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Thread: Missing in jamaica

  1. #1
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    Nov 2008
    Bolton UK
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    Default Missing in jamaica

    In 1954 I signed on the Tilapa, one of Fyffe`s Banana boat for a four week trip to Jamaica.
    When we arrived in Kingston we were only there for one night so we went ashore to sample the Appletons Estate rum and any young lady who happened our way.
    We ended up in the Blue Duck Bar and I met up with a young lady by the name of Gloria Campbell,
    We ended up in bed all afternoon and into the evening with a few rums in between to keep the strength up.
    After a shower and some more rum I staggered out into the night and at the bottom of Kent Street I was mugged and battered unconscious by a gang of Jamaicans.
    Next morning I awoke in an alley covered in blood, stiff and sore all over my body and the pain was terrible.
    I staggered to my feet and found all my money and ciggies were gone,
    I limped around to the dock and found the Tilapa had gone.
    "Kinnell, no money, no cigs, and no ship". I sat on a bollard in the early morning sun, and felt really pissed off. .
    I bummed a ciggy from a passing docker, he told me the Tilapa had sailed two hours earlier and "You look a hell of a mess man".
    I flicked the end of the ciggy into the water and limped around to the Blue Duck Bar,
    The bar was closed but the cleaning lady let me in when I asked for Gloria, Gloria came down and was shocked to see me in that condition she took me upstairs and bathed my wounds and gave me a shower, and got the cleaning lady to wash my dungarees and shirt, then she put me to bed for the day. I slept most of the day and awoke to find Gloria ironing my gear
    " Hi Honey, how you feel now?? " A lot better than I did this morning, just a little sore where those Bastards kicked me"
    ."Hey I got some chilly beans on de stove if your ready to eat" " Thanks" I replied.
    After the meal and a cold beer I felt a lot better. but still had a problem. "I got no money and no ship, I guess the police will be looking for me now"
    "What you want to do Honey, give yourself up and go in de jail till the next ship comes in or you want to stay with me." "I got no money and the cops will soon find me if I sit in the bar."
    " No problem" she said, "I have a shack up in de Blue Mountains, and we can go up there and I will look after you" "Yes that will be OK, " I said.
    " We`ll go in de morning when I have sorted out a few things to take,` said Gloria. `Meanwhile we go downstairs and have a few drinks"
    Later that evening we went back to bed and made love again for most of the night.
    Next morning Gloria had borrowed and old pick up truck and loaded it with a couple of bags with food and even a few bottles of beer and a bottle of rum, this gal must have really fancied me.
    Then we climbed on board and set off for the Blue Mountains.
    Once out of town it was a narrow winding track past the sugar plantations and then rain forest up to about three thousand feet above Kingston. We pulled off the road and into the bush and there was a small clearing with a two roomed wooden shack alongside a small stream that tumbled down the mountain, it had a small garden of limes, paw paw and mangoes, and a magnificent view over Kingston, " This will do me " I thought " There`s nowt wrong with this".
    Gloria sorted out the shack and made a bed stowed the food away and then we fell on the bed and had another session,
    This girl was insatiable. After bathing in the stream Gloria said she had to go back to work in Kingston and would be back in two days.
    I soon settled down in my new surroundings, I could not believe it, early retirement at the age of 19, it can`t be bad.
    During the day when Gloria was working in Kingston I kept busy tidying up the garden and soon had it looking good.
    In the stream by the little waterfall I removed all the rocks from the bottom and made a dam so eventually I had a small swim pool about three feet deep and fifteen feet wide. It was a great life.
    Every other day Gloria came up with food and rum and her speciality, curried goats meat.
    We would spend the day lazing around, making love and splashing around in the pool then we would sit drinking our rum and fresh lime juice gazing over the blue Caribbean or the lights of Kingston twinkling below.
    As the months passed I became bronzed with the sun and just wore a loincloth, my beard was growing longer and so was my hair.
    One day as I was wandering around the bush I came across a group of American tourists. They were fascinated in me so I played the part,
    I told them I was a Blue Mountain Yeti, the divis believed it and wanted to take my photo.
    I posed with each one and they all gave me several dollars for it. so I was able to give it to Gloria for looking after me.
    But the word was soon going around Kingston about a Blue Mountain Yeti, that the tourists wanted to see. The Police became interested and came up the mountain to investigate, and I was captured. They handcuffed me and fighting and shouting they threw me in the back of their truck and took me down
    to Kingston Police Station in Kent Street near the City Hall. I would never see my paradise again, There is always some bastard who wants to spoil your day. An English expat Police Inspector questioned me. I told him I had been beaten up lost my memory and missed my ship and that a young lady had looked after me
    This Bastard treated me with the contempt that only an expat could have for a seaman. He told me they did not want scum like me to be on their Island and I would be deported as soon as a ship could be found to take me back to England.
    I was flung into a cell that stank and was totally unsanitary, the mattress was full of fleas and the food was disgusting.
    The following day I persuaded one of the Jamaican Policemen to take a message to Gloria at the Blue Duck Bar.
    She arrived in less than an hour, and was shocked and weeping, to see me like this. She pleaded with the Police to let me go but to no avail. She left and soon returned with a towel and some soap, and with some food, she even smuggled a bottle of rum wrapped in the towel. Good girl!. She could visit as often as she wanted but we could only hold hands through the bars of the cell
    She knew this was the end and it was very sad, rather like being in the condemned cell, waiting for the end.
    Eight days later the English Police Inspector arrived again and informed me that a ship, amazingly the `Tilapa` again, was in Port Antonio, on the North side of the Island and that I would be deported immediately.
    I was shocked at the suddenness of it all, I couldn’t tell Gloria that I was going and I would never see her again.
    I was handcuffed and dragged outside and shackled to the inside of a police van, I was struggling and shouting abuse at the Police
    I was still wearing my loincloth and beard and long hair and a crowd of Jamaicans stood outside the Station on Kent Street laughing and jeering at this "wild animal".
    My God, I thought, if this is what happens when you miss a ship, I`m glad I didn`t steal an apple or something.
    The Jamaican Police driver bounced the van over the roughest roads in Jamaica as he made his way over the Blue Mountains
    On the six hour drive to Port Antonio. I was being flung around in the back of the van, the shackles cutting into my wrist.
    After about three hours the driver stopped for a smoko. I asked him for a ciggy, " No Cigs man, got some ganja if you want one."
    "Kinnell " I thought, this guy is flying over these high mountain roads as high as a kite on ganja, " Go ahead I`ll have some" I said "I have nothing to lose now" We smoked the ganja for nearly half an hour then set off again over the mountain.
    Wow this is the only way to travel man, Yah Hoo.
    I must have fallen asleep and as I awoke the man was taking off the shackle and pulling me out of the van. There in front of me on that small wooden jetty was the familiar site of the old `Tilapa`.
    All around was a crowd of Jamaicans going up one gangway and down the other with stalks of bananas on their heads, all singing
    "Day oh, day oh, Please Mr Tallyman, tally me banana, daylight come and I wanna go home............"
    As I was lead, still handcuffed to the gangway, I looked up and saw a couple of familiar faces, Billy Williams and Joe Porter.
    "I shouted " Hey! Billy, Joey, its me" the lads looked at me, "Kinnell," said Billy, "what happened to you, look at the state you’re in".
    Before I could say anything else the Policeman dragged me up the gangway and up to the bridge deck and knocked on the Captain`s door. The Captain opened his door, the same one who I was with before, Captain Roberts.
    The Policeman said, "I have one deportee for you Captain, here are the deportation papers for you to sign"
    Captain Roberts signed the papers and the Policeman took off the handcuffs, my wrist were cut, bruised and swollen.
    "My God", said Captain Roberts, looking down at me " what a horrible, disgusting mess you are, what happened to you?"
    I told him that I had been battered unconscious by a gang of Jamaicans and left for dead. When I recovered I didn`t know who I was or where I was, I had totally lost my memory, I didn`t even know that I was a seaman. A young lady took me in and looked after me
    and then a week ago my memory returned and I went to the Police Station to make some enquiries and they threw me in gaol like a common criminal and so here I am."
    "Get down aft and see the Bosun" Captain Roberts said "and for Gods sake get cleaned up before the passengers see you, and don`t forget there is no shore leave, I am responsible for you now that I have signed the deportation order, I will sign you on later.`
    I walked down aft and as I walked along the after deck the long line of Jamaicans were still singing as they carried thousands of stalks of bananas on board.....” oh day oh day light come and I wanna go home."
    When I got to the mess room the sailors were having smoko, "Cor Blimey" Billy said " look at the state of you, tell us all about it".
    I got a coffee and a ciggy told them what had happened, they were amazed. Then I got the Peggy, a first tripper he couldn`t believe what he was looking at.. Get me a towel and some soap, and if anyone has a razor and a pair of scissors I`d appreciate it .Is there any spare gear around, shirt dungarees and shoes?" `You might find some gear in the oilskin locker` said Joey Porter.
    I went into the bathroom and had a shock when I saw myself in the mirror, the first time in four months, I was thin, with a long beard and long sun bleached hair and dark brown with the sun.
    I cut off the beard and trimmed the hair to the collar line then shaved and enjoyed a long shower, I almost felt human again.
    I found a shirt and old pair of dungarees in the oilskin locker, they needed a dhobi but I would do that tomorrow. I saw the Bosun and he told me there were no spare bunks and the only place to go was in the canvas locker on the boat deck where they stowed the awnings. I got the Deck Boy to get me some blankets and pillow, and went to the locker and sorted it out to make it comfy.
    I got a bolt of canvass and a palm and needle and some lashings and made a hammock, as I didn`t fancy sleeping on the rolls of awnings.
    Meanwhile I had seen the Captain again and he signed me on as a DBS, at a shilling a month wages.
    At 7 pm that evening they loading was completed and the shell doors battened down and derricks dropped and the ship made ready for sea. By 8 pm we had cast off and sailed through the lagoon, past Naval Island, owned by Errol Flynn, through the narrow entrance and into the open sea.
    I was on day work and kept busy holystoning, sooging and painting on deck. and every day we went down the hatches to inspect the bananas to see if any were getting ripe then the whole stalk would be taken out and dumped or given to the galley. Fyffe`s cooks were masters of the art of cooking bananas, we had fried bananas, roasted bananas, stewed bananas, bananas soup, frappe bananas, banana salad , mashed bananas and so on. It kept the food bill down.
    Two days out of Port Antonio two Jamaican stowaways were found down the hatch, they were shivering with the cold and were starving and thirsty. They were taken up to the Captain on the bridge and questioned, as to why they were there, they wanted to go to England.
    There was no accommodation for them and so they were put in the canvas locker with me, I wasn`t too pleased about that, my cosy little Locker was now over crowded, so I was happy that I had made me a hammock, they slept on the awnings and I was above them.
    They were put on day work with me and were not at all happy as we got into the cold weather at the end of November as we steamed up the Bristol Channel to Avonmouth.
    After fourteen days we made fast in Avonmouth and the immigration and Customs came on board. The Immigration questioned the two Stowaways and they were released into the care of a Society who looked after West Indians and they were given suits, shoes and shirts and some money. When I asked them to help me all I got was abuse.
    We paid off and fortunately the crowd had a tarpaulin muster and I had enough money to get a rail ticket home.
    I stayed home for a few days then went to the Pool to face the Committee.
    Paddy McGrath, the Union Delegate, came with me, "Give us a fiver and I`ll get you off" "Eff off Paddy, I don`t need you ".
    I went in front of the Committee and my Discharge Book was there on the desk, "What have you got to say for yourself", said Mr Deakin, I told him that I was battered unconscious and had serious head injuries and nearly killed by a gang in Kingston and lost my memory and didn`t know who I was or where I was from, I didn`t even know that I was a seaman, A young lady found me in the gutter and took me home and looked after me and probably saved my life. Eventually my memory returned and when I realised who I was I went to the Police and they threw me gaol before deporting me, so you see Mr Deakin, I didn’t mean to miss my ship."
    They muttered between themselves for a minute then said go and see Mr Repp, he might have a good job for you, they laughed as they said it.
    I figured he had some bum job that no one else would take.
    I went to see Mr Repp, " Hello Brian, I see you have returned to us, now I have a lovely Shell tanker for you, and with a bit of luck you`ll be home for Christmas, `laugh`, in 1956”. [ this being December 1954.]. “or you could try a khaki suit in the army".
    "OK I`ll take it " he gave me the `Tectus` a T2 tanker of SHELL.
    Good job enjoyed every minute, we went to Curacao, up the Maracaibo Lake in Venezuela and then to Shell Haven in the Thames near London, I was home in six weeks. Fantastic.
    Last edited by Captain Kong; 12th July 2019 at 02:19 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Missing in jamaica

    Great story but what happened to Gloria?

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  4. #3
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    Nov 2008
    Bolton UK
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    Default Re: Missing in jamaica

    Unfortunately I never saw her again, I was happy until caught.
    I never got back to Kingston again, and it was in 1954, so she would be around 85 years old by now if still alive. so maybe she is better off in my memory as she would forever be in her 20s.
    I wouldn't like to see her now,
    happy days

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Missing in jamaica

    A great yarn. Pacily written with lots of humour. Great ending.

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  7. #5
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    Jun 2008
    Blue Mountains NSW
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    Default Re: Missing in jamaica

    And yet another great Story by Capt as usual with all the details which makes for very interesting reading,
    Only thing is i thought the Blue Mountains were here where i live no such things go on here LOL
    Thanks mate always love to read your life experiences!
    I have been around as you know and have also had many experiences but I fear you beat me hands down
    Senior Member and Friend of this Website


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