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Patricia Hosie
19th April 2011, 08:39 AM
Hello,

My name is Patricia and my father was in the Merchant Navy from the age of 14 and was 17 and at sea when war with Germany was declared.

I am currently writing a dissertation for an MA in Maritime and Colonial History on Seamen's Missions and Victorian Philanthropy. However, I would like to update the study by obtaining stories of any experiences of the Seamen's Missions from older ex-Mariners.

Any stories would be most welcome no matter how long or short. I do not need to know any confidential information - just the stories.

I live on the Wirral so if there is anyone who is local I would very much appreciate the opportunity to interview a willing participant.


With Thanks

Patricia

Doc Vernon
19th April 2011, 07:15 PM
Hello Patricia
Welcome to the site,and i am sure given a wee bit of time,there will be some who will reply to your qustions!
I hope you get many so that you can continue your writings!
Always nice to hear of those that continue to make Books,Videos and the likes about the Merchant Navy and other Forces too!
Good luck with your projects!
Cheers

PS What sort of thing would interest you on the Missions?

Patricia Hosie
20th April 2011, 07:27 AM
Hi Vernon,

Many thanks for your kind response and I too hope that I obtain lots of stories and information.

I am keen to hear anything at all about the Seamen's Missions because I am attempting to ascertain how successful they were at keeping the Sailors from disreputable areas because that was the objective of the Victorian philanthropists and the Missions themselves. As I say, I am not interested in personal details but just the stories of the Sailor's experiences on shore whether at home or abroad.

I have given out my personal e-mail address patriciahosie@mac.com in case anyone has information they would rather not have posted.

I look forward to hearing from you again.

Kind regards,

Patricia

Ivan Cloherty
20th April 2011, 08:37 AM
Hi Patricia

Don'y know whether or not the Missions were successful in keeping us all away from disreputable areas as the Padres were realists. In the 50's and 60's most of us headed for the Mission as a first port of call (where there was a Mission) The Padres tried to get us stay there all night, they were mostly only successful on dance nights, although we were not allowed to date the girls, but romances did blossom for those on regular runs, inevitable when handsome seaman meets "nice" girl.

As said earlier most Padres were realists and gave us advice of which bars NOT to go into, knowing that they could not keep a seaman out the bars altogether, they knew the ones were we wouldn't get mugged. In the old days ships were slow, ocean transits long and most ships dry (no booze) so it was inevitable that some would end up in Bars cum Houses of ill Repute, but not as many as our ill deserved reputation would have the general public perceive.

What drove some seamen to these places was not receiving any letters from home, in the days before easy telephoning and email, letters were your lifeline, if your mail hadn't turned up after two port visits when you were thousands of miles from home, the imagination started working overtime and solace was found in the bottom of a glass or the arms of of an understanding bar girl!

Those that were lucky enough to receive their mail, usually spent time on board answering the letter then taking it to the Mission to be posted, some Missions had a bar and would allow the seamen a couple of drinks and having just written to your loved one you were disinclined to wander further. The Mission girls also helped those seamen who were not able to put pen to paper by writing letters for them to send back home, a task I also took on sometimes when afloat.

I also learnt more the social type dancing, rather than Bartype dancing in the Missions, though both are enjoyable!

Yes the Missions did a sterling job and were a great solace and place of comfort to the majority of seamen, although some of our "hardcases" wouldn't be seen dead in them, or so they used to say.

Some of my earstwhile shipmates will be able to regail you with more information as most of era have no reason to be shy anymore, good luck in your endeavours

Ivan

Patricia Hosie
20th April 2011, 08:45 AM
Hello Ivan,

Thank you so much for your response. The information is brilliant and just the sort of stuff I'm looking for. As you say there is no reason for anyone to be shy but it is a delicate subject and I really wasn't sure now to obtain the information but as there are no personal details attached I am hoping that I will gain some more insight into the history of the missions.

Thank you again and if you have any more information or can nudge your friends for information I should be most grateful.

Kindest regards,

Patricia

alf corbyn
24th April 2011, 12:54 PM
hi patricia. most ports had a seamans mission and most of us used to go to them for various reasons. ie, port adelaide oz. the city was a long way away and i do'nt remember any transport. i used to take my bicycle away with me so could get around, but most of the lads went to the mission. soft drinks and picture shows were the norm in most missions. great fun in places like africa where the show was in the open air of an evening, with most of us more interested in the lizards etc running across the screen.i think most of us visited the missions and in america we always came back with lots of books given to us.. alf

Neil Morton
24th April 2011, 11:37 PM
Hello Patricia the good old Flying Angel or "flying tabnab" as some called it due to the tea and cakes available if one so desired.I was a steward at sea for 8 years.
I spent one dreary night in the Liverpool mission waiting for my ship to berth, dreary because it was the middle of winter some time in the late 1950's and the decor of the room I slept in a strange institutional green with only the Gideons Bible to read.
However on brighter note in 1960 I had reason to stay for a considerable time in the mission on the island of Trinidad.Situated in the capital Port of Spain it was and trust still is a pleasant and sunny space.Simple meals were provided and the Padre a gentle and caring soul, always available to offer help and advice. After a few weeks I became bored with little to do all day and went to him to see if there was work I could do about the place. As I was likely to be on the island for some time and without funds that good man found me employment in a swank tourist hotel as believe it or not as head waiter.The food improved as did the company and I remained in Port o' Spain for 15 months living "high of the hog", due to the good old Padre.
The most beautiful setting for a Flying Angel was in Dar a Salaam in old Tanganyika, (not sure of the spelling) Situated on a rise looking down on a perfect horseshoe shaped lagoon it was the perfect spot on hot day to sip cold Tusker beer.
I hope this is the sort of thing you are after and good luck with your project.

alf corbyn
25th April 2011, 08:43 AM
hi again patricia. port sudan was another mission to remember. the union castle boats used to stop there usually about midnight, and as the heat was sweltering the crewused to take off en masse, followed by some passsengers in the know. destination, the flying angel swimming pool. this was sometimes standing room only. there was another pool in town which was also well used. alf

Patricia Hosie
25th April 2011, 10:02 AM
Hi Alf,

Many thanks for your response to my inquiries. I am very grateful for the information. Nonetheless, I'm trying to establish whether or not the Missions were successful at keeping the majority of seamen away from dangerous and disreputable areas. Do you have any information that would help me to establish how successful they were?

Kind regards,

Patricia

Ray McCerery
25th April 2011, 10:41 AM
Mission always did a good job, sometimes send the bus to the ship drop off at the mission, drink and phone home, then into town. last drink back at the mission they always made sure of a safe return to your ship.

Still plenty of seafaring centres world wide.

Ray

jimmys
25th April 2011, 01:26 PM
Hi Patricia,
As you maybe aware there was a more Victorian system of mission called the Sailors Homes. The first was in Liverpool around 1842 and it spread about the country. A large one in Glasgow. Link

http://www.pooleygates.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Sailorshomes.pdf

It was still on the go in 1960's. Lot of info at this link, gives you a good picture. Stella Maris was maybe 1920 ish, same as the Tabnabs, a later system.

regards
jimmy

Ivan Cloherty
25th April 2011, 01:36 PM
Patricia

First and foremost I and probably all of us would like to thank you, for thanking us for our replies, it is like a breath of fresh air, as believe it or not the lads go to immense trouble on occasions to help enquirers, especially those enquireies about long lost loved ones, replies with thanks for their efforts are like hens teeth, very rare, so thank you my dear for your responses.

The Missions would have had a tough job in the pre and immediate post WWII years trying to stop the majority of seamen for straying off the straight and narrow, as there were in excessof 140,000 British seafarers and the Missions could not have coped with all of them, and then there were all the other seamen of various nationalities to contend with.

I think perhaps the Missions have more success these days in keeping seamen on the straight and narrow, as there are possibly only about 10% of the post war era number at sea, as there are fewer and bigger ships with smaller crews. Most of the bars have closed down because there are no seamen to support them and think of all those poor unemployed females!!!!!!. Ships have hours in port rather than days and weeks as in the old days, so the Mission Bus is the only viable solution for a break from the "iron island" you are marooned on.

To answer your question, the Missions had limited success, when a ship was in port for three weeks or so, the Mission was not a viable option every night, despite the padres best efforts, but as they say " a few souls saved are manna from heaven" and the lost souls went home broke, the price alas of temptation!


Ivan

E.Martin
25th April 2011, 05:39 PM
Royal National Mission Deep Sea Fishing.
Going back to the twenties RNMDSF had a mission ship which was at sea with the fishing fleet,the mission ship was there to try to stop the fishermen buying cheap booze from Dutch Traders who were supplying the drink,the mission ship held a Church Service for any fishermen who wanted it,the mission ship also had a hospital and Docter to treat any illness and broken limbs which at times the fishermen had.
IN them days as many as 50 fishing boats would be under control of a Admiral who told his fleet when to shoot the course they towed on and when to haul.
In them days lots of young lads did a apprenticeship as a fisherman,most of them being forced into it.
What fish the fishing boats caught was rowed over to the steamer and their fish was put onto the steamer
which took the fish to the market at Billinsgate.
The fishermen only had about three weeks ashore every year.
I first went to sea 1947 by then things had improved after 12 days at sea two we had two days ashore.
but the accomodation was still primitive.
Every fishing port had RNMDSF where you could get a cheap cup of tea a game of snooker or ping pong.
Regarding the seamens missions around the world yes we would pay them a visit but the average seamen
wanted something more lively than a cup of tea.
Must say the missions did a sterling job,was in Rotterdam Xmas 1956 they brought every member of the crew a present included in mine was a china plate which I still have on display after 55 years.
Did the Missions stop any seamen going off the track? I dont think so.

A book North Sea Fishers and Fighters written by Walter Wood, tells what the mission ships did in the North Sea.

Keith at Tregenna
25th April 2011, 06:05 PM
Up in the valley's of Wales, people remember the pit heads and the pit head bar, many see them now as a supermarket or similar. YouTube - Max Boyce - Duw it's Hard (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kQ7whCrZ1c)

No song to remember the Seamens' Mission.

Duw it's Hard

http://www.loft-co.com/brochures/seamans_mission.pdf

K.

John Rogers
26th April 2011, 12:26 AM
Patricia,its not a good idea or safe to put your email address on the board as scammers can find it and you will be bombarded with spam. I suggest you remove it and have people contact by PM.

John.

happy daze john in oz
26th April 2011, 05:40 AM
At some time I think most of us took advantage of the Missions. sadly many are now gone but the remaining ones still do a great job. Here in Melbourne the Mission bus goes to most ships as the arrive bringing crew back to the mission so they can avail themseves of such things as e-mail, or purchase phone cards, maybe get a drink as some ships are now dry. It certainly would have been a very different world without them.

Patricia Hosie
26th April 2011, 07:58 AM
Hi Ivan,

Once again you have supplied me with useful information for which I thank you most kindly. I appreciate the time and effort that goes into the replies, parts of which will be quoted in my dissertation. The information backs up the published literature and provides an added dimension and I am very grateful.

However, if you think of anything else that might be of use please contact me.

Kindest regards,

Patricia

Patricia Hosie
26th April 2011, 08:02 AM
Hello John,

Thank you for your advice about the e-mail and I shall remove it directly as you suggest although my mac.com address does filter out spam so I've never been troubled by it. Nonetheless, I shall heed your advice and thank you.

Regards,

Patricia

Patricia Hosie
26th April 2011, 08:04 AM
Gosh that's a blast from the past. I used to go to Rugby Club dances and remember Max Boyce songs with affection although sadly I threw away my vinyl records years ago.

Patricia

Patricia Hosie
26th April 2011, 08:08 AM
Hi Jimmy,

Thank you again for your response. I have read the information about the Liverpool Sailor's home both in the published books, literature and the website. I've also visited the Maritime Museum archives but I'm really after stories of the sailor's experiences staying at the Missions or alternatively choosing not to stay there and why.

Kind regards,

Patricia

Dennis McGuckin
26th April 2011, 03:31 PM
Hi Patricia,
As I lived in central England, I use the missions in the dock areas as 'digs' while looking for a ship.
As most of us staying there had been on leave, we were almost broke and could only afford to stay at the mission.
They provided a clean bed and the camaraderie of fellow seamen.
Also frequented foreign missions for reasons already mentioned.
Kind regards.
Den.

Michael Lawrence
27th April 2011, 04:02 PM
Hi Patricia. If I remember correctly there were 3 missions to seamen. The Flying Angel also known as the 'Flying Tabnab' which was of the Anglican faith because we all know that God was an Englishman. There was the 'Stella Marius' which was of the Roman Catholic persuasion and then there was The Mission to Seaman whose emblem was the 'Red Duster'. If I'm wrong in these statements rest assured the lads will be in to correct me.:p;):D

John Albert Evans
27th April 2011, 07:40 PM
Dear Patricia,
In July 1961 I was sent to Curacao NA to join the Haustrum, a Shell Tanker, I worked my passage out there on the Platidia another Shell Tanker.
I arrived there on 5th August 1961 the Haustrum had been delayed and I was put in the Seamans Mission until her arrival on 16th August 1961.
During my stay there I was treated as one of their family, I was even taken out with them twice on picnics.
Having nothing to do and very little money I asked if I could help out at the Mission and being a cook I helped in the kitchen.
It was a wonderful two weeks spent there, nothing was too much trouble for them with the seamen who visited the Mission
I would also like to tell you that every Christmas time every crew member of every ship berthed there was given a small Christmas parcel, what a wonderful gesture.
If memory serves me right the Mission was run by the Salvation Army.
Yours Sincerely

John Albert Evans

Neil Morton
28th April 2011, 01:32 AM
Spot on Micheal and thanks to John Albert I think may be the Dutch shipping companies gave more support to the welfare of their seamen through the mission service. What do you think ?

Keith at Tregenna
28th April 2011, 03:31 AM
Flat Holm (Welsh: Ynys Echni) is a limestone island lying in the Bristol Channel approximately 6 km (4 mi) from Lavernock Point in the Vale of Glamorgan, but in the City and County of Cardiff. It includes the most southerly point of Wales.

The island has a long history of occupation, dating at least from Anglo-Saxon and Viking periods. Religious uses include visits by disciples of Saint Cadoc in the 6th century, and in 1835 it was the site of the foundation of the Bristol Channel Mission, which later became the Mission to Seafarers.

http://www.pwsts.org.uk/Barry1891-1951/index.htm

The Missions to Seamen

In 1858 The Missions to Seamen was formed from an idea of John Ashley, a young Anglican clergyman, who noticed a number of ships tied up in the Penarth Roads waiting entry into the docks. When he discovered that no clergy ever visited the seamen on these ships he formed "The Bristol Channel Mission" and began to visit and hold services on board. These visits were the start of a ministry to seamen, and to the lighthouse keepers and residents of Flat and Steep Holm Islands, and was the beginning of "The Missions to Seamen." This year after over 140 years being called the "Missions to Seamen" owing to the need for political correctness its name will change to "The Missions to Seafarers".

In 1860 the Mission approached the Admiralty and was freely given the use of HMS Thisbe that had been tied up for many years in Plymouth. It was towed from Plymouth to Cardiff East Dock where it was moored. A building for use as a Church was erected on the quarterdeck and services were held on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

In 1877 over 3,500 seamen and their wives attended services there, a small library and a reading room was provided where newspapers could be read, and also pens, paper and ink were available with help from locals for anyone who was unable to read and write. The idea of a Mission to Seamen, which began in Wales, spread all over the World, and most ports had buildings nearby dedicated to the cause. They were all named "Thisbe House" in remembrance of the first Missions to Seamen, but known by seamen all over the world as "The Flying Angel".

On Wednesday 16th August 1905, Lord Windsor laid the foundation stone of the new Barry Mission. A branch had been formed at Barry Island in 1901. The new mission, which was built of best Ruabon brick with terra cotta mouldings, opened its doors in Dock View Road in November 1905 and cost 4000, plus 500 for the adjacent dwelling house and Church. In the main building were a large recreation room (also used for boxing tournaments between ship's crews), a reading room, an officers' room, cadets' or apprentices' room, a quiet room, a coffee bar and a billiard room. The Church, complete with a carillon at the rear, and dedicated to St. Peter, was capable of seating 100 worshippers. The Basement was well lit and was used for storage and recreation. The flat roof had a garden laid out with chairs and tables, which were provided for taking refreshments, and had magnificent views of the Channel and shipping arriving at the docks. It was complete with an imposing square lookout tower together with a flagstaff. The building was designed by Mr. C.A. Kempthorpe and built by H.S. Rendell. When it opened in 1905 it was very nearly debt free with over 2000 guaranteed and 1500 promised.

During its life over 40,000 seamen and their wives passed through its doors annually.

The Church and Institute became part of a chain of similar stations situated around the Coast, and were built to extend to seamen the advantages of Church privileges, and to help counteract the many temptations of "Jack" while he was at shore. When it closed, the bell and lectern from the Church were stored in St. Mary's Church.

After the Institute closed Robert Tyley, a railway rolling stock dismantler whose business was situated on the Docks, bought it and renamed it R.S.T. House (called Rust House by the locals) and it was let out as offices. Later it was disposed of to Vandex Builders, and was used as a warehouse and office accommodation by the company for many years. It has recently been sold and is being converted into flats.

The British & Foreign Sailors Institute was formed in Barry in 1892 with its H.Q, Bethel, in Subway Road. Its first resident Missioner was Capt. E. Sharples. The building catered for distressed, sick, or seamen whose ships had been lost at sea. It had a large reading room and chapel. It was formed to promote the gospel and to provide reading material both religious and secular to seamen arriving in Barry. In 1920 a hall in Lombard Street was built and named Trafalgar Hall to enable young boys to be trained for sea. Later it became better known for its gymnastic team.

The Order of St. Paul the Apostle (The Priory) was an Anglican Monastic Order set up in India to help distressed seamen in the 1880's. Members of the order led by Rev. C. Walker (who took the name Father Austin) arrived in Barry and opened a mission in Station Street known as "The Home Priory". One room of the building was opened as a Church while the others were used as sleeping and living accommodation by merchant seamen. By 1894 the Order had moved to larger premises in Broad Street, and was known as "The Priory". A blacksmith's shop owned by Mr. Stephens was next door, and this was bought and converted into a tin Church which opened in 1898. It ran for many years with very little help and often in great financial difficulties. Father Austin in December of that same year wrote "This month we have accommodated 54 seamen who have come to us for assistance. We live on soup made from bones and thickened with crushed ships biscuits or oatmeal, and are grateful for the generous donations of food for our Christmas and New Year celebrations." Whilst in Barry it looked after sick and destitute seamen, often arranging medical attention for them and looked after the graves of seamen who died and were buried in Barry. In 1912 the Order left Barry and the Priory was closed. It is now a restaurant.

The Scandinavian Church - situated on Barry Docks near the Dock Offices, was built to enable ships crews from the Baltic countries engaged in carrying timber from the Baltic to Barry, to attend services held in their own language. It first minister was Rev. Achilles. On its closure as a Church it was used for a great many years as a meeting place for dock workers.

K.

Michael Lawrence
28th April 2011, 01:52 PM
I used the missions when in port especially if very little dosh. One that I frequented was the 'Flying Tanab' in Rosario which was up the Rio Parana just before Sante Fe. Then there was the Stella Marius in B.A. and also the 'Stella Marius' again in Monte Video where Father Deacon presided and who was a Scouser. remember the Flying Angel in Mombassa where according to the padre God was most deffinately an Englishman and the class system was rife. Remember Padre Brown in Auckland Kiwi who would hold a dance on a Sunday and have the W.R.N.S. over from Devonport. Halfway thru he would hold a service and one of his sayings was, 'Put generously in the collection lads and if you 'ave no dosh try your neighbours pockets'. Great bloke, not like most of those Colonalists of Africa.
Keith think you will still find a Scanenavian church in Cardiff dock area and also Swansea. Yes Pat I think you will find a lot of seamen who were grateful for the missions. You could also meet some nice girls there, oh memories of Argentina and Oz and Kiwi.:p;):D

Captain Kong
28th April 2011, 02:24 PM
The Flying Angel in Melbourne iin 1950s was always a good one, always a dance every week, some very pretty girls, I saw one quite regularly there. The Padre was a big hard case, he had a severe stutterand a severe iron fist if any one got out of line.I saw him pick up a few seamen and fling them out of the door with bloody noses.

The one in East London, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, was another good one, dancing every week on Saturday night, again some pretty girls,
On Sunday 13 December 1953, we were in on the New Zealand Star, We had the dance on Saturday night then on Sunday the Padre and all the pretty girls took us on a coach trip to Bonza Bay. While they were setting out a picnic we went to go into the sea. "Mind the currents " one girl said, "they are strong around here".
We went in the water and my mate Ken who could not swim got into difficulties and was carried away. I went to save him and I was carried away very fast. Ken drowned and I lost his body and then I was unconcious and was saved by a South African lad, David Brinton, the Padre took me to hospital in his car and they saved me. then we sailed for New Zealnd. His body was washed up five days later and he was buried in the East Cemetery by the Mission after a Service at the Mission in Buffalo Street.
Three years later I went back and with only a few hours to spare I went to the cemetery to find his grave and couldnt. I had a few drinks in a bar in Oxford Street, Then the Padre burst through the door,
"I have been searching for you, the ship is sailing." I got into his car and he ran me down to the berth , the ship was sailing through the breakwater, The Padre called the Pilot Boat and they came and followed the ship and when the Pilot left I climbed up the ladder.
Thank you Padre.
So the Padres do come in handy when you need them.

Michael Lawrence
29th April 2011, 09:52 AM
Kong. I wonder if that was the same bloke who was in B.A. in the early 60's. He had a ring set up for anyone who fancied their chances, recall he was an Aussie with a well worn face. We seem to forget the good work those people done. Does anyone remember Mrs McKay at the mission in Rosario, by all accounts she was decorated for her services to Britain in the WW11 on spying. Can't vouch for the authenticity but if she was it doesn't surprise me.
Hey Captain when I came ashore I had married Welsh and joined the GPO in Cardiff. Another postie and I were discussing where we thought the best looking 'Shelias' were. He was an old Readon Smith man and reckoned they were in Chille, me I plumped for Argentina. It was a smashing summers day and we were in Queen St., 'Mind you', said Ron, 'these Welsh girls take some beating'. And me I agree with him ( I have the wife's permission to say this) Wales do produce quite a lot cracking women.:p;):D

Ivan Cloherty
29th April 2011, 12:09 PM
Got to agree with your man from Reardon Smiths, having spent some considerable time up and down the Chilean coast, have got to say the Chilean ladies have a certain something, don't know how many of you guys got away from the port areas but a visit to Vina del Mar near Valpo could beat anything that Monte Carlo/Nice/Cannes/ London had to offer.But I still preferred my little Irish coleen an ex Rose of Tralee who became my wife with her slim figure, dark hair and flashing green eyes and a vitality and temprement that would have stood a volcanoe in good stead. The good lord took her too early but he certainly got a bargain


Sorry Patricia we seem to have deviated from your chosen course, but thats what happens when you get old seamen reviewing their past, no doubt normal service will be resumed when we all take off our rose tinted spectacles

Ivan

Captain Kong
29th April 2011, 04:14 PM
Hi Mike,
I never ever got as far as the Seamans Mission in South America, there were plenty of beautiful and sometimes not so beautiful girls in the Calle Viente Cinco de Mayo, in B.A. I never ever got beyond that street of bars, Texas Bar, Marina Bar, Lighthouse Bar, May Sullivans Bar etc. Wow what a place. then I go back to BA two years ago and they have all gone, not one bar in the city, except for La Boca where the girls there are as rough as a badgers bum. [ See my photo on one thread,]
The Skandi Bar in Valpo Chile was the place to go some very pretty girls there too , then there was Maria with her wooden leg, she could spin like a top on that peg leg when she was dancing. I went back to Valparaiso three years ago and it was still open and still had some pretty girls stood outside. I had my wife with me so couldnt linger long.
I think pretty girls are every where.

I am three quarters way home
from the start to the end
and I wish I was 18 again...........George Burns. see on U-tube. brings tears to your eyes.

Sorry Patricia, I got carried away again from the Seamans Mission theme again.
-Cheers
Brian.

Jim Brady
29th April 2011, 06:53 PM
The Mission I most remember is the one in B.A. I reckon most seaman went there for the cheap beer before heading upto the bars as inthe case that Captain Kong mentioned where it was quite a bit more expensive.
Go to the Mission top up on cheap beer and it made it a bit cheaper on the pocket.The place was not unlike the Cavern (Liverpool) down below with arch's, a dance floor in the middle and two Catholic Priest's serving the beer.Half way through the priest used to give a little talk and say a prayer and I can tell you he got the best of respect,he always finished up with "And the girls walk home alone".The hostess's were not supposed to get involved with the seaman (as in every mission)My mate and I did cop off with a couple of the girls they were from Patagonia,they had Welsh accents and could indeed speak Welsh.We did take them up to the (I'l try this)Venti Cinco De Marcho a bit of an up market place The Copper Kettle I'm sure a few of you went in there although I have not seen it mentioned.Somebody mentioned a fighting priest,I heard from many older guys than me that there was a Cannon Brady (no relation) he had a boxing ring in that mission and there was nothing more that he enjoyed was getting in the ring with the hard cases off the ships and doing battle.I think that was about the only mission that I frequented the others were just to post my mail and pick up a few Readers Digest.I was married at this time and I went to the mission in Durban if my memory serves me right it was quite a big place,very smart and a big dance floor.I think it was before the time that the Flying Angel served beer.From what i understand it was a good place for copping off and you could go home with the girls,there were coaches outside and the girls and seaman were getting aboard.
Being a newly married man I walked back to the ship.
Regards.
Jim.B.

Pete Leonard (Bruno)
30th April 2011, 11:08 AM
Hi.John
I don't know if it still exists but there was a Flying Angel at Station Pier, Melbourne. By the way that they have gentrified that area I would doubt if it still exists. In the 50's there was a gay padre there and as you can imagine all the queens from the ships would congregate there. The place was a hoot, it was like going to a variety show just to hear the banter between them. I doubt if this is the kind of stuff that Patricia is looking for, but thought it was worth a mention.

Roger Dyer
30th April 2011, 12:10 PM
Hi Pete (Bruno)
Are you referring to the Flying Angel at Port Melbourne rather than Melbourne itself. In those days ships used to berth in both places. The railway station at Port Melbourne was about three or four stops away from 'Cloey's Bar' (Young and Jackson's) in the city. If we are speaking of the same Flying Angel, it was a two or three minute walk to the entrance of the pier at Port Melbourne. The pier poked out into Port Phillip Bay. As I recall the good reverend was batting for the other side, which seemed a rarity for a man of the cloth in those days. As far as I can recall he was always friendly and helpful to the lads (and 'lassies'.;)). At the time, Port Melbourne could berth about 4 medium size ships or less if one of the ''migrant' ships were alongside. I can remember that there used to be a little milk bar/shop at the end of the jetty. I was last there in 2000 andl the Flying Angel was no more, and as you rightly said other development had taken place., including a fishshop owned by the T.V. Fishing personality, Rex Hunt. Not much help, Patricia, but perhaps it does support Pete's suggestion that there existed men of the cloth who, overtly, were of other 'persuasions' even in those far distant days.
.......regards, Roger.

Duke Drennan
30th April 2011, 12:17 PM
Pete,
You're the first one I've heard mention about the padre in Melbourne that was fruit. I was in there one night and late on in the night, he tried to get a couple of us back to his place. Anyway, after that, we had a few nights laughing about it. That was in early '67,

Jim Brady
30th April 2011, 06:36 PM
Hi Duke,it's a long time since I heard the word "Fruit".Anyway you most probably remember the American Bar on Lime Street.I was in there one day this Yank came in and said "What's these goddam things you call Pims"The barmaid said you can have Pims number !,2,3 or 4 they all have different spirit bases.He opted for the gin based one,having ordered it he said give that guy at the end of the bar one.When he got his drink it came with all the fruit around it,he drank it,enjoyed it .He said I'l have another one of those but this time leave the fruit out,a female voice came from the end of the bar"I did't ask for one in the first place"
Regards.
Jim.B.

Duke Drennan
30th April 2011, 09:45 PM
I was on Salvesen's tramp, the Salvada, on that particular trip. We left the harbour in Melbourne and anchored offshore waiting on orders and a day or two later, a launch comes alongside us to drop off a DBS. Well, she was one of the "girls", her name was Cathy. Well, I'll tell you, for the next couple of months, she threw parties that you can only imagine, it was hilarious watching her antics. I told the story before about the day we were painting the officers dining room and Cathy comes in to prepare the cups and tea for the bridge. One of the guys sat in the Old Man's chair, paint brush in hand and tells Cathy, "I'll have the main course, steward." Cathy replied, "It's not the main course you need son, it's intercourse you need, a good f-----g would put some sense into you." Well, the rest of us went into convulsions of laughter. It was my only experience of sailing with a queen aboard but it was worth it just for the laughs she gave us.

Neil Morton
30th April 2011, 11:12 PM
HI fellas, the mission that stood out side the dock gates by the piers at Port Melb. is long gone the area is very "up market"; however one of the old pubs which we knew as the London Family Hotel remains in its original state and has dropped the "family" and is now The London. We attempted to have our MN Day reunion there last year, bit of a flop really.Hoping for better roll up come Sept 3rd.
The City Mission just off Spencer St soldiers on all be it almost buried beneath a motorway flyover. Happy Days John pulls his weight down there I believe.

Lou Barron
1st May 2011, 11:30 PM
hi patricia i see that you live in the wirral i use yo live in rockferry went to sea in the late 1940 being a young guy my shipmate and i use to go to the seamens missions a lot in the different ports we called at wether it was the flying angel or any other one they sure looked after us i sailed from birkenhead in june 1942 on a ship called the gloucester castle there where a lot of the guys who came from the wirral but some of them did not come back in 1945 but thats another story but i all ways found that the missions was a big help for us seamen they had a lot of god people working for them lou barron

happy daze john in oz
2nd May 2011, 06:32 AM
Yes sadly the old mission in Melboune near station pier is long gone as is the B.P. refinery that stood there for many years. Port Melbourne is now 'yuppy' heaven but still a great spot to visit.
The other mission in the Flinders Street extention is still going strong. There has been an effort of late by some developers to get hold of the land but thankfully the building is now heritage listed and cannot be touched. It still does a great business with jazz nights, exhibitions and other functions. Each year the City of melbourne council holds an open Sunday when places of heritage and interest are open to the public. Last year the mission was one of the busiest of all the venues. I happened to drive past there about mid-day and there would have been about two hundred waiting to get in.
The 'gay' padre was there back in 64 when I first visited. The only real change over the years is that it now has a bar. There is a regular bus run when the ships are in to bring crew back to the mission so they can use the net or buy phone cards.
It also has proudly displayed two flags provided by Mike and Vernon and a few pennants provided by P.J.

Patricia Hosie
2nd May 2011, 09:18 AM
Hello again Ivan,

I am astonished at the stories that my request has generated and have enjoyed reading each and every one of the posts and private messages.

What comes across most strongly is that you all appear to have had a wonderful sense of camaraderie and loved your life at sea whatever the hardships which appear to have been numerous.

All the posts have interesting and useful features that I can use in my work but I would like to hear a few more accounts of when the Missions were not so successful as I'm trying to link together three areas that have much academic work carried out on each but not actually combined and they are seaman's missions, prostitution and philanthropy. I want to do an analyses on how they impacted upon each other.

I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to discussion and to say, "keep the stories coming". You have such a wealth of information that shouldn't be lost.

Kind regards and thanks,

Patricia

Ivan Cloherty
2nd May 2011, 03:13 PM
Hi Patricia

Thank you for starting this post, we owe you a vote of thanks for that, yes we old sea dogs have our disagreements around the saloon and messroom tables and also now upon the imaginary ship we are sailing upon, but most of our era found nothing but hard work when afloat and made up for that by perhaps being a little over excessive when ashore.

It may be difficult to say exactly what exact influence the Missions collectively had on our lives, but it would be fair to say that they certainly played an important role to members of all ranks and creeds and their doors were ever open. Some of our so called "hard and constantly sozzled when ashore" crewmates also used them what success the pastors/padres had in converting them to a wiser way of life is debatable, but as the good lord said, one soul saved etc etc.

I think that most of my current shipmates on this site would agree the world without them for us seafarers would have been a darker place and they offered a lot of sage advice, even if it was only which bars to keep out of. They never forced religion down our throats, but did like us to join in prayers for a few minutes a night, and that was optional, these few minutes brought us back to to normallcy, the padres may have wished that they also stopped us drinking and visiting houses of ill repute, but they were wise enough to know that 70 to 80 men on the normal cargo ship cooped up on an iron island were going to seek the pleasures of a drink and the flesh especially after a particularily long and bad weather voyage when you did not know if you were ever going to reach another shore. So we would go to the Mission (if there was one) say our thanks to the Lord and then go to the bars where the Lord had also provided the pleasures of drink and flesh. It wasn't necessary for all of us to partake in the pleasures of flesh, it was just nice to be in a situation where there were females and some of the girls working the bars were very nice people and would listen to you without always trying to get you into bed, and maybe the Mission' influence made you stop and think, do I need to take the risk although I would say that most establishments ran a clean house, but the Mission probably put doubts in your mind, so there goes another soul saved from the path of self destruction and the possible rigours of the medicine chest!, a quick injection by a an inexperienced First Aider and a dab of Whitfields ointment was enough to put anyone off. Other ailments were cured with a liberal dose of Black Draught, the contents of which were only known to the devil.

Sorry to have rambled on, but I don't think definitive answers to your questions are possible, but were the Missions a positive force, then the answer must be yes and they probably are more so today even though their potential flock has decreased dramatically.

Good luck in your endeavours and perhaps some more of my shipmates will lose their shyness and bring you tales of their shoreside exploits, so come on lads "her indoors" will forgive you and be glad she married an experienced man, as most of your exploits will have happened before you were married ! Right !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ivan

robertrogers
2nd May 2011, 07:19 PM
I was also in trindad flying angel club in the 60s george usded to work behind the bar we was in dry dock for 6 weeks at a usa navy base i was on the athel templar i went back to trinadad on a cruise last year on the coral princess and the club was the same as it was when i was there 45 years ago & george still lives there

Neil Morton
2nd May 2011, 11:43 PM
The Trinidad mission is still there .Now THAT is truly amazing . I have a shipmate buried in the cemetery there and its good to know that a modern highrise has not despoiled the plot.

Patricia Hosie
7th May 2011, 07:39 AM
Hi Neil,

Many thanks for all your posts and I would just like to say that I have now had your book, Drifting Beneath the "Red Duster" finally delivered to me. I haven't had an opportunity to read it in full because I'm currently busy writing an essay on Piracy in the second half of the sixteenth century. However, I've highlighted some pages where your information will be brilliant for my dissertation and I am very grateful to you for sharing these memories.

Patricia

Doc Vernon
7th May 2011, 10:14 PM
Hello PATRICIA
I know this is not a Story ,but thought i would post these Pics of various Seamans Missions!
The one in Southampton(Jelicoe Hostel) was very well known by many,and used extensively .
Cheers

The one i dont know where it was possibly someone out there can ID it for us!?
n760052921 1426137 7714 jpeg ????????

Doc Vernon
7th May 2011, 10:16 PM
A few more!
Cheers

Doc Vernon
7th May 2011, 10:20 PM
Last few
Cheers

I just threw in th Smugglers Inn Durban for old Memories haha!
And is the Pic of the one in Hull correct ??
Thanks

Glenn Baker
7th May 2011, 11:03 PM
As a Young Merchant Seaman who didnt have a home at all, I have the Flying Angel Mission to thank for having Accomadation that was affordable to people such as me on lowly wages and as I said having no home compliments of the Second World War. Im pretty sure there were lots more fella,s like me in those sad circumstances, I hated even paying off a ship because in very simple terms it was my home for X amount of months.
The Flying Angel without doubt gave me a safe Haven which was cheap and close to the Docks in London to ship out for that I can be truly grateful.
To watch fellow seafarers pay off their ships and go home to Parents was an entire mystery to me as I lost most of my Relations in the War, I got to know a few more people in the same circumstances as me. It was after a few years of Shipping out in those circumstances that I realised I would never be able to afford a House of my own in the UK and didnt want to be a resident of the Flying Angel every few moths so took the Gigantic step and immigrated. But i shall never forget the Civil and nice way the Flying Angel showed Genuine Concern for Sea farers like me in those years at Sea. Glenn Baker

Colin Hawken
8th May 2011, 10:35 AM
Jellicoe is long gone now Vernon. Luxury flats today.

Doc Vernon
8th May 2011, 10:26 PM
Hi Colin
Thanks for that,i did know about the Flats there though,as it was told to me quite some time ago by George !(Of Southampton)
Actually had a nice Pic of those Flats as well,somewhere on my External Drive! Now where ?????LOL!:)

Its a pity that so many of the old places have dissapeared,they were good places to Bed down on our Shore leave! SAVED US A LOAD OF CASH!
Also had many happy hours at the Jelicoe! A few bad times as well haha!

Cheers

George
9th May 2011, 08:31 AM
Hi All,
How many ex Vindi Boys remember the Seamans Mission at Sharpness, for many of us our first intoduction to the Flying Angel. If my memory is correct the Priest name was Mark, and he would play the mission piano, and was well aware of the toughnes of the courses, and the regeme that run them. That particular mission and Preist must have left an impression on many young British Seaman, and helped many boys through what was at the time a pritty tough period in there young lives.
George
in Southampton

Captain Kong
9th May 2011, 09:47 AM
I remember that one in Sharpness, it had just opened before I went there in March 1952, The previous one was an old corrugated iron hut. Mark Allen was the piano man and he gave every lad who was going home a bible. He wasnt a priest. Mr Beamish was the man who ran the place, I suppose he was the Padre.
I met a lovely girl there, one of the local girls who volunteered to serve behind the counter in the canteen.
We went out together and I used to visit after when I was on leave and stay at her home for nearly two years. I was at a Vindy reunion a couple of years or so ago and she phoned me at my hotel and we talked for over an hour, after around 55 years , I could not see her because her husband heard I was in town.
happy days.

George
10th May 2011, 10:21 AM
Hi Captain, Many thanks for correcting my post, the dusts of time fogs the memory sometimes. Must say, to of courted a girl in Sharpness, must be one of lifes mirricles. When I was there in 1958 the onley young ladies were found at Berkley Church on Sunday, and they seemed to be well chapperonend, and along with the bromide they laced the nightly chocolate with, definitely seemed to slow the hormones down :D:D Well done.
George
in Southampton

Patricia Hosie
13th May 2011, 05:32 AM
Hi Vernon,

My apologies for not replying sooner but the Pirates essay has taken over my life for the moment! Thank you so much for these pictures. Wonderful.

kind regards,

Patricia

Patricia Hosie
13th May 2011, 05:38 AM
Hi Michael,

Thank you for taking an interest in the Pirate essay. However, I cannot use Wallasey and Hoylake because I'm answering a question on piracy in the Caribbean. Am glad to say it is nearly finished now and I can concentrate on my dissertation.

Kind regards,

Patricia

Lou Barron
28th May 2011, 03:07 AM
hi patricia it seems that you are a busy lady i have just been reading a book and it as a full chapter on seamens mission and other associations concering seamens missions it is called life line by peter elphick chapter 10. im sure it would give you a lot of info regards lou barron ex rockferry

alf corbyn
29th May 2011, 09:27 AM
hi patricia. have you any stories about female pirates?, ie mary reid alf

happy daze john in oz
30th May 2011, 06:36 AM
hi patricia. have you any stories about female pirates?, ie mary reid alf

Well Alf there was Maggie Thatcher, does that count as a pirate?

alf corbyn
1st June 2011, 11:58 AM
most pirates were more honest than her john. alf

Michael Lawrence
4th June 2011, 03:00 PM
If I remember rightly, the most useless Christmas present ever sent to anyone was the map and compass she gave to her son Mark. He more than likely thought a grid ref., was distance from 1 point to another.:p;):D

Patricia Hosie
6th June 2011, 06:30 AM
Hi Charles,
Thank you so much for the information. I don't have the book but I have come across the author's name in other books. I'm very much at the planning stage at the moment, attempting to organize all the various aspects of seamen's missions, how it relates to what the Victorians labelled the great 'social evil' and the rise in charities in general in Victorian England. I then want to update it to the middle of the 20th century and this is where all these posts are so very helpful. I

I would appreciate some more stories though if that's not too cheeky a request!

Thanks again,

Kind regards,

Patricia

Lou Barron
7th June 2011, 12:49 AM
hi patricia what kind of stories would you like regards regards lou bbarron

Peter Trodden
7th June 2011, 10:53 AM
'Morning All,
I was in Casablanca March 1992, on a Cable-Layer.We were waiting for the end of Ramadan so we could start the shore side work before Laying sub-sea cable to Madeira. The first day there a few of us went ashore for a look around,and the place was like a ghost town,everywhere closed 'till sundown. One of the lads said lets try the Mission. When we arrived at the Mish,it was open and very busy.We changed some money and ordered a few Beers and I said to the Padre that business looks good,yes he replied and not a Merchant Seaman amongst them all. He explained that they were all Wagon/Lorry drivers and had arrived the night before on the Cadiz ferry.They would have a few beers,then sleep in their cabs over night but return to the Mish in the morning for a shower and breakfast,buy a few things from the shop and wait for the return ferry to Cadiz.These drivers were German,French and Dutch and were regulars as it was an all year round Fruit and Veg,trade. The Padre said it was like this every day,and without this business the Mission would have had to close years ago. Over the years I've often wondered how long did the Mission survive.
ttfn. Peter.

Patricia Hosie
10th June 2011, 09:55 AM
Thank you so much for this story as this aspect of the use of the Seamen's Missions has not come up prior to your post.

Patricia:)

Patricia Hosie
10th June 2011, 10:09 AM
Hello Charles,

Any stories at all concerning shore leave particularly if it includes visits to disreputable areas where a sailor may be accosted. If the story is a little risque then a personal e-mail is an option. I have no intention of using names in my dissertation (or rather I will use an alias) as I'm only interested in attempting to ascertain how successful the seamen's missions were in their efforts to maintain a moral code among the sailors. It is not in any respect a judgmental piece of work but a fact finding quest. I want to ascertain how much of the Victorian attitude including the double standard influenced behaviours in the 20th century.

Pete Leonard (Bruno)
10th June 2011, 11:12 AM
Hi.Roger
just realized that I had not responded to your #34. Yes it was the Port Melbourne mission that I was referring to. Looking through google maps things have certainly gone up market round there. I remember the milk bar and the two pubs over the road and a guy who sold hot meat pies which we reckoned were 'roo meat.
Cheers, Pete

Pete Leonard (Bruno)
10th June 2011, 11:23 AM
Hello Patricia,
you have certainly stirred up a lot of old seafarers with this forum, you must have plenty of info. now for your dissertation and I hope it does well. One lady who has not been mentioned anywhere is Agnes Weston. But then she was more of a 'Grey Funnel Line' (RN) icon and operated in RN ports like Portsmouth and Plymouth. I think she might be worth a mention in your work, because her agenda was very much like that of The Flying Angel, but she operated alone. a very brave lady.
Good luck
Pete

happy daze john in oz
11th June 2011, 05:33 AM
Hi.Roger
just realized that I had not responded to your #34. Yes it was the Port Melbourne mission that I was referring to. Looking through google maps things have certainly gone up market round there. I remember the milk bar and the two pubs over the road and a guy who sold hot meat pies which we reckoned were 'roo meat.
Cheers, Pete

Up market! So much so the mission now sticks out like dogs b**s, but it still operates and does a great trade. The cahpel is used every Sunday morning for service with a travelling padre calling now as it no longer has a permanent one. There has been an attempt of late by a property developer to buy it, pull it down and turn the land over to high rise accomodation. Thankfully however it is now heritage listed so cannot be pulled down. The pie stall is long gone as are the pubs, very little there from the 60's.now.

Lou Barron
12th June 2011, 01:43 AM
hi patriciaas a very young seaman my first foreign port was capetown this was early in 1941 and we was told to keep away from number six district as it was a brothel area and very dangerous and a non drinker in them days we used the seamens missions a lot and also in durban and we did the same in fact the one in durban was very good it was there they organised boxing matches between the crews off different ships i got selected for one i end up on the deck and they use to have dances but in them days i had two left feet that is a couple of missions i have been in out of the several of other ones i have been in

Gordon Turnbull
12th June 2011, 08:44 AM
Patricia, another viewpoint. Going back to when I first went to sea in '72, as a few have said, the Missions were used as a stopping off point to phone home and for a few cheap beers before heading for less salubrious surroundings. With regard to your question, in my opinion, they certainly had some success, dependant upon where they were sited. Being a tanker man most of my days we tended to be a long way from cities on most occasions, so the Mish it was. However, ones in city centres would not have the same attraction. Their drawback to me was also the beer they sold. In Sydney a few years ago I headed for the mission and thought I would stay there for the duration instead of heading over to the Rocks or anywhere else (this was post Mont'y for you old dogs :-) ) I had about a dozen cans of beer before I realised I was drinking low alcohol stuff. Booger that, I says, and heads off for some decent stuff. Nowadays, which is where I am coming from, with the crews being more filipinos etc I seem to see most of them going to the mission and staying there, not heading out on the town at all. I also feel the communications we have nowadays makes us more in touch with home than we did a few years ago.

Favourite missions? Always had a lot of fun at Tilbury for some reason. Singapore, up Spotiswood Park Road was good, Dubai was an oasis in the olden days, Darien in China probably the biggest I have ever seen. None of them kept me away from the "bad" areas. Being married for 32 years now, dallying with the nightlife does not interest me, however I do like the company of young(ish) females and the banter that goes with it so you would still find me in the bars of Lagos when I can.

Anecdotes of runs ashore are best not repeated. Not just for the sake of those who may see them but also for the delicate ears of the female sex. Rumbustiousness is definitely a word that comes to mind. From the Juniper Berry, Betty's Bar and others in the UK to the old Bugis Street of Singapore, Happy valley of Curacao, Montgomerie Hotel in Pyrmont and too many bars around the Aussie and Kiwi coast, we partied. Which actually brings to mind something else. Obviously with Oz and Kiwi being English speaking nations, various missions were plentiful. They were probably used less there than elsewhere especially by cargo boat men due to the fact the girls would meet the ship in Brisbane or whatever the first port was and leave again in the last port, thereby saving you having to go looking in every port. Happy days.

alf corbyn
12th June 2011, 10:45 AM
hi patricia. just been reading bruno's post. aggie weston certainly deserves a mention and i hope you can get some info on her. she was perhaps one of the most well known ladies of plymouth where seamen were concerned. she and i think her sister ran a seamans boarding house in plymouth, which has now unfortunatly been pulled down. this should have been preserved as a national monument to seamen.there is a lot of history about our aggie which should be in any book about seamen ashore in ports away from their home. i suggest you get in touch with the plymouth evening herald which has done articles about her. alf

Pete Leonard (Bruno)
12th June 2011, 11:49 AM
Thanks for the mention Alf. In fact there is quite a bit of info.on Google about Aggie. Some would say that she was a bit misguided in her mission, but I am sure that she managed to keep a few matelots away from the fleshpots.
Cheers
Pete

Patricia Hosie
13th June 2011, 06:24 AM
Hello Bruno,

Thank you very much for your response.

Agnes Weston's book was one of the first books I came across and is indeed, most worthy of mention. I have found all the information from this forum, books, newspaper articles and mission records all extremely useful but there is still a dearth of information concerning how successful the Missions actually were because the opposing information is not terribly forthcoming about visits to disreputable areas. I completely understand the reluctance but I truly am only interested in seeking a balanced viewpoint. Part of the dissertation concerns women's education and choices so I want to gain a male perspective on their visits to these areas.

Best wishes,

Patricia

Patricia Hosie
13th June 2011, 06:51 AM
Hello Gordon,

Thank you for your very useful reply but the statement you make that anecdotes of runs ashore are best not repeated are exactly what I'm asking. As for delicate female ears, I have mentioned using the private message if the story is a little risque. I understand what you are saying but the purpose of the question is purely academic and as part of my studies I have read much that might be considered 'not for delicate female ears'. I am frequently 'shocked' but that is because I have lived in a kind of respectable bubble that doesn't reflect the real world so I'm anxious to know and understand the social, political and economic reasons that maintain prostitution. This includes how successful the Seamen's Missions were at keeping the sailors away from those areas.

I do appreciate the delicacy of what I'm asking but hope that my request is understood in the manner it is intended.

Kind regards,

Patricia

Ivan Cloherty
13th June 2011, 08:10 AM
[
Hi Patricia

I dothink the guys are embarrassed about revealing their stories, but the era you are talking about has long gone so they should not be,wives and girl friends are more understanding than they think. In my post #4, I pointed out there are a lot of reasons why men resorted to prostitutes. A lot of these women were very exotic looking and lets face it during the war and the immediate post war years when many of us were used to dull, dark, "servicable" clothing only obtained by clothing coupons, the women in sunnier climes wearing brightly coloured clothes, and so much less of them! were very tempting. For a lot of us younger ones it was our first introduction to the delights that Adam had experienced so long before, and it was a strong willed man who would not be entranced by these dusky skinned maidens with their long dark hair, flashing dark eyes, voluptious figures and swaying hips (some of my contempories reading this are now having heart attacks).

Sometimes it was a game for the older seamen to get the younger ones to "lose their cherry" as it was known, between losing your cherry and a visit to the padre, I'm afraid was no contest, the padre got used to coming second. On your first experience losing your cherry was usually free as well, so that made it more attractive, and if you were fortunate to look very young, lets face it lots of us were only 16 when we went to sea and most of us looked younger, you could lose your cherry in every port visited on that run! If you were a boy would you have gone to the Mission?

You will find that many of our experiences were found in the then poorer countries of the west Indies, south America, south Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong, seamens wages wouldn't run to USA prices!, also women, who were not prositutes in the Australasian countries where there was a shortage of men in the post war years were glad of company and a little bit of comforting. For a lot of these women in the poorer countries mentioned it was their only source of income. Some south American men were not known for their fidelity and their wives and children were left to fend for themselves, unless of course their husbands were their pimps, which they were in many cases. "Eh meeester, you wanna sleeep with my seeester" was unfortunately true in a lot of cases, even if we didn't know it at the time.

Yes the Missions were a source of refuge for some, but were they an influence in stopping the majority proceeding beyond the Mission, the answer has to be no, but one soul saved etc etc

If you are looking for "actual" personal experiences then some may be reluctant to tread that path, but give it time, it only needs one then the flood gates will open, was it Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers who sang "Anything you can do I can do better" and memories have a way of inflating experiences, pardon the pun.

In one of your earlier posts you mentioned Victorian double standards, I'm afraid you lost me there, perhaps you could elucidate on that so that we can hopefully respond

Kind regards

Ivan

Pete Leonard (Bruno)
13th June 2011, 08:30 AM
Hello Patricia, I think that Gordon's post just about sums up the attitude of seamen in general to The Flying Angels. He is obviously drawing from his experience at sea some years ago as I would. It was a whole different picture then, with the red duster prevalent in every port in the world. If you asked me then were the missions successful I would have been very doubtful. I certainly do not think that much revenue came from the seamen who used them. The reason for this being that most men when they hit port with money in their pockets would walk past the mission and head for the fleshpots. After a day or so when the money ran out they might creep ashore for tea and tabnabs in the mission. So unless the staff were able to redeem the sinner at this stage the message had not got through. The situation today is completely different, with so few British seamen crewing a very depleted fleet. Another factor being time spent in port. In those days,depending on your cargo, you could be up to a fortnight or more in port. Today with the emphasis on rapid turnaround with container ships you are lucky if you get 24 hours in port,and if you are unlucky enough to be kept on watch you don't get ashore at all. So Patricia it is all a matter of supply and demand.
Best wishes
Pete

Patricia Hosie
13th June 2011, 10:22 AM
Hi Ivan,

I'm very much in your debt. This is exactly what I'm looking for as it demonstrates the male view I obviously cannot know other than from a male.

The double standards I refer to are simply that it was OK for males to 'sow wild oats' or any other term you wish to use, but if a female lost her virtue, (or was even thought to have lost her virtue) then she was ostracized by society. Lots of Victorian literature focuses on this aspect of society and it is taken up by feminists from earlier centuries. It reflects the idea that prostitution was a necessary social evil in order to keep respectable women respectable. However, although I intend to mention the double standard, I'm much more interested in the link between class, capitalism, education and poverty that leaves some women without a choice that you have highlighted in your post. So that provides me with exactly the evidence and viewpoint from a male perspective that I'm looking for.

Once again, thank you very much and I hope your post leads to a few more stories. With any luck I shall have the material for a book, let alone a dissertation!

I would also like to reiterate that the information will be written up completely anonymously.

Kindest regards,
Patricia

alf corbyn
13th June 2011, 10:29 AM
hi patricia. in my experience, seamen were not all that religeous so the missions definately came second. once the money ran out then we went to the mission, but only for the free food and perhaps to try and enviegle a mission girl to take the place of a prostitute. i would not think the mission would have much luck unless the lad was already religeious. yes they were a good thing but mostly for some where to go when broke. alf

Captain Kong
13th June 2011, 12:54 PM
I remember being in Genoa, Italy in 1962. Around six of us were sat in a bar when a Lady propositioned us for a `quicky`. Some of the lads were taking the micky out of her, she started to weep and then shout at us, she had three children to feed and if she had no money the children went hungry, There was no Benefits system in Italy at that time, she had to sell herself to survive.
I think we were all a little shocked, and then realised what it was all about, These Ladies were hard working girls, not in it for the pleaure but for survival.
We had a tarporlin muster, [collection ], and raised quite a lot of money and gave it to her. She was very grateful for the money and didnt have to sell herself that night.
Cant remember if we went to the Mission that night, but if we had done that poor Lady would not have had the collection money to feed her kids.

Michael Lawrence
13th June 2011, 03:15 PM
Hi Kong. remember Genoa and loved my 2 times there. The Via Lucia which was called the 'dirty mile' presumably because of the ladies for hire. Do you remember the United Services Club it was in an old palazzo, very chic and the booze was reasonable. We were there one time on the 'Surrey' of NZ. Shipping Co., (Federal Line just in case someone corrects me) and part of the USA fleet was in ,was it the sixth or the seventh? Remember their carrier was the Rooservelt. We had a few of their lads on by telling them we were off H.M.S. Mudlark a submarine and were due to take part in exercises to sink the carrier. According to their lads there was no way we're get closer enough to carry out the attack. We told 'em that we had a new weapon where we laid on the seabed and sent up a guided rocket which if it was for real would land on their flight deck and poof, end of carrier. One of the 'gobs' said to his mates, 'I read about this in one of our new technical mags.,'

Strange that a couple of years later those missiles were a fact.

I remember I met a very lovely Jewish girl on the Via Lucia --- but thats another story and top secret.:p;):D

Ivan Cloherty
13th June 2011, 03:36 PM
I remember I met a very lovely Jewish girl on the Via Lucia --- but thats another story and top secret.:p;):D

Go on Michael, do tell, there are no secrets between friends and think of how much pleasure you would bring to Patricia and her research!

Ivan

Gordon Turnbull
13th June 2011, 03:40 PM
OK, here are a couple of wee stories for you. Hopefully more in line with what you are looking for  Some involve prostitutes, some just females looking for a little bit of fun and solace as we were.
My first ship was the Windsor Castle, joined her, in Southampton obviously, April ’72 having just turned 16 in the February. Young mining village boy getting thrown out into the big bad world. I would love to say I was a nice young innocent cherry boy, but I wasn’t unfortunately and had been lucky enough to have had a few dalliances before then. Nothing spectacular happened on my four trips. Met a couple of nice passengers of my own age, had a bit of fun. Picked up the odd female from the Navigator’s Den, Smugglers or Beach Hotel, but nothing great anecdotally. The brothel in Las Palmas (Green door or something???? Someone help me with that) once, but as we were not in port for long and as a Bell Boy, money was not exactly in great supply, and I guess added to that the fact it was not exactly thrilling, never bothered going back. The laundry lady on the afternoon shift did behave improperly to me when I went to change my jacket one day. Conversation went along the lines of “Where you from son?”. I answered. “Wanna shag?” was her reply. “Not really” says I. “well you’re gonnae get wan then” being her reply resulted in rolling in the laundry with a rather rotund if not downright fat female more than twice my age. I never went back in the afternoon unless another Bell Boy was with me.

Next ship, Bridgepool. Joined her in Glasgow (Meadowside Granary). September ’72. West Africa runner and really my first meetings with aforementioned dusky maidens (well, more black than anything but you get the picture). Anyway, Dakar, Abidjan, Lagos, Kpeme, Freetown, Monrovia, wherever. I was like a kid in a sweetie shop which was basically what I was like. I did not really have a permanent girlfriend at home so was in no way “playing away”. Most of the girls were around my age, a few years older maybe. Couple of things come to mind. In these days we used to get “fux for Lux” where a few bars of soap set you up for the period you were in port. Anyway, sitting on a barstool in a bar in Dakar one afternoon, way way under the weather (paralytic actually). I woke up to find a young lady performing oral sex on me. Very nice way of introduction. Spent the next few days with her. She was 16 and the only breadwinner for her family. Abidjan, two gorgeous young ladies came on board. It was a Saturday and we were having the usual Saturday evening buffet so we were pretty busy getting it ready. The young ladies spent the morning down the sailor’s and firemen’s alley making a few bob before heading upstairs. The caterers cabins were next to the PO’s who were next to the cadets. The cadets had the biggest cabin and as we had no bar, this was the party cabin. The two young ladies joined us and after having had sex with, I reckon at least 15 of us, left, sore I would imagine but a lot of money in their pockets.
I am not going to moralize on the rights or wrongs of anything by the way, just tell them like they were.
Next ship, one of Fred’s, nothing to report. 
Now, the Wellington Star, also at Meadowside, Feb ’73. I guess that could be a book on its own. Betty’s Bar in Glasgow was a bar of some renown and it was there I got in tow with Senga. Probably silly in hindsight but again a few drinks and it is amazing who you wake up with. Senga was an orphan so she told me, homeless and 18, so she said anyway. Thankfully we were only in Glasgow a week or so having moved round to Govan drydock just down the road from Jim Baxter’s pub. Although Glasgow was my home port I never really spent much time there so Betty’s was a bit of an eye opener. We sailed, I had a dose. Up to the mate for a jab. Heading for Kiwi, stopped at Panama and my introduction to bestiality seeing the donkey show. Not pretty in hindsight and I shall not elaborate. The more rings removed, the more money she earned. Had a short time, we sailed, I had a dose. Up to the Mate for a jab. First port in Kiwi, Opua in the Bay of Islands. Scotland is beautiful, Bay of Islands is breathtaking. Unfortunately not a lot there. Fortunatley on the second day the girls arrived. They had been give the wrong date for our arrival. All is well that ends well and no prostitutes were required for the rest of the stay on the Kiwi coast (around two months if I remember correctly). Back to Europe. Docked in Bootle. I went home for the weekend (Scotland were playing Brazil at Hampden and my brother was getting married the same day, football won I am sad to say, theory being he would probably get divorced and have another wedding but Scotland might not play Brazil again). Returned to Bootle on the Monday. Next weekend sitting in my cabin (two berthed) at smoke-o when we were told there was a female next door quite happy for a gang bang. I believe it was 13 of us as there were certainly 13 of us at the Mate’s office after we sailed. Again, no moralizing. Down to Tilbury, sent to the clinic for the old umbrella. Not nice and something I can still feel to this day when I think about it. Thankfully we were in for a while and cleared up allowing some dalliances with a young local girl. Chartered out to Brocklebanks I believe and took a cargo up the Red Sea. Canal still closed so round the Cape. Broke down off Dakar so that allowed us to have some fun, but nothing noteworthy. Had to stop in Durban for a wee bit of repairs and bunkers etc. Nice little dose of crabs for me there. Mahe was our first scheduled stop. Black Cat club. Wonderful. It seemed there were half a dozen women to every man. We sailed, I visited the mate again. Port Sudan, about 15 of us went up to the shanty town. One prostitute short!!! Boy rating, last in line so no nookie for me, or so I thought. Madam goes away and comes back with an absolutely stunning female. Off to her quarters. Think shanty town and think people through the walls etc etc. Not that this hould be any source of embarrassment considering earlier anecdotes but just to let you envisage it. “Greek?” she says. “No, Scottish” says I. “No, Greek “she shouts. “No, bloody Scottish” I shout all the louder. This went on for a while, meanwhile little John Thomas is getting pretty peed off and wants some action. Lots of shouting from around me telling me to shut the f*** up and get on with it. So we did. We sailed, I visited the Mate but at least she had tried to warn me. Over to Aqaba in Jordan. We picked up a family there that was travelling down to New Zealand in a converted army ambulance but got stuck because of the war. We took them on board and this was the first time in my life I fell in love. I will not go into that story as it certainly would not be fair on that once young lady to say anything further. Down to the land of the Oz and my darling left me, with her family, in Brisbane to get the ferry over to the land of the Kiwi. Broken hearted, but straight up the road to find me a nice girl. Couple of ports later we end up in Newcastle where I fell in love for the second time. Cheryl was sent to look for her cousin who was a lovely lass who was quite happy to sail round the coast with the boys. She found her in the Star Hotel (now infamously and sadly closed), but fell for my boyhood charms. She ended up living on board as well. What did they get from it? I guess not a lot. We fed them and watered them and loved them as much as we could. Sailed from Newcastle down to Sydney, couple of weeks there. Funny story there. A couple of days before we were sailing we came back on board drunk. Incapable of climbing into the top bunk we forcibly got the galley boy into the top bunk and we took his. Sailed a couple of days later for Melbourne. On the way, crabs again. Not possible to have come from Cheryl as she was certainly not hirsute if you see what I mean. Further examination of the galley boy’s linen did indeed show that it was he who had the crabs. Dirty wee bugger. Dirty wee sneaky bugger in fact as we never knew he had been dallying with anyone. Cheryl decided it would be a good idea to go back to Newcastle and get some clothes before coming down to Melbourne by road with some of the other girls. Unfortunately when they got there she was questioned on her age, gave her real DOB and was taken into safe custody!!! She was only 16. I was questioned by police etc and threatened with statutory rape etc. I was only 17 myself for crying out loud. Anyway, they sent her back to Newcastle so I jumped ship and went to Newcastle as well. Things are never the same though are they? Broke up, broken hearted, no dose!!!! Result. Caught, jailed, deported.
The Oakworth, nothing of note apart from walking through Tilbury and saw the young lady I had been with the year before walking towards me pushing a pram. I ran. Florida and back and never so happy to leave a ship.
The Exmoor. Joined Rotterdam, Red Sea trade, more of the same as Welly Star with girls near enough every port, Massawa, Djibouti, Port Sudan etc etc. Nothing spectacular I can think of at all. Just a lot of good fun and what seemed like the right thing to be doing.
After that I joined BP and things were a wee bit different as you never got ashore so much. However when we did, we enjoyed it. Standing in a bar in the Reeperbahn. Topless barmaid and porn on the tellies. Company I was in was giving the poor lass dog’s abuse about her rather pert breasts etc. They all went to “bag off” leaving me. I was going home next day and due to my preponderance for doses thought it prudent to behave ( I had a girlfriend by then). Asked barmaid for another beer. She spoke good English and I told her so. She was Geordie working over there so had obviously understood everything they guys had been saying about her.
Vunda Point, Fiji. In a night club. Only one of two I have seen around the world where there was a cage around the bar. Up dancing. Someone stole my mates shoes so he had to walk home in his socks, feet ripped to shreds. We had a couple of nice females with us as well. In the morning I can assure you they were the ugliest I have ever seen.
Darwin. In a night club. Mate falls asleep whilst I am chatting up a female. Convinced her to come back but she would only come back if my mate would go with her mate. Wakes him up and off we go. Just finishing the business when he burst into my cabin. “Turnbull, you bas****, that was a bloke” Oh well.
Met the future missus not long after this so all dalliances ceased.

As I said earlier, no moralizing. It was what it was at the time. My morals are a fair bit tighter these days obviously but I regret not one of these, and more, incidents. What I did then has made me into the well rounded, intelligent, articulate and moral person I am today. Hope this helps a bit more and maybe also give a bit of a laugh.

Ivan Cloherty
13th June 2011, 03:55 PM
Well there you go Patricia, Gordon has taken all the romance out of prostitution

maybe now you will get a bit of one upmanship, Whoops sorry wrong expression!, but then again perhaps not these days

Eddie Grant
13th June 2011, 05:01 PM
Hi Captain Kong. oh boy you made me laugh with "viente cinco de mayo" BA how i remember it well from the 50s and May Sullivan i can see her sitting behind the bar playing cards and the dark glasses on the left as you go in. Know it well as it was the only bar i got thrown out of in BA. She was known the world over What a Gob! just like an orangutans A--E. I did go there myself a few years ago on a holliday for old time sake, never thought i would pay to go there at my age as no would let me work my passage. Thanks for that memory. Eddie Grant.

Ivan Cloherty
13th June 2011, 10:43 PM
Try again. Hi Patricia, you may think from some of the foregoing that it all seemed very rough and business like, there were times when it seemed more like romance. On my first visit to Cuba when I was 16, it seemed like romance, remember this was a time well before the advent of cheap travel and in the immediate post war years when things were still hard to obtain in Europe.

This is an extract from my book (copyrighted)

We were in Havana, Andy seemed to know where he was going entering a bar alive with rumba and samba music. A vision of lovliness ran towards Andy jumping into his arms and wrapping her legs around his waist, I blushed a deep red, Andy laughed "Maria go and tell Rosita we have a little cherry for her" Maria dashed off and I could see her talking to an older woman at the bar, pointing in my direction and laughing. Maria returned to Andy saying to me "don't go away Rosita has a little present for you" with that she dragged Andy away who shouted "whatever happens don't go back to the ship without me, I know where you'll be" with that he was gone. I turned around to be confronted by Rosita "say hello to my little Dolores" I just stood mouth open looking at Dolores who was perhaps a couple of years older than myself, she was the same height, deeply tanned with long dark hair and black luminous eyes with a figure only seen on hoardings advertising luxury lingerie, I had thought that such girls were a figment of the artists imagination, but this one was real, so real. She wore brightly coloured clothes rarely seen in post war Europe where the emphasis was on durability rather than enticement. These Cuban girls were enticing with their sensuous walks, swaying hips and barely covered "deck cargo" as bosoms were known or referred to by seamen.

Dolores smiled "tell me your name" my tongue refused to work, but finally managed to blurt it out, "thats nice" she said taking my hand "come sit over here with me" leading me towards a small cubicle then sitting almost on top of me. The smell of her perfume pleasantly attacked my nostrils, she snuggled closer the warmth of her body transmitting to mine "don't be nervous, I'm not going to eat you" adding "tell me about yourself, have you got a girl back home" she waved to the barman gesturing for two beers to be brought over to us, handing me a glass she clinked her glass with mine saying "salute". Whilst sipping my drink she slipped her hand in mine, I experienced a glow never felt before "tell me about your girl, is she pretty" I told her about Susan and the letter I had received and what it meant to me.Dolores appeared to listen whilst sqeezing my hand tighter and tighter, the music was playing the beat very intoxicating, "do you dance" she asked, I shook my head saying I had never learnt to dance the way the couples were dancing on the floor before us "come" she said "time for Cuban lesson number one", she had a voice with an accent only heard in movies, was this really happening to me.

Dolores held me tightly "I know you will have held a girl before, just close your eyes and pretend I'm Susan" I found this very difficult to do, Susan whilst lovely, still had a schoolgirl figure, Dolores was fully developed and hard to ignore. She put her arms around my neck drawing me close, her body was getting warmer as she began to gyrate to the music, was dancing always going to be like this, we were dancing around the floor as if we had been dancing together all our lives, our bodies entwined as one. Dolores kissed me holding me tighter, I could feel myself blushing, my body getting uncomfortably warm, it was not an unpleasant feeling and I made no move to stop dancing. The music stopped and she led me back to the table handing me a cold beer, "you'd better drink this before you burst into flames" she said laughing, but not in an unkind way. She was looking at me somewhat bemused "you are not like the others" adding "are you thinking of your little Susan whilst you are holding me in your arms, don't feel guilty my little shy boy, your Susan will not be pining for you, she will be out with her friends, perhaps a new boyfriend" how prophetic that was going to be

An hour or two had passed, perhaps even longer, I could feel myself being drawn into a situation akin to being swallwed by a whirlpool but not wanting to escape even if I could. We danced frequently, it felt so natural returning her kisses, all memories of that distant land called home receded into obscurity. we consumed a couple more drinks then Dolores said just one word "Come" and led me to a small hotel where as they say at sea, I lost my cherry. It was an experience never to be forgotten with a girl whose beauty and energy left me breathless and would long remain in my memory, the girl with the dark smouldering eyes, long black tresses, heart shaped lips, lithesome feminine body who had transported me to a place beyond my wildest dreams.

Andy was knocking at the bedroom door "come on lad we'd best get back to the ship" I shouted that I would be right out, but Dolores had other ideas and Andy was kept waiting sometime longer. My heart was breaking leaving Dolores, saying I would be back, she smiled saying "I will be here but fate and ships may keep us apart" adding "you don't have to tell Susan about this, it is all part of life" She blew me a kiss and I closed the door gently. Andy said "lets get back to the ship and don't make a noise going up the bloody gangway" we apprentices were not supposed to frequent Ale Houses or Houses of ill repute" but none told our hormones........................................

There you have it Patricia, romance with a prostitute, who had a great heart, as did most of them, I never did see Dolores again, although I tried on subsequent voyages, my only guilt was not remembering having left her any money ( I was in another world) and she never asked for any, I would have liked to have found her to make sure that she was alright for money, but life sometimes throws a wrong curve

Ivan

Lou Barron
14th June 2011, 01:41 AM
it was in auckland nz at a dance one night i got tangled up with this girl in her twentys a very good dancer and if i may say so i was not to bad she ask me what ship i was on and i told her then she told that she worked at the flying angel as the night progressed she said to me why didnt book into the mission for the night so i did i think it cost five shillings for the night about one o clock there was a knock on the door and there she was another episode how good the seamans mission worked to keep us away from the flesh pots

Patricia Hosie
14th June 2011, 01:40 PM
Hi Gordon,

Well that was some story that perhaps suggests the missions were not that successful! Thank you for being so frank because all these stories give a rather bland dissertation a bit of 'spice'. There were a few bits I didn't quite understand but I'm not going to ask!

What I would like to share with you is that as a school child I saw the launching of the Windsor Castle at Cammell Lairds. It was raining and my mother had purchased a paper flag whilst all the other kids had fabric ones and mine got wet and fell to pieces so I had nothing to wave when the Queen Mother arrived.

Thanks again
Patricia

Patricia Hosie
14th June 2011, 01:42 PM
Hello Castleman,

What's the "Pig and Whistle"?

Patricia

Patricia Hosie
14th June 2011, 01:52 PM
Hi Ivan,

I like Dolores and your romantic interpretation. It's a lovely story and I just don't see how the missions could possibly compete!

Best wishes,
Patricia

Doc Vernon
14th June 2011, 10:26 PM
Hi Patricia
Well on this site it is a place to post things that perhaps some Eyes shouldnt see,(Members Only Section) this is so as to keep it away from the younger set ,as there are many visitors here an we dont know wht ages look in on site!
Thus the Pig and Wistle for all the wee bits and pieces haha!:D

At Sea of course as you may wel know its the gathering place (Pub) for all the Seaman to have a good old Chinwag about all kinds of things both sesible and nonsensicle LOL!:) And of course a few good Bevvies with the Lads
Cheers

http://www.merchant-navy.net/forum/f129/

Ivan Cloherty
14th June 2011, 10:59 PM
Hi Patricia
Well on this site it is a place to post things that perhaps some Eyes shouldnt see,(Members Only Section) this is so as to keep it away from the younger set ,as there are many visitors here an we dont know wht ages look in on site!
Thus the Pig and Wistle for all the wee bits and pieces haha!:D

At Sea of course as you may wel know its the gathering place (Pub) for all the Seaman to have a good old Chinwag about all kinds of things both sesible and nonsensicle LOL!:) And of course a few good Bevvies with the Lads
Cheers

http://www.merchant-navy.net/forum/f129/

Of course Patricia you must realise that not all ships had a "Pig and Whistle" it was mostly the liners, us poor wee cargo ship men had our saloons and messrooms so no chance to escape to the bar, a lot of our cargo ships were dry !so there was no chance for ALL seamen to have a chinwag. Like the old saying goes above the Devil's door "All who enter here (the forum) do so at their own peril" you pays yer moni yer taks yer chances!

Ivan

Doc Vernon
14th June 2011, 11:31 PM
Hi Ivan
I like that saying mate,and it would be something if we could get that on the Pig and Whistle Forum Door haha!:D "All who enter here (the forum) do so at their own peril"
Cheers

Oh those poor Cargo Men what no P&W now theres a let down,missed out on a few things i would say haha!:)

Thanks

Nigel Smith
18th July 2011, 08:46 AM
I recall visiting a Seamans Mission in Odessa in 1976, it was a very grand building and well furnished. A stark contrast to the area it was in. The mission consisted of a huge room, half of which was stacked with shelves of books. All the books were red (appropriately?), they were printed in numerous languages and everyone that visited the mission was given 3 of these books. There was one very thick paperback and a couple of smaller ones. Once I had bought stamps and posted my mail I left, 'accidently' forgetting to pick up the books ;).

We left the Mission in search of a bar (what else?), we flagged down a bus. We only had US dollars, the bus drivers eyes lit up. The next thing we knew the driver had turfed all the passengers off the bus, we had our own private taxi............ but thats another story :)