|19 to 77 - FROM MORSE TO MUSIC....A NATURAL PROGRESSION !
For many people, the golden age of shipping was the period following
World War II, the 1950s and 1960s, when the British Merchant Navy went on a massive rebuilding spree to replace tonnage lost
during the conflict. These hundreds of handsome ships, provided satisfying and worthwhile careers for
tens of thousands of British seafarers. This site is an amateurs attempt to provide an opportunity for many to
relive some of their memories before they fade into obscurity. The ships themselves are long gone,
replaced by utilitarian 'box boats' and less than inspiring massive 'people movers' for cruise ships.
The project was prompted by an opportunity to utilize a birthday gift,
a scanner, in conjunction with my collection of back copies of Ships Monthly, Sea Breezes, Sea &
Ships Magazine, a series of Ian Allen Ship Listings along with copies of the Maritime Reporter and some old black
& white pictures in my personal archives. Over the past year and a half the response has been quite amazing.
Little did I realize that there are so many of 'us' out there. From the many encouraging stories received
it appears that my own short 5 years or so at sea were but a brief interlude compared with many who obviously spent their
whole working career 'on the ocean wave'.
Content also includes reminiscences surrounding a profession close
to my own heart, that of the now defunct Radio Officer.
Emphasis is given to the pictorial aspect of these handsome ships rather
than a lengthy history, although an attempt has been made to add pertinent information surrounding their careers.
While still a teenager in High School summer holidays were often spent
down at the Glasgow docks wandering over railway lines on my bike avoiding palletts and discarded dunnage.
Eventually attending the James Watt School in Greenock during our lunch
hour some of us would wander down to the docks and gaze across at the Canadian Pacific and Cunard Liners, EMPRESS
OF BRITAIN, CARINTHIA etc. taking on passengers and mail from the busy tenders (see PUFFERS).
During this time I recall quite vividly the Brocklebank Liner MAWANA being fitted out at the Greenock basin. Boy,
she was a beauty with her bold black funnel and blue and white stripes.
New ships of the time lay alongside the Woodbine funnelled tramps of
yesteryear in Glasgow, especially in the area of Princes and Queen's Dock as well as Yorkhill Quay. My father
worked for Anchor Line which enabled me to become familiar with their ships and a number of captains and R/Os.
Seeing these wonderful reminders of our proud maritime heritage will,
I'm sure, resurrect fond memories of force 9 gales, calm tropical seas, flying fish and bronzying
on deck puffing on a 'duty free' ciggie whilst sipping a can of Tennant's. Not to forget the humbling experience
a 'landlubber' would never appreciate of being thrown out of your bunk while rolling and pitching coming across
the Bay, Almost home!
Only we can understand the meaning of 'the channels'.
Coming off watch at ten, having delivered the required weather
and naveam reports to the chartroom with the Decca Navigator ticking away in the background. Stumbling onto the
bridge with a mug of cocoa along with the 'regulation' sardine sandwiches left for the watchkeepers. A quick yarn
with the third mate followed by one last wander around the deck under a canopy of stars before turning in.
|THANKS FOR RIGGING THE AERIAL BOSUN
Gone now are the days of extended time in port, noon sights and
the sound of Morse code emanating from the radio office. All replaced by the sterile efficiency of GPS navigating
systems, the controversial GMDSS communication system (a number of e-mails received from past and present
skippers rue the disappearance of 'sparks'. Similar to our modern day telephone answering tapes. Oh, for a 'warm
body'. to talk to!).
Feverish turn around times, huge amounts of paper work due to
reduced staffing along with a never-ending preoccupation with accountings 'bottom line'.
With the assistance of the advertising manager at SHIPS MONTHLY,
Carol Storer, I have been able to contact the majority of originators of this excellent photography for permission to
display their work in this way. I am indebted to them for the letters of authority and encouragement. There may
be one or two whom I have been unable to contact and for this I beg their indulgence. Please e-mail me immediately should
this display of your collection be unacceptable.
Another excellent site containing a more comprehensive history of shipping
companies with an opportunity for tracing old ship mates may be found at Malcolm's Red Duster site.
|PARTYTIME ABOARD CARINTHIA
Special thanks is due the following for their kind permission to show
Brian Dodd, Chris Nutton, William Potter, Claude Meldrum,
Roy Fenton, Edward Paget-Tomlinson, Brian Denton, Neil McCart, Bill Miller, Ian Spashett,
Malcolm Fife, J.K. Byass, Arturo Paniagua Mazurra, James Shaw, Mike Lennon, Nicholas Pusenjak,
Frank Duffy, B.Turner, Malcolm Cranfield.
Again, special thanks to Carol Storer of SHIPS MONTHLY for acting
Please feel free to sign the Guest Book with any comments and/or suggestions
as to how the site may be improved. I will be happy to respond to all entries.