Posted for Spencer With Thanks

SS. British Sailor. 3.04.62 left 14.12.62

Afterno ships available on the Manchester Shipping Federation (The Pool) Iwrote to BP to see if I could get a job with them, in those days evena lowly catering Boy rating could do that.
Aftertwo weeks waiting for Manchester pool to contact me, I received aLetter from BP advising me that I could have work on one of theirships, Just to phone their office and confirm I was still available,which I quickly did. Three days later I got a Telegram to Join theBritish Sailor as a Catering Boy in the isle of Grain, keep my railticket and travel outlays; they would re-reimburse me on joining theship.
Ihad never heard of the Isle Of Grain, but later I was soon to know itvery well, in fact I bought my first house close to it and it was toplay a big part in my career with BP.
Sopacked my bags and radio, train from Piccadilly to Euston, tube “Myfirst time on the London underground” , biggest problem was to getall my bags and radio out of the compartment before the doors closedarriving at Liverpool Street then to main line Train to Strood, FromStrood to Isle of Grain I had to negotiate a taxi, I think it was 4pounds.
Isleof Grain Refinery was built on marsh land, it had the advantage ofhaving the River Medway flowing out into the River Thames on theoutside, but very little public transport, Luckily enough I hadmoney for a taxi.
Thejetty are a long way to the ships side, from the main gate to thejettys was also a long walk, I was lucky the security wagon took meto the ship, at the end of each Jetty was a trolley for carryingluggage etc, so the last leg to the ships side was easy.
Theold crew were ‘paying off’ and us new crew climbing on board tosign on, usual thing 2 year open articles. I had a nice surprise whenit came to my turn, the shipping Master, looked at my book andinformed me that my rate of pay would be increased for this shipstarting at GBP 15 and 18 shillings per month.
PlusI was given My travelling expenses. Wow I was on easy street.
TheSailor was an older class of the British Industry, layout exactly thesame except we had two tall masts here the Industry had squat ‘GoalPost’ masts.
Thistime I had a cabin with three boys, as I was first on board I got tochoose my own berth, went to the galley and volunteered to work inthe Galley. First on, pick the best jobs.
Thechief cook was a middle age guy from Middleburgh. Quiet guy as notlike the 2nd cook who was a cockney and knew it all, cookassistant was Welshman also a quiet Guy.
Whensigning on a took a five pound advance on wages, ‘Note on theowners’ as did some of the others, finish tea, cleaned down thegalley washed and changed ready to go ashore. We had to walk to themain Gate and order a Taxi, to take us to the local village ofAllhallows, Famous pub and person with Tanker men, call the Ship Innand better known as’ Ivy’s’ here you could change your advancenotes for five shillings in the pound, so 5 pounds bought you fourpound ten shillings. We knew the ships would be alongside for 2nights, so we just had a few beers phone home and Back to the ship.
Nextday was the start of the normal work routine 6am to 8 pm with twohours off in the afternoon between I and 3.
Storeswere loaded on board by BP Riggers, all we had to do was check themand make sure all was stored away safe, Late afternoon they hadcompleted discharge, only left to ballast the ship down , pumpseawater into some of the Tanks. Ready for sailing next morning.
Washand brush up. then off to Ivy’s for a last drink and phone call,good night lots of beer and we broke into singing before takingTaxi’s back to the ship.
Icannot remember the Chief Steward, so he must have been a good guy.
Orderswere to Load in Mina-Al-Ahmadi in Kuwait, via the Suez Canal withLEFO,( Land end for orders!)
Abeaten track that I already knew, on the way out to the Bay of BiscayI do remember the weather turned bad and we were into a sever summerstorm, the captain had more ballast pumped into our Tanks to make theship more maneuverable, when we entered the Bay, we picked up adistress call from a yacht, so we went to help, the Captain had toturn us Broad side on to the waves and wind in order to make a Leafor the yacht, about amidships of our 32,000 ton tanker, we made asmall lea for the Yacht to come alongside in a pool of light in anarea no bigger than the ships swimming pool, Two pilot ladders overthe side with Ropes ready, two men staggered to the ladders tied theropes around them and then climbed up the side, we had them off andthey were safe, At this stage water from the tops of the waves andthe strong winds were going into our Engine room via the ‘Skylights’
Ithink it was about 2 pm before I went to bed, but could not sleep dueto the storm.
Thetwo yachtsmen were French, I understand that we would take them toGibraltar and drop them there, all search and rescue authorities hadbeen advised, also a yacht was abandoned in the Biscay, the positiongiven, and the yacht was never seen again.
Oncewe passed Cape St Vincent the weather changed, just a long Atlanticswell lifting our stern causing us to Yaw.”Cork screw”
Stoppedat Gibraltar our two Frenchmen left the ship Thanking everybody forour help, all I did was peel potatoes !!!
Ilearnt later that our Captain had a Commendation from Head Office forhis brilliant seamanship in effecting the rescue. Being down aft thecrew only gets news 2nd hand but still exciting to know.
Intothe Mediterranean, calm seas ,blue sky’s, time for the shorts onand out on deck to get some ‘Bronzy’ seaman’s expression forsunbathing, By the time we reached the canal we were like Egyptians.
Wearrived at a time where we had missed the Morning convoy, so we hadto tie up to Buoys and wait for the Night Convoy. All day in PortSaid pestered all the time for food, and bum boat guts wanting tosell their wares.
Iwas able to pass the Port Health Doctor, with no additionalInoculations or vaccination, so no sore arms.
Wehad to keep our portholes closed and our accommodation doors closed,metal doors padlocked just to keep the “Wogs” out and reduce anystealing of our stuff. No Air Conditioning early summer was hot.
Ibought a pair of shoes for the Galley, nice shiny black, but made ofCardboard and not leather, After a week of washing down the Galley,they fell off my feet. Ah well lessoned learned.
WhiteTee Shirts for the Galley, also lasted a month, all the seams used tobreak and the cloth frayed. They also used to sell “cockroachWatches” a metal watch the hands would move, but after a day theystopped. It is claimed they but small cockroaches inside to Make thehands move.
Bestadvice for Bum Boat sales in the Canal, is don’t buy!!!!
Ournight convoy arrives in the Cut to tie up the Canal Bank, wait forthe North Bound Convoy to pass through, and then we move down to thebitter lakes and Anchor.
Inthe lakes the crew sometime slower the companion way so you can goswimming, In those days No Septic tanks on any ships, so all toiletsflush direct to the sea. In the case of you swimming you swim withyour mouth closed!!!!! ‘Beware of the Turd Fish’
Finallyinto the RED SEA, temperature immediate jumps considerably, so backto the system, sweat all day in the Galley, take salt tabletsregularly through the day, sleep on deck at night.
Away of life but bearable. All for just under sixteen pounds permonth.
Today’sseaman could not put up with it.
Wehad some problems with our Boilers, began to leak. Being a steamturbine ship we need the boilers for steam for power, Some of thetubes were leaking and needed to be plugged, This lead to us usingmore water than our purifiers could make, so we went onto waterrationing.
Nowashing machines allowed, water for showers was only available for 30minutes after a watch and a hour after main day works were finished.Anything to save our water, we would top up our tanks in Mina. Whichwould be very expensive as Kuwait has to make its own water, Plentyof oil but no water.
Madeour way passed Aden and the coast to the straits of Hormuz, then aquick run up to Kuwait, we stopped to give a Dhow some fresh water.The Dhow was spotted flying the international (Arab) was a buckethoisted upside down! So we gave the crew water , potatoes and onions,and on our way.
Kuwaitin sight, warm Shamal wind blowing the sand offshore. BritishMilitary still in Country and a carrier (HMS Bulwark I think) forceoffshore, I often wondered did they have A/C on the warships.
Wewent alongside to load, crew scrambling over our rails to get to theCold Water fountains, this time I did not take a cash advance. WE haddiscovered a new system, we could sell our blood !!
Onthe side of the Seaman’s club they had built a small medicalCentre, here you could give a pint of blood and receive 5 KuwaitDinars. 1 bar of Milk Chocolate and a pint of Pure Orange juice. Ittook just over one hour to complete all have a 20minute rest, then tothe Cinema or the club. Back to the ship with all remaining moneyspent on Sweets. Chewing gum and Fruit of the loom shorts.
Toppedoff with a full cargo and sailed, Back to Europe, up the Red Sea,Suez Canal Mediterranean. Passing Malta we got our discharge portorders, Discharge Isle of Grain, not very exciting.
Goingup the English Cannel we had thick fog, ‘very thick’, lots of bigships coming and going in this seaway, a difficult place to Navigateon a clear day. Thick Fog was a nightmare for our Captain, We crawledup to Dungeness and anchored, for the fog to clear and pick up thePilot to get us into the Thames. The thing I remember about Fog isNoise travels further and clearly, Ships passing close to us youcould hear their Engines throbbing, also hear people talking, yet youcould not see anything.
Nextmorning Fog had cleared so Pilot on board, up anchor and make for theThames. Slow run up to the Isle of Grain on the incoming tide. Radiowas good in these parts as we could receive the New Pirate RadioStations, my Favorite being Radio Caroline.
Oncealongside we were told that after Cargo was finished we would go upRiver to Tilbury, tie up to Buoys and undergo repairs to our boilerTubes,.
Thecrew was asked did they want to stay for another trip as we would bechanging articles. We would be tied up for ten days. I opted to stay;it was not a bad ship.
Dullstay there was a launch laid on to take you ashore, but after hearingwhat it was like, I stayed on the ship, Then came the day to sign newarticles, when the shipping Master saw my book, he said I was due apay rise, This is a good ship for me, two pay rises in two months.
Dayof sailing came. We all wanted to get to sea, fed up sitting lookingat the Brown River Thames, Dockyard workers trying to scrounge meals.
Surprisesurprise, we had our orders to sail for Mina al Ahmadi, I was hopingfor something more glamorous in my ambitions to see the World.
Downthrough the Bay of Biscay, beautiful summer weather, we couldisee Finester on the horizon masses of small fishing boats catchingsardines.
Withthe Boilers now fixed and good weather we were making 17 knots, agood speed, soon passed around Cape St Vincent and you could smellthe Gorse on the land.
Ourspeed was impressive as we went through the straits of Gibraltar,with the current we made 18 knots and were passing all types ofships, time to touch up on the Bronzy, No sun tan lotion in thosedays we just use cooking oil, it did the trick as we were soon allbrown, nobody knew about skin cancer then.
Wepassed on down the Med, our course this time took us closer to theLibyan side, a small Island stuck in the Med called Pantalaria, itwas an Italian Territory, you could see the villages dotted near thecoast with their red tile roofs, It always looked a Romantic Islandto me.
Thenacross to the Italian coast, to get a good view of Malta. Though Ihad passed this place before I was not able to see much of the place,maybe it was because of the good weather, Then a straight line downto Port said. Arriving in the early morning, we tied up to the buoys,the Captain had hired a paint crew, to paint round the ship, Pontoonscame alongside the ships with staging on them for different heights.Ship supplied our Standard color hull paints, Grey Part the way downthen Red to the water line, labour being so cheap we soon had theship crawling with men just like ants, with all the Extra Wog’s onBoard we had to make sure all our cabins were locked and port holes‘Dogged down’ by the end of the day the job was complete.
Sailedon the night convoy tied up in the cut. Although the Canal is builtthrough a desert, there is a lot of Villages, Farms along the routeand interesting to see, ‘well I thought so’
NorthBound Convoy passed us and we sailed south not stopping in the lakesbut straight through to the Red Sea, Port Tewfik.
Goingout of the anchorage and into the red sea, it was not uncommon topass at least five company ships heading north, if we were close wecould shout abuse at the crews and throw potatoes. At this time BPTankers owned 120 Tankers.
Commonshout was “Any Geordies aboard” followed by any ‘Scousers’ somany British Ships in those days, Clan Line, Port Line, Ben Line,Shaw Savil, Blue Funnel, Fedral steam and New Zealand ,Baron Boats,Plus smaller companies, they were the main users of the Canal andeastern ports.
RedSea was getting hot and would get hotter as we approached ‘HellsGates’ pass on to the island of Socotra, then the Baron Rocks ofAden. Fast progress up the coast to Ras – al- Had. A Landmarkpoint where we turned course for the straits of Hormuz, Then we werein the Persian Gulf. Passing Muscat, which had a Rock fort on itsheadland.
Wakeup in the morning wet and damp from sleeping out on deck, Once theship got into the RED SEA, we would sweat day and night, until weleft the area. WE all lived on Dextrose coated salt Tablets, I was attimes taking 16 a day.
MinaAl Ahamadi was busy, so for the first time we had to anchor and waitfor a berth. Took to fishing for sharks, and no problem catchingthem, cut their tails off and throw them back into the sea, watch theother sharks attack them.
Ourturn to go alongside, over the rails and a quick dash for the coldwater fountains on the Jetty. Then sell a pint of blood, stock up onboiled sweets and chewing gum, because of the high temperatures wecould not able to take chocolates with us, as the chocolate melted inthe cabins.
Averagedaily temp was 120 F. Not a place to live
Wewere All pleased to be loaded and sail, I knew the long trek back toEurope, but time flies, Days pass and all measured by the Land marks,how many days to Aden, how many days to the Canal, How many days toGibraltar etc.
Onceinto the Med, we received order for our discharge port, we woulddischarge in Antwerp, at last a foreign port I had not visitedbefore.

Arrivedoff the river Scheldt and anchored waiting a berth. If I remembercorrectly we were abreast of the Town of Flushing. Plenty of rivertraffic to look at, from cargo ships to Coasters and Barges. We hadto wait Three days, before the Pilots came out to the ship, One Pilotfor the River Passage, one pilot for the locks.

Iused to spend all my spare time on deck watching the scenery.Approaching the lock Three Tugs came to the ship, two made fast toour bow the third came up to our Stern, wire ropes hooked onto ourbollards.
Atsome time a problem arose with our Stern Tug, she was heaving hardastern, smoke billowing out of its funnel, lucky enough I was insidethe Galley, with a good view over our stern, then there was aexplosive bang, the Tugs Wire rope had parted. Lucky enough our crewhad seen the wire taught and heard the wire start to sing, a suresign that it was about to break, they all ran out of harm’s way.

Thewire rope on the ship end whipped back and hit the metal on thecorner of the Galley, with a tremendous bang,
Laterwhen I had a chance to look the wire rope had made a dent in themetal bulkhead and a big lump of our paintwork had been removedright down to bear metal.
Wetied up in the locks while a new tow rope was fixed.
Ifanybody was left standing in that area when the rope parted, it wouldhave sliced them in Half. Quite a sobering thought.

Throughthe lock into the docks, Oil tankers in a separate part of the Docks,Tankers only !!!

Wegot cleared by Customs and Immigration, Received our Money, washedand changed then ready for the town, had to get a Taxi but not far togo. Part of the town where we lay was old Narrow streets with cobblesstones, Seaman’s bars doted down the street, not very interestingjust Bars with tables and chairs no Dancing women. We a Group of Fourdecided we would go to a well-known bar on the street called “Danny’sBar” Must be good we could hear music while standing in the street.

Gotthrough the doors it was heaving; only problem was the girls weremen!!!!!! Danny’s Bar was famous for its drag queens andTransvestites. Only men in the bar were ourselves.

AsI was 17, it was a bit discerning for me, I kept very close to mymates, I was concerned about going to the toilet, and purposelywaiting until one of my mates was ready to go .
Infact, I later understood, there was nothing to worry about, you don’ttouch them they don’t touch you.

TheBar men were Men, but all dressed in drag, they looked like women andwere quite happy to flirt with a young seaman like me. Time to findanother Bar.
Iwas not impressed with Antwerp, We had a few more beers and then backto the Ship, The beer was Stella Artois, strong Lager beer; we weredrinking it in Belgium years before it became a famous Internationalbeer.

Ourcargo discharged at the FINA OIL REFINERY. We sailed out of the locksand down the river to the North Sea, Our ordered were received inAntwerp, we would sail into the Mediterranean and load a cargo ofcrude oil in a Place called ‘Sidon’ which was in the Lebanon,Interesting part of these orders we had a discharge port, before weloaded the Cargo, this cargo was to be discharged in Perth Amboy, aport on the Newark River near New York.
Nowthis was exciting for me, two new ports and to visit America,something to write home about!

Ourtrip through the Bay of Biscay was good, Summer time, so we had theblue skies and the long Atlantic swell coming in behind us. Becauseof the nice weather we were passing a lot of sardine boats andtrawlers, this area was heaving with fish.

Oncewe passed Gibraltar we made full speed to Sidon, it was a bitdisappointing to learn the we would load offshore from a submarinepipe line. Because of our course was to take us to the Lebanon, wepassed close to the islands of Crete and Cyprus. My Radio was pickingup the forces station from American Air force base at Heraklion, later I was getting music from British Air Force at Larnaka inCyprus. Music was important for us then, we were all young andenjoyed the Music of that time, though I can’t remember the tunes,must have been Cliff Richard, Elvis, etc.,

Arrivedwith blue Mediterranean Sky’s and the Sea was the match, in thebackground of Lebanon was a range of Mountains covered with Snow, areal picturesque scene.
Ourship was maneuvered stern first to the land, our anchors ran outahead of us, then we picked up big Mooring wires attached to Buoys,these were made fast to our stern, once in position we pulled the pipe line up from the seabed and connected to our Manifolds, the pipelines were not very big so this would mean it would not be a quickload.
Niceplace to stay looked nice, we could not spend any money, also thesituation arose of us being fixed offshore, no means of access for usto go ashore, this would be classed as a Sunday at Sea, another daysPaid leave. Later this was to be contested between the Company andthe Union.

Whiletied up off Sidon, the Sea was blue and clear, in the afternoons andevenings. Most of the Young crew, dived off the ship for a swim, aswe had pumped out our ballast, the deck was at least 35 foot fromdeck to the water, you soon discover it’s a long way down!
Afterswimming around for an hour, you are faced with a long climb up thepilot ladder to get back on board, these really saps your strength.But good fun at the time.

Wehad some small boats come along side selling lovely sweet Tangerines,in wicker baskets covered with green leaved branches, I forget theprice, but we had to barter with Belgian Money and any other leftover Coins from various countries.

Ihad never tasted fresh Tangerines before; these were fantastic andonly lasted an hour, before they were all gone.
AfterThree days we had loaded our full cargo.
Lebanonhad no oil reserves of its own, so I guess our oil had come from,Iran or Iraq via pipe lines.

Lettinggo of the stern wires to the Buoys was a dangerous operation, wirewas help in place by a chain stopper, this was slowly let off untildown to the last three turns, Once the surrounding deck was clear,the seaman dropped the stopper, The last three turns unfolded ontheir own, then with a Swish the wire ropes lid over the side, nobodywould have stand a chance If in the way.

(Iwonder how they manage in this day and age of HSE.)

Wiresgone we heaved up on two anchors, pointing the ship in the rightdirection, then start engines and we were away, next stop New York.Weather down to Gibraltar was ok, so was our entrance to theAtlantic, our weather stayed good and we had an uneventful crossingof the Western Ocean.
Arrivedin the Hudson River and anchored in The Quarantine station.

Shipwas swamped by a big team of Immigration and FBI official’s, Eachperson was questioned as to whether we had any alliance to thecommunist regime.
Eachperson was given a brief medical to reduce the risk to America of anycontagious disease we might have. Basically eyes, hands and Penis.
Thenwe were individually photographed, and had our fingerprints taken,this was in 1962, all our details were recorded we were issued with anumber and later we would be issued an Alien Seaman’s ID Card. Istill have mine. In later years when I asked an Immigration officerin Long Beach if this information was still in use, he showed me myfile on his computer. WOW !

Wewent on up the river passing Staten island and under the old HudsonRiver bridge, till we reached Pert Amboy. Nothing spectacular to lookat, in fact if anything it looked Run Down.
Whata surprise the United States of America turned out to be, we were notallowed to walk in groups or wait on a street corner; we had to bevery careful crossing a road, in case we infringed J Walking. You hadto be over 21 with a passport or ID card to get a drink.

Iwas not interested in going into New York City, some of our lads weregoing to see the Empire state building, still at that stage thetallest building in New York.

ButI was impressed with the fast food service, burger , hot dogsdelicious, fried egg on a griddle without floating in a pan of oil orfat, side salads tucked into the side, made it adventuress to eat andthe prices where cheap.

WranglerJeans were the main thing to buy, straight Legs wrangler Blues, heavyduty were $15, these where the real thing and lasted for years andlooked good.

Timegust flew by, my radio could pick up about 30 different radiostations, the popular group was the Four Seasons and their first hitwas Cherrie Baby, followed by the flip side Rag Doll. Rock’N’Roll Jive and blue jeans.
Ittook us ages to discharge, their pipe lines were old and keptleaking, were continuously asked to stop pumping while repairs weretaking place.

Wefinally sailed, I for one was pleased to leave and still had some $in my pocket. We sailed and had orders to proceed to Curacao in theCaribbean. Once we started to sail South we got challenged daily byUS aircraft and Naval ships, same question “What Ship, Nationalityand where Bound” this was at the peak of the Cuban Missile crisis,so at some stage we were passing close to Cuba.
Wehad orders to go to proceed to Venezuela a small port called AmoyBay.

Situatedon the north coast of Venezuela, in a small sandy lagoon. With Palmtrees and scores of Pelicans flying in line as they do.
Thisplace had Two Jetty’s and a road which lead somewhere, but No townor village in site.

Weall got small subs of Local Money “bolivars” as there was acanteen at the top of the two jetty’s,
Justa few minutes’ walk from the ship.
Afterwork nearly all the ship’s crew, were in the Canteen, nice localmusic and cold cans of beer ‘Polar Bear Lager’ I will neverforget that name, it was strong and quite cheap, The crew had a ballsome were drinking all night. The Catering crew back on board fellinghappy and tired.

Nextday after completing all my work we went ashore again had some beersand went for a swim off the jetty lovely clear warm water. Then backin the evening for more beer, it tasted really nice and each can wasfrosted cold.

Backon Board listened to some local radio station music Latin Americabeat. Funny thing was the temperatures were warm and nice, not hotlike the Persian Gulf so we could sleep comfortably in our bunks.

Nextday we were due to sail midafternoon, Time for a few cold beersbefore going back to the ship, half of our crew had been drinkingsince breakfast.
Ourdrinking time was called to a halt when the ships started soundingits whistle for crew to return! Some of the seamen still had moneyleft, so they bought some cases of beer and walked back to the ship,to be stopped at the Gangway by the Captain and chief officer, sayingthey could not bring the beer on board.
Thedrunken group of seamen said ok, no Problem, we will just sit hereand drink all of it, but we are not leaving it. Bit of a dilemma,ships was ready to sail , Tugs alongside, a lot of the crew ashorenot wanting to leave their beer.
Captaintold them they could come aboard with two cans each which they had toleave on the deck with the chief officer, for drinking after theships had sailed, rest had to be drunk quickly, or he would leavethem behind. The jolly adventures of the British Seaman.

Soa standoff adverted, much to the bemusement of us younger seamen.

Sailedfrom Amoy Bay, still getting challenged by the Americans until wewere well up into the Atlantic, then we had orders to proceed to Isleof Grain for Discharge, we would also change ships articles, so theCaptain could rid himself of the Mutineers.
Fromall I had heard about the Atlantic waves and Storms we had a goodcrossing up into the English Channel. No Fog this time but we stillhad to stop a Dungeness for the Pilots. No delays and the tide rightto take us in alongside, the crew that wanted to leave were paid offthat night, New articles would be signed in the morning.

Againa big surprise, I was offered a promotion to assistant Steward arating at last, as I was still under 18 and not eligible for thatrating: if an assistant steward appeared in the next two days, Iwould have to stay as a catering Boy, if not I would sail as anAssistant Steward with a big increase to my wages.
BritishSailor was a lucky ship for me, Three wage increases in six months,I was on tenterhooks until we sailed, no body turned up so Captainsigned me on in my new rate, I was to be the crew mess man, a nicequiet job when the crew where sober!

Iphone home before we sailed to give Mum and Dad the good news, theywere happy, when signing on with an increased wage I was able toleave a monthly allotment to my Gran and Grandfather ,it was a lotfor me GBP 5 per month, but it would be a help to Mum and Dad as wellto support them.

Notonly did I get a promotion but inherited a Cabin to myself, pureluxury,
Withall the excitement before I knew it we were passing through the Bayof Biscay on our way to Syria a port called Banais, which I was tovisit many times.
LikeSidon this was a sub marine pipe line, and no going ashore, I wasstill organizing my own Cabin and did not worry still had my Valveradio and could pick up the BBC Overseas service, Two x 15 minuteslots weekly , Requests on The Merchant Navy program everybody triedto listen in for that. The two portholes in my cabin were recessesinto a false panel which gave me two large type window boxes. Theoriginal white paint was cream with age and had Rust marks, so Iapplied a couple of coats of new white paint and got all of thebrass rims shining including the lugs, looked very smart, The Captainnoticed it on his inspection and complemented me.

Weloaded in quick time and sailed, our orders were to Discharge inAntwerp, so nothing new, but at least we were working in coolerclimates and winter was coming.
Thiswas a quick trip back through the Med our hopes were high that wewould get some more good ports with our next set of orders.
Arrivedoff the Scheldt, again we had to anchor his time for four days. Intothe locks no more problems with Tugs this time, Tied up in theevening, received our subs and Taxi to the bars. Ready to let ourhair down, why not so up To Danny’s bar for a laugh and a Joke, butdon’t take the piss out of the trannies they could handlethemselves pretty well as we saw later with some Norwegian Sailors. This time I was not so concerned, my team sat at a table with four‘girls’ they all spoke good English, and were reasonably good. But later in the evening with a lot of Stella down our throats, thegirls were getting more adventurous and wanting to hug us, I said toour group come on time to go, We were asked to go back to theirapartment for some more drinks, I could see what would happen after,so cab back to the ship, very interesting night. It was start ofwinter and these small narrow cobbled streets were bloody freezing,Next night ashore we visited a bar called the Zambezi, much the sameas Dann’ys bar but different faces at least warm inside next to Gasfires.
Notmuch walking done, all the bars seemed to be the same, so Taxi backto the ship. Time for sailing we got our orders proceed to Mina alAhmadi via the Suez, Of yes we know the road very well, so from coldEuropean winter back to the Gulf and some warmth, yes it was stillhot but bearable , Intake of salt tablets was lower. Same old story,sell our blood, get our free chocolate and Orange Juice watch amovie, buy some more Fruit of the loom pants and T shirts.
Thelong drag back through the red Sea and Suez, this time when weentered the Mediterranean it was noticeably colder, within two dayswe were putting blankets on our beds, what a nice feeling to have ablanket on your bed.

Inthe Mediterranean before we got to Gib, we received our dischargeorders, Dunkirk in France. Joined to that message, was when we sailedwe would start tank cleaning to be ready for Dry docking in Falmouth,(my old home port)
Dunkirk,I don’t think anybody got a sub, as we knew we would be back in theUK in a week, I am sure nobody went ashore even.

Cargodischarged, we sailed into the channel at slow speed, Tank cleaningand Gas freeing as we went, took five days, before we anchored offFalmouth had to wait our turn to berth on the Tank cleaning jetty, todischarge our oil slops into the shore tanks. After which we paidoff, I wanted to stay a few days see my Grandparents and old friends,Captain said I could stay in my cabin on the ship.
Greatguy Captain A.J. Max.
Didall my visiting, and then took the train to Manchester, via Cardiffand Havorford West, all change at Crewe and to Manchester Piccadilly.
As it was a working day fordad I decided to find my own way home by Train and bus with my twosuit cases and my Radio, got to Alrincham and rather than get anotherbus I got a taxi.

Igot home Mum was still out so dropped my bags in the porch andwalked down to the Local Pub, ‘The Bulls Head’ stayed there tillMum figured what I had done.
Wehad a couple of drinks together before dad got home. I had been awayfor eight months. Good to be home.

WEhad a nice meal and a good drink with Dad, relaying my stories, still17 years old.