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Sister ship to the OBUASI (see earlier thread), the ONITSHA is seen passing Tilbury on the River Thames.
Built 1952
5802 grt
 

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Onitsha had a 150 ton derrick at number two, she was built to replace an earlier heavy lift ship (Mary Kingsley I think) and was used to move railway locomotives to West Africa. I think number two hatch was a fair bit larger than those of her sisters. She was sold in 1972 to a Greek shipping company and in 1975 she caught fire in Canada. If my memory serves me right it was an engine fire and she was abandoned by her crew. She was broken up that year.
I have some very happy memories of her, she had been one of my fathers ships and I can remember being very upset when he left her. I think he moved to the Tarkwa, one of the express ships.
 

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Allan James said:
........I have some very happy memories of her, she had been one of my fathers ships and I can remember being very upset when he left her. I think he moved to the Tarkwa, one of the express ships.
If your father was Capt.L.L.James,I sailed as Writer with him on the Onitsha (Tilbury-West Africa-Hull )29/6/61-15/9/61. A true Gent.

Les Trow
 

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Interesting that most hits on a thread in the EDL section is when a ship's name is the subject heading. Obviously many ex EDL guys out there but not may contributing.
Was on the Onitsha in 1970 after she replaced the Fourah Bay as cadet ship. She was a yacht. Full Liverpool crew, fourteen cadets plus kroo boys down the coast, she gleamed John Higgins was Bosun (still see John regularly) and Bert Campbell was Lampy. Amongst officers were Jones, Jones & Jones (2nd Mate, Lecky and ?)
Remember well all the dockies down the coast watching in amazement as the cadets were put through their exercise routine each morning before starting work.
These were the days when Angola was a great run ashore. The trip down to Benguala was memorable.
 

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Yes Julian, I was beginning to despair, it's months since there was a post on the ED's section. I know we're all getting older but there still must be plenty of 'Coast' men about!?! Personally, at 60 I'm not yet ready to fall off the perch!
Also remember well, Lobito & Luanda with not a little fondness.
 

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Hi Julian,
I worked on Onitsha many times as a rigger but I am surprised that she became
ED's cadet ship,and that John Higgins was her Bosun.
End 1950's early 1960's Obuasi was cadet ship and the Bosun was George ..
I knew John Higgins well and he was Bosun of Falaba for a long time.
The last I heard of him was that he was Shore Bosun in Lagos for ED's and
he had married and lived there..
Of Onitsha,the jumbo derrick was an abortion...when she lifted anything over
100 tons we had to rig 7 extra stays - they were stowed in No1 tween decks.
Also the four steam guys were attached to the lower purchase block - not to
the derrick head.
To prepare it for a lift was an all day job for 6 riggers..
The two heavy lift ships of ED's earlier - were Mary Kingsley and Mary Slessor.
 

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Hello there. I was R/O on Onitsha during her cadet ship period. Ron Wild was Master and Mick Johnson and Ted Madison were there as C/O. WRP Magee (Rick) was Training Officer and Bill Shearman was Chief Engineer. 2nd was Bob Cornelius and little Bobby Moore was 3rd. Chief Steward
was John Maher, Purser Dave D'Arcy. Gerry Jones was Lecky. Broken Nose Jones (Frank) was 2nd Steward and Chippy was Eddy Murray. ASs mentioned Bosun was John Higgins. Various Mates I can remember - Ian Valentine, Alistair Faulds, Glenn Livingstone. Cadets - Rod Pace. Keith Nix, Bill Williams. 42 years ago!!!

Allan Pugh

Correction - Purser during Cadet Ship time was Keith Laws, further Cadets Lee Williams and John Walker. 3rd Engineer was Bobby Hood
 

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I have some very happy memories of her, she had been one of my fathers ships and I can remember being very upset when he left her. I think he moved to the Tarkwa, one of the express ships.
I sailed as Third Mate on the Onitsha in 1963 (I think) when your father was in command. A fine ship!
 

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My first trip as cadet was on Onitsha from what was once South Huskisson dock in early November 1970. Remember Ron Wild as Captain and the Training Mate was Brian Jones. He was assisted by two officer cadets keeping the other 12 cadets on the straight and narrow. We spent Xmas anchored off Boma and until a recent house move I still had the menu signed by most of the crew. A happy coincidence 25 years later I met up with Brian Jones in Tema when he was master of a RoRo vessel "Kumasi" - we both worked for the same company OT Africa Line. One of the Cadet Officers Pete Underwood on that voyage was also a master with OTAL. Always found that mentioning Elder Dempster opened many doors in West Africa.
Bill Hobbs
 

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I met John Higgins in one of the Saudi ports working as a boss stevedore I think I was on the Corato so that would be about Sept 1985 I knew him when he was in Lagos and he was married there at the time
Bev Summerill
 

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John Higgins

Interesting that most hits on a thread in the EDL section is when a ship's name is the subject heading. Obviously many ex EDL guys out there but not may contributing.
Was on the Onitsha in 1970 after she replaced the Fourah Bay as cadet ship. She was a yacht. Full Liverpool crew, fourteen cadets plus kroo boys down the coast, she gleamed John Higgins was Bosun (still see John regularly) and Bert Campbell was Lampy. Amongst officers were Jones, Jones & Jones (2nd Mate, Lecky and ?)
Remember well all the dockies down the coast watching in amazement as the cadets were put through their exercise routine each morning before starting work.
These were the days when Angola was a great run ashore. The trip down to Benguala was memorable.
I sailed on the Obuasi in 66 as an O/S. John Higins was bosun and Bert was the Lampy. I have a photo of some of the crew which includes Bert. Trying to get hold of another one of the whole deck crew at the moment. We were on the West Coast at Christmas 66, and there was an American naval ship tied up ahead of us. Being dry ships a lot of their guys ended up drinking on board with us. The session ended up in a fight between us and the Yanks. No winners because they scarpered. Enduring memory is of Bert trying to beat one of the Yanks up by hitting him with the Christmas tree. So much for the spirit of Christmas.
 

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Hi Julian,
I worked on Onitsha many times as a rigger but I am surprised that she became
ED's cadet ship,and that John Higgins was her Bosun.
End 1950's early 1960's Obuasi was cadet ship and the Bosun was George ..
I knew John Higgins well and he was Bosun of Falaba for a long time.
The last I heard of him was that he was Shore Bosun in Lagos for ED's and
he had married and lived there..
Of Onitsha,the jumbo derrick was an abortion...when she lifted anything over
100 tons we had to rig 7 extra stays - they were stowed in No1 tween decks.
Also the four steam guys were attached to the lower purchase block - not to
the derrick head.
To prepare it for a lift was an all day job for 6 riggers..
The two heavy lift ships of ED's earlier - were Mary Kingsley and Mary Slessor.
When you say riggers! Do you not mean seamen?
 

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I did a couple of trips on Onitsha in 71 .With a couple of Paddies and a couple of Scoucers and the rest cadets we had a handy football team .Had to pay off in Dakar with Malaria on 2nd trip .
 

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Just for my own enlightenment - what was the difference between an Officer Cadet and an ordinary cadet as per quote:-

"first trip as cadet was on Onitsha from what was once South Huskisson dock in early November 1970. Remember Ron Wild as Captain and the Training Mate was Brian Jones. He was assisted by two officer cadets keeping the other 12 cadets ........."
 

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Elder Dempster officially had Apprentices (but often referred to as Cadets) in the Deck Department. They also had Engineer, Purser and (I think) Catering Cadets in their respective departments who would not have been apprenticed. All would have been "Officer" cadets and I presume the reference in the thread refers to the Deck Department.
 

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Hi Purserjuk, we signed indentures with the heading 'APPRENTICE'S INDENTURES'. Basil Millard, who was in charge of the then known as 'STEAMSHIP / MIDSHIPMEN' department was in charge of us. We were commonly known as 'CADETS' (the lowest form of animal life on any E.D. ship) so what were we? We were happy, well trained and anything that wasn't well tied down was ours!
On the Cadet ship there were always two Cadets who fulfilled Cadets normal duties while the others worked as 'sailors'.
 

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From what I remember the first 2 years we were "deck cadets" and spent the majority of our time on deck becoming experts at chipping, greasing and the efficient use of a holystone etc.

There came a point after half way through our required sea time when we spent all our time on bridge and cargo watches. My discharge book has me as "cadet officer" on these voyages. I have a very vague memory of also having a thin braid on the jacket instead of the lapel insignia but it was a long time ago.

Maybe others own the site can correct or confirm.
 

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When I was an ED's apprentice, we didn't sign articles and my Discharge Book is virtually blank until I got my Second Mate's ticket and signed on the Accra.
I say virtually because there is a stamp, but no details, from the Sobo, my first ship.
My sea-time as Apprentice is typed on the back of my indentures, and signed by the same Basil Millard referred to by Woodend.
 
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