Distressed Sailors - Ships Nostalgia
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Distressed Sailors

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  #1  
Old 16th June 2012, 12:54
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Distressed Sailors

Can anyone tell me what the term Distressed Sailors would mean on a passenger list 1937. Was looking through some records when my dad sailed on Lancastria and I came across one for Scythia 1937, about 6 sailors all sailing 3rd class.
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  #2  
Old 16th June 2012, 13:13
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They are sailors that have missed their ship due to several reasons,sickness, jumped ship,drunk and in jail. They get shipped back with the term DBS (Distressed British Seaman).
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Old 16th June 2012, 13:29
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Dbs

One who is left without a berth, ill or without funds in a foreign port.

Regards
Hugh
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Old 16th June 2012, 14:43
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As I recall... passage home as DBS was organised by the British Consul.... I think the U-C mail boats had a few cabins designated for DBS use somewhere in the bowels.
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  #5  
Old 16th June 2012, 17:06
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distressed sailors

Thanks for the replys. One entry was same name as dad's but looking at it again I saw his address was Sailors home, London. So Dad wasn't distressed after all. Anne
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  #6  
Old 16th June 2012, 22:42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddies girl View Post
Thanks for the replys. One entry was same name as dad's but looking at it again I saw his address was Sailors home, London. So Dad wasn't distressed after all. Anne
DBS (distressed british seaman) was any seaman with no ship, in a foreign port with no means of
livelihood. During WW2 anyone that lost his ship due to enemy action was DBS if he made it to shore, or if you were put ashore in a foreign hospital you became DBS which means you got a MEAGER payment until you were given another ship.
Chas
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  #7  
Old 17th June 2012, 12:43
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I jumped ship in New York in the early 60's and came home DBS on the Queen Elizabeth.
I was given a cabin in the bowels of the ship but no sooner had I got my gear in than the masters at arms removed me and put me in the crew accommodation.
I wasn't required to work so weaselled my way into the social life of the passenger facilities.
Had a great time and a couple of ladies who thought it romantic to have sex in the crew accommodation
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Old 17th June 2012, 13:45
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Any British subject abroad used to be able to apply to a consular Officer to be repatriated back to the UK. If in the opinion of the consul they are without funds he can arrange for them to be sent home as a Distressed British Subject. If I remember rightly the master of a British ship could not refuse to take aboard DBS without just cause. The ship is only required to provide food and shelter from wind and weather. I've carried a couple of DBSs home from Vancouver who had no connection with seafaring. However normally at sea we referred to DBS as distressed British seamen. No doubt the rules are different now and air travel will be the best option and the tax payer will pick up the bill.
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  #9  
Old 17th June 2012, 15:02
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Guys, get used to it. The country did not think enough of us to create a process just for dealing with sailors. DBS stood for Distressed British Subjects, not distressed British sailors, nor even distressed British seamen. The same arrangements/provisions were extended to any UK citizen abroad, including drunken football supporters and stoned hippy backpackers.

The costs were recoverable from those assisted, although in many cases the authorities didn't bother making the effort when faced with the inability of most recipients to pay. The taxpayer dug deep once again.
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  #10  
Old 17th June 2012, 15:22
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Dbs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Stringer View Post
Guys, get used to it. The country did not think enough of us to create a process just for dealing with sailors. DBS stood for Distressed British Subjects, not distressed British sailors, nor even distressed British seamen. The same arrangements/provisions were extended to any UK citizen abroad, including drunken football supporters and stoned hippy backpackers.

The costs were recoverable from those assisted, although in many cases the authorities didn't bother making the effort when faced with the inability of most recipients to pay. The taxpayer dug deep once again.
Ron, Absolutely correct definition. Cheers, Roger
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  #11  
Old 19th July 2012, 19:05
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DBS stood for both DB Seaman and DB Subject. On the old Immigration Service pink Form IB6 (later IS6) more commonly known as the Crew List it referred to DB Seaman. Most DBS I encountered as an Immigration Officer came in on the QE2 from New York, having been mugged and injured there - often very early on in their Merchant Navy career.
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