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suez canal-''BUM-Boat traders''

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  #1  
Old 11th March 2018, 07:59
david freeman david freeman is offline  
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suez canal-''BUM-Boat traders''

Good morning, I just wonder how many of you in the 60's remember the Company 'Bum Boat-traders'' given the ok to trade on a BP ship at Port Said or Suez as the ship anchored up waiting for the appropriate south bound or north bound canal convoy.
I remember at Suez 'INDIAN JOHN' but not he name of the Port Said company trader? Any one remember?
Also there were the 'gillie - gillie men and those barbers! I remember one who could imitate any accent in the British Isles, who also had a sense of humour.
It was alleged that the company BUM-BOAT Traders, used the BP Captains to deposit earning gained during their trading into a bank in London? But that was hearsay??? GYpo's
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  #2  
Old 11th March 2018, 08:47
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A.D.FROST A.D.FROST is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david freeman View Post
Good morning, I just wonder how many of you in the 60's remember the Company 'Bum Boat-traders'' given the ok to trade on a BP ship at Port Said or Suez as the ship anchored up waiting for the appropriate south bound or north bound canal convoy.
I remember at Suez 'INDIAN JOHN' but not he name of the Port Said company trader? Any one remember?
Also there were the 'gillie - gillie men and those barbers! I remember one who could imitate any accent in the British Isles, who also had a sense of humour.
It was alleged that the company BUM-BOAT Traders, used the BP Captains to deposit earning gained during their trading into a bank in London? But that was hearsay??? GYpo's
Same thing happened in Kiwi when you paid by English cheque(so they didn't have to pay exchange rates when they went to the UK on holiday). Cash was handed over in SA(Innocent days now its drugs)
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  #3  
Old 11th March 2018, 09:57
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George Robbi comes to mind at Port Said
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Old 11th March 2018, 10:01
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Last time in the sewage canal transit, still get the bum boats on-board. 2007.
,
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Old 11th March 2018, 11:21
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Our agent (RFA) was George Robey who told us in his Glaswegian accent that his uncle lived in Socchyhall Street.
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Old 11th March 2018, 11:33
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Our agent (RFA) was George Robey who told us in his Glaswegian accent that his uncle lived in Socchyhall Street.
Probably did

(For the non-Jocks, he's joking, it's Sauchiehall St.)

Last edited by Basil; 11th March 2018 at 11:36..
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  #7  
Old 11th March 2018, 12:13
tom roberts tom roberts is online now  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil McInnes View Post
George Robbi comes to mind at Port Said
The most famous was George I first saw him in 1954 when deck boy on a b.p.tanker he,he could do a scouse accent as well but I never heard him do a Welsh one ,did anyone hear him do this ore en a Belfast one?.
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  #8  
Old 11th March 2018, 13:03
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Bum boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by david freeman View Post
Good morning, I just wonder how many of you in the 60's remember the Company 'Bum Boat-traders'' given the ok to trade on a BP ship at Port Said or Suez as the ship anchored up waiting for the appropriate south bound or north bound canal convoy.
I remember at Suez 'INDIAN JOHN' but not he name of the Port Said company trader? Any one remember?
Also there were the 'gillie - gillie men and those barbers! I remember one who could imitate any accent in the British Isles, who also had a sense of humour.
It was alleged that the company BUM-BOAT Traders, used the BP Captains to deposit earning gained during their trading into a bank in London? But that was hearsay??? GYpo's
Was it George Robey??,I dont know if that
is the correct spelling.
Dave Williams
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  #9  
Old 11th March 2018, 19:48
david freeman david freeman is offline  
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Thank you all, as you say ''George Robiy' name comes to mind or his nickname 'George robbery'' Ah Dear the 'gypo's
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  #10  
Old 11th March 2018, 20:07
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The carpenter on one ship I was on, bought a 'Port Said Bible' off one of the bum boat traders.
He retired to his cabin once we got underway into the canal, for some much anticipated reading. A couple of minutes later he emerged his face a picture of frustration.
" The effing things printed in effing French!" and over the wall it went.

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  #11  
Old 12th March 2018, 07:32
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Yes, it was George Robey and there are a couple of lengthy interesting threads on site about him and his shifty bumboat mates.

Taff
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  #12  
Old 13th March 2018, 17:08
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Way way back before I joined BP, we took this picture of the Port Said bum boats attending to RFA Blue Ranger.
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File Type: jpg bumboat.jpg (36.7 KB, 175 views)
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Last edited by twogrumpy; 13th March 2018 at 17:39..
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  #13  
Old 14th March 2018, 14:47
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Anyone remember "chicken George"? He used to come on board at the start of the transit with a chicken on his shoulder. He would ask crew members for any coins they had, preferably silver. He would ask you to hold it close to the chicken which would then peck forward and take the coin and swallow it. At the end he would leave, the chicken had its neck wrung and proceeds pocketed. He would join a ship going going in the opposite direction with another chicken and start over again. I lost half a crown. Only the once.
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Old 14th March 2018, 15:00
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If my memory serves me correctly this is what we knew as the Gulli Gulli Man, and strange to say having done a search the memory was right.

"We had on board the ubiquitous 'gulli-gulli' men. These were the highly skilled Egyptian conjurors that earned their name through the chant that they made as they performed their magic – which indeed it seemed to be. They greatly entertained a large number of the ship's company on the flight deck. Eventually they found" ...

As for the "Port Said Bibles" I thought many were from the "Travelers Companion" series produced by the Ophir Press, or so I was told.
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Last edited by twogrumpy; 14th March 2018 at 15:04..
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  #15  
Old 15th March 2018, 16:58
JohnBP JohnBP is offline  
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The post cards, the stinky Camels stuffed with old bandages (over the side). Watches that quit by the time you got to the Red Sea...
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Old 16th March 2018, 11:19
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All bum-boat men seemed to carry letters of authority from previous BP Tanker Captains. Typed on headed BP notepaper with ample 'spolling' mistakes included - they would signify that Mr **** was an exceptionally honest man and authorised to sell on board any BP Tanker. Usually dated around 1948 and signed by some unheard of Captain nom de plume
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  #17  
Old 16th March 2018, 17:59
matthew flinders matthew flinders is offline  
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Watches that quit by the time you got to the Red Sea...
The cockroach died you should have fed it.
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  #18  
Old 16th March 2018, 19:07
tom roberts tom roberts is online now  
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To see the bum boat men being robbed oh my what laugh ,on the Emprire Halladale at anchor in Port Said the were allowed on board,they laid out their wares on the prom deck against the saloon bulkhead,but there were deck level openings to allow air in the saloon,a few crafty stewards could get access to the goods thro the opening ,I don't know how long before the traders got wise,but I am sure they did.
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  #19  
Old 18th March 2018, 13:12
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I remember the Gilly-Gilly man well. Amazing sleight of hand and humour, producing baby chicks from all sorts of embarrassing locations.
There was one trick which baffled us all, where he got someone to lend him a ring and a fiver and then had the lender throw them over the wall. Said mug was of course horrified but at the end of the Gilly-Gilly man's act he had mysteriously got them to return to the mug.

I remember buying greenish khaki tropical shirts - lovely Egyptian cotton - lasted long after I had left the sea. BP allowed us to wear khaki tropicals instead of white if we wanted to, and I had both.
Happy memories.
N
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  #20  
Old 18th March 2018, 18:43
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There was a barber in Suez who may have specialised in Norwegian ships. I suspect this as he knew enough Norwegian to make a simple conversation. And he had a talent for marketing. When I sat down in his chair sometime in 1965, he tried his scissors a few times in the air, and then asked me: "And how is Anker doing these days - is he inside or is he out?" Very few non-Norwegians have ever heard of the safe-breaker Anker Rogstad. But in Norway at the time he was as well-known as the king, and probably received more sympathy. This because Anker was smart, his heists should have been successful, but he always got caught by some miniscule evidence. Then he swore it would be his last break, he studied in prison, wrote books, was left off early - and next year was back in the slammer. And a barber in Suez, naming the man with his forename only hit the main intimacy artery, with such a question.

And there was a fellow in Rotterdam, selling radios and record players on the instalment plan through the radio officer, called the "pig," and a fat fellow in Mombasa, called for some reason "Stavanger", who did washing. Both of whom had learned a bit of Norwegian. Well, maybe they knew other languages too... The Egyptian barber asking me how “Anker” was doing I will never forget though!
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Old 21st March 2018, 10:37
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Bum-boats

Bum-boats coming alongside the Admiral.
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  #22  
Old 20th April 2018, 10:32
hippoglossus hippoglossus is offline  
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They were known as "bar watches" they stopped once the ship crossed the bar outward!
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  #23  
Old 20th April 2018, 20:51
john bell john bell is offline  
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George Roby

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Originally Posted by King Ratt View Post
Our agent (RFA) was George Robey who told us in his Glaswegian accent that his uncle lived in Socchyhall Street.
George Roby used to come and knock on your cabin door and "demand" your attendance at his Bum Boats. He wore a blue suit (made in London) and red fez and made it very difficult for you not to. There was also Jock McGreggor from Aberdeen who although an Arab had a perfect Scottish accent and sold melons, and probably anything else he could get his hands on. They all seemed to want ships soap!
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  #24  
Old 4th August 2018, 02:34
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I still have a Photo album I bought off George Robby in 49; has the camel imprinted in a circle on the cover and palm trees on the side, still in good condition, considering it has been around the world many many times.
George Robby and Jock MagGregor I always remembered as the same man??
Tugger
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  #25  
Old 4th August 2018, 04:21
jg grant jg grant is offline  
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I can't remember how many times I have transit Suez, at least eight. On four of those occasions, roast pork was put on the menu just to get up the gypo nose. They certainly kept well away from the galley. Maybe that was the plan.
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