A fellow apprentice I sailed with used to tell of sitting in the Hull Shipping Office waiting to sign on when an obvious first trip apprentice walked in wearing uniform, whatever that may be. After a while a grizzled old A.B. asked, "What company are ye' joining?
"Oh", the young lad replied proudly, "I'm joining the West Hartlepool Steam Navigation Company".
"Take ye' own sandwiches then!"
hi i was on the first trip in1975, on the new lindenhall, sailed from imingham, was suposed to be a 3month trip, so thats what they told me at the pool office, sailed to europe, aussy, then the gulf, terrible trip. in the gulf the ships air con broke down, we ran out of booze, ran out of ciggs, and the whole crew asked to be paid off. we were stuck off jedda for 3 months, with 200 other ships waiting to be unloaded. we got the union involed, they then said to the company, if we dident get sent home, the dockers in the uk, wouldent unload any vessal belonging to this company.. 2 weeks later, we were all told to pack our bags as there was another crew coming out to take our place, within 24 hours, the company charted a british airways jet to bring in new crew and send us home. we were not to see the other crew or make contact. we were put up in a hotel over night before we flew out next day, in total it was a nine month trip. this was my last trip in the merchant navy, i was not the only crew member to leave, others also said it was the worst trip they had ever done in 30 years. im glad this company dosent now exist, plus instead of being just a galley boy, i had to double up as messman as well, no extra pay. food was good but thats all. rant over now, rob,
looking back again on this trip, the best bit was flying home from our charted plane from B.A we had the whole plane to our selves, the company had to charter the plane as it was ramadan, so no ordinary flights in or out of jedda to london, fully booked, as i remember the company charted 2 planes, the first part of the crew flew out the day before us, we flew out next day, friday, i think. 15 of us for the whole plane. as you would expect, we all clambered up to first class. all paid for, we took off at around 2pm with whisky in hand, sitting in the best leather seats, smoking a benson and headges. as we climed into the clouds i could see the docks and waters of the red sea below, and a last glimse of SD14 m.v lindenhall.(Thumb)
As North East Coast Tramp outfits go "Steam Navvie" were probably the best, served my time as an apprentice there 1963-67 (Kepwickhall and Apsleyhall) and would not not swap that experience for the world.
The Guthie family diversified in what must have been the 1980-90s into leisure, this included Hotels and Caravan/Camping Sales. They purchased the Grand Hotel in Hartlepool which I believe they have subsequently disposed of and "A19 Camping", originally located in Peterlee but moved under their management to Hartlepool. Both of which I understand they have now sold on or whatever.
The only member of the Guthie familiy that I ever knew was "Sonia Dobie (sic)" a delightful lady who still lives in Elwick (some 2 miles west of Hartlepool).
In Hartlepool there is a pub "The White House" at the confluence (sounds good possible not the right word) of Grange Road, Wooler Road and The Parade that was owned by the Guthies, it was then "Normanhurst" and was used as recuperation hospital during and after WW1 and was part of St Francis Grammar School for Boys in the 1950/70s, my Alma Mater (and God how I hated it. The Xaverian Brothers who ran it cured me of religion and sport for life).
WHSN (West Hartlepool Steam Navigation) Company had offices in Church Street Hartlepool which stand today but are now used as a School Of Music, (look at my photos and you will find a picture of the building).
The World Ship Society have a book detailing the history of WHSN written by my neighbour and it makes very interesting reading of an "upper class" (my opinion) North East Coast Tramp outfit (of which there were many) that gave me a start in what was subsequently to prove a successful career at sea.