Ships Nostalgia banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,923 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Some years ago I was asked to write some verse under the title, "The Sea-Dogs of Liverpool". My initial violent cringe was relieved only by the fact that the request was made by a Priest in Holy Orders. In common with those who persist in singing sea-shanties when warm, clean, dry and well-fed, the request from the Priest (an Anglican Canon of Liverpool Cathedral), was well-intentioned. The result is shown below, with my apologies to those who might have seen it before.

THE SEA-DOGS OF LIVERPOOL

The Sea-Dogs of Liverpool: Tell me about them.
Just look at a ship and let nobody doubt them,
Whose ships drew the world rather closer in thought,
Who traded in every approachable port,
Archangel to Adelaide, East unto West,
Built Liverpool into the biggest and best
In the world, for a while, not so far long ago,
Through trade. Nothing more, no great glamorous show.
Who looked to the world and the world would look back,
And a deal would be done, trading barrel and sack:
Who smiled in the face of the poor xenophobe
And profited Liverpool, London & Globe.

The Sea-Dogs of Liverpool: Tell me about them.
Their merits are many. Too many did shout them.
Each learned as a boy in a cockleshell boat,
From his father, the paramount, “Keep her afloat.”
Each grew with the basics of, “Hand, reef and steer”
As he rose to maturity, year after year,
Until he showed fitness, by trust and by laws,
And a ship would commission him: “Sir, this is yours,
To navigate, ministrate, keep her, protect her,
And run her for profit, that’s why we have decked her.
Now sail her: And honour each promissory note:
And come back to Liverpool. Keep her afloat.”

The Sea-Dogs of Liverpool: Tell me about them.
I’ve grown with them, own with them, so much about them.
Honour is mine to have sailed in their fleet:
For a pilot, a Liverpool ship ‘neath his feet
Is the tallest of feelings, the top of the range,
Inheritance drawn from the Flags of Exchange.
Each Sea-Dog is human. Some better, some worse.
Some heroes, some zeroes, some need a wet nurse:
But history shows that the record is sound:
Success is not gained when a ship runs aground.
The common-hold thread of each maritime note
Is, “Liverpool, Liverpool. Keep her afloat.”

BY
2006
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,103 Posts
Barry! How's about-----

----some humorous prose about the scourge of Liverpool and London,
"The Unions" and the way they virtually destroyed our Merchant Navy and "The Docks".(*)) Phil
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,923 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Hi, Phil,

Thank you for the challenge. The events which you mention remain far more painful in the memory than I would ever have wished. Perhaps more importantly, the role of the unions was far from being the only - or even the strongest - aspect of those events. The advent of the jet aeroplane engine, the development of containerisation and the talents of pilots in cramming ever larger ships into places of static size were all significant contributory factors which nobody would have sought to obstruct for the sole reason of keeping trade-unionists employed. Times were hard for eveybody and, for sure, the loss of the British Merchant Navy as the principal carrier of our own necessary freight is of major concern - with current developments in politics not easing that concern in any way. It strikes me as madness that an island nation of our own density of population can imagine that it can achieve any greater sovereign independence when it has such limited means of feeding its own needs.

Repeated thanks for the challenge, but I'll keep my hands free at present!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,103 Posts
Thanks Barrie.

Perhaps I am being a bit "naughty" blaming "The Unions" for the, (eventual), downsizing of our Maritime Nation but some of their exploits beggared belief! The following is a good example.

I was S3E/O on ACL's "Atlantic Causeway" and she'd had to be 'rushed' into service owing to a French ACL ship failing a boiler test whilst being commissioned.

This meant small details had been omitted, "to be rectified as-and-when".

One of these details was the chain which attached to the bottom of my cabin chair to stop it falling about in heavy weather hadn't been fitted.

We were in Liverpool, I was reading in my cabin, when there was a knock on the door. Opened it to find five blokes there. "Come to fit your chair-restrict", said No.1 the Supervisor, No.2 an upholsterer, cut a hole in the carpet, No.3 a plater, drilled five holes in the deck, No.4 a fitter, tapped four of them then screwed the fitting into place, No.5, a labourer swept-up after the 'work' was completed!

FIVE to do the work of ONE!!!

Incidentally, Barrie, as a poet have you ever read Kipling's "McAndrew's Hymn"? It's a brilliant 'story' of a "Chief" talking to his engine-room as they are both 'retiring'.

As a huge Kipling fan I was lucky-enough, when browsing-round one of the many book-shops in Calcutta, in 1963, to find a copy of, "The Definitive Edition of Kipling's Verse" which has ALL Kipling's poems in it and where I first read "McAndrew's Hymn". Phil
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,923 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thank you, Phil.

McAndrew's Hymn - A Masterpiece indeed!

The extent of Kipling's knowledge as an amateur engineer and amateur mariner was phenomenal.

B.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
825 Posts
Poetry does not seen to be much in vouge these days. From my school days I can recall having to learn a poem by heart and then having to recite to the class not an easy task for me.
Mrs M. still likes to browse through her poetry books from time to time and one of her favourite is this one.
https://www.bartleby.com/246/576.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
239 Posts
Perhaps I am being a bit "naughty" blaming "The Unions" for the, (eventual), downsizing of our Maritime Nation but some of their exploits beggared belief! The following is a good example.

I was S3E/O on ACL's "Atlantic Causeway" and she'd had to be 'rushed' into service owing to a French ACL ship failing a boiler test whilst being commissioned.

This meant small details had been omitted, "to be rectified as-and-when".

One of these details was the chain which attached to the bottom of my cabin chair to stop it falling about in heavy weather hadn't been fitted.

We were in Liverpool, I was reading in my cabin, when there was a knock on the door. Opened it to find five blokes there. "Come to fit your chair-restrict", said No.1 the Supervisor, No.2 an upholsterer, cut a hole in the carpet, No.3 a plater, drilled five holes in the deck, No.4 a fitter, tapped four of them then screwed the fitting into place, No.5, a labourer swept-up after the 'work' was completed!

FIVE to do the work of ONE!!!

Incidentally, Barrie, as a poet have you ever read Kipling's "McAndrew's Hymn"? It's a brilliant 'story' of a "Chief" talking to his engine-room as they are both 'retiring'.

As a huge Kipling fan I was lucky-enough, when browsing-round one of the many book-shops in Calcutta, in 1963, to find a copy of, "The Definitive Edition of Kipling's Verse" which has ALL Kipling's poems in it and where I first read "McAndrew's Hymn". Phil
You may also remember that the chains had been omitted from the chairs in the Officers dining room and they ended in a heap in one corner when we first hit bad weather. They also had forgotten to fit bonding wires to the starboard fin stabiliser which was found to be badly corroded at the first drydock.

Howard
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,923 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
A further major factor (not mentioned above) in the decline of the ports as they formerly existed was the development of road transport by way of the motorway and the roll-on-roll off ferry. This single factor, more than anything else, killed the maritime Mediterranean fruit-trade, which formed a large sector of port operations. I was fortunate to gain much of my early experience as a licensed pilot aboard Spanish fruit-ships, many of which were of less than 600 tons gross - and thus quite suitable for a pilot aged merely twenty-three.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,923 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
An early experience in the Mediterranean fruit-trade with one of the Sea Dogs of Liverpool was aboard Ellerman & Papayanni's mv Darinian, inward bound from sea to Alexandra Dock via Langton Lock.

It was in December 1968 (I think). In a north-westerly gale the pilot-cutter was working at Douglas Bay, Isle of Man, where I duly climbed aboard; and met the Master. Against my twenty-five years of age he was wearing numerous rows of medal-ribbons and had quite possibly seen service in the First World War.

All proceeded well across the Irish Sea, into the Mersey and into Langton Lock. Darinian was one of Papayanni's fleet known as "market-boats", twin-screw and powerful. Papayannis operated on such a scale that they retained two pilots by appropriation, especially to serve their company ships. On this occasion, no company pilot was available.

The prospect after passing through Langton Lock was to cross Langton Dock, pass through one bridge, turn through 270 degrees and then berth in Number One Branch dock, head west. Leaving the lock at dead-slow ahead on one engine, I soon realised that we were rapidly approaching a speed of about seven knots; and, suddenly, all pilotage folk-lore came forcefully to mind! "The market-boats. You gotta watch 'em! They're notoriously powerful and it's instantaneous!" Oh, Christ. The vital requirement, obviously, was to use as few engine movements as possible. And so we passed through the bridge and, with benefit of a swinging-rope on the starboard bow, the turn through 270 degree was eventually made, with no damage other than to my own dignity. I was so ashamed, however, with how long it had taken ultimately to complete the exercise that I apologised to the Master, saying, "I'm sorry, Captain, I should have done very much better than that."

Salvation, however, was at hand. The Master, the real old Liverpool Sea Dog and perfect gentleman, said, "Never mind, son, I've seen the Company pilots do an effing sight worse!" Of such moments is humanity made!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,103 Posts
Talking of stabilisers----

You may also remember that the chains had been omitted from the chairs in the Officers dining room and they ended in a heap in one corner when we first hit bad weather. They also had forgotten to fit bonding wires to the starboard fin stabiliser which was found to be badly corroded at the first drydock.

Howard
----I remember, on "Causeway" whilst alongside in Liverpool, starting to climb-up the vertical ladder from one of the stabiliser compartments and being aware of 'some-sort-of-liquid' hitting the top of my loaf, (which, by then, was starting to lose its 'covering').

I looked-up to see a willy pouring-forth! It was a docker, seeing the open-door from the car-deck, relieving himself on top of me! In all fairness he hadn't looked down to see what was 'down there' but, on the other side-of-the-coin, the mucky s1d shouldn't have been having a slash down there anyway!

I shouted something like, "Oy! Dirty tw1t! Go and p1ss down a toilet and NOT down here!".

The 'shower' instantly stopped and the exposed willy vanished!

I went back to the Control Room, told whoever it was on-watch with me what had happened, and said I was away for a shower and a change of boiler suit!!!

Near-on 50 years ago and I STILL remember that incident! Phil
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top