passing through the Magellan Straits in either direction?

Belated thanks to John Dryden for giving me the opportunity to see his Gallery photo of Captain Wigham.

Also, acknowledgement of IBlenkinsopp’s description of Captain Paul’s unamused reaction to his trendsetting attire!

Keith
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  #573  
Old 17th July 2012, 20:43
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Capt Palmer

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Originally Posted by Alistair Macnab View Post
Here's a couple of notes to supplement Aberdonian's crew lists:

"Fleetbank"s maiden voyage from Belfast had Captain Conrad Palmer for the first five months or so for a voyage from Belfast to Point Fortin in Trinidad to load drummed pitch for India then an India-River Plate voyage where he paid off in Buenos Aires where Captain Kemp joined as his replacement.

Second Mate was originally Mr. (later Captain) Bill Awcock. Can't remember when he went home but everyone moved up a rank and Apprentice Peter Cross got his Acting Third Mate's position.

I sailed with Chief Engineer Bob Reed. He was my Chief on my first command - "Roybank" in 1966. He was replaced by retired Chief Engineer Gibby Gibbons who had been Commodore Chief Engineer as Bob Reed now was. Gibby and I has been on "Inchanga" together when I was Third Mate. Can you imagine a brand new Master with such senior Engineers? I must confess that they were very kind to me as we were former shipmates!

The Chief Engineer aboard "Laganbank: was Mr. A. Smith who becames Superintendent Engineer in Calcutta and then Chief Engineer Superintendent in London.
Capt. Palmer must have joined the Irisbank after his stint on the Fleetbank and repatriation ( going on the dates).

We did 2 (memorable) yrs under him, with me as a newly qualified 3/0, and it was tough. He was a strict disciplinarian, even refusing to allow us to kick a make shift ball around the afterdeck. As he had a dicky ticker, the Bank Line didn't do him any favours appointing him to the twin screw, and ancient, Irisbank, which had blast air starting. He would scream at the pilots, especially in the Hooghly, that they could only stop and start the engines a max of 12 or so times before the air ran out and the bottles had to be recharged. Needless to say, this happened more often than not, causing emergency anchoring and general mayhem. How it must have affected his health, looking back. The pilot would say ' half astern' or whatever, and after the telegraph was rung, the E.R. phone would ring, instead of the called for engine movement!

After we paid off in Bathurst, he sailed back on an E.D. passenger ship to avoid straining his heart flying. I later heard that he had sadly died in the operating theatre in Liverpool shortly after returning home.

I did learn to respect the man, and he taught me a lot, especially in the old fashioned skills of consistancy, thoroughness, and discipline.
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  #574  
Old 17th July 2012, 22:58
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As far as i can remember we picked up a pilot on our first port of call,Punta Arenas and he stayed with us for a couple of days,I will always remember the chief steward and the old man laying out all the goodies in the smokeroom for all the port officials to drool overand take their pick.

jim
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  #575  
Old 18th July 2012, 03:59
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Magellan Passage.....

Jim is correct. The pilot was picked up at Punta Arenas when outbound from India and we took him all the way to Valparaiso. In the reverse direction I am a little vague. We only once loaded bagged nitrate at Tocopilla for return to India via the Straits. We cerainly had a pilot for the Inside Passage, but I cannot remember whether we picked him up on passing Valparaiso or whether he came up to Tocopilla for the entire trip to Punta Arenas where he was certainly dropped off.

I remember stopping at Port Eten in both directions waiting for stormy weather to pass over before we would cross one of the open sea inlets before dodging behind the islands again. The local Indians were quite a curious bunch. They were very intrigued with Rowntree's fruit gums which became the currency of the day.

There was one occasion when the "Meadowbank" or "Moraybank" (I forget which but it was a Doxford split-accommodation standard ship from 1945) was headed south through the Channels when the pilot took the ship on the wrong side of an island ripping out a large section of the ship's bottom. The ship fortunately was beached and saved near Port Eten. On board were John Mackenzie, Spen Lynch and John Shaw - who all eventually became Superintendents!

On the Indian - Chile Line we had a Company Port Compradore who joined the ship on the coast to take care of the officials and their little gifts at the various ports. If we had previously called at South Africa en route, "Cape Smoke" brandy was a favourite gift but mostly it was cigarettes and scotch.

Ship loaded for over 30 ports in Chile, Peru, Ecuador and sometimes Colombia and probably called at over 20! I recall that on one single day, we discharged at three separate ports which were all within sight of each other! One was Pisco where the Pisco spirit comes from. Became our regular tipple: Pisco Sours; Pisco with egg white and lemon juice. Shaken not stirred.Mmmmm!
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