Beginning life as a Deck Apprentice - Ships Nostalgia
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Beginning life as a Deck Apprentice

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  #1  
Old 11th May 2011, 22:24
bgrace bgrace is offline  
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Beginning life as a Deck Apprentice

http://briangrace.blogspot.com/
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  #2  
Old 11th May 2011, 23:50
rothesian rothesian is offline  
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Thumbs up

great reading thanks
Alistair
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  #3  
Old 12th May 2011, 00:52
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Donald McGhee Donald McGhee is offline  
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6 years later it wasn't much different when I joined my first Donaldson ship, Bosun was mad, Chief Engineer was mad, the only sane one was me, but I ended up like them after my first trip.
Great days and a great read, Thanks.
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  #4  
Old 12th May 2011, 19:54
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Read every word of it - pure nostalgia. Thanks for posting it.

BW

J
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  #5  
Old 12th May 2011, 20:52
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I'm glad I didn't serve my time there, my life wasn't easy a lot of the time but conditions were much better than you endured. Thanks for a great read.
Ian
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  #6  
Old 14th September 2011, 04:21
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bugga divino bugga divino is offline  
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Great account, Brian. Reminds me of my first ship (only lasted six weeks on the old b**ch), with an 80 proof first mate, a closet h*m* skipper, and a delusional sparkie who went around telling everybody that he was on a secret assignment to the CIA.
The food was c**p, the roaches huge, the crew made minor fortunes through pilfering cargo. Beer was rationed, and beercans used as ashtrays. Never again! The remainder of my apprenticeship was, of course, great, if the work was hard.....
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  #7  
Old 14th September 2011, 10:14
dovesurf dovesurf is offline  
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Ha ha, very evocative. It had me thinking about my first voyage, reckon I ought to get writing
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  #8  
Old 14th September 2011, 12:10
sparkie2182 sparkie2182 is offline  
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"delusional sparkie who went around telling everybody that he was on a secret assignment to the CIA."


Nothing delusional there................We ALL were.



A great read.............Thank you.
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  #9  
Old 14th September 2011, 19:59
borderreiver borderreiver is offline  
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Chief officer Moffitt did he gain command but lost his command after cleaning the ships bottom on a sand bar. Then joined Commons as a mate on tankers. appox 1962 is this the same man
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  #10  
Old 14th September 2011, 21:33
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Great account; written with presence; absolutely palpable.

Took me back some years to first trip:
Old Man: Nutty
Chief Engineer: Pleasant but odd.
2nd Eng: Suspect a silverback had escaped from zoo and decided to be an eng.
Cook: Allegedly lusted after my body (according to the others).
THE ENG: Old B&W banging, shaking and hissing away.
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  #11  
Old 14th September 2011, 21:41
Boatman25 Boatman25 is offline  
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Some of the apprentices worked very hard and were treated badly by everyone, I suppose including me at times. Some were snotty and thought they knew everything they were the ones I didnt like but some wanted to learn and were very hard workers who really did not deserve the trouble and those I got on with
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  #12  
Old 23rd December 2011, 15:28
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enzoneo enzoneo is offline  
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Blimey, that brought back a memory or two .... joined the "City of Coventry" in Gibraltar for my second trip as deck Cadet and went onto the bridge to report to the Captain. There was this figure leaning on the engine telegraph, shoulder length hair, white bath robe, hairless legs and strappy gold ladies shoes ... it was the Captain ! I hadn't thought about that for nigh on 45 years.
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  #13  
Old 23rd December 2011, 16:20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparkie2182 View Post
"delusional sparkie who went around telling everybody that he was on a secret assignment to the CIA."


Nothing delusional there................We ALL were.



A great read.............Thank you.
Of course we were - but we didn't all talk about it.
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  #14  
Old 14th February 2014, 09:32
bgrace bgrace is offline  
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update

i have updated with more factual info i have recd from the newfoundland archives
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  #15  
Old 14th February 2014, 12:35
Michael Taylor Michael Taylor is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enzoneo View Post
Blimey, that brought back a memory or two .... joined the "City of Coventry" in Gibraltar for my second trip as deck Cadet and went onto the bridge to report to the Captain. There was this figure leaning on the engine telegraph, shoulder length hair, white bath robe, hairless legs and strappy gold ladies shoes ... it was the Captain ! I hadn't thought about that for nigh on 45 years.
I also sailed with "her" Capt. Nellie Bellhouse I believe he was called as Apprentice onboard the Madras or possibly New York. His real wife was Capt. of a cricket team in Kenya.
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  #16  
Old 14th February 2014, 15:47
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A jolly good yarn, thanks for posting.
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  #17  
Old 14th February 2014, 18:50
brian3 brian3 is offline  
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well done interesting
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  #18  
Old 28th December 2016, 13:46
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Alan Rawlinson Alan Rawlinson is offline
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Apprentice Blogs

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrace View Post
Great Blog and a brilliant narrator - thanks

Alan Rawlinson. Author of " Merchant Navy Apprentice - 1951 to 1955" and " Any Budding Sailors?"

Blog with many pics - http://bankline.wordpress.com.
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  #19  
Old 28th December 2016, 22:29
kauvaka kauvaka is offline  
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Thank you. A truly enjoyable read.
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  #20  
Old 3rd January 2017, 19:00
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Alistair Macnab Alistair Macnab is online now  
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Brian....

Your story was a good one and from my experience, very authentic. I was just a little ahead of you when I went to sea as an Apprentice in 1953. It wasn't Chapman's but Andrew Weir's Bank Line, well noted for long trips. In fact, I completed my sea time with only one leave about half-way through the four years.
I always said that if I had returned home about 18 months into my first ship, I would have given up but after two-years, I had becomed a real Apprentice although I was the junior for the entire trip.
Anyway, I stuck it out, eventually getting all my tickets, standing-by a couple of new-buildings at Pallion in Sunderland. I got my first command in 1966 and was promoted ashore in the United States, serving in the company offices in New Orleans, New York, and Houston.

I'm glad you had a good eventual career too. Full marks for sitting down and writing so well of your Apprentice years to give us all a taste of what it was like.

Congratulations.
Alistair Macnab
Houston TX.
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  #21  
Old 3rd January 2017, 23:02
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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My can I relate to that story as Ropners was of the same ilk and many of the incidents I also experienced.
On the Aussie coast for two years and I seem to remember the only two of the deck crowd that completed the articles were the bosun and chippy.
Sparkie, the second mate and the Ar**hole master were the others.
Did I grow up quickly on that trip when I spent my 16h, 17th and 18th birthdays as the two apprentices were the only sober ones on deck leaving port.
Beams and hatch boards plus tarps were in my dreams and I became on personal terms with every one of them and shoveling ashes when leaving port.
Great way to learn to become a navigating "officer".!!!!!!!!
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  #22  
Old 9th January 2017, 23:32
bgrace bgrace is offline  
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Thanks for the good comments

It took me several years to complete this article
From the outset I wanted it to be factual especially the crew names in case in years to come anyone looking for their family
I wrote the first 2 years and I had only obtained the crew list for the second trip, the majority of crew lists are held by Newfoundland University and they couldn't find the first trip, I have to thank them as they did a long search but many boxes had not yet been catalogued
I tried the National Archives, Maritime Museum and Tyne and Wears Archives but no success, I was eventually told several crew lists were destroyed by water in Cardiff
I tried contacting fellow crew mates but again no success
For a few years I did nothing as I had to have triple bypass and a couple of years later I had Bladder Cancer
I then one day decided to contact Newfoundland and to my amazement they found the list, they sent me copies of Scorton trips and the Dotterel
I started to write about the trips in my 3rd and 4th years on the Scorton but unfortuneately my memory wasn't as good as the earlier years, they warned me when I had the 2 long operations that memory recall might be a problem

Thanks Brian
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  #23  
Old 9th January 2017, 23:46
bgrace bgrace is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alistair Macnab View Post
Brian....

Your story was a good one and from my experience, very authentic. I was just a little ahead of you when I went to sea as an Apprentice in 1953. It wasn't Chapman's but Andrew Weir's Bank Line, well noted for long trips. In fact, I completed my sea time with only one leave about half-way through the four years.
I always said that if I had returned home about 18 months into my first ship, I would have given up but after two-years, I had becomed a real Apprentice although I was the junior for the entire trip.
Anyway, I stuck it out, eventually getting all my tickets, standing-by a couple of new-buildings at Pallion in Sunderland. I got my first command in 1966 and was promoted ashore in the United States, serving in the company offices in New Orleans, New York, and Houston.

I'm glad you had a good eventual career too. Full marks for sitting down and writing so well of your Apprentice years to give us all a taste of what it was like.

Congratulations.
Alistair Macnab
Houston TX.
Thanks Alistair for your nice comments
I am delighted for you in that you achieved your ambition to get all your tickets, this is one thing that deeply regret now that I didn't

Brian
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  #24  
Old 10th January 2017, 06:27
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Great way to spend an evening, reading that, thank you.
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  #25  
Old 10th January 2017, 12:07
bgrace bgrace is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Rawlinson View Post
Great Blog and a brilliant narrator - thanks

Alan Rawlinson. Author of " Merchant Navy Apprentice - 1951 to 1955" and " Any Budding Sailors?"

Blog with many pics - http://bankline.wordpress.com.
Some great pics, enjoyed them especially remembering having to batten down the hatches with the waves coming over the bow
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