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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
Bristol City Lines, or Charley Hills as the locals affectionately called the company, which had evolved originally from chartering vessels to owning and building. An interesting glimpse of the company is contained in a book by one of the family, “Ship shape and Bristol fashion“, the inscription put on new vessels built at their Albion yard. The modern fleet were Sulzer engine Motor ships, built at Burntisland, which lasted until the demise of many excellent companies, about 1965/70.I was interested to know how many remember the modern lines of the motor ships of that period, running from the U.K. to the Easton seaboard during the winter., Then during the summer up the St. Lawrence river to Montreal, then on up the lakes, to serve many American and Canadian ports. Sadly most have now gone but some out there must have some good memories of the fog and ice on the Grand Banks, or the unbelievable seas on the North Atlantic winter runs.-----or the wonder of the thousand islands and some the great places west of Montreal. Good memories or is it only me getting on a bit.
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Hello AJ, You are not getting old you are just mellowing. I sailed on Charley Hills ships for a number of months,three trips on the Bristol City,first one in November 1949,then two more trips in June of 1951. Then I sailed on Fyffes and Donaldson's for awhile then I did four trips on the Montreal City December 1952 until June of 1953. We called them Charley Hills submarines in the winter time,we submerged leaving the dock gates at Avonmouth and surfaced a few miles off of the coast of the USA or Canada. Even today I am still in touch with some of the members of the crew.Shipshape and Bristol Fashion,or Bristol Born,Bristol Bred,strong in the arm, but weak in the head.

John.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi! John, You must have sailed on the Montreal (2) Canadian built 3cyl. She was built as the FAIRMOUNT PARK and renamed. She sailed with B.C.L.1946-59 I have a photo of her leaving Avonmouth,I was on the ship that took her name. Regards AJM.
 

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Yes thats the ship I sailed on,happy ship with a great crew,they never seemed to leave her,I guess it was the voyage and being home every six weeks.

John.
 

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i joined halifax city just of the stocks at burntisland shipyard in 1964 and spent a good year on her going up the lakes from montreal to chicago and all ports in betweenl then back over to swansea then avonmouth for a spot of leave agood company to work for
 

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Discussion Starter #6
i joined halifax city just of the stocks at burntisland shipyard in 1964 and spent a good year on her going up the lakes from montreal to chicago and all ports in betweenl then back over to swansea then avonmouth for a spot of leave agood company to work for
Hi! yes I agree with all you have said, skipper was Stoodley great man,or E. Irish,great team all round bosun I think was Johnny Greatch. Great pity to see that shipyard go.I still have some photo`s of some electricial engineers from the yard. regards, AJM.
 

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Hi! yes I agree with all you have said, skipper was Stoodley great man,or E. Irish,great team all round bosun I think was Johnny Greatch. Great pity to see that shipyard go.I still have some photo`s of some electricial engineers from the yard. regards, AJM.
Mr McMahon:
The first post at the beginning of your thread was modified by me as the font used on the first sentence was outrageously large.
Your last post has font so small that many of our members may not be able to decipher what's posted.
We have many members, like myself, who are at, or beyond, the age of retirement. Our vision often leaves something to be desired.
PLEASE follow normal practice and use font appropriate to our site.
Thanks,
Bruce Carson,
Spectacled Moderator
 

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Johnny the Bosun and I were very good friends, I heard he was found murdered in a seamans mission up North,we were on the Montreal City together.

John.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi! Bruce, I Really am Most greatful for you modifiying my initial thread, in fact I was pondering how to contact to express my gratitude thankfully you have come to me maybe not for the ideal reason, however I am greatfull.The trouble is unlike my mother I am not a touch typest so to put it frankly it is easier to work on the lathe than the keyboard,but bless you have patience I`ll get there. Kind regards AJM.
Mr McMahon:
The first post at the beginning of your thread was modified by me as the font used on the first sentence was outrageously large.
Your last post has font so small that many of our members may not be able to decipher what's posted.
We have many members, like myself, who are at, or beyond, the age of retirement. Our vision often leaves something to be desired.
PLEASE follow normal practice and use font appropriate to our site.
Thanks,
Bruce Carson,
Spectacled Moderator
 

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Hi! yes I agree with all you have said, skipper was Stoodley great man,or E. Irish,great team all round bosun I think was Johnny Greatch. Great pity to see that shipyard go.I still have some photo`s of some electricial engineers from the yard. regards, AJM.
I was Marine Superintendent for Clarke Steamship, agents for BCL in Eastern Canada in 69-71. Remember Eddie Irish well, what a great gentleman. had many a good time aboard and as our guest at home with him and his crew.
At that time Les Stoodley was was shore superintendent for BCL. He and I flew in a chartered Piper Aztech from Toronto to Searsport ME and Saint John NB. to handle the loading of the Toronto City during the US Longshoremens strike which just happened to coincide with an Air Canada strike. Got snowbound in Searsport and the liquor store was closed so persuaded the pilot to get a taxi out to the plane to get the complimentary bar off the Aztech. Fortunately Les Stoodley did not drink so that left enough for the pilot and I. Result was delayed departure as pilot needed 12 hours between bottle to throttle. Fellow traveller, a member of PB not too impressed.

Oh Happy days!
 

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Halifax City

i joined halifax city just of the stocks at burntisland shipyard in 1964 and spent a good year on her going up the lakes from montreal to chicago and all ports in betweenl then back over to swansea then avonmouth for a spot of leave agood company to work for
Hello Ian,

I think we must have sailed together on the "Halifax City". I joined her on November 23 1964 and did two trips as 2nd Mate until March 10 1965, when I was transferred to the "New York City" as Mate. I'm sorry but your name doesn't ring a bell after all those years - perhaps you can jog my memory a bit!
Stoodley was Master; I think the Mate was Norman Childs, and the 3rd. Mate Phil Hickling. We had Christmas 1964 at sea, homeward bound.

Charlie Hills was a great company to work for, and the Marine Superintendent Capt. King was a man for whom any of us would do anything he asked. Certainly the best of 22 years at sea.

Sincerely,

Anthony [Jo] Johansen.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Oh Happy days!
Hi Keltic Star !
We must have met I’m sure, in the mates cabin just prior to lunch to discuss ships matters. Eric Mace, Dave Simpson, Jo Jo, Don Watchorn to name a few. It says something when some 40--50, Deck, Engine ,Purser’s including two Hill’s directors of B.C.L. had a reunion recently can’t say a knee’s up the Zimmer would get in the way, can’t say a -iss up - we are all far too mature and much wiser. It was good however to see one another, dare I say a blessing at some of our ages and we would sail again given the opportunity - and the rolling back of the years. I sailed with B.C.L. for best part of 10 years. Some of the chief’s I recall are, Bert Rapson, Jeff Lewis, Ron Larkham, Ian Baker. Some of them had endured WW2, yet they were still on the N.Atlantic run with a sense of humour. I know I have missed out many, not that any are forgotten.They were great feeders with a good crew all round, crew changes each voyage was minimal which is indicative of a good ship the whole ethos of the company was excellent - the point which you brought out in your thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
i joined halifax city just of the stocks at burntisland shipyard in 1964 and spent a good year on her going up the lakes from montreal to chicago and all ports in betweenl then back over to swansea then avonmouth for a spot of leave agood company to work for
Ian, I would have posted these photo's sooner, (post #5) if I could have found them.However I am sure it will bring back afew memories of that "Great" shipyard at Burntisland
A good crowd up there,a sad day to see that yard close. There cannot be a great deal of work in that area now, since the Alcan works closed, I guess all heavy engineering has gone now?
 

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Great thread. I served my time 1960-63 on BRISTOL CITY & GLOUCESTER CITY. sailed with masters: Steaming Jim Ramsey, Freddie Neil, Eddy Irish, mates: Davie Braid, Norman Childs, Tony Couch, Bill Coombes, 2nd mates: Alan Winter, Tony Johansen, Pete Wright (met him in Long Beach when I needed a surveyor about 12 years ago), 3rd mates: Alan Pound, Laurie Judd, Denis Williams (still meet him today), chiefs: Benny Winspear & Mr. "Old" Crowe, second: George Clark, sparks; Marty Brett, bosuns: Dorrington, Squires, Snudge & Johnny Gretch, ABs: Jack Treseder, Lofty Crapp, Bill Sharman, gays: Trixie, Stella & Charlie. Other apprentices were Alfie Davies, Tim Groves, Sid Clements, Noakes, Phil Burrow. I used to live in the same street as Ossie Watson. Johnnie Eames, Reg Keepings, Tudor Phillips. I can still picture other faces but their names are lost. I also sailed with Jack George, master of BRISTOL QUEEN who sailed with BCL just to get seatime for masters FG - otherwise the rest of his life was spent with Campbells.

Charlie Hills was a good outfit & I beleive there was a claim that they had been longer trading continuously than any other UK shipping organisation as the claimant to being the oldest shipping company had laid all their ships up during the depression. Don't know how true that was.

When & where is the next Bristol City Banquet - I'll put my name down!

Tony
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Good to see a few Ex B.C.L. people popping in. I may have just missed you in B.C.L. as I was Standing-by the Montreal City @ Burntisland, went up there end of Aug 62 then sailed late Jan 63. then a year later went up again to St-by the Halifax City. I shall post some of the names I recall from both the motor and steam ships Deck Off;------Jim Campbell, Jim Ramsey, Freddie Neil, Eddy Irish, Les Studley, Eric Mace, Archie Ashton, Mike Winter, Dennis Williams, Roy Griffiths, Keith Miller, Mike Pain, Derrick Flowers, Bernie Champion, Tim Groves, --Noakes, Tony Hursey, Don Watchorn, Pete Doble, Dave Simpson, Jeff Chawner, Tony Johansen, Tony Couch, Cris Thomas, Tony Payne, Phill Barling, Peter Bowditch and Peter Wright, who incidentally has published a book titled "A Drop Of The Hard Stuff". I am awaiting my copy at this time.-----------Engineering Off;--- Bill Crowe, Bert Rapson, Jeff Lewis, Ron Larcombe, Ian Baker, Malcombe Rudwick, Morley Walters, Ken Williams, Gordon Bubbear, Aggie---? Headley Northover, Howard Davies, Alan Paterson, Graham Rees, Don Peacock, Rodger Chicken, Marshall Butler, Bob Horte, Ian Dunford, Bob Channon, Dave Maddy, Brian Kenny, Dave Linton, Jim Kennedy, Jim Mair, Henry Grerson, Pat Goley, Tony Scott, Theo Trigg, Michael Hill (sailed supernumerary for one voyage to gain experience,we showed him Jo Beef's in Montreal) Others on the team were ; Alf Hammer, Jas Brain, Tudor Phillips, John Wright, Tommy Porter,Harry Higgins, Roy Clark, Alan Clark, Chris Watts, Alec Grant ( shipwright who stoodby construction) Mary Gregorie, Ossie Watson, Capt. King. I'm sure there are many more I can picture faces but I cannot recall the names.
 

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Bcl

Tenakwe from the shaky isles.I did a few trips on the Toronto city around 1964. Great ship and great crew.We took a real hiding one WNA and coming into Avonmouth The boss himself came down to the ship and gave us a well done. My shipmates were Tony Ashton Chief cook, Roy Clark,,Chief steward,Jack Thomas 2nd steward, Bill Young Asst steward, Mr Kooch (Koochy) chief off, Triggy engineer, Treseder deck. Taught the chippy to play chess. Check out allatsea web for picture of Toronto city up the lakes somewhere. Regards Ronnie Grant second crook and bricklayer.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hi ! J G, Greetings from a wet and windy U.K. I don't know about you being the shaky isles, I would say that is more in keeping with this country,with the present crowd of cowboys who are running the show. I was of the opinion that the Scots were canny with money,the man in charge of the cash for the past ten years, ran far too close to the wind,we are just about to turn over.Saw and spoke to Roy Clark few months ago, speak to Triggy every few months and see him at our engineering reunion's. Tony Couch is still going strong at last count, some months ago. The Boss he went "home" about five months ago. Sure they were good ships with great crews, good runs, in summer, winter north Atlantic can be very tiring on a rough crossing as you know.Were you the 2nd cook on the Toronto City. I could not find the website you mentioned. Best Regards AJM.
 

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Bcl - 1966/69

I served 'my time' on the BCL ships 66-69 but only on the steamers. New York City first, and then when she was sold, the Bristol City. Many happy memories!
 

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Good to see a few Ex B.C.L. people popping in. I may have just missed you in B.C.L. as I was Standing-by the Montreal City @ Burntisland, went up there end of Aug 62 then sailed late Jan 63. then a year later went up again to St-by the Halifax City. I shall post some of the names I recall from both the motor and steam ships Deck Off;------Jim Campbell, Jim Ramsey, Freddie Neil, Eddy Irish, Les Studley, Eric Mace, Archie Ashton, Mike Winter, Dennis Williams, Roy Griffiths, Keith Miller, Mike Pain, Derrick Flowers, Bernie Champion, Tim Groves, --Noakes, Tony Hursey, Don Watchorn, Pete Doble, Dave Simpson, Jeff Chawner, Tony Johansen, Tony Couch, Cris Thomas, Tony Payne, Phill Barling, Peter Bowditch and Peter Wright, who incidentally has published a book titled "A Drop Of The Hard Stuff". I am awaiting my copy at this time.-----------Engineering Off;--- Bill Crowe, Bert Rapson, Jeff Lewis, Ron Larcombe, Ian Baker, Malcombe Rudwick, Morley Walters, Ken Williams, Gordon Bubbear, Aggie---? Headley Northover, Howard Davies, Alan Paterson, Graham Rees, Don Peacock, Rodger Chicken, Marshall Butler, Bob Horte, Ian Dunford, Bob Channon, Dave Maddy, Brian Kenny, Dave Linton, Jim Kennedy, Jim Mair, Henry Grerson, Pat Goley, Tony Scott, Theo Trigg, Michael Hill (sailed supernumerary for one voyage to gain experience,we showed him Jo Beef's in Montreal) Others on the team were ; Alf Hammer, Jas Brain, Tudor Phillips, John Wright, Tommy Porter,Harry Higgins, Roy Clark, Alan Clark, Chris Watts, Alec Grant ( shipwright who stoodby construction) Mary Gregorie, Ossie Watson, Capt. King. I'm sure there are many more I can picture faces but I cannot recall the names.
Hi all
Feel a bit of a stranger here as a Bibby Line man but had to join in as I recall many of the names mentioned.
I commenced my career on Coventry City which was operated by Bibby Line as a partner to BCl. The crew were all Bristol men and the Officers were all Bibby Line. Some great trips with wonderful scenary, horrendous North Atlantic weather, Ice fog etc. this was in 1967.
Later on BCL became part of the "Dart Container Consortium". Bibby bought out BCL to increase their share of the consortium. Because the R/O's were MIMCO they chose to leave the ships and so I was probably the first Bibby Line Officer to sail on the container ships. The two ships Dart Atlantic and Dart America were mostly BCL men (although there were a number of Southampton Men, mostly on the catering side). Looking at the list above.
I sailed with Archy Ashton, Norman Childs and Mike Winter as Masters. Also Mike Payne as C/O. Kenny Williams as C/E, "Aggie" as 3/E, also Chris Thomas.
Good voyages with a good bunch of blokes.
Alan
 

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I joined the Dart America just as it was bought by CY Tung, those ships were hard worked across the pond, Capt Winters and Kenny Williams were on there for that trip.

It was a busy run, Southampton, LeHarve,Halifax, NewYork, Baltimore, Norfolk, Southampton, Antwerp, Hamburg, Antwerp, Southampton. 28 days round trip.

Summer and winter not that there was much differance once the UK had been left, just more fog in the spring, summer and autumn with icebergs in the spring and summer.
 
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