View Full Version : bibby crew history?

23rd January 2010, 06:48 PM
Hello Guys.
My Grandfather, Leslie Hickin, was I believe Chief Engineer on a Bibby Line ship until early 1960s... he had a lifetime's work at sea and with Bibby... and I would dearly love to know more about his life there. Highly unlikely anyone would remember him.. but does anyone know any fruitful resources? I think he sailed on the Derbyshire and the Cheshire.. at least these names ring bells with me. He was a lovely gentleman, and my family don't know anything about him. My only recollection is as a v young child going to meet him from his ship- in Liverpool or morelikely Birkenhead?? -it had a pink and black funnel.... he looked very dashing in uniform.. but he must have been nearly retired by then.
In hope and expectation
Helen Lamb

Doodletown Fifer
31st January 2010, 01:58 AM
Hello Helen,

There can only be one Leslie Hickin with the Bibby Line and he was a Senior Electrician, if this is he, then I knew him quite well.

When I joined Bibby's in 1958 he was a bit of an elder statesman with the company and highly regarded by all. If I recall, he was retired at the time, the company was however, using him in a relief capacity. This entailed, him and a complete relief crew traveling to Tillbury to meet the homeward bound liners from Rangoon, this enabled the deep sea crew to go on leave. We were always notified ahead of time if we would be relieved and sometimes enough relief crew were not available, we would be told to our dismay, we would have to "standby" the ship till someone relieved us. It always was a great source of joy to see Les's name on the relief list, you knew you could go on leave and not worry about a thing.

He and the relief crew would sail the ship from Tilbury to Bristol and Birkenhead, discharging cargo along the way. The permanent crew would then rejoin the ship for a subsequent voyage to the hell hole known as Rangoon (Yangon). I had forgotten that Les was a Member of the British Empire (M.B.E.) no boubt earned for his service in WWII. I have attached an old Bibby Line gazette copy showing his name and paying homage to his award.


Bill Archibald

P.S I have just found out that my attachment exceeds the limitations on uploads by the site administrator. I tried a jpeg but it was so small it was worse than useless. I then tried a pdf file and this incurred the wrath of nanny. I will try to figure out something, as you will get a kick out of seeing his name in print.


Doc Vernon
31st January 2010, 02:12 AM
Hi Bill A
Would just like to give you a warm Welcome to this very good site!
Here you will find lots of info,good Crew and with luck also find a few old Shipmates!
So sit back,relax and just enjoy the trip!
Hope we will have you here for a long time!
A site truly worthy of the British Merchant Navy!


If you would like to join in and have your Full name R Number and First Ship
Included in the Flag project then please pass it on to Mike Hall who is doing a Main Flag for all
to be displayed some time in one of the UK Museums!
Thank you

Please go to following Link and follow instructions there
When page opens Click on Contact info on Right and on dropdown list select
Send a message via Email to Mike Hall


Alternatively you can send your details to me as well and i will pass them on to Mike for you


If any new Members (or old) would like more info on the Flag Projects please click on the following Link!
Thank you


Doc Vernon
31st January 2010, 02:14 AM
Hi Helen
Would just like to give you a warm Welcome to this very good site!
Here you will find lots of info,good Crew
So sit back,relax and just enjoy the trip!
Hope we will have you here for a long time!
A site truly worthy of the British Merchant Navy!

Hope you get more info on your request!
Time will tell!

Doc Vernon
31st January 2010, 08:05 AM
Hi Helen
Not sure if this may be your Grandas Medals,only you will know as to the date he was Born!


1st February 2010, 01:33 PM
Hello Bill
You can't imagine how thrilled I am to see your post about my grandfather! More than I could have hoped for-that someone still remembers him at work. Those trips backwards and forwards to Rangoon must have been astonishingly difficult at times. By the way, just in case you are an avid reader.. a friend was telling me about a book called the Glass Palace..about Burma, India and Malay at the change of the last century.. which will certainly help me to understand what life must have been like for navy and other forces .

I would dearly love to see the docs you mention, so perhaps you could email them to me direct? I will send you a PM and that way it should be OK for size etc... assuming this forum works that way!

This is just the sort of valuable and much appreciated service a forum such as this can bring about. I am most grateful. Gaga, as I knew him, was a special guy, who had evidently seen much through travel...... and then of course there's always that bit about dashing men in uniform..... it does look wonderful - and navy best of all!

many thanks for all your help.
Helen Lamb

1st February 2010, 01:44 PM
hello Castleman .. I'm impressed... that was very kind and helpful.... I've downloaded that pdf of his medals.. yes .. indeed that is him. Now I'll research what all those abbreviations mean.
Really appreciate this information. Yours is such a useful site. THANK YOU!
Helen Lamb

1st February 2010, 02:25 PM
At the conclusion of World War 2 an initial medal assessment was carried out and medal papers were raised including details of a seamanís service. These were sent to ports to await the signature of the veteran, as to the accuracy of the information, and then returned to the RGSS. Medals were not automatically issued but had to be claimed by the veteran. These papers are still retained by the RSS but, due to the ravages of time and the process, are not now totally complete. This series contains Database of World War II Medals issued to Merchant Seamen 1946-2002 which is a record of medals claimed and issued. This gives details of the ribbons and medals issued to individual seamen for their service in World War 2. It records each seamanís name plus, usually, his discharge book number and date and place of birth as well as the medals, ribbons and clasps issued together with a reference to the medal papers file.

The medals awarded are indicated by:

1939: 1939-1945 Star
AT: Atlantic Star
AF: Africa Star
PA: Pacific Star
BU: Burma Star
FR: France and Germany Star
WM: War Medal
IT: Italy Star
CL: Clasp
OLE: Oak Leaf

A cross (◊) drawn through a symbol indicates the issue of that medal; a circle (O) drawn through a symbol indicates that only the ribbon for that medal has been issued. If a cross and a circle have been used then both a medal and a ribbon have been issued. An R sometimes appears and signifies that an application for that medal was reviewed and refused. For those trying to discover whether a medal was issued, or was an unclaimed entitlement, then the RSS should be contacted, before undertaking lengthy searches at TNA, as they have the most up-to-date records. The original file number is on the far right of the document and this should be quoted when contacting the office below. Unfortunately as stated previous not all thes files have survived at the RSS

Medal Officer
Registry of Shipping & Seamen
PO Box 420
CF24 5XR

1st February 2010, 03:31 PM
hello Deep Sea
Wow.... very useful info. As the info kindly gleaned from Castleman is indeed my grandfathers.... there's something you might be able to explain... he has circles around 1939,AT,AF, BU,IT,CL and MBE added by his name.. but also stamped on lower line of the list is something like... D.N.A.......... MEDALS.....but I can't read what the bit in the middle says, nor understand what this means. Presumably, from you helpful description he didn't actually receive medals, but ribbons instead as there are no crosses, just circles.

any ideas about the D.N.A stamp?

many, many thanks

1st February 2010, 04:19 PM
Can you email me the file to Billy1963@ntlworld.com or upload on site for me to have a better look. I've dealt with many of these records in the past and it always better to see them first hand.

Next step phone the RSS Medal Office on the number below quoting the reference number on the right hand side of the document alongside his entitlement. They will be able to confirm if they still have the file. If they do and it shows they were not issued, you can then apply for them if you are direct next of kin. You will have to prove next of kinship before any medals are issued.

Tel: 029 20 44 88 00

1st February 2010, 05:43 PM
His award of the MBE is recorded in the London Gazette 9th Janauary 1946 as Chief Electrician SS Derbyshire (Bibby Line)

1st February 2010, 09:06 PM
Thank you Billy. Most helpful. Will email. helen