Cyprus 1974 - Ships Nostalgia
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Cyprus 1974

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  #1  
Old 14th October 2017, 00:14
Pam Turner Pam Turner is offline
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Cyprus 1974

What were the effects of events in Cyprus in 1974 on British merchant lines and their crews?
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  #2  
Old 14th October 2017, 10:21
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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Hi, Pam,

It is clear that events in Cyprus in 1974 did nothing in the long term to enable companies such as Ellerman Papayanni, Moss Hutchison and other Mediterranean-trading companies under the Red Ensign to prosper.

Other readers will no doubt be able to provide more specific detail.

My own recollections of the same period bear no direct relation to Cyprus, but I remember clearly the development of the motorway and the roll-on-roll-off ferry which were major contributory factors to the discontinuation of the import of Mediterranean fruit and other products by sea. Until the mid-seventies small, fast fruit-carriers from the Mediterranean were a commonplace sight in the Mersey. They then disappeared altogether, never to be replaced.

Large articulated fruit-lorries from Barcelona and elsewhere began to be seen in ever increasing numbers in Victoria Street in Liverpool, which was then at the heart of the fruit market. A branch of the Banco Espagnol en Londres stood in Victoria Street, near to the Fruit Exchange, for many years. Both buildings are still there, although they have been under different occupation for many years now. Such was the congestion created by the new-fangled lorries in Victoria Street that the wholesale fruit trade moved out of town-enbloc- to its present site near to the end of the M62. By the mid-1980s the transition was complete and the centre of Liverpool was left bereft of any visible evidence of a thriving import trade.

Last edited by Barrie Youde; 14th October 2017 at 10:40..
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  #3  
Old 8th May 2018, 16:36
john nichols john nichols is offline
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Hi Pam
It's me, Nick the Greek again.
Up to the Turkish invasion the main port of call in Cyprus was always Famagusta with occasional calls at Limassol (where we dropped anchor and barges were towed out to us to off load cargo) and very occasionally Paphos anchorage or Larnaka anchorage. We off-loaded a lot of stores and equipment for the British army and the R.A.F. (including ammunition) plus general commodities for the Greek Cypriot people (from toilet pans to Mercedes cars) and during the season we loaded thousands of tons of citrus fruits and new potatoes - an astonishing and amazing amount especially when you consider Cyprus is only 100 miles long from its east to west extremities.
After 1974 Famagusta was closed to commercial traffic that port was used by the Turkish Navy so we used Limassol more and more, at first with the towed barges but later a small port was built for commercial shipping.
Today Limassol is the main port for Cyprus, it is a quite large port, and is very busy with both containers and general commercial cargo.
In the pre-1974 days all the ships were ordinary cargo ships (like the Flamininian and the Crosbian that your dad, Billy, sailed in) but by the time Limassol's new port was built we went there on those container ships that started with the letter "T". On the old cargo ships we could spend up to a week at Famagusta but the container ships usually went in and out of port on the same day. Incidentally, this meant that ship's engineers had less time to complete essential maintenance work on the engines before the ship sailed for its next port. They often worked extremely hard to complete their work in the limited time we spent in port, so you can imagine how tiring it was with no air-conditioning and doing this tough manual work in the summer months when normal people are laid on the beach.
Hope all this helps you understand your dad's work
Regards
John
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  #4  
Old 8th May 2018, 19:59
Pam Turner Pam Turner is offline
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Will get back to you John in due course re: Cyprus. In the meantime, thank you for this.

Pam x
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  #5  
Old 9th May 2018, 16:26
Pam Turner Pam Turner is offline
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Hi Nick,
Really interesting to read your post on Cyprus in 1974. I only know Dad was there at that time when I was re-reading letters Mum wrote to me when I was away camping with the guides in July 1974. She wrote that Dad had sent my brother a birthday telegram from Cyprus, and she also mentioned Dad had said that things were 'very hectic' there.
From your account, it reads like British merchant ships were undertaking something not unlike the Berlin Airlift of 1948/49, except supplying Cyprus by sea rather than by air! How gruelling to be in an engine room in a Cypriot port in the summer of '74. Well done Dad, and his engine room mates!
A few years earlier in '69-70' Dad did a few runs for the Nigerian National Shipping Line. Any thoughts John on why he was with a Nigerian line? Struck me as a bit odd!
Thanks again, by the way.
Pam
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  #6  
Old 9th May 2018, 16:35
Pam Turner Pam Turner is offline
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Also, John at dad's funeral on 04/03/83, in the days when local reporters covered some funerals, it was noted that a donation had been made to Clatterbridge Hospital by Bob & friends in Ellermans. Any idea who Bob was? Only ever remember Dad mentioning someone called Alan Birkenhead who worked in the office in Liverpool.
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  #7  
Old 10th May 2018, 08:04
KYRENIA KYRENIA is offline  
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Up until 1974 Famagusta was used to supply commercial goods to all Cypriots, Turkish and Greek speaking as well as military supplies to Akrotiri and Dhekelia After the Turkish intervention Famagusta became part of North Cyprus the other port being Kyrenia.
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  #8  
Old 12th May 2018, 19:50
john nichols john nichols is offline
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Hi Pam
When the Turkish invasion of Cyprus began all the Greeks living in Famagusta had to immediately evacuate to the southern areas of Larnaca and Limassol. Many of them had expensive villas with high quality furnishings. They had only sufficient time to grab a couple of items before fleeing the Turkish forces.

The Cypriot community (Greeks and Turks) were reliant on ships from Europe for all their various commodities, these ships were mainly British, Scandinavian, and German flag. After the invasion we only dealt with the Greeks and I assume the Turks looked after their own.
I can't remember taking army supplies to Limassol after the troubles so perhaps the UK bases were exclusively supplied direct by the RAF.

Eventually shipping evolved and we said a sad farewell to many cargo ships as they were replaced by container ships and specialist ships. Specialist ships included vessels that were exclusively designed to carry fruit and veg and some of these ships operated from the fruit exporting ports do Marseilles where the cargo was discharged onto lorries for distribution to all areas of Europe, thereby reducing the time the cargo was aboard the ship by several days. Everything became very specialised and I think Ellermans failed to keep pace with the modernisation. Ellermans continued to ship containers full of general cargo to Cyprus, the cargo was removed and the empty containers were then shipped aboard the next Ellerman ship and taken mainly to Salerno, Italy. Once in Italy the conyainers were filled with cases of tinned tomatoes and shipped to the UK. We used to load about 2000 tons per week!

I had no idea your Dad did a few trips with Nigerian National Line and I've no idea why he would have gone their, seems a bit out of character but maybe someone offered him better pay?

I do not have any knowledge of the collection made for Clatterbridge hospital. There was a popular 3rd Engineer by the name of Bob but for the life of me I can't recollect his surname. Perhaps you could check through a few of the crew lists that "Mikekhh" has published on the Ellerman Forum Page, it might offer a few clues. Alan Birkenhead was a Personnel Clerk in the Engineering Sea Staff Department at Tower Building in Liverpool. He was popular and tried to bend to all the sea staff requests whenever he could.

Hope this helps to fill in a few blanks. Fire away if you have more queries
Regards
Nick the Greek
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