Merchant Navy Billy - Mike Culligan

"Merchant Navy Billy" - original song by Mike Culligan, copyright 2013. Live version of "Merchant Navy Song" about my grandad, Billy Burns. He passed away doing a paper round in his retirement. He loved to help out in his retirement as a labourer just for the social life and to keep him in beer and cigarettes. Billy was made an honorary manager of Prahran FC in Melbourne, Australia. Billy emigrated to Oz after his wife had died and all his children had grown up. He worked in the Merchant Navy for many years and then as a labourer on the docks of Liverpool, his hometown. Like many of his generation he went to work at a young age (only 13) with his dad being already on the first ship he joined. Billy was football mad and would read the Liverpool Echo and have it mailed to him when he emigrated to Australia. He played the spoons as a party trick and loved to laugh and tell fancy tales of mythical things about the sea but never about his real wartime role. Billy did have war medals but never made a big deal about them.

He was a much loved father, husband and his grandchildren all meant a great deal to him and we all had a lot of laughs with him. My mum and dad looked after him and gave him a home in our house when we were living in Melbourne Australia. Billy stayed on after we came back to the UK. My uncle and my dad would take Billy to see football matches of local teams. Prahran FC loved him and made him their honorary manager in the seventies. Billy played the spoons and was fantastic company. He was a very positive person and we miss him greatly.