Ships Nostalgia banner
21 - 29 of 29 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
361 Posts
Discussion Starter · #21 ·
20th Century cadet.

Remembering my self first trip to sea.

Be it your first voyage or coast a hardman emerges straight out of marine college dragging a huge heavy case from the platform in the early hours of the morning at Kings Cross looking for someone or group going to join a BenBoat called the Benavon and possibly you hear a group of scots voices so you tag on and find out they are going your way . You hear them refer to the taxi drivers who are supposed to be there Ginger and Barnie (later in your career to become your savuior on pay off day and you need to be up townfor the last train north barnie and the lads know the quikest route and well before Sat Navs. ).
You arrive on board the ship get some breakfast before the ship becomes alive with all the lads paying off and those signing on . You find a friendly face who says are you the cadet for the coast ,How! did he know you were a cadet ,it must have all the pimples and six hairs on your chin. He tells you to go to a certain cabin and put the other voy cadets on the shake as they were onthe piss last night and will miss signing off, then he tells you to be in the smoke room for nine thirty to sign on.
The days in London West India pass very quick as you get to know the ship learn about the tmes for flags in the morning and sunset. you soon find out about the inside of a bookies as you are the officail runner for the CH/OFF on the coast The Broon Jimmy Browne, His trousers held up by a Ben Line tie threaded thru the loops and knoted at the front. The bookies was a goodtime out out thru the dock gates past the Blue Posts and up East India dock road passed the chinese resturants.

You quickly find out that most of the crew are pemenant coasters who for one reason or another do not go on deep sea voyages any more. Marine Super Capt Ronnie Robb comes down to the ship and sees all the cadets to see how they are and settling in. He was an extra Master gained while he was a cadet as a prisoner of war in the hands of the Japanese in Singapore.
He passed all his exams with papers set by an ex RN Board of Trade examiner.
The ship is preparred to sail for Hull and all points north then across to the continent. We leave London and make our way up to Hull when you are put on the shake by your other collegue who is on watch on the bridge ,Its time for standbye and there iss tea and toast in the mess room.
Tugs appear out of the dark gloom and youwait for the orders to make them fast ,next comes the call for you to change over with your mate and go to the bridge. this you do and you are told to standbye the enginroom telegraph and record all the bouys the mate calls out and each engine movement.
The Pilot is on his way and it has been blowing for a while down you go to the main deck andwith another cadet and SOS who have come from the foscle you prepare the pilot ladder on the port side in the lee and remembering your knots you macke it fast to the deck eyes and not the rails.

the pilot boards and youtake him up to the bridge whilst your two mates struggle to pull up the pilot ladder . you make the pilot a mug of tea and anyone else who wants one then you are shouted at we have a pilot onboard get the flag up ( god it is still dark ).

The old man is Tich Wilson (from the North east) and you are crapping yourself as he keeps coming over to look in the movement book, you are struggling to hear the engine movements shouted by the pilot on the opposite wing of the bridge and you have a gale blowing thru the crack in the door behind you. he runs his finger down all the recordings in the book and the times then looks a the wheel house clock,you wonder what is going thru his mind. As we come up to the locks the tugsare struggling to pull her round against the wind and to keep her straight. Tich houts to the pilot keep her up lasttme here we hit the knuckle and i had a lot of explaing to do in Edinburgh.

We get inside the dock and we tie up and ring finished with engines FWE.
The CH/OFF tells you to go down and give the bosun a hand to put out the gangway then see the mate as to what you are doing.
Still in your Blues you pull on the handy billie to lift the gangway out of it crutches then tip it on its side and lower to the quay.

You then race off up to the saloon to get some breakfast, you just have time for coffee and cereals and a bit of toast when the other cadet comes in and says the bosun wants you to go aft to slacken the lines as there is going to be a pontoon put between the ship and quay for discharging into barges . You go quickly as the bosun is the beast Willie Brown and he will find you if you are not there.

Once this is done you do a quick change into your working gear and make a dash for the mess room hoping to get anoth drink and possible a bacon sarnie.

The steward in the mess room says what are you doing here you were in the saloon for your brekke. being the hardman you are and of the most lowly group on the ship you make your stand " i want a bacon sarnie please " to which he shrugs his shoulders and waltzs off to the pantry. You down the second try at breakfast and go with your other two collegues looking for the mate. He is in his cabin with the 2/0 and the various dock foreman . The mate shouts go with willie and set up the derricks for inside and overside.
We had steamed from London with the sticks up so it was just acase of plumming them. We had timber ,bags of cocoa ,elipie nuts ,palm oil, latex and mannioc meal in bulk in the lower holds and also manganese ore and chrome.

Bye this time you have done five hours work and the mate appears and gives you various tasks like collecting up the dunnage/cargo seperation nets and to go into the lower holds to collect the sugar clothes which were over the mannioc meal in the hatch squares which were there to keep it clean from debris falling thru out east.

Bye lunch time you are knackered you have a great kedgeree and your are then told to go with the other two cadets and scrub the wheel house and clean it up as there are photographers coming in the morning to take pictures of Abu Baker who is one of your collegues from Port Swettenham ,the Malaysian High Commission are doing an article on him in Lloyds List and the papers out east.

At smoko the ate comes up to the bridge as says to youcan you cook and make breakfast ,yes i was a scout ,to which the reply came that means nothing. Ok you go and get your kip you are working nights with me, we are on at six.

At six i appear with my working gear and ask the mate what are we doing , we are puming out the latex tonight and a tank of palm oilso you will have to be on your toes. Arrow Bulk appeard on thequay witha stream of tankers to take the latex away to Ossett and S****horpe and the palm oil to Manchester. Breakfast time came and i went to the mess room to see what the 2nd steward had left the mates ,it was still secure and the engineers had'nt touched it. The mate told me how he liked is eggs and bacon and to my surprise he said it was great.
He then told me that in half an hour i was to go down the two latex tanks and make sure the strum boxes ate clear sot the engineers can ballast the tanks and to pick out any quagulations of latex that might be there otherwise they will block the pumps.

I had at various times of the night been in and around the tank lids and looked down into the swirling latex and my eyes would fill with tears straight away as i could stand it for long, the ammonia was so strong.

This mate so far i ahve not mentioned his name but it was Eric Dodds a big bloke and pretty hard himself known to have picked cadets up off thier feet. I said to himmust i go down into the tank can i have a mask like the puddlers fromthe shore gang have . The explisits were there in number what are you lad a wimp or a hardman from Aberdeen ,well sir every time i look into the tank my eyes just stream with tears, never mind your eyes lad if you have a cold it will be cure when you come out of the tank.

I did my duty and came out hardly abel to see how i climbed out of the tank on the slippery waxcovered rungs of the ladder i do not know.

With running up and down into the engine room after that as there was no walkie talkies my eyes soon cleared in the warm dry air .

The moral of this story was the mate made me what Iam and to be fair to him he gave me a couple of beers when we came off duty and said you have done a good nights work .

From there on it was a learning curve ,up the road in Antwerp pissed out of your mind and the next day doing cargo seperations on bagged Ammonia sulphate but with such a head ache that the dockers built a hole round you whilst you slept the hang over off. You wished you never had gone up the road with the mates and wondered why they did'nt feel the way you did.

Each port and day was different but it was all the most pleasurable career in life. In Bangkok with a drunk Orkadian Taff Groat in the mossie ,Taff was on the Cruachan and another cadet from London name i cannot remember.

Off watch .

Rgds Ian.
 

· Read Only
Joined
·
1,009 Posts
Knew, Sailed With, Worked ashore with

I knew Ian Godber briefly in Hong Kong when we were at school and met him at School of Nav (London) when doing 2nd Mates, his Dad beginning his long haul to justice at the time.

Sailed with Jimmy Anggang on Benvannoch. He was a walking dynamo! Watched him demolish an ex cargo packing crate (6'x4'x4' approx) with hands and feet using a lot of martial arts moves. Good cabaret.

Worked with John Groat at Forth Ports, we were both Assistant Harbour Masters and VTS Ops at Grangemouth control centre (covering the Forth and Tay), likewise Dave Keillor who I hadn't seen since 1966 when we were cadets on Avonbank in Liverpool during the NUS strike.
 

· Read Only
Joined
·
1,009 Posts
Hi,
I am from Orkney and know John Groat (Taff ) well. Last I heard he was working for the Firth of Forth P. A, But I also remember his father on the only sailing bank in the UK , he sailed around the outer isles of Orkney daily
I worked with John at Forth Ports until I left 2004. He's retired now and I saw him at Chez Jules followed by Sandy Bells a couple of months back; he's still a good laugh!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
I was at school in in Hong Kong with Ian Godber. We knew each other in the 5th form. After "O" levels I went back to UK and joined Ben Line. Oct 1965 joined Bengloe as 1st trip cadet on the coast. Dad took me on board in full uniform and after his told me not to piss in my sink, he left me to it. That's when I met the bosun. Another story... I was told to get out of the uniform and go sweep the fore deck. Oh what joy!! At 16 and sweeping the deck of a real ship. Truly heaven and now well on my way in a career I wanted. Soon I will be a captain. After the coast, crew change and off we went to China. Wow. Been there before, brought up there infact with Ian Godber. My Dad was in government and Ians Dad in the HK police. We had been to Ians house a few times for dinner but I dont remember it much. Ian was into playing his guitar a lot. I had no interest. I think he has a group called the ...no its gone. They were OK. Played at the school dooos and so on. A few outside gigs too. Anyway as the story goes...On the bridge leaving London as a young sweet 16 year old I asked the old man, Gibby Neyesmith sic if I was allowed to smoke on the bridge. Well everyone else was so why not me. Little did I know what I could do and not do. No son he said, not until you become one of my officers. Fair enough, I should not be smoking at 16 anyway. (I was 56 when I quit) The story however was "Oh are you the one who asked Gibby for a light on the bridge."
Loved it!!! Oh yes, Godber. I was on leave after that trip and was in Brighton visiting a friend, Charlie Hulse. His Dad was Assistant Director of Marine in HK at the time, anyway we bumped into the Gobler who was looking for a job. I told him what I was doing and the next thing he is on the Benvalla. Blow me, us Hong Kong kids were popular. I think Ben line had visions for us but wasn't sure what. We were very colonial and a bit stuck up having been brought up at private schools in HK or Scotland, our lives were spoild by wash, cook and makee learn maids in our homes to do all we asked. I suppose my parents had a great time. It took a while to get there but managed a 3/Off job on the Benrinnes and lost contact with Ian. Last I heard he was on supply ships on west coast Africa with a HT masters. I wrote to him a few years ago in Goole but ne reply. I think he wanted to cut the tail of his previous life in HK. He was very embarrassed over the whole thing with his Dad. Corruption or the Chinese tea money was common in HK as it is all over Asia. Ian's Dad was not alone, nor was he the worst. He was the one who was made an example of. HK now has the Independent Commission Against Corruption, ICAC, and has a huge multi story building of 20 floors all to themselves. There must be lots of corruption in HK. Ian's Dad was a small player.
That's it about Ian. He was OK. A bit doolally but a good laugh. If you ever read this Ian, I'm on your side buddy. I did a coast with him..I think.
For anyone interested, I now make museum quality ship models and sell them on. You can get me on [email protected] www.classicshipmodels.co.uk
Keith Park
 

· Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
John Groat occasionally drinks in Sandy Bells in Edinburgh. Don't know what he's doing now.

Also, i remember Ian Simpson very well. He & I fell out one time over bunkering duties when we were on the hook. There was a boat going ashore at 7pm and the bunkers were due at 6.30. He told me I'd probably be needed so to stand by. Needless to say, I wasn't needed and missed the boat! Cue huge arguement on deck!

Anybody remember Barry Friar?
Ian Simpson, I worked and travelled with to Atlantic II back in 1978, he remained there until retirement and lives in Hull. not seen him for years but me wife has seen his (Rosie)
Barry Friar I coasted with on the 'Reoch or Lomond in 1975~6 but never heard of him any more
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
I was at school in in Hong Kong with Ian Godber. We knew each other in the 5th form. After "O" levels I went back to UK and joined Ben Line. Oct 1965 joined Bengloe as 1st trip cadet on the coast. Dad took me on board in full uniform and after his told me not to piss in my sink, he left me to it. That's when I met the bosun. Another story... I was told to get out of the uniform and go sweep the fore deck. Oh what joy!! At 16 and sweeping the deck of a real ship. Truly heaven and now well on my way in a career I wanted. Soon I will be a captain. After the coast, crew change and off we went to China. Wow. Been there before, brought up there infact with Ian Godber. My Dad was in government and Ians Dad in the HK police. We had been to Ians house a few times for dinner but I dont remember it much. Ian was into playing his guitar a lot. I had no interest. I think he has a group called the ...no its gone. They were OK. Played at the school dooos and so on. A few outside gigs too. Anyway as the story goes...On the bridge leaving London as a young sweet 16 year old I asked the old man, Gibby Neyesmith sic if I was allowed to smoke on the bridge. Well everyone else was so why not me. Little did I know what I could do and not do. No son he said, not until you become one of my officers. Fair enough, I should not be smoking at 16 anyway. (I was 56 when I quit) The story however was "Oh are you the one who asked Gibby for a light on the bridge."
Loved it!!! Oh yes, Godber. I was on leave after that trip and was in Brighton visiting a friend, Charlie Hulse. His Dad was Assistant Director of Marine in HK at the time, anyway we bumped into the Gobler who was looking for a job. I told him what I was doing and the next thing he is on the Benvalla. Blow me, us Hong Kong kids were popular. I think Ben line had visions for us but wasn't sure what. We were very colonial and a bit stuck up having been brought up at private schools in HK or Scotland, our lives were spoild by wash, cook and makee learn maids in our homes to do all we asked. I suppose my parents had a great time. It took a while to get there but managed a 3/Off job on the Benrinnes and lost contact with Ian. Last I heard he was on supply ships on west coast Africa with a HT masters. I wrote to him a few years ago in Goole but ne reply. I think he wanted to cut the tail of his previous life in HK. He was very embarrassed over the whole thing with his Dad. Corruption or the Chinese tea money was common in HK as it is all over Asia. Ian's Dad was not alone, nor was he the worst. He was the one who was made an example of. HK now has the Independent Commission Against Corruption, ICAC, and has a huge multi story building of 20 floors all to themselves. There must be lots of corruption in HK. Ian's Dad was a small player.
That's it about Ian. He was OK. A bit doolally but a good laugh. If you ever read this Ian, I'm on your side buddy. I did a coast with him..I think.
For anyone interested, I now make museum quality ship models and sell them on. You can get me on [email protected] www.classicshipmodels.co.uk
Keith Park
Keith are you still about, I live near Ian and have his phone number please give us a reply . Ian on MAR with you.
 
21 - 29 of 29 Posts
Top