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Author Topic: Old Merchant Ships  (Read 31730 times)

Bryan Young

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #25 on: November 26, 2011, 03:43:19 pm »

Sorry Barry. With only half a dozen ships that were based thousands of miles apart, the "working your passage" thing was a non-starter. Also, we were joining a ship for a 2 year stint. Air travel in the early 60s was not the "norm". Then again, most of C&W ships were not "tied up to a quay"....they had their own mooring buoy. So wrong on all counts you jealous Pictish person.
However....we did once leave our buoy in Rio after a few months layover....and the buoy sank when we let go the ropes. Next time you cast aspertions, sanctions will be applied. Mild regards. Bryan.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2011, 03:47:54 pm »

Just a little bit of tidying up now, just to get the alphabetical sequence back on track.
First, a couple of Ellermans I forgot about.
The “City of Benares” seems to be one of the few Passenger-Cargo liners that Ellerman owned. Although many “normal” cargo liners could carry up to 12 passengers, this one could carry 219….although still a cargo ship. Quite handsome.
“Grecian”, as the name implies was one of the smaller ones running into the Med.
It’s easy to forget the name “Furness-Withy”. Another well known concern that disappeared without trace in the 1970s(?). A point to notice about the “Pacific Unity” is the length of her derricks. I pondered over this until I remembered the tidal range on the Eastern seaboard of Canada. With a range of 40ft or more, cargo work would have to stop at low tide (with “normal” derricks). I guess these lengthy poles could maybe keep working. Just a thought.
“Nottingham”. Federal Steam Navigation Company. This company was joined at the hip with the “New Zealand Shipping Company”. (more on them later). The ships had their own livery, but in many cases were interchangeable…as were the personell. These were big beasts, always immaculate. Most of them were refrigerated ships as the main trade to “back home” was meat (mainly sheep of one sort or another). A bit like Blue Star that did the same thing from Argentina, but with beef. If I remember correctly, both outfits came under the P&O umbrella.
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pugwash

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #27 on: November 26, 2011, 03:57:07 pm »

There is just no contest in style when you compare these with the modern "boxes of the sea"
Very much enjoying this thread Bryan.

Geoff
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BarryM

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #28 on: November 26, 2011, 04:39:39 pm »

Sorry Barry. With only half a dozen ships that were based thousands of miles apart, the "working your passage" thing was a non-starter. Also, we were joining a ship for a 2 year stint. Air travel in the early 60s was not the "norm". Then again, most of C&W ships were not "tied up to a quay"....they had their own mooring buoy. So wrong on all counts you jealous Pictish person.
However....we did once leave our buoy in Rio after a few months layover....and the buoy sank when we let go the ropes. Next time you cast aspertions, sanctions will be applied. Mild regards. Bryan.

Is it true that C&W once applied to the Admiralty for their officers to be allowed to wear swords on board? Apparently the Admiralty gave their consent as long as the blades did not exceed six inches.  %)  %)

Sanctified asparagus? - Wossat?  :P  :kiss:




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Bryan Young

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #29 on: November 26, 2011, 05:28:04 pm »

Barry, I wouldn't be at all surprised if that was true. Although the company wouldn't have been called Cable and Wireless then.
C&W was basically a government owned amalgam of "Eastern Telegraph", "Western Telegraph" and others somewhere in the middle. Being based in places akin to "the white mans grave"...then possibly "yes" to your query.
However, with the demise of sword wearing, tradition demanded a substitute. So a rather large codpiece was used instead...just to intimidate the locals, you understand. Now shut up and let me conshentrait.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #30 on: November 26, 2011, 05:30:18 pm »

Glen and Shire Line.
Glen Line and Blue Funnel were part of Alfred Holts “Ocean Steam Co.” for as long as I can remember. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that “Blue Flue” had blue funnels (obviously) and Glen Line had red you couldn’t tell them apart. A bit like Federal and NZS. But there was a reason for this.
When I first “went to sea” the Dutch had a massive presence in the then “East Indies” (now Indonesia)….and british companies were “discouraged” from joining that trade. When Holts took over the Glen Line that did have a route into the East Indies the Glens sort of called Rotterdam their “home port”…the Dutch connection. Spices and all that. Eventually things eased off and even “upstarts” like the Ben Line were trading in and out of Indonesian ports ( as I have good cause to remember).
I still think that a “Bluey” with a red funnel didn’t look “quite right” somehow.
Ocean Steam are still going but I believe they’ve amalgamated with some other mainland European companies and are known as “Barber Blue Sea” or something. Correct me if I’m wrong…my historical memories fade with each passing day.
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tony52

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #31 on: November 26, 2011, 07:37:27 pm »

 
There is just no contest in style when you compare these with the modern "boxes of the sea"
Very much enjoying this thread Bryan.

Geoff

Bryan,
I can only agree 100% with the comments by pugwash. It is a pleasure to see these images.

Tony.
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dave301bounty

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #32 on: November 26, 2011, 08:27:45 pm »

Great to see these old ships ,  didnt some of the Ben boats get sold to the Kuwait  ,? i woner because they ,,Ben boats were a very nice job and i had a fly out to gulf to sail ex ben back in kuwait colours ,came back to u k as the Al Salamiah  just wondered what Ben she was ,accomodation was first class all officers were doubles and showered ,,for their age they really were well looked after . the Kuwait shipping looked after the crowd too .
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Bryan Young

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #33 on: November 27, 2011, 12:22:06 pm »

New Zealand Shipping Company.
What a hodge-podge this company became. Among other companies in the P&O conglomerate running to NZ and Aussie was the “Union Steamship Co. of NZ”.
I mentioned about the Federal and NZS ships being sort of interchangeable. Usually the NZS ships were distinguished by having a yellow funnel and the “Federals” had a red funnel with a black top and a design on the red. Otherwise indistinguishable…except that in the cases where the names didn’t match the funnels! The NZS ships having Maori names and the Federals named after English counties. Both good companies to work for by all accounts.
NZS also had some ships that were almost full size passenger ships, although still “cargo liners”. I seem to recall the English cricket Test Teams used to travel on the NZS ships. I’m afraid my selection of only 3 ships doesn’t do them justice.
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MikeK

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #34 on: November 27, 2011, 02:50:52 pm »

Pool? Do you mean the saggy canvas bag thing that used to be rigged on deck with a fire hose stuck into it?

That's the one ! If nothing else you used to get some pretty interesting tidal waves belting up and down - helped stir everything up, so to speak  %)

Mike
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Bryan Young

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #35 on: November 27, 2011, 03:31:14 pm »

P & O.   Probably the most extensive range of companies under one controlling outfit that I know of. Although very few of the umbrella companies are still in shipping.
Everyone is sort of familiar with P&O as a liner and cruise company, but less well known is the huge fleet of cargo ships they also operated. When the ships were operating under the P&O banner they were quite distinctive, having a shiny black funnel and pale brown superstructure which to my jaundiced eye always made them look a bit “downmarket”. This looked even worse when they changed the funnels to yellow and painted a rather crude “P & O” logo on them…..only to look even cheaper when they started naming the ships “Pando Something”.
Not wishing to some of you “how to suck eggs”…..but the very name “P&O” means “Peninsular and Orient” ( not “PANDO”). The “Peninsular” bit meaning the Iberian peninsular…Spain and Portugal, where they first began trading. Some of the companies they swapped ships around to include:- British India”, Federal Line. NZS, Asiatic Steam, Hain-Nourse, Bullard and King….plus many internal divisions within P&O.
Before P&O started collecting companies and swapping the ships around like Premier League football players, their cargo ships had a sort of family resemblance in the way that Holts ships did. Notwithstanding the odd choice of “collier brown” for their superstructures they also resembled updated versions of the WW2 “Ocean” and “Fort” class ships. Not really very pretty. Distinctive, but not “pretty”.
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pugwash

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #36 on: November 27, 2011, 03:56:22 pm »

I never realised they were named after the Iberian Peninsular - always assumed with the Orient bit it must be the Malay peninsular.
You are a font of information Bryan - some of it useful.

Geoff
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Bryan Young

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #37 on: November 27, 2011, 05:24:51 pm »

I never realised they were named after the Iberian Peninsular - always assumed with the Orient bit it must be the Malay peninsular.
You are a font of information Bryan - some of it useful.

Geoff
"Some of it useful"? I never thought I'd be damned with faint praise by you Geoff. Tut tut.
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BarryM

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #38 on: November 27, 2011, 05:26:57 pm »

The P&O flag is quartered white, red, yellow and blue. The white and blue sectors refer to the Portuguese flag as it was in the 19th century. The red and yellow sectors reflect the Spanish colours and thus, all together, they represent the Iberian peninsula.

Remember that for the pub quiz.

Barry M
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Bryan Young

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #39 on: November 27, 2011, 05:30:14 pm »

Last 4 of the P&O stuff:-
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Bryan Young

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #40 on: November 27, 2011, 05:36:08 pm »

The P&O flag is quartered white, red, yellow and blue. The white and blue sectors refer to the Portuguese flag as it was in the 19th century. The red and yellow sectors reflect the Spanish colours and thus, all together, they represent the Iberian peninsula.

Remember that for the pub quiz.

Barry M
Bloomin'eck Barry. Just because I revealed the secrets of the codpiece there's no need to rain on my parade.
If you want to post pictures of ancient tankers (not someone you know) then go ahead and keep it clean this time.
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BarryM

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #41 on: November 27, 2011, 06:53:52 pm »

Bryan,

I have no wish to be advised of the details of your codpiece which I suspect is covered by the Official Secrets Act and would, under most circumstances, frighten the horses. 

"Keep it clean"? I'm not sure to which you refer; I have always led a blameless life.   :P

Regrards,

Barry M
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Bryan Young

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #42 on: November 28, 2011, 05:14:31 pm »

Palm Line.
For such a fairly large company it’s strange how little known they were outside “the trade”. Their regular run was similar to that of Elder Dempster, the west coast of Africa. Many people thought of them as “tramps”, but they weren’t really.
The 1st photo is interesting…to me at least…as she was built for the Ministry of War Transport in 1947 by “ The Shipbuilding Corporation (Wear Branch)”. I’ve never heard of them before. Perhaps some yards were nationalised at the time?
The second and third photos are pretty representative of what their ships looked like.
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Positive

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #43 on: November 28, 2011, 05:53:34 pm »

They are some real fine pictures of real fine ships.     They are not as obscure as you may imagine.    I was at sea between 1961 and 1992 and most of the above ships were well-known to those of us at sea in that era.    They are still well-remembered and looked back on with great affection.   Often hot & uncomfortable, but it was a great life then.   Long stays in port, no satellite communications causing the office to "breath down our necks" all the time.   Large crews with a good social life.    I sailed in 19 ships during my time at sea, often taking my wife along (free of charge).   I much regret the passing of the Merchant Navy, but now I just make models of them.    I worked for three of the companies shown above, Cayzer, Irvine (Clan Line), Blue Star Line and Furness Withy as well as Union-Castle, Houlder Brothers, Everards, South Eastern Gas, Silver Line, Bowaters, and St. Helena Line.    Modern ships leave me cold - not the slightest interest in them!
Bob
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Bryan Young

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #44 on: November 28, 2011, 06:59:05 pm »

They are some real fine pictures of real fine ships.     They are not as obscure as you may imagine.    I was at sea between 1961 and 1992 and most of the above ships were well-known to those of us at sea in that era.    They are still well-remembered and looked back on with great affection.   Often hot & uncomfortable, but it was a great life then.   Long stays in port, no satellite communications causing the office to "breath down our necks" all the time.   Large crews with a good social life.    I sailed in 19 ships during my time at sea, often taking my wife along (free of charge).   I much regret the passing of the Merchant Navy, but now I just make models of them.    I worked for three of the companies shown above, Cayzer, Irvine (Clan Line), Blue Star Line and Furness Withy as well as Union-Castle, Houlder Brothers, Everards, South Eastern Gas, Silver Line, Bowaters, and St. Helena Line.    Modern ships leave me cold - not the slightest interest in them!
Bob
It's really quite surprising that even ships (and companies) seen decades ago are still instantly recognizable simply from their profiles.
Not now. 'Tis a totally different world now....and I want no part of it. we saw the best. BY.
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Norseman

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #45 on: November 29, 2011, 12:10:24 am »

Hey Bob

It is truly lovely to look at Bryan's ships. I used to work for The Mersey Docks & Harbour Board (1972ish) and visited all the shipping offices around the city.

There are many guys like you who served on ships with character, many will have photogaphs of the ship's daily life, what a pity these gems are so rarely seen.
Researching the Kalakala (a Ferry) led me to believe that preserving the history of a ship requires knowing something of the people on and about her.

Regards Dave
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yorkiej

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #46 on: November 29, 2011, 01:45:25 am »

Cunard and Donaldsons.
Alsatia….originally built for the “Silver Line”. A pretty well known company that must have had some grandiose ideas when they built this thing!


Hello Bryan

The Silver Line was a shipping company formed in 1908, part of the British Merchant Navy. By the 1930s they were offering round the world passenger/cargo services, with the passenger fare on a freighter of £100. Entirely on foreign service, the ships did not include UK ports of call. Managing owners were the S & J Thompson family. Most of their merchant ships bore the name Silver followed by the name of a tree. The Second World War claimed 11 of their ships. One of them, the Silverfir was sunk by the German battleship Scharnhorst on a voyage from Manchester to New York in 1941. Silver Line switched to tramping around the world in the 1950s, then went through several ownership changes, and by 1985, with the sale of their last ship, was no more.
The Silverplane, a sleek twin funnel vessel of 7,226 gross tons built in 1948, was sold to the Cunard Line in 1951 and renamed Alsatia II, and so was her sister ship Silverbriar, to become Andria I. Their forward funnels were false, containing the chart room and the captain's cabin, looked like miniature Queen Elizabeths, and carried just 12 passengers, the maximum allowed without a regulation onboard doctor. They were sold to the Republic of China and renamed Union Freedom and Union Faith respectively. The latter ship was demolished in a fiery collision with an oil barge outside New Orleans in 1969, with considerable loss of life.
An associated company, Joseph L. Thompson & Sons of Sunderland, was involved in the design of the first Liberty ships that saw service in World War II and beyond.
I served my time as Apprentice D.O. with the Company and then as 3/Officer before moving on. I was told that the Company had the monopoly for liner trades from the East Coast of the States to the Phillipines and East Asia. They had the leases on several piers in San Fransisco and that most of their ships lost in WW2 were lost in the Pacific. At that time the US did not have a viable Merchant Fleet.
After WW2  (in 1949/50) the US Protectionism forced the Company to sell their ships due to the loss of their trade routes and the Company was sold to a Welsh Company who’s name escapes me. They then started tramping, as I did.
So, you see, the Company did not have grandiose ideas when the two twin funnel ships were built, they already had the liner trade for them but sadly lost it soon after
Hope this fills in a gap or two.
Keep the pictures coming Bryan. Great thread.
Cheers
John
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BarryM

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #47 on: November 29, 2011, 08:41:05 am »

Fot those who are not aware, a point about the passenger limit of 12 before a doctor had to be carried as mentioned above. You could have four times that number of crew and no doctor was considered necessary. What the crew limit was, I do not know but perhaps somebody can supply the number?

In the absence of a doctor, medical tratment of a crew at sea was supplied by the 'Ship's Captains Medical Guide' in the hands of the Mate or Chief Steward, I have heard it said, although I don't know if it is true, that a ship's master could, in an emergency, legally perform any operation except dental work.

Don't have nightmares,

Barry M
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derekwarner

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #48 on: November 29, 2011, 08:58:17 am »

& BarryM asks........"but perhaps somebody can supply the number"

....not sure Barry but lets try :o

Master+3 mates+an RO = 5
Chief Cook+ 2 cooks +2 stewards  = 6
Shipwright+ 4 deckies = 5
Chief engineer+4 junior engineers + an electrician = 6
Engineroom...3 donkeymen+ 3 greasers = 6
 O0....so 5+6+5+6+6 = 28?????????????????

Would that be a fair call Bryan?????????? ............

With my limited mercantile experience....the RO was not a member of the ships crew.....but a contractor as supplied by Marconi...or Phillips........  :o Derek
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MikeK

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Re: Old Merchant Ships
« Reply #49 on: November 29, 2011, 09:07:37 am »

As the shipowner was always testing the rules as to how few people he could get away with, the notion of a maximum crew level never really came into it !  O0

Mike
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