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Thread: Buries Markes

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    Default Buries Markes

    Hi my name is David Thomas & I worked for BM in the late 70's to early 80's. I run a secret group on Facebook called "Friends of Buries Markes". It has over 60 ex-BM men as members. Please look me up if you are an ex-BM man & request to join. We share photos, memories & general chat. Old friends have found each other via this group, it's secret so the rest of Facebook can't see your conversations or steal your photos. Look me up, David Thomas from Liverpool.

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    Default Re: Buries Markes

    I used to run an award winning website a few years ago called "La Hacienda and Other Stories" unfortunately it is no longer running but I do have a very simple website that is still Buries Markes dedicated. Drop by if you have five minutes.
    http://buriesmarkesshipmanagement.bravesites.com/

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    Default Re: Buries Markes

    Quote Originally Posted by davet View Post
    I used to run an award winning website a few years ago called "La Hacienda and Other Stories" unfortunately it is no longer running but I do have a very simple website that is still Buries Markes dedicated. Drop by if you have five minutes.
    ###think you are in a bit of heavy weather and rolling about a bit stephen.......lol wait till it calms a bit regards cappy
    Last edited by Doc Vernon; 29th May 2016 at 08:39 PM.

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    Default Re: Buries Markes

    Although I never worked for BM sailed with those who had very interesting stories to tell about the various phases they went through re manning of some of their ships which at that time I found very intriquing, the following is from records kept by someone..... When completed in 1947, the LA Cordillera made history in that she was the only British ship to have an entire staff of women in her catering department. From the outset her owners, Buries Markes Ltd. brought the Trade Unions concerned into discussions, and obtained their prior, full approval. Considerable care was taken in selecting those suitable from the hundreds of applicants received, and detailed consideration was given to the problems involved with such an innovative departure from accepted practice. Those engaged were ex-WRNS personnel. Considerable thought was given to the layout of their accommodation, which was arranged in self contained quarters at the forward end of the boat deck, this deck being for their own use. The ship had also been provided with accommodation for 12 passengers, but this was not a success owing to the vessel trading world wide. For it was never known where the vessel was going, or how long she would be away, so eventually this aspect of her trading was discontinued. Claimed an "emphatic success"to begin with the La Estancia was also provided with an exclusive 14 woman catering crew, all ex-WRNS and then later La Pampa . Although La Estancia and La Pampa were existing vessels, it was felt that the problems associated with so many females crew members would be better alleviated in ship design, rather than attempt to modify existing tonnage. Other shipowners however were reluctant to adopt the change. More ships in Buries Markes were to follow the trend, but for several reasons, after a short number of years, the practice was discontinued. That is the Official version put out, the version I and many others heard was that it was lack of Birth Control education and was costing a lot of money due to re-patriation of various crew members. Also my own observations reading that report is.... why choose WRNS to the best of my knowledge in those years there were no serving members on HM ships, so had no special sea going experience as an advantage. Going back to my own experiences with the Navy, anchored off Lisbon one time and acting as the de-gaussing vessel for the minehunters, we had about 12 wrens on board who had to be off the vessel by Dark, however due to the special exercises we were undertaking with the fleet this was impossible and special exemption had to be given from the Admiralty, listening to various matelots, it was the first time since Nelson that serving WRN personell had stayed officially on board an HM vessel, we were not a RN vessel however so maybe the exemption came easier. Cheers John S

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    Default Re: Buries Markes

    Hi David, my name is Paddy Keeler and I sailed on many of their ships. 1958-1965 I would like to joined you group.

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    Default Re: Buries Markes

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Keeler View Post
    Hi David, my name is Paddy Keeler and I sailed on many of their ships. 1958-1965 I would like to joined you group.
    Welcome aboard Jack, pull up the gangway and sail along on our virtual ship, regale (or is that regail) us with a few stories

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    Default Re: Buries Markes

    Quite a nice Site you have there davet

    Lots of Pics and Stories!
    Thanks for that.
    Cheers
    Senior Site Moderator-Member and Friend of this Website

    R697530

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    Default Re: Buries Markes

    David
    when stolt tankers took over the Buries Markes chemical fleet I sailed on the Hacienda, Quinta, Colina and Pradera.
    There were a number of Buries Masters and Chief Engineers who came over to Stolts and I still have a drink with one or two of tem occasionally.
    Also went ship visiting in China to a BM Gearbulker when I was in C.P. not the best ship visit ever as the officers were fighting amongst themselves and its was the only time I went ship visiting when we had to buy our own drinks!!!!, this despite having provided freebies to the BM guys on previous nights on board our ship.
    rgds
    JA

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    Default Re: Buries Markes

    Hello, was on La Loma 60/61 carrying VW cars from Germany to the US. Was up the lakes to Port Arthur for grain ,coming back we went into the canal bank and had a load of concrete in the bow Montreal I think. Was paid US dollars putting shifting boards down the hold, regards Pat

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    Default Re: Buries Markes

    Originally posted December 14, 2014



    My shipmate Ginger and I had paid-off from a three week home-trade (h.t.) visiting ports in Holland and Germany on the "Good Hope Castle". After five or six days leave at home (Southend-On-Sea), we figured on another h.t..

    We went up to the London pool and bold as brass, as only catering boys can be, asked for a h.t.. The clerk looked us up and down and said something like "It's your lucky day boys, Burries and Markes, "La Cumbre", you join her in Rotterdam, two stops in Europe and bring her home."

    We jumped at it. Ginger as catering boy, officers mess, and me as galley boy....Perfect.

    We were instructed to meet up with the rest of the crew at, I think it was Victoria Station, the following afternoon and off via a ferry to Rotterdam.

    Sure enough, next afternoon we met with the crew. There were no deckies or engine room crew, just catering. The Second Steward introduced himself and passed out our tickets and we were off. It was an uneventful crossing until we arrived at dockside Rotterdam and stared at the rust bucket in front of us the "La Cumbre".

    We found our way to our cabin (a two berther); dumped our bags and headed to the officers mess to sign-on.

    We could hear an uproar going on before we entered and soon found out why. The articles were 'deep sea' not 'home- trade', which meant we could be away for up to twenty-four months instead of a couple of weeks.

    The Chief Steward shouted for silence and told us as far as he knew, it was a one trip to Quebec and back to England for a major engine overhaul. With that a couple men walked out, not interested.

    I was seventeen and Ginger was just shy of eighteen. After turning eighteen Ginger would be up for his rating (promotion to waiter and that meant doubling his salary), and that's why we wanted only a home-trade trip. But if we refused the ship at the last minute, we believed we could have our discharge books pulled, and that meant National Service and the army. In any case it was a moot point, we didn't have the money for our return fares. We talked it over and convinced ourselves that six weeks out to Quebec and home wasn't too bad. So we signed on....But it left a bitter taste, we'd been shanghaied.

    We unpacked and changed into work gear and headed for our stations. Ginger to the officers mess pantry and me to the galley.

    I entered the galley and saw THE DEVIL! ... 'IT' was about five foot-three, ninety lbs., and ugly as a truck load of ass#oles , plus something was wrong with 'it's eyes: one eye didn't move. I found out later it was a glass eye. The Ship's Cook had on make-up, 'its' hair in curlers; wore clogs and check cook's pants; a short sleeved woman's blouse,and a female's fancy apron, and had a cigarette in the corner of 'it's' mouth.

    'It' put it's hands on it's hips, looked me up and down, leered and said. "Well don't you look yummy."

    To say my heart sank is putting it mildly, especially when 'it' added.

    "Don't you dare call me Cookie, call me Bubbles."

    The Second Cook and Baker introduced himself as Nobby, and seemed a decent enough sort, and he was. Usually its someone with a family name Clark that gets a nickname Nobby in the U.K., not so in this case. Nobby never paraded naked around the head, he always had a regular size towel around his waist, for example while he was shaving, but a certain not to be mentioned appendage could be seen dangling below the towel. Thus the sobriquet Nobby.

    I could see 'It'/Bubbles giving me the once over as I was peeling potatoes. I tried to ignore it.

    It was later that day, I had just been to the storeroom to pick up supplies. I walked into the galley and a hand grabbed me, you know where, and said, "Boo!" I let out a yell and (I'm going to call 'It', 'B') acting coy, leered sickeningly at me and said.

    "Well ain't you the goosey one?"

    I made it quite clear, NEVER! touch me like that again...Nobby said something like, Leave the kid alone Bubbles. 'B' huffed and went back to cooking.

    After dinner the pots and pans were to be washed. The barsteward of a Ship's Cook had deliberately left them on the stove and in the oven, and burnt the bottoms. I spent an extra hour fuming and scrapping the burnt crud off.

    Part of my job was to wake 'B' with a cup of tea in the afternoon after 'It's, nap. Again it was another attempt at grab-ass. I'd knock, announce the time and enter the cabin. 'B' was sleeping on 'it's' back, the glass eye open and staring. I'd call out to 'B' the time once more, put the tea down and it was a pat on the ass, or a leer. 'B' did it two afternoons. The third afternoon: I brought the all-ready-made tea to the boiling point in a pan; dumped it in a pre-heated mug, and hurried to 'B's cabin. I went through the drill and as this creature made it's move I said. "If you ever touch me again I'm going to sneak in and dump this boiling tea into your good eye, and you'll be blind as a bat for the rest of your f$@%^&g life." And I left and went back to the galley.

    'B' flounced into the galley. "I don't want any more tea; you can just bang on the door."

    Every time 'B' got in a bad mood, which was at least every other day, it was burnt pots.

    It was no use reporting it to the Chief Steward, what was he going to do...fire the cook at sea? The only time I saw the Chief Steward anyway was at the weekly Chief Officers 1100 hours inspection. Then 'B' was dressed like a man. No perfume ,make-up or female cloths, additionally 'B' had plates of freshly fried doughnuts and tabnabs and tea waiting for the officers. No flies on IT mate!

    Next it was Ginger's turn. Ginger was short, slender, with a mass of curly red/gold hair, and could have been a model of an angel for the Renaissance artists. The girls just loved him. Ginger would go to the head for a shower and 'B' would be waiting and follow him. 'B' would sing in a falsetto voice as 'It' put 'It's' make-up on (with a trowel), and 'It's' one good eye would follow Ginger in his mirrow. I'd told Ginger what I had done, fight back, but he couldn't, it just wasn't in him, he just tried to dodge 'B'. This went on for a couple of weeks or so. And then it suddenly stopped. 'B' had found fresh meat.

    It was a young officer's steward, first trip as a rating. I had no idea how it came about or what went on, but the winger became a night visitor to 'B's cabin. He looked miserable. At times we would see him sitting out on a hatch cover by himself, just staring out to sea. Tough, but we were left alone...perfect, except for burned pots.

    We returned from Quebec to Rotterdam only to hear the "La Cumbre" was not going to England but was sailing to Galverston, Texas. We were a week off-loading and loading. Long faces everywhere. The deckies were West Indian and below decks they were from India or Pakistan, they too were upset.

    Resignation set in and then it became "business as usual."

    My shift was over and we were sailing in the morning. I left the galley for my cabin to find out if Ginger wanted a last run ashore. Something was wrong: the cabin was too tidy. Then I noticed the photos of Ginger's various girl friends were not over his bunk. I looked in his locker, it was empty and his suitcase was gone. Then I saw a note on my pillow:

    "Sorry Rodders, I can't stand it anymore. I'm jumping ship. The army can't be worse than this. Ginger."

    He'd gone and so had the young winger.

    We sailed for Galveston, and 'B' would start on me again, or try. A swift, "You want a cup of tea?" would stop it for a bit, but it was more burnt pots.

    On the poop deck was locker where sacks of potatoes were stored. Any down-time I could get I would sneak into the locker and just sit on the sacks, and stare out through the slats at the sea, and day-dream how I could wangle that sick one-eyed barsteward near the railings and tip his skinny ass over the rail. Then I would get even more depressed knowing deep-down that I didn't have the nerve...In any case 'B' hardly ever came out on deck. 'It' believe the sun ruined the complexion.

    We returned from Galveston to Hamburg, only to be told it was to be New Orleans not England. The Second Steward told me Ginger's replacement would be coming aboard.

    I was laying in my bunk, the lower one, really cheesed-off. Angry at the world and everyone in it. The door opens and a guy my age walks in, looks around, drops his case and said.

    "You're in my bunk...out!"

    I couldn't believe my ears. "What did you say?"

    "What's the matter then. You got cloth ears? The lower bunks mine."

    I said something like, "Oh! I'm sorry," and climbed out of my bunk and 'cold cocked him'...I brought one up from the deck as hard and as fast as I could and punched him right on his breast bone. He collapsed, his face going red from gasping for air. I can still remember after all these years how much I wanted to hurt this twerp for all the crap I'd swallowed these last months. He's sitting on the deck, back against the door and crying his eyes out.

    "Who's bunk is it?"

    "Yours," he finally sniveled when he got his breath back.

    I turned-to for my evening shift and Nobby is doing the cooking and a new Second Cook is baking.
    I looked around and the DEVIL is gone. I never found out what had happened, Nobby just told me 'It" had been paid off. Nobby owned a ships cook's ticket and was the new Ship's Cook.

    Rumors swept around the ship, the best one that I gave any credence to was that 'It' was sick, dying,...but...perhaps that was just wishful thinking on my part.

    JOY! Peace reigned in the galley. Nobby taught me quite a bit about cooking and the Baker gave me baking lessons, and all was right in the world...except I'm sharing a silent cabin...two alienated catering boys.

    From there it was: New Orleans to Dakar to Cape Town to B.A. and finally to Bremen, all at the breakneck speed of seven knots--when it wasn't broke down and adrift that is. Ten months so far, some home-trade.

    Each of these legs were accompanied by rumors of where our next Port of call would be. By far the best--guaranteeing to pish everyone off-- was we were going to Christmas Island, and doing phosphate runs to Melbourne and back, for the balance of our deep-sea articles.

    I had become chummy with a Junior Electrical Officer, and much to my surprise the engineer officers and the deck officers were as equally upset as the crew. He told me the engineers had been holding the engines together with spit and baling wire and he (no pun intended) was in the same boat as me, in wanting off. He had just been married, and took this trip, a home-trade, to wangle another shore leave with his brand new wife.

    As we entered the English Channel bound for Bremen. He told me in secret, not to worry, because we would be paying off in Bremen. Now I don't know if it was planned that the engines gave out, or a major refit was scheduled for that heap of junk in Bremen, but we broke down. Due to a massive storm coming in and engine trouble, word came down to keep life jackets handy--I slept as best I could in mine. We limped into Bremen escorted by a tug.

    As he had told me, we paid-off. But the "La Cumbre" had one more rotten trick left.

    Burries and Markes had leased a Dakota to fly the crew back to London. Either the cabin wasn't pressurized, or if it was, it was out of order. My ears popped and I was stone deaf for hours and to top it off I had a terrible earache for better than a week.

    That did it for me with tramps or cargo ships. I wanted something like a train that floated. I wanted to know the day, down to the hour that the ship would return to England.

    Nobby had given me a letter of introduction to U.C.L. stating that I couldn't be rated as cook on the "La Cumbre", though I had a good knowledge of cooking, blah, blah. It worked. And my next ship was the "Warwick Castle" ( I can just hear someone saying after my pages of woe about 'B', "He chose the Castle Boats?"....From the frying pan into the fire?).

    I apologize for any confusion my using the nominative third person case 'It' for the one-eyed ship's cook, but I will not use 'She' for 'He'.

    I do not care what people do willingly in the privacy of their bedroom. Outside of that I admit I'm homophobic. It seems every day, a State in the U.S. is legalizing gay marriage and there has to be the manditory ten second shot of two men kissing. I'm sorry, it turns my stomach. I never saw any humor in the mincing 'queens' on the Castle boats, only disgust and perhaps pity. I had more than enough of them on the "La Cumbre" and the suggestive hints from similar types in a position of power on my first ship, the Port Line's "Port Jackson", thankfully not to the degree it was on the hell-ship.

    Later in my career as a chief executive, I often traveled with female executives or female staff members. We would always stay in separate hotels, not only for her piece of mind, but for me maintaining a reputation, as did "Caesar's wife"... one of purity. I never forgot the pressures used by people with power over me. And I was damned if I would conduct my life like them.


    Cheers, Rodney

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