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I have recently reactivated this site and would like to hear from any ex Bank Line folk from the late 60's or 70's living in New Zealand. I served on Inver, Teviot and Mara Bank and keep up a long and abiding love of all things nautical.
 

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Bank Line!

A bit earlier, I think. 1956 until 1967. Ettrickbank and Inchanga as an apprentice then Laganbank, Cedarbank, Streambank and Laganbank again before movimg on to ferries.
Andy Lavies
 

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A bit earlier, I think. 1956 until 1967. Ettrickbank and Inchanga as an apprentice then Laganbank, Cedarbank, Streambank and Laganbank again before movimg on to ferries.
Andy Lavies
Andy ,when were you on Ettrickbank,I was 2/0on her 15/12/59--19/12/61and 2 years on Isipingo 57-59,moved on to ferrier (ASN)66

JIM (peloris)
 

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Hi Donald, welcome back to the site. I was with Bank Line for 15 very informative Years. Served on Laurel, Dart, Fir, Hazel, Rowan, Test, Mara, Spey, Olive, Forres, Hazel (again), and finally Shirra. Whew, what a roll call. All this between 1964 and 1980, and I'd do it all again tomorrow, (sigh)...................cheers...........pete
 

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Hi Peter

I was first trip cadet on Shirrabank Jan 1970-Nov 1970 with Capt Ossie Brown who became commodore whilst we were in BA. Transferred to Marabank in Durban let 2 apprentices go for ticket then went West Coast of S.America doing tallying.

Regards Andy Huber
 

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Hi Donald
Hers another one. 1970-1978, Apprentice to Second Mate. Laurel,Holly,Forres,Weir,Pine,Holly,Forth,Avon,Erne,Rowan.
Hard work never killed anyone. I'd do it again. I look back on it now with envy, from my current desk in a high street office.
Good luck,
Paul Bingley.
 

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Hello - From Oct 1966 to Mar 1967 I was R/O on the Speybank. As the captain was Commodore Holbrook, she was regarded as the flag ship. The new crew gathered at Andrew Weir Ltd's London office and then travelled out to Hamburg to join her (train to Harwich/ferryboat to Hook of Holland/train to Hamburg). We sailed first to Gravesend and then went out to Darwin, various ports in New Guinea, Honiara, Guadalcanal, etc, etc. Great memories, e.g. a pause as we passed Thursday Island so that a book exchange could take place with the radio station there.
 

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Ray,
Did exactly the same including joining from London via the Hook to Hamburg on Dartbank early 1963. Went rapidly downhill after Papua New Guinea!
Regards,
Les
 

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Hi Les,
Thanks for the response. I recall that, as we called at the little ports on the north coast of New Guinea (Lae and Wewak spring to mind), the captain made use of a store of iron knives he had brought along for bartering purposes. Was that typical?
You may be interested to know that Lae is now rated as a city, and one street has been named "Speybank Street".
Regards, Ray
 

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When I was on the South Pacific Run we would normally call at Port Moresby, Samarai, Lae, Madang Wewak, Sukarnopura (Occasionally) Rabaul, Kavieng, Honiara, Yandina, Port Vila and then off to drift in off Nauru or Ocean Island waiting for Guano (Phosphate or Bird S**t as you wish) Made for a very interesting Cargo Plan, luckily stowage was done, in the main, by London Office. Happy times including doing our own Tallying..............................pete
 

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G'day Pete, It's funny how a person can remember all the ports of your first trip to sea. We joined the Laurel in Billingham in March '65 discharging some kind of sulphate then off round Europe, London and completing in Genoa. I think you joined in London when the Irish 3rd Mate went crazy when he found out that 2 year articles really meant that with Bank Line. Then we were off for exotic ports of the tropics via the Suez Canal and Aden, for bunkers. The first stop was at Thursday Island to pick up the Torres Strait pilot, this was very exciting fir a 17 year old who a couple of years before had read the book "A Passage of Islands" then it was on down your list of ports but instead of Nauru we went to Townsville, Mackay, Brisbane and Newcastle to complete discharging by the middle or end of July. The rest of the world called us for the next 10 or 11 months making my first sea voyage so 15 months long - the longest I had been away from my home.
I have one question Pete, you mention "Sukarnapura" which was just over the boarder in West Irian but that was a new name for an old port and I believe that original name may have been restored, WHAT was the original name of Sukarnapura - the name that appeared on the cargo plans? Just as another query, you mentioned Port Vila but I am sure that this wasn't the original name of this port - was it called something else in 1965. You missed out Kieta on Bougainville from your list of ports for the South Pacific run.

Pete do you know what happened to the 2nd Mate, John East, I never heard about him after that trip – he was promoted to Mate after the little problem in Chalna.

John S
 

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One thing I learned fairly quickly on my first B/L ship was that Bank Line men were allowed to criticise the Company outsiders weren't. Our senior apprentice was extremely proud of being a Bank Line Apprentice and looked with disdain on any other company in the "tramp" trade around India and Africa, especially BI, Clan and "City" who's trainees were "Cadets" or so I was told and Cadets were no better than deck boys and knew less, according to Chris - 1965. While at the Mombassa mission one evening having a quite beer several BI cadets from the "Chantala" appeared and made some comment that Chris took exception to so on poor lad wound up in the pool in his white uniform. That meant we had many very angry BI cadets on the lookout for three "ruffian" Bank Line apprentices for about 4 days until the "Chantala" sailed and we could come out of hiding, Chris never did learn not to attack the "enemy" when they were at their strongest a similar thing happened at the Swimming Club in Calcutta several months later to another BI cadet who had slighted the Bank Line name in Chris's eyes. Apart from casting aspersions on the Bank Line name by non Bank Line personnel nothing seemed to upset Chris so he wasn't a thug looking for trouble he was just a Bank Line "appy" who was very proud of "his" company, I inherited that pride and it has got me into some trouble over the years but up to now very little violence. Every shipping company has it's knockers but most of them either didn't sail with the company and are going on hearsay or they weren’t prepared take what they signed on for and probably spent the whole voyage whining about anything and everything, then spent the rest of their lives blaming the conditions for their own inadequacies, unlike MEN like Pete who signed on and stayed the distance and then some. Bank Line gave “Loyalty” to its employees and received company loyalty back in return

John S
 

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Hi Donald
Hers another one. 1970-1978, Apprentice to Second Mate. Laurel,Holly,Forres,Weir,Pine,Holly,Forth,Avon,Erne,Rowan.
Hard work never killed anyone. I'd do it again. I look back on it now with envy, from my current desk in a high street office.
Good luck,
Paul Bingley.
Hello Paul - I think I sailed with you - In fact I think I have some photographs of you

Richard Collinson
 

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Pete and The Captain,

Going slighty off the main thread....
But with your vast 'Bank Line' experience, you must have done
the far east run in the early 1970's?

I had to chance to do it on the 'Shirrabank' but didn't, and
regret it to this day!

I've got a post in the 'Bank Line' forum 1st April 2008 seeking
more info from those who did the run, and maybe you missed it?

Regards,

Jim.


And to the eagle eyed Moderator who's watching over me....
Is this a wrong posting, and should I be sending Pete and
The Captain PM's instead?
Thanks,
Jim.
 

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John. thanks for the compliment but I was just this Guy doing a job as best I could. Yeah.we all suffered bad times and bad Master's but generally speaking it wasn't a bad profession if you like the nomadic lifestyle. As they always say " You shouldn't have joined if you can't take a joke". Have a drink on me mate (Pint) (Pint) (Pint).................pete
 

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Jim, I hope someone gives you an answer and I see nothing wrong with asking where you're likely to get a proper answer.

Being a Marconi man I found Bankline just one big happy family. When I think of the four trips I did with them it invariably brings a tear to the eye remembering the good times. Also when with them it tended to be Bankline first last and always and who the hell are Marconi.[=P]
And Pete's comment "You shouldn't have joined if you can't take a joke" was a philosophy that stood me in good stead with other companies.

Kris (Jester)
 

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Sorry Jim I never did the Africa Far East run. I did load around Thailand, Singapore, Burma and Malaya once for West Africa and I wound in Japan a few times with Sugar both from Australia and South Africa. I loaded rice in Shanghai for West Africa but I had to wait until 1986 to get to Hong Kong and that was on a bulk carrier. So I can't help you with the Far East Run, the India Africa or the Copra runs are a different kettle of fish.

Thanks for the drink Pete.

John S
 

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No one seems to have answered 'The Captain's' query about the earlier name of Sukarnapura so I just did a quick search of Google. I think the name you are interested in may be Hollandia.

I am reading messages avidly even when I am not involved, so thanks to everyone who bothers to correspond. Many memories are being dredged up.
 
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