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Article: My First Cargo Ship MV. Jedmoor.

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    My First Cargo Ship MV. Jedmoor.

    4 Comments by Doc Vernon Published on 28th November 2019 04:47 AM
    Posted for Spencer with Thanks

    My First Cargo Ship “ MV. Jedmoor.”

    After completing my first trip Deep Sea on the British Industry. I arrived home to my parent’s new house in Cheshire.
    Dad had retired from the Army and had found a job with AEI Electronics as a Human resource’s Manager in their Factory at Trafford Park in Manchester.
    From the Rural life in Cornwall, to the bright city lights of Manchester. WOW!!!!!
    This also meant that I had to transfer to the Seaman’s Pool at Salford. I would have to Transfer my documents and registry from Falmouth to Manchester.
    A step into the unknown, I had to get a bus from Our Village at Hale Barnes to Altirncham, then a Busto Trafford Park, after a bus to Salford, Seemed to me like a week’shike, first time not knowing the bus stops was a problem, I think it took me two hours.
    Once in Salford, I could see the ships and the docks only had to find the Shipping Federation, where better to get information was a pub by the dock gates. I think it was called the Salisbury Arms, a Greenhall Whitney pub, beer was good,soon got directions to the federation, very close but had to wait as it was lunch time.
    After lunch went into the Federation, eventually found a person to look after my request, All very easy, Document’s sent to Falmouth and I was then told that I was immediately registered on the Salford pool, just had to pay my union dues up to date.
    I was asked was I available for hire, or did I need time at home first, also would I be available to transfer to another pool, Which meant they could send me to ships in Liverpool, London or wherever they need men, I decided to have another week at home.
    So with that I was signed on the Salford Seamans pool, all cargo ships on this pool so was happy with that. Found my buses home and waited for my next ship.
    After 10 days I received my Telegram to report to Salford, being offered a job as a catering boy, I duly arrived after lunchtime and was taken into the docks for my first Cargo Ship, I was given a Modern Tramp, one of a famous Tramp Company called Walter Runciman out of Newcastle known as the MOOR LINE, the ship was called the Jedmoor, all their ships names ended in “Moor”
    Once on board I was given the job asa Pantry boy for the officers Saloon, I was given a Cabin a wholecabin to myself, with hand wash basin inside, Only had to share theshowers and the toilets. Wow this was luxury to sharing a cabin withfour others on the British Industry.
    The ship had just returned from tramping in South America and was discharging a cargo of Shoes and other leather items, all the old crew were ‘Paying off’ and us new crew ‘signing On’
    I was told we would be in the Docks for another week before we would sail, I had left home with only a small bag of clothes, so I was able to go home collect more kit and my Radio, said goodbye to mum and Dad and back to the ship.
    We had a chief Steward who was the Catering Boss, we also had a 2ndSteward who did not do very much , in fact on all ships this was normally the case. With Second Steward’s, we used to call him Benny, as he used to take Benzedrine tablets to keep him going, he was a ’Rollpoly’ size of a guy who lived in HYDE, which was about 35 minutes bus ride from the ship.
    He soon found out that I had some money, so with that he invited me to go with him one night to his local bar. Off we goes to this little ‘Spit and sawdust’ Bar in Hyde. (in those days most bars known as the ‘Vaults’ had wooden floors with sawdust on them).
    The Barmaid was his Girl Friend, I was an innocent 16 year old in the company of a group who were 37 /40 years old, all drinking well, come closing time, we stayed behind, it was made obvious we would stay the night, with more drinking.
    Then one of the women who was at least 40, took charge of me, ended up with tongues down each other’s throats, she was not shy and was soon planting my hand under her Bra and later into her knickers, WOW I thought this could be a sure ****.Was it ever !!!!! I was raped by this Nymphomaniac.
    Eventually both of us fell asleep,To be woken by Benny saying get your clothes on as we had to get back to the ship, Quickly dressed and out, I did not get a chance to say goodbye to my Darling woman who had xxxxx me to sleep. The night before I was befuddled with booze, so I never did find out what she looked like. I think it was a good job I missed that opportunity. SOTHAT WAS HYDE.
    Back on board, I was working the pantry which was warm I had started to sweat, the Chief Steward came in and asked did I have a problem, No Boss no problem, what is wrong,he said your white shirt is showing blood on your back, WOW this woman did really take me for a ride. All my back was raked with finger nail scratches.
    Finished work, quick shower then an early night, I was exhausted. No more nights ashore with Benny, now I knew why he was taking Benzedrine!
    Finally we worked into a good crew,Took on our stores and were ready to sail, to where I asked? Only the Captain knows. First of all down the Manchester Ship canal, which was an experience on its own, passing through Locks, under Road bridges ,waving to people who were on the road side, every spare minute when Ihas not working, I was out on Deck looking, finally out of the locks into the Mersey, then someone said we are going to Casablanca.
    In ballast down the Irish Sea then around Lands’ End heading for the Bay of Biscay. I had no Problem with the weather had my sea legs!
    The Captain was a bit weird, we saw him when we signed the Ships Articles, once we dropped the Mersey Pilot, he stayed in his room Drinking we were told.
    If I remember it took us three days steaming to reach Casablanca.
    Reached Casablanca, stayed at Anchor waiting for our turn on the Berth, we would go alongside and load Phosphates for Rotterdam. All exciting for me.
    Orders came for our Captain to go ashore and meet the Agents, A launch duly came alongside, our Captain appeared all white in his Uniform, walked down the Gangway and didnot judge the swell, and stepped off our gangway into the water not the Launch. Practically all the crew had watched this. I think the sudden plunge into the Sea sobered him up, and away he goes to meet our agents with New uniform put on, ship went alongside to Load,quick loading only three days. Then we sailed.
    Casablanca, such a romantic Name fora port, but I could only manage a walk along the quay our loadingdock was quite a way out of the Town
    Captain back to his rooms and drinking!!! The office spoke to the chief officer and wanted to know what was happening, the Captain had not been sending in his daily reports. I think they read through the lines and it was decided that the Captain would leave the ship in Rotterdam.
    So much for being an Officer and a Gentleman I thought.
    Rotterdam in the very early sixties was a thriving port. We did not go Alongside to discharge but tied up in the River where we discharged into Barges, big business here for the crew, we were selling our Duty free Cigarettes to the Barges, the main cigarettes then was “Woodbines” I think we used to buy them for 9 shillings a cartoon of 200 and sell them for 18 Dutch Guilders, a good profit.
    Here I was introduced to “Bootleks Store” a duty free shopping area inside the Port left my eyes popping, Lots of Clocks, Watches and other things, I bought myself a nice watch, also an unusual thing, I bought myself a nice Rose wood Pipe, complete with a couple of rolls of Dutch Shag Tobacco, this had to be sliced off and rubbed in you palm before you could fill the Pipe. The old seaman used to say you had to have “pussyjuice’ on it so it would roll nicely and smoke good,
    Of course the other method, as No pusy juice available at sea! Was to have a teaspoon of whisky or dark rum, which would ensure a cool smoke.
    At sixteen and a half into a Dutch Bar in Schiedam, drinking pints of Amstel and smoking my pipe and my new wrist watch on made me feel like a fully-fledged Seaman.
    Finishing our discharge of the phosphate we moved ship. To back loaded our next cargo again at the buoys and from Barges, we would have a full cargo of Coal Coke for Karachi in Pakistan. Through The Suez Canal. We had a new Captain and duly sailed.
    In this case I felt like an old hand as most of our crew had never been through the Suez canal, I was able to relate to my First transit on the Br Industry. Most of the crew sailed out of Manchester, most knew each other, but their ports of call was mainly the West coast of the states.
    As far as I can remember trip trough the “Bay” and the Mediterranean was good weather all the way and we were was able to Sunbathe every day, so arrived in Suez, had totie up to the buoys and wait for the Convoy.
    Lock all the Cabins and alleyway entrances, the bum boat guys used to come on and sell souvenirs etc,but they would steal anything given a chance. So the Rule was never let them into the accommodation. Also Close your port holes and ‘Dog them Down’ these guys could get into everything and normally hadsome small boys they would push through open portholes.

    The thing that stands out in my memory are the things they used to sell, I had never seen any pornography, these guys were selling old Black and white photo of Porn Pictures probably taken in the mid 1930’s judging by the Style of Hair and clothes, but for my young age was very exciting, youCould also buy pornographic literature , Paper backs commonly known to seaman as “Port Said Bibles” Carefully tucked away under your pillow at night, Bunk light on and the “Portuguese Hand pump put into action” crisp bed sheets at the end of the week.
    On my first trip with the British Industry we arrived late afternoon and went straight into a convoy so we did not get any Bum boats.
    But we had to slow steam into the canal for Port Health to Board the ship, they check all the crew Vaccination certificates. At that time the seaman must have Smallpox Vaccination, and Cholera Injections, we line up in front of an Egyptian Doctor, who checks your name against the crew list, then checks your Medical book, Cholera is only valid for six months, while small pox vaccination is for three years. As I had passed the port health only 3 months before, I was ticked off as OK did not require any vaccinations.
    Canal Doctors at that time did not have disposable syringes, so they used to arrive with a metal needle sterilizer container full of Needles which had been sterilized. The Doc would then root around the Needles looking for a reasonable one to use on you. Later while on other ships going through the canal, wehad crew members who contacted blood poisoning from so called cleanand sterilized needles.
    The Canal in those days had three Convoys stretched out, Two Southbound and one northbound.
    Southbound, would go part way then tie up in the Cut. The Other Southbound Convoy would anchor in the Bitter Lakes.
    The Northbound would sail start to sail early morning from Port Tewfik, steaming at slow speed Northwards No stopping, passing the anchored ships in the lake and then the tied up ships in the cut, the ships in that Convoy would enter the Mediterranean early evening, it was always a nice feeling coming out of the canal, as in most cases it meant you were going home, but not always!!!! Also the fact this would be the first chance you could sleep comfortably in your cabin again.
    No air conditioning and no cold water fountains in those days. But I did have a good salary thirteen pounds, twelve shillings and six pence. Plus a shilling an Hour Overtime but overtime was like Gold dust.
    If we worked a Sunday at Sea, it was counted as a day’s paid leave, otherwise our Holiday Leave was Accrued at two days per month while on Articles.
    Out of the Canal, into the Red Sea,hot as hell no matter what time of the year, only change in the season was the sand storms, which could bring ships to a stop or very slow speed as there was zero visibility.
    Working inside the accommodation it did not affect me, apart from the sand that would come through closed doors.
    But the Sandstorms always brought swarms of flies ahead of the wind and sometimes Locusts. Later I found out and witnessed Chinese crews, liked this and would scoop up the locusts and fry them, a delicacy!
    I did eat locusts at one time when I was In Korea, eating them not knowing what I was eating, Tasted like White bait.
    Down to the bottom of the red Sea passed the “hells gates”, a small group of islands at the entrance to the Red Sea, also a Graveyard of ships of the older times.
    Then up past the island of Socotra,you could also make out the Barren Rocks of Aden, I think it was about four days steaming to Karachi. I think we arrived about the 23rd December as I do remember we had Xmas dinner at anchor. There were a lot of ships at Anchor waiting to unload, we just had to wait, so it was fishing over the side, the lads caught acouple of large Catfish and a couple of small Sharks.
    From the Fish I learned a couple of Interesting things, From the Catfish you cut off the heads, put in an old A3 size tin, fill with water and boil them until the flesh falls of, Then you have the white skull bone, turn that bone upside down and you have a structure that looks like a Cross, there are two small bones that go from the main bone to the sides, On the main bone it has a piece of bone which is broader at the head, and on the top of this is a small circular bone that looks like a ball.
    Take a small file, clean off the two arms, clean off the rest of the head, and you have a Crucifix with a body and two outstretched arms, with a little patience you can make this a nice souvenir.
    The second thing I witnessed with the sharks, the men cut them open and removed the hearts, put them on the deck, an old timer told me that the Sharks heart would not stop beating until the sun went down, true enough we watched these hearts beat until dusk, when the sun went down They stopped !!!!
    All in the learning curb of a 16.5year old Cabin boy.
    Eventually we went alongside to unload our full a cargo of Coke. NO Mechanical shovel’s or grabs.We had approx, 30 men jump into the Hold, with small Baskets and shovels, they would scrape and dig the coke into the wicker baskets,then tip the load into Giant buckets, when full a dock crane would lift them out of the hold, I could see we would be tied up for a longtime.
    I took and advance on wages “A Sub” and decide to go ashore, once out of he dock gates you had continuous pestering by Beggars and small children, we were in a group of four, so some protection, this is a ****** country, so officially no Alcohol, we were well advised not buy local whisky orgin. It was so bad it could kill you or turn you blind.
    We found a cinema which was Modern with air conditioning!!!! And was showing a western movie, I cannot remember the name, inside the cinema we could buy Ice cream and fruit juices.
    So a quiet night and back to the ship still with Money in our pockets, not like the ports I was going to experience in the future.
    We had a visit from the British Seaman’s mission, they came to see if we wanted to play football or go to a beach for swimming, it would be on a Sunday. I did not fancy the Football so went for the beach trip The cost was a single British Pound good, pick up from the quay in a Dhow, Tea and cakes supplied.
    The Dhow crew had one man who could speak English picked us up in the morning and soon we were gliding across the water at a good speed, there was a good offshore wind. It was interesting to see how they set their sail, instead of using a rope sheet system to tighten in the sail. They could step their mast,which could do the same and seemed to work well . A little different to western sailing.
    Duly arrived off our beach, nobody on it apart from some dogs and Camels, Weather was excellent so quickly in for a swim had the usual fooling around, while I was swimming a big piece of seaweed touched my foot, a quick gasp thenstrong strokes back to the shore, I had remembered the two sharks we had caught off the beach just a few days earlier. So from then on I only went waist deep.
    Later in the afternoon the wind got cold, our boatmen got an old Primus and a big bottle of water out, I did not see the quality of the water, any way all into the kettle.With a few handfuls’ of tea, Then a tin of Condensed milk, then boiled it all up, we had it served to us in Tin Cans ‘They had no cups or glasses and offered Grey Sugar to put in as well.

    It may have been the fact that we were getting cold with the Sun going down and the wind still blowing,But that Tea tasted like nectar, you could feel it warming your body.
    A nice day a bit tiring then back to the dock and the ship.
    New Year was coming and we had no Beer or Whisky, lots of foreign ships tied up with us, we decided to visit these ships to see if we could buy some alcohol, most of these ships were very old possibly 30 years old, Walking around going through the crew accommodation, I wondered how these guys could sailon such ships, mainly they were Greek, with Some Pakistani, Lebanese,Philippine, But all the crews made us welcome and tried to help, we did manage to get a few bottles of Johnny walker, British Ships, who were regular traders, old Colonial Companies, would not let us up the Gangway.!!!! Stuck up bastards.
    So we had some booze, not a lot for our crew, officers had no problem in getting theirs on board. Our roly poley 2nd Steward Benny, took our bottles and stretched it to three buckets making it into a cocktail, talk about JC preforming miracle’s with buckets of water our Benny did it with three bottle OF Johnny Walker and some fruit juices. It tasted horrible, so I am not sure if he added any of his tablets to the mix. So My First New Year away from home was in Karachi. But I’ll never forget that Tea on the Beach
    Every day I would go and check the hold to see how the cargo was going, we all wanted to leave, apart From that Karachi Smelt. I was to find out that all places in this neck of the woods have a similar smell and you soon get used to it.
    Karachi was a good place to buy tailor made shirts trousers etc, a man would come down with a tape piece of paper a bit of chalk Take you measurements, 50% payment and arrive back within three hours with your clothes to try on, The cotton was good and I had one shirt that lasted me for three years.
    All of our Galley rubbish and leftover’s from the galley and messes were thrown into 40 Gall drums hanging over our side, which we would dump once we got to sea.
    In Karachi we left with all these nearly empty, the workers discharging our cargo would climb into the drums before they went home pick out tin cans or good boxes, then rumble through the leftover food sometimes fighting over the best pieces, Put into their containers and go home. I think over the years it will still be the same ,that was 56 years ago.
    Pakistan is a country where with Bribery the rich get richer and the poor die of starvation, one of the reasons I am not a religious man.
    Finally the day comes for us to finish cleaning out the holds, they even brushed the coke dust into the buckets, we sailed, not before the agent bought us our orders,Sail to South Africa, to load a full cargo of maize for Kellogg’s factory back in Manchester.
    Cleaning the holds on the way south,also to start erecting shifting boards for the cargo and line it with Burlap.
    “Shifting Boards” are wooden panels set into the holds to section parts of so the cargo does not move, there have been many cases on older ships where cargo of Grainor maize has shifted in bad weather, giving the ships a dangerous list.
    Water seeps / a leak into the hold causes the Cargo to expand causing ships plates to split then the ship sinks!
    Nice weather as we head south,crossing the line ceremony for those not initiated, I am already done having been to Australia, The ceremony is still good as it is a slack day at work, normally a buffet for all hands, which is still a workup for the catering staff in the preparation. But a good fun day,captain gave us all three tins of beer, including me a ‘Boy Rating’.
    Setting up the shifting Boards and tacking on rolls of Burlap was a very time consuming job, we had Five holds and three decks, we loaded the timber and Burlap in Karachi as it was cheap to buy, the timber was referred to as Dun-age, a lot of Captains and chief officers made money by selling this wood once the ship had discharged their cargos.
    In fact this was one time when we were all able to earn some overtime, by helping the crew with the erection of the Boards and tacking Burlap, great I work four hours in the evening in a hot ships hold and I earn 4 shillings. (times have changed) The main thing was when we arrived we would be ready to start load Maize. With no Delays.
    Finally we arrived off East London,we could not anchor as it was deep and a bad holding ground, so we slow steamed up and down the coast until they were ready to take us inside. The headland was covered in Gorse Bushes and was in flower,the smell coming out to the ship was heavenly.
    East London is situated between Durban and Port Elizabeth, a general cargo port mostly used by the Union Castle Line, which also moved passenger’s up and down the coast, at that time the inland rail networks were not very good and slow, easier to move by ship No Airport in East London.
    Pilot came out in an old Steam Launch, immaculately painted white and all its brass fittings gleaming. These were the days when Black labor was very cheap, so everything was kept spick and span.
    Pilot dressed in a full Navy uniform, The South Africans certainly stayed with the old British Pomp and circumstance. We entered into the River, on our Starboardside was the Jetties for the passenger Ships and the union Castle Cargo ships. On the Port Side where we were heading was a very old Stone Dry Dock, and some wooden wharves. At the top of the river was a Bridge that joined up the two sides.
    We arrived ready to Load, but did not take into consideration the Immigration or the Apartheid Laws. At this stage I did not know what Apartheid was ! All the crew were mustered in the Crew Mess, possibly our biggest room, anyway it was full just enough to allow the Police Officers and Immigration officials to stand inside with us.
    Then they laid out the rules, no mixing with the blacks, Only use Whites Bars, only use whites Busses,(I don’t think there were any Taxis in those days, everybody seemed to walk or go by Bike. Then there was the Big NO, No sex between whites and blacks, if Caught you would get a fine, Jail and a flogging..
    Hey this is serious **** !!!! The Police Officer was staring all of us younger crew straight in the eyes. He meant every word, yes it did scare me.
    Ship cleared all officials away, we got our subs “Money” and were looking forward to going ashore.But where to go 7 pm and most places were closed. We asked a couple of people (White of Course) we were pointed to the Seaman’s mission“A Flying Angel Mission” this was quite easy to find as the road network was old and only two main roads with some side streets, after thirty minutes we found it, nice old building Some Women at the door,to establish who we were and from what ship, but made very welcome,NO ALCOHOL in this Mission.
    They told us that there was no program for that evening, but the next day would be a dance. So we had tea and cakes, if you wanted coffee, you had to pay for it. A box on the counter for any donations !! First night NO.
    Walk back to the ship, small streetlights, a policeman walked back with us, I wondered why!
    A bit different to my night ashore with Benny and his friends in Hyde, but at least waking up feeling fresh to go.
    Morning time I walked around the deck taking in the dockside, a Train was shunting a line of flatbed trucks, covered with Tarpaulin’s alongside our ship, adjacent to our five holds, Our deck crew un battened our hatches and opened up all our holds.
    After a line of black convicts were marched up our Gangway and spilt between the five Holds. One White Sergeant came on board and stood at the Gangway carrying a 303 Lee Enfield rifle, then came 5 African Corporals each armed with a ZULU stabbing spear.
    This was to ensure that none of the
    convicts made a run for it.
    The traps were taken off the Flatbed
    trucks to expose Hessian bags of Maize, my mind thought why the shifting Boards if we were going to load a Bag Cargo! Then came the Surprise, we loaded the bags onto the deck spaces by each hold bags brought on by loading 15/20 sacks in a rope strop with our ships Davits, each bag must have been 80 kilos, the convicts moved forward lifting the bags to the lip of the hold hanging the bag over the lipof the hold, one man would hold it while the other man carefully cut the string holding the lips together, the Maize fell to the bottom,Jezz I thought this is going to take weeks and weeks it did take.
    Only work through the daylight hours, I suspected due to the danger of blacks running away at night are hard to see, unless they laugh, no problem there these guys had nothing to laugh about. To compound our delay, we had to take into consideration the rains, when it rained we had to stop cargo and cover everything up, at the beginning, we prayed for No rain so we could load quickly.
    Then our attitude changed as we got to know the girls from the mission, after we would pray for rain to delay our departure.
    So seeing how we would spend the next few weeks in East London, washed and changed up to the Mission for the Dance, not knowing what our partners looked like or how many would Show up.
    The older members of our crew and Benny, left for the bars, that left a good fifteen of us for the dance.
    We were met by the same smiling Matrons on the door, who explained bluntly, that these girls would be chaperoned home after the Dance, The Mission had their own bus.
    Into the main hall / Dance area,about 20 good-looking girls waiting, obviously it takes time to get warmed up and start conversation’s, especially without the Booze Booster.
    So Tea/ Minerals and cakes all had to be paid for on Dance nights.
    Music started, they had a gramophone player with vinyl records talk about historic memories!
    The music played one tune after another; only girls dancing with each other, us Seamen are really shy until we have a drink in us. Then one brave guy gets up to Dance,later followed by a 2nd then a third, They played“Zambezi,” popular music at that time that with a good African Beat, must have been white African! got us all up, wow it was good,I met this nice girl called Evon Voss, she spoke English but with that thick “ Africans “ accent. (I will never forget her name)love at first site.
    I could not believe how good the dance was, I took every dance with Evon, she was slightly older than me at 18 years old, we could dance well together, nice body and long fair hair, soon it was time for the girls to leave, we were not allowed outside to see them onto the bus, and these matrons at the door are very strict. (at that moment) not even a goodbye kiss.
    Back on the ship, all fit a raring to go, no late night distractions and still, money in our pockets.
    Next day loading cargo was the same routine, at that time all rail transport was coal fired Engines, even the Big Tugs, owned d by South African Railways were coal fired.
    Nice to watch the steam engines shunting around the docks, and listen to the Shrill steam whistle as they maneuvered or changed tracks. One day I witnessed a big tug getting coal bunkers, all done with Black Convicts, well organized and with speed, I suppose anybody could work fast, with a spear tip jabbing your spine.
    Every day was an interesting day,especially for me. Tankers go alongside, you connect on a couple of hoses open the Tank valves and the oil flows in, only gets difficult at topping up of the tanks, but mainly not interesting.
    Cargo ships are completely different, no rush and fuss.
    Every night we washed ,changed and up to the Mission, now we were regulars and we were told we could have a dance every night but not on Sundays, NO DANCING ON SUNDAYS but a Church meeting for those who wanted to attend. I think the Sunday was the night we stayed on board and did our washing, cleaning our cabins, No inspection while in port, but nice to have it clean.
    By this time I was getting quite close to Evone, one night she said to me, don’t go to the Mission tomorrow we can go for a walk. Turns out that a Girl who goes to the mission are not allowed out, so we were going to bypass the mission.
    We walked down the side road past the Liner Terminal, and walked along the headland above the beach, it was not cold, no beach shops or cafes open, we sat in a shelter,looking out to sea, moonlight shining silvery over the Sea, very Romantic, and started talking then kissing, only kissing the firsttime, I cannot remember the conversations we had, but she had very nice kissable lips which we used to lock together, I walked her home to the top of the road where she lived, then I walked back to the ship on my own.
    Next day when I told her that, she was alarmed, told me never walk back over that Bridge on your own at night, YOU COULD GET KILLED!!!!! Wow that thought had never entered my mind. The blacks so put down by the whites, walking on my own would be a treat for a small band of Blacks.
    We wanted to meet again for a similar walk and sit in the shelter, she made a plan to get me back safely, on the other side of the river was a small Police Station,which had a change of duty at midnight, she had an older Brother that worked there, he was on night shifts, so back to the top of her road to kiss her goodbye, wait for her brother and the police bus.
    Her brother could not speak English only Afrikaans, but he used to smile and talk to me in His language,He was a big guy, so obviously I took that into account when Evon and myself were getting closer together, YOUNG LOVE, eventually I used to come back sniffing my fingers.
    In between our illicit meetings in the shelter, we still used to go to the Dances.
    The older guys could not understand we were ashore every night, enjoying ourselves and still had money inour pockets, all their money had gone in the first Bar. The Dances were getting better, as we were mostly the only ship in port, we had it all to ourselves, and The Castle Boats came in during the morning but sailed by the evening.
    Even the Matrons on the door were becoming relaxed with us, eventually our officers also came, Our captain thought it was good for our Moral, So he came one night and made a Generous donation to the padre for the mission, Our Carpenter Made a lovely plaque to present from our ship.
    The ship was slowly getting lower in the water as the holds filled up, time was getting short, soon we would have to sail, we had a lot of close friends, all being females,all willing to go to bed, but nowhere to go!!!!
    My fingers were getting wetter and wetter each time we stopped in the shelter, also my underpants were also sticking to my legs, very frustrating.
    We had a last Sunday, when the Mission made available their bus to take us all for a Picnic, we had to pay for the fuel and bought the items for the picnic not very expensive we paid just over two pounds each. We filled the Bus with our girl fiends as well; we went to a river north of East London,with instructions to be aware of Crocodiles!
    Good ‘Blankets on the Ground the Girls put the picnic together we made a fire to Boil the water for the tea, They had also made cakes, a really good day out with innocent fun, has always remained a soft place in my heart.
    I have a postcard somewhere which Evon sent me of the beach and the headland with the shelter we used,brought back some memories.
    Last night ashore last Dance, very nice, but with a heavy heart knowing we would be leaving next day.
    So come to the final day of our loading, we would finish in the afternoon but would not sail until the next morning.
    So quickly up to the mission, only the Matrons on the door, al the girls were missing as they thought we had sailed. Those were the days of few telephones and before mobiles were know, so a good bye to the Padre and the matrons then back for an early night and no sticky fingers, only memories now.
    We sailed mid afternoon, again our 40Gall gash bins over the side for rubbish were empty !!!!!
    All Hatches were battened down andl arge tarpaulins also stretched over the tops of the holds again battened down, all outside weather doors were also ‘Dogged down’as we put it .Within 36 hours we would be rounding the Cape of Good Hope, we also had a storm warning, so tie down everything and anything. The galley stove had its “Fiddles’ put in place, First time I had seen them in use on this ship, The seas were so big we had to steam south into them, before it was safe to change our course,when we did change it was always one hand for yourself hanging on to what you could, Nobody used the saloon or messes, Just hang on to a Bowl in your hand and a piece of Bread, this sort of weather does not blend to hearty eating habits.
    The cook made an Old seaman’s Rough weather meal. SEA PIE. Basically the biggest pot he had in the galley Half filled with Onions, Carrots potatoes, Meat, stock added to half full, then s big Suet pastry Lid placed over the top and boiled, The Suet lid acted as a lid for the pot and stopped the contents from spilling out, the handles of the Pot was tightly wired to the fiddles to stop it moving around, So that was the meal always very tasty, but not many with big appetites.
    Captain passed the word; nobody allowed out on deck, you look through the portholes all you can see is Blue/Grey water all around. The wind is howling like a Banshee,end of the day I had to ditch the rubbish. So three men cracked open the leeward side door onto the deck, we emptied our rubbish onto the deck , Quickly battening down the door, It was all gone within a couple of minutes.. This was a 6000, ton ship, tossed around fully loaded like a scrubbing brush in an ocean.
    So early to bed, tiedmyself into my Bunk so as to try and sleep thinking of a week before when I was in the arms of Evone, soon sent me to sleep,
    I was inexperienced then, but later found a better way to stay snug in my Bunk when crossing the Western ocean at full speed on a Reefer, But what I used on the Jedmoor ,madeit so I could not be thrown out, That weather stayed the same for three days and three nights, Boiled eggs and sea pie, nobody complained.
    Eventually the weather turned and we steamed north with just a steady roll, we could handle that, back to normal working and normal meals, No damage done to the ships upperdecks, all rails in place and no seepage of water into any of thehatches.
    And then the Sun started to shine,we were coming up to the equator, the ship being low in the water our deck lights at night attracted flying fish to bump into us, In the morning you could pick up a bucket full easily, quite tasty to eat aswell.
    An older seaman showed us how to take a large fish carefully gut it cure the insides with salt, Than take a nice piece of wood ,stretch out the fish wings tack them in place, dry it a bit then paint it with a couple of coats of Varnish,nice little souvenir to take home.
    This old seaman also showed me howto make deck slippers with Rope and Canvas, actually quite comfortable.
    I later went on to make Cooks trousers for myself from 80 kg flour bag.
    Ships was now steaming full speed good weather just the long equatorial flat rolling swells. We would go up the western approaches into the Irish Sea, and then we werenearly home.
    We had arrived too early, so we had to anchor off the Isle of Man for a few days before dropping our masts ready for the Manchester ship canal. I would .remember looking at the distant lights on the Isle Of Man, not knowing that One day I would get to know the Island very well.
    We were given a sub once we got alongside at Runcorn, here we had to discharge some of our cargo into Canal barges, but this was done by Elevators, that sucked it out our Maize and into the Barges, also mad a bit of Money selling ourWoodbines to the Barge’s. All done before the Custom came on board.
    So Runcorn which was known to most of our crew as they had sailed the canal many times, All ashore up to the Nearest Canal Pub, Full of women, the seaman’s type!!!!, all got pissed and then all back to the ship, women as well.
    We had a cabin party, all sitting around on this guy’s Bunk and settee, sitting on the deck drinking bottles of beer and singing songs, I remember so clearly, this one woman stood up and said I need to piss, we gave her direction of howto get to the bathroom, she just said **** that! Hiked up her dress dropped her pants and p**** in the Cabin wash basin with everybody watching. These girls are not shy.
    Early in the morning one of the cadets came through the accommodation, telling us to get the women off as the ship was due to sail up the Canal, some of the women just rolled over and said fair enough we will get off in Manchester!!!!!They had done this before.
    Thank God the cabin Party was not in my room, what a mess the lad had to clean up, plus the others girls who were sleeping in his Bunk and settee.
    Finally got up To Kellogg’s Cornflakes factory and tied up, I was getting a bus home to see mum and dad, but back the next day.
    Mum and dad were surprised to see me, they knew approx. when I would be back, but a week either way,some quiet beers at home with Mum and Dad, told my adventures, good sleep, so quiet No Engines or Generators banging away.
    So back to the ship.
    We were told that we had to take the ship to South Shields for Dry dock before we could pay off, so approx. another 10 days to go, Benny wanted me to go with him to Hyde for another all-night party, Thanks, But no thanks, I went home a couple of times but it was too much of a hassle, so stayed at a couple of Dock pubs in Salford as this place was still new to me and I was controlling my money by being on my own.
    Finally the discharge was complete and we sailed down the canal again, into the Mersey, then up the Irish Sea, to go North about Scotland and come down the North Sea to the Tyne this took all of three days.
    Went alongside the Repair dock, drydock was not ready for us, So Paid off.
    We got rail warrants to Manchester,got the Train in Newcastle direct to Manchester, no changes,
    Went to the buffet wagon and took over a section there was 25 of us, train waiters were happy, they knew we had just paid off a ship and had money, so we had a meal then drank all the beer, before arriving in Manchester Piccadilly. My Dad had a car and drove across to meet me and take my gear Home.
    I had made some good friends and had a few phone numbers to keep in touch. Which we did .
    Was Not thinking about my next ship,had some money, so had to investigate Manchester and its suburbs’,Which was also a Big adventure, a couple of nights I slept away from home, Mum used to say “ I worry about you when you go out on your own” I used to say I was staying with some of my old shipmates.All my parents asked me to do was phone home when I was staying away,bit difficult sometimes when you have a girl with her tongue down your throat, and squeezing your balls out of your pants.
    One morning I went down to Salford to meet one of the guys from the Jedmoor, we met in a notorious pub called the ‘clouse’, Pubs used to close at 2 pm until 6, I was talking to the young barmaid, who was half way to being pissed, She decided we go back to her place, with a carryout of beer.
    In Salford they used to have streets of terraced houses one road in the front and a back lane at the back,all houses were identical, 2 rooms and a kitchen downstairs, 2bedrooms upstairs, Toilet and wash room in the Garden.
    Later In the afternoon my mate left leaving the two of us, Kissing and feeling each other, we very quickly ended up in bed, and then slept some after. I Woke up she was shaking me, she needed some cigarettes, so I get my kit on and she explains the shop is close, NO PROBLEMS. Walk down to the shop, buy fags bottle of fizzy and chewing gum, Walk back down to her place,with the thought of more sex on my mind, then I get a big shock, WHAT HOUSE < WHAT GATE>WHAT NUMBER, I did not take notice when I left, now I am looking at about 50 house which are all identical, I tried to remember getting out of the Taxi, to try and get my bearings, NO use, I was half pissed then and had more beers since.
    I was away from the house about 30minutes, confused as what I should do next, Then I see her coming down the road to find me, what a relief!!! So Sex was back on the menu.
    She did not go back to the pub for the evening shift, we both went out and bought more beer and spent a night in front of a coal fire, making mad passionate love and drinking beer in the Intervals, and NO TELEVISION !!!!!
    I went home the next morning, In all the excitement I had forgotten to phone Mum. Oh **** now for an earache once I get home.
    But all in all it was worth it, I never did ask my Mum if she had any idea of what I was doing, but I am sure my Dad knew. During my various trips home after leaving ships I was with my new found Mancunian friends, we did some crazy things during my Holiday leaves.
    Thinking back I could write a small book on those times, good fun, only beer and women, no drugs, I don’t think any of us knew about drugs at that time, all my mates were keen football players and singers, work hard all week and live for Friday and Saturdays, with a Sunday afternoon session to finish it off.
    My Mate at the time was called Peter Baskerville, Tall good looking an good singer and a hard football player, got to know his Mum Dad, Brothers and one sister, So once myMum knew I was with them I had no problems staying away at nights.
    A group of his mates and myself,would also go to some big Bars on the Wythenshaw Estate, (it is now a rough place and dangerous to visit) in our days it was a tough place,but Ok if you did not upset the local lads, always swarming with women on a Saturday night, I remember a few occasion’s waking up with a girl wrapped in a Carpet, winter time when the fire went out these Council houses used to get quite cold. I think every bed, Armchair and settee were in use, so the floor was the only place left.The carpet doubled up as a blanket.
    One Saturday Peter said we are going to a Horse Show. Gymkhana Dance, in a big tent, but with a Bar, all Horsey people!!, This big Girl Came across and asked me for a Dance.Being a gentleman I did not refuse, she half carried me through the dances, the beer was catching up on me. Peter came across and said we are going now, as I came down with his mates in a Van.
    This girl piped up, no worry I’ll take him home, as far as I Can recollect it was about 35 miles from my village.
    She had a Land Rover, well-spoken and obviously a Horsey Girl.
    She owned her own horses and stables, well the stables were her Dads, but the horses were hers.
    Couple of more drinks and dances then she said I’ll take you home. So she set off in the Land Rover down Country lanes, I had no idea of where we were. Then she pulls off the lane into a field, Engine turned off, she started kissing, I was getting the impression she was in control. Ended up with the front seat ripped out and but onto the back seat as a sort of a pillow, then off comes the coats, blouses, trousers and finally the pants and bra, Oral sex was brilliant but the when we get down to the full sex I realize that The land Rover is not a double bed, A bit uncomfortable but we made it, again and again, I was thinking why do these nymphos pick me, I was just getting light when we dressed and she drove me home, took my phone number and said I’ll phone you,She was quite good looking as well.
    Midweek, I was at home forgotten all about the affair when I get a Phone call from her, asking if I would like to go for a meal, she would come and pick me up.
    Wow I thought this is good, WE went for a meal, then out to the Country into another back lane with afield. And straight into sex, (I never had anything like this in Cornwall) She knew I was not working, but taking my Holiday leave from the ship.)
    She asked would I like to go riding,Wow I Thought I always wanted to be a Cowboy, so Yes I would, we arranged a day and she came to pick me up, telling me to wear good shoes with a High heel, as I had to be able stand in the stirrups.
    Nice day and she drove me to her Fathers Farm, Met her Mum and dad, I thing she must have been five years older than me, we never asked each other our age, We were old enough to **** nothing much else mattered.
    We got to the Horses, she had two picked out and saddled, one was a small pony, ah good I thought, not too far from the ground if I fall off. The other was a full grown horse which made the pony look small; she introduced me to the horse and said this is yours. Had I ever ridden horse before, NO only a Donkey on the beach at Margate?
    So she carefully explained to me the rudiments of riding, when in the saddle grip tight with your knees,the Horse under stands your commands by the way you use your knees,(which reminded me of her and sex.
    Always have a tight grip on the reins, Never let the horse have its head, otherwise it would throw you, over its neck that is me being a stranger to the horse.
    I remember it was difficult just to mount the horse, she had to help me with her shoulders, OK sitting on the horse, Reins in tight, she led the Horse to the Gate, jumped on her pony , together we walked down a lane, what surprised me was how high I was sitting off the ground, bloody big Horse, as we walked down the lane she was telling me more information about riding,reached one of the fields, she said ok we will; first try a TROT,this was allowing the Horse to increase speed to a trot, to do this,you had to count the strides, 1-3 and then 2-4 in-between the change of strides you had to rise in the saddle, that was the reason for me wearing good heel shoes abled you to stand in the stirrups, Otherwise if you don’t stand, the saddle comes up and hits your balls, for a man that becomes quite painful, But for a Woman I think she gets some stimulation!
    We had a few walks , then into trots, followed by do you want to try the Gallop? Yeah Ok, this meant going from the trot to a gallop by leaning forward onto the neck,then kick your heels into the Belly of the horse, Holding the reins on a short tight rein.
    Well it works, but now doing a speed you have to remember steering the horse, and look where you are going, I was not wanting to be confronted with a hedge, I know if the horse jumped I would fall off. So I remembered my brief training and pulled back on the reins, the horse slowed down to a walk.
    She got off and held my horse, while I tried to walk, my knees and back were getting stiff and that was only an hour on the horse, we still had plenty of time so she said we can walk the horse home down a country road, so back in the saddle again, with her help and I knew immediately I was going to suffer later, all the bottom part of me ached.
    We walked down the road with cars passing us, Not many as it was in the country She was pushing my horse close to the hedge, while riding on my side keeping traffic away from me. That was when I realized how high up you are sitting,looking down on the roofs of cars.
    Back to the Stable, only at the walk, I don’t think I could have tried to trot the horse, I was knackered, I was offered a hot bath but declined as I knew I could not perform any Sex , Horse riding maybe stimulating for the females,But really knackering for Amateur Male riders.
    Thank you very much for a lovely day, but I have to go home. So she drove me home (I can’t remember her name) My Mum was at home invited her in for tea, asked if I enjoyed myself, yes I said gritting my teeth.
    We met one more time after that, and then I was given another ship, which was five moth trip, That ship saved me from an affair with a Horsey Woman, who would have killed mewith her quest for insatiable sex.
    Yes living in and around Manchester could be very exciting.
    On some of my leaves, Peters gang used to organize coach trips to Blackpool and Morcame, we would always stop at a pub at lunch time, sup a few pints, Organize a Talent show, Peter had a good Voice so he normally won the first or second prizes, always enough for more beer, Then play football on the beach, fish and chips, then back to a pub to finish off before going home, I was always ok, but all these guys had to work the next day. I had some very good times with these lads.
    Last edited by Doc Vernon; 28th November 2019 at 06:01 AM.
    Senior Member and Friend of this Website


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  3. #2
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    Default Re: My First Cargo Ship MV. Jedmoor.

    And yet another great Story by Spencer
    These are the things that make this site a good one ,with many such Stories of ones past ,and sometimes it may not be about the Sea.

    PS Managed to sit and edit those Together Words Spence but took forever LOL
    Last edited by Doc Vernon; 28th November 2019 at 06:02 AM.
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    Sunbury Victoria Australia
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    Default Re: My First Cargo Ship MV. Jedmoor.

    A note from John S regarding this posting.

    . I was with Runcimans for 11 years and was second mate on the Jedmoor from29.3.60 to 18.12.60. Just wondering what year the recorder was there. Also the name of the master who walked into the water. Was it Hogg, Roberts, Graham, Howlett, Matthews, Nicholson, Bradfield, Watson. or who. They will all be dead by now but anyone of them was capable of thinking they were. Jesus Christ and. Quite capable of walking on water, not however drinking it. Cheers JWS
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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    Default Re: My First Cargo Ship MV. Jedmoor.

    Hi JWS,

    The masters name on my Payoff Slip Was A J.A,Hogg, The one who fell in the water, I don't Remember, The Dates you give, Suggests to me, That you joined in South Shields Dry Dock. Good Ship Though and A great Experience, I was advised later to Join The "Hazelmore" but had to return Home, as a new crew had just been Signed on.

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    Default Re: My First Cargo Ship MV. Jedmoor.

    I am putting this on behalf of John S

    ref. Spencer Lewis post re . Jedmoor I joined in Cardiff and paid off in Newcastle 8.12.60. So may have drydocked in South Shields then. The master then was Roberts. Another master not mentioned was Alfie Coaster. Capt. Hogg was a family friend and his initials were J. P . Hogg , john Percival. Lived in North Shields, was mined once and torpedoed twice during the war. Lord Haw Haw came on the radio once and told the people of the uk he knew he had been saved. The German espionage system wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be.
    Hazelmoor I was on 3 pr 4 times at various intervals . Although I cursed Runcimans for 11 years , I learned in later years there were a lot more worse company’s floating around. Regards John Sabourn.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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