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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

For my sins I have decided to investigate undertaking a major project - writing a book about the lives of BP people at sea....no minor task!

The reasons for me doing this are -

My father was with BP for over 30 years, and has relayed many a fascinating tale of his times at sea. He loved the company.

I have enjoyed the banter and anecdotes which I read on the website, and obviously there is so much to tell that would be of interest to all, ex BP or other. There is so much comradeship between you all - that is marvellous.

The history of the company and ships has been done - but not the people who made it all work.

I was due to join BP as a Nav Cadet but didn't realise until the medical that I was short-sighted in one eye. I dearly miss not going to sea.

I think it will be a fun, interesting and worthwhile task to undertake.

So all...I need your help!!

Any experiences, anecdotes, disasters, recollections of BP seafaring "characters", your own experiences, tales of ports, ships, shipmates, the good years, the bad years, life on board, how life at sea changed over the years, new technology, war zones, exotic and strange places you visited....and the awful ones! Anything you can provide would be a marvellous start.

Obviously photos, not just of ships, but people at work, ashore, social events, copies of ships data, menus, anything you nicked..! Fleet News magazines would be a major bonus, as I would want to illustrate the book with as much memory rekindling info as possible.

If there are people who you know could help in any way, then I'd be glad to hear from you.

As for my writing experience, I currently have two books at the publishers (Ferries of Devon and Ferries of Cornwall) and am currently finishing off a third.

The more data and info you can provide the better.! Obviously I'd be happy to receive anything by either open or private e-mail, and can supply my contact details if required.

Many thanks in anticipation, lookforward to being deluged with stuff.!

Rushie.
 

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Major Project

What a wonderful project, and the prospect of purchasing such a book, exciting. There are many SN members more qualified than I who I sure will assist in this venture. For starters have a look at Graham Wallace's website
http://members.allstream.net/~wallaceg/index.html
With respect I suggest you contact him personally and he will also offer help.
BTC/BP deck apprentice - 3/0 1952-1960.
Best Wishes,
Mac.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Cheers again Mac....even managed to find a reference to my late father (shown as D.Roberts Nav App) on the British Triumph on a 1962 copy of the crew lists out of dry dock! Amazing.!

Rushie
 

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Rushie,

A great project and I wish you every success on such a worthwhile endeavour. Given the style and support of this site you should do very well for back-up information and input. Good luck and good fortune to you Sir.

Put me down for a copy.

Kind regards
Tonga
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Tonga,

It'll be a long hard slog....but with plenty of fun along the way!

You're spot on about the observations about the site, so many good people with interesting tales and expert knowledge...can't go wrong really.!

Cheers,

Rushie
 

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apart from my humble self who spent 8 very happy years with BP, there are several other officers and gentlemen on this site who, I am sure, would only be too glad in helping to increase your word/page count. Remember seeing your father's name on crew lists but never had the opportunity to sail with him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Paul.

What I'll probably do is make lists of people who respond, and then contact them directly.

I'll also go through website comments that have been posted in other threads as I can get a lot of info and contacts that way.

One thought I did have, and I hope someone may be able to help me, is does anyone know if BP has a museum, or holds artifacts etc, or does anyone have a contact at BP HQ who may be able, or willing to assist with compiling information, photographs etc? That would be a great bonus.

Cheers for now,

Rushie
 

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Hi Rushie,
I spent 8 years with BP as N/App to 2 Mate from 64 to 72. Feel free to contact me for any help etc. Good luck with the project.
Richard.
 

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Happu to get involved too. I have some BP stuff floating around here and there . . . (Applause)

Jon
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Jonsea,

That's great stuff..thanks. Anything considered, it's really a case of getting stuff together to find out what I can use and work on, but anything is much appreciated. That goes to all you ex BP people - especially if any of you may wish to send me anecdotes or tales of sea going experiences. Please feel free to use the pivate e-mail section if you prefer.

Thanks,

Rushie
 

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British Bulldog.

I joined the British Bulldog (official number 184521, 18,593 grt) at the Isle of Grain refinery on the 2nd May 1959. The Suez Canal was closed at this time because of the Arab – Israeli war, so we had to go south about, calling at Durban for bunkers before heading north again for Mena – Al – Ahmadi in the Persian Gulf where we loaded a cargo of crude oil for Wilhelmshavn in Germany. We turned around and headed for Europe, calling at Capetown for bunkers. We discharged our cargo at Wilhelmshavn then went to Falmouth for drydocking where I signed off on the 8th August 1959.
It was almost like being on a cruise, when your watch was finished, nothing to do but laze around and sunbathe. Unfortunately, as she was going into drydock for some time I had to sign off and look for another ship.
 

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albertwebster said:
I joined the British Bulldog (official number 184521, 18,593 grt) at the Isle of Grain refinery on the 2nd May 1959. The Suez Canal was closed at this time because of the Arab – Israeli war, so we had to go south about, calling at Durban for bunkers before heading north again for Mena – Al – Ahmadi in the Persian Gulf where we loaded a cargo of crude oil for Wilhelmshavn in Germany. We turned around and headed for Europe, calling at Capetown for bunkers. We discharged our cargo at Wilhelmshavn then went to Falmouth for drydocking where I signed off on the 8th August 1959.
It was almost like being on a cruise, when your watch was finished, nothing to do but laze around and sunbathe. Unfortunately, as she was going into drydock for some time I had to sign off and look for another ship.
Albert,
I think you'll find that the reason you went round the Cape was because of a lack of demand for oil in the UK at that time. The Arab - Israeli war didn't happen until 1967 when the Canal was shut until 1975, although it was closed briefly during 1956-57. I sailed through the Canal on 11th May 1959 on British Glory as a first trip apprentice.
At this time, BP used their larger vessels as floating storage tanks & these trips round the Cape were done at half speed, initially without any stopovers in Durban or Capetown. The round trip used to take 80 days & BP, to their credit, recognised the fact that this was a boring trip & not very good for morale. You were not allowed to go any further than the rest rooms on the jetty at Mena, other places were even worse - Umm Said for example. If you were not a Scotsman & had to discharge at Finnart then the trip was even worse!
The stops at Durban & Capetown were ostensibly introduced as bunkering stops but, unofficially I think, became a 24 hour R&R stop & very welcome they were too.
Kind regards,
John.
 

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John and Albert,

Yes, sadly the business of "slow steaming" (as its was refered to at the time was repeated in the late '70's . . . only 4 or 6 knots from Gulf to NWE . . . enough to drive you mad!!

Jon (Hippy)
 

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Rushie.
I have gleaned from a book that you may be able to get in your researches, far easier than I here in Austrlia.
Seedies Book of Naval Honours and Awards 1939 to 1959. This lists all Naval personnel who were awarded any sort of distinction, from Commendations to the VC, Empire Medals to KBE's. Not just RN personnel and British Officers, but everyone who had some maritime connection.
There are 50,000 names contained in it. To buy new is a costly item GBP200 or thereabouts, but you might find a second hand copy at Ross on Wye.
Failing that give me your private e-mail and sometime when I get the time I will give you all the BP personnel who were decorated in some way between 1939 and 1959 which I have roughly copied into an exercise book.
Tony Maskell
Ex BP a long time ago now.
 
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