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As a 17 year old I sailed out of Belfast, in the 'Rare Old Times' when the Harland and Wolff Shipyard was thriving (1953). I did the maiden voyage from there in the Tantallon Castle, a heavy lift cargo ship of the Union Castle Line.. I very much enjoyed that trip to South and East Africa.
On my return to the Pool in Belfast I was sent to Derry to join the 'Ballybeg' (mentioned previously). Although the expression 'culture shock' was unheard of in those days, it well fits my feelings when I went aboard. I was not unfamiliar with coalboats, having started my sea going career with Wm. Robinson's on the Citrine and stayed on her for nearly a year and really liked it. However, the Ballybeg was a different animal. She was the filthiest and most uncomfortable ship imaginable.The crew were OK although the average.
age must have been around sixty. I did a few runs to Campeltown in Scotland and back to Derry, before returning to more familiar territory. Swearing----never
 

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I thought you "Kelly" men would be interested to know that I have completed my model of the "Ballyloran" built from the plans by James Pottinger. I have posted some photographs in the Model Ship Gallery.
The model had her maiden voyage last Wednesday, the weather was rough and windy but the model behaved well and took the heavy seas in her stride. I was surprised how dry her decks remained throughout the voyage even though she was down to her marks.
I must thank Bill Harvey for his book on "Kelly's Navy", knowing more about the company background seemed to add a bit of soul to the model.

Chris View attachment 17238
My Grandfather, James Gillespie, sailed on the Ballyloran
 
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