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Thread: The Merchant Navy 'Pool' in W.W.II

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    Default The Merchant Navy 'Pool' in W.W.II

    I was once sent by the pool to' work by ' on an old steamer prior to signing on. (I've forgotten its name.) There was a lot of work required to get it ready for sea and one day I noticed a shore gang spraying a cork insulation material onto all the bulkheads. I realised that meant that the next trip would be to a very cold destination. Now I don't like the cold at all, and much rather prefer the warmer climates. I decided not to sign on and went back onto the pool register. I found out much later the the ship did indeed sail in an Arctic convoy, bound for Murmansk. It was sunk by the Luftwaffe but I don't know the fate of her crew or if any were saved. My guardian angel must have been watching over me that time!

    From Wikipedia.
    Until May 1941 merchant seamen sailing aboard British vessels attacked and sunk by enemy action received no pay (wages) from the moment that their ship sank. If the seaman was fortunate to survive the sinking only to spend days or weeks in an open lifeboat hoping for rescue, it was regarded as "non-working time" and the seaman was not paid for that time because their employer, the shipping company who had owned the lost vessel, no longer required their services In May 1941, "Emergency Work (Merchant Navy) Order, Notice No. M198" was passed by the British Parliament in recognition of the desperate situation facing Great Britain. Under this new order a Merchant Navy Reserve Pool was established which was to ensure that available seamen were allocated to ships which needed crew, it required seamen to continue to serve for the duration of the war, they were guaranteed a wage for that period including time spent in lifeboats or in captivity and it provided for two days paid leave earned per month served. They had the right to reject a ship if it did not suit them, and to reject a second ship if that also did not suit them before having no option but to take the third offer

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    Default Re: The Merchant Navy 'Pool' in W.W.II

    Thank you for the Thread!
    You will need to get your thinking Cap on now, and try and recall the name of that Ship, then we can start looking into it ,and see what actually happened to the Crew, there may have been quite a few Survivers
    Cheers
    Senior Site Moderator-Member and Friend of this Website

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    Default Re: The Merchant Navy 'Pool' in W.W.II

    Quick question regarding the Pool. When was the system discontinued? It was still being operated by the ship owners in the 1950s...but how long for?

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    Default Re: The Merchant Navy 'Pool' in W.W.II

    I went to sea in 1974 but was employed directly by J&J Denholm but I remember having to go to the Glasgow pool to get my Discharge book and medical and I seem to remember a large board with ships names on it so I suppose it was still operating at that time.
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    Default Re: The Merchant Navy 'Pool' in W.W.II

    Think it was 1986 I finally took the pittance that the Shipping Federation paid out , so rather think it was not too long after that , Others will know more exactly , I lost interest after such a dismal showing for one of the most remarkable industries in British History and responsible for the discovery of the unknown world of bygone years in our history. The many thousands of British seamen deserved a better place in people’s memories than what they got . JS
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    Default Re: The Merchant Navy 'Pool' in W.W.II

    Thanks for the information...seems like it limped on for quite a while.

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    Default Re: The Merchant Navy 'Pool' in W.W.II

    NZ didn't have a pool when I started on the coast, the mate would say how many AB's he wanted and the blokes who wanted a job stood in a line in the shipping office and he picked the men he wanted, which left anyone with a bad record struggling to get a berth. The union stopped that by sending in the men that had been waiting the longest, to be replaced with a register of blokes waiting, but if you knocked back three you were put to the bottom of the list. This also prevented the perk jobs such as the regular Auckland _ Island ships being crewed by the same people all the time.
    Des
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    Default Re: The Merchant Navy 'Pool' in W.W.II

    Quote Originally Posted by Lesley Mason View Post
    Quick question regarding the Pool. When was the system discontinued? It was still being operated by the ship owners in the 1950s...but how long for?
    The Merchant Navy Reserve Pool was discontinued at the end of 1946.

    Thanks for the information...seems like it limped on for quite a while.
    The Pool was discontinued but in its place came the Merchant Navy Establishment Scheme which came into force, officially, I believe, in April of 1947.
    The scheme was revised, I believe, in October 1968.

    Regards
    Hugh
    "If Blood was the price
    We had to pay for our freedom
    Then the Merchant Ship Sailors
    Paid it in fullĒ


    www.sscityofcairo.co.uk

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    Default Re: The Merchant Navy 'Pool' in W.W.II

    By 1968 I was on leave of absence from the old red duster for the next 5 years or so. So canít say too much about what happened in those 5 years. I do know however whatever I earned during that period the MN establishment could not match. One time at home I received a phone call from Stag Line , 1 Howard Street, North Shields , offering me a job, I said what are you paying , and with all the seniority increments possible came no where near what I had been getting. When informed of such their excuse was yes but we are a family concern and we look after our people. Not too long after they went legs in the air and their well looked after Company Servants received the usual pittance from the BSF. JS.
    Last edited by j.sabourn; 18th November 2023 at 11:52 PM.
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    Default Re: The Merchant Navy 'Pool' in W.W.II

    Quote Originally Posted by j.sabourn View Post
    By 1968 I was on leave of absence from the old red duster for the next 5 years or so. So can’t say too much about what happened in those 5 years. I do know however whatever I earned during that period the MN establishment could not match. One time at home I received a phone call from Stag Line , 1 Howard Street, North Shields , offering me a job, I said what are you paying , and with all the seniority increments possible came no where near what I had been getting. When informed of such their excuse was yes but we are a family concern and we look after our people. Not too long after they went legs in the air and their well looked after Company Servants received the usual pittance from the BSF. JS.
    Mate of mine was an apprenice with them, I went aboard one of their vessels alongside a flour mill in Gateshead (now an art gallery) and although it was a newer vessel than any of my first couple of ships I was amazed at how dingey, dark and cramped the accomodation was compared to the 1954 built vessels I had been on.
    He skinned out in Ireland and packed in the sea altogether, so maybe you did the right thing John.

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