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Thread: First trip memories

  1. #1
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    Default First trip memories

    First trip to sea. September 22-1955.
    I did this last year, but thought I would do it again as we have quite a few new members.
    Recall sailing down the Channel on the Warwick Castle.
    Would rather forget the Bay of Biscay.
    First port of call, Gibraltar. Stopped at most Ports up the Med.
    Who could ever forget Port Said, On to Port Sudan. Aden, and Zanzibar. All places of adventure we had read about as kids.
    Down the east coast to Cape Town. Of course had to do the cable car trip up to Table Mountain.
    On to St Helena, Ascension Island, and Canary Islands.
    Paid off in London. Felt like an old sea dog. Couldnít wait to tell my pals about my adventures. Donít think the believed half of it.
    Also couldnít wait to ship out again.
    Still get nostalgic thinking about my first trip. It was the beginning of some of the happiest years of my life.
    How about sharing some of you first trip memories?
    Den.

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    Default My first trip to sea

    I posted this elsewere a couple of years back but seeing the invite,, well

    I might need help to clarify some of the details
    MY FIRST TRIP TO SEA

    I attended Tilbury pool very soon after leaving Gravesend Sea School and they took us by minibus down to the Isle of Grain and the British Crown where we all arrived after dark. There were three catering boys destined for the ship and both the others had been at sea before so they knew the ropes and as we were lined up they stepped forward for the pantry boy positions. Leaving me to get the wonderful galley boy vacancy. The cook was Mr Jones a Welsh chef and the 2nd cook/baker was a Geordie. I canít remember how long settling in took but I can certainly remember the job seemed very hard to me. (Please do not misunderstand, as I had been used to hard work from an early age having various jobs before leaving school). I would spend each morning washing up the breakfast and lunch pans, fetching up stores and being left outside the galley using most of the afternoon to peel loads of spuds. In the meantime most catering staff were sleeping at their afternoon break until dinner at about 6pm. I was never able despite my best intentions to get all the work done much before everybody else returned from rest
    We proceeded southwards around the cape to the Persian Gulf, as it was the time of Suez. The first port of call was Santa Cruz de Tenerife where we filled up with ships stores lots of fruit and vegetables etc. As it was my first time ever outside England some of us went out into the town. I remember one long main street with lots of bars (my first introduction to the real world). Val(my wife) and I visited it a couple of years ago, and how it had changed from my memory. In total it must have taken in total about 2 weeks to Mina ĖAl-Amadi Kuwait in the Persian Gulf. On arrival we were quite a distance from the shore along a wooden jetty. It seems we were not allowed any further than a mess hall located on the jetty .We were told the Sheikh did not allow crews ashore from visiting ships, we had free soft drinks and snacks provided. We were able to meet other crews and saw the beauty of the insides of Norwegian and Swedish tankers and the other extreme, a Hain ship I believe the "Trelawny"? Built about1928. We were there about a day and also some time was spent fishing, as the weather was superb.

    After loading with crude oil we left via the cape to return for (Lands End for orders). A short while along the coast we had severe engine trouble spending some time drifting. Providing an opportunity for shark fishing so we got some meat hooks out of the refrigerator and loaded them up, but it was very difficult to get the big fishes over the rail, bending a few hooks in the process. It then appeared that we would need major repairs (a boiler brick collapse?) so made our way to Durban being berthed on the Bluff, and after a short time we were moved into the docks nearer the Town Centre.

    Armed Guards were mounted around the clock as the local newspapers proclaimed that the British Crown had been the largest loaded Tanker to ever have berthed in Durban. It seems they may have already had a previous tanker explosion. We were there about 2 weeks and it was a wonderful experience for a young man new to the world, swimming and learning in the bars in the evening the (Cosmopolitan and Vasco da Gama) the main ones, and meeting crews from the Union Castle liners. I remember that a quite a few of the older crew misbehaved whilst in Durban and probably resulted in all of us including the innocent not being required for the next trip (one chap being found asleep in a state of undress every morning at the bottom of the gangplank). After departure the engine trouble continued for a short time but we were then on our way, many small difficulties had ensued, as we were unable to use the canvas swimming pool, which was certainly needed in the hot weather. It was suggested that the Bosun did not want the deck ruined, plus for a period of the return trip we found ourselves very low on some main provisions. We called in again at Santa Cruz de Tenerife as outward bound and renewed our acquaintances in the local bars. Some times at sea we enjoyed a film show on the open deck one I especially call to mind was (A Day to Remember) about some WW2 veterans returning to France for a reunion, I and others I expect fell in love with ODILE VERSOIS the leading lady.

    As we neared the UK we found to our bad luck that we would be going to Rotterdam to discharge and found ourselves at Pernis. Of course this meant we not back in the UK so we would be off again to the gulf. I remember some of us went together across the ferry to Vlaardingen to visit the Missions to Seamen in the thick freezing snow we were made most welcome as always, I bought my mum one of those sailing ship table lamps made from a clog.
    The whole trip lasted about six months and the return to the gulf was as I remember a reasonably uneventful reprise of the previous one but this time we did get back to Grain. Paid off saying goodbye to the board of trade acquaintances I had made, now 60 years later I remember most especially. Jack Wright of Chatham, Yorkie the ex Vindi pantry boy from Wheatley Doncaster and Maurice Dice (moby dice) who played a mean guitar and entertained us with Hank Williamís songs, Fred Flood the Fearless fireman from Pompey. And of course, Captain Cole
    . Alan Judge ex NSTS Gravesend

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    Good yarn. I also brought back a clog sailing ship lamp. Still around someplace.
    Den.

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    Default Trips!!

    Hi Den,
    Yes mate recall all those Ports too,and al the other things ! Great!
    Now not to spoil the Thread here,just to let you know that this as you say has been posted before!
    I cant find yours at this stage Den
    Thanks for the post anyway! Great Memories especially that FIRST TRIP!

    Cheers
    Last edited by Doc Vernon; 1st January 2019 at 09:24 AM.
    Senior Member and Friend of this Website

    R697530

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    Cool Bristol channel or weston under the 7 bridge

    My first trip age allmost 14yrs Myself and a mate called Gilesey when to our local labour exchange looking for work, we both had been kicked out of school, There was a job for us both on a ship , non pool so we had a chat and said why not, we joined The Westward Ho paddle steamer? p.a campbell on Cardiff pier head, we both worked in the saloon in a storage cupboard selling cans of drinks' to day tripers mostly the same age as us but from posh schools, when we were at sea our job was to mop the saloon floor the ship leaked it was missing a few rivets, in bad weather it was hard work { non stop} my cabin was shared with 6 other boys in the forecastle , the food was bad, but we was drunk allmost ever night? and lived on sea side food, fish and chips and sea food .After a few months after the summer time the job stopped ,so when to sea school as deck boy.

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    Hi Den,
    Heres a, memory jog... "Warwick Castle" I did one trip April 55 to June, like a bus service, Loved Genoa, but for me it was a bore till I got to Durban & Capetown. Of course being a winger you had little time off.
    Remember Zanzibar with it's high fortressed wall and the Casba, some of the other places had beautiful beaches
    Frank
    SEE BELOW:- taken from a union Castle booklet, too many pages too display, also map
    (SUNNY LEITH SCOTLAND)

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    Thanks Vernon, Found the okd one in the archives.
    Den.
    Having a little bevy and feeling remorse.
    Today's date September 22.
    On this date in 1955, slipped moorings and sailed on my first trip to sea.
    Can any of us ever forget the date or the ship that we first set out on our adventure in the Merch.
    We had no idea of what laid ahead. Good mates we would meet, interesting ports of call,and pretty young ladies. But most of all. A life time of memories to cherish.
    Another thing we didn't know. The future would bring us Brian's great site.
    For me, it has filled a void.
    I want to thank Brian, and each of you, for giving me the opportunity to re-live some of those days.
    Better company could never be found.
    Think I need another drink or a box of Kleenex.
    Den.

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    Got me Goin now lads,
    My pay off slip aged 20, long hours, wages crap, tips also, you don't have to be a mathamtician to see I paid of with coppers after sending mum an allotment
    Frank
    See below
    (SUNNY LEITH SCOTLAND)

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    Exclamation first trip

    Hi Den. Hi Dr Vernon,Hi Wilfo,098, Hi paco {the chopper} and the young mrs mae in sunny leith nr blackrock, hi shipmates' Part two, I worked on the Bristol and cardiff queen. for a while takeing off supplies but did not sail on them, they were much better jobs? my wages were £4.oo a week had paper discharges' but they were lost in a fire, found out years later, my mate Gilesey became a boxer in America. Deep sea was much better than the round the coast, stopping at all the sea side towns in sunny britain on a leakey boat but not many alive today? can say there first trip to sea was from the old peir head in Cardiff, to under the new, now old seven bridge.

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    Frank, guess we missed each other on the Warwick by about one trip.
    Funny that my first ship would be the Warwick Castle. I lived in Warwickshire and, believe it or not, used to go camping [that word again] illegally, and do a little poaching in the Castle grounds.
    Like you, I loved Genoa. Although on my first run ashore was scared to death as the 'ladies' used to grab hold of me as I walked by. Happy to say, I soon got over it.
    Den.

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