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Article: Stranded in Archangel

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    Stranded in Archangel

    3 Comments by Ross Llewellyn Published on 19th February 2021 03:36 PM
    September 1955. We were making our way through the pack ice in the White sea on our way to Archangel USSR for timber, the ship being empty the banging and scrapping of the ice on the side of the ship sounded like we were inside a drum, and were were glad when we had cleared that.I had just had my 17th birthday i was one of two cabin boys on the 4199 ton cargo ship La Pampa belonging to Buries Markes, and this was my first visit to Archangel and we didn't know what to expect,i know one of our cooks who had been with us on the continent a Polish chap had left the ship when we found out we were going to the USSR he said he dear not go there i don`t know why, there was always the tales of salt mines and that sort of thing. Tying up it didn't look any different fro any other port apart from the stacks of timber everywhere. The dockers were all women supervised by a few men and our crew soon found out they were unapproachable, a wast of time trying to talk to then they didn't even seem to talk to one and other ,some of the men were a bit more sociable but i think that was because they were after papers to roll their tobacco in. While were were there loading people from the Embassy took us on a visit to a circus but our main entertainment was the Flying Angel Mission,a half mile walk into town along a wooden walkway that reminded me of the walkways in the cowboy films,there you could buy English bottled beer we tryed the local beer sold at the side of the road but it was terrible,there was also two full sized snooker tables on which we spent a lot of time on. I had teemed up with Willy a lad fro Maryhill Glasgow he was a deck boy on board, we spent a long time there but one day it got us into a spot of bother. We had gone to the mission one afternoon for our usual game but on returning to the ship we found it in mid stream and on its way down river, we had no idea what to do but one of the deck cadets on board spoke German and managed to shout to the dockers were they were going to and the dockers knew enough German to write down on a piece of old graph paper where the ship was heading. so we headed back into town to find some transport with this piece of paper. After showing this piece of paper around we were put on a tram but after awhile were were getting worried but the conductor kept on putting his hand up to sit down and smiling . Eventually we came to a stop and he took us over to a train station and after a conversation with some people told us to sit and wait,we were getting worried what was going on but after a while a train came along,then there was another gathering with the station staff and we were put on the train with the guard.This journey took us several hours we had no idea how long we had been traveling since we had last seen the ship this beeing of course 24 hour daylight, but during this whole time nobody had asked us for any money which was a good thing because we didn't have any.Eventualy we came to a station and the guard took us off and pointed a direction over a bridge and we could see in the distance the funnel of the ship with the big BM on it. We thanked the Guard and made our way to the bridge but our troubles were not over the bridge was unfinished and we had to make our way over walking on the girders hanging onto electric cables. once over we made our way to the ship,we expected a rollicking when we went on board but the Captain and chief steward asked us why we had not checked before going ashore,we had no answer to that for we knew the ship had not finished loading and we just went ashore as usual,apparently they had to go to another yard to finish loading but we knew nothing about that. The Cheif steward told us to go to our cabins and get our heads down for the rest of the day,but i was starving so i went to the galley got some food and then my cabin,and then sleep.

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    Default Re: Stranded in Archangel

    Saw the la pampa in wallaroo oz in 1958 .....a smart looking vessel ....the second mate was a guy from jersey called downer ....i had sailed with him in the cragmoor in56 or 57 ...i was skint he lent me 10 bob ...so with interest it would be big bucks now ....lol...a good adventure and learning curve for two youngns...happy days cappy

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    Default Re: Stranded in Archangel

    That brought back memories for me. I was working on the Greek ship " Teti N" on the Archangel to NE UK (hartlepool ) service with timber.
    We came south out of archangel through the Norwegian Fiords then hopped across the North sea to the UK. We had to get out of Archangel
    before October iced the port. If stuck you were there for the winter. I liked the seamans club, the girls were friendly too.
    I disliked the lack of street lighting and the holes in the wooden pavements.
    I can certainly imagine your journey back to the ship.

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    Default Re: Stranded in Archangel

    Missed this before Ross,
    very interesting.

    Keith.
    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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