View Full Version : 'Dhobi Jack'

happy daze john in oz
24th November 2008, 05:40 AM
A few postings back there was a question asked about Dhobi Jack and did anyone rememebr him. I spoke with my mate here John Regan who well recalls him. John was on the pool at the time with Manchester Liners and told me hae was the same ashore as at sea. John still gets the company regukar newsletter and he has been told that he nad his mate in U.K. are now the oldest surviving M.L. crew. John is in his 80's now.

24th November 2008, 01:30 PM
Website(mentioned by member John Sutton in a previous thread ) is here:


So Let's Hear it for Manchester Liners,then!


brian willoughby
2nd December 2010, 12:44 PM
Sailed once with M.L. and Dhobi jack was part of the crew on that particular trip. An 8 weeker to the East Coast of the States first week in February 1965 and paid off on Easter Monday. we took MR. SMITHS boat out to Miami. I was the messman on that trip.I try to recall many of those crew members but unfortunately time makes a mockery of rhe old memery. If I real a few christian names off,perhaps some of you may help me recall.

1 A guy known has WALLY,possibly engine room or Deck.

2 Paddy, the big ex-boxer.Had his son sail with him.

3 Ray, the chief steward

4 2nd steward was a certain Mr. Sparrow.

the second cook was called Liam

On the matter of Dhobi Jack I often wonder if he is still around. His obsessional behaviour caused his hand to be perminently raw. I diidn't fully understand Jacks problem in those days but from a professional perspective the poor sod must have gone through hell in his life.

Socially, I also remember the guys taking me round to the Clews on Easter Sunday for a live show with the Gay guys. How times have changed.

Does anyone remember John ??? He had a limp, was in the catering dept and I first met him while on the Baskerville. Kind Regards Brian W.

Captain Kong
2nd December 2010, 07:25 PM
Jack Lomax, aka Dhobi Jack was a very old friend and neighbour of mine. He lived not 200 yards from my house , just around the corner. He lived with his sister in a council house in Bolton Lancs, I never sailed with Jack but we always met up when we were both on leave together.I had known him since the 1950s.
He was in the Royal Navy during the latter days of WW2. then he joined the MN, He sailed on Manchester Liners as AB then as regular Bosun mostly on the smaller lake boats , the Faith and so on.
I last saw Jack in the 80s He said he had had a heart attack and was on sick leave, I told him to go to the Dreadnought Seamans Hospital in Greenwich. I went away on an Esso Tanker for six months and when I returned his house was empty, no sister , no Jack. then another tennant moved in. I have never seen or heard of him since. I PRESUMED HE HAD DIED THEN.
`Trader` has sailed with him.

Pete Leonard (Bruno)
2nd December 2010, 07:51 PM
I never sailed out of Liverpool but I remember hearing stories about a gay fireman from there called Johnny Linus. Apparently if you didn't respond to his advances he would knock seven bells out of you until you did.
Or ir this another one of those nautical myths ?

Captain Kong
2nd December 2010, 09:39 PM
Johnny was a real character, a big hairy coal burning firman
What you said was true
But I never had anything to do with him.
I last saw him in the Queens pub on James Street in Liverpool he was in a wheelchair and living in an Old Folks home. That was in 1976.

3rd December 2010, 12:58 AM
Hi John,

I sailed with Jack Lomax (dhobi Jack) on the "Manchester Fame" in 1964 and did several trips on the Great Lakes with him in fact we were watchmates. We were on the Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, Detroit and Chicago run and sometimes did some of the smaller ports. A great little ship, Lakes in the summer and Medi in the winter running to Malta, Cyprus and Israel.

Jack was a good hand ex. RN as stated by Brian (Capt.Kong). He was always immaculate even when we were overhauling topping lifts and must have spent a fortune on soap powder. He always had a bucket in soak in the bathroom. I did ten years on and off with Manchester Liners and left them in 1965 and lost touch with Jack but met Capt. Kong on another site a couple of years ago and his name cropped up again.

Like your old mate John Reagan, I am also a member of Manchester Liners Old Shipmates and get their newsletter twice a year.


Which Manchester Liner were you on? I didn't understand your commennt about MR.SMITHS boat.

The Wally ??? you spoke about could have been Wally Totty a bosun from Wakefield

Ray the CH/Steward must have been Ray Camilleri from Manchester. A big man, the gentle giant who I sailed with on several ships. Unfortunately he passed away a couple of years ago.

Paddy the boxer could have been Charlie Docherty who also was a bosun. I don't know about his son though.

I don't know about the others, as you say it is a long time ago. I remember the Clowes, it was pulled down years ago. You wouldn't recognise the docks nowadays it is all luxury flats, bars, restaurants, museums and theatres with not a ship in sight.

All the best.............Alec.

happy daze john in oz
3rd December 2010, 04:56 AM
Captain Kong you mentioned the Dreadnaught Semans Hospital in Greenwich. I was sent there in 64 to see about a Hernia operation. I had heard about the 'picture gallery' but when I saw it I went back to my own G.P. and asked for another hospital, thankfully he got me into Lewisham. Heard some awful stories about that hospital in Greenwich, is it still there?

Captain Kong
3rd December 2010, 09:53 AM
Hi Happy,
I had a couple of operations in the Dreadnought in Greenwich.
Best time I ever had.There were many in there with hernias, and we laughed so much the guys were busting their stitches every day and having to be sewn up again. the biggest crowd of commedians I was ever with.
I was having such a good time there I asked to stay an extra week no probs.
The nurses were fantastic too. They made a lot of allowances for Seamen knowing we were all half mad anyway.
Second time I went in there I kept my clothes with me and in the afternoon and evenings I would take my clothesto the bathroom , get changed and go through the window , down the fire escape to the pub across the road have a few pints then get some carry outs for the lads. back up the fire escape ladder get changed and we would have a party with the nurses. Bottles of Rum for the Barbadan nurses.
One night on Christmas week We were dancing with the nurses when the Matron charged in, Nurse Miss `Piggy` was lying on my bed smoking , we all scattered , I dived on my bed, hit Miss Piggy she fell out and rolled under the next bed. The screams out of the Matron were terrible. She was built like a shore Bosun.
Sadly it closed. and we now have two wards in St Thomas`s facing Parliament. Not the same now as it is part of the NHS and shore side patients use it and no seafaring laughs anymore.

Alec , I was on the Manchester MERCHANT IN 1961

Richard Quartermaine
3rd December 2010, 11:00 AM
Captain - In October/ November 1950 I paid off the Port Dunedin and booked in at Greenwich. I had had my tonsils out in Wellington NZ and as it was a botched job I had to have it fixed.

The ward was about the same size as Wembley Stadium and the Matron was a Polish woman, built like a battleship with a voice to match. She was tough but there was a kindness in her strict discipline. I really enjoyed the stay there and as you say, there was a lot of fun with the other patients and nurses - not so good as you had, unfortunately.

We used to draw sketches and write ditties and one was:

Whilst recovering from an illness I was terribly annoyed,
For the toilet was denied me and a bed pan was employed.
I much prefer a thunder mug but that was out of scope,
Matron said - now listen, son, this pan's your only hope.
Etc, etc.

This was under an appropriate sketch. When I went to her office to arrange to go to Angus Convalescent Home it was pinned up on her wall.

After Dreadnought did you get to Angus Convalescent Home run by The Seamen's Hospital Society out at Cudham, Kent, near Biggin Hill airfield. That was really living it up - here are some pics.

Peter (Pat) Baker
3rd December 2010, 04:29 PM
Johnny Linus was certainly not a myth.
Personally I only saw him once in a Liverpool
dockside pub, but anywhere I went in the world
if I was in a seamans pub and anybody mentioned
his name, a dozen people knew of him and had a
few tales to tell.
Peter (Pat) Baker

Captain Kong
3rd December 2010, 04:30 PM
Hi Richard, No I didnt go there I must have done my weeks convalescent in the Dreadnought as I had asked for extra time on the ward and stayed another week.
It really was a good place to have an operation. My Surgeon was Mr Ahmadi, he was from Harley Street and was King Hussein of Jordan`s` personal Surgeon, they donate one day a week to the Dreadnought, an old custom for the Charity for Seamen. Unfortuately he died before I left the hospital.
I have been to the `new` Drednought in St Thomas`s just as a day patient.
I went because I had a large freckle growing on my face so I had it checked out there. The Nurse said Take off all your clothes, I said I have only come for this freckle on my face. She says Get all your clothes off the lot. I says , you mean Naked , yes get em off, and lie on that trolley.
I stripped off completely naked, lay on the trolly, then suddenly I was surrounded by six Nurses all looking down at me. The old `John Thomas` was shrinking by the inch. very embarrassing, I said He`s not always like that. The nurses were giggling.
Then the Lady Dermatologist came in and had a look at me, "What a disgusting unhealthy skin you have, I said its great I am bronzy, having just paid off after five months in the Gulf.
She says turn over , I turned over bare ass showing to the nurses, there is another one there on your back. You Seamen are stupid, your out in a tropical sun all day for years, keep covered up. you have the beginnings of a skin cancer.
They took me into the Op Theatre and she cut out the two and sewed them up.
So it was worth the embarrassment with the Nurses to find them intime.

The usual place to go to is the Springbok Farm for recuperation They have a real good place there, good accommodation and a bar and also there is a reunion there very April from the Vindi Boys Association.

Jim Brady
3rd December 2010, 11:03 PM
I remember seeing Johnny Linus in the Dart or the Duckhouse inLiverpool about 1960.He had a dog with him which had a ribon bow around its neck.There was no such word as "Gay" at the time and Johnny said"The Dogs Queer aswell you Know" He sent his drink back saying it was greasy and "Bad for Miss Fontaine's stomach" He was the Queen.

Richard Quartermaine
4th December 2010, 02:44 AM
Captain - You've touched upon something that is really important to seniors.

For a couple of years I would mention to my doctor that to keep getting up in the middle of the night for a piddle was driving me nuts. He would take my blood pressure, give me my flu jabs or whatever and send me on my way. One day over three years ago I told him to get a rubber glove on and check out my prostate. Oh! he says, after he'd finished, we'd better check this further. It turned out I had a full blown Gleason 9 (most aggressive) cancer.

After some pretty hairy procedures I am currently in remission and that's the way I am working on keeping the status quo. I have so much I still want to do and when I go I want go with it and not of it.

I wish my doc had been more diligent and just want to urge all you old - and not so old - codgers that cancer check-ups can be life savers and that procrastination can leave you with a lousy alternative.

Just imagine if you were overseas or whatever and you were in the same position as the one in the attached picture.

happy daze john in oz
4th December 2010, 04:57 AM
Richard what a small world, I knew that home, it was about two miles down the road from a very good friend of the family who had a pig farm there. Never knew who owned it at that time though. Had my hernia operation in Lewisham hospital and the night before the op I had to have an enema as you all did in those days. Screens put around my bed and the enema administered at the same time as the evening meal was being served up. There were a number of guys who were not at all impressed by the odour and noise coming from my bed at tea time.
You are right about check ups each year. I have a full blood test done once a year including prostate, liver, kidneys etc, so far so good and perfect blood pressure. Doc tells me I am in better shape than some half my age.

brian willoughby
4th December 2010, 09:50 AM
Many thanks Alec for the reply. First, the vessel I sailed on was the RENOWN , a lovely ship.Second, the private boat I refer to was one which was owned by Mr.Smith a night club proprietor in Manchester and on the day of it being loaded there was a huge drinks party for Mr. Smith and the whole of the Coronation street actors.

Also, I clearly remember a nice character who I think was in the engine room,an elderly guy, always with a cigar in his mouth who answered with an American accent of " Mighty fine Mighty fine"

other memorable characters were guys called Dave, an A.B, and Albert quite a nervous type often depressed but neverthelessl a nice feller. A New-Zealander,possibly an A.B.

If I can think of others Alec I will post again. Happy Christmas good buddy and all the best for the New-Year.

Captain Kong
4th December 2010, 10:03 AM
Hi Richard,
You are right, Have your annual check ups and more inbetween if in doubt of anything.
My son is an Oncologist, Hepatologist and Gasterenterologist. and at the moment he is urging me to go and have a bowel Cancer check, even tho I have no symptons or reason to. it can be a fast killer. I have had two friends who were fit and healthy and within six weeks were dead. Most of the Bowel cancers are slow growing and can be cured by surgery, if caught soon enough, BUT there is a Virilant form which takes six weeks from the start of symptons to the finish. and is virtually incurable. This test can be done at home and through the post.

Richard Quartermaine
4th December 2010, 10:56 AM
John - It is a a mall world and and what a beautiful part of it is - and I hope is still - Cudham and that old mansion. It is also good to hear that you are fit and well and not taking any chances.

Captain - Your son is looking after his Dad. In Oz the government bowel cancer kit from the local chemist got a bit fouled up but I think that it has been sorted out.

You know, generally, when we are young we think we are bullet proof, when we are middle aged it only happens to someone else and when we get past our 'best by' date some of us wished we'd been told.

On the brighter side, the radiation therapy at the regional cancer care centre is a course of 8 x 5 day weeks. There was a bunch of us just before Christmas last year and one big patient was a professional Santa. He came in a couple of days before Christmas Eve all dressed up ringing a bell. It created an uproar and as he he was ushered into the zapper room all the staff and patients, in all manner of attire, applauded. Some of us keep in touch.

Roger Dyer
4th December 2010, 08:52 PM
Hi Richard........Wondered if that Cancer Clinic you referred to was the one at Nepean Hospital, if so, old mate, been there - done that. I found the staff there were really good. Anyhow, I do wish you well for the future. Your advice to our fellow members was a timely reminder - check it out whilst you still can mates!.................good luck to all, Roger.

Richard Quartermaine
4th December 2010, 09:06 PM
Hi Roger - Yes it is and thanks for the good wishes. Hope to catch up with you at Vernon's meeting in the New Year. We'll prove that the Nepean staff are really up to the job. All the best to you.

Evan Lewis
4th December 2010, 11:35 PM
Often went up the "Sweetwater Canal [" As the Salford Pool, boys referred to it) ,to Irlam, with the Ore carriers.
Some of the names that i recall (50's -60's) In particular three A.B's who were great mates and often sailed together, mainly on the liners or the occasiional Prince boat.Pete Smith ,John ? believe from St. Helens,And big Mac, from the Scottish Islands, Stornoway perhaps. Though domiciled in Manchester.Great shipmates always good for a laugh. Pete Smith going round our individual cabins ,(before Cpt.s Sunday morn. inspection) awarding prizes for the Best kept, Two other A.B's of that era who'd sailed with them were,notably Paddy ,who round xmas times apparently ,got a job on the waste boat that ran down the Canal ,to I presume, the irish sea, to discharge cargo. I used say to him, "bet you had an extra trip, Boxing and New years day?'"
The other A.B.referred to was next cabin to mine,a real nice Chap ,well spoken obviously good
education .Tragic, as he seemed to be battling some Demons. Would drink by himself.And did not sleep well, shouting out at night. and turning to practically exhausted.Though always polite and pleasant.
Had some great Cooks too from the Salford Pool.
The downside of Irlam,was storing the ship,from near the Works, to be carried across about three sets of rail lines .


john sutton
5th December 2010, 07:44 AM
remember pete smith.some other notables dale greehalgh,spike bray,vic nelson ned lambert the bosun bill avril who extrad in the film moby dick.there are a few others whose names escape me
john sutton

john sutton
5th December 2010, 08:49 AM
mr smiths boat was called mrs smith and he entered it in the round britain race in about 65.his co-pilot was a client of mine called jeff allen.he was the one who first told me that it was like standing in a shower ripping up fivers.no doubt he didnt origonate the saying as i have heard it mant times over the years.mr smiths club was called mr smiths and it was the best known club in manchester at the time
john sutton

5th December 2010, 09:56 PM
Ref Post #16

Hello there Brian,

I had left Manchester Liners when the Renown came out and had moved down to the London Pool (Dock street) . I cannot recall the guys that you mentioned. The only Albert that I knew was Albert Kenyon and he certaintly wasn't a nervous type, he finished up Bosun on Manchester Liners. I sailed with him in later years on the Baltic Viking sailing out of Manchester.

Thanks for clearing up the MR.SMITHS involvement. I drank in Mr. Smiths (the night club) many times in the early 60's. Off Cannon St. down the stairs, I knew Ted the doorman and the beer was half a crown a pint.

Regards ..............Alec.

5th December 2010, 11:01 PM
ref post #21

Hello Evan,

I remember Pete Smith and Mac. well. They were good mates and always sailed together, as you say Mac. was Scottish and his name was MacGraham but always known as Macmud for some reason.He made his hone in Salford and was well known amongst the seafaring community and the Salford pubs (Clowes)etc.
Unfortunately I have lost contact with Salford so cannot tell you much about their whereabouts.

I know what you mean about Irlam steel works and storing the ship. I joined the "Orelia" and the "Kyle of Localsh" there. What a pain,

Regards .....Alec.

5th December 2010, 11:17 PM
ref post #22


We have spoken before . Vic Nelson was a mate of mine but have lost touch.I remember Ned Lambert and his brother Danny and Bill Avril also. See my post about Pete Smith and Macmud.

How are things in Spain.?.


6th December 2010, 12:03 AM
ref post #14


Why don't you say that you have got prostate cancer. You have never mentioned it only saying that you are Gleason 9 on the scale. I was diagnosed 12 months ago with a Gleason sclale of 8. I was caught early and only have to have an implant every three months and hopefully it will keep things at bay. I have a blood test every three months and the scale is going down.

Like Richard I was peeing a lot at night time and mentioned it to a friend of mine on holiday in Greece and he advised me to have a PSA bloodtest. The test was high and it went on from there, biospy up the bum, confirmed it was cancer but hopefully I am OK with my three monthly implants and no radiotherapy needed at the moment.


Richard Quartermaine
6th December 2010, 03:32 AM


Yes indeed, prostate cancer. I was diagnosed three years ago with the same biopsy as you have had. The urologist indicated that I should, in view of my age keep it under Watchful Waiting. The problem was that I had a rebore that ended up as a permanent supra pubic catheter for the past two years. Last year I thought bu**er this and told him I wanted some action taken. He told me to get a bone scan to see if it had spread there and book into the Cancer Care Centre. Best move I made. It hadn't spread. After radiation I was put on four thee month injections of Lucrin (hormone) which completed last September. My PSA was down from 23 to 15 at the end of radiation and dropped to 0.04 three months after the first jab of Lucrin and is still down. I'm certainly interested to see my reading for February which is the next check up. I'll be 80 then and I ain't complaining - not even about the Lucrin!.

Alec, mate, I took up on the earlier posts as I wanted to get the message across that check ups are vital if you want to stay around. If just one of our shipmates is saved by seeing our experiences it has been worth it.

All the best to you, Alec.

It happened to be on the interesting Thread of Dhobi Jack and I apologise for crashing in on it fellers - but I enjoy reading your posts of sailing up the St Lawrence. I lived in Toronto 53/54/55.

Roger Dyer
6th December 2010, 06:06 AM
Hi Alec........Sorry to learn that you, too, are a member of the P.C. 'Club'. Having opted for the implant treatment, things appear to be going well for you and I hope will continue to do so. Here in Oz, that particular treatment has proven very successful for many and is, I believe, highly regarded as a treatment option by most urologists. Unfortunately, that form of treatment in Australia is cost prohibitive and unless you have had the good sense to obtain private health insurance cover, it is not an option for the average person. As a pensioner there are many generous allowances, one of which is free general health care (including prescriptions at greatly reduced cost). That said, there are some treatments and procedures not covered under the 'general health' umbrella, one of which is the implant treatment for prostate cancer.................. ....... When first I learnt that I had prostate cancer I felt that I had been given a death sentence. For a couple of weeks I walked around in a daze, but, thankfully, that wore off and I started to feel normal again. Alec, as both you and John would know, urologists will explain the nature of the treatment options available, but the decision must be your own. My PSA reading was quite low (only 4.2) and rightly or wrongly, being an abject coward, I took the 'watchful waiting' option. For the uninitiated amongst us, after a biopsy, this option usually involves no treatment other than a three-monthly PSA blood test to monitor the condition and, perhaps, a yearly biopsy. For some, a biopsy can seem a little undignified and sometimes be a bit painful, but I've been told that for many it's like rolling off the proverbial log. Then there are about 10% of patients who find the experience very painful. No prizes for this, but guess what group Y.T. belongs to. Shortly after the commencement of the biopsy the urologist and his assistant had considerable difficulty clawing me down from the ceiling:D Over the following two years, after initialling dropping to 3.8, my PSA reading hovered from there up to 5.2., which as you know, Alec, is not very high. It was about this time that my urologist informed me that he would like me to have a biopsy every six months, which I thought a bit excessive. I sought the advice of another urologist who I felt more comfortable with. I continued with the 'watchful waiting' for another year until finally my PSA had risen to 8. Following another biopsy (which was virtually painless), the time had come for me to decide what further treatment I was to have, (a) Surgery (b) radiotherapy, or (c) chemotherapy (which in my particular case was not really an option). For financial reasons, implants (probably the most effective treatment) was not a course of action I could take. Eventually I decided on the radiotherapy. Like John, I attended the Cancer Clinic at Penrith where every week-day for eight weeks I underwent radiotherapy. The actual treatment only takes about 5 mins. and is painless. The repetition for 8 weeks can be boring, but in my case, and I think John would agree, the nursing staff and radiologists were brilliant, very professional and so very friendly. Each visit became a social occasion rather than a medical appointment. A month after the radiotherapy I was told that my PSA was down to 4.1 and that over the next 18 months, hopefully, it will drop down below 1. I shall know more in Jan.2011 after my next visit to the Clinic. As with all treatments of this nature, there can be some after effects, but so far, so good. Anyway, Shipmates, the reason I've prattled on so is not for the benefit of Alec or John, for they probably know more about it than I do. Brian (Captain Kong) is the father of a doctor who has convinced him of the need to keep a regular check on things and, as a cancer patient, all I seek to do is stress upon all you good blokes to do likewise. Don't think of it as an inconvenience, think of it as an essential for continuing good health. Yes, for us fellows prostate cancer is not a nice thing to have (aren't you girls lucky, but then you have all the other nasties don't you?), but, contrary to what I thought, it doesn't necessarily have to be a death sentence. We don't want to lose any of you before your time, so please do yourself (and us) a favour and go and get that check-up. If you don't, what have you got to lose? - only your life...........best regards to all, Roger.........p.s. be happy!

Captain Kong
6th December 2010, 09:20 AM
Best wishes and hope for the future lads. As you say everyone should keep on checking,
Most ailments can be cured if caught early. I am off to the Doctors next week for my annual Check up.
Last year my Doctor said I do not need anymore PSA checks,because of my age 75, I do not need anymore, [ thats because it comes out of his budget ]
This year I am having one, it is my body not his.
If this thread does get just one man motivated to save his life then Dhoby Jack would be proud.

17th December 2010, 09:35 PM
Richard, Roger and Brian,

Forgive me for not replying sooner, I don't know how I missed the last few posts. It kicked off under Manchester Liners and Dhobi Jack and finished up with Prostste cancer, very confusing.

Roger, like you I didn't particularly like the biopsy and found it a little uncomfortable. The consultant told me that he was going to take 10 samples and he would let me know when he was going to put the needle in. I counted every one of them and when he got to 6 he said that he had enough evidence and I breathed a sigh of relief. After being diagnosed I was receiving treatment within a fortnight so I cannot fault the Health service.

I kicked off with a hormone implant every month called Zolodex, I now have it every three months. When first diagnosed my PSA was 16 and after the first few implants it had gone down to 0.9. As of last week it has gone down to 0.2 and the consultant doesn't want to see me again unless it goes up to 4. So hopefully they caught mine early.

Brian, as you say Jack would be proud if a thread about him saved a life.

Richard, I hope that you are keeping well and still taking the pills.

Regards to you all and have a good Christmas and a Happy New year.