Members only
  Mailbag Old Mailbag 2015  



Comments Since Newsletter No 27

Richard Simpson sent us an email just before Christmas, saying:

“I have recently returned home and flicking through my latest copy of the Newsletter I noticed with interest the pictures sent in by Phil Griffiths on page 22, particularly as I appear in a couple of them. I might just be able to drag through the mists of time and come up with a couple more names for you.

In the third picture we have a Deck Cadet at the front, who I can't I'm afraid remember, then myself and another Deck Cadet by the name of Pete Postlethwaite behind me. Behind him is Ross Hansen, who I think may have been a Third Mate at the time. At the back is a gent who I remember as the First Steward but I can't remember his name either. Don Basford had one of his usual non-politically correct nicknames for him though!

In the next picture it looks like Ross again with his arm around Les Moorland, Big Les, then Boogie Dougie Park, Boogie Doogie, with me on the floor.

In the fifth picture obviously Les again and then Ken Livingston with Captain Cockshoot's wife. Wasn't she Margaret?

T he final picture is bringing in the New Year of, I think, 1978, with Bill Cain, and the galley boy ringing in the New Year after Bill rang out the old one. There was some discussion as to whether Bill's son should do it as he was the youngest but, not being a member of the ship's crew it was thought it would be inappropriate.

This was my second trip to sea on the Seatrain Bennington (Manchester Venture) where we went to Japan and back via the Panama, after my fist trip to sea was on the Vanguard to Japan and back via the Suez. Great times and great memories. Somewhere I also have some pictures, which I will try to find and scan for you.


I have also attached a couple of scans of crew pages in the Liners Magazine, which for some reason, I have kept all these years, showing the Vanguard and Venture, which from what I remember caused something of a stir at the time as they were such a departure from anything else Liners had done up until that point.

All the very best regards. Richard Simpson.”

Thanks Richard, unfortunately the scans you sent of the Crew List would not reproduce successfully.



Whilst recently clearing my mother's apartment I came across a copy of ML News dated July-August 1961, on the front page of which was an article about the Company's blazer badge that was issued to Apprentices at the time. The article mentions only Engineer Apprentices, but Deck Apprentices were also given them together with a matching tie.

I remember whilst in my 2nd Mate's orals examination in Liverpool when Captain Fletcher, the examiner, suddenly asking me what type of vessel it was that was on my badge. Having no idea so just answered "a ship!".

To which, much to my amazement, he replied " correct, it is a ship rigged vessel".


Showing its age at 54 years old


Still used occasionally.


A Few More of Bill Donaldson's Ramblings

One winter voyage took us to St John's Newfoundland. We hit the pack ice about two hundred miles from land, we were told by the coast guard that there was a fifty mile stretch clear along the coast. We pushed through the ice by day and stopped at night – after about three days we met up with one of the old Portugeuse fishing schooners, who asked if he could follow us into harbour. We said “Why not, have you got any cod on board? “ Yes” was the answer, “Do you want some?” The outcome was two large sacks of cod, “Oh lovely” we said “fresh fish”. “No” said the cook “Unless you know how to cook dried salted cod”!!!

One time leaving Charleston N.C. we came to a bend in the river, the pilot shouted hard-a-port, helmsman shouted hard-a-port and promptly put the wheel hard-a-starboard. CRUNCH we were ashore directly between two buoys. The port sent two large tugs but after two days pulling and numerous ropes snapping, we still sat there. We next tried dredging the river bottom under the ship, the dredger skipper would only go so far under then gave up. There we were stuck between two channel buoys and the river closed to all traffic. The Company then employed a salvage company. They flew up from Miami, ten heavy anchors and all the wires etc. It took us about 3 days to set up all the anchors, each one was secured to one of the winches. The salvage master stood on the monkey island and orchestrated each winch pulling, we slowly slid off, it took two more days to recover the anchors and wires, then we went back up to the port. Two young scuba divers then inspected the bottom which luckily was O.K. Talking to them later we asked what their usual job was, it was swimming in septic tanks unblocking them!

On the Manchester Faith heading for Halifax of St John's NB, we hit bad weather on the Grand Banks. We could not go aft for meals, luckily we had plenty of dried stores and some frozen foods in the bridge accommodation, plus the 2nd Steward to help. The ice started building around the bridge, until we were completely frozen in, no doors would open, we had difficulty keeping the windows clear. No head in the cabins as the pipes were frozen. We felt like “Nanook of the North”. The Pilot boarded and could not get into the wheelhouse until the aft crew had axed the ice away from the door. We came alongside no problem and the first thing that came aboard were heaters for our cabins. Cold weather gear is not very easy to sleep in. I will never forget the winter of 1967.

Thanks to Bill for taking the time to put his memories down for us