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Ken Trehearne
24th August 2016, 05:09 AM
Having signed on 'Barnby' as EDH at Avonmouth on 20th October 1950 I joined other deck guys on board - as one did. Grumblings abounded. Deck cabins were filthy, mattresses stained and all previous crew gone. This earlier named 'Empire Falcon' was really a no-goer for the gathered guys. Someone was deputed to approach an officer and check out was to happen concerning the accommodation before this evening's sailing to Barry for coal bunkering. Meantime others ventured to the mess for a cuppa - except the geyser wouldn't work. The deputee returned with no good news so the group decided that half of their number would sail to Barry while the other half, including the Cook, would train to Barry and be there by the morning - this on the presumption that the ship would not go deep sea with a reduced crew, the general feeling that once out of Avonmouth the ship could go anywhere other than Barry with all then being stuck with the cabins as they were. As I recall, it was said that the previous deck crew had been Grimsby trawlermen as the ship had been unable to gain a different deep-sea crew at its last UK port. Someone called the local Union delegate who failed to show up when asked. So the ship sailed across the Channel. I never really knew whether or not anyone traveled by train though I was aboard for certain.
When at Barry I decided it was time to depart the good ship Barnby but how to do so was the question. The answer was medical, I believed. Complaining of stomach pain I found the Chief Steward and asked to see a shore Doctor - permission was granted and a Doctor was named for me to visit. In the surgery I was examined, appendicitis was declared and a visit to the local hospital was prescribed right away. Mild persuasion led the Doctor to accept that I would be better attending the hospital at my home town, Worcester, which would make convalescence easier. I signed off Barnby on 25th October and left for home. Clearly I would be unable to immediately seek another ship at the pool so I spent 6-months bus-conducting on Midland Red company buses and a great job that was. In April 1951 I went back to sea.
I believe I am honest but that was an exceptional circumstance. If a reader was the Chief Steward of the Barnby, I apologise though sailing would have been a greater pain to me at the time. I also thank Captain J James for the VG's in my Discharge Book. I accept that they were not even remotely deserved.