So, what have I learned thus far..? - Ships Nostalgia

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So, what have I learned thus far..?

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Old 2nd October 2017, 14:38
Pam Turner Pam Turner is offline
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 52
So, what have I learned thus far..?

Researching my Dad's (Bill Turner's) maritime history to date, this is I think some of the salient points, and I would imagine not unique to my Dad's career...?

1. The gradual decline in merchant shipping from 50's to 70's. Dad started off on tramp ships in the second half of the 50s going to far flung ports all over the world to Medi runs in 60s and early 70's (and possibly less rewarding financially and in terms of job satisfaction) then hustlers, to short stints on coasters and dredgers. His last ship was the MV Tukwila Chief which he joined in October 1980 engaging at the Port of Spain in Trinidad?? As I remember, I was 20 at the time, this didn't end happily, which I won't go into here. No entry in his record book for this one, I have found this through other paperwork in connection with the need for a visa. So by the time Dad was in his 40s the work seemed to be harder to come by, and much less secure/viable to support a family.

2. The decline of the Port of Liverpool. The vast majority of Dad's trips in the 50's and 60's started and ended mainly in Liverpool, occasionally at Birkenhead/Bromborough, by the 70's he's engaging at British ports on the east coast such as Hull and Immingham.

3. Think the above are connected to containerisation and entry to the Common Market, but can only make tentative generalisations, so I won't.. and I'm sure one of you guys could better explain this.

4. What a travesty for my Dad's generation and future generations as going to sea provided good work, solid trades, decent wages, a chance to see the world and brush up against other cultures, and great memories. What has replaced this ? the gig economy and zero hours contracts for the British working class.

5. The stoicism of the wives/partners - keeping the home going and bringing up families single handed and often juggling this with part time work. Bless you Mum - you had five of us to cope with, plus as an only child your Mum and Dad too, a help but sometimes a hindrance too as I remember it!!

6. My Dad was a man's man - so even had he lived I doubt he would have been very forthcoming on his time at sea, fair enough, and I'm sure he may have taken the view that what happened at sea, stayed at sea, but wish he could have told me some of the adventures, but maybe I wasn't asking when I could have either!!! So, to any of you out there who haven't told your kids, or they aren't asking, tell them, even if it's the edited version.

7. What a life? Although still making my way through the threads and posts on this site I'm constantly amazed at the range and content of the anecdotes; the shark fishing, the pranks, the cargoes especially the zoo animals, the Bombay canaries (Thanks to Aberdonian's stunning photo collection from the Laganbank in '56), the storms at sea etc etc What would I have done without SN and its members? Thank you.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 15:34
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Deck
Active: 1952 - 1998
Join Date: Jul 2005
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Hi Pam
I am writing about the time I sailed and hope that one day my grandchildren will read it and know what I did.
I have as a reference my discharge books and diaries. I have got 94 pages so far and not quite finished.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 17:05
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6,923

We have all learned much from SN and we all have much to be thankful for. I also grew up with a mariner father and believed, very largely (as you might have done), that any grown-up who didn't actually go to sea was a complete wet lettuce.

I remain hugely grateful for that experience and it is a delight to hear of your own similar enjoyments. Here in SN, we all contribute what we can - and we all benefit greatly. Our thanks to you for joining us!
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Old 2nd October 2017, 18:03
John Dryden John Dryden is offline  
Active: 1969 - 1973
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,782
Can only agree with Barrie's comments.
Not many questions go unanswered on SN and the answers always jog a nautical memory or I learn something.
Great you found the info.of life at sea, as your dad would have known it,too.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 18:42
george e mitchell george e mitchell is offline  
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Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Engineering
Active: 1962 - 1970
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 121
To Pam Turner.Thank you for your wonderful post, I have read it many times
and I will make sure my family read it also.When my wife for 48 years died I didn't do much for a couple of years, then I bought a second hand laptop. I had no idea what I was doing with it, but my daughters and granddaughters got me going. The first site we found was Shaw Savill Line memories and culture,I started to write an answer to a post from another member. as the weeks went on I realised I had written my life story from 10 years old till I retired in 2000
A total of 55 years on the sea or connected with the sea
I become my wifes carer, The doctors put her on Palative care and told
me it would be a month at the most, I took her out of hospital and took her home.I fitted up our bedroom with various aids, She had a reasonably active
life for about 10 years then we depended on oxygen but she still got out on her scooter etc fourteen years, in total.What she died with wasn't the original problem.. it was during this time I realised how much work it must have been to raise a family of 3 girls, looked after her and my parents when they were ill. When the girls were getting older the all had
there own ways. I could go on about that but we as parents we know that already. Ships Nostalgia was recommended to me from members of the other site, I have now written many posts about the past 50 odd years at sea ,Posted on this site on various forums
My daughter also writes on this site saying she learned more about me on this site than she learned in her life, with my stories, Only last week I was asked to write my memories on this site, I expect my story isn't much different to other sea going engineers. in the world. we had a different way of life, that many landlubbers don't understand, also maybe we did not appreciate the work done by our wives to bring up our families on their own,Well I could go on for hours but thanks again for that post very heartfelt maybe we should all write our memories to pass on to our families, My favourite expression.
How do you know where your going if you don't know where you come from.
All the best to you all George

Last edited by george e mitchell; 2nd October 2017 at 20:58.. Reason: spelling check
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Old 19th May 2018, 15:11
john nichols john nichols is offline
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Navigation
Active: 1955 - 1998
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 17
Hi Pam
I enjoyed reading your summation regarding us old salts.
Regarding note 2, when you say about joining ships in Hull and Immingham, this may have been because of the companies within the Ellerman fleet.
To some degree Papayanni's worked in conjunction with Ellerman's Wilson (Hull) and Westcott and Lawrence (London) when organising Mediterranean trading patterns. All three companies were Ellerman owned, traded under their own house flag, and kept their own trading accounts. Westcott and Lawrence did not own any ships themselves (I think) so used Papayanni ships and crew.
For a while I sailed on the Anatolian out of Hull and London but I remained a Papayanni officer and the ship was chartered to Westcotts by Papayanni (wheels within wheels).
I never sailed from the east coast with your dad, our trips together were all from Liverpoool.
Best Regards
Nick the Greek
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Old 19th May 2018, 23:11
tsell tsell is offline
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Hello, Pam, I have just re-read your post and concur with all that you have written.
Your comments in Note 6 are pretty relevant to many families where Dad didn't ever get around - for one reason or another - to regaling his brood about what he got up to while away from them. He may not have given them many tales of other countries and the things he learned of the customs of their inhabitants. Or told them of some of the dangers he faced - so as not to worry them.
He may not have given them any idea of what adventures he and his shipmates enjoyed at sea or in foreign ports - after all, some of them may have been too embarrassing to relate, as others may not have understood the life of a sailorman. There were oft many tribulations.

I have long thought about this and it is one of the reasons that I began the thread, "Tusitala - Tell Us Your Tales!!", intending it to become a library where members can - anonymously if they wish - share their tales with others.
As you say in Note 7, you enjoy reading about the exploits of those who have posted them on this great site and with over 7,000 views since it began just a few short months ago, we (I say 'we' because although I made the first post, the contributors and readers are the thread) have given people such as yourself the chance, in 'Tusitala' to see what made us tick while away from home, in what was, at times, a very hard and dangerous life, unlike that which could be imagined by those at home.
The tales kindly shared by many old sea dogs, in 'Tusitala', will be around for others to read and enjoy for as long as Ships Nostalgia is in existence.

All the very best,

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Old 21st August 2018, 22:56
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Annmckinnon Annmckinnon is offline
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Posts: 188
I have just read your post, and as the daughter of a merchant seaman with the Benline l know what you mean, as l remember standing with my mother waving my Dad goodbye for yet another 6 month trip(as they were in the 60,s) But on a happier note l treasured the time he was home on leave as we spent so much quality time together (probably engineered by my mum so she could get some well earned " Me time" as the saying goes today !
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Old 21st August 2018, 23:58
Somerton Somerton is offline  
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Pam I enjoyed your post about your dad,s seagoing career . I started out in the mid 1950,s tugs for a few years , then coasters . Then deep water with Port Line of London . Then Clyde Shipping Co . Finishing in 1995 in coastal tankers . I joined a number of the ships and left them in Liverpool and London . I have many happy memories of the times spent in both ports . If I could do it again I would do so with great pleasure . Also the other posts in this thread were very refreshing . Ships Nostalgia has brought me a lot of happy memories .
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