Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: New Zealand star December 13

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Bolton UK
    Posts
    15,004
    Thanks (Given)
    20832
    Thanks (Received)
    11092
    Likes (Given)
    30414
    Likes (Received)
    37122

    Default New Zealand star December 13

    Default 13 december 1953 ken hignett drowns
    To the memory of KEN HIGNETT, of Birkenhead drowned December 13 1953

    THE VOYAGE ON THE NEW ZEALAND STAR

    I joined the New Zealand Star on 13 November 1953, in the Gladstone Dock, Liverpool. She was one of Blue Star`s big fridge ships built in 1935 in Belfast, Six hatches, 20 derricks and a jumbo, she also carried 12 passengers.
    The Bosun was a well known maniac, `Mad` Angus McAskill the Bull, from the Isle of Barra in the Hebrides, a wild and lonely place, a giant of a man, covered in hair all over his body like a Yeti. He had six brothers and sisters just like him. He gave his orders in the Gaelic followed by a blow from a big iron fist, what a bastard he was, The only time he spoke English was when he was muttering "Liverpool Bastards, Liverpool Bastards" continuously while we were working.
    After leaving Liverpool we called In at London to top up the cargo for the voyage to South Africa. All hands got together and told the Captain that we were not going to sail with `Mad` McAskill and requested that he got rid of him. `No problem`, said Captain Edgar Rhodes, and Angus walked down the gangway and was replaced by a lovely little Bosun who was in his sixties. Good we all thought, it is going to be a pleasant voyage.
    Two days later we were sailing for the Cape, and as we were sailing through the lock gates into the River the little Bosun jumped over the rails onto the lock and `Mad` Angus who was hiding behind the Lock Keepers hut jumped on board shouting, "Liverpool Bastards". We could see Captain Rhodes laughing on the wing of the bridge and we knew we were in for a hard voyage.
    I was an Ordinary Seaman on £15 a month wages and was on day work, which started at 6am and finished whenever Angus decided, sometimes at midnight. There was plenty of overtime but it didn’t seem to make much difference at one shilling and sixpence an hour.
    On the way to the Cape we called at Las Palmas for bunkers and we were there for a few hours and had time to go ashore for a few bevies,
    After we sailed, Kenny Hignett who was an EDH on the 8 to 12 watch decided he was too drunk to go on the wheel and asked me to do the wheel for him, and I was too drunk to say no. So Ken put a big duffle coat on me and pulled the hood over my head saying the Captain wouldn’t recognise me like that. After turning the ship around in circles, the Captain, who was still on the bridge with the Third Mate, had me thrown off the wheel and sent for another man to do the wheel. Next morning Captain Rhodes had Ken and me on the bridge and logged one days pay.
    On the way down to Cape Town we overhauled all the running gear, sending down all the topping lifts and blocks, these were greased and sent aloft again,
    Cargo runners greased and damaged ones replaced, wire and rope strops spliced all ready for discharging around the Cape Coast.
    We arrived in Cape Town on Saturday, 5th of December 1953.
    On the jetty in Duncan Dock as we were making fast I could see my Uncle Ted, the same man who was in the 1908 Olympic Games. He was on holiday there staying with my Uncle, Aunt and cousin Ernie, who all lived in Seapoint on the coast. After we had finished working he took me back to Uncle Jimmy`s house, I hadn’t seen them since 1946 so they were all making a fuss of me. So that Saturday night all hands were in Del Monacos drinking and dancing with the girls, I had to sit in and talk to my relations. Boring.!
    On Sunday afternoon all hands went to the open air swimming pool right on the beach at Seapoint. It was hot and sunny and we were surrounded by lots of pretty girls. During the afternoon I spent some time with Kenny Hignett trying to teach him how to swim, He had no idea how to swim and after a while he said “I will learn how to swim if it’s the last thing I do”. Little did we know how prophetic those words were seven days later.
    On Monday evening I was taken to Cousin Ernie`s `Westminster Restaurant` in the City centre and had a superb dinner, the first decent food I had had since joining the ship. These Blue Star boats were terrible bad feeders, every one I ever sailed on was a hungry ship.
    On Tuesday morning we sailed from Cape Town after battening down and dropping derricks and sailed round to Port Elizabeth arriving there next morning.
    Before sailing we embarked some passengers, some going up the coast to Durban and others going to New Zealand, One was a very attractive young lady, Rosemary Garfield Todd, her father was Prime Minister, Garfield Todd, of Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. The PM was originally a New Zealander and she was going to New Zealand to visit family.
    After stripping the hatches and topping the derricks ready for discharging in Port Elizabeth, `Mad` McAskill told me to go ashore and get him a bottle of whisky, I dodged his fist and ran down the gangway to the nearest liquor store. He was still on the gangway when I returned and started to gulp it down as soon as I had given it to him, I was hanging around waiting for the money when he started to shout “Liverpool Bastard” so I set off running down the after deck followed by the empty bottle which bounced off my head and smashed in the scupper. The guy was a lunatic, I will get even with him one day, I said to myself. When he was on the whisky he was more mad than he normally was, He used to march up and down the boat deck all night playing his bagpipes, no one got any sleep but no one dare tell him to stop.
    We stayed in Port Elizabeth for two nights. A quiet place just a couple of local pubs. Rosemary came ashore with our deck crowd and had a few beers with us, she was a good sport.
    We sailed round to East London and arrived there on the Saturday morning, we sailed up the Buffalo River and moored starboard side to at the bottom of the bluff to discharge.
    After we had finished topping derricks ready for discharging, the Padre, Mr. McCulloch, from the Seamens Mission came on board and told us there was a dance at the Mission that night and on Sunday 13th of December there would be a coach trip up the coast to Bonza Bay and a picnic on the beach with the girls from the Mission. It sounded good so we all booked for it.
    It was Saturday afternoon so I showered and changed and went ashore to have a look around East London. It was a nice quiet little town with one main street, Oxford Street which ran the full length of town. I called in a few bars and had a few beers up and down Oxford Street and after a while I decided to go to the Mission to meet up with the rest of the crowd at the dance. I got on a bus as I was a long way off by this time. The bus had a door at the front to get on and a door at the back to get off. When I got on the bus it was full so I had to stand and as more and more people got on I was moved further and further towards the back door which was open due to the hot weather.
    As we neared the Mission on Buffalo Street, the bus took a sharp right hand bend and I shot through the back door and bounced along the road and ended up in the gutter covered in dust.
    I lay there for a few minutes trying to figure out where I was, then I climbed to my feet and dusted myself down, there was nothing broken and no blood so I staggered into the Mission to clean myself up.
    None of the Sailors were in there except the Deck Boy, I asked him where they were and he told me they were in the pub just around the corner of Buffalo Street.
    I met Ronnie Vickers and Ken Hignett with some of the other lads in there. After a few more drinks the three of us got up to sing, we sang `I Believe` and `Answer Me`, all new songs that year by Frankie Lane. The girls in the pub were screaming and we felt like Pop Stars, by the end of the evening Ken and I had got friendly with two girls and invited them back on board the ship for a drink.
    They said they had never been on a ship before, but as they walked along the deck one was saying to the other, “Mind that ring bolt and the purchase on that guy needs to be tightened, watch that runner.”
    We took them into my cabin on the poop. When we got in there all hands started to come in and cases of beer appeared and a party began, all we wanted was a quiet drink with the girls. After a while Paddy Penson started to mess around with the girl I was with and she slapped his face, he belted her across her face so I thumped him and a big fight started in the cabin with everyone thumping each other and the girls were screaming, It was a shambles and the cabin was wrecked.
    Eventually Ken and I got the girls out and took them ashore, we got a taxi and took them home. They were OK and we arranged to meet them the following day, Sunday afternoon.
    SUNDAY DECEMBER 13, 1953.
    The coach arrived at the gangway to pick us all up and take us to Bonza Bay, about 15 miles up the coast.
    Ken and I were supposed to meet the two girls in the afternoon at 2pm but we decided to go to Bonza Bay instead and then meet them in the evening, as we knew where they lived. That was a decision that was to have fatal consequences.
    When we got on the coach there were about a dozen Mission girls with large picnic hampers, so it looked as though we were going to have a good day out.
    When we arrived at Bonza Bay we went into a hut and changed into our swimming togs and when we came out the girls were setting out the food for the picnic
    On the way down the beach to the sea the girls shouted dont be long as the food would be ready in a few minutes and also beware of the currents, there is a strong under tow there. As Ronnie Vickers, Ken Hignett and I walked towards the sea I remember saying, "There is three of us going out and only two coming back" I dont know why I said it.
    We were enjoying ourselves jumping around in the surf, it felt good to be away from the ship, when Ken said he had a problem and wanted to get out. He asked me to help him up to the beach, I thought he was a bit nervous as he couldn’t swim and didn’t want to get out of his depth, the water was waist deep at the time.
    So I held his right arm and Ronnie held his left and we walked towards the beach when I noticed we were walking backwards with the undertow and the steeply shelving sand and getting deeper all the time. Next a huge wave hit us and knocked us under and when we surfaced we could not feel the bottom with our feet, then another wave hit us and swirled us under again. When we surfaced I realised we were in trouble. Ronnie and I were swimming hard holding onto Ken`s arms urging him to swim as I had been trying to teach him last Sunday in Cape Town. He wasn’t doing too badly but we started to get hammered by a succession of bigger and bigger waves and we were being carried quite fast further out to sea. We were really in trouble now. I shouted to Ronnie to swim ashore and get some help which he did, it was a long hard swim for him to to get back to the beach.
    I was holding onto Ken swimming as hard as I could but the waves were getting bigger and more frequent, knocking us under and swirling us over and over, like being inside a washing machine, it was a long hard struggle. I could feel cramp coming on in my arms and legs and I thought we were done for.
    Then clouds covered up a clear blue sky, the wind increased in strength, the waves were getting bigger and it started to rain.
    After what seemed to be an eternity I saw Dennis `Mo` Riley, one of our sailors, swimming towards us. Ronnie must have made it back to the beach and raised the alarm. `Mo` grabbed hold of Ken and then we were hit by another giant of a wave and tumbled us around and when I surfaced I could see `Mo` and Ken about 15 yards away. I tried to swim towards them but I was getting weak and the cramps in my arms and legs were getting worse and I could not use them, I had swallowed a lot of water and was convinced I was going to die, I was scared. I heard Ken`s voice, shouting "Help, help, help," Three times. Then we all disappeared under a wave of raging foam.
    After several minutes I rose up on a crest of a wave and in the distance I could see ¬Mo` standing waist deep on a sand bank a few hundred yards off shore, hanging on to Ken who was lying down in the water, I saw a big wave hit them and they disappeared. I tried to swim towards them but seemed to be going further away with the current.
    Later `Mo` told me that Ken was unconscious then and when he found him again he thought he was dead. He was holding on to him when they were hit by another big wave and then he lost him and couldn’t find him again.
    Meanwhile I was struggling to stay afloat, my arms and legs were dead and my vision was going and I was under water more and more as I was pounded by the waves, I knew then what it was like to die, I was in a no survive situation.
    Then suddenly, as if by a miracle, I was grabbed by a lad in a harness and life buoy and we were being towed towards the beach. The lad`s name was David Brinton, a 15 year old South African school boy. I was carried up the beach where I collapsed and someone gave me artificial respiration. As I awoke I heard someone say that Ken had drowned. It was a terrible shock. The three of us had tried so hard to save him but the sea had beaten us. I felt really bad as if I had failed him. I had done my best but it wasn’t enough and for a long time I felt a lot of guilt and it was a long time before I could come to terms with his death.
    The Padre, Mr McCulloch, and one of the young ladies from the Mission, put me into his Land Rover and took me to Hospital where I was put to bed and given tablets which knocked me out for a few hours, then the Padre took me back to the New Zealand Star.
    Some of the lads met me on the after deck and as I walked aft I noticed the Red Ensign flying at half mast, that was really sad.
    I went to bed, taking some more tablets and told to stay there for about two days.
    At 5.30 am next morning, Monday, `Mad` McAskill crashed into the cabin,. "Get up you Liverpool Bastards, turn to"……………….
    I don’t remember getting up but I was on an electric chipping hammer scaling rust off the bulkheads amidships. I was in a total daze.
    Rosemary Garfield Todd saw me on the chipping hammer and could see I was not at all well so she complained to Captain Rhodes. She stopped me from chipping and took me down aft to my cabin and put me to bed. `Mad` McAskill was not amused, I could hear him shouting “Liverpool Bastard”.
    At 2pm I was called from my bunk again , the Police were on board and they wanted statements for the Inquest. `Mo` Riley, Ronnie Vickers and I went amidships to the ships office and had to tell the Policeman everything that had happened regarding Ken`s death, which was quite a harrowing experience. After making our statements, the three of us went ashore and had a few beers in a pub on Oxford Street. On the way we bought a newspaper, The Daily Dispatch and the story they printed was completely different to what had really happened. So after a few beers we went down to the Newspaper Office and saw the Editor and put the story right.
    That evening there was a Service for Ken at the Seamens Mission, which was very sad.
    Tuesday 15 December, we completed discharging and battened down, dropping the derricks and cast off and sailed round to Durban arriving on Thursday morning.
    On Friday, December 18, we heard that Ken`s body had been washed up on the beach and that the Seamens Mission was going to do the funeral and have him buried in the East Cemetery in East London.
    Ken was 20 years old and lived at Mill Cottage, 1 Mill Lane, Birkenhead.
    I dont recollect much of Durban, I was in a daze most of the time, I remember having a drink in the Playhouse with Rosemary over the weekend and thanking her for looking after me. On Monday we had completed discharging and we battened down and secured the derricks and then let go. We sailed out of the harbour past the Bluff and the coaling berths then past the Whaling Station just as two whale catchers were coming in towing whales.
    The next day we arrived in Lourenco Marques, now known as Maputo, in Mozambique, We were only there for one day for a quick discharge before sailing to Beira another days sail up the coast of Mozambique where we anchored over Christmas.
    The Cook put on a decent Christmas Dinner and a cake and we all got a case of ale each and all went on the poop deck and celebrated.
    Charlie Dry, a Liverpool fireman, did the dance of the flaming Assholes. He shoved a length of ten feet of toilet paper up his bum set fire to it and tried to dance and sing a song before the flames got to him, he failed with a load of screams and hilarious laughter from the crowd..
    On Boxing Day we went alongside to discharge the last of our cargo from England and stayed for two days. No one bothered to go ashore here except `Sandra`, the Captains Tiger, She was a lonely, aging, Wufter , and was always running around in `her` leopard skin underpants trying to get `herself` a fella. No one wanted to know and `she` was most frustrated, `She` came back from ashore saying how good these African men were, `she` had got plenty.
    We completed discharge and sailed light ship, a couple of days before the New Year bound for Auckland, New Zealand. It was a twenty one day run round the Southern tip of Madagascar down the Southern Ocean and then up to Auckland round the North Cape and Hauraki Gulf into the harbour to moor at the bottom of Queen Street, very handy for the centre of town.
    On the way across all six cargo holds and fridge hatches had to be cleaned and disinfected ready to load frozen lamb, fruit and dairy products.
    It was hard graft, with `Mad` McAskill driving us. We were on day work and we started at 6am and finished after midnight every day. I remember being knee deep in raw sewage in the bilges cleaning out the strum boxes so the pumps could take out the water. The African dockers used the bilges as their toilets so it was not a pleasant job.
    It had turned midnight on New Years Eve and I remember wishing myself a Happy New Year, covered in crap.
    We had a small cargo of `Dried Fish` and Ostrich Feathers for Auckland
    Auckland was a lovely city, but the pubs shut at 6pm, as they did throughout New Zealand. But Auckland had the world famous `Ma` Gleasons pub, a famous `Sly Grog`.
    It was a pub every seaman in Auckland went to. At six o`clock we paid five shillings for `Bed and Breakfast` and we could drink all night legally so it was packed every night. It has gone now, just a legend, I was in Auckland a couple of years ago and all there is, is a piece of spare land on the corner and a few memories and ghosts of sailors past.
    We were only there for three days and on the first night I met an attractive Maori in `Ma` Gleasons and she invited me to a `hooley` at someone`s house.
    When we arrived there it was full of Maoris and plenty of grog. After a while some of the young Maoris seemed to object to me being there with a Maori girl and they threw me out. The young lady was doing a lot of shouting and screaming and the situation was going to get violent so I was glad to go. I went back to `Ma`s` and re-joined the rest of the lads.
    On sailing day the crowd went ashore at lunch time for a few beers in `Ma` Gleasons. We were all in the upstairs bar enjoying ourselves when the Deck Boy ran in shouting that the ship was sailing. As we ran down the stairs one of the lads grabbed one of the `girls` and climbed into the taxi with us. We arrived on board to the abuse of `Mad` McAskill and started to let go.
    Once we were clear of the berth the 2nd Mate was walking past one of the Sailors cabins and heard screams of laughter from a woman coming from a port hole. When he investigated he found the girl from Gleasons in bed with one of the Sailors. When he told Captain Rhodes he went berserk. The girl got dressed and a tug came alongside and with a lot of laughing and joking she climbed down the Pilot ladder and onto the tug like a true professional.
    “Good bye, you Pommie Bastards” she shouted while waving to us as we continued our voyage to Lyttleton in the South Island.
    The Sailor who brought the young lady on board was logged a days pay.
    Lyttleton was another lovely small town in a bay surrounded by hills about ten miles from Christchurch. 50 years later it had never changed, except for a container berth.
    The same pubs are still there.
    At the same time the Queen was in Christchurch on the world tour on the `Gothic` Shaw Saville boat.
    We were only here for two days loading dairy produce. On sailing day, at lunch time all hands were in the `British` pub and were getting quite legless. At 1pm, `Mad` Angus sent me up there to tell the crowd to get back to the ship `muy pronto`. That is gaelic for quick,, as we were ready for sailing. When I got to the pub, all the crowd were full of ale so I told them that `Mad` Angus wanted them back for sailing. Someone stuck a glass in my hand and then another. At 2pm the Deck Boy turned up in a panic shouting that the ship was sailing. Someone stuck a glass in his hand and that shut him up.
    At 3pm we could hear the ship blowing and then `Mad` Angus turned up shouting “Liverpool Bastards, Liverpool Bastards” and drove the crowd down the hill with a big iron fist. When the Sailors got on board, most of them turned in and the rest could hardly stand up so it ended up with the Engineers and stewards letting go and getting the ropes in. Next day all hands were queuing up in front of the Captain being logged.
    A couple of days later we moored up under the bluff in Napier in Hawkes Bay, North Island. A beautiful friendly town, one of my favourite places in the world.
    We were to be here for over five weeks to load frozen lamb for Europe, Dunkirk, Rotterdam and London.
    First night ashore I met a lovely blue eyed, blonde girl, Margaret Rose Johansson and we went together for the next five weeks. Her Dad worked on our jetty as the water man. He was a giant of a man who had jumped off a Norwegian sailing ship many years before and had married a French lady in Napier.
    While we were in Napier we were over the wall every day painting the ship for homeward bound.
    The pubs in Napier closed at 6pm and all day Sunday, but there were plenty of sly grogs including the Palisades and the Criterion, where we all became well known in.
    I would meet Margaret about four nights a week then the other nights I would be in the Sly grog with the rest of the lads.
    Margaret and I would walk along the Marine Parade and then sit on the beach overlooking the Pacific. These were happy days, Sometimes on Sunday we would go to Cape Kidnappers, a beautiful place.
    One Sunday the local Kiwis challenged us to a game of cricket and I was chosen to play for the ship. It was a lovely warm sunny day and plenty of cases of ale were taken along to the cricket ground.
    We were batting first and as it was hot the cases of ale were opened and we had a few beers while waiting to bat, and some of the Napier lads had some as well.
    By the time I went in to bat I was well away. The bowler bowled and I swung the bat and staggered backwards, missed the ball and hit their wicket keeper in the face with my bat and knocked him out. He had a big cut across his forehead, he was taken to hospital and returned later with a few stitches in it. He was a good sport and had a laugh about it later. The match dissolved into a shambles as both sides got stuck into the ale, No one won and no one lost so every ones honour was intact and a good day was had by all.
    One morning the `Second Cook and Tabnabs` was still bevied from the night before and with a few cans of liveners in the morning was well away again staggering around the galley.
    The Chief Cook was doing the eggs and bacon and the Second had just made a very big kit of porridge, then he started chopping up the meat for lunch. He was banging away with a cleaver when he screamed, he had chopped off his left thumb. They had to get him to the hospital as soon as possible, with a big towel wrapped around his hand, They looked for his thumb but could find it.
    Meanwhile the Peggy took the kit of porridge down to the mess room that was shared with the firemen and Sailors.
    Suddenly there were terrible screams from one of the Firemen, he saw the thumb just as he was going to put the spoon into his mouth. His screams were worse than the Cook`s. The offending thumb must have shot up in the air and landed in the kit full of porridge
    All hands were hysterical laughing at the Fireman, the 2nd Cook returned from hospital all his hand bandaged and was excused work for a couple of weeks until the stump had healed.
    One Saturday Captain Rhodes got married to a New Zealand lady and had the reception in the Officers Saloon and all the midships crowd had a big party. We were not invited, I wonder why.
    Half way through the reception Captain Rhodes told his new Bride to go ashore to a hotel and he stayed onboard. A little strange.
    Captain Rhodes was a big hero in WW2. He was on a Blue Star boat homeward bound from South America when they were torpedoed and he had a full lifeboat. He made a good passage to land in 14 days and never lost a man.
    All too soon we completed loading the frozen lamb and we battened down. We were to go to Auckland to top off with bales of wool then homeward bound.
    I could have stayed there for ever, with Margaret. So I decided to jump when we got to Auckland, then go back to Napier. The police would be searching for me in Auckland and not Napier so it would be easier to get away with. Or so I thought.
    Napier was a very small town in those days and everyone knew each other.
    Big Johannssen, her dad, said he could get me a job at the meat works in Hastings on big money, sounded good to me.
    We sailed one evening and the whole town turned out to the pier to see us go. As we cleared the pier they all started to sing `Now is the hour` or `Aotearoa` We were choked listening to them, their voices fading away as we headed off up the Pacific coast, what a wonderful send off.
    A couple of days later we arrived at one of the piers in Auckland near to Queens Street, on Friday morning.
    I got a big sub and went to the Bus Station to check out the times of buses down to Napier and early on Saturday morning I was away with a small bag, down the Station and off to Napier again. No one would miss me until Monday when Mad MacAskill would be searching for me….
    What a hell of a journey that was, It was around 200 miles and across the plains to Taupo, a bite to eat, a changed of buses, and then to Napier, it took over eight hours.
    I got to Margaret`s home around six pm. The family Johansen made me welcome.
    They let me have a shower and change, the pubs had long closed so we just went for a walk around the promenade. Mr Johansen said he would take me to his friend, a manager at the meat works in Hastings, about three miles down the road, on Monday.
    On Sunday we had the day around the beach and visiting some of her friends and then we went into our favourite coffee bar, the Coconut Grove. We were having a drink with some friends when a Policeman walked in to order a coffee, He looked around and saw Margaret, said hello to her, asked how her Dad was and then looked at me. I recognised him as one of the Policemen who frequented the sly grog at the Criterion pub.
    “Are you off the New Zealand Star”? He asked, “didn’t she sail a couple of days ago?”
    `Oh bloody hell`, I thought, I was caught, only been here 24 hours. “Better come with me while we sort a few things out”.
    We walked down to the Station and into the Office. He telephoned the Agent, and inquired as to the whereabouts of the New Zealand Star, `Auckland eh. When is she sailing and where to? Tuesday to London, what is the Agents phone number in Auckland?, Right, thanks for your help.`
    He turns to me and says, “So your ship is in Auckland ready to sail to England, you are here with Margaret, I would guess that you have jumped ship”.
    “No I have just come back here for the weekend to see Margaret, I am going back to the ship before it sails” I said. “I think you had better stay here for the night so we can keep an eye on you while we make inquiries. Margaret can stay with you until 10pm then we will start in the morning and sort you out.” I went into a cell, Margaret was weeping, we just sat in silence holding hands. At 10 pm Margaret went home and another Policeman took over. “Better get your head down son, it will be an early start” At six am I was called and the man took me across the road to a café and bought me breakfast.
    “Now what we have decided is to put you on the bus to Taupo, another Policeman will be waiting for you and he will make sure you are on the Auckland bus. In Auckland your Agent will be waiting and take you back to the ship. OK? You are in a position of trust. Let us down and we will have you. Go back to England and apply to emigrate to here through the proper channels, and you will be much better off, we need young fellas like you here but do it right.” The Policemen in Napier were the best I have ever come across, very helpful and easy going. I thought about leaping off the bus at one of the small townships that we passed through, I didn’t have any money, I could not go back to Napier, the Police knew me. I was only 18 and the option the Policeman had given me was to go home and emigrate back, that way I would be welcome there instead of being a fugitive, he said if I refused then I would go to court and if I was Deported that would go against me if I tried to immigrate there. So I decided to go home, I would be there in five weeks so that is what I did.
    At 7am I was on the bus to Taupo and there was a Policeman who came on board asking for me. He bought me a meal in the café and then got me onto the Auckland bus. I arrived in Auckland late afternoon and was met by the Agent who took me down to the ship. It must have been the quickest skin out ever.
    Captain Rhodes gave me a load of abuse, I had been adrift for Saturday, Sunday and now Monday, He logged me three days pay. One Pound Ten Shillings, a lot of money then when I was on £15 a month. Mad MacAskill was in fine form calling me a Liverpool Bastard again.
    I never saw Margaret again, and I didn’t emigrate when I arrived home, we wrote to each other for a long time then it faded away. I wonder if she is still waiting for me.
    We sailed the next morning after battening down and dropping the derricks. As we were lifting the gangway Mad Angus thumped Paddy Swainey and knocked him down, Paddy stood up and when Mad Angus`s head was turned he hit him over the head with a gangway stanchion almost bending it. Mad Angus turned around and then beat the hell out of Paddy, leaving him lying on the deck covered in blood. No one dared to intervene.
    We sailed out of the harbour, past Rangitoto the extinct volcano and then set a course across the Pacific bound for Panama.
    We had an 18 day run across the Pacific to Panama. On the way we overhauled all the running gear, sending down the topping lifts and blocks, greasing then and sending them aloft again.
    One morning I was standing near the entrance to the focsle just forward of number one hatch and got into an argument with Mad MacAskill. Suddenly he smashed me with a big iron fist, I shot backwards hit the bulkhead and bounced off and landed against Mad Angus. His heels were against the steam pipe casing and he overbalanced and fell to the deck with me on top of him. Just at that moment the Mate was walking up the foredeck and saw me crash against Angus and land on top of him.
    He came running up to us and accused me of attacking a Petty Officer. He would not believe that I had been thumped by Angus and bounced off the bulkhead first.
    The Mate took me up on the Bridge and got Captain Rhodes who promptly logged me two days pay for attacking a Petty Officer. Mad Angus was laughing and muttering Liverpool Bastard when I came down.
    A couple of days later I got my revenge, I was at number two hatch by the fore part of the bridge I had climbed up the derrick crutch and sat on the derrick head, I had a heaving line and lashed up the ten ton SWL head block while I unshackled it to send it down to the deck ready for greasing and the opportunity was too good to miss. Mad Angus walked underneath me, I let go the lashing and the block fell six feet and landed right on top of his head.
    He sank to his knees holding his head and gave out a terrible roar. That blow would have killed a normal man, but Angus was not a normal man.
    I ran along the derrick to the ladder on the fore part of the bridge and up to the wing and over the dodger then up to the monkey island. Mad Angus staggered into the alleyway to the ladder that went up to the boat deck. I was terrified, I waited and waited for him to come for several minutes, so I went to look over the after end of the bridge and could see that he had collapsed on the ladder by the boat deck, he didn’t look too good. Hope the bastard is dead, I thought.
    I climbed down the forepart of the bridge again onto the foredeck and carried on greasing the blocks.
    There was no sign of Angus, then the Lampy knocked us off for tea, someone had found him unconscious on the boat deck ladder and called the Doctor. He was in the ships hospital with lacerations and severe concussion. He could not remember how he came by his injuries and it was assumed he had fallen down the ladder.
    No one had seen what had happened and so I felt a lot better then, we were even.
    We eventually arrived at Panama and had a pleasant trip through the Canal and two later we arrived in Curacao for bunkers. It was the middle of the night and so no one got ashore. After we sailed from there we sailed across the Atlantic to Dunkirk to complete a round the world voyage.
    On the passage across the Atlantic we started to paint the funnel, mast, Samson posts, derricks and the housing to make her look beautiful for out arrival in London.
    We spent a couple of days in Dunkirk and had two nights ashore on the ale. On the last night I was full of ale and turned in and zonked out. I remember waking up and seeing a beautiful French `lady` sat on my bunk with a little white poodle. She was saying, “Wake up honey I want to make love” or words to that effect. And I remember saying “Go away you are only a dream” then fell asleep again. I really thought it was a dream. I had forgotten about it until we were all sat in the mess room having breakfast next morning. I heard two of the lads talking about a French girl who had gone into their cabins and performed. I had lost out again.
    We battened down ready for sailing that afternoon and as we were letting go the French girl walked down the quay with her little white poodle and waved to us as we sailed. She was not a bad looking girl, she had ginger hair and was wearing an ocelot coat. Next day we tied up in Rotterdam,
    It was snowing and very cold, Mad Angus was stripped to the waist covered in snow as we topped the derricks, it didn’t seem to bother him. He really was mad.
    Two days later we sailed for London and paid off on 20th of March 1954, Happy days were here again.
    I never saw the New Zealand Star again, she was in the news a few years later when a Steward was murdered on board on the New Zealand coast. A detective from Scotland Yard was flown out there and stayed on board around the coast while he made his inquiries. Then one morning he too was found dead in his cabin.
    I heard a few years later that Mad Angus MacAskill the Bull, had been killed in Canada while trying to stop a big Locomotive with his fist. The Locomotive did not stop.
    He had a brother who sailed in the Port Line as Bosun and half way across the Pacific he decided to walk home to the Isla of Barra, a wild and lonely place, He didn’t arrive.
    After the voyage some unbelievable things began to happen...............
    AFTER THE VOYAGE,
    When I arrived home three months later I went to see Ken`s sister Molly in Birkenhead, a nice young lady, and she wanted to know what had happened, the Ship owner just tells the basic, "Your Ken is dead, drowned", as brief as that. I think she felt a little better knowing what happened and how we had struggled to save him. They had just suffered a couple of tragedies in the family as well around the same time. Then some strange happenings which are hard to believe but are true.
    I was home for a few days when I was awakened one night by my bedroom door opening and shutting, Ken was stood at my bedside, he offered me a ciggy, it was silent , he never spoke, then my mother shouted to me, "What are you doing out of bed," The door opened and shut again, He was gone. I told her what I had seen, She had heard the door. The next night I threw my little brother out of his bedroom and I went into his, and he into mine. The next night I had the same performance and mother heard the door opening and shutting again. he was there at the bed side and offered me a ciggy, mother shouted and then he was gone. It felt as though he was trying to say, Thanks.
    Three years later October 1956, I was in East London again in the Eastern Cape, on the Dunedin Star, only had a couple of hours before we sailed again, I went to a cemetery to find his grave, I searched all over then I met a man who was just sitting on a bench, he said , “Who are you looking for “, I told him, “Ken Hignett”, he said " You are in the wrong cemetery, he is on the other side of town in the East Cemetery". Then he said , "My son saved a lad that day", I said , "Is he David Brinton,?" he said "Yes".. so I said , "I am the lad he saved". I was stunned, and I walked away and left him, I failed to ask for his address..
    I had to get back to the ship, I was amazed that I had gone 7000 miles to the wrong cemetery and the only person I saw was the father of the lad who saved my life three years earlier. For a few years I tried to find David Brinton to thank him for saving my life. I wrote to the South African newspapers, including East London`s Daily Dispatch. but to no avail. A lady in East London wrote to me and said the family had gone to live in the Orange Free State but no address.
    I phoned the Salvation Army in Johannesburg, they have a fantastic tracing people reputation, but they referred me to London. I tried them and was told they only trace family members. I told them the story and asked if they could make an exception, I also told them I was a member of the Salvation Army when I was a lad, a "Little Sunbeam". no less. Taken there by my Grandmother. They said they would see what they could do. The only information I had was, he was 15 years old in 1953 and his name, David Brinton. Africa is a big place to trace people with that amount of information .
    In 2001, I decided to go to East London to try to find him myself. it was a quest I knew I had to do before it was too late.
    Two days before we were sailing to Cape Town on the QE2, in October, 2001, the telephone rang, it was the Salvation Army in London, they had found him. "Where in East London?" I asked, No he is in Stranraer, Scotland, they gave me his phone number and I phoned him. It was fantastic to be able to thank him for saving my life. He had lived there for 17 years after leaving South Africa, he had gone to Rhodesia then to Scotland.
    We sailed to Cape Town on QE2 stayed one night and then we flew to East London to find Ken`s grave.
    We checked into a hotel and a South African family who had read my emails on the internet met us and took us to the cemetry. We found the grave, the cemetery was silent, not a sound. As we approached the grave, the screams that started to come out of the grave were terrible, I was shocked, Anne `s face turned white and was visibly shocked. My South African friends turned white and quickly walked away. The noise of a demented soul, we walked back and it stopped, silent. As we walked forward again the noise started again. There were no words, just an out of this world noise, which had a meaning like,….. “Why have I been here so long, why has no one been to see me and so on.” I could walk into and out of this sound like walking in and out of a large bubble over the grave, his spirit was definitely there and in anguish as if he was tied there with no escape.
    I laid a Merchant Navy wreath that I had brought from England, on his grave. I got my camera but it would not work, nothing. So I got my video camera and that would not work, I very upset and disturbed by all these happenings, It should have been a happy day, that I had found him and laid a wreath on the grave.
    We got into my friends car and went back to the hotel, the camera worked, the video camera worked, nothing wrong with them. The conversation was very quiet, everyone was stunned at what they had heard at the grave side.
    Two days later my friends were taking us to the Airport to fly to Port Elizabeth, to join a coach to do the `Garden Route tour`, I was not happy and very disturbed, it should not be like this. I could not go home not knowing what was going on there. So I told my friends to go back to the cemetery. They took us there but refused to go into the cemetery
    When we got back to the grave, all was silent and peaceful. I took the photos, the camera worked and also the video camera worked. Then a strange thing happened, the ink on the card on the Merchant Navy Wreath began to run as if it was wet, even tho` it had been laminated and it was a warm sunny day, It just happened as I stood and watched and then it became unreadable, a very strange experience. He had gone, gone to Fiddlers Green, where all good Sailors go.
    I felt good again as if a load had been taken off my shoulders. Ken had been released from the grave, the trip had been worth while.
    We arrived back in Cape Town five days later and the following week joined the CARONIA and sailed back to England.
    When we arrived home I had a phone call from Esther Rantzen, a TV Presenter from the BBC in London. She had heard of the story from the Salvation Army and wanted me to go to the London BBC TV Studios and tell the story on TV on the `Esther Show`. So on 14 February 2002, Anne and I went to London, expenses paid, a Limo waiting at Euston Station for us and then to the studios.
    I was taken to the make up room and sat with a few TV Celebs and had a make over, lip stick, and make up, a white cream and then a brown powder and rubbed in over my face and my eyebrows darkened. I was then interviewed by Esther on stage with a studio audience, and told them all about the tragedy and my search for David Brinton, Esther said “Have you ever met him?”, I said “No”, so she said , “Well here he is”, and David walked onto the stage. It was another fantastic moment to be able to shake his hand and thank him for saving my life, after more than 48 years. We went into the green room after the show and partook of the free bar, Later David had to fly back to Scotland for his business and I stayed. That evening the BBC Staff poured me into a Limo and took us to our hotel in Kensington. I went into the bar there and ordered a couple of drinks for us both. A lot of men were smiling and winking at me, I thought what nice friendly people in London. Later I went to our room and shock horror, I still had my lip stick and make up on. They must have thought I was a wufter. I keep in touch with David and always phone him or go to Stranraer on December 13.
    We talked later and he told me his father had died in a car crash in October 1956 around the time I had spoken to him in the cemetery in East London. So was he a ghost?
    I WROTE A POEM ABOUT IT………….
    A Beach Called Bonza Bay.
    In 1953 on the New Zealand Star
    In East London we did stay
    but Ken Hignett and I
    didn`t know he would die
    on some beach called Bonza Bay.

    The story began
    when the Mission Man
    said he would take us away for the day
    so all of us went off on his bus
    to a beach called Bonza Bay

    When Ken jumped in
    he just couldn`t swim
    and the tide soon carried him away.
    Though I struggled and tried
    Ken drowned and then died
    near a beach called Bonza Bay

    Then I was seen on a wave
    by a lad named Dave
    who swam out to get me away
    and through struggle and strife
    that lad saved my life
    on a beach called Bonza Bay

    When Ken was washed ashore
    his life was no more
    Five days since he got swept away
    and he lay all alone
    on the sand and the stone
    on a beach called Bonza Bay

    So they buried Ken in a Sailors grave
    at a place where the palm trees sway,
    on a foreign strand
    in a far off land
    near a beach called Bonza Bay

    It`s been 58 years
    since the grief and the tears
    and in the time that I was away
    I found Ken`s Grave
    and the man named Dave
    near a beach called Bonza Bay
    THE END…..
    Brian


    below................ David Brinton who saved my life, in the BBC Studio and the rescue.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails
    13 december 1953 nz star, ken hignett drowns-vlcsnap-2019-07-31-13h02m13s368-jpg 13 december 1953 nz star, ken hignett drowns-vlcsnap-2019-07-31-13h01m21s615-jpg Attached Images Attached Images
    13 december 1953 nz star, ken hignett drowns-ken-20drowns-20in-20bonza-20bay-jpg
    Last edited by Captain Kong; 12th December 2021 at 08:51 PM.
    Quick reply to this messageReply Reply With QuoteReply With Quote Multi-Quote This Message Bookmark Post
    Last edited by Captain Kong; 13th December 2022 at 08:57 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Blue Mountains NSW
    Posts
    24,235
    Thanks (Given)
    45047
    Thanks (Received)
    13130
    Likes (Given)
    52440
    Likes (Received)
    39405

    Default re: New Zealand star December 13

    As always Capt
    You never forget Ken, a great but sad Story that can be read over and over, so thank you once again this Year for this!

    Regards
    Stay Safe

    Cheers
    Senior Site Moderator-Member and Friend of this Website

    R697530

  3. Thanks cappy, Captain Kong thanked for this post
  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Cooma NSW
    Posts
    9,022
    Thanks (Given)
    10260
    Thanks (Received)
    5251
    Likes (Given)
    44364
    Likes (Received)
    27015

    Default re: New Zealand star December 13

    Hi Brian.
    I will raise a glass to Ken on Xmas day.
    Des
    R510868
    Lest We Forget

  5. Thanks Doc Vernon, Captain Kong thanked for this post
  6. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Bolton UK
    Posts
    15,004
    Thanks (Given)
    20832
    Thanks (Received)
    11092
    Likes (Given)
    30414
    Likes (Received)
    37122

    Default Re: New Zealand star December 13

    THE VOYAGE ON THE NEW ZEALAND STAR
    THIS WEEK IS THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY 0F KEN`S DEATH

    I joined the New Zealand Star on 13 November 1953, in the Gladstone Dock, Liverpool. She was one of Blue Star`s big fridge ships built in 1935 in Belfast, Six hatches, 20 derricks and a jumbo, she also carried 12 passengers.
    The Bosun was a well known maniac, `Mad` Angus McAskill the Bull, from the Isle of Barra in the Hebrides, a wild and lonely place, a giant of a man, covered in hair all over his body like a Yeti. He had six brothers and sisters just like him. He gave his orders in the Gaelic followed by a blow from a big iron fist, what a bastard he was, The only time he spoke English was when he was muttering "Liverpool Bastards, Liverpool Bastards" continuously while we were working.
    After leaving Liverpool we called In at London to top up the cargo for the voyage to South Africa. All hands got together and told the Captain that we were not going to sail with `Mad` McAskill and requested that he got rid of him. `No problem`, said Captain Edgar Rhodes, and Angus walked down the gangway and was replaced by a lovely little Bosun who was in his sixties. Good we all thought, it is going to be a pleasant voyage.
    Two days later we were sailing for the Cape, and as we were sailing through the lock gates into the River the little Bosun jumped over the rails onto the lock and `Mad` Angus who was hiding behind the Lock Keepers hut jumped on board shouting, "Liverpool Bastards". We could see Captain Rhodes laughing on the wing of the bridge and we knew we were in for a hard voyage.
    I was an Ordinary Seaman on £15 a month wages and was on day work, which started at 6am and finished whenever Angus decided, sometimes at midnight. There was plenty of overtime but it didn’t seem to make much difference at one shilling and sixpence an hour.
    On the way to the Cape we called at Las Palmas for bunkers and we were there for a few hours and had time to go ashore for a few bevies,
    After we sailed, Kenny Hignett who was an EDH on the 8 to 12 watch decided he was too drunk to go on the wheel and asked me to do the wheel for him, and I was too drunk to say no. So Ken put a big duffle coat on me and pulled the hood over my head saying the Captain wouldn’t recognise me like that. After turning the ship around in circles, the Captain, who was still on the bridge with the Third Mate, had me thrown off the wheel and sent for another man to do the wheel. Next morning Captain Rhodes had Ken and me on the bridge and logged one days pay.
    On the way down to Cape Town we overhauled all the running gear, sending down all the topping lifts and blocks, these were greased and sent aloft again,
    Cargo runners greased and damaged ones replaced, wire and rope strops spliced all ready for discharging around the Cape Coast.
    We arrived in Cape Town on Saturday, 5th of December 1953.
    On the jetty in Duncan Dock as we were making fast I could see my Uncle Ted, the same man who was in the 1908 Olympic Games. He was on holiday there staying with my Uncle, Aunt and cousin Ernie, who all lived in Seapoint on the coast. After we had finished working he took me back to Uncle Jimmy`s house, I hadn’t seen them since 1946 so they were all making a fuss of me. So that Saturday night all hands were in Del Monacos drinking and dancing with the girls, I had to sit in and talk to my relations. Boring.!
    On Sunday afternoon all hands went to the open air swimming pool right on the beach at Seapoint. It was hot and sunny and we were surrounded by lots of pretty girls. During the afternoon I spent some time with Kenny Hignett trying to teach him how to swim, He had no idea how to swim and after a while he said “I will learn how to swim if it’s the last thing I do”. Little did we know how prophetic those words were seven days later.
    On Monday evening I was taken to Cousin Ernie`s `Westminster Restaurant` in the City centre and had a superb dinner, the first decent food I had had since joining the ship. These Blue Star boats were terrible bad feeders, every one I ever sailed on was a hungry ship.
    On Tuesday morning we sailed from Cape Town after battening down and dropping derricks and sailed round to Port Elizabeth arriving there next morning.
    Before sailing we embarked some passengers, some going up the coast to Durban and others going to New Zealand, One was a very attractive young lady, Rosemary Garfield Todd, her father was Prime Minister, Garfield Todd, of Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. The PM was originally a New Zealander and she was going to New Zealand to visit family.
    After stripping the hatches and topping the derricks ready for discharging in Port Elizabeth, `Mad` McAskill told me to go ashore and get him a bottle of whisky, I dodged his fist and ran down the gangway to the nearest liquor store. He was still on the gangway when I returned and started to gulp it down as soon as I had given it to him, I was hanging around waiting for the money when he started to shout “Liverpool Bastard” so I set off running down the after deck followed by the empty bottle which bounced off my head and smashed in the scupper. The guy was a lunatic, I will get even with him one day, I said to myself. When he was on the whisky he was more mad than he normally was, He used to march up and down the boat deck all night playing his bagpipes, no one got any sleep but no one dare tell him to stop.
    We stayed in Port Elizabeth for two nights. A quiet place just a couple of local pubs. Rosemary came ashore with our deck crowd and had a few beers with us, she was a good sport.
    We sailed round to East London and arrived there on the Saturday morning, we sailed up the Buffalo River and moored starboard side to at the bottom of the bluff to discharge.
    After we had finished topping derricks ready for discharging, the Padre, Mr. McCulloch, from the Seamens Mission came on board and told us there was a dance at the Mission that night and on Sunday 13th of December there would be a coach trip up the coast to Bonza Bay and a picnic on the beach with the girls from the Mission. It sounded good so we all booked for it.
    It was Saturday afternoon so I showered and changed and went ashore to have a look around East London. It was a nice quiet little town with one main street, Oxford Street which ran the full length of town. I called in a few bars and had a few beers up and down Oxford Street and after a while I decided to go to the Mission to meet up with the rest of the crowd at the dance. I got on a bus as I was a long way off by this time. The bus had a door at the front to get on and a door at the back to get off. When I got on the bus it was full so I had to stand and as more and more people got on I was moved further and further towards the back door which was open due to the hot weather.
    As we neared the Mission on Buffalo Street, the bus took a sharp right hand bend and I shot through the back door and bounced along the road and ended up in the gutter covered in dust.
    I lay there for a few minutes trying to figure out where I was, then I climbed to my feet and dusted myself down, there was nothing broken and no blood so I staggered into the Mission to clean myself up.
    None of the Sailors were in there except the Deck Boy, I asked him where they were and he told me they were in the pub just around the corner of Buffalo Street.
    I met Ronnie Vickers and Ken Hignett with some of the other lads in there. After a few more drinks the three of us got up to sing, we sang `I Believe` and `Answer Me`, all new songs that year by Frankie Lane. The girls in the pub were screaming and we felt like Pop Stars, by the end of the evening Ken and I had got friendly with two girls and invited them back on board the ship for a drink.
    They said they had never been on a ship before, but as they walked along the deck one was saying to the other, “Mind that ring bolt and the purchase on that guy needs to be tightened, watch that runner.”
    We took them into my cabin on the poop. When we got in there all hands started to come in and cases of beer appeared and a party began, all we wanted was a quiet drink with the girls. After a while Paddy Penson started to mess around with the girl I was with and she slapped his face, he belted her across her face so I thumped him and a big fight started in the cabin with everyone thumping each other and the girls were screaming, It was a shambles and the cabin was wrecked.
    Eventually Ken and I got the girls out and took them ashore, we got a taxi and took them home. They were OK and we arranged to meet them the following day, Sunday afternoon.
    SUNDAY DECEMBER 13, 1953.
    The coach arrived at the gangway to pick us all up and take us to Bonza Bay, about 15 miles up the coast.
    Ken and I were supposed to meet the two girls in the afternoon at 2pm but we decided to go to Bonza Bay instead and then meet them in the evening, as we knew where they lived. That was a decision that was to have fatal consequences.
    When we got on the coach there were about a dozen Mission girls with large picnic hampers, so it looked as though we were going to have a good day out.
    When we arrived at Bonza Bay we went into a hut and changed into our swimming togs and when we came out the girls were setting out the food for the picnic
    On the way down the beach to the sea the girls shouted dont be long as the food would be ready in a few minutes and also beware of the currents, there is a strong under tow there. As Ronnie Vickers, Ken Hignett and I walked towards the sea I remember saying, "There is three of us going out and only two coming back" I dont know why I said it.
    We were enjoying ourselves jumping around in the surf, it felt good to be away from the ship, when Ken said he had a problem and wanted to get out. He asked me to help him up to the beach, I thought he was a bit nervous as he couldn’t swim and didn’t want to get out of his depth, the water was waist deep at the time.
    So I held his right arm and Ronnie held his left and we walked towards the beach when I noticed we were walking backwards with the undertow and the steeply shelving sand and getting deeper all the time. Next a huge wave hit us and knocked us under and when we surfaced we could not feel the bottom with our feet, then another wave hit us and swirled us under again. When we surfaced I realised we were in trouble. Ronnie and I were swimming hard holding onto Ken`s arms urging him to swim as I had been trying to teach him last Sunday in Cape Town. He wasn’t doing too badly but we started to get hammered by a succession of bigger and bigger waves and we were being carried quite fast further out to sea. We were really in trouble now. I shouted to Ronnie to swim ashore and get some help which he did, it was a long hard swim for him to to get back to the beach.
    I was holding onto Ken swimming as hard as I could but the waves were getting bigger and more frequent, knocking us under and swirling us over and over, like being inside a washing machine, it was a long hard struggle. I could feel cramp coming on in my arms and legs and I thought we were done for.
    Then clouds covered up a clear blue sky, the wind increased in strength, the waves were getting bigger and it started to rain.
    After what seemed to be an eternity I saw Dennis `Mo` Riley, one of our sailors, swimming towards us. Ronnie must have made it back to the beach and raised the alarm. `Mo` grabbed hold of Ken and then we were hit by another giant of a wave and tumbled us around and when I surfaced I could see `Mo` and Ken about 15 yards away. I tried to swim towards them but I was getting weak and the cramps in my arms and legs were getting worse and I could not use them, I had swallowed a lot of water and was convinced I was going to die, I was scared. I heard Ken`s voice, shouting "Help, help, help," Three times. Then we all disappeared under a wave of raging foam.
    After several minutes I rose up on a crest of a wave and in the distance I could see ¬Mo` standing waist deep on a sand bank a few hundred yards off shore, hanging on to Ken who was lying down in the water, I saw a big wave hit them and they disappeared. I tried to swim towards them but seemed to be going further away with the current.
    Later `Mo` told me that Ken was unconscious then and when he found him again he thought he was dead. He was holding on to him when they were hit by another big wave and then he lost him and couldn’t find him again.
    Meanwhile I was struggling to stay afloat, my arms and legs were dead and my vision was going and I was under water more and more as I was pounded by the waves, I knew then what it was like to die, I was in a no survive situation.
    Then suddenly, as if by a miracle, I was grabbed by a lad in a harness and life buoy and we were being towed towards the beach. The lad`s name was David Brinton, a 15 year old South African school boy. I was carried up the beach where I collapsed and someone gave me artificial respiration. As I awoke I heard someone say that Ken had drowned. It was a terrible shock. The three of us had tried so hard to save him but the sea had beaten us. I felt really bad as if I had failed him. I had done my best but it wasn’t enough and for a long time I felt a lot of guilt and it was a long time before I could come to terms with his death.
    The Padre, Mr McCulloch, and one of the young ladies from the Mission, put me into his Land Rover and took me to Hospital where I was put to bed and given tablets which knocked me out for a few hours, then the Padre took me back to the New Zealand Star.
    Some of the lads met me on the after deck and as I walked aft I noticed the Red Ensign flying at half mast, that was really sad.
    I went to bed, taking some more tablets and told to stay there for about two days.
    At 5.30 am next morning, Monday, `Mad` McAskill crashed into the cabin,. "Get up you Liverpool Bastards, turn to"……………….
    I don’t remember getting up but I was on an electric chipping hammer scaling rust off the bulkheads amidships. I was in a total daze.
    Rosemary Garfield Todd saw me on the chipping hammer and could see I was not at all well so she complained to Captain Rhodes. She stopped me from chipping and took me down aft to my cabin and put me to bed. `Mad` McAskill was not amused, I could hear him shouting “Liverpool Bastard”.
    At 2pm I was called from my bunk again , the Police were on board and they wanted statements for the Inquest. `Mo` Riley, Ronnie Vickers and I went amidships to the ships office and had to tell the Policeman everything that had happened regarding Ken`s death, which was quite a harrowing experience. After making our statements, the three of us went ashore and had a few beers in a pub on Oxford Street. On the way we bought a newspaper, The Daily Dispatch and the story they printed was completely different to what had really happened. So after a few beers we went down to the Newspaper Office and saw the Editor and put the story right.
    That evening there was a Service for Ken at the Seamens Mission, which was very sad.
    Tuesday 15 December, we completed discharging and battened down, dropping the derricks and cast off and sailed round to Durban arriving on Thursday morning.
    On Friday, December 18, we heard that Ken`s body had been washed up on the beach and that the Seamens Mission was going to do the funeral and have him buried in the East Cemetery in East London.
    Ken was 20 years old and lived at Mill Cottage, 1 Mill Lane, Birkenhead.
    I dont recollect much of Durban, I was in a daze most of the time, I remember having a drink in the Playhouse with Rosemary over the weekend and thanking her for looking after me. On Monday we had completed discharging and we battened down and secured the derricks and then let go. We sailed out of the harbour past the Bluff and the coaling berths then past the Whaling Station just as two whale catchers were coming in towing whales.
    The next day we arrived in Lourenco Marques, now known as Maputo, in Mozambique, We were only there for one day for a quick discharge before sailing to Beira another days sail up the coast of Mozambique where we anchored over Christmas.
    The Cook put on a decent Christmas Dinner and a cake and we all got a case of ale each and all went on the poop deck and celebrated.
    Charlie Dry, a Liverpool fireman, did the dance of the flaming Assholes. He shoved a length of ten feet of toilet paper up his bum set fire to it and tried to dance and sing a song before the flames got to him, he failed with a load of screams and hilarious laughter from the crowd..
    On Boxing Day we went alongside to discharge the last of our cargo from England and stayed for two days. No one bothered to go ashore here except `Sandra`, the Captains Tiger, She was a lonely, aging, Wufter , and was always running around in `her` leopard skin underpants trying to get `herself` a fella. No one wanted to know and `she` was most frustrated, `She` came back from ashore saying how good these African men were, `she` had got plenty.
    We completed discharge and sailed light ship, a couple of days before the New Year bound for Auckland, New Zealand. It was a twenty one day run round the Southern tip of Madagascar down the Southern Ocean and then up to Auckland round the North Cape and Hauraki Gulf into the harbour to moor at the bottom of Queen Street, very handy for the centre of town.
    On the way across all six cargo holds and fridge hatches had to be cleaned and disinfected ready to load frozen lamb, fruit and dairy products.
    It was hard graft, with `Mad` McAskill driving us. We were on day work and we started at 6am and finished after midnight every day. I remember being knee deep in raw sewage in the bilges cleaning out the strum boxes so the pumps could take out the water. The African dockers used the bilges as their toilets so it was not a pleasant job.
    It had turned midnight on New Years Eve and I remember wishing myself a Happy New Year, covered in crap.
    We had a small cargo of `Dried Fish` and Ostrich Feathers for Auckland
    Auckland was a lovely city, but the pubs shut at 6pm, as they did throughout New Zealand. But Auckland had the world famous `Ma` Gleasons pub, a famous `Sly Grog`.
    It was a pub every seaman in Auckland went to. At six o`clock we paid five shillings for `Bed and Breakfast` and we could drink all night legally so it was packed every night. It has gone now, just a legend, I was in Auckland a couple of years ago and all there is, is a piece of spare land on the corner and a few memories and ghosts of sailors past.
    We were only there for three days and on the first night I met an attractive Maori in `Ma` Gleasons and she invited me to a `hooley` at someone`s house.
    When we arrived there it was full of Maoris and plenty of grog. After a while some of the young Maoris seemed to object to me being there with a Maori girl and they threw me out. The young lady was doing a lot of shouting and screaming and the situation was going to get violent so I was glad to go. I went back to `Ma`s` and re-joined the rest of the lads.
    On sailing day the crowd went ashore at lunch time for a few beers in `Ma` Gleasons. We were all in the upstairs bar enjoying ourselves when the Deck Boy ran in shouting that the ship was sailing. As we ran down the stairs one of the lads grabbed one of the `girls` and climbed into the taxi with us. We arrived on board to the abuse of `Mad` McAskill and started to let go.
    Once we were clear of the berth the 2nd Mate was walking past one of the Sailors cabins and heard screams of laughter from a woman coming from a port hole. When he investigated he found the girl from Gleasons in bed with one of the Sailors. When he told Captain Rhodes he went berserk. The girl got dressed and a tug came alongside and with a lot of laughing and joking she climbed down the Pilot ladder and onto the tug like a true professional.
    “Good bye, you Pommie Bastards” she shouted while waving to us as we continued our voyage to Lyttleton in the South Island.
    The Sailor who brought the young lady on board was logged a days pay.
    Lyttleton was another lovely small town in a bay surrounded by hills about ten miles from Christchurch. 50 years later it had never changed, except for a container berth.
    The same pubs are still there.
    At the same time the Queen was in Christchurch on the world tour on the `Gothic` Shaw Saville boat.
    We were only here for two days loading dairy produce. On sailing day, at lunch time all hands were in the `British` pub and were getting quite legless. At 1pm, `Mad` Angus sent me up there to tell the crowd to get back to the ship `muy pronto`. That is gaelic for quick,, as we were ready for sailing. When I got to the pub, all the crowd were full of ale so I told them that `Mad` Angus wanted them back for sailing. Someone stuck a glass in my hand and then another. At 2pm the Deck Boy turned up in a panic shouting that the ship was sailing. Someone stuck a glass in his hand and that shut him up.
    At 3pm we could hear the ship blowing and then `Mad` Angus turned up shouting “Liverpool Bastards, Liverpool Bastards” and drove the crowd down the hill with a big iron fist. When the Sailors got on board, most of them turned in and the rest could hardly stand up so it ended up with the Engineers and stewards letting go and getting the ropes in. Next day all hands were queuing up in front of the Captain being logged.
    A couple of days later we moored up under the bluff in Napier in Hawkes Bay, North Island. A beautiful friendly town, one of my favourite places in the world.
    We were to be here for over five weeks to load frozen lamb for Europe, Dunkirk, Rotterdam and London.
    First night ashore I met a lovely blue eyed, blonde girl, Margaret Rose Johansson and we went together for the next five weeks. Her Dad worked on our jetty as the water man. He was a giant of a man who had jumped off a Norwegian sailing ship many years before and had married a French lady in Napier.
    While we were in Napier we were over the wall every day painting the ship for homeward bound.
    The pubs in Napier closed at 6pm and all day Sunday, but there were plenty of sly grogs including the Palisades and the Criterion, where we all became well known in.
    I would meet Margaret about four nights a week then the other nights I would be in the Sly grog with the rest of the lads.
    Margaret and I would walk along the Marine Parade and then sit on the beach overlooking the Pacific. These were happy days, Sometimes on Sunday we would go to Cape Kidnappers, a beautiful place.
    One Sunday the local Kiwis challenged us to a game of cricket and I was chosen to play for the ship. It was a lovely warm sunny day and plenty of cases of ale were taken along to the cricket ground.
    We were batting first and as it was hot the cases of ale were opened and we had a few beers while waiting to bat, and some of the Napier lads had some as well.
    By the time I went in to bat I was well away. The bowler bowled and I swung the bat and staggered backwards, missed the ball and hit their wicket keeper in the face with my bat and knocked him out. He had a big cut across his forehead, he was taken to hospital and returned later with a few stitches in it. He was a good sport and had a laugh about it later. The match dissolved into a shambles as both sides got stuck into the ale, No one won and no one lost so every ones honour was intact and a good day was had by all.
    One morning the `Second Cook and Tabnabs` was still bevied from the night before and with a few cans of liveners in the morning was well away again staggering around the galley.
    The Chief Cook was doing the eggs and bacon and the Second had just made a very big kit of porridge, then he started chopping up the meat for lunch. He was banging away with a cleaver when he screamed, he had chopped off his left thumb. They had to get him to the hospital as soon as possible, with a big towel wrapped around his hand, They looked for his thumb but could find it.
    Meanwhile the Peggy took the kit of porridge down to the mess room that was shared with the firemen and Sailors.
    Suddenly there were terrible screams from one of the Firemen, he saw the thumb just as he was going to put the spoon into his mouth. His screams were worse than the Cook`s. The offending thumb must have shot up in the air and landed in the kit full of porridge
    All hands were hysterical laughing at the Fireman, the 2nd Cook returned from hospital all his hand bandaged and was excused work for a couple of weeks until the stump had healed.
    One Saturday Captain Rhodes got married to a New Zealand lady and had the reception in the Officers Saloon and all the midships crowd had a big party. We were not invited, I wonder why.
    Half way through the reception Captain Rhodes told his new Bride to go ashore to a hotel and he stayed onboard. A little strange.
    Captain Rhodes was a big hero in WW2. He was on a Blue Star boat homeward bound from South America when they were torpedoed and he had a full lifeboat. He made a good passage to land in 14 days and never lost a man.
    All too soon we completed loading the frozen lamb and we battened down. We were to go to Auckland to top off with bales of wool then homeward bound.
    I could have stayed there for ever, with Margaret. So I decided to jump when we got to Auckland, then go back to Napier. The police would be searching for me in Auckland and not Napier so it would be easier to get away with. Or so I thought.
    Napier was a very small town in those days and everyone knew each other.
    Big Johannssen, her dad, said he could get me a job at the meat works in Hastings on big money, sounded good to me.
    We sailed one evening and the whole town turned out to the pier to see us go. As we cleared the pier they all started to sing `Now is the hour` or `Aotearoa` We were choked listening to them, their voices fading away as we headed off up the Pacific coast, what a wonderful send off.
    A couple of days later we arrived at one of the piers in Auckland near to Queens Street, on Friday morning.
    I got a big sub and went to the Bus Station to check out the times of buses down to Napier and early on Saturday morning I was away with a small bag, down the Station and off to Napier again. No one would miss me until Monday when Mad MacAskill would be searching for me….
    What a hell of a journey that was, It was around 200 miles and across the plains to Taupo, a bite to eat, a changed of buses, and then to Napier, it took over eight hours.
    I got to Margaret`s home around six pm. The family Johansen made me welcome.
    They let me have a shower and change, the pubs had long closed so we just went for a walk around the promenade. Mr Johansen said he would take me to his friend, a manager at the meat works in Hastings, about three miles down the road, on Monday.
    On Sunday we had the day around the beach and visiting some of her friends and then we went into our favourite coffee bar, the Coconut Grove. We were having a drink with some friends when a Policeman walked in to order a coffee, He looked around and saw Margaret, said hello to her, asked how her Dad was and then looked at me. I recognised him as one of the Policemen who frequented the sly grog at the Criterion pub.
    “Are you off the New Zealand Star”? He asked, “didn’t she sail a couple of days ago?”
    `Oh bloody hell`, I thought, I was caught, only been here 24 hours. “Better come with me while we sort a few things out”.
    We walked down to the Station and into the Office. He telephoned the Agent, and inquired as to the whereabouts of the New Zealand Star, `Auckland eh. When is she sailing and where to? Tuesday to London, what is the Agents phone number in Auckland?, Right, thanks for your help.`
    He turns to me and says, “So your ship is in Auckland ready to sail to England, you are here with Margaret, I would guess that you have jumped ship”.
    “No I have just come back here for the weekend to see Margaret, I am going back to the ship before it sails” I said. “I think you had better stay here for the night so we can keep an eye on you while we make inquiries. Margaret can stay with you until 10pm then we will start in the morning and sort you out.” I went into a cell, Margaret was weeping, we just sat in silence holding hands. At 10 pm Margaret went home and another Policeman took over. “Better get your head down son, it will be an early start” At six am I was called and the man took me across the road to a café and bought me breakfast.
    “Now what we have decided is to put you on the bus to Taupo, another Policeman will be waiting for you and he will make sure you are on the Auckland bus. In Auckland your Agent will be waiting and take you back to the ship. OK? You are in a position of trust. Let us down and we will have you. Go back to England and apply to emigrate to here through the proper channels, and you will be much better off, we need young fellas like you here but do it right.” The Policemen in Napier were the best I have ever come across, very helpful and easy going. I thought about leaping off the bus at one of the small townships that we passed through, I didn’t have any money, I could not go back to Napier, the Police knew me. I was only 18 and the option the Policeman had given me was to go home and emigrate back, that way I would be welcome there instead of being a fugitive, he said if I refused then I would go to court and if I was Deported that would go against me if I tried to immigrate there. So I decided to go home, I would be there in five weeks so that is what I did.
    At 7am I was on the bus to Taupo and there was a Policeman who came on board asking for me. He bought me a meal in the café and then got me onto the Auckland bus. I arrived in Auckland late afternoon and was met by the Agent who took me down to the ship. It must have been the quickest skin out ever.
    Captain Rhodes gave me a load of abuse, I had been adrift for Saturday, Sunday and now Monday, He logged me three days pay. One Pound Ten Shillings, a lot of money then when I was on £15 a month. Mad MacAskill was in fine form calling me a Liverpool Bastard again.
    I never saw Margaret again, and I didn’t emigrate when I arrived home, we wrote to each other for a long time then it faded away. I wonder if she is still waiting for me.
    We sailed the next morning after battening down and dropping the derricks. As we were lifting the gangway Mad Angus thumped Paddy Swainey and knocked him down, Paddy stood up and when Mad Angus`s head was turned he hit him over the head with a gangway stanchion almost bending it. Mad Angus turned around and then beat the hell out of Paddy, leaving him lying on the deck covered in blood. No one dared to intervene.
    We sailed out of the harbour, past Rangitoto the extinct volcano and then set a course across the Pacific bound for Panama.
    We had an 18 day run across the Pacific to Panama. On the way we overhauled all the running gear, sending down the topping lifts and blocks, greasing then and sending them aloft again.
    One morning I was standing near the entrance to the focsle just forward of number one hatch and got into an argument with Mad MacAskill. Suddenly he smashed me with a big iron fist, I shot backwards hit the bulkhead and bounced off and landed against Mad Angus. His heels were against the steam pipe casing and he overbalanced and fell to the deck with me on top of him. Just at that moment the Mate was walking up the foredeck and saw me crash against Angus and land on top of him.
    He came running up to us and accused me of attacking a Petty Officer. He would not believe that I had been thumped by Angus and bounced off the bulkhead first.
    The Mate took me up on the Bridge and got Captain Rhodes who promptly logged me two days pay for attacking a Petty Officer. Mad Angus was laughing and muttering Liverpool Bastard when I came down.
    A couple of days later I got my revenge, I was at number two hatch by the fore part of the bridge I had climbed up the derrick crutch and sat on the derrick head, I had a heaving line and lashed up the ten ton SWL head block while I unshackled it to send it down to the deck ready for greasing and the opportunity was too good to miss. Mad Angus walked underneath me, I let go the lashing and the block fell six feet and landed right on top of his head.
    He sank to his knees holding his head and gave out a terrible roar. That blow would have killed a normal man, but Angus was not a normal man.
    I ran along the derrick to the ladder on the fore part of the bridge and up to the wing and over the dodger then up to the monkey island. Mad Angus staggered into the alleyway to the ladder that went up to the boat deck. I was terrified, I waited and waited for him to come for several minutes, so I went to look over the after end of the bridge and could see that he had collapsed on the ladder by the boat deck, he didn’t look too good. Hope the bastard is dead, I thought.
    I climbed down the forepart of the bridge again onto the foredeck and carried on greasing the blocks.
    There was no sign of Angus, then the Lampy knocked us off for tea, someone had found him unconscious on the boat deck ladder and called the Doctor. He was in the ships hospital with lacerations and severe concussion. He could not remember how he came by his injuries and it was assumed he had fallen down the ladder.
    No one had seen what had happened and so I felt a lot better then, we were even.
    We eventually arrived at Panama and had a pleasant trip through the Canal and two later we arrived in Curacao for bunkers. It was the middle of the night and so no one got ashore. After we sailed from there we sailed across the Atlantic to Dunkirk to complete a round the world voyage.
    On the passage across the Atlantic we started to paint the funnel, mast, Samson posts, derricks and the housing to make her look beautiful for out arrival in London.
    We spent a couple of days in Dunkirk and had two nights ashore on the ale. On the last night I was full of ale and turned in and zonked out. I remember waking up and seeing a beautiful French `lady` sat on my bunk with a little white poodle. She was saying, “Wake up honey I want to make love” or words to that effect. And I remember saying “Go away you are only a dream” then fell asleep again. I really thought it was a dream. I had forgotten about it until we were all sat in the mess room having breakfast next morning. I heard two of the lads talking about a French girl who had gone into their cabins and performed. I had lost out again.
    We battened down ready for sailing that afternoon and as we were letting go the French girl walked down the quay with her little white poodle and waved to us as we sailed. She was not a bad looking girl, she had ginger hair and was wearing an ocelot coat. Next day we tied up in Rotterdam,
    It was snowing and very cold, Mad Angus was stripped to the waist covered in snow as we topped the derricks, it didn’t seem to bother him. He really was mad.
    Two days later we sailed for London and paid off on 20th of March 1954, Happy days were here again.
    I never saw the New Zealand Star again, she was in the news a few years later when a Steward was murdered on board on the New Zealand coast. A detective from Scotland Yard was flown out there and stayed on board around the coast while he made his inquiries. Then one morning he too was found dead in his cabin.
    I heard a few years later that Mad Angus MacAskill the Bull, had been killed in Canada while trying to stop a big Locomotive with his fist. The Locomotive did not stop.
    He had a brother who sailed in the Port Line as Bosun and half way across the Pacific he decided to walk home to the Isla of Barra, a wild and lonely place, He didn’t arrive.
    After the voyage some unbelievable things began to happen...............
    AFTER THE VOYAGE,
    When I arrived home three months later I went to see Ken`s sister Molly in Birkenhead, a nice young lady, and she wanted to know what had happened, the Ship owner just tells the basic, "Your Ken is dead, drowned", as brief as that. I think she felt a little better knowing what happened and how we had struggled to save him. They had just suffered a couple of tragedies in the family as well around the same time. Then some strange happenings which are hard to believe but are true.
    I was home for a few days when I was awakened one night by my bedroom door opening and shutting, Ken was stood at my bedside, he offered me a ciggy, it was silent , he never spoke, then my mother shouted to me, "What are you doing out of bed," The door opened and shut again, He was gone. I told her what I had seen, She had heard the door. The next night I threw my little brother out of his bedroom and I went into his, and he into mine. The next night I had the same performance and mother heard the door opening and shutting again. he was there at the bed side and offered me a ciggy, mother shouted and then he was gone. It felt as though he was trying to say, Thanks.
    Three years later October 1956, I was in East London again in the Eastern Cape, on the Dunedin Star, only had a couple of hours before we sailed again, I went to a cemetery to find his grave, I searched all over then I met a man who was just sitting on a bench, he said , “Who are you looking for “, I told him, “Ken Hignett”, he said " You are in the wrong cemetery, he is on the other side of town in the East Cemetery". Then he said , "My son saved a lad that day", I said , "Is he David Brinton,?" he said "Yes".. so I said , "I am the lad he saved". I was stunned, and I walked away and left him, I failed to ask for his address..
    I had to get back to the ship, I was amazed that I had gone 7000 miles to the wrong cemetery and the only person I saw was the father of the lad who saved my life three years earlier. For a few years I tried to find David Brinton to thank him for saving my life. I wrote to the South African newspapers, including East London`s Daily Dispatch. but to no avail. A lady in East London wrote to me and said the family had gone to live in the Orange Free State but no address.
    I phoned the Salvation Army in Johannesburg, they have a fantastic tracing people reputation, but they referred me to London. I tried them and was told they only trace family members. I told them the story and asked if they could make an exception, I also told them I was a member of the Salvation Army when I was a lad, a "Little Sunbeam". no less. Taken there by my Grandmother. They said they would see what they could do. The only information I had was, he was 15 years old in 1953 and his name, David Brinton. Africa is a big place to trace people with that amount of information .
    In 2001, I decided to go to East London to try to find him myself. it was a quest I knew I had to do before it was too late.
    Two days before we were sailing to Cape Town on the QE2, in October, 2001, the telephone rang, it was the Salvation Army in London, they had found him. "Where in East London?" I asked, No he is in Stranraer, Scotland, they gave me his phone number and I phoned him. It was fantastic to be able to thank him for saving my life. He had lived there for 17 years after leaving South Africa, he had gone to Rhodesia then to Scotland.
    We sailed to Cape Town on QE2 stayed one night and then we flew to East London to find Ken`s grave.
    We checked into a hotel and a South African family who had read my emails on the internet met us and took us to the cemetry. We found the grave, the cemetery was silent, not a sound. As we approached the grave, the screams that started to come out of the grave were terrible, I was shocked, Anne `s face turned white and was visibly shocked. My South African friends turned white and quickly walked away. The noise of a demented soul, we walked back and it stopped, silent. As we walked forward again the noise started again. There were no words, just an out of this world noise, which had a meaning like,….. “Why have I been here so long, why has no one been to see me and so on.” I could walk into and out of this sound like walking in and out of a large bubble over the grave, his spirit was definitely there and in anguish as if he was tied there with no escape.
    I laid a Merchant Navy wreath that I had brought from England, on his grave. I got my camera but it would not work, nothing. So I got my video camera and that would not work, I very upset and disturbed by all these happenings, It should have been a happy day, that I had found him and laid a wreath on the grave.
    We got into my friends car and went back to the hotel, the camera worked, the video camera worked, nothing wrong with them. The conversation was very quiet, everyone was stunned at what they had heard at the grave side.
    Two days later my friends were taking us to the Airport to fly to Port Elizabeth, to join a coach to do the `Garden Route tour`, I was not happy and very disturbed, it should not be like this. I could not go home not knowing what was going on there. So I told my friends to go back to the cemetery. They took us there but refused to go into the cemetery
    When we got back to the grave, all was silent and peaceful. I took the photos, the camera worked and also the video camera worked. Then a strange thing happened, the ink on the card on the Merchant Navy Wreath began to run as if it was wet, even tho` it had been laminated and it was a warm sunny day, It just happened as I stood and watched and then it became unreadable, a very strange experience. He had gone, gone to Fiddlers Green, where all good Sailors go.
    I felt good again as if a load had been taken off my shoulders. Ken had been released from the grave, the trip had been worth while.
    We arrived back in Cape Town five days later and the following week joined the CARONIA and sailed back to England.
    When we arrived home I had a phone call from Esther Rantzen, a TV Presenter from the BBC in London. She had heard of the story from the Salvation Army and wanted me to go to the London BBC TV Studios and tell the story on TV on the `Esther Show`. So on 14 February 2002, Anne and I went to London, expenses paid, a Limo waiting at Euston Station for us and then to the studios.
    I was taken to the make up room and sat with a few TV Celebs and had a make over, lip stick, and make up, a white cream and then a brown powder and rubbed in over my face and my eyebrows darkened. I was then interviewed by Esther on stage with a studio audience, and told them all about the tragedy and my search for David Brinton, Esther said “Have you ever met him?”, I said “No”, so she said , “Well here he is”, and David walked onto the stage. It was another fantastic moment to be able to shake his hand and thank him for saving my life, after more than 48 years. We went into the green room after the show and partook of the free bar, Later David had to fly back to Scotland for his business and I stayed. That evening the BBC Staff poured me into a Limo and took us to our hotel in Kensington. I went into the bar there and ordered a couple of drinks for us both. A lot of men were smiling and winking at me, I thought what nice friendly people in London. Later I went to our room and shock horror, I still had my lip stick and make up on. They must have thought I was a wufter. I keep in touch with David and always phone him or go to Stranraer on December 13.
    We talked later and he told me his father had died in a car crash in October 1956 around the time I had spoken to him in the cemetery in East London. So was he a ghost?
    I WROTE A POEM ABOUT IT………….
    A Beach Called Bonza Bay.
    In 1953 on the New Zealand Star
    In East London we did stay
    but Ken Hignett and I
    didn`t know he would die
    on some beach called Bonza Bay.

    The story began
    when the Mission Man
    said he would take us away for the day
    so all of us went off on his bus
    to a beach called Bonza Bay

    When Ken jumped in
    he just couldn`t swim
    and the tide soon carried him away.
    Though I struggled and tried
    Ken drowned and then died
    near a beach called Bonza Bay

    Then I was seen on a wave
    by a lad named Dave
    who swam out to get me away
    and through struggle and strife
    that lad saved my life
    on a beach called Bonza Bay

    When Ken was washed ashore
    his life was no more
    Five days since he got swept away
    and he lay all alone
    on the sand and the stone
    on a beach called Bonza Bay

    So they buried Ken in a Sailors grave
    at a place where the palm trees sway,
    on a foreign strand
    in a far off land
    near a beach called Bonza Bay

    It`s been 58 years
    since the grief and the tears
    and in the time that I was away
    I found Ken`s Grave
    and the man named Dave
    near a beach called Bonza Bay
    THE END…..

  7. Thanks Kenneth Kenny thanked for this post
  8. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Bolton UK
    Posts
    15,004
    Thanks (Given)
    20832
    Thanks (Received)
    11092
    Likes (Given)
    30414
    Likes (Received)
    37122

    Default Re: New Zealand star December 13

    I wish all hands a HAPPY CHRISTMAS and a BETTER NEW YEAR
    CHEERS
    `````````````````````````````````````````````````` `````````````````````````````````````````````````` `````````````````````````````````````````````````` `````````````````````````````````````````````````` `````````````````````````````````````````````````` ````````````````````````````````8````````````````` `````````````````````````````````````I```````````` ``````````````````I``I```````````````````````````` `````````````````````````````````````````````````` `````````````````````````````````````````````````` `````````````````````````````````````````````````` `````````````````````````````````````````````````` ``````

  9. Thanks Tony Taylor, j.sabourn thanked for this post
    Likes James Curry liked this post
  10. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Blue Mountains NSW
    Posts
    24,235
    Thanks (Given)
    45047
    Thanks (Received)
    13130
    Likes (Given)
    52440
    Likes (Received)
    39405

    Default Re: New Zealand star December 13

    Never to forget that dear old Friend Capt.
    Cheers
    Senior Site Moderator-Member and Friend of this Website

    R697530

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •