shaw savill- gothic fire - Ships Nostalgia
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shaw savill- gothic fire

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  #1  
Old 8th October 2009, 11:40
tony mullen tony mullen is offline
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shaw savill- gothic fire

hello everyone,I was on the gothic 1968 when we had the fire off the coast of
nz . it was a great ship and great crew,probably the best ship that I sailed
on and one that will stay with me forever. we lost seven lives that night
of the fire. my old mate cheyenne ,big bill from the midlands,I will always remember when the two of us thought we were the only ones left fighting
the fire. then we found the lifeboats full and the captain ready to abandon
ship. bill and I weren't going anywhere, we were staying on board , the captain
with the help of the engineers managed to turn the ship stern into the wind and halt the fire. would be good to share those memories
and to hear from any old crew members .
I was a day worker greaser and proud of my days as a british seaman .
would do it all again , the swinging sixties and early seventies when containers
were taking over from the old cargo ships and an end to the years when we
had 50,000 seamen and thousands of ships. I find it hard to believe the KGV
pool which I was on , is only a forgotten memory and the docklands are no longer the playground for thousands of seamen . the kent arms was rocking
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  #2  
Old 9th October 2009, 08:12
J Boyde J Boyde is offline  
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I knew one of the junior engineers, after he left the sea. Died quite young. Regreatably I cannot remember his name, stroke problem for me. He was a keen soccer fan and from memory, a ref. Died in NZ
Jim B
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  #3  
Old 9th October 2009, 08:48
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spongebob spongebob is offline  
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Tony, this tragedy has been the subject of an earlier thread but I think that this is the first time that a crew member at the time of the fire has logged on.
We would be interested to hear more of your personal story.

Bob
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  #4  
Old 9th October 2009, 11:38
bobw bobw is offline  
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Tony,
Check out http://www.oceaniashippingforum.com/index.php (need to register but it is free).
You may find a few shipmates there.
__________________
Bob
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  #5  
Old 11th October 2009, 08:48
PKiddell PKiddell is offline  
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Tony, the 2nd.Engineer was a Colin Wickham who told me of the event, and how the ship was turned which as you say most likely saved her along with the fire fighting that was carried on. Also that the steering was carried out from the aft position to get them into Wellington. Colin was I think from Wales a good bloke but unfortunately passed away last year
hearing his name may jog your memory as you were in the engine room. He did tell me all about the incident,and how the loss of life could have been higher. I see from a book I have she was broken up the following year 1970.
Peter K
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  #6  
Old 11th October 2009, 11:31
tony mullen tony mullen is offline
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party ship

hello peter,sorry to hear your friend colin passed away,yes I remember the 2nd engineer as he was in charge down below. yes we lost the bridge and steered from the emergency steering down aft. the fire started about 1800 miles from
land ,nz,after midnight in rough seas and pitch black night. we had seven
people die that night . the ship did one more trip before being scrapped,none
of the crew from the fire were allowed to return,her final trip had a complete new crowd. although it was a tragic trip,I will always remember what a great
crew and a great time around the coast. I think of the good times we had as
the sad time is not to dwell on as it was too ghastly ,the loss of life with
the burials at sea. apart from the fire, she was a great ship,the crew bar held 32 cases of bear in her fridges and held many parties on the coast with every ship in port and all the girls aboard for many wild nights. we had the old passengers and queens bar so she was a real dance hall that once held many a queens ball etc,, now she was full of seamen and the girls that loved to party.
what a ship the gothic, and all the men who sailed in her. tony mullen
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  #7  
Old 12th October 2009, 04:49
PKiddell PKiddell is offline  
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Tony. as they say all good things must come to an end, and for my money the 50's,60's and 70's was a great period to be at sea,those were the days when superintendents ran things. Anyway there is still S/N to keep us happy.!!!
peter K
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  #8  
Old 12th October 2009, 10:05
tony mullen tony mullen is offline
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hi peter, I remember the night of the fire about 2am when the fire was raging
through the engineers accomodation , looking through a port hole and seeing
an engineer asleep on his bunk ,he had empty cans or cans of beer tipped over
and around his cabin. his door was locked and the ones that ran down the alleyway waking everyone did not have time to spend on one man ,they needed
to get all out of the accomodation. the port was too thick to smash and too small to get him out anyway so we had to leave the poor guy as he was overcome by fumes etc. my memory had colin as that engineer but obviously
it was not. in those days we did not really become mates just worked together
sort of thing. so I don't remember who that guy would have been. we had a big crowd on the gothic with I think about 12-15 down below and about 15 on deck. we did not really mix with the engineers or officers as friends, you know
how it was, but after all we were all shipmates.. tony
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  #9  
Old 22nd October 2009, 10:58
tony mullen tony mullen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob jenkins View Post
Tony, this tragedy has been the subject of an earlier thread but I think that this is the first time that a crew member at the time of the fire has logged on.
We would be interested to hear more of your personal story.

Bob
hi bob, you will see entries in answer to peter priddle regarding the gothic.hope you find them interesting. tony mullen
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  #10  
Old 15th February 2011, 08:22
frank jackson frank jackson is offline  
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Fire on the Gothic

Just a short note to say i joined the Gothic after the fire when she put into Liverpool, stayed with around the coast.
I was a newly joined junior 'lecy , what a sight she was, the upper decks twisted and black. I later went deep see on the Ceramic. Good days.

Last edited by frank jackson; 15th February 2011 at 08:28.. Reason: Spelling
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  #11  
Old 2nd February 2012, 23:01
akmax akmax is offline  
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I was onboard during the fire. I joined as O/S at Bluff, then stayed with her (clocking up 100 hours steering time) on the eventual trip to Liverpool. I would like to hear from others also on board.
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  #12  
Old 22nd April 2014, 08:53
greg mellor greg mellor is offline  
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Gothic

I was on the Gothic in the mid sixties when she was still carrying passengers, did six trips on her, good ship captains name was George Campbell, dour Scot but a good seaman.....Greg
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  #13  
Old 22nd April 2014, 11:22
ferrandou ferrandou is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony mullen View Post
hello peter,sorry to hear your friend colin passed away,yes I remember the 2nd engineer as he was in charge down below. yes we lost the bridge and steered from the emergency steering down aft. the fire started about 1800 miles from
land ,nz,after midnight in rough seas and pitch black night. we had seven
people die that night . the ship did one more trip before being scrapped,none
of the crew from the fire were allowed to return,her final trip had a complete new crowd. although it was a tragic trip,I will always remember what a great
crew and a great time around the coast. I think of the good times we had as
the sad time is not to dwell on as it was too ghastly ,the loss of life with
the burials at sea. apart from the fire, she was a great ship,the crew bar held 32 cases of bear in her fridges and held many parties on the coast with every ship in port and all the girls aboard for many wild nights. we had the old passengers and queens bar so she was a real dance hall that once held many a queens ball etc,, now she was full of seamen and the girls that loved to party.
what a ship the gothic, and all the men who sailed in her. tony mullen
Hi Tony, I sailed on Gothic on her last voyage and were also told that we were a completely new crew. This was not true, the old man, Brian Agnew, and some others had returned for this trip. I never heard any of them speak of that night, and so we mostly believed the rumour.
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  #14  
Old 22nd April 2014, 15:03
ferrandou ferrandou is offline  
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http://i1134.photobucket.com/albums/...psf0133cf6.jpg]

Wheelhouse setup for final voyage. Note the cheap matting to assist noise reduction of OOW marching around on plywood decking.

Last edited by ferrandou; 22nd April 2014 at 15:14..
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  #15  
Old 22nd April 2014, 20:20
Bill Morrison Bill Morrison is offline  
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THE GOTHIC
This is still a sad reminder to me of the 3rd Electrician Eddie Skelly from Liverpool. We joined S.S.& A. on the same day in 1967. I had a drink with him in Bluff before the Gothic sailed on that fateful voyage and he told me this was to be his last trip as he had not taken to life at sea.
I knew he lost his life, but it was much later I found out he was lost overboard fighting the fire. I still think of him from time to time and wonder how strange life can be.
Bill Morrison
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  #16  
Old 22nd April 2014, 22:09
ferrandou ferrandou is offline  
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Hi Bill, I find myself reading your post over and over, thinking of something to write about your wonderful friend. I cannot, but now I too have a person to include in my thoughts about this heroic crew. I can still clearly see myself walking through this burnt out part of Gothic by torchlight and reporting the position of sparking electrical cables. In port we were like tourism guides for various curious seamen. All departed in thoughtful silence. RIP your friend.
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  #17  
Old 19th May 2014, 03:38
tony mullen tony mullen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferrandou View Post
Hi Tony, I sailed on Gothic on her last voyage and were also told that we were a completely new crew. This was not true, the old man, Brian Agnew, and some others had returned for this trip. I never heard any of them speak of that night, and so we mostly believed the rumour.
hello ,just read your input. Captain Agnew may have returned but none of us meaning ratings were allowed back as we were definitely paid off and none were asked to return. we all got a farewell and thankyou bonus of 100 pound from the company and the same from the insurance company with no claim necessary. Captain Agnew went on to be supervisor at the wellington nz container terminal. hope you had a good trip on her. regards Tony Mullen
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  #18  
Old 19th May 2014, 13:08
ferrandou ferrandou is offline  
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Originally Posted by tony mullen View Post
hello ,just read your input. Captain Agnew may have returned but none of us meaning ratings were allowed back as we were definitely paid off and none were asked to return. we all got a farewell and thankyou bonus of 100 pound from the company and the same from the insurance company with no claim necessary. Captain Agnew went on to be supervisor at the wellington nz container terminal. hope you had a good trip on her. regards Tony Mullen
Thanks Tony. Yes it was a very good trip, a crew bar was built in the old rec. room down aft. By two greasers and it was like an evening comedy show watching them, but once they finished their argument and came to an agreement they cut the timber. It all fitted exactly. Slainte,
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  #19  
Old 23rd June 2014, 15:22
mike oldfield mike oldfield is offline  
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a night and day remembered for the rest of my life

Hello everyone, I was an Asst Steward and just 18 at the beginning of the fateful trip. The magic Gothic was indeed a fun ship and for an 18 year old I was in 7th heaven until that night.
I was woken by the deck cadet whose get up call was largely ignored until we smelt smoke.
Our job in an emergency was to load the lifeboats with provisions and we made endless trips back and forwards from the stores to the boat deck carrying connie onnie, fags, beer, and canned food while the fire raged on one side of us and a force 8 on the other.
The skipper Capt Agnew did indeed turn the ship around from a now fully on fire bridge and no doubt saved our lives. Except those who perished: Eddy Skelly and the loverly family traveling with us home. I still have a tear in my eye when I think about the Mother climbing back in to rescue her kids and dying in vain.

The Marconi officer rescued his lifeboat kit and eventually i think it was a ham radio operator in scandinavia who heard our sos. Out came the search planes and HMNZ Blackpool, and 5 days later we were back in Wellington where we remained for 3 months whilst repairs were made.
My thoughts too are still with Eddy and his family, and the supernumrary Chief Eng.with whom I did fire patrols with the night after, we were still glowing and sparking.
I think its called growing up real fast.

Later I joined the Doric, Laurentic and finally the Ocean Monarch as a Junior Catering Officer or gopher....for the Chief Catering Officer

Later in life in 1993 I joined the Board of P&O Cruises and had quite a few working cruises.......my very first night back onboard what was then the Sea Princess and at 2am we had a small fire in a linen locker, only once has my heart beaten faster.

Last edited by mike oldfield; 23rd June 2014 at 15:25..
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  #20  
Old 5th August 2014, 23:37
Keith Adams Keith Adams is offline  
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A couple of years back there was an excellent photo posted in shipsnostalgia taken from either a helicopter or low flying aircraft ... view was port bow from about a 40 degree angle above. It clearly showed the fire damage with the fire extinguished and vessel proceeding at a fair speed. Keith.
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  #21  
Old 6th August 2014, 00:28
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ben27 ben27 is offline  
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good day tony mullen,m,8th oct.2009.20:40.re:shaw savill-goethic fire.#1.just reading this old thread.i found your post very moving.i am sorry for the loss of your shipmates.may they rest in peace.regards ben27
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  #22  
Old 20th August 2014, 11:51
mike oldfield mike oldfield is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Adams View Post
A couple of years back there was an excellent photo posted in shipsnostalgia taken from either a helicopter or low flying aircraft ... view was port bow from about a 40 degree angle above. It clearly showed the fire damage with the fire extinguished and vessel proceeding at a fair speed. Keith.
I have the original Wellington newspaper with that photo and others.
Mike
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  #23  
Old 26th October 2014, 14:38
skilly57 skilly57 is offline  
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First time I have seen this post.
After Gothic reached Wellington, a lot of workers from William Cable Ltd at Kaiwharawhara, Wellington, were put onto the ship to try and make the environment operational again, and safer for the trip back to the UK. I remember the warped steel decks (that our shipwrights covered over with framing and laid new timber decks on). The shipwrights also boarded off those areas that were too badly damaged and not required for sailing.
Going through the accommodation, I can still remember seeing the molten blob on one deck and staring at it for quite a while before realising it was a melted porcelain bath. So much was unrecognisable.
Our Wm Cable electrical shop fitters were renewing burnt out cable runs to restore basic services to those spaces required for steaming the ship again.
I was an apprentice fitter at Cables the time, and us young lads got a lot of dirty jobs clearing away burnt material so services could be restored where necessary. But we did get dirt money.
I know we were told we only had to fix it enough to get to England, then it would be scrapped. But then it turned up in Wellington again on what was the final voyage - I seem to remember being given a very hot job of repacking the glands on some steam stop valves going across the engine room above the turbines. I was given lots of sacks to kneel on, but still had to do a fair bit of moving around as various bits of my body became overheated. I can still remember the turbines being slowly rotated beneath me to stop the shafts from sagging.

I have never forgotten what the inside of the ship looked like after the fire, and wonder how solemn that voyage must have been heading back to England.
It was a long time ago - just wish I could remember more.
Captain Agnew was given a medal for his achievement in getting the ship back to port, and saving many more lives than had already been lost. I know it takes more than one man to achieve what they did, but he was given the recognition.

And it all started from a cigarette that missed a butt can and ignited a curtain.

44 years later I am still at sea, and very thankful it has never happened to me.
Tony S.

Last edited by skilly57; 26th October 2014 at 15:17..
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  #24  
Old 23rd March 2015, 11:11
Alex O'Neill Alex O'Neill is offline  
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Gothic Fire

I was the pantry boy on the fire trip yes it was the scariest night of my life, I remember my cabin door being kicked open and pulled out of my bunk, going to help load stores on to the lifeboats although there was no way they or us would have survived in the sea that night, I also was winding the emergency radio for radio officer sending s.o.s. and it was a ham operator in bluff who picked it up, I also remember the bodies being lashed to the rail the next day before burial at sea, the mum dad and two children who were killed were the HALLIDAY family from the wairarapa, I have no doubt brian agnew the skipper was a hero that night but so was every man and boy on that ship,I remember JOHN the head cook from CROYDON, BRIAN the second cook baker his first trip, also remember the two stewards cant remember their names but I have a photo of us in the old regent hotel in WELLINGTON which I will put on here soon as possible certainly I remember TONY MULLINS who I have seen around WELLINGTON however not for a good while, BRIAN AGNEW did end up working on the wharf in wellington as did the first officer, incidently his wife had just joined the ship to sail home with us from BLUFF, remember the second steward a very good bloke but the names escape me nowadays, I have always taken some pride in being a part of that crew, especially considering some of the disasters in the last few years and the behaviour of captains and crews, I tried to tell people at home just how big that fire was but don't think they understood, yes no crew member from that trip was allowed back for the final voyage I certainly tried again and again, my thoughts are they did not want us to talk and ask, why was the fire not spotted from the bridge it was under their feet why did the hose couplings have to be chipped before hoses could connect, it is interesting the officers had a drink up that night and their lounge was directly under the bridge, she was a great ship and great crew and I certainly take pride in being a part of that crew, I have met one or two around WELLINGTON who claim to have been there but they are easy to discredit, I carried on at sea for a few years till I eventually settled in WELLINGTON but never forget my time at sea and certainly notforgotten my time on the GOTHIC. Alex O'Neill
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  #25  
Old 25th March 2015, 07:51
Alex O'Neill Alex O'Neill is offline  
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There are some great photos of GOTHIC steaming back to wellington go to, national library of new Zealand enter gothic fire 1968, also google gothic fire 1968 more great pics including damage to bridge, saloon, pics of the skipper.cheers to you all alex
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