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Thread: Watches & Bells

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Watches & Bells

    #16 Johnny, I may be old but not that old ! We used the bells in the late sixties Ha ha . I had a watch (from Aden )and could tell the time just about.
    “The Bells the Bells”
    Doug

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: Watches & Bells

    Yes John, most passengers have no concept of what goes on a ship at sea.

    Stupid questions asked such as where do you get all the electric power from?
    What do you do with the ice cravings when they melt?

    Most times the officer will reply with some witty remark such as we have a very long power lead from shore.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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  5. #23
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    Default Re: Watches & Bells

    #22 my nearly a year with passengers who were mostly retired matrons or widows a lot ex school teachers , so one would have thought they had a bit of knowledge about ships ? A request question asked me was how did I remember port from starboard ? And my standard answer was there were 4 letters in port, and 4 letters in left , also port wine was Red. As for starboard there are 9 letters in starboard , and 9 letters in right side, and just think of creme -de-menthe which is green . They used to go away thinking they had learned the secret of shipping. What amazed me they never came back saying which way should we be looking. Such is the manner of the well educated ??? JS.
    PS if they had come up with question what was larboard , I would have had to alter my answer as to the number of letters. Fortuanetly they never got round to that , anything really hard I would have referred them to the 3 mate. Passengers were only there for 6 weeks anyway and after 3 or 4 days in Port of Spain most of the females were laid up with the Vapours for a few days , the men were more concerned about their going astray in the brothels. Therein lies another tale where I put myself in danger rescuing one out of such a den of iniquity as ship was sailing and being threatened by a half dozen harridans as I dragged him out of bed. Passengers ? I found were worse to handle than horses on deck. There was always an excuse to shoot a horse. And I was the keeper of the humane killer the bolt gun. Cheers JS
    PPS I did get paid extra money for keeping the humane killer, as saved them carrying a vet. Never had to use , only asked for more money , and got , my argument was the stress it put me under. They believed it as well. cheers JS
    Last edited by j.sabourn; 17th February 2024 at 07:59 AM.
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  6. #24
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    Default Re: Watches & Bells

    Re bells and watches. I will get around to these in a short while. My first ship was the ex Empire Emerald renamed the El Gallo by the Bowring Steamship Co. She was purchased from the M o D after the war but were told that they would have to pay extra for the Gyro compass, this they declined to do, so the M o D dismantled it, wheeled it to the ship's side and dropped it over the side onto the wharf. Hence for the rest of her life she only ever had the compass on the Monkey Island. Coasting was done by climbing up there every twenty minutes, removing the big brass binnacle cover, taking your bearings, replacing the cover, coming down into the chartroom, then applying variation and deviation to get the True bearings, laying them off on the chart to get your position. By this time it would be almost time for the next set of bearings. Fortunately I was only an Apprentice in 1956 so going up there was still a novelty to me. This was also our only compass for steering the ship by, something like a periscope from just in front of the helmsman showed the compass card up top. This meant that we always had a man at the wheel when at sea, no auto pilot for us. Three seamen and a Mate for each deck watch, mind you learning to steer by a magnetic compass taught you a lot about anticipating movement of the ship's head and when to correct the swing, and when it wasn't necessary. Because we had a helmsman at all times at sea we rang the bridge bell using the cord from just near the helmsman's head, from 0800hrs to 1200hrs then from 15oohrs to 2000hrs and we also rang the 1 bell fifteen minutes before the end of the watch.
    Meal reliefs with three Mates for us was as follows:- 2nd Mate breakfast 0800-0830 relieve 3rd Mate from bridge 0830-0900hrs. 3rd Mate remain on bridge1200-1230hrs whilst 2nd Mate had his lunch then 3rd Mate came down 1230-1300hrs. 1700-1730hrs 3rd Mate relieved 1st Mate from bridge then came down and had his own meal 1730-1800hrs, ps If I had known that she wasn't going to do another trip after I left, just laid up and then scrapped I would have "half inched" the bridge bell as well as her wartime foc'sle bell which was still down in the forward hold, both were engraved Empire Emerald. The locker room which was used by the Chief Steward for linen was still designated "certified for Gyro Compass" The Bond Store, Chippies shop, Second Stewards Store were all still designated " Certified for 4/6 Gunners" she had been heavily armed during the War, 1 big gun on the foc'sle, 1 big gun on the heavily reinforced poop deck, and a smaller gun on top of the reinforced galley, mounting points for portable guns on the rails either side of the midships boat deck. Also fitted with Paravanes to sweep mines away from the ship and cut their mooring wires so they could be exploded a safe distance off. Wartime propulsion was superheated steam giving her a top speed ,so I was told, of 15/16 knots but as that was uneconomical in peacetime we steamed along happily at 10 knots or 10 and a bit with a fair wind. Nothing much to look at but one of the happiest ships afloat. Happy memories from times gone by.

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  8. #25
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    Default Re: Watches & Bells

    You were lucky to have a gyro compass in the fifties , would not have had repeaters off that’s for sure . Suppose you were a DC vessel so would have had to have a converter to produce an AC power source to run the gyro with the accompanying carbon piles to assist in the constancy . What did you have the Sperrys or the Browns ? before it was dropped on the Quay, sounds like the Sperrys being much larger. And would make a bigger bang.Although the way you describe it sounds like you had a master compass ( gyro ) which would of been rare in those days.And by the gun facing forward was also classed as an armed merchant cruiser and therefore classed as a warship. Although 10 knots sound suspiciously slow for such a vessel. Would be interesting to get a broader insight to this vessel , I served my time on one such vessel but was just a plain old merchant vessel and built for 10 knots , also later served on an American built Cargo vessel built with a forward facing gun capable on being built of 20 knots. Sounds an interesting vessel the one you were on. Cheers JS
    Think if I remember rightly one ran at 600 rpm and the other at 2000 rpm if I had to choose right now would probably get the wrong way round. But at a guess the more robust machine the Sperrys ran at 2000 and the Browns at 600, but I wouldn’t put any bets on it . JS
    Last edited by j.sabourn; 26th February 2024 at 01:43 PM.
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    Default Re: Watches & Bells

    #23, of course the reason they never came back for any more answers is the way you replied.
    No doubt they though Port, must just try some and maybe a bit more.
    As to Creme de Menthe, too much of that and you would never worry about which side was which.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
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  12. #27
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    Default Re: Watches & Bells

    Did you notice John with all the thousands of female passengers you must have sailed with ,how most female passengers seemed to lose all inhibitions once out of the piers . Especially the older ones or was that just my imagination and wishful thinking ? I only sailed with a few about mostly the age of your old witch who,may have been a bloke ? Cheers JS
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  14. #28
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    Default Re: Watches & Bells

    Hi JS, I joined the El Gallo as a first trip Apprentice Jan 1956. Was told the story of the Gyro by the Old Man who was there at the time so have no idea of the make or model. She was a triple expansion steam engine and post war her economical speed was 10knots or thereabouts. I got my armament info off the original plans which were still screwed to the bulkhead in the passageways in the midship accommodation, I did also check for my own satisfaction the reinforcing plates under where the guns would have been, they appeared to be doubled up. I have no knowledge of her ever being referred to as an armed merchant cruiser but I did hear that at one point she could have been used as a fleet oiler. The point of attachment at the forefoot of the bow for the paravanes was still there as it was part of the bow structure and I was able to get up close when in drydock. You can get her wartime convoy records by looking up Empire Emerald but I can assure you that 10-101/2 knots was our average speed in peacetime, on one occasion when we were reduced to two boilers we only managed 71/2knots and that was trying to run away from a hurricane off Florida. Cheers, GF

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    Default Re: Watches & Bells

    #28 The first ship I was on in 1953 was the Avonmoor built at Doxfords Sunderland in 1943/44 a 3 cylinder doxford trials speed 10 knots also. Had the same doubling plates for gun enplacements as you mention apart from the forward firing 6 pounder or whatever it was.However according to the Geneva Convention at the time I was lead to believe that British ships complied with and no forward firing guns were fitted and only weapons of defence to comply with civilian regulations . The other vessel was on was a C.1A. American built Liberty class and had had a forward firing gun , trials speed 20+ knots , and believe she was when built in 1944 referred to as an armed merchant cruiser for want of a better word so was a legitimate target to be sunk without warning , so would be by present day standards be no war crimes committed, although the Germans took no notice of the original Geneva convention in any way as such by sinking all British shipping on sight. cheers JS
    For the compasses assuming the speed of rotation of the Browns was 600rpm and the Sperry 2000 rpm , the Sperrys took a lot more rough handling than the Browns. It was the second mates job to maintain so know a bit about them . For those who don’t it works on the principle of a fast spinning wheel if the electric supply is kept constant, then it’s axle when preset to a fixed point in space will remain doing so, so the axle is set at true north , much more to it however. JS
    Last edited by j.sabourn; 28th February 2024 at 02:48 AM.
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  18. #30
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    Default Re: Watches & Bells

    So right there John.
    Once we sailed all inhibitions went over the side.
    Worst were the females in first class as many officers were allowed to eat in the first class dinning saloon.
    Each had their own table so a rush to get on one.

    When working as officers steward on many occasions I had to clean up the mess left by some complying female who had spent half the night wikth an engineer.
    Never heard of deck officers getting up to anything.

    But one junior second engineer, from what was then Rhodesia, had been having regular visits.
    But one night the nocturnal security officer saw here leaving his cabin when he was doing his rounds.
    He had to front the skipper and was charged with interference of ships cargo.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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