Mac, I don't have a photograph at this stage but do have some background information for you. Bidford Priory (and sister ship Brandon Priory), 36,000 tdw steam turbine tankers, both built in 1960 the former built for at Cammell Laird and the latter at Hawthorn Leslie. They were built when BP were seeking finance for their new-building program and one method was to float jointly owned companies such as Warwick Tankers. The funnel markings with the “BP Shield" super-imposed on the Maltese Cross was a clear indication of their joint ownership. Both ships spend their entire lives chartered to BP and were sold for scrap in 1975 following the Yom Kippur War, that saw interest in such vessel drastically reduced.
Good looking vessel with well appointed accommodation for that era of build. However the engine room was hot in the tropics and even hotter up the Gulf! Not very well laid out, with turbine main platform on one level and boilers on the next level up. Had lots of problems with machinery and carried additional 3rd and 4th engineers to try and keep up with the work/maintenance load. I understand the Brandon Priory (sister ship) was even worse with more engineers onboard, although never sailed on that one.
My first trip was on the Brandon Priory as Junior Engineer, what an eye opener. When soot blowing you had to have a rag in front of you to check for steam leaks that would certainly have caused some pain. Hard work but good fun.
i sailed on that tub If i wasnt for the great crew ide have commited hari cari The engineering officers salt of the earth,A LOWERY CHIEF ENG probably saved my life when my overalls got caught in taco shaft.GEORGE CHALMERS 2ND ENG,DAVE WHEELAN 3rdeng.RON PENNYCOOK 4th FRED DIFFY EX 3rd,IAN HARDIE EX 4th eng tony yates grocer(perser)
I was extremely interested to read your post Brian. I sailed mostly on the Brandon and Bidford between 1961 and 1967. I served my time with Alan Lowery who was a great friend of mine and my first junior when I was promoted to fourth enginer. Dave Wheelen may well be the same Dave Wheelen who was a Alan Lowery's junior when Alan and I were both thirds.
You will probably guess where my name on this site comes from.
I had a great pall who was 2nd Eng on the Bidford Priory or Brandon Prory he was William (Bill) Wood who sadly passed away some years ago.The outline of that fine looking tanker is etched on his headstone in Newbrugh Churchyard Aberdeenshire.
I knew "Willie" Wood well and sailed with him often. He was junior second when I first met him on the Bidford just before Christmas in 1961. I was the only Junior on board at that time on the 12 to 4 with a Duncan Batgate from Edniburgh.
Willie Wood, as he was known to his shipmates, was a salt of the earth man who was very well liked and respected by everyone who knew him. A quiet and steady a man as i have ever known.
He was one of the engineers who was involved in a change over to running on the LP turbine after the HP thrust failed on th Brandon Priory in the Red Sea in the summer under chief engineer Rory Mcdonald, senior second engineer Ellis mason and third engineer Ali Scurr. Not a pleasant experience.
I am extremely sorry to hear of his death. Thank you for letting me know.
I passed on your kind remarks to Willie's widow, Betty , tonight and she was most grateful and asked me to pass on her thanks. Willie spent some time on the Uncle John after leaving the Brandon Priory - he was an excellent engineer of the old school. Sad he passed away so soon after retiral.
I passed on your kind remarks to Willie's widow, Betty , tonight and she was most grateful and asked me to pass on her thanks.
How kind of you, JC. I appreciate that. I never met Betty, but I know that Willie was quite upset shortly after their marriage to have to leave her at home while he returned to commence another trip at sea. I was told this by a third called Ali Scurr who sailed with Willie shortly before I joined the MN.
I was more fortunate as, with changing times, i was allowed to take my wife Nora to sea with me shortly after we were married.
Betty has my deepest sympathies, as she has lost a very nice husband.
Hello again John Campbell and a good evening to you.
After our recent conversation, I contacted Albert Scurr (Ali) who also sailed with Willie Wood and informed him of the loss of our much respected and highly thought of Shipmate, Willie Wood. He was very sad to hear of Willie's death and sends his condolences to Betty.
Ali was with Willie on the Brandon Priory's maiden voyage when she ran the HP turbine thrust in the red sea and was rigged to run on the LP turbine only. Betty may well remember this.
I have contacted Betty and she was pleased to get your news about Ali and yourself. She remembers Willie speaking about the problems on the B.P.
She has passed on the whole thread, which I printed out for her, and passed it to her daughter and granchildren who were delighted to know something more about Willie. She says thanks for your kind condolences
I knew him because Betty was my wife's best friend having worked together in the same office. Being both at sea we met infrequently until I came ashore to work in the North Sea and Willie came to work on the Uncle John. He was a great Houlders Man and always attended the reunions. He had a good shoreside job a couple of years before retirement where he got to use his skills as a marine engineer. Sadly he passed away after a long illness with cancer of the pancreas. He is still sadly missed by us all.
I remember meeting Willie by sheer chance one morning on the jetty at Sitra, Bahrain he coming back from having a tooth out at the Dentist and going back to the B.P.at anchor and me on the way to the Agents. A great surprise for us both.