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I joined the Wellpark as 3/E in Durban, 30th August 1980 it was Denholm’s cadet training ship. I think it carried twenty-four deck cadets and two bosons, the cadets took the place of ABs. The Engine room had three motormen and there was always a deck cadet doing his engine room time.

We loaded Maize in Durban and sailed for Kaohsiung Taiwan. On the way there we had a crossing of the line ceremony. I was Chief of Police the captains wife was Queen Neptune I think. It was a great day and as you can see from the photos we all had a great time except the poor cadet covered in grease.

We spent two weeks in Taiwan discharging maize into sacks, see photo. Taiwan was great for bootleg books as well as other stuff. You could buy copies of all the study books for deck or engine very cheaply. The only problem was they were printed on very thin paper so photographs did not come out to good. I bought Pounders Marine Diesel engines for a few dollars (£56 on Amazon today) also a few other books I used them all while doing my 2/E and C/E ticket.

The ship carried an extra mate as a training officer and I believe he also bought a pile of books for the ships training room as they were so cheap. A load of the cadets bought the Ship Captains Medical Guide (£38 on Amazon today). One of the cadets had some kind of an allergy and his skin was peeling off it, was like sunburn. So on a Sunday afternoon which was time off for all except the mates on watch and the UMS duty man, the cadets decided to have an inquisition into his condition. So they set up tables in the officer’s bar they got the guy in and sat him in front of this table there were three or four cadets all had their copies of the Ship Captains Medical Guide in front of them. They were all asking questions then consulting the guide, the outcome was unanimous he had anthrax but it must have been a mild dose as he survived the trip.

When the ship was built a football field had been marked out on the first hatch fwd of the accommodation and there was a net that went over the whole hatch and was connected to the crane jib which lay across the hatch, when stowed, about fifteen feet over the hatch. So football could be played at sea with no fear of losing the ball. The games were pretty rough and there were a few minor injuries. Mostly carpet burns caused by falling, or usually by being tripped, on the non-skid paint which had sand mixed with it.

Quite often the ships agents would arrange football matches and we had football strips etc onboard. While I was on the ship the cadets played two matches one against the South African Police in Durban and one against the Taiwanese marines, needless to say they were thrashed in both events. One of the stewards, I think he came from Glasgow, used to go with the cadets and look after the strips which were carried in a big hamper, at the bottom of the hamper was a case of beer for halftime. The story goes that, in Taiwan, all the cadets at half time were knackered and came over to the hamper and had a can of beer. While they were doing that the opposing team of marines were doing press-ups, sit-ups and all that healthy kind of stuff. Think the score was about 20:0. Maybe if one of the ex cadets who was there reads this he can tell the real story.

As you can imagine with all those young guys there were always loads of pranks getting played. On a Sunday or was it Saturday you always had the ship inspection of the accommodation with the Captain, Chief Engineer, Chief Mate and Chief Steward. Known as the march of the unemployed. The would play a prank on one of their fellow cadets and it was normal before the inspection to attack his cabin and remove everything that was not nailed down and this was placed in the changing room. The mattress was put on the foot and made up to look like a bed and all his gear was arranged around it. He usually only had a few minutes to get his gear back in to his room before the unemployed arrived to carry out an inspection.

Back to Taiwan, the cadets were only allowed to sub so much from their wages and soon ran out of cash, this was not only caused by buying books but by the other delights of Kaohsiung. So the beer we had on the ship began appearing in the local bars. The cadets were taking off beer, soap and anything they could get their hands on and selling it in the bars. It reached a stage when you went into bar that we all treated as our local they asked do you want Taiwan beer or your own.

There were three bars on the ships officers bar, crew bar and cadet’s bar. The cadet’s bar was called the fridge as there was a fridge full of beer and cokes. It was policy that one of the Chief Mates would lock the fridge at 22:00 but the cadets would take a case of beer out before 20:00 and hide it. There used to be good darts tournaments between the bars.

We said goodbye to Taiwan and headed to Queensland Australia where we loaded sugar. There the name of the ship, as is tradition, was painted on the jetty. I remember seeing the captain coming back from a night up the road with his wife and going over to the cadets, who thought they were in for a bollocking. This was not to be he started giving them a bit of advice in how to paint the wavy part of the Diamond D flag.

On the way across the Pacific we crossed the date line, now when you cross going West to East you end up going back a day, a bit like Groundhog Day. Well as I said we normally had a half day on a Sunday and as we crossed on a Sunday we thought we should have another Sunday and therefore another half day, we had two Mondays instead.

Next was the Panama Canal and on to Baltimore. On arrival at Baltimore it turned out there was a train strike so no sugar could be unloaded I was there about three weeks and then flew home. However during these three weeks some enterprising cadet phoned the local hospital or nurse’s home and the outcome was that we had a big party on the ship and a great time was had by all.

I paid off on the 28th December and when I got to Baltimore airport and checked in I found some bugger had lifted my wallet. I had my passport and as we were flying directly to Glasgow there was no problem getting home. I reported it to the local police but never saw the wallet again. I had some dollar bills so bought a beer and the guy next to me in the bar was a chief Engineer off another boat who was also going home to Glasgow so he bought me a few more. The Wellpark was a great ship nice engine room and good fun and I am glad I spent some time on her.
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Yes, good stuff. My 4 months in the WELLPARK was no so good. Only reason was that I had been in MAREE and was getting at the end my own 'contract'. At the last moment I left the ship in Sharjah and flew down to Newcastle to join WELLPARK. The regular Mate was taken for for medical reasons so I came on for 'a' month. The one month was stretched to four months. Apart from the ship was fine, but 8 months... grrrrrrrr! Good photos too. Discharging grain is definitely 'a job for the boys'.... 30,000 tons of grain by grab and every single tonne to be 'bagged'. Saw the same in Alexandria, SCOTSPARK, 14 days to discharge.
 

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Yes John. I bought a few books on electrics in Keelung, one of which was Marine Electrical Practice. Forty some years out of date now but I still have them.
Roger.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
A few more Wellpark pics, the one with the four guys on the jetty are the catering crew getting paid of in Australia. I am the guy in the red shirt and the guy with the shades sitting was the electrician sorry can't remember his name.
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First command. While at Keelung the 2nd Mate bought one of those small 'yachting' notices to stick up like, "I am the Captain and my wife gives me permission...." Or, " Bar Opening times from 0700 to 0650" Or "Captain's Word is Law". The 2nd posted this one in the chartroom.... "Captain's Word is BAD Law!".
 

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Proper nostalgia this, thanks for photos and verbage John.
I bought a few Kemp&Young books in Keelung, Notes on Stability and Notes on Meteorology
 

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A few more Wellpark pics, the one with the four guys on the jetty are the catering crew getting paid of in Australia. I am the guy in the red shirt and the guy with the shades sitting was the electrician sorry can't remember his name.
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Great photos. Just as I remember the Wellpark. Was there on maiden voyage as junior deck cadet. Please keep the photos coming. Great memories.
 

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Proper nostalgia this, thanks for photos and verbage John.
I bought a few Kemp&Young books in Keelung, Notes on Stability and Notes on Meteorology
I still have a number of marine books purchased in Kaoshsiung port 1970's. Mainly the Kemp & Young series (no doubt came with some copyright issues !!). There was quite a famous book shop we cadets used to get our text books at a fraction of UK prices. Not sure what the name was - something like Sams book shop. Can anyone recall. The shop also sold scrap ships equipment such as brass portholes to sextants. In them days Kaoshsiung was big ship scrapping port.
 

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There was a bookshop like that in Keelung in the North of the island and round the corner was a combined Seamans Mission / brothel
What more could a lad ask for
 

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There was a bookshop like that in Keelung in the North of the island and round the corner was a combined Seamans Mission / brothel
What more could a lad ask for


LTS(y);):cool:

Great picture AlbieR, proper nostalgia once again, I also recall it straight away now....👌
 
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Yes John. I bought a few books on electrics in Keelung, one of which was Marine Electrical Practice. Forty some years out of date now but I still have them.
Roger.
Likewise when on the Olivebank with Bankline we also went to Kaohsiung and I "invested" in a couple of very expensive, in the UK that is, electrical text books, still got them. The store sounds familiar and most everyone stocked up at Georges. Some fun bars also there as well. At the time in 1976 there was all these restrictions about using cameras and photographing anything for security reasons. Happy New all.
 
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