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This may prove to be another of my 'lead balloons', but nothing ventured nothing gained.

While researching my father's side of the family I ran across a great uncle of mine who at the age of seventeen had been sent off to sea, c.1896, on the Devitt & Moore Training ship 'Tamar'.This was about twenty years before that ship owning company set up a shore based school, the N.C.P., near the village of Pangbourne in Berkshire to train cadets for service on their fleet of sailing ships in the Australian trade.

From what I have discovered, the 'Tamar' carried between six and eight midshipmen with their own servant, no less, and a slightly larger number of apprentices. My uncle was from a quite well of family and so I am sure they had no trouble paying a hefty premium to have the company take their son off their hands for a few years. The intention seemed to have been to have the boys rounded off/ toughened up, and not trained for a life at sea like the apprentices.

Was this system practised by other companies in those days? Does anyone know?

Nick
 

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This may prove to be another of my 'lead balloons', but nothing ventured nothing gained.

While researching my father's side of the family I ran across a great uncle of mine who at the age of seventeen had been sent off to sea, c.1896, on the Devitt & Moore Training ship 'Tamar'.This was about twenty years before that ship owning company set up a shore based school, the N.C.P., near the village of Pangbourne in Berkshire to train cadets for service on their fleet of sailing ships in the Australian trade.

From what I have discovered, the 'Tamar' carried between six and eight midshipmen with their own servant, no less, and a slightly larger number of apprentices. My uncle was from a quite well of family and so I am sure they had no trouble paying a hefty premium to have the company take their son off their hands for a few years. The intention seemed to have been to have the boys rounded off/ toughened up, and not trained for a life at sea like the apprentices.

Was this system practised by other companies in those days? Does anyone know?

Nick
Hi, I can’t answer your question, but it does bring to mind the saying that Gentlemen joined the RN to become officers.
In the MN officers were attempting to become gentlemen.
Davie
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Likewise, 'the gentlemen of the P&O, the officers of the BI and the men of the Merchant Navy

Or, the R.N - Gentlemen pretending to be sailors, the M.N.- Sailors pretending to be gentlemen and the RNVR - Neither trying to be both'.

Nick

P.S. As a product of Devitt & Moore's Nautical College, Pangbourne, c.1948, I don't think we ever measured up to the tougher breed out of the 'Worcester' and 'Conway', when we got to sea. All our instructors were RN, either ex officers or P.Os and really did not have a clue about what life was going to be like for us in the M.N. In my case I was very pleasantly surprised. N
 

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#3

Nick, are you sure that that is right?

My own experience tells me that, in human qualities, mariners are far more honest than most others; and are only too well aware that no pretence can be sustained for long. Similarly, life at sea makes it only too bleedin' obvious, and very quickly, whether or not a sailor is a gentleman. The two things are very different but they are far from being mutually exclusive. A man can be either or neither or both, as his shipmates will judge him.

As to the original question of temporary cadets (most of whom were paid nominally at a shilling a month or some other nominal sum and who had no intention of following a career at sea) I have known a great many in my own lifetime, but I cannot speak for any system operating at the time which you mention. Blue Flue, Glen Line, Port Line, T&J Harrison are but four companies known to me which occasionally carried such cadets in the late 1950s and 1960s.

Another who comes to mind is Eric Newby, whose account of life in Scandinavian square-rig sail as an apprentice in 1938-39 (without any intention of serving any longer) is amongst the most valuable of all maritime accounts: Quote:

Third Mate - Ve are bound for Port Veek (Port Victoria, South Australia). You haven't seen fock notting till you've been to Port Veek!

Newby - Why? What's there?

Third Mate - Fock notting!
 

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This thread reminds me also of the delightful Para Handy Tales of Neil Munro - and the occasion when,

A wealthy chentleman, ye ken, had a son who had a mind to go to sea. Seeking to dissuade the young skelp by showin' him chust how hard was the life, he approached our friend Captain Macfarlane, Para Handy, no less.

"Forebye, I shall take him", says Para Handy, " Chust place him aboard and Dougie and me shall take care, teachin' the wee fella all he might need to know."

Whereupon the youth is delivered aboard the Vital Spark, given the most comfortable bunk in the ship, waited on hand and foot (wi' boiled eggs, ye ken); and scarcely allowed to leave his bunk. The result is that the youth finds life aboard the Vital Spark so soft and unadventurous that he is turned away forever from a life at sea.

And Para Handy is duly paid!
 

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My Uncle Henry might have be come a gentleman if he had lived a bit longer with his younger sister, my very proper grandmother. As it was he escaped to the South Seas when he was just twenty with his sailing days behind him, married Puni, his native wife, and expired in the New Hebrides at the age of 43,where he had been eaking out a living as trader.. It is little wonder I did not hear the story until fifty years after my grandmother's death. Nick
 

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None of that in any way suggests he was not a 'Gentleman'. He eked a living, and married. A cad would have lived off a remittance and lived tally.
 

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Nick,

It seems that your Uncle Henry certainly lived a better life than Noel Coward's "Poor Uncle Harry"! (Please google for the words! It is a delightful song and my own technical incompetence is the only thing which prevents me from reproducing it here.)
 

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This one was more than a gentleman.
Charles, Henry, George, Howard 20th Earl of Suffolk.
In 1923 signed on the sailing ship MOUNT STEWARD as an apprentice officer, known to his ship mates as Charlie Howard and did one round the world voyage.
The MOUNT STEWARD went to the breakes on completion of voyage.
It is worth Googling him a remakable man
I recall a BBC drama of his life The Dragon's Opponent
 

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Of all the temporary cadets/midshipmen I have ever met (in the mid/late 20th century, long after the era of which Nick speaks), none ever did have his “own servant” (as mentioned by Nick in # 1). It is true, though, that at least one instance has been cited, in the last days of commercial deep-sea square rig in the 1930s, of a personal servant in attendance at the fore-weather-shrouds with gin-and-tonic awaiting the young milord as he made his descent to the deck, having assisted in the furling of a fore-lower-topgallant. I rather think that a film-clip exists here in SN of such an incident, although the absurdity of it is rightly given little credence.

Eric Newby of Moshulu knew no such luxury. Even in the case/cases which Nick cites, forty years beforehand, my guess is that any question of the presence of a personal servant would merit further research. The instances of hardship suffered by apprentices as a general rule (including those from Conway/Worcester/Pangbourne) is far too extensive to be discredited by anything else, vulgar or otherwise. True it is that apprentices had the benefit of at least some encouragement from others (which benefit was not enjoyed by any sailor-on-deck); but I’m quite sure that any mollycoddling of any youth with any maritime potential about him (if it ever existed) was counter-productive at best (as illustrated by Para Handy (#5!).
 

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This may prove to be another of my 'lead balloons', but nothing ventured nothing gained.

While researching my father's side of the family I ran across a great uncle of mine who at the age of seventeen had been sent off to sea, c.1896, on the Devitt & Moore Training ship 'Tamar'.This was about twenty years before that ship owning company set up a shore based school, the N.C.P., near the village of Pangbourne in Berkshire to train cadets for service on their fleet of sailing ships in the Australian trade.

From what I have discovered, the 'Tamar' carried between six and eight midshipmen with their own servant, no less, and a slightly larger number of apprentices. My uncle was from a quite well of family and so I am sure they had no trouble paying a hefty premium to have the company take their son off their hands for a few years. The intention seemed to have been to have the boys rounded off/ toughened up, and not trained for a life at sea like the apprentices.

Was this system practised by other companies in those days? Does anyone know?

Nick
Seems a fair bit of mis-information about Devitt and Moores later years....

As I understand it ....

My Uncle Len was at sea on a Devitt and Moore ship at the start of WW1...ship ended up laid up in Vancouver.... crew sent home... Uncle Len ended up as Middy in the RN... was on HMS Canada at surrender of Grand Fleet....

So what he told me ( and what I recall reading elswhere ) was that at that time D & M was used to train cadets from the better steamship companies in square rig.....

All ships gone by 1918....
 

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Found this on theshipslist

'In 1890 the company formed an ocean training scheme to prepare cadets as officers and "Devitt and Moore's Ocean Training Ships Ltd," was formed in 1909. The Nautical College, Pangbourne was founded in 1917 but by 1931 after several years of financial losses, the company was wound up and the college registered as a non profit private company.'
 

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The intention seemed to have been to have the boys rounded off/ toughened up, and not trained for a life at sea like the apprentices.

Nick
Most companies, Liner companies included, treated their apprentices like cheap labour in the 40's and 50's (and before) and once on indentures you were the company's slave, 12 hours the norm and longer in port, no overtime payments, although some tramp companies did pay their cadets overtime, but usually apprentices (cadets) were on call after a hard days graft to do jobs where-in an owner would have to pay deck crew overtime for doing the task.

'not trained for a life at sea like the apprentices'

That line infers that apprentices had it easy and were not toughened up, and nothing could be further from the truth in reality, if you weren't tough, you didn't survive. The officers treated you like dirt, their attitude being 'we had it tough, you're having it tough' the deck crew didn't like you, as you robbed them of overtime, it was never personal on their part, just cir***stances of shipboard life. But these deck crew also taught you more than some (most) officers, teaching you knots, wire splicing, deck craft etc, and were not averse to buying you a drink ashore, because of your lousy pay (£6 per month [galley boy on £14/15 per month]). Out of that £6 leaving your mother £2 10s per month

In a lot of companies apprentices were experts in chipping, painting, bilge diving, brass cleaning, all useful attributes in becoming a navigator! in most cases you only saw the bridge on brass cleaning, holystoning duckboards, sanding-lime juicing wooden taffrails etc

Then on the 12 passenger ships 0630 start to wash down the boat and promenade decks every morning regardless of weather conditions before starting a full days work on deck.

Yup didn't get toughened up at all, but glad I did it, perhaps not at the time!!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Nick,

It seems that your Uncle Henry certainly lived a better life than Noel Coward's "Poor Uncle Harry"! (Please google for the words! It is a delightful song and my own technical incompetence is the only thing which prevents me from reproducing it here.)

Barrie,
That was one just one of the wonderful songs on an album that came out around 1957 titled 'Noel Coward in Las Vegas'. Pity I lost it along the way. It contained so many gems. Didn't play it much because every one else on the ship seemed to want to listen to Elvis or Doris . A really party pooper when I would produce it at a party down in OZ. Damned philistines!

Nick
 

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All,
In Hain's it was common practice for the Apprentices to be called to the Bridge by three blasts on the OOW's Acme Thunderer, trim vents etc, usually during dayworkers smokos, mealtimes, or if you were building "shifting boards" and sometimes out of sheer bloody mindedness - no 'phones in the Trevelyan or the Trevose.....
Yours aye,
Slick
 

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In a lot of companies apprentices were experts in chipping, painting, bilge diving, brass cleaning, all useful attributes in becoming a navigator! in most cases you only saw the bridge on brass cleaning, holystoning duckboards, sanding-lime juicing wooden taffrails etc



Yup didn't get toughened up at all, but glad I did it, perhaps not at the time!![/QUOTE]

Yes, sounds very much like a cadet's life in Bank Line under certain C.O.s
 

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I have not found a proper answer to this question.In and around the 1850's upto prior to 1890 were there schools ashore to teach navigational skills? Am particularly interested about here in the States and am well aware of skills past on by Masters onboard to Junior Officers but did anything happen ashore to qualify them?
 

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In a lot of companies apprentices were experts in chipping, painting, bilge diving, brass cleaning, all useful attributes in becoming a navigator! in most cases you only saw the bridge on brass cleaning, holystoning duckboards, sanding-lime juicing wooden taffrails etc



Yup didn't get toughened up at all, but glad I did it, perhaps not at the time!!
Yes, sounds very much like a cadet's life in Bank Line under certain C.O.s[/QUOTE]

Very similar to my apprenticeship with Hogarth. Although would often take the wheel when pilot onboard, but this varied depending on timing.
Davie
 
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