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I have often heard that Blue Funnel Ships carried a member of the crew whos job it was to report back to Head Office any unusual goings on aboard the vessel.such as the Master, or other offivcers drinking habits.etc. etc. Also all courses were pre set and had to be strictly adhered to. This may not be the case, but it would be interesting to know if there is any truth in it.
 

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With regard to the former, I think every ship has at least one eager volunteer ready to slip into this role, snooping around the ship but they are always easily identified by their close set eyes, long nose, generally shifty demeanour and lust for promotion or reward.
 

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Regarding the latter, it was common rumour when I was at sea but never confirmed.
 

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Ah memories, yes Blue funnel had points on the runs that ships had to pass, they were marked on the charts as "AH" points.....Malcolm was correct about the reason, it was so that another member of the fleet would in a position to render assistance if needed, it was also a method of keeping an eye on other members of the fleet before radios were fitted (Yes Malcolm there was a time!) and reporting back to India Buildings, or wherever HQ was prior to IB's informing the directors of locations of ships of the fleet passed.

As for spies on ships, never found one and never heard about the rumour. Does sound possible though, 'cos Holts directors liked to keep an eye on their investments!

Regards

Allan
 

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Will you accept the charges?

I once heard of a tracking scam that was attributed to a UK coastal fleet. I have no idea if it is true or not; but if true it would have worked.

It is alleged that when one of this company's vessels arrived in port, the master would go to the nearest phone box, ring the operator and ask for a transfer charge call to the head office. The operator would always ask the caller their name, so that when head office answered, the operator would say, for example, "Captain Pugwash is calling from Hull, will you accept the charge?" The person at head office would decline to accept the call charge and hang up. The operator then terminated the call without the two parties having spoken to each other, but head office now knew that Captain Pugwash's ship, the SS 'Tight Git' had arrived in Hull or Glasgow or wherever.

It's so clever it deserves to be true!
 

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Quite correct about same courses. whilst 2nd R/O on Calchas we had a request from another A class for a tow in the Indian Ocean. A long message from India Buildings on how to tow was not received well by the Old Man and the Mate. having flaked the anchor chains aft, that took all day, the request for a tow was cancelled. The language from the crew could not be repeated.
 

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As John Garner says the reason for the fixed course on charts is to allow for ease of tows if required.

As the publisher of the Radio Officers' Assocation quarterly newsletter I can give you a sneak preview of the September edition which includes a transcript totalling 15 pages of radio traffic that took place when Stentor/GMTC towed Troilus/GCPP to Aden in July 1948 after she had lost her propellor. Very interesting it is too (to both R/O's and deck officers I would think as it is quite technical nautically). A couple of the messages from AH's Head Office did seem a bit high handed in their tone.
 

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I don't know if it were a tall tale but I heard that single officers were not liked, in fact a second mate not married was something frowned upon.
THis I was told that they were brought into the "office" in Liverpool on assignment. As ther were many youmg lassies there it was hoped that a romantic liasion would take place and the single officer became a married officer and much (in their view) reliable!!!!
 

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All this dosn't surprise me at college the eng app's with BF seemed well brain washed by a leader called "daggy" (based in India Buildings)who was looked on as an icon. They were well monitered on the other hand we at Brocks were left to get on with it although getting "caught" drinking was frowned upon.
In Columbo a BF 2/O was stunned to find we in Brocks had A/C and draught beer. I always got the feeling we were looked down on by BF but we had the better times and got treated ok.
 

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I think Blue Flue were one of those old paternalistic outfits that you either loved them and stayed your entire career, or hated it and got out quick. I never tried them myself, suspect I'd have been in the latter category, but I did a spell with Panocean which was a P & O/Blueys' joint venture, consequently a lot of ex-Blueys guys around; and jeezus, the way they went on and on about Blue Flue, one wondered why the hell they ever left!
CBoots
 

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At least on BF you were part of the Deck Officers, not the odd bod from west ham depot, looked at rather queerly, and most times not without suspicion.
Yes BF was paternal, I had a lot to thank them for, when I decided to leave, the last 6 months were spent ashore with the radio dept, so that I could attend job interviews, GTZM would have shipped me off to bombay or somewhere else.
 

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I agree if you liked their ways you were probably a "lifer" but they were held in very high regard on Merseyside and in the far east , they generated a lot of work in Birkenhead with the docks and Odysee works, for the repair facility. If you wanted a good apprenticeship they were the choice and were well noted for it. I myself was with Brocks, probably a more easy going company, but still pretty good , no set rules like BF just plain common sense which seems non existant these days.......
 

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cboots said:
I think Blue Flue were one of those old paternalistic outfits that you either loved them and stayed your entire career, or hated it and got out quick. I never tried them myself, suspect I'd have been in the latter category, but I did a spell with Panocean which was a P & O/Blueys' joint venture, consequently a lot of ex-Blueys guys around; and jeezus, the way they went on and on about Blue Flue, one wondered why the hell they ever left!
CBoots
How very true. I served my time with Blue Flue but left when I thought the grass was greener elsewhere. I was such a bore to later colleagues that they nicknamed me 'Bluey'. However, every time I sailed up the Red Sea in a smelly old Trident Tanker, when you first sighted the southbound convoy, it was always a Blue Flue (or A red Glen) out in front leading the way, as they did in every aspect of merchant shipping in those days. Forty five years later, I still regret leaving them and I shall never forget the lessons and life skills they gave me.
 

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Mallacca Straits flogging away on a Moss tanker and a Priam class flys past at 20++ knots on route to Liverpool ....what more can you say ...a little pride possibly at a Liverpool company showing who's got it right !!
 

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Daggy

I am proud of having served my cadetship with BF although it was by then Ocean Fleets. Daggy (Iain Dalgleish) was a hard taskmaster but when you had your ticket and looked back on your run-ins with him you realized how he had turned a pimply faced teen into an engineer officer and a good one to boot. He retired when I was finishing second year and I for one gave him a few bottles and shook his hand. Does anyone know his whereabouts? I believe that he was going up north to pheasant farm that he had, although he lived in Wallasey. (send PM)

Dave
 

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makko said:
I am proud of having served my cadetship with BF although it was by then Ocean Fleets. Daggy (Iain Dalgleish) was a hard taskmaster but when you had your ticket and looked back on your run-ins with him you realized how he had turned a pimply faced teen into an engineer officer and a good one to boot. He retired when I was finishing second year and I for one gave him a few bottles and shook his hand. Does anyone know his whereabouts? I believe that he was going up north to pheasant farm that he had, although he lived in Wallasey. (send PM)

Dave
Hi Dave I asked one of my work collegues who was a BF cadet in the 70's, he is pretty sure Daggy passed away around 86/87 following retirement in Scotland. He speaks very highly of the guy.
 

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Daggy

Thanks John G. There must be many stories about this often larger than life character just waiting to be written! Another BF larger than life was Dennis Naylor. Who's your workmate? I was third generation BF, my dad was lecturer at Birkenhead Tech. Your workmate should then know who I am! Maybe I'll start a thread!

Rgds.

Dave R
 

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john g said:
Mallacca Straits flogging away on a Moss tanker and a Priam class flys past at 20++ knots on route to Liverpool ....what more can you say ...a little pride possibly at a Liverpool company showing who's got it right !!
They were beatiful ships, no doubt about it. I did not yearn for a career with BF, though.

Split
 

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Split said:
They were beatiful ships, no doubt about it. I did not yearn for a career with BF, though.

Split
I agree BF would not have suited me personally but I always had a high regard for their professional ways, their staff were particularly loyal...or gave that impression.
 
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