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Bristol Steam Navigation Company

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  #1  
Old 2nd August 2011, 22:51
Waighty's Avatar
Waighty Waighty is offline  
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Bristol Steam Navigation Company

BSNC, or as it was known in its final years Bristol Seaway.

I was only with them when the fleet was down to two ships ECHO and APOLLO. I sailed on them both as a fill-in 2nd and 1st Mate in 1976 and 1977, when I was trying to get my brain to pass my Master's Ticket at Brunel Tech College, Ashley Down.

Echo's skipper was Wally Keys and Apollo's was Joe Earl. Great run from Avonmouth to Dublin and back or Avonmouth to Cork and back and sometimes a really long trip (joke) Avonmouth to Cork to Dublin and back.

I was asked to stay long term but they couldn't give me any employment guarantees so I went back deep sea. Shortly after that BET took them over, put one of them on the east coast and then sold them both - a real shame.

Those two ships were good sea boats and well designed in my opinion, if I'd been there twenty years earlier I would have stayed.

Any ex BSNC guys out there? If so please contribute.
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  #2  
Old 2nd August 2011, 23:09
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I think those two ships were built by Chas Hill in Bristol. Joe earl is active in the MN Bristol Branch.


John.
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  #3  
Old 3rd August 2011, 18:38
Jacktar1 Jacktar1 is offline  
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Cool Bsnc

Brings back happy memories.....in 1956 I sailed as 2nd Mate and 1st Mate on the CATO, they had quite a few ships in those days, CATO was on the Bristol - Dublin run (known as the "Guiness Run") back then. If I remember correctly, it was around 34 - 40 hours total sea time weekly ! Masters on CATO were Capt Jenkins ( later was Master on the ECHO for a long time) and Capt Dudgeon. CATO plus another vessel did the Bristol - Dublin - Bristol run and the others were on the Bristol - Newport - Cardiff- Swansea - Antwerp - Rotterdam run.
I also sailed as relief 1st Mate on the MILO which was on the UK - Continental run.
In the 1950's it was almost impossible to obtain a permanent position with BSNC......they were great ships , and once in hardly
anyone left the company.

Cheers.......Glan
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  #4  
Old 3rd August 2011, 18:43
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Hi Glan,nice to see you on the board,have you been back to the land of song and picked out your home yet.

John.
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  #5  
Old 8th August 2011, 15:52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Rogers View Post
I think those two ships were built by Chas Hill in Bristol. Joe earl is active in the MN Bristol Branch.


John.
Hi John,

Thanks for that, I take it that's the MN Association?

Mike
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  #6  
Old 8th August 2011, 17:22
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waighty View Post
Hi John,

Thanks for that, I take it that's the MN Association?

Mike

That is correct Mike.

John.
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  #7  
Old 12th October 2011, 23:00
gateman211 gateman211 is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waighty View Post
BSNC, or as it was known in its final years Bristol Seaway.

I was only with them when the fleet was down to two ships ECHO and APOLLO. I sailed on them both as a fill-in 2nd and 1st Mate in 1976 and 1977, when I was trying to get my brain to pass my Master's Ticket at Brunel Tech College, Ashley Down.

Echo's skipper was Wally Keys and Apollo's was Joe Earl. Great run from Avonmouth to Dublin and back or Avonmouth to Cork and back and sometimes a really long trip (joke) Avonmouth to Cork to Dublin and back.

I was asked to stay long term but they couldn't give me any employment guarantees so I went back deep sea. Shortly after that BET took them over, put one of them on the east coast and then sold them both - a real shame.

Those two ships were good sea boats and well designed in my opinion, if I'd been there twenty years earlier I would have stayed.

Any ex BSNC guys out there? If so please contribute.
i worked on the dido. i am from dublin the captain was llewellyn, then capt murphy .. i only remember the dido , the hero the apollo . i workrd from avonmouth to le harve to rotterdam then london , that was 1969 .. the apollo was a beautiful ship
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  #8  
Old 13th October 2011, 10:33
gateman211 gateman211 is offline  
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i worked on the dido. i am from dublin the captain was llewellyn, then capt murphy .. i only remember the dido , the hero the apollo . i workrd from avonmouth to le harve to rotterdam then london , that was 1969 .. the apollo was a beautiful ship
my brother also worked on the dido for a few years , he only worked dublin to avonmouth. my dad worked for bsnc as a checker ..
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  #9  
Old 28th November 2011, 16:28
cremacatalana cremacatalana is offline  
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Forget Paignton, Shaldon, Hayling Island......................my favourite holiday as a schoolkid was staying in a chalet at Walton Bay watching ships with a rather weak telescope (the best my dad and Mum could afford). Altho the big ships were more exciting, I always looked forward to the arrival at the anchorage of Cato, Apollo and Milo. Now I live in Spain, and I'll have to rummage around the garage to see if I still have any B and W photos.
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  #10  
Old 28th July 2015, 22:06
Kenneth Rex Kenneth Rex is offline  
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Bristol steam navigation


Re above company I worked there from 1945 till 1951 as clerk in continental dept and customs dept, including ships reports and clearances on arrival and departure. There were six vessels two chargered steam ships Capito and Melito, and four built at Chas Hill dockyard Bristol the Cato, Ino, Juno and Milo. They operated a weekly service Bristol to Antwerp, Rotterdam, Plymouth Cardiff Bristol Newport and Swansea round trips, and a twice weekly service Bristol to Dublin, two shed were used one at Bathurst Wharf and A shed canons Marsh, later The new M shed was used opposite the BSN office, by the swing bridge.
Ken Rex
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  #11  
Old 28th July 2015, 22:18
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Welcome to SN Kenneth, did you bring any of that good Zommerset cider with you.

John.
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  #12  
Old 29th July 2015, 10:56
Kenneth Rex Kenneth Rex is offline  
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Re summerzet cider

Not for a while John but Jack Daniels still a favourite
Regards Ken Rex
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  #13  
Old 29th July 2015, 12:44
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Nothing wrong with that Ken. A lot of cider is being sold over here now and I enjoy a bottle now and then.
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  #14  
Old 29th July 2015, 16:19
Kenneth Rex Kenneth Rex is offline  
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The real strong cider is draught straight from the barrel, in Somerset, very often brewed at the farms. Which part of the USA do u live? I changed from sea cargo to Air Cargo around 1960, finally working for an American Forwarder Burlington Air Express, and visited the USA many times, over the next Thirty years.
Ken Rex
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  #15  
Old 30th July 2015, 16:06
bev summerill bev summerill is offline  
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Bristol is not in Somerset
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  #16  
Old 30th July 2015, 16:18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bev summerill View Post
Bristol is not in Somerset
Who said it was.?.I know they have changed the boundaries a couple of times over the years. I lived there for 24 years,nice place to live, or at least it was.
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  #17  
Old 30th July 2015, 17:58
Kenneth Rex Kenneth Rex is offline  
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Re Bristol location

Quite right John the counties were renamed and Bristol from the city and county of Bristol, was renamed in the county of Avon, the river as you will recall passed Shirehampton en route to Avonmouth, upto five years ago I lived in Sneyd Park, for 22 years, so know Shirehampton quite well. Re yr army service did you serve any time in the United Kingdom during your service.
Regards Ken Rex
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  #18  
Old 30th July 2015, 18:10
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No Ken, no time served in th UK, just Germany,Vietnam, Korea,Panama,Okinawa,and Alaska. Would have loved to had a tour in the UK but the Airforce boys got those tours.
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  #19  
Old 30th July 2015, 18:16
Kenneth Rex Kenneth Rex is offline  
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Re yr army service

Well you certainly did world tour of duty, I agree USAF did seem to come to the UK, a lot. I hope you are enjoying your retirement in St Louis. Next week I shall be in Spain for one week, on holiday, so catch up with you again.
Thanks for messages,
Regards Ken
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  #20  
Old 20th August 2015, 09:00
Masirah Masirah is offline  
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I did one trip in Echo, May 1962. I was there to hopefully get some cash together go back to UWIST for r repeat run at 2nd Mates. Being a Bristol Channel local(Penarth) BSNC were always very familiar to me..

I joined in Bristol and in those days Echo and her sister, Apollo, were on a service fro the Bristol Channel to Antwerp and Rotterdam with a call at Plymouth on the return trip. Skipper was Capt. Jenkins, I was 3rd Mate. Bit unusual for a home trade ship to have a third mate but the number of ports and general cargo seem to dictate the need. Not that I was complaining she was a very nicely appointed ship. After leaving Swansea the weather was in clement and I was very glad to get to my bunk. I was a tad surprised when we went between Lands end and the Longships, coming from a deep sea background this seemed risky. It was the deep sea background that got the better of me and Capt Jenkins and we parted company on our return to Cardiff. Mostly down to me but you learn and I did. I never did go back to such small ships because I found my home in my next trip with Constants of Cardiff.

Michael Meredith
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  #21  
Old 10th March 2016, 16:44
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Bristol Steam Navigation - Fleet History

Does anyone happen to know of a good, published source about the Bristol Steam Navigation fleet?

In particular about the PLUTO, which I gather was built by Charles Hill and Sons Limited, of Bristol in 1950, and which foundered off Cape Teulada, in 1973.

I have already looked at John Hill's, 'Shipshape and Bristol Fashion, which has some excellent narrative about the shipbuilder themselves, but little specific to the vessels that they built.

Any direction as to where I might look would be very gratefully received.

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  #22  
Old 20th March 2016, 12:29
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Unitedite there is a book called "The Story of Lovell's Shipping" by Erick Jordan who was a director of the company for many years. It's published by White Tree Books which is or was a part of Redcliife Press Ltd of Bristol. There are some photos and a full fleet list towards the back of the book. Hope that helps.
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  #23  
Old 17th April 2016, 13:19
sailor63 sailor63 is offline  
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I served on the Sappho ( built at Goole in 45, named Falster) A ship with no deck gear whatsoever, just a windlass for the anchor. no gyro compass, just a magnetic one on the monkey island, viewed thru a periscope in front of the helmsman in the wheelhouse below! as E.D.H. from 29 june 65 to 13 dec.65. actually amounted to 4 trips, signing off and on again each time. Very eventful and eye opening period of my seagoing life, my one and only venture into the world of Coasting. We worked a 5hr. on 5hr. off system of watchkeeping, only 4 of us on deck, and when in port the genny was switched off around 10 p.m. and we had paraffin lamps on gimbles in our cabins and messroom. In that short time i sailed on her we were Broached by a following sea around the lizard area i think and both accomodation doors were bust open flooding straight down the ladders into our cabins Port and Starboard, very messy indeed, we also at one time ceased Almost all forward motion due to the sea hitting us harder head on than the engine could cope with, i left the wheel with the lights of torbay on our port bow and 5 hrs, later resumed my trick at the wheel and the view was the same, so we took shelter in torbay harbour till the weather abated! We also ended up on a mud bank up one of the continental rivers, i disremember which one, while steaming up it at night, i was helmsman, the pilot disappeared down below leaving the 2nd. mate in charge but failed to appear in time to alter course around one of the bends, the mate didnt seem to know what to do and as i didnt want a broken wrist i stepped back from the wheel on point of impact, good job i did, that wheel would done some damage the way it spun back and forth. Suddenly the bridge was alive with people, stop engine etc. We had to wait till daylight for tugs to pulls off, if i recall we got away with it, cos once refloated im sure we just went about our business, however it was a long time ago. There were no recriminations and i wasnt even asked to testify as to what happened, bet the mate took the flack for that one. As she was sold in 66 maybe nobody cared much about her anymore? The Saga goes on, she had derricks at some stage in her life, but during my time they were all gone, as were the deck winches, after a cargo of coal from Wales to the continent we often had to hose out the holds clean enough for a cargo of grain back to Avenmouth!! and bucket and handline anything that the bilge coulndt take care of up out of the holds, she was hard work in that respect, plus she never had a self stowing Anchor locker, so had be in there with river mud dropping on our heads stowing the chain with long hooks, Happy days. There was still one final drama awaiting us, me and one of the welsh lads were busy fitting hatchboards alonside in Newport in heavy rain when he missed his footing and fell to the bottom of the empty hold! He survived but the court case pursued me for years after i went back deep sea even after i came ashore for good in summer of 70, in fact the case was set for May 71! !

Eventually they decided to take my evidence " In Camera" in London as by now iwas employed ashore. I often wonder what the outcome was, remember his name was Alan Alderman, if youre there out Alan, Hi. All so long ago now. Theres lots more , could probly write a small book on that ship alone. However ive rambled on more than enough for now. Cheers, Colin. K.

Last edited by sailor63; 17th April 2016 at 13:22..
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  #24  
Old 3rd October 2018, 11:37
BiddySkiddy BiddySkiddy is offline
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Biddy

Does anybody know what happened to the original BSN "Sappho" (built 1900)I have tracked her down to 1935. Thanks
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