Page 1

pp


Contents 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 23 24 25 27 28 29 30 Back Page

Chairman’s Page Stockpot Merchant Navy Day Armistice Day Remembrance Sunday Woolybacks Monte Ferro and the Sierra Metallica Jobs for the Boys Celebration Quiz Grand Old Lady Arrivals and Departures Bacchus and Maenads Greetings From Oz Bad Penny Bluey’s Liverpool’s Lost Treasure Bristol Fashion Indie Page Vindi Page Bright Sparks Lost Planet The Flying Dutchman The Way We Were Poem Loss of the Samala Good Day Out 23rd Psalm Obituary Quiz Answers Sea Queens

Front cover photo by Eddie Barford. Back cover painting of the first Blue Funnel Line Ship SS Agamemnon by permission of the artist John Richardson

Items for publication should be handed to the editor (If you can find him) or sent to; - Pat Moran Editor, Liverpool Retired Merchant Seafarers Newsletter, All members’ entries for the Obituary or Sick and Hurt notices will be published if submitted. All other items, if written for your magazine, get into it, get it Published for the Liverpool Retired Merchant Seafarers


Page 1

Chairman’s Page

Dear Members and Readers, Once again the Festive Season is upon us with all hands looking forward to the annual dinner dance at the Devonshire Hotel. This is followed in the New Year with our A.G.M. This is our most important meeting of the year and members are urged to make an effort to attend. Numbers at recent General Meetings have been disappointing and have not represented a true opinion of the majority. Remember YOUR vote counts in the running of YOUR CLUB Members are reminded that nominations for office need to be submitted and seconded in writing two weeks before the A.G.M. On behalf of your committee I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a lucky and healthy New Year.


Page 2 Stockpot Subscriptions for the 2007 editions of the magazine are now due. However due to the incompetence of your editor you are still due one more edition for 2006, this will be sent to you in January. Any money you send now is for next year’s magazines. Please send £8 for UK or £12 for overseas readers to: John Woolam Esq., Treasurer, Liverpool Retired Merchant Seafarers, 23 Ramillies Road, Liverpool L18 1EE, England, United Kingdom. Apology We must also apologies to the Rowan family who’s dreadful losses during World War 2 were featured on page 32 of the Summer Edition of the mag., We indicated that the family came from the Vauxhall area of Liverpool wereas they are very much Southenders. We are sorry for any offence caused. We would still like to follow up this family’s story and pay a fuller tribute to their sacrifice. We have tried for some considerable time to contact any of their descendents but have not been able to do so. If anyone can put us in touch please do so, so we can make amends.

War Graves Merchant ships sunk during wartime could be classified as war graves after a High Court decision in favour of two sisters who applied for the wreck of SS Storaa be given that status and protection. The ladies father died in the ship when a torpedo sank her in 1943. Government Agencies appealed against the High Court’ decision to register the ship as a war grave but the Appeal Court Judges have ruled in the sisters favour. The Appeal Court decision means the wrecks of merchant ships that contain human remains will be protected by the same legislation that protects sunken warships. It is illegal for commercial or private divers to disturb such ships. Salvage or the removal of artefacts will not be permitted without a licence and these are very seldom granted. Government Agencies are very reluctant to grant war grave status to the wrecks of merchant ships. The Lancastria was Britain’s worst ever sea disaster. She was sunk when evacuating of troops from Saint Nazaire after Dunkirk. Nobody knows or will admit how many men were lost but it was at least 4,000 and could have been as many as 7,000. The Government has not registered her as a war grave even though most of those lost were servicemen. The French Government takes a very different attitude and has declared an Exclusion Zone for a considerable distance around the wreck, go near her and the Marine Fuzz will be around your neck,” very smartly.” Singapore and Malay warships throw small scuttling charges over the side whenever they sail over the wrecks of Prince of Wales and Repulse, it won’t kill any divers but it will be ta ta eardrums. The liver, kidneys and spleen will not be too happy either.


Page 3 Merchant Navy Day Merchant Navy Day blew in with a gale to greet the new chairman so you know what to expect from now on. It blew out with a squall as black as a banshee’s cloak screeching to match. In between it wasn’t too bad but Jim Heneghan and the 18 standard bearers thought they were rounding Cape Horn in sail. The church was full and as usual the choir and the Travelling People folk group gave sterling performances. Walter Short LRMS’S oldest active member laid the main wreath. Lieutenant Commander Alexander Greg RCN laid a wreath on behalf of the people of Canada, as did Mr Jan Blaasse on behalf of the Netherlands Merchant Navy Veterans.

A windswept Father Patrick Harnett the Reverend Peter McGrath and the Reverend Stephen Brookes, Rector of Liverpool, prepare to conduct the 2006 Memorial Service on the Pier Head. The blackness behind is only the outrider of the Hooligan that blew in a few moments later. Photo E E Taylor Salford MNA Page 4 We are in trouble with the Bizzies over us sweeping across the Strand like Genghis Khan’s Golden Horde. We were supposed to march in an


orderly manner behind the band but the band set off without us. It was not the band’s fault; they were given the order to move off before the parade was formed up. The new arrangements did not work so next year it is back to forming up in Chapel Street. We have not got any photographs of Walter laying the wreath so if any of our readers took pictures of the ceremony we will be grateful if we can have copies. Mr Taylor from Salford MNA sent us some very good ones of the stormy one of which showed a cine camera being used. We got a copy which we have put on DVD so if anyone wants one, sing out. Unfortunately we can’t make stills from. The Sea Cadets band performed wonders playing the National Anthem in a howling rainstorm, who says today’s kids don’t care. Well done the lady who played the Last Post and Reveille facing into the storm and with frozen lips. A big “Well Done” to everybody for standing firm through it all. Needless to say, when it was over the sun came out. Most the Buildings on the Pier Head and surrounding area were dressed with a Red Ensign and the Flags of allied nations. Notable exceptions were the Thistle hotel and the Liverpool Maritime Museum but more of that later. A lavish buffet and entertainment was provided in the Eldonian Village hall after the ceremony. All the dignitaries attending the service were present and have all sent letters of appreciation for the good time they had. Mr Potts the High Sheriff enjoyed himself so much he has asked can he attend on a club day to hear more of the tales (scurrilous no doubt) he was told on the day. He will of course be very welcome. The Thistle Hotel refused to fly a Red Ensign because they preferred to promote their own corporate image. The Museum refused on Health and Safety grounds, however it must have been healthier and safer the following week when they flew Honda flags for the Honda Power Boat Race. Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday A short memorial service was held on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day to commemorate the Merchant Navy war dead. Peter Devlin of Stella Maris conducted the service at the memorial on the Pier Head, Alf Bordessa, LRMS, laid a wreath and the RNLI fired a salute of Maroons at the start and finish of the ceremony. Six members attended the Remembrance Sunday service at Liverpool Cathedral. It was commented at the LRMS General Meeting, “this was not good enough.” “You claimed the badge, go to the Show.”


Page 5

Stockpot 2

Denial There is no truth in the allegation made that your editor is interested only in the North End of this fair city, nor is it true that he has never been south of the Pier Head, He remembers quite clearly a Wednesday in 1952 being sent to the Hilbre Island in the Herculaneum Dock on a message. She was not there but he does recall his surprise at understanding what the men in the Buoy Stores said to him. He also remembers visiting the Dukes Crown Ma Cunningham’s, on several occasions. This was the pub with the best pint of draught Guinness in the world. Guinness in bulk does not travel well and loses strength during transit. To preserve its quality it was brewed extra strong in Dublin and exported to Liverpool to be bottled. The Guinness berth was in the Salthouse Dock directly opposite the Dukes Crown. Barrels of the divine nectar were rolled across the Dock Road to the pub and left in the cellars for days to settle. When fully settled it still took twenty minutes to pull a pint. The bar counter was full of partially filled glasses that were constantly “topped up” until they were full. Although your editor remembers entering this emporium of delight he, cannot ever recall leaving it. Up For Grabs Not far from the Dukes Crown is Church House on the corner of Paradise St, and Hanover St, once the Headquarters of the Mersey Mission to Seamen and we are told the first home of the “Pool.” It is up for sale and the Church HQ will move to the South End. Money rules nowadays, it’s a valuable site and will fit nicely into the Duke of Westminster’s Paradise St Development. It still seems a pity to move the seat of Liverpool’s church government out of the city centre. If you want to see the Bish now; he’s with the Woolybacks. Woolybacks Handsome Jack Brotheridge tells us the term Woolybacks originated in the 19thC, amongst the Dockers working the Irish ferries in the Clarence Dock. When a small flock of sheep was in the cargo, it was not worth shipping the big gangway used for large numbers of cattle. The sheep would be carried ashore on the back of a man holding it by the forelegs, (the opposite to the Welsh position,). Lanolin oil from the sheep’s fleece would soak and stain the men’s clothes. The residual stink of the sheep was very difficult to shift so the job was unpopular. The men waiting to be shipped as Dockers, would know this unpleasant work was on the cards and would “hang the latch” letting the “green” country boys step forward and be hired for the job. The country boys were assumed to come from Saint Helens, which, even then was a highly industrialised and mining town. So that’s one more we got wrong


Page 6

Stockpot 3 Monte Ferro and the Sierra Metallica

Hartlepool’s Council has refused planning permission for the US Navy ghost ships to be broken up there. The reasons given are possible pollution of the environment and considerations of Health and Safety. This looks like a great opportunity for Bootle to bid for this work. We are already the scrap capitol of Europe and the effects of scrap processing, sorry, “Minerals Recycling” on the local population appears to have been “discounted. It would bring work for the “Mineral Recyclists” (who all seem to come “Fre Owldham”) and only add a few feet to the top of the Sierra Metallica in Canada Dock.

Above Monte Ferro and the Sierra Metallica


Page 7

Stockpot 4 More Jobs

The European Commission is considering bringing in a law similar to that of the US Cabotage Law. This requires all cargo dispatched from one US port to another to be carried in US owned, registered and crewed ships. In effect all coastal cargo originating within the US including Hawaii. The proposed EU law will require all trade between EU countries to be carried in ships owned and registered by member countries of the European Community, (the Common Market). The ships will have to be crewed by nationals belonging to community countries. There is a lot of opposition to these proposals, from the shipowners and their usual supporters. They object to control of British shipping passing into the hands of the EEC. They want to continue crewing their ships with the cheapest labour available. If the European Commission approves the law it will take time before any jobs become available to UK seafarers. At present many of the coastal ships are crewed by nationals of member states, Poles, Romanians, Russians, Latvians Etc., who are very competent and cheap. However this will not last and knowing the shipowner cannot go to the Far East for cheap labour they will soon start to demand parity with French, Danish and British seafarers terms. As most of our grandchildren are now adults it is too late for them, but your grandchildren may find themselves training at a reincarnated Vindicatrix or Dickey Bonds. Buses The bus overtaken by Arthur Micklewright (See Page 29 Sick and Hurt) is now a late bus, but then it always was. Now however it is extinct, defunct no more. The good news is the 101 will now run from the Canning Place Bus Station on a much-improved route through the Eldonian Village up Burlington Street. Don’t get on it in Queens Square because it goes all around the World before reaching the Eldonians. You can get on outside James Street Station, in Exchange Street East or in Tithebarn Street. The bus leaves Canning Place at 10 to and 20 minutes past the hour. The other way from Burly on the hour and half hour. Current experience is one in three goes missing, now’t changed there then. Other good news is that a new bus route along Vauxhall Road ending at the Old Roan is due to start early next year, now that is an improvement. All we need now is a bus to the New Strand so we can do our shopping. Do not board buses for the Albert Dock if you want to go to the Albert Dock they don’t go there no more. The new road system through the Kings Dock has proved to be so hazardous the buses have been withdrawn. They now go straight along the Dock Road to the South End.


Page 8 Celebration It is with great pleasure that we report the wedding of two of our Bezzy Mates The delectable Carole and the very dapper Tony Bryan “tied the knot” B-o-T., in Old Hall Street. Tony and Carole met in the club where they have a regular place on the “Working Alleyway Table.” They are a lovely couple and everyone wishes them a long and happy marriage.

Tony Bryan coming from a family of seafarers felt it was his duty to follow suit, so he joined the Army. Tony loved the Army and won several major boxing championships. Being a real soldier he spent a lot of time knocking “blue lights out of people.” Tony served out East, in Suez and the British Army on the Rhine, flattening much of Germany in the process. We don’t know what medals he has got but we do know he was awarded a VNC from the Empire Orwell. For more see page 25.


Page 9. Quiz 1. Which country has the most camels? 2. Who are the lightest men? 3. Which shipowner is buried in the tower of Liverpool Cathedral? 4. What colour is the Welsh Dragon? 5. What is the oldest name for Anglesey? 6. What is the Welsh word for island? 7. Who was Saint Seriol? 8. Where did he live? 9. Who was Paddy West? 10. Who was Old Mother Riley? 11. When and where was the “Pool” formed? 12. What does the R stand for on your discharge book? 13. Where are most of the British seamen’s records kept? 14. What did any British ship carrying 100 or more souls have to have? 15. Who and what was O’Neill to the Blue Funnel? 16. What are Sea Areas Dagger and Fisher named after? 17. What are Sea Areas Lundy, White, Utsire North and South named after? 18. What are Sea Areas Rockall and Fastnet named after? 19. Where in Liverpool is the Sanctuary Stone? 20. Where in Liverpool did St Patrick preach on his way to Ireland?

Who has not sailed on the Saint Seriol and cannot remember descending into the Main Saloon to be greeted by the smell of Guiness, vomit and chips. the trip always seemed to be rough but we loved it and her. Her sister Tudno was nice too


Page 10 A Grand Old Lady So far we have had a lot of text but only one ship picture so when we saw this it had to go in. She’s so smart we thought it was her maiden voyage in 1947 but the mens clothes and Vittoria Dock quayside are wrong. The men were Japanese businessmen on a visit in 1966. Clan Robertson in the background.

Anchises, Built Caledon Dundee 1947, not bad for an old lady of 19 years

Ugly Mugs

Albert “The Terrible” Hunt, Discharge book photo on leaving Indefatigable to join Rakaia as a deck boy bugler. We thought Albert had peaked when he got barred from the Punch and Judy, He has now got himself barred from Oxfam in Bold St. Never underestimate the dedication a true champion.


Page 11 Arrivals and Departures Gentleman John Corbet, Deputy Head Serang of the US Merchant Marine Veterans Association, blew in at Storm Force 10, regaled us with tales of “derring do” until the “Wimmen” arrived and then his mind was elsewhere. John is truly the ancient mariner serving throughout the war, which he viewed as something of an imposition, visiting North Russia in the “Holiday Season” and sundry, other exotic locations where things were sometimes hot, even below zero. John says the American Merchant Seamen’s suffering during the war and their contribution to the final victory has never been properly rewarded or acknowledged, in fact they were very badly treated. The American Shipowner's were so tight they stopped the crew’s wages as soon as a ship was sunk, sounds familiar. At least our American friends have now got a pension of sorts, too late for most but more than our boys have got. John was always very active in the Union leading a number of disputes when he ended up in gaol. However his Union always paid his fines and got him out. He refused to sail in any flag of convenience ships, saying, “if “Old Glory” ain’t on the stern, I ain’t going. John, still a fiery character, spends much of his time travelling the world as the representative of the Merchant Marine Veteran’s Association. He was here to attend the Merchant Navy Day celebration at Tower Hill ceremony, which “pissed us off” somewhat since Alf Bordessa did everything possible to get the American Embassy to send a representative to our ceremony. Alf tried to get them to attend from the first MN Day service in 1999 and later ones. The Embassy put him onto the Military and they did not even answer or return his phone calls. The Stars and Stripes has never been flown at the Liverpool ceremony and the US is the only major allied power missing. There is a memorial stone in the wall of the floating roadway to commemorate the four and a half million “young men” who marched up it from troop ships in two World Wars, too many of them never marched back. It was to the UK, West Coast ports the Atlantic convoys brought their cargos, London being closed. Besides her troops the United States landed her dead and wounded here, both Navy and Merchant Marine. John has said he will “get something done” when he gets back to the US. We really have tried very hard to get the Americans here for our Merchant Navy Day Service. We have written to the Library of Congress, the Pentagon and President Bush personally but had no reply from any of them. We are very aware of the part played by the US Merchant Seafarers during WW2, particularly the convoys to Russia. We want to honour these men and do not understand why their own country apparently does not.


Page 12

Bacchus and the Maenads*

Gentleman John Corbet with the “Wimmen”, as soon as they arrived he was “at it,” and all on one bottle of Bud.

More Bacchanalia**

Farewell party for our Kiwi visitors Nick Murphy, his sister Bridie and Kenny and Jean Haynes. Nick is in the check shirt, Kenny’s on his knees. We don’t know what Pauline and Peggy were on but lets get some more of it. * Good boys and girls don’t need to know this kind off thing. Oh all right then, they were women who got drunk and tore men to pieces. ** When and where they did it.


Page 13

Greetings From Oz?

Recently departed “back to Australia” George Murray sat on the Quarter Deck table with Jimmy Murphy, Freddy Orme, George and his mate Brian we think Powell. George is a long time ex Pat and has been sailing in Aussie coastal ships for yonks. He lives near Newcastle NSW and has been here on a long holiday to see the old place and shipmates. He can’t see much of the old place but he has done plenty of swinging the lamp with the Awl Scalies.

We are glad he got home O.K. even if, in return for all our hospitality, he sent us, a picture of a pile of camel dung, Ha!!


Page 14 Bad Penny Blueys George Murray playing the “bad Penny” crops up again in this picture. George and Brian always sat on the Quarter Deck with the club’s “elders” but when we ejected Freddy Orme and Arthur Micklewright from their seats (“hereditary seats”) so we could pack the corner with Blue Funnel chief stewards and cooks for a photo shoot, George insisted on staying put. Turns out him and Brian Powell? were in Bluey’s, as was the blonde lad from Kiwi, who’s name we have lost. They probably backed out of one. That’s how most of the many Scouse seafarers working the Aussie and New Zealand got down there anyway.

The Milkmaid We asked in our last issue, where was Mabel's Bar and who was Mabel. We are told it was on the Dock Road opposite the Wellington Dock Gate. Mabel, being well endowed was known as the Milkmaid. She dealt with persistent leerers by coming near and flashing the crown jewels, get too close and it was a visit to Saint Paul’s. Before taking the bar Mabel worked for Stan Waters, the man who brought good food to the docks, the inventor of the world famous nudger, now known as a baguette. When Mabel wanted to have a go on her own Stan bankrolled the venture. Stan was one of the world’s good guys. The Waters family applied to open a café in the Albert Dock but were turned down. Their image was not in accord with the ethos that was being created down there. If you understand that you are the only one who does.


Page 15 Liverpool’s Lost Treasure As well as Mabel’s we asked what was the name of Tom Halls pub and who was he. The pub was at the North End of the Gorree Piazzas on the Dock Road. We still don’t know Tom Hall’s identity but the pub was called the Liverpool or the Liverpool Arms. Cunard shipped more stewards from Tom Halls than they did from the Pool. Picture from Eddie Lee.

Was Tom Hall the Cunard catering superintendent?


Page 16 Bristol Fashion Manny “Mine Hosting” it with the boys and girls from Bristol M.N.A., up on a trip to visit us and very welcome they were to. It was good to return the wonderful hospitality they have always given us when we have gone down to attend their parades and services. We always meet the Lord Mayor of Bristol who attends all of their official functions.

Manny with the Bristol MNA folks. They enjoyed themselves and are coming back,”in Bulk” next year.

Letter of Thanks To, Liverpool Retired Merchant Seafarers Club Eldonian Village Hall Burlington Street Liverpool L3 6NL

Halewood Old Peoples Home Upper Hale Road Hale Villaga Nr Liverpool

Dear John I want to thank you for the lovely transistor radio the LRMS club so kindly sent to me at christmas. It is all the more wonderful that absolute strangers like your members takes time to remember old people like me. I am eighty years of age and have been at the home for sixteen years. We are treated very well but the loneliness is often hard to bear. My room mate Mrs James has a radio but she will not let me use it, and turns it off everytime I walk into the room. Now I have one of my very own. My son and daughter visit me once a month but I know they only do it out of a sense of duty. That is why your gift is so wonderful as it was given out of compassion for a fellow human being. God Bless you. Today Mrs James radio went wrong and she aked if she could listen to mine, I told her to sod off. Yours faithfully


Page 17 Indie Page HMS Indefatigable was a 44-gun frigate of the late 18thC. Her first Captain was Sir Edward Pellew a hugely successful raider of French shipping. So successful that in two years he made £300,000 in prize money, an immense sum in 1798. He was able to buy the town in Devon and take it as his title when he was made Viscount Exmouth. Marc Hardman, having blagged the use of a fabulous penthouse apartment on the coast for a week, the Indie exploration team mounted an expedition to darkest Devon. The beer was poor and very expensive, no Blob Shop prices here, the food not much better, The high point looked like being a visit to Wetherspoons until the discovery of fabulous fish and chips in a place so remote the horses would not go down the slope to it. The discovery of a tiny Bangladeshi restaurant on the last day was the saving of Hardman, otherwise he was for the pot himself. The best part of the visit was a ride on the steam train from Paignton to Dartmouth. On a weekday in late September this train was busy and nearly full showing there is a demand for good tourist attractions.

Bill Smith, the Trader Horn of the Indies’ standing besides the Puff Puff on Paignton Station. In Dartmouth we saw some ships, HMS Liverpool looking a bit scruffy, and an odd breed of humpty backed seagull, not a bit like our sleek and vicious scallies. We saw the shipyard of Phillip and Sons where so many of our river craft where built, the Planet, Royal Daffodil. Royal Iris and Charlie Hobson’s pilot boats. The yard is now closed having been bought for residential development. The project fell through and a group of locals have bought the yard for £20.million. They mean to start building ships again, well done them


Page 18 Vindi Page The Vindi’s had a great Christmas Dinner in the Liverpool Pub on Sunday 3rd December, good food a free bar and Apple Daddy straight off a Harrison Boat The only complaint, no lumpy custurd. You can’t get it now-a-days. The date of the dinner had to be moved to the 3rd because the original date clashed with the Eldonian LRMS dinner on the 10th. Those fingers who are in both organisations did not want to miss out on the freebees, so a compromise had to be made. A s--te hawk couldn’t live with this lot.

A right “Bum Clencher” in this weather. But it always seemed to be this weather. The “Crappery” at the Vindi.,.

Richie Bradshaw gave us a good picture of Arranmore and asked for one of Great City. Here she is Richie. Did you give me the “Bog Shot” as well.


Page 19 Bright Sparks The Aged and Honourable Society of Geriatric Spark’s is creating a new “Stone Age” radio station in Fort Perch Rock. Ancient Morse messages will be sent into the air by old men seeking to relive the Golden Age of seafaring. We, who would all like to go “Round the Buoy” applaud them! The new station is being built into the North East turret of the fort. Although not yet complete it is open to the public and well worth a visit. Besides the “Radio Room” there is a small Merchant Navy Museum that was constructed and is run by ex seafarers. Now that is unusual!! The room has magnificent views of the river and there are a lot of ships to be seen. Also visible is Monte Ferro and the Sierra Metallicas' in the Langton Gladstone and Canada Docks. To see, what you can see, see, page 6. The museum could not have been possible were it not for the efforts of a group of retired “Spark’s” who want to live in the past. They have gathered old bits of equipment and are rebuilding a complete marine set, removed from the Gravesend Sea School, in a perilous operation that nearly “saw off” half the participants. That the superannuated radio set is Japanese should make you feel real old, when you lot were at sea they didn’t have Japanese sets, in fact some of you were at sea before they had any sets. Perhaps the most important contributor in the creation of this MN Museum is Doug Darroch the owner of Fort Perch Rock who has given the old Sparks the room to house their toys. There is a small charge for entry into Fort Perch Rock but everything inside is then free, apart from the tea and ice cream,

John Hudson in the Radio Room. John was in the Great Gravesend Raid.


Page 20 Lonely Planet? The Bar Lightship Planet has at last made it into the Albert Dock, whether she stays there is another matter. The Albert Dock company has made her about as welcome as a fart in a spaceship, at one point cutting off all water and electricity. She seems to have no friends on the landside of the Albert Dock, they want her gone. This does not apply to the floating population who have all welcomed her enthusiastically, including those evicted from a nice warm berth over to “Pneumonia Corner” to give her space. From the Water Lord, British Waterways to the humblest piece of Tupperware, all bid her welcome. She was to have been the home for the Old Spark’s Radio Museum but that did not come about, sad but that’s it. She was bought by Gary McClarnon from Manchester who had intended taking her to Salford Quays where he has property interests. In spite of his un fortunate origins he is a decent guy and was subverted by local interests who want her to stay in Liverpool. He spent over £100,000-00 to bring her into a very good condition and is understandably offended by the reception she has received from the commercial interests around the dock. The main objections seem to be, she is in the way, stops the sunlight, is too big, is unsightly, and Health and Safety. The drunks might try to climb on board her, but it needs be asked, who got them drunk, she didn’t, she may be the Bar Lightship but she is not a bar. She was said to be involved with LIPA which may provide a solution to the problem. Anchor her in the middle of the dock as a “heritage work of art” and she will be out of everybody’s way. When there Gary can reinstate the light*

*A one million candlepower light revolving every fifteen seconds, they will love that.


Page 21 Flying Dutchman A follow up to the story on page 20 of the misnamed and wrongly numbered Summer Edition of our Newsletter. John Richardson writes from Salisbury; - I read with interest the article on the Flying Dutchman in the Summer Edition. Therefore I would like to add a bit to the piece that was so well presented. …After having served some years in the MN sailing out of Liverpool as an AB, I joined the South African Navy in 1975. I then served on various ships in their “Grey Navy.” At that time my wife, two children and myself were living in Naval accom-modation in Simonstown. Our house overlooked the harbour and bay ….Simons Bay. (My rent was the equivalent of £1-50 a month.) The view from where we lived on the hillside was absolutely stunning. At daybreak about 6-30 am on one particular morning in 1980 and while I was at sea, my wife was looking out of the window across the bay. She was awaiting the arrival of the SAS Tafelberg, the supply ship on which I was serving. She later told me when I did arrive home, that in her observations across the bay, it suddenly went misty in one part, and in it she could see an old sailing ship in heavy weather. She thought it rather strange, as the weather in the bay had been quite clear and calm only a minute before. Then after going to close the door properly and coming back to the window, the weather had returned to normal and the old sailing ship had disappeared. I thought nothing of it, except for telling her that no sailing ships had been seen in the bay for over a hundred years and not to tell anyone in case they thought she was going around the bend. But she was convinced she had seen a sailing ship, and asked around to see if any of her mates had seen the same ship. She was then told what she seen must have been the Flying Dutchman, a ship that is often seen around the Cape Peninsular near Kommetjie and Simonstown in particular. The saying goes that anyone who sees the Flying Dutchman won’t see the year out, but this incident happened twenty-six years ago and my wife is still here. In the same year the City of Durban arrived at Capetown from the UK. Tommy O’Leary who, like myself is from Bootle was the Bos'un, and he invited the family aboard for jollifications. Amongst the crew were a few LRMS members: the Pig on the City of Durban was made good use of all day and night and I don’t remember getting home, but thanks Tommy I did. John is a friend of Mark Wong and Charlie Hobson. He has written several books including “The Deck Boys Diary” which is a great read. He is an artist of repute and his latest book the Windjammers of Liverpool is on sale in the club at a discounted £10, is a history of Liverpool’s greatest sailing ships. John will also do a framed colour picture of the ship of your choice for £20.


Page 22

Cutting from Cape Times. Submitted by John Richardson


Page 23

The Way We Were Or Liverpool’s Lost Treasures

Not one, but two boat trains in Riverside Station. The trains would deliver passengers to both “deep sea” ships and the Irish Sea ferries. Most of the passengers did not come from Liverpool and for the big ships a complete trainload of people would be transported from London and delivered to within two minutes walking distance of the ship. The train on the right of the picture is probably for the Irish or Isle of Mann boat being shorter than the other. It is also on the inboard platform leaving its passengers with a longer walk to the boat. During the Scottish Fairs and Lancashire Wakes Weeks a whole town would go on holiday together. In the early morning the town station would be packed with people waiting for the train to take them to the Riverside Station where they would be decanted into an Isle of Mann boat at the stage, Another waiting in the river and a third on the way in. The important First Class transatlantic passengers did not join the ship at the Landing Stage but were wined and dined in the shipping company offices, boarding the ship from a tender just before she sailed. Surely that was less convenient than walking across a nice flat and enclosed gangway. With the loss of the ship passenger traffic the Riverside Station no longer had a purpose, or so they say. The Riverside Station and nearby buildings were used as a temperory store for the Museum’s large objects. They had to move to allow development. It would have made a great museum to display those large exhibits that can’t be displayed at present. It would have saved an historic building and all the Aggravation we are having over the new museum.


Page 24

Reminiscence

Whatever happened to the North Wales Steamship Company, Furness Withy and Coast Lines. Whatever happened to Prince boats, Moss Hutchison, MacAndrews and Ellermans, Maggie Booths and Lamport and Holts. Whatever happened to Blue Funnel and the China boats, Baron boats, Ben boats, and Market boats, Palm boats and ED’s. Whatever happened to Shell, Esso and Athel, Eagle Oil and B.P., Whatever happened to the Carinthia, the Ivy, the Sylvania and the Sax; the England the Canada, the Scotland and the France. Whatever happened to the Aureol and Apapa; the Reina Del Pacifico, the Reina Del Mar; the Hikary the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Whatever happened to the fleet. Whatever happened to masters and mates, apprentices and the Sparkes. Whatever happened to engineers and firemen. Whatever happened to pursers, cooks, and stewards, galley boys and pantry boys. Whatever happened to bell boys, wingers and the commis. Whatever happened to stewardesses? Whatever happened to lamptrimmers, chippies and the bosun? Whatever happened to AB’s, ordinary seamen, EDH’s and deck boys? Whatever happened to the peggy? Whatever happened to the sailors? Whatever happened to the Merchant Navy? Poem by LRMS member and Jemedar of Runcorn M.N.A., Jimmy Slavin.

Times Past An out of town ship was “signing on” in Cornhill, the mate looking down the list of names and examining the discharge books stopped and said “I don’t want him he’s got a DR.” “Oh dear” said the shipping master, “let me see. Oh he‘s all right that’s from the Riena del Pacifico and they don’t count.” In sailing ships they galley was called the caboose, pronounced caboosh. The guards van on a goods train and small goals in South America were also called Cabooses. The chimney was called the Charlie Noble. Answer please.


Page 25 Loss of SS Samala Mr’s Bryan was left a widow with Tony and four siblings when her husband was lost in Elders and Fyffe’s Samala. Tony’s father, a greaser, died some time after 10-13am on the 30th September 1940. It is not known when Mr Bryan and his shipmates died, for although the U-boat skipper saw the crew abandon ship in an orderly manner and spoke to the Master, that was the last ever heard of them. In October 1940 Mrs Bryan received a letter saying her husband was missing. A year later she received another saying he was dead. Mr’s Bryan and other relatives of MN seafarers lost at sea got, and still get, the same information, the ship was believed lost on such a day due to enemy action. The German Submarine Archive in Cuxhaven however, can and will provide much more information on many lost ships. Marguerite McClure daughter of one of Samala's engineers contacted them and they gave brief but detailed information on the sinking of the ship. They also contacted the Captain of the U-boat, U-37, Victor Oehrn, who wrote to Miss McClure: On September 30th we noticed the ship at dawn. She was deeply loaded and following a zigzag course to the East. We fired a torpedo, which hit the ship near the machine room. She sank a little lower but remained on an even keel. She could not continue under her own steam. The crew left the ship and went very quietly in perfect order into the lifeboats. I was astonished by the quiet order and disciplined bearing of the crew and the Captain giving his orders calmly and carefully. Apparently they had all survived uninjured. When the boats were 100 metres from the ship I sank her by gunfire. I spoke to the boats as she sank and they said they had a compass and knew what course to take. They set off together and as I recall set a sail. When Samala sank I submerged. Later in the afternoon the weather became much worse. I suppose that was their fate. If the Germans can give this information why cannot our people, they have it, they studied all the U-boat War Diaries after the war. After the sinking Mr’s Bryan was a year in Limbo. Like thousands of other widows of seamen her country left her unsupported. How they got by “God only knows” but they did. Why it took a year to declare these men as dead, “who knows” is not saying. There must always be the suspicion it was to avoid paying to support the families. The same treatment was doled out to the MN seamen captured by the Germans. Our own “Little Nell Short” endured a year of anguish believing her husband Walter had been lost in Crete when Logician was sunk. Exactly a year after being informed he was missing she got a letter to say he was a prisoner of war, but no money or support. She got no support until he provided it when he got home after the war. Of all the impositions heaped on the Merchant Navy this one probably caused most bitterness. Anyone in doubt need only speak to the War Widows who attend our MN Day Service in September.


Page 26

Top, Samala settling on an even keel after being torpedoed. Right, Samala was abandoned in an orderly manner. Two boats with full crew of 64 seamen, two passengers and one DEMS gunner. This was the last that was ever seen of the crew of Samala Below, Samala slowly sinking. The sea is lapping over the maindeck. Note the shell holes in the hull below the bridge. The U-boat’s gunnery was upset by the rolling of the submarine. Photos from the U-boot Archiv Cuxhaven


Page 27 A Good Day Out Regarding the tenders that took out the First Class Bloods to the transatlantic liners perhaps the most famous of all was Flying Kestrel. She took part in one of the most bizarre incidents of the Twentieth Century. During World War 1 she was requisitioned by the Admiralty for use with the Grand Fleet in Scapa Flow. She carried the crews too and from their ships, not a lot different to the job she did in peacetime.

Flying Kestrel in Scapa Flow 1919. The German “High Seas Fleet” was ordered to Scapa Flow after the armistice of 1918. The crews were in a state of mutiny at having taken no significant part in the war at sea after the battle of Jutland. In that battle they had the best of it over the Royal Navy but sustained such damage that the High Command never again sent the Battle Fleet to sea. After the battle the German fleet was Cock-a-Hoop, with moral sky high. They wanted more of the same but the fleet stayed in port until the end of the war. The U-boats very nearly won the war for Germany and the Kaiser heaped their commanders with praise and medals. As time went by discontent in the German Battle Fleet grew and moral collapsed. The order to surrender to the British Fleet was the last straw and when moored in Scapa Flow the seamen mutinied. In 1919 a party of school children from Kirkwall were having a “Day Out” with a cruise around Scapa Flow in Flying Kestrel. Just as they were passing through the German fleet the crews scuttled them and the kids saw these huge ships capsize and sink. It is not certain if the photograph was taken on that occasion but they look like kids and there couldn’t be that many on Orkney. Shortly afterwards Flying Kestrel was back in Liverpool.


Page 28 23rd Psalm Seafarer’s Version Billy Bowers read the sailors version of the 23rd Psalm at the scattering of John Ryder ashes into the river Mersey. The ferry Skipper read it at scattering of Ray Spicer's ashes and it has been used at other ceremonies since then. As it looks likely to become a part of our ceremonies we have been asked to print it, so here we go. The Lord is my pilot, I shall not drift. He lighteth me across dark waters: He steereth me in the deep channels. He keepeth my log: He guideth me by the Star of Holiness for his names sake. Yea, though I sail ‘mid the thunders tempests of life, I shall dread no danger; for thou art with me; Thy love and thy care they shelter me. Thou preparest a harbour before me in the homeland of eternity: Thou anointest the waves with oil; my ship rideth calmly. Surely sunlight and starlight shall favour me on the voyage I take; and I will rest in the port my god forever. Capt. J Rogers

Finished with Engines John Smith the oldest MN Veteran in the Isle of Mann performing his annual duty by laying the Wreath at the Cenotaph in Douglas. John did the job until the “Chief” rang Finished With Engines and called for the final: “ Wipe Down” John was brother to the late Pat and to Rita our barmaid in the posh place next door. John sailed as fireman in the big ships. He was a shipmate of Eddie Murphy in the Aquitainia and many of us remember him with a lot of affection.


Page 29 Obituary The Liverpool Retired Seafarers regret to inform members that three of our much-respected shipmates have “Paid Off” for the last time. John Cole, the Curryman, a fixture on the Galley table, shipmate to many, friend to all. Frank Brett. After a long and brave fight against a lot of suffering. Always polite and cheerful, one of our very best shipmates. So long old son. John Melia. After a long period of suffering bravely borne. A long time committee member and servant of the club. John has finally gone to his hill in San Francisco. He will be missed. Maybelle wife of Joe Batty passed away recently. We have no other details but our thoughts are with you at this time Joe. We have been asked to mark the passing of Francis Volante by several of his old shipmates. Frank of Glasgow sailed in CPR with many of our members.

Sheltered by the Rock of Ages Anchored by the Golden Shore Sick and Hurt Les Bailey, Billy Bell, Richie Burke, John Dargle, Jimmy Duggan, Joe Hutchinson, Tom Kelly, Margaret Manning, Frank Travers, Alan Morton and Neil Scriven. YOU ARE ALWAYS IN OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS. GET WELL SOON It is good to see Joyce Gillan back in the club enjoying herself, good girl. Arthur Micklewright also appears to be fully recovered. After being reported in the Royal, he was seen passing down Vauxhall Road at a rate of knots fast enough to pass the bus, and he was walking. We were a little premature in congratulating Joyce on her recovery, she and Lorna have since fallen victim to the dreaded “Bug” but happily now seem better. Charlie Hobson was whizzed off a Spanish flight into the Royal with chest pains, turned out to be “wind.” Charlie was not best pleased, maybe because he was in the Royal. Expect another poem soonest. You must be very careful with this Spanish Fly-ing Charlie.


Page 30. Quiz Answers 1. Australia. The camels are descended from those imported from Afghanistan along with their drivers during the 19th Century. They were used as pack animals to carry goods around Oz before the roads and railways were built. When their “services were no longer required ” they were simply turned loose in the outback. They thrived and are now the largest population of camels in the world. The Oz camels are said to be gentle mannered and affectionate, unlike the Okkers. The main road from Alice Springs to Darwin is called “The Gann” after them. We believe the road from Port Augusta to Alice is also called” the Gann” as is the trans Australia Express train. Maybe our readers in Australia can advise us on this. The Muslim Afghan camel driver was the pioneer of Australia’s modern transport system; the road trains of to day are the direct descendents of the old camel trains 2. Cockney Bargees. Men of Cork are light; men of Ayr are lighter, but there are lightermen on the Thames. 3. Lord Vesty of the Blue Star Line who paid for the tower and was then buried in it, after he was dead of course. 4. It is Red, but the Welsh Assembly has a green environment friendly one. 5. Bon, maybe with an Ynys, then Mon. The Romans named it Mona. 6. Ynys. 7. A sixth century Welsh saint and hermit. 8. Puffin Island, Ynys Seriol, off Ynys Mon, by a miraculous spring. 9. A Liverpool’s pimp who lived off Vauxhall Road. 10. Leader of the Forty Thieves, a criminal gang in Vauxhall in the mid 19th Century. A dodgy character or thief was called a proper forty. 11. The Sailors Home, Canning Place, in 1941. 12. Registered on the Seamen’s Pool, established in 1941. 13. Memorial University College, Saint Johns Newfoundland. Your country planned to pulp all your records so Canada took them, that’s gratitude for you 14. A Doctor. 15. The Carrier who took your gear home from the ship and he didn’t ask for Half Crown dropsy for the policeman on the gate. 16. Sandbanks. 17. Islands. 18. Rocks, Rockhead. 19. In Castle Street where the market was in the olden days. If the Bizzies were after but you got to stand on the Sanctuary Stone you could do your shopping and had an hour to make your escape before you could be pursued. 20, Great Crosshall Street on the site of Holy Cross Church. He preached in so many places on his way to Ireland he must have had a season ticket with B&I.


Dreadnaught Dreadnaught are now operating a Seafarers Benefits Advice line for both serving and retired seafarers. It is important you read the two advertisements on this and the facing page. A lot more services are now being provided for our people and Dreadnaught will provide the help and information you need to get them. After years of standing outside of a closed door it is now open. Use the services they are keen to help. The 0845 telephone number means you can ring from anywhere in the country for the cost of a local call.

We have reported previously that the Dreadnaught Seaman’s Hospital is still available to retired seafarers needing medical or surgical treatment. If you need treatment and are having difficulty getting it, ask your GP to refer you to Dreadnaught for an assessment. The club holds cards giving all the information your GP will need to make a referral. If you need a card ask one of the committee.


The Soldiers Sailors and Airmen and Families Association The SSAFA are also opening their door to retired seafarers. Their advert is on the page opposite. Harry Fynn the County Executive officer is keen to say that their services are available to Merchant Seafarers as well as the forces. Also remember that the Dockers Club the Casa offer a range of free advice. SSAFA Advertisement


The Red Duster  

Magazine of the Retired Merchant Seafarers Winter 1, Edition 2006 Series 5, Volume 7

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you