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Thread: Last one through the nose

  1. #1
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    Jun 2008
    Sunbury Victoria Australia
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    Default Last one through the nose

    Being a winger in the tourist gallop on any of the Lavender Ladies was always a challenge. But for most of us it was a challenge we readily accepted. There have always been some difficult bloods on any liner, be they first or tourist class. This lady in question, in tourist, had been on four tables before being placed on one of mine. A lady of some repute for not getting along with others at her table, and for giving the winger a rough time. I was her fifth winger and table in eight days. By dinner of the first and only day on one of my tables I realised why. Being a little outspoken I told her what I thought of her, and her behaviour, as a result found myself up on the bridge deck in front of the skipper.
    He told me, ‘lad there are some passengers I would rather not carry, but having paid their fare we as company representatives, must do as the company tells us’. It was just a reprimand not a logging and I left the bridge somewhat relieved.

    It was with that thought in mind, some voyages later as officers steward, I stood looking over the ships side in Southampton as we boarded the latest bloods for our next voyage south. They were I mused, a well mixed bunch. The long and the short, the thin and the rotund, young and old. Ladies of bearing as well as breeding, men of wealth and some with very little to show for a lifetime of endeavours. Some going home to South Africa, some going on a holiday of a lifetime, and some no doubt on business.

    As I stood and observed a very large sedan pulled up on the quayside, long and black looking like the vehicle of a wealthy person. A chauffer alighted from the driver’s side opening the passenger door from which emerged a rather short rotund gentleman immaculately dressed in a pin- striped suit. He was followed by one of the most stunning ladies I had to date seen. Tall and slim with long blonde hair and break your back legs, she was drop dead gorgeous. It appeared by the looks that he was very much her senior, and at first I considered father and daughter, but no, they were a newly married couple. He was close to fifty and she in her late twenties. This was to be their honeymoon on their way back to South Africa where he was involved in the wine industry with KWV. All this information I gleaned from Bob the officer’s steward in charge. Bob was one of the alternative sexual brigades, though not the camp sort. His very good friend was a bedroom steward first class and this couple were two of his passengers.

    The ship sailed with all the usual pomp and ceremony, steamers flowing from deck to shore like some giant umbilical cord, the last hold on the people ashore and on board. Slowly the cord parted and we were on our way south. Until we reached Las Palmas on the Monday morning it was just the normal voyage. For the crew and bloods, just another day in port. The bloods ashore to see the sights and purchase worthless baubles form the locals. The crew to get a beer, go to Doris’s bar in the hope of getting a leg over, all paid for in silver. Silver tea- pots, salvers, veg dishes, cutlery etc. courtesy of UCL. Then a few days later, many of the crew who visited Doris’s bar would make a visit to the ships doctor, in the hope that he could rid them of the souvenirs given to them by the lovely ladies in that bar.

    The newly wed couple had no doubt enjoyed their morning in Las Palmas as they had been observed arriving back aboard with a variety of goods purchased ashore. Being in first class they were afforded the luxury of having a steward appointed to take the goods to their cabin while they enjoyed lunch.
    We sailed from Las Palmas and, as ever, set course South for Cape Town some ten days hence. The sea was calm as we again settled into our daily routine. For the young couple a chance to enjoy the day, but after only a few minutes on deck after lunch adjourned to their cabin. No doubt the morning activities and the generous lunch, swilled down with a modicum of wine, left them in a frivolous mood. Such a mood, that they considered once again consummating their marriage.

    From the reports later gleaned from the young lady in question all had been going well. He was as she put it, a veritable lover of consuming passion, more than capable of satisfying her. Having enjoyed a pre nuptial romp they had got down and dirty to some serious stuff. He was at the business end of the action ready to fire the torpedo when it occurred, no warning, it just happened. Many a man had dreamed of leaving this world in such a manner, and for this kind soul it was the truth. A massive heart attack at a poignant moment had taken him to the world beyond, leaving his young bride not only distressed and heart broken, but also pinioned to the bed. Such was his weight and shape that she could not move him.

    Unable to reach the bedside call button she had lain there for over an hour with her husband still on top of her. Her biggest concern then was rigor mortis setting in, leaving him stiff all over. But a saviour appeared just at the point when she considered all was lost. The cabin steward on his afternoon rounds knocked at the door to asking if the couple required any thing. Her scream as he knocked was enough for him to rush in and find the terrible situation. Having removed the husband he then called for the ships doctor, who was at that time in the first class lounge bar preparing for evening surgery. He pronounced the man dead, and it became obvious that yet another burial at sea would take place on the Windsor castle.

    To be continued…

    William was a K.P. par excellence; no chef had ever met one quite like him. His name was William and that was it, no Bill would he answer to, it was William or nothing. There were many stories about William, he had served in the war and had a bad experience, he had been crossed in love, his wife had died in a terrible accident. Which was the truth, who could say, as they were all suppositions, no one knew the full story about William.

    William we all knew travelled light, very light. He came aboard with a brown carrier bag in which he had, two pairs of shoes, two pairs of socks, two T shirts, two pair of chefs check pants, toothbrush, razor and comb. Apart from that the clothes he stood in, a suit of some age, white shirt and tie, black shoes and socks. Every night at the end of his shift William could be seen doing his dhobi, today’s clothes, with a clean set ready for the next day. William was a very quiet man, one pint ever night in the pig before turning in, and his ventures ashore were as he put it, ’to meet the locals’.

    His work ethics were not to be ignored; often castigating cooks who brought burned pots to him. ‘If you burn the food then you cannot cook’ he would tell them. At the end of the day the pot wash area would be the cleanest spot in the galley, with all pots and pans correctly stored and gleaming. A credit to the head chef and the galley.

    Funerals at sea on the Windsor were carried out at 1700 hours from the Gun Port door on the Second Stewards landing. The ship would slow to about five knots for this service. This was an area outside the office of the second steward and went from one side of the ship to the other. To one side the second stewards office, to the other the bulkhead between the main galley and the landing.

    There was always some ‘man of the cloth’ on board most voyages so he would be called upon to carry out a very simple service, accompanied by the relative of the deceased, two deck hands, to tip up the board, and the officer of the day. The body would be placed on a plank stretched out between two trestles and draped with a flag. After a few words from the ‘man of the cloth’ the two deck hands would tip the board and the body, duly weighted, would slide into the water.

    In the main galley there were two gash chutes, one close to the pot wash, the other closer to the bulkhead and close to the fish corner. It was the responsibility of William to ensure that these were cleared on a regular basis. On the days of burials at sea the sous chef had the responsibility of making sure they were locked until after the service. The bakers department had been very busy; dozens of sponges as well as Crème Caramels so between them had used over one case of eggs. One case of eggs produces a lot of eggshells, all of which had been deposited in the gash chute.

    William being the worker that he was always turned to on time and carried out his duties to the letter. Every evening at 1700 hours William would arrive in the galley and commence his duties. The first of which was to empty the gash chutes. On this particular day when he arrived they were locked, as they should be, but no one had informed William of this, the sous chef had not done his job correctly. William being the diligent man he was duly went to the head chef’s office to obtain the key, he knew where it was kept so getting it was not a problem. Having taken the key he then set out to do his duty and empty the gash chutes.

    Timing is they will tell you every thing, without timing you will never even get through the day, and for William time was of the essence. Every duty he performed was to time and today was no exception. The ship had slowed to the regulation five knots and the service was under way. Having completed his service the body was committed to the deep and slid over. Unfortunately William had also done his bit pulling the handle on the gash chute maybe a second or so before the body went over. The gash was not all of a heavy nature, a large amount of green waste, and the egg shells floating along like table tennis balls across the surface, arriving at the proximity of the gun port door as the body went over right into the middle of it.

    Fort a second nothing happened, then the wife screamed as she realised what had occurred. One of the deck hands being a bit quick witted had the presence of mind to close the gun port door in a bit of a rush and the officer of the day took the lady, now in tears, away. William unaware of the event continued his duties and was never spoken to about it. The sous chef ended up on the bridge in front of the skipper who tore him to bits for not informing William. Ray Meadows the head chef was moved to another company ship next voyage, and William did not return next voyage. We never ever heard of him again.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    isle of wight
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    Default Re: Last one through the nose

    I see that this October it is 70 years ago that James Camp came to trial for the murder of Gay Gibbson on the Durban Castle, you may recall he shoved her body through the porthole. In my local paper there is a retired Chief Superintendent retired fro the police, who using the original papers is giving a talk in Romsey next week.He also gives the talk travelling on cruise ships, nice little earner !!. Would also make sure that no young female passenger will fraternise with the crew i should think, kt

  3. Thanks Doc Vernon, Captain Kong thanked for this post
  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Bolton UK
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    Default Re: Last one through the nose

    I POSTED THIS IN 2014.....................................
    .Default Re: The Last Hangings in UK.

    This is a man who by sheer luck cheated the Hangman,
    ........from this site............
    James Camb - The Porthole Murder - HorrorFind‎CachedSimilar
    There are several famous tales of murder aboard ocean liners - two or three of
    them are ... Captain Patey conducted an investigation on board as Durban Castle

    The steward's own admission that he had callously shoved the victim's body through a porthole worked against him, along with the impressive forensic evidence provided by the prosecution. After four days of trial and following a forty-five-minute deliberation, the jury found Camb Guilty of murdering Gay Gibson. The steward, who had posed like a peacock in the dock, was stunned at the decision. Before sentence was passed by Justice Hilbery, he was asked if he had anything to say. He replied in a quavering voice: "My Lord, at the beginning of this case...I pleaded not guilty. I repeat that statement now. That is all." He was then sentenced to death. His attorneys filed an appeal and while this was being considered, the House of Commons added an amendment to the new Criminal Justice Bill then before Parliament, one which would abolish capital punishment. The Home Secretary, while this bill was still being debated in the House of Lords (which later rejected it), decided to commute all capital sentences still pending to life terms and Camb was one of the condemned who cheated the hangman due to this briefly-open legal loophole.

    It was after this commutation that several women came forward to tell how Camb had sexually attacked them on previous voyages of the Durban Castle, two of them claiming they had been raped. Another woman said that she had been attacked on deck by Camb who dragged her into a tool room where she fought desperately as he tried to strip her clothes away. He had lost patience and strangled her. She passed out, she claimed, and when she regained consciousness, she said that Camb was standing over her, grinning.

    Camb was paroled in 1959; he changed his name to Clarke and was working as a head waiter in May 1967 when he was convicted of sexually attacking a 13-year-old girl. He was, incredible as it may seem, merely placed on a two-year period of probation. He later went to Scotland where he worked once more as a head waiter in a restaurant. A short time later he was charged with sexual misconduct with three schoolgirls; this time Camb's parole was revoked and he was returned to prison to serve out a life term.

    Gay Gibson and James Camb.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. Thanks Doc Vernon, happy daze john in oz, robpage thanked for this post
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