View Full Version : bulls on deck

william gardner
9th January 2014, 06:14 PM
on the rubens, we had bulls on the after deck in big wooden stalls, prized bulls aberdeen angus for argentina, herds a man was on board to look to them, stock man I think he was called, all the bulls had names great big heads and other things that is where the great steaks came from:rolleyes:

Chris Allman
9th January 2014, 06:28 PM
Cadet Perks

Well now, cadets never really got any perks, except perhaps when passengers travelled and we got a big dinner in the evening instead of a tea.

However there was one, which paid the princely sum of 10 per item, now to a cadet on 14.10 shillings a month, this sum was a welcome bonus to his ‘payoff slip ‘ however to gain this prize the item had to be successfully delivered to its destination in good condition and most importantly of all – alive. Hey now what was that you ask, most have probably guessed by now, it was cattle on the hoof, in fact it was pedigree cattle on the hoof, some worth literally thousands of pounds.

My first introduction to this perk was named “ Vernon “, but I better give him his proper name as stated on his pedigree – “ Vernon Clovercluff the Third “. Vernon was a proud and prized Hereford Bull worth an awful lot of money on his way to Port Alegre, Brazil, to have his way with numerous Brazilian bovine lovers – hmmm a bit like – no I wont say it.

Vernon was preceded on board in Liverpool on sailing day, by his crate – a large wooden crate with a felted roof, half open at each end, with one end being a gate. The crate arrives without its roof in place, and was positioned on the port side, aft of the accommodation next to No4 hatch, gateless end to the bulwarks. Each side of the crate inside was covered in a cushion of wood shavings covered in burlap. Herders came aboard and the crate was floored with a deep covering of straw.

A deep mooing sound was then heard from the quay as Vernon hove in sight rising over the bulwarks like the morning sun, in a bright white canvas sling. He was gently lowered into his crate by the crane and secured to the gate by two ropes. One was attached to his halter and the other to a large copper coloured ring through his nose. The roof of the crate then appeared and was bolted on. It had two burlap curtains each end which could be dropped down to act as shades or protection from spray.

Whilst everything was being secured, bales of Hay and Straw was loaded along with large sacks of cattle nuts, pitchforks, shovels and a package containing a currycomb and brush. Hmmm. Two galvanised buckets, another package containing some white powders in plastic bags and a manual of care completed the loading.

I was approached by the Chief Officer and the Cargo Super who handed me the powders and manual of care, here you are, he is now your responsibility, don’t let anything happen to him and don’t forget, he is worth 10 to you. With that final remark I became the carer of my first four-legged friend of the bovine variety.

A friendly herder approached me. “ He has been fed, so just make sure that he has a couple of handfuls of nuts and a drink before nightfall “. He smiled and said, “ Don’t worry he is as soft as a brush, treat him gently and he will be no trouble at all “, with that he was off down the gangway.

An hour or so later we sailed. Being stationed aft on leaving, I was able to keep my eye on him. He appeared OK and reasonably calm until the siren suddenly sounded. It obviously frightened him and he started kicking the back of his stall. The Second Mate told me to go and see to him. I didn’t know what to do, so I got some cattle nuts and went to him, fed him the nuts and patted his head. Following a couple more blasts both from us and the tugs, he seemed to accept it all and munched happily away.

We cleared the lock and headed towards the Mersey Bar. I checked him again and he appeared OK. After tea, I went and checked on him again, gave him a drink from his bucket and a handful of nuts. I patted his head, wished him goodnight and lowered his curtains.

The following day, having studied the ‘ manual of care ‘ thoroughly, I spoke with the Chief Officer and we agreed my duties in looking after him. My first duties each day was to muck him out, change any wet straw and feed him. I was to visit him and tend to him at lunchtime and at teatime, the rest of the time I carried on with my normal duties.

Fortunately we had a smooth passage to Las Palmas and thence onto South America. As the voyage progressed and we moved further south Vernon became like a friend, he would greet you each morning with a grunt and tossing of his head and never kicked or lent on you when you were cleaning him out. He was of course visited on Captains Inspections and I was always sure to have him looking good for them.

One day off Brazil, I went to greet him as usual in the morning and instead of the usual greeting, he was very quiet and dejected. I couldn’t understand what was up with him. I patted his head and got into his crate to add more straw. Then I saw it, a half eaten apple. The manual was quite emphatic, no fruit was to be given. This had been posted amongst other things on the ships Notice Board. An AB was passing and asked what was up, I told him and showed him the half eaten apple. He shook his head and confided in me, that a couple of the crew had been giving Vernon their apples as he appeared to like them. I had a fit.

I went straight to the Chief Officer and informed him what had happened and that Vernon appeared to be quite ill. He called the Old Man whom after a short discussion, decided to wait and see for a bit. I was very worried and the crew also came to see him and a few threats were made to the guilty parties. As the day wore on Vernon got worse and actually lay down, something he did not do much. The Old Man came down at lunchtime and had a look at him. “ OK” he said, “ Come with me”. We went up to Sparks and the Old Man told him to get in touch with Liverpool and tell them what happened and ask for vets advice. This he did and some time later a reply was received.

I was to try and get him to drink half a bucket of water with two of the packets of white powder in it. Well I thought, how am I to do that. I filled a bucket half full with fresh water and poured two bags of the powder into it and took it to Vernon. He hardly looked at it. His mouth was half open and the Lecky who was watching said, “ Perhaps we could pour it down him “ he went off and returned with a large funnel and length of plastic piping. We put the pipe into Vernon’s mouth and poured a bit of the water into the funnel, there was a bit of a splutter from Vernon but most of the water stayed down. We tried it again with the same result after the third time, Vernon shut his mouth and refused to open it. We had managed to get about half the required amount down him.

There was no way we could get Vernon to open his mouth, so I left the bucket near him and went to report to the Old Man. He came back down with me and was just in time to see Vernon stick his head in the bucket and finish the rest off. We were both very pleased. The day progressed but Vernon never moved, refused all food and water. I was really upset and worried and when I said goodnight to him I was convinced I would not see him alive again.

I was up long before I should have been the following day, I shot down to see Vernon. I lifted his curtain to be greeted by a standing Vernon, who immediately grunted at me. I was suddenly assailed by the worst smell I had ever smelt and as I looked behind him, I saw that the entire back of his crate was covered in an evil looking green and brown rice pudding like mixture. Not only was the entire back of the crate covered but on further examination, so was the whole back of Vernon. It was literally “ Oh **** “ – however looking on the bright side, my old mate seemed a hell of a lot better.

I was giving him a drink of water when the Bosun appeared, “ **** yourself “ was the genial greeting, “ No”, I replied, “ Vernon has “. He looked and said, “ Now that’s what I call a **** and I know just the boys to clean it up “. He went off and about five minutes later – two of the crew showed up and rigged the deck hose, they were, it transpired, the two who were responsible for giving Vernon his bad guts. Poetic justice was about to be administered.

We spread some dunnage on the deck and covered it with straw. We then opened the gate and moved Vernon half out of his stall. Whilst he held him there, the two sailors got into the crate and pitchforked the dirty straw over the side. They then washed the back and floor of the crate with the deck hose.

“Right” said the Bosun, to the two when the crate was clean, “ Get buckets of warm fresh water and wash his ar-e end with soogy cloths and for gawd sake mind his tackle its worth thousands “. The rest of the deck crowd had by this time gathered around and we all spent a happy twenty minutes watching the cleansing of the bulls after end, with Vernon aiming the odd kick when they got too close to his family jewels. The cleansing session finally ended with Vernon managing to kick one of the lads on his leg leaving one hell of a bruise.

I then got in and laid a load of new straw everywhere and we backed Vernon back into the crate and shut the gate. Everyone then left me to offer him some hay, which he woofed down and also some cattle nuts, followed by a full bucket of water.

I reported to the Captain all that had happened. He was visibly pleased that Vernon had recovered and very amused at the cleaning up process.

The day before we reached Port Allegre, I brushed and currycombed Vernon from head to tail and even rubbed talcum powder into his white forehead, which made it really stand out.

On arrival at Port Allegre, we were visited by a Vet, who examined Vernon very carefully He finally said, “ You have done a good job “ and he handed me a Certificate to say that Vernon was 100% OK on arrival. This I gave to the Old Man who would authorise my 10.

Vernon was craned off later that day to waves from the crew and shouts of encouragement as to his future performances, which I cannot repeat here.

Thus ended my very first encounter with a Cadets’ perk. I was to receive further perks but they are the subject of other tales. Suffice it to say, I had a few pints on my return home from that trip to the memory of Vernon Clovercluff the Third.

Jim Brady
9th January 2014, 06:40 PM
I remember taking a bull to B.A. on the Eastbury 1957 it was said to be worth 3.500 at the time which was a lot of money.

william gardner
9th January 2014, 07:50 PM
we had 4 on deck must have been worth a fortune:rolleyes:

John Arton
9th January 2014, 11:01 PM
A mate of mine from near Leith served his time in Ben line and he told me they would often take out trained guard dogs for the Army/RAF to Hong Kong and other Far East stations. It was the cadets job to look after these dogs for which they used to get paid extra. On one trip they loaded 4 snarling Alsatian guard dogs but by the time they were discharged in the Far East, due to the attention given to them, they had turned into 4 family pets, absolutely no use for guard work.
On the Empress of Canada on one crossing at around 0200 in the morning I was sitting chatting to the 2nd Mate when I told him to get his hand off me leg, he protested violently that he had not touched me. Looking down we saw a cat on the deck, did we have a ships cat I asked the QM, no says he. Next thing there were about 3 cats on the bridge closely followed by two dogs. Some nutter had let all the animals that passengers emigrating to Canada were taking with them out of the kennels the Canada had on one of the aft decks by the childrens playroom.
Spent the rest of that watch chasing the blighters round the ship with the whole deck watch catching them and putting them back in the kennels.

Lou Barron
9th January 2014, 11:48 PM
The only bulls we carried was in the crews quarters

happy daze john in oz
10th January 2014, 05:01 AM
recall carrying bulls but do remember the bull s**t we got from some Chief Stewards

Jim Brady
10th January 2014, 09:44 AM
In Georgetown the mate said to my son I hope you like dogs because you've got one to look after on the way home.My son met the owner on the quay,he had a rottweiler with him,he was a white guy and the dog was his guard dog.The dog lived in my sons cabin,he put a wire along the boat deck that the dogs lead could be hooked onto so it could have a good wander.It was very placid with all hands except one,he was a black greaser (scouser) when this greaser had to go upto the monkey island to oil the gear it would go for him.My son thought as it was this white guys guard dog maybe it was trained to go for black people.