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Thread: Capt. A J Mackenzie

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    Default Capt. A J Mackenzie

    Captain A J Mackenzie – ‘Sandy’ to his friends – passed away peacefully on Friday 7th October 2016 in Aberdeen aged 91.

    Sandy was born in Lossiemouth in 1925 and joined Alfred Holt & Co as a midshipman in 1942, a few months before his 17th birthday. He spent the next 14 years with the company before leaving to continue his career in the Far East.

    His first trip with Blue Funnel on ‘Maron’ (Caledon 1930) ended when the ship was torpedoed and sunk in the Mediterranean on 14th November 1942 during ‘Operation Torch’. The next voyage on ‘Perseus’ (Caledon 1923) took him to Cuba, through the Panama Canal and to Australia before returning via South Africa. Over the next two years, before the end of hostilities in September 1945, there followed trips on ‘Samsette’ (Bethlehem Fairfield 1943), ‘Tyndareus’ (Scotts 1923), and ‘Antenor’ (Palmers & Co 1925).

    By the end of 1945 he had sufficient time to obtain his 2nd Mate certificate (3 years rather than 4 due to wartime losses) and there followed four voyages on ‘Neleus’ (Workman Clark 1911), three on ‘Aneas’ (Caledon 1947), and coastal trips ‘Demodocus’ and ‘Denbighshire’ (Glen Line) before he obtained his 1st Mate qualification at the end of 1948.
    After this came voyages on ‘Melampus’ (Palmers 1924), ‘Dolius’ (Harland & Wolffe1922), ‘Prometheus’ (Scotts 1925), ‘Aneas’ again, ‘Sarpedon’ (Cammel Laird 1923) and finally ‘Dardanus’.

    After gaining ‘Master Foreign-Going’ he began studying for his ‘Extra Master’s’ qualification - which Holt’s told him they did not require - at his own expense. By his own admission he found this quite a struggle, both financially and academically. After 2 years and 3 exam attempts he gave up and, in 1954, joined The Atlantic Steam Navigation Company as Mate of the LST ‘Maxwell Brander’ plying between Japan and Korea. He would often say this was the happiest year of his sea going career not least because he was to meet his future wife Hilda Duncan, then a nursing sister at the Matilda Hospital in Hong Kong, during this period.

    They married in Aberdeen in 1956 and with thoughts of a more settled family life took up appointment as Marine Officer in Sarawak, Borneo. This largely involved survey work on the Sarawak and Rajan rivers and pilotage for visiting ships. Initially in charge of the Marine Department Office in Sibu (Sarawak’s second city), where both children Colin and Lindsey were born, the family moved to the capital Kuching in September 1959. Here as Deputy Superintendent his duties extended to all parts of Sarawak. During home leave in 1962 he decided to try again for, and finally succeeded at, gaining his ‘Extra Master’s’.

    After Malaysian Independence in 1963 conditions began to change and by 1965 he had decided to bring the family back to the UK after a further one year tour rather than become Director of Marine. Up to mid 1966 he had been seagoing in the Merchant Navy for approximately 15 years, and 10 years in Sarawak. Now a new phase began.

    Back in Aberdeen he chose to go for nautical teaching rather than going into pilotage (more or less a closed shop in the UK at the time) or working as an Examiner/Surveyor with the Ministry of Transport which might have involved postings all around the UK. His first appointment was at the Watt Memorial College in Greenock, which he thoroughly enjoyed, but with the cessation of MN classes there in 1968 he took the opportunity to join the Aberdeen (Robert Gordon) Navigation School as Cadet Lecturer and Radar Instructor. After 10 years the School of Navigation was transferred to Aberdeen Technical College where he became more involved in teaching Foreign Going classes.

    Due to the decline of the British Merchant Navy the class numbers steadily fell and eventually he decided to take early retirement in 1988, aged 63. This gave him more time to persue his passion for golf, which he played to a good standard into his eighties.

    In the years after leaving full time seafaring Sandy undertook only five further working sea voyages. Three of these were in the early 1960’s delivering new Government vessels from their makers back to Sarawak – the 250 ton ‘Seladang’ from Cheong Lee Shipyard in Hong Kong, the Lighthouse Tender ‘Kenyalang’ from Thorneycrofts in Singapore, and the 85’ Malaysian Police personnel carrier ‘Margherita’ also from Hong Kong. In 1968 he and a crew of cadets from Watt’s College were involved in delivering the Outward Bound Trust schooner ‘Prince Louis’ from Greenock to Dartmouth and finally, in 1974 during college holidays, he volunteered for a short assignment on “Queensgarth”, a bulk carrier, from Birkenhead to Port Cartier in Canada and back to assist its owners (Cory Maritime Ltd - a Holt’s subsidiary) who were struggling with a shortage of appropriately qualified officers.

    Sandy has left some detailed handwritten notes about his life and his memories and it is hoped to one day have these transcribed into a privately published book for family, friends and those who may be interested.

    An extract from one chapter was read out by his son at a church service held on 15th October 2016, and you can see this at the following internet address : The Things You Remember by Captain A J Mackenzie

    He is survived by Hilda, his wife for 60 years, and children Colin and Lindsey.

    AJM_photoblock.jpg
    Last edited by Colin A Mackenzie; 7th November 2016 at 11:35 AM. Reason: image added

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    Default Re: Capt. A J Mackenzie

    The World is now a little Poorer.
    R.I.P.
    Brian

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    Default Re: Capt. A J Mackenzie

    Now that`s a real Sea Dog. RIP. BW.

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    Default Re: Capt. A J Mackenzie

    May he now Rest in Peace
    Condolences to all his immediate Family and good Friends!
    Senior Member and Friend of this Website

    R697530

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    Default Re: Capt. A J Mackenzie

    Condolences,to Family and Friends. R.I.P.

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    Default Re: Capt. A J Mackenzie

    Colin
    I am sorry for your loss. I worked with your father at Aberdeen Technical College. He was very helpful to me first when I was new lecturer and later when I took over as head of section. He was a well liked lecturer by both student and staff, a gentleman with a great sense of humour

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    Default Re: Capt. A J Mackenzie

    Ian, Colin
    From 1967 to 1987 (with the exception of four years during that time in England and Perthshire, Scotland) I covered Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia in my employment. I travelled regularly throughout Malaysia and Borneo areas of Sabah, Brunei and Sarawak. Over the many years of my retirement I have recorded my memories in the form of a website and PDFs. I probably have crossed paths from time to time with you father, Colin, particularly in places like Miri, Sibu, Bintulu and Kuching in Sarawak. Here is a screen shot of a page that relates should you be interested.
    Richard
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Our Ship was our Home
    Our Shipmates our Family

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    Default Re: Capt. A J Mackenzie

    Sorry for the loss of this fine man. I visited the internet page - thought this rather good: (after torpedo) It took a few minutes to gather my senses when in the lifeboat, for it’s quite a feeling to watch your home sinking stern first. The Chief Steward was in our boat and he happened to say how pleased he was to have saved his case, the one with all the Bar accounts in it. Without a word the 4th Engineer took the Chief’s case and dropped it over the side!
    Harry Nicholson

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    Default Re: Capt. A J Mackenzie

    Thanks Harry,
    I will enjoy reading your contribution. Your fourth engineer deserved a medal!
    Richard
    Our Ship was our Home
    Our Shipmates our Family

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