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Manchester Liners Old Ship Mates Association was founded by Captain Eric Askew, who’s aim was to keep the employees of a very family orientated business in touch with one another for as long as is possible. An aim that has been eminently successful.

How many times have were heard the term “Board of Trade Acquaintances” said of people who have served together in the Merchant Navy. People who have lived and worked together for sometimes only a short period of time, or maybe for many months, before they are spread around the world never to meet again.

Anyone who has served at sea knows how true this is. Manchester Liners though is the exception. Although the Company disappeared off the oceans off the world nearly two decades ago, its spirit still lives on through the Old Shipmates Association.

The Association is not just for the men who manned its ships, but also for all the shore personnel, both at home and abroad. All these people were the Company.

If you have found our web site for the first time, and at some time in your life you were involved in Manchester Liners, then please, we want to hear from you.


The idea of starting the Old Shipmates Association was kindled when Robin Townsend (Manchester Liners ship's chandler in Montreal) rang up in April 1981 and asked me to organise a meeting of Manchester Liners personnel and their partners, and to organise a suitable venue for the meeting and for him to stay whilst in the UK on holiday.

The Last Drop Inn at Bromley was eventually chosen but due mainly to the short notice only eight shipmates and their wives were able to attend - Capt's. John Baker, Phil Fielding, Jim Illingworth, Roger Llewellyn, John Mackay and myself along with Ray Camilleri, and Bill Joy. A great evening was had by all.

During this meeting it was suggested that we hold a reunion at least once a year for all Manchester Liners personnel. It was also suggested that St. Anne's on Sea would be a good venue and because I had done such a good job of organising the first reunion I was given the task of organising the next reunion and to find a suitable hotel.

It has to be noted that at this time Manchester Liners had been taken over by Furness Withy and in turn by C.Y. Tung. Most of the seagoing personnel had lost their jobs, some had retired, and others had found positions in other companies, which had taken them to the far corners of the world. Only a small number were retained by Furness Withy and C. Y. Tung

The people who had worked for Manchester Liners, which was a close knit family affair, found themselves split and scattered to the four corners of the world so this desire to keep in touch was created. Hence the Old Shipmates was formed. On being asked to organise things I named myself Secretary and formed others into a committee.

In the summer of 1981 my wife Dorothy and I drove to St. Anne's and visited a number of hotels on the South Promenade. Most did not want to know about short stays. We eventually called on The Lindum Hotel; the place was in total chaos, the new owners having just taken over. They made us most welcome and were very attentive and so the association with the Lindum was formed and has lasted from 1981 through to the present

In November of 1981 I organised another meeting at the Last Drop Inn, which was a great success. We promoted Len Hughes to Treasurer and set the subscription at £5 per annum.

The first reunion was held on Saturday the 8th May 1982 at the Lindum. Dinner was at 1900hrs followed by a dance. The music was provided by a duo who got everyone up and dancing. Supper was served at midnight. We had a great reunion; the Hotel did us proud and proved ideal for our requirements.

Before leaving after lunch next day I booked our next reunion at the Lindum for the following May.

Yes, that's how it all began.

Old Shipmates Association