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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to this sight but I love it. Where else can you talk about the sea with other people who actually know what you are talking about. I consider myself priviledged to have been at sea in the late 1950s into the 1960s. Ok the ships were small and they were slow compared to today but we weren`t in a hurry. Most ports that I remember were safe, no Aids and as far as I know no drugs. Just good old fashioned booze. The camaradie was there among all nationalities. I mind a bunch of us coming back to our ship in Auckland. There was a young guy slumped on the ground at the watchmans hut. It seemed he was too drunk to be let in on his own, they were afraid he would end up in the dock which happened a lot. We some how acquired a wheelbarrow, put him in it, found out the name of his ship and took him back. He was German and when I went up their gangway and got some of his mates down. They were estatic and hugging us like old friends. Yes they were good days.
In London the Kray twins ruled but you could go into any district and nobody bothered you. Pensioners could walk the street after dark and didn`t get mugged. Could you go anywhere in London or any large port nowadays? I doubt it very much.
 

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Jocko,
I fully agree with you about the great times we had at sea in the 50s and 60s, that was my time as well.
Everything you say about the cameraderie of seafarers ashore in some foreign port rings true.
But, I must take issue with you on the mugging thing.
I was mugged in 1959 in Glasgow, on a Saturday afternoon, in that little park by the Southern General hospital in Linthouse!
I'm afraid thugs and robbers have always been with us, and probably always will.
Best regards,
Pat(Thumb)
 

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The wheelbarrow story brings back memories, but in my story it was one of our own crew, he wanted to repay us with a couple of prepaid ladies...

Knew a Finn once who had sailed with nearly every nationality (Ossi Juntonen - anybody knew him?), I once walked past a French ship on a wharf in his company, and he started talking to the crew. I haven't the foggiest idea what was said, but it ended with the Frencmen coming down, embracing us both, and handing us wine and baguettes. Such friendship between nations I've never experienced anything like since, but maybe the Finn told them a good lie.
 

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Stein,
In Blue Funnel we would often hit the Far East at Penang, and bump into a crowd from various Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Dutch and German ships in that port. We would almost certainly meet them again all around the coast and on to Hong Kong, Manila and Japan.
Like brothers, we were, boozing, whoring, fighting and singing our way around the Far East.
Regards,
Pat(==D)
 

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Strangely enough , I remember getting drunk ashore in Rio Grande in Brazil when I was on my first trip, having 'lost' the ships crowd, Found myself back on board the ship (Which was out at anchor) and discovered later that some Norwegian lads had taken the considerable trouble to make sure I was safe! And Pat don't mention the fights out in the far east!!!!!!!!!!! That was indeed something else.
 

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Yes, I think we mingled easily. I remember visiting the British seamen's clubs: playing pool there, and borrowing the football field, never experienced a single protest.
The Norwegian ships were half crewed by foreigners btw, hardly any Brits, who had a fleet of their own, but Spanish, Portuguese, other Scandinavians.
 

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Jocko,
I fully agree with you about the great times we had at sea in the 50s and 60s, that was my time as well.
Everything you say about the cameraderie of seafarers ashore in some foreign port rings true.
But, I must take issue with you on the mugging thing.
I was mugged in 1959 in Glasgow, on a Saturday afternoon, in that little park by the Southern General hospital in Linthouse!
I'm afraid thugs and robbers have always been with us, and probably always will.
Best regards,
Pat(Thumb)
Well you should NOT have been out on the streets wearing a England shirt when celtic were playing rangers
 

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Coming from a small village in Norfolk, At 17 I was ill prepared to be a reluctant participant in a Japanese bar room brawl involving British and Norwegian seamen! Only in a movie could this be happening I thought. Yet there I was crouched behind the bar along with the mamasan at 'Junes Bar' (I think it was anyway) as in true spaghetti western style the place was trashed!
How could that be? Only minutes before everyone had been chatting and drinking! I quickly learned that this was indeed a recurrent event as the same ships and men followed each other from port to port around the far east of those distant days of the 1960's & 70's! Wow it kind of sticks in the memory of the 'Good old days"
 

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Finest bar brawl i ever saw was in the 'mish' in Yuzhne an Ammonia port in the Ukraine involving Polish Officers, Romanian crew, Us and our Filipino crew - utter carnage - this was straight out of a wild west, honestly there were people hit by chairs, bottles , thrown behind the bar - you name it. Tell you what though I'm glad the Filipinos were on our side !!!!!!!!!! dear Lord do they know how to fight 'dirty'
 

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The brawl I remember best was one in Hong Kong around 1965. There was a USN carrier in the harbour with her escorts and there must have been several thousand yankee sailors ashore that night. Inevtably there was a clash with some merchant seamen in some bar or other, and it spread into the streets.
There were running skirmishes all over the place until the US Navy shore patrol arrived in force.
You dont want to mess with those guys, all of them about seven foot tall,black, and mean, they set about them with sticks, battering anyone who looked vaguely like a seaman. We took refuge in a bus and ended up miles from the ship, but at least got away unscathed. One German we heard got a fractured skull, and another had a broken arm, they had stayed to fight!
I think the Yankee admiral cancelled all shore leave after that because we didn't see anymore yanks ashore.
Pat
 

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best scrap malta (some dancehall) 4 of us v the us 7th fleet (my knuckels feel sore now just thinking about it ) mugged twice 1st time in good old dundee 2nd melborne put me of both places for life oh and the very nice ny cop who took my last few $ off me in case i got mugged for them
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Pat Kennedy, you must have been really unlucky. I went to all the different dancehalls in Glasgow including the notorious Barrowland and the F&F in Partick. I walked home through all kinds of districts ( you never had money for a taxi ) from 1954 to about 1964 and never once was I accosted. I`m only 5ft 7ins so it wasn`t my size that saved me.
As for bar-room brawls, the only one I ever saw was in Nicaragua and it was our deck crew and some engineers. I didn`t get involved as I was ashore with the Sparky and the Chief engineer started it. The Sparky and myself sat in rocking chairs listening to Fats Domino while those ejits knocked the sh*te out of each other. Eventually those huge black guys came with rifles and marched the lot of us back to the ship with (I swear) our hands in the air. When I got to the the engineers alleyway the 2nd and 3rd came at me with the fists up because I hadn`t joined them against the deckies. The best form of defence is attack. I knocked the 2nd **** over tit and proceeded to give the3rd a very sore face. Ha ha you should have seen the state of us at breakfast next morning. There was hardly anyone on the ship who didn`t have battle scars. I kept the 3rd worried the rest of the trip as I said I was going to drop something heavy on him when he was on watch. I bet his neck was sore by the end of the trip with looking upwards for flying missiles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey Pat Kennedy. Do you remember the bliddy size of the Shore Patrols batons? They must have been 3ft long, I would have become a very fast runner if those guys were after me. What is it they say about Discretion and Valour.
 

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Hey Pat Kennedy. Do you remember the bliddy size of the Shore Patrols batons? They must have been 3ft long, I would have become a very fast runner if those guys were after me. What is it they say about Discretion and Valour.
Jocko.
At least 3ft long, and about an inch diameter, and they weren't holding back with them. This bus came along at just the right time and took us to some place called Lai Chi Kok which was where the bus depot was. We walked back, and it took hours.
I should have mentioned earlier, we were with a crowd off a Ben boat which had accompanied us around the coast, and I became firm friends with a Glaswegian AB off her named Ian. I ended up going out with his sister some months later, her name was Lilias, the only time I've ever encountered that name.

As for the neds who mugged me in Linthouse, well, they didn't succeed.
best regards,
Pat(Thumb)
 

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Pat the biggest fight I ever saw was in 1955 hong Kong side at the union jack club,started small at first between MN and RN but slowly picked up steam when a few yanks came next thing MN/RN against swabs then europeans against yanks,red caps and shore patrol started to wade in, four of us got out sharpish was never a big drinker so I kept my wits about me ,right back to the star ferry and then the Red lion,those were the days Tony
 

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Now THAT was a bar brawl!!

I have posted this before, but it was the biggest brawl I was ever in and may give a laugh to those of you who haven't read it before.

Barahona, San Domingo. SS Nurtureton. 1952.

After a lengthy trip from Newcastle with numerous breakdowns, we finally unloaded our cargo of coal in Trinidad.
Sailing, we worked our guts out for days cleaning down the holds in preparation for a cargo of raw sugar.
We arrived at what we assumed was a piece of island Paradise and looked forward to a great time ashore.

Sacks of sugar were unloaded into the holds by prisoners from a prison ship at the jetty that poked out from the jungle. The guards ('vigies') were straight out of a Hollywood 'B' grade movie - gray uniforms crossed gun belts, gold handled revolvers in hip holsters and carrying rifles.
They meted out rough treatment to the workers who toiled all day under a hot sun, while down below the cargo trimmers worked without breaks. Nobody came up to use a toilet - we wondered about that!

An older crew member befriended a guard, no doubt with a few bucks, and got the inside info on the best spot for ' hungry ' sailors.
We, stupidly as it turned out, donned our garbardine zoot suits the first night and headed ashore.

It was a shock! Firstly we were accosted by shoeshine boys who, when we pointed to our shiny shoes threw boot polish at us while the local " vigies " laughed at our plight. So much for our suits, designed to pick up the local girls!

Then it pissed down and, caught out in the open, we got drenched!! I had never seen such heavy rain. Little kids were swimming in the street.

We found a bar and had a couple of rums then the older crew member led us to the shanty town area he had been told about by the guard.

You couldn't call it a bar - just a jungle shack, but they had plenty, plenty cheap rum, a couple of tables and curtained cubicles around the sides.The music was great, with a throbbing beat that would have excited a bishop.

Soon the 'girls' of varying ages, shapes and sizes, were plying their trade and they enticed a few of the older crew into the cubicles.

The night wore on and the rum did it's job as the boys including yours truly, became more raucous. It was great fun!

Suddenly, there was a scream from behind a curtain and all Hell broke loose.
Out came our Cornish shipmate, absolutely starkers with a similarly clad big momma punching the sh1t out of him.
He was jumped on by a couple of locals and, looking back, it was like an old Stanley Baker movie as we all jumped in to help him. Chairs, tables and bodies were flying everywhere! Johnny Cash would have loved it! Talk about the mud and the blood and the beer (rum)!

Well there were ten or more of us and even more of them, but we were gaining the upper hand when the " vigies " arrived, around a half dozen of them.
There were at least a couple of shots and then we were ordered at gunpoint into the open.

Naturally we were terrified, expecting to be shot by these yelling tyrants. However, looking back it was quite funny as three or four including our Cornish mate, were standing there without a stitch on, hands over their jewels. (I still roar with laughter when I recall the debacle).

Their clothes were brought out and eventually our captors surprisingly saw the funny side of it and escorted us to a nearby German doctor in another jungle shack who tended our wounds.

Judging by the Swastikas and other paraphenalia around the walls and on the bookshelves, he was obviously an escaped Nazi, but he bandaged and plastered us, although we were already somewhat plastered, and then told us to leave the women alone as most of the locals had Syphilis, hence the large number of deformed kids we saw.

Naturally we did not go ashore again and needless to say many of the lads spent a lot of time looking down for the rest of the trip!!! I lost a couple of front teeth!

Regardless of how many times we asked our Cornish mate what he did to antagonise his 'date' - we couldn't think of anything they would disallow - he was adamant that he did nothing out of the ordinary. Liar!

I always wondered how many of the gang were clapped out so to speak.

Taff
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I`m reading some great memories here. I often found that shore wallahs never believed us Ha ha. I mind we were in San Pedro between L.A. and Long Beach. You could get the train to either easy enough. Down in Long Beach all the bars were named after ships at Pearl Harbour. The only one I can remember was the Saratoga. Anyway we drank with a lot of U.S. sailors and at one time we were considering jumping ship and joining their navy. We loved their white uniforms and fancied we would look like Gene Kelly. The young sailors told us we would be accepted no problem as we were engineers and you didn`t have to be an American citizen. But it was only drink talking. Another time somewhere we were invited aboard a U.S. cargo ship. The engineers could hardly believe that we were engineers being so young. They had to go to college and they had their certicates on the outside of their cabins. They also showed us a book they were issued with. It was printed in Russian, depicting a super description of American life where everyone is well off and if they met any Russians they had to give them the book. I got the impression most of them would have preferred to just dump it over the side. I think the point I`m trying to make here is that seamen just naturally bond as they all have the same thing in common. A massive respect for the power of the big waves in bad weather.
 

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I was coasting on Blue Flue's Ajax, with a deck crowd who all came from Birkenhead, and were all long time mates from childhood. (Peter Trodden will know the characters of whom I speak)
Anyway, in Avonmouth, we went ashore on Saturday night and caught a train to a little place called Severn Beach. There was a big pub there, and we were all having a great time with the local girls but the local lads didnt like it, and sent for reinforcements.
Next thing we are battling it out in the carpark with about thirty locals.
When the police arrived and broke it up, I'm proud to say that Ajax was winning.
We were all marched to the station and put on board the return train to Avonmouth.
I wonder if Severn Beach ever recovered from its encounter with Birkenhead?
Pat(==D)
 

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once in malta about 63 the yanks were in port and at the end of the night they had landing craft at custom house steps to take them back aboard the shore patrol took great pleasure knocking any drunk sailor over the back of the head with there night sticks so that they fell into the bottom of the boat there was a pile of them when a few r n sailors took offence at what was happening and wanted to do something about it but one of the shore patrol said that those in the boat would be shore patrol the next night and it would be them getting belted but they did stop hitting any one else as the r n boys still where not happy .
 
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