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joined Port Wellington 1966 given cup knife and fork and I think condensed milk , an old metal bunk and a 56 hour week plus i days leave for each sunday at sea. they were great days but what a difference when we got through the strike ,a 44 hour week, mostly that meant that those men that couldn't before, could now afford at trip ashore and a good time. full employment for 50,000 seamen in the merchant navy. I would do it all again , the comradeship ,the feeling of being proud to be a seaman , those were the days my friends we thought they would never end.
 

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joined Port Wellington 1966 given cup knife and fork and I think condensed milk , an old metal bunk and a 56 hour week plus i days leave for each sunday at sea. they were great days but what a difference when we got through the strike ,a 44 hour week, mostly that meant that those men that couldn't before, could now afford at trip ashore and a good time. full employment for 50,000 seamen in the merchant navy. I would do it all again , the comradeship ,the feeling of being proud to be a seaman , those were the days my friends we thought they would never end.
Remember it well 56hr week for £10 a month, board of trade rations,I shipped out April 1954 two weeks before my16th birthday on a Savages coaster 4on 4 off stuck it 3weeks then shipped out on a B.P. Tanker as deckboy lousy food and bloody awful accommodation freezing in the cold weather and sweating like a pig chipping the rust up the perishing gulf,finished in 1969 on £76 a month 44hr week,but still a dreamer with rose tinted glasses who would do it all again.
 

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I went to sea in 1948, apprentice at something over 6 pounds per month, left in 1962 as Mate with Master's Certificate. They were good years but I think that I did the right thing when I left the sea.
 

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I went to sea in 1958 as a deck boy in Blue Funnel. my working day commenced at 06.00 and finished as soon as I had managed to clear up after the crew had eaten their dinner, usually about 18.00. This was every day in the week, except Sunday when we got 3 hours off in the afternoon for dhobi etc. call it 80 hours per week for the princely sum of £3/6s/8d per week, all found.
Despite what others may say, I very definitely would not do it all again!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
good post Tom

Remember it well 56hr week for £10 a month, board of trade rations,I shipped out April 1954 two weeks before my16th birthday on a Savages coaster 4on 4 off stuck it 3weeks then shipped out on a B.P. Tanker as deckboy lousy food and bloody awful accommodation freezing in the cold weather and sweating like a pig chipping the rust up the perishing gulf,finished in 1969 on £76 a month 44hr week,but still a dreamer with rose tinted glasses who would do it all again.
good post Tom , good memories and good to talk to someone who knows, I have a mate still at sea that I sailed with back in the day,he said it's so hard to talk to shipmates who only know todays life , so go to talk to anyone from the 60's and all the stories. He said a deck boy on his ship thought a derrick was his dick. I hope the head block works. abit of humour.
 

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I went to sea in 1958 as a deck boy in Blue Funnel. my working day commenced at 06.00 and finished as soon as I had managed to clear up after the crew had eaten their dinner, usually about 18.00. This was every day in the week, except Sunday when we got 3 hours off in the afternoon for dhobi etc. call it 80 hours per week for the princely sum of £3/6s/8d per week, all found.
Despite what others may say, I very definitely would not do it all again!
Good post Pat, I remember it well, I went 6 years before you but it was the same routine. The only good thing about it was having a week in the PO's mess followed by a week on deck.
You didn't mention inspection every day except Sunday, linen change day.
Regards... Alec.
 

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I went to sea in 1958 as a deck boy in Blue Funnel. my working day commenced at 06.00 and finished as soon as I had managed to clear up after the crew had eaten their dinner, usually about 18.00. This was every day in the week, except Sunday when we got 3 hours off in the afternoon for dhobi etc. call it 80 hours per week for the princely sum of £3/6s/8d per week, all found.
Despite what others may say, I very definitely would not do it all again!
Hi Pat,

Joined P-boat in '64, official turn-to 06.00 but if you turned-to then, you were chasing your a*se for the rest of the morning, so always earlier.
Worked through to 21.30 with two hours break during the afternoon.
Some of it was overtime but catering boys overtime hourly rate would only buy you a can of Tennants lager.
I'd do it all again as long as they cut out the month each trip as crew peggy. Absolutely the most diabolical job on the effing planet.


Regards Phil
 

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Working ashore, overtime is paid at time and a half, or double time. At sea the overtime rate was a miserable pittance, less than half the hourly rate if I remember right.
My pay off after my first voyage of three months amounted to less than £25,after deductions for tax and subs. The only ssving grace was the crowd had a whip round in the shipping office for the two deck boys, and we shared an extra £12.
Regards,
Pat
 

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Joined Shell Tanker Venassa in late 1965 as a 'Fireman/Greaser.' Just caught the 7 day week as I was at sea aboard her during the strike (was an NUS member at the time.)
Did the Hemisinus and the Vitta after that with a better working week, (and more overtime.) (Smoke)
 

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Working ashore, overtime is paid at time and a half, or double time. At sea the overtime rate was a miserable pittance, less than half the hourly rate if I remember right.
My pay off after my first voyage of three months amounted to less than £25,after deductions for tax and subs. The only ssving grace was the crowd had a whip round in the shipping office for the two deck boys, and we shared an extra £12.
Regards,
Pat
By gosh Pat what a tight bunch you sailed with first trip I ended up with around forty pounds tips but then that was from the firemens mess as well and a couple of engineers as I used to take ice water down the engine room,the only one off the deck who didn't tip me was a miserable scots Canadian,I saw him years later when docking in stanlow on the Hyria he was in the shore gang,the tips were great as I had to send four pounds a month to my mum and out of ten pounds a month before stoppages I had little left pay off day.
 

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You have to remember Tom that £6 was equivalent to almost 2 weeks wages for a 'peggy", and not to be sneezed at.
Having said that, some of the deck crowd on that Achilles on that voyage, were overbearing bullies. I was punched in the face by one AB for neglecting to wipe clean the top of a bottle of HP sauce.
 

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You have to remember Tom that £6 was equivalent to almost 2 weeks wages for a 'peggy", and not to be sneezed at.
Having said that, some of the deck crowd on that Achilles on that voyage, were overbearing bullies. I was punched in the face by one AB for neglecting to wipe clean the top of a bottle of HP sauce.
Pat I am glad that Mr Greenwood back heeled me when I was interviewed by him I don't think I would have lasted in Blueys and the bullies ,I went to Aberdovey outward bound and treated the place like a holiday camp and believe me it was after 9 months at the Indefatigable so my report was not up to what Blueys deemed acceptable looking back I thank him for that tho some of the ships I sailed on were not up to Blueys standards I was soon hardened to bullying and tho one pillock of a chief engineer on my first trip deep sea smacked me in the face no one ever got away with bullying me again and being only 5'6 inches tall I I learned to take care of myself.
 

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Hi Pat,

Joined P-boat in '64, official turn-to 06.00 but if you turned-to then, you were chasing your a*se for the rest of the morning, so always earlier.
Worked through to 21.30 with two hours break during the afternoon.
Some of it was overtime but catering boys overtime hourly rate would only buy you a can of Tennants lager.
I'd do it all again as long as they cut out the month each trip as crew peggy. Absolutely the most diabolical job on the effing planet.


Regards Phil
Hi Phil,
I used to envy the catering boy on that Achilles, a Wallasey lad named Colin Harald, because he was able to get his head down for a couple of hours in the afternoon, while I had to turn to on deck at 13.00 and work all afternoon at some make-work task like polishing the ship's bell on the focsle, with a wad of cotton waste and a bottle of Roses Lime Juice. Then when 16.00 came, I had to go to the messroom and prepare for crew's dinner.
I hated that job with a passion and I still dont know why I came back for more. Pure stubborn pig-headedness I suppose.(Thumb)
 

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Those first couple of years I kind of liked the travelling, and the sunshine, and the foreign ports and so on, (you come from an industrial town in the West Midlands, Cleethorpes is somewhere exotic … :eek:) but there's no doubt that most of it was sheer drudgery. It took me a while to figure out that if you're going to work at sea, you need to be a doing a job you enjoy.

So I looked around the ship, and saw the sparks, (a very rare thing on a midships accommodation tanker in those days.) As far as I could tell, he worked about 10 minutes a day, for super money. (Believe me I learned this was a poor assessment in later years. (EEK))

So that's where I set my sights.

There's an old saying: "You learn far more from your f**k ups than ever you do from your successes." I learned. :sweat:

(It's mostly said in jest fellow keybashers …. MOSTLY.) (Jester)
 

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When I left school in 1966, I wanted and had the qualifications to join P&O as a navigating cadet. My memory might be a bit corroded now but if I remember right you had to buy books and uniforms including a set of whites and this came to around £200 in those days. The salary was £204 per year. My dad just could not afford the £200 for books and uniforms so it never happened.
Sometimes things work out for the best as in 1977 I got into the oil business which was quite new then and as I progressed over the years from taking X rays and Ultrasonic inspection to being a Company Rep on all sorts of vessels such as Diving vessels ,Pipelay ,Rockdump ,Construction , Heavy Lift crane vessels etc etc . So eventually my wish to be at sea came in a round about way.
Over the 35 years I ‘m sure I earned lots more money than if I had started at sea as was my wish at 16 years old and as a bonus I usually got the owners cabin as the Company Rep although in the early days it was 8 man cabins with a shower and toilet in the middle.
Happy days as it turned out and still managed to visit and work in many different countries.
 

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Those first couple of years I kind of liked the travelling, and the sunshine, and the foreign ports and so on, (you come from an industrial town in the West Midlands, Cleethorpes is somewhere exotic … :eek:) but there's no doubt that most of it was sheer drudgery. It took me a while to figure out that if you're going to work at sea, you need to be a doing a job you enjoy.

So I looked around the ship, and saw the sparks, (a very rare thing on a midships accommodation tanker in those days.) As far as I could tell, he worked about 10 minutes a day, for super money. (Believe me I learned this was a poor assessment in later years. (EEK))

So that's where I set my sights.


There's an old saying: "You learn far more from your f**k ups than ever you do from your successes." I learned. :sweat:

(It's mostly said in jest fellow keybashers …. MOSTLY.) (Jester)
You could always identify the sparks. He was the 'Go to' man for books and magazines, his desk had heel marks on it, and he was always first man down the gangway on arrival at any port.
(Jester)
 

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I was an Engineer and it was always 56hrs because you were always on watch.
Even when unmanned engine rooms came along you were still Duty Engineer, on the bells, for at least two nights per week in addition to daywork, I suppose you might get a half day at the weekend if you were not on the bells.
On my last ship, before retirement, the Engineers still worked 56 hrs per week.
 
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