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Hi Derek i noticed you were on Br Argosy ,i was on her feb-aug 1975 as cat boy when were you on her?.My first ship was Br Forth 74,Argosy 75 resolution 75 neath college jan 76-april 76 Br Purpose 76 then BP Forties Field Alpha rig aug 76-may 77.
 

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x class

yeah I was x class dec.80. started 15th dec. for 5 days then sent us home for xmas break. crazy. good times met a lot of good lads.
 

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Eight Weeks of Hell!

I attended Gravesend sea school in January 1963. It was tough.
But not as bad as when I actually got to sea. I hated every minute of it.
I can laugh now and in one way glad I did it otherwise I would of wondered all my life what it would have been like. Names I remember Bill Fothergill from Dover, his pal Bas, a guy from the deck school Jack Harison nicknamed Popeye. Spent 9 months on SS Lindisfarne an ore carrier until I saw the light. The ship has now been scrapped in the far East, according to Google. (Thumb)
 

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National Sea Traning School Gravesend

Attended there 23 Nov. 64 not to bad but very cold, got the Flu and had to go to local Hospital, but finished the course and went on to my first ship it was great, not the first time at sea as I was in the Sea Cadets before. The ships I sailed where all good apart the SS Empress of Canada which I hated.
M.V. Sheaf field
M.V. Wellpark
M.V. Joya McCance
M.V. La Primavera ( the best )
SS Empress of Canada
M.V. Priam P boat Blue Funnel
M.V. Longstone
Had to leave then family problems at home(Thumb)
 

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I was there in 1976 and, loved my time there (ummmmm not). Favourite times on the Popeye Boat (me a deckboy lol) . Seriously, I loved my time there as a 'Peanut' .
 

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Henry (Harry) Carter

My father was at the Gravesend Sea Schoool prior to WWII in 1939. He says in his autobiography:

Leaving home
"When I left home in 1939, at the age of fifteen, I wanted to become a better person and earn money for myself. I left my home in Workington with my mother, and we went to the railway station at 9am, and she gave me some money. She stood on the station till the train was out of sight. The train arrived at Euston station, in London, and I said to myself, “What a big city.” I had never been this far from home before."

"When I got out of the train I stopped; a man with a blue band around his arm who spoke many languages directed me to the underground subway; I was on my way to the Merchant Navy Sea School in Gravesend."

"I was in the Sea School for about two months, learning how to box the compass and all about sailing. I don’t know where the word box comes from but boxing the compass means you can say all the points of the compass from north, right around to north again. For instance – north by north east; north, north east; north east by north; north east by east and so on. We sailed up and down the Thames."

"They taught us how to sail against the wind, use handing lugs and jib and goose wing sails to tack the lifeboat up and down the river. We got pretty good at it. They used to let us leave the school and go to town in Gravesend, but we had to be back at a certain time. We could not sneak out of the school, which had a large gate that was well secured."

"When we were on leave at the weekend, we used to get into fights with the bad boys from a Boystal ship in the river when they were on leave. [These boys were on a prison ship, because they had committed some sort of crime]. They were a bit too tough for us young boys, but it was hard to avoid them."

"We were well disciplined; and so we had to shower early every morning, before falling into line, and then all checked by our Merchant Navy Officers. We were all vaccinated on the arms, so we would not catch any diseases. The food was very good. I had never had food like it before. Breakfast was at 8 am, lunch at 12, tea at 5pm and supper at 9pm. Lights were out at 10 o’clock and up again at 5am sharp the next morning."

"At Gravesend they had a training ship in the river, a sailing ship to train able body seamen to steer the ships at sea, and ordinary seamen as well. The ship’s name was ‘TS Vindicatrix’. On the bow it had a carving of a woman."

(Henry Carter, p.14, 2006 & 2016).


A History of the T.S. Vindicatrix

The T.S. Vindicatrix National Sea Training School Built in the Clydesdale yard of Russel & Company. (ship 338). Size Length = 296.8, Beam = 39.0, Depth = 23.6 Feet, 1,946 grt.

1893 - Built as "SV ARRANMORE" a 3 masted fully square rigged Cape Horner.
1910 - Sold to Germany and re-named as "WALTRAUTE"
1914 - Converted to a mission ship, 3 extra decks added and based at Heligoland.
1919 - Surrendered with German Navy and towed to Leith. Went ashore at Inchkeith.
1920 - Aquired by the British Shipping Federation.
1922 - Re-named "VINDICATRIX" and berthed at West India Docks, London.
1926 - Moored off Gravesend still with the same name.
1939 - June 18th Arrived at Sharpness for use as a training ship for the merchant navy.
1967 - January 12th - after 28 years and 70,000 trainees, she was towed away by tugs to Newport, Swansea and broken up.

Information taken from – www.mowbars.plus.com/Pictures/vindicatrix
 

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Rensch

Does anyone remember Edward Charles Rensch (or Reusch) who was at Gravesend sea training school. Born 1935, died 1956 so probably there early 50's. He was an assistant engineers steward, and before that I think he was in Catering
 

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gravesend sea training school

I was there 1966-67.I started out as Cook and was moved to waiting
as there was a mix up with the numbers. The pillow fight raids were
a sight to behold. Never did manage to reach more than a few dorms in. The food parcels where if you were lucky you managed to fish out a
packet of cigs before you were jumped on.I can remember being given my uniform. Andy pandy jacket and dungarees.
Straight into the shower to get them to shrink
Being in the queue for the haircut and some of the lads refusing and going home.
My time there was pretty good.Good bunch of classmates.
I joined an ore carrier for my sins as my first trip to sea.
Did not see that coming.I was thinking cruise ships ect.
Spent eighteen and a half years at sea in total.Great times
 

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Does anyone remember Edward Charles Rensch (or Reusch) who was at Gravesend sea training school. Born 1935, died 1956 so probably there early 50's. He was an assistant engineers steward, and before that I think he was in Catering
Edward Charles Rensch died aboard Stirling Castle in 1956.
Do you have any knowledge of how he died?
 

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Hi anyone out there from June/July 1950. I attended gravesend sc. Must have been made of sterner stuff then, never had any of that s... About peanuts then.
Regards to all that toughed it out, Bill forrester
 

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Hi Bill, I was at Gravesend Sea School in 1959, Catering, it certainly sorted out the chaff from the seeds, Out of 30 that started about 14 finished !, some never even entered the school gate's, one look and they went back to the station !, it was heaven for me coming from what you might say as limited funds family !.
Happy days.
 

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Gazza i was there April 14th or so 1971 to July 8 th or so 1971. Did catering then after 2 trips swapped to deck. Some pics of Gravesend in gallery. Great time there.
 

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Gallery

Gazza i was there April 14th or so 1971 to July 8 th or so 1971. Did catering then after 2 trips swapped to deck. Some pics of Gravesend in gallery. Great time there.
Hi Dave,how do I get to the gallery to see the pics.Thanking you Gazza.Are you on facebook,site called Gravesend sea school.
 

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I went to GSS from November 63 until Feb 6, remember the bromide cocoa the freezing cold showers and the toilets with no walls for privacy.Yeah we were starving and freezing cold most of the time and I remember one officer called Plum? a real toe rag, heaps of punches with the locals but what great memories for life.
 

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I was at Gravesend sea school in March 71 on deck in Z35 class, , first ship was Cunards "RMS Carmania", did a few 28 day trips on her then went onto the Mv Stonepool for Ropners, had a great time on her then onto The SS Roatan " Fyffes" even better trip in her, then onto MV Sheaf Field for a short trip then onto the OBO Mv Tynebridge for a couple of trips I finished of in 1979 to pursue a career in Offshore Air and Mixed Gas Diving in the oil and gas industry were I still am today. great memories
 

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I was at Gravesend Dec 1956 to Jan 1957 in the Catering Dept, it was pretty grim
I ended up as Capt McKellar (Head of the School) steward. I sailed on the ss Crofter. Harrison Line in March 1957 as Officers Boy, in 1965 I was appointed Chief Steward.
 
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