View Full Version : Canterbury,Oxford,Guildford,Yorkshire

Trevor Holbrook
6th July 2011, 05:53 PM

I worked for Esso from 1967 to 70, & sailed on the Canterbury,Oxford,Guildford,Yorkshire,& London.

Found this site while looking for info on the Esso Canterbury.
This is what i found

"Esso Canterbury" was built in 1954 and was sold as "Golden Jay".

The British flag steam tanker Golden Jay, registered at Hamilton Bermuda was on a ballast voyage from Los Angeles to Venezuela when she sank about 175 miles south of Mazatlan, Mexico in lat 20.10N, long 106.34W on May 14, 1972 after four explosions ripped through her. All 37 crew men were rescued but three of the four American repair workers who were in an empty forward tank died. The master Captain Petors Karamaus said that 30 ft flames erupted from the exploding tank, which had carried a cargo of naptha to Los Angeles on her previous voyage.

Sad really, when i think of the good times i had.I joined her from sea school (Gravesend Jan-March 1967).I was 16,and a galley boy. Had to fly to Rotterdam to join her, & was aboard for 6 months.
I remember we called the Captain "Big bad John" , cant remember his surname.
Went to Sweden, Norway, Germany, Italy, Canary Isles, USA, Venezuela,Panama. Crossed the Atlantic 3 times, an paid off in Boston.

I only went to sea because i loved geography at school, & it was a cheap way of seeing the world.
I enjoyed it a lot, except for my first crossing of Biscay, the one & only time i was sea sick.I remember the Cook forcin bread & soup down me, so i had something to bring up. I have never laughed at anyone being sea sick after that. I was gonna jump ship in Bari (Italy), hitch hike home, i felt so bad.

Remember the food being excellent, the second cook was ex army, an his Bread, cakes & Puddings were to die for.

Cant beat travelling, should be compulsory, it would help sort out a lot of the human races problems.

If anyone was on these ships in that time period, be nice to hear off you.

Colin Pook
2nd February 2012, 03:33 PM
Hi Trevor, I served on the Canterbury from Jan. 58. till July 58. Most memorable trip was my last one on her. On the way out to the Gulf (June, and NO AIR-CON)!! she broke down so many times with boiler probs. that eventually we were sent to Marsaxlokk in Malta for 5 weeks to have major boiler repairs. Spares etc. were brought out to us by the (Ithink) the Exeter and the Cambridge. Literally 5 weeks holiday, and at that time Malta wasn't a holiday destination. Ahhh, the good old days.

Trevor Holbrook
27th April 2012, 03:32 PM
(June, and NO AIR-CON)!! she broke down so many times with boiler probs.

Hi Colin,

No air con made me smile. It was rubbish the best of times. When i first joined her, i was given one of the cabins that Faced onto the tank deck looking forward. the port hole was welded shut, so you can imagine what the cabin was like!! I can remember loads of times having to sleep outside on the upper deck's, just to get a cool breeze wafting over yr.

I can remember the ship breaking down off the Canaries. & watchin whales swim under the hull. Happy days.

Check this post out from another site (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=23794). The member posting is called seandixon (5 post in the Thread) his grandfather was John Macleod, & he was trying to get info on his seafaring days. I seem to remember a Captain on the Canterbury, who was called "Big bad John". Do you know if this is the same person. I dont remember him being bad(not to me anyway), but he was Scottish, & big.


Derek Brooks
27th April 2012, 07:21 PM
Hi Trevor,

I did my first trip on the Oxford, May 67 to Dec 67/.

Joined straight from Gravesent TS, flew out with almost a full crew to Baltimore. We sailed mostly between Venezuala and East coast US. Our last trip was across to Monrovia where we paid off. That was on 16 th Dec so home for Christmas.

I was a deck boy and very naive and spent most of the trip having the p taken out of me. I soon learned how to hold my own and enjoyed the experience it bought.

I spent ten years at sea, mostly tankers, and loved every minute of it. It was only when I got married that I came ashore.

Take care and keep posting,


Derek Brooks

Trevor Holbrook
28th April 2012, 07:37 PM
Hi Derek

I went to Gravesend TS in Jan 1967 (Eight weeks). So i was just before you.
Have never forgotten the watery Cocoa & Currant buns at supper. Also the "You ain't never goin home" comments from the Lads who were leaving the week i started.

Joined the Canterbury straight after(Just as naive as you mate).

Joined the Oxford in Jan 1968 (So just after you), & signed off in Dry-dock, South Shields 3 months later.

Do you know, i never remember any unfriendly shipmates. they took the piss, but looked after ya as well.
To have gone from havin to go to bed by 9pm at home (Strict Parents), to bein drunk in Bar/Brothels in Panama, or wherever, & the Prostitutes mothering yr cus you was only 16(Still took ya $5.00 though). Always brings a smile when I look back to those days.

Nice to reminisce with ya.

Take care.