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Discussion Starter #1
Seeking stories and experiences of Ship jumpers for PhD research
Can you help me? I am a PhD student hoping to find valuable information and possible interview subjects for my PhD on ship jumpers.

My name is Dean Broughton, as the son of a long-serving seafarer who worked on British and New Zealand ships for over fifty years I take a personal and academic interest in Merchant Navy history. I am in the second year of a PhD at Victoria University of Wellington exploring the experiences of ship jumpers in New Zealand from 1945 through to the 1990s.

With the help of Police Gazettes and nostalgic shipping sites. I have conducted extensive archival research into ship jumping. The theme of my research is to investigate the experiences of ship jumpers and the creation of a maritime immigrant group in New Zealand. With this message today, I hope to generate interest in my project and solicit stories and experiences of ship jumping. There has been great interest within the Academic and public environment as to why this subject has not been written about and it is highly likely that the subject of my PhD will become a book.

Oral interviews will be a vital component of the evidence for this project along with. evidence of motivations for ship jumping, experiences networks connections, stories of capture, do***ents records photos evidence of interaction with authorities’ police etc. anything else anyone can think of that they might think pertinent to my project. The time now seems right to highlight this important aspect of New Zealand history
If you have information evidence or stories to provide or would like to participate in oral interviews, please post a comment on line or private message me in the first instant. Be assured privacy is of the utmost importance if you wish to have a degree of anonymity. I have already posted this message on two other Merchant navy related sites and have received a good response it appears sailors and ex seafarers are more than keen to discuss their experiences
If anybody that I know out there on this site, please vouch for me.
Many Thanks
Dean Broughton
 

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Let's air a few of those member stories here, surely it's too long ago to get you into trouble !

Bob
...or deported! Whilst some of you are deciding whether to confess or not, and although I sadly can't help with regard to New Zealand, I hope I may be allowed to relate how, when I served on exchange with the Royal Australian Navy, I was quite amused to be given charge of a copy what was described as the thickest book in Australia, namely a manuscript record of all the the sailors from the Royal Navy who had gone on the run there since Victorian times.

It was indeed very thick, and I recall being told that it was not unknown for 50 or more sailors to go AWOL when major aircraft carriers visited Australian ports - at least until they were grassed up by jealous local boyfriends, an interesting contradiction to the oft quoted reluctance of Australians to dob anyone in.

Jack
 

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Skinned out of the Federal boat Westmorland at Timaru in 1972.
Worked in freezing works in Auckland for two years then re-joined Westmorland in 1974 on exactly the same berth in Timaru she was on when I skinned out, to work my passage back to UK.
Fortunately, she had a new Old-man and Ch Stwd by then.
Emigrated to NZ in 1977
Regards Phil (Thumb)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, Phil, awesome information.
Just wanted to say that many seafarers in New Zealand have passed on their stories to me. I think the time for recriminations has long passed and the law no longer punishes historical ship jumpers. I have had some amazing stories of ship jumpers living in New Zealand and Australia for 30 - 40 years undetected then becoming citizens and getting passports without questions asked. Not sure what U.K stand is. am happy to hear stories of jumping in any country in the world. I take any info seriously and in confidence, and if I did want to use any info I would get your written permission. Really what i am doing at the moment is to see why sort of info is out there. My thesis will also require info for context such as how the pool worked, class structures and relationships on ships and really anything to do with the day to day working of a merchant ship, so any info no matter how trivial you think I am sure will be helpful.
Cheers
Dean
 

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Spongebob
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Jumping ships

Not me, not well behaved little me , but my father did a bit of that stuff and although it might not be relevant to this thread here goes-

He served his apprenticeship in London during WW1 as a Dental Mechanic and then completed a course in prosthetic dentistry.
His father had died from the Spanish flu that swept the world in 1918 ,
his mother had taken up a position of House keeper at the Polish Legation and young Stanley felt out on a limb.
Australia was beckoning , his maternal grand parents and their family had emigrated to Brisbane in 1910 so gripped by his new qualifications and the urge to get out of then a dirty depressing London he packed his bag and went down the Royal docks to look for a berth.
This was in 1919 and he found one as a galley hand on the SS Euripides bound for Sydney. He washed plates and scrubbed pots for the voyage and went ashore then caught a train up to Brisbane.
This story was told to me many times while growing up but it was not until I had been at sea and after Dad had died that I gave thought to whether he had been able to legally quit the ship half way through the round voyage or whether he had in fact jumped, done a runner, deserted etc.
Once in Brisbane and united with his relatives he sought work only to find that the Australian and New Zealand Medical Association had a law enacted that forbid anyone other than a qualified Dental Surgeon from taking the initial plaster impression of the patient's mouth thus nullifying his UK qualification .
Never mind , he did bench work for dentists in town before heading up to Townsville for a few months then to Cairns where he stayed for two years.
On arrival in Cairns he booked into a pub across the road from the rail station and after buying a beer and being a very good pianist he sat down at the piano and played all the latest music hall tunes that had yet to hit the . The end result was a deal with the Landlord to play in the bar for three or four nights of the week in return for free board and victuals in the staff quarters.
Part time Bench work came from the two dentists in town, he worked on the sugar cane fields during the season and made ends meet but after two years home sickness set in, it took three months to send a letter home and receive a reply, so he went down to Brisbane and planned his trip home.
Paying his fare was out, he had little money , and after sculling around the Brisbane River berthage he pick on the relatively new ship Javis Bay which was due to sail for London.
Mingling with the Labour gangs he boarded the ship dressed to look like a docker but fattened up by the wads of spare clothing worn underneath and carrying a Colonial sugar bag as a haversack containing fruit, cheese sandwiches and water he slipped around to the deserted seaward side of the boat deck and climbed into a fire hose and rope locker near the base of the funnel and closed the door.
The ship sailed that afternoon and after staying hidden for a night and a day the food was gone and the water low so he came out and handed himself in.
He was interrogated , passport checked, then quartered in a steerage berth before being instructed to report to the Bosun each morning for daily work.
He scrubbed canvas hatch covers, stoned teak decks, chipped rust and applied paint every day until he arrived in London as fit as a fiddle and as brown as a berry . He must have glossed over what happened on arrival, I can't recall him telling me but maybe he was allowed ashore having earned his keep for the voyage.
Back at his old job at the London Dental Laboratory the depression of City life again took hold so off he went to the NZ immigration authorities and won a five pound passage to NZ as an assisted immigrant Dental Mechanic while knowing that he had little future in his trade.
Off he sailed again as a legit passenger in steerage class on Shaw Saville's SS Pakeha to Auckland . His cabin companions were Max Jaffe, a Jewish tailor who set up a men's wear shop in Auckland's Queen Street for many years and Edward Blakelock a Baptist Theologian who was returning from a trip to the UK. He eventually became a professor at Auckland University and was well know as a writer in the NZ Herald newspaper under the non de plume ' Grammaticus '
My father had been brought up in a devout Anglican family , had been a choir boy until his voice broke but had broken away from the church as an adult so I have to wonder about the cabin discussions at times what with a Jew, a Baptist and a failed Anglican expressing their views.
They did play a lot of chess and Dad was a master at it in those days.
Dad arrived to the news of little work in Auckland and a tip to travel to Hamilton where the Government was building the Public Trust new headquarters. A job was offering but required working from a Bosun's chair ,a skill he claimed after briefly using one on the Jarvis Bay. There he hung for a week or two chipping holes in the concrete walls of a lift well in order to fit anchor bolts for the elevator cable tray.
A lump of concrete hit his eye so off to the doctor and to be told to take a week's rest. Outcome was the sack and the next in the queue given the job.
No health and safety, no sick leave, no union representation so , on advice he travelled to the nearby country town of Cambridge for some R&R.
In the Masonic Hotel bar he met a Shetland Islander, an ex bosun on square riggers who had quit the sea after some experience on these new fangled steam ships and had chosen NZ as his Eldorado.
They hit it off, became close friend until Sam died , aged well into his nineties , in the early 1960's
Sam took Dad back to the nearby Horahora Hydro power station where he was the power transmission line overseer and set him up in a single man's hut accomodation to work as a construction hand.
He found a piano played a few tunes, found a few other musicians among the staff and neighbouring farms etc to set up a local Saturday night dance with the result that when the construction work finished he was offered a post as a trainee electrical linesman which was to be the start of of a forty year career in the public service electrical department.
By 1939 he was married with four children living at an electrical substation in Edge***be in the Bay of Plenty , was the senior linesman , and about to pass his electrical wireman's registration exam that opened up opportunities as a substation operator.
In 1940 all men had to register for possible military service and the Army took a keen interest in Dad's Dental qualification and summoned him to Auckland for interview and while he envisaged a life in a tent behind the lines in the Western desert repairing or making false teeth for soldiers that had lost their dentures in action or spewing up dodgy grog in the back streets of Cairo the Electricity Department was using the man-powering laws to lock in essential services to secure his duty as a substation operator .
This saw the whole family disrupted by a transfer to the far north of NZ near Kaitaia where a new substation had been built to bring power to an isolated area but more so to strengthen NZ defences in a likely attack on the country. The district was then our front line base for our squadron of Vickers Wildebeest bi-planes should any attack be made!
The war caused many transfers and saw me attend no less than eight primary schools in the time allotted to this part of life but we managed until he got a post war posting to Auckland city.
This is but a précis of his story but to this day I marvel at his strength of adventure in those times and they were no doubt a precursor to me wanting to emulate some of his efforts by going to sea myself.
Fat chance , most of my time as an engineer was feathered bedded.

Bob
 

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Thanks, Phil, awesome information.
Just wanted to say that many seafarers in New Zealand have passed on their stories to me. I think the time for recriminations has long passed and the law no longer punishes historical ship jumpers. I have had some amazing stories of ship jumpers living in New Zealand and Australia for 30 - 40 years undetected then becoming citizens and getting passports without questions asked. Not sure what U.K stand is. am happy to hear stories of jumping in any country in the world. I take any info seriously and in confidence, and if I did want to use any info I would get your written permission. Really what i am doing at the moment is to see why sort of info is out there. My thesis will also require info for context such as how the pool worked, class structures and relationships on ships and really anything to do with the day to day working of a merchant ship, so any info no matter how trivial you think I am sure will be helpful.
Cheers
Dean
I gave myself up at Otahuhu police station and although they locked me up for about 20 minutes, they let me go as they had no record of me skinning out. Turned out that they weren't looking for me and me going under an assumed name for a couple of years and forever looking over my shoulder had been all for nothing.
Still had to go to court and fined and sentenced to be deported but police were great and said if I appealed they would not object but I needed to go home and make my peace with the family.
P & O contacted me and invited me to work my passage home which I was only too pleased to do. The rest is history.
Regards Phil (Thumb)
 

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Ha ! I have a good story of somebody who jumped ship...

You did not give an Email address to contact you.

ATB

Laurie.
Apologies, for anybody who wants to respond in confidence please contact me at dcbroughton(at)live.com.
Gentlemen, a quote from general site rules: "Do not include clickable e-mail addresses or phone numbers in your posts. If you need to include an e-mail address, please type it as example 'at' example.com, or better still communicate such information by Private Message."

If you do post your email address or phone number then you are publishing them world wide, since SN is very international in its membership. Not a good idea!
 

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Hi Broughdean. Two people I know of , both deceased,Tommy Adderley jumped the Rangitata and became MR NZ rock and roll. Google,' Good morning mister rock and roll,' by a group called head band. Tom was buried with his cowboy boots on his coffin at Schnapper rock North shore Auckland.My mate from Salvesens jumped here also from the Rangitata and married a Maori girl. He died in a car crash in Northland. I spent many years looking for his family because I had met someone in Auckland who had sailed with him and told me he had a child. Years later somebody contacted me who knew the story and his daughter lived about twenty minutes up the road from me in Auckland. She was married with her own children and did not even know her dad had been MN. I was able to give her an original picture of the ship he and I sailed on together which was Salvesens Salmela which I joined in Capetown. Hope this helps.
 

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Spongebob
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Thanks for the PM Broughdean, another story has crossed my mind , told to me in the early 1960's by Dick Simmers who was chief engineer of the NZ Refrigerating company in Christchurch at the time.
The company has started a large freezing facility expansion and had appointed a capable engineering staff member to manage the project .
The selected Man had joined the company a couple of years earlier and had proved his abilities for the job.
Timing was critical as the new plant was to be up and running for the new season and just as progress was looking good the police came on site and arrested their project engineer. Turned out that he had jumped ship About three years previously for a love in his life and has ended up working for them.
Immigration and police took a hard line and were pressing for immediate deportation back to the UK so the company took the initiative and agreed that he should go immediately .
During the process the company had also applied for the immigration of the same man under the special skills category and to satisfy the overall beauracracy they paid for a first class air ticket to get him there and back as quickly as possible and without too much wear and tear due to a cattle class flight.
All was right on the night!

Bob
 

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Spongebob
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Yet another one, not a jumping of the ship but an overstayers situation.
In the 1950's two young men from Cottingham near Hull had finished their two years of military service and were in search of a big adventure so each kitted out with a AJS 500 cc single banger , camping gear and survival kit etc to make the planned overland journey from their home to New Zealand .
They then planned to tour this remote country before perhaps buying a seaworthy yacht and sailing back to the Uk.
It was a big adventure with a book load of happenings but they eventually made it overland to Calcutta before shipping the bikes to Australia then to NZ .
They stayed a year or two then one died in an aircraft accident . He held a pilots licence and had been carrying out aerial top dressing with an adapted Tiger Moth.
Plans shattered , his mate stayed on a year or two , met a relative of mine , built a house , raised a family , had a good life and as Retirement loomed he was persuaded to do a tourist trip back to the UK.
There was a delemma , his British passport was years out of date , he was not a NZ citizen , he had arrived in NZ on a visitors visa etc , would he be deported?
Intense speculation for a day or two but his clean slate and lack of clear records within the immigration department saw the matter resolved , the trip taken and a happy return to NZ

Bob

N
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Awesome story Bob
Thanks again great information on immigration processes and value of ship jumpers as employees.
Cheers
Dean
 

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Spongebob re your #13 "Immigration and police took a hard line.." My understanding is it wasn't those two organisations taking a hard line and insisting the full weight be dropped on the ship jumper, it was the shipping companies insisting action should be taken. Kia ora!
 

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ART6, Deans email address in your quote is live and in view......(Thumb)

Frank
Oops! Just shows what happens if the typing finger is engaged before the brain!

Anyway, corrected. Thanks for the notification.
 
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