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November 2017


We have received the sad news that Graham died suddenly after a heart attack at his home on 1st November. Graham was Chief Engineer and sailed on many of our ships before coming ashore and joining Morrell Mills.

We send our sincere condolences to his widow Sheila


December 2016


We have been told that Derek (Wilky) sadly passed away on 30th December 2016 aged 80. Derek sailed on many of our ships and also worked with the Shore Gang.

We send our condolences to his family.


December 2016


Sadly, we have to tell you that Captain Jim Illingworth passed away on Friday 2nd December aged 91 last April. He passed away peacefully, his daughter Sue was with him at the time. Jim was a founder member of MLOSA. He was educated at HMS Conway and during the war volunteered for the Fleet Air Arm. He joined Manchester Liners in 1951 as a 3rd Officer. He became Master in l964. After being made redundant in 1981, he went to Hong Kong as Master of TS Flavian, originally the ex Cunard RMS Media which had been rebuilt as a cruise ship.

Although Jim had a licence to sail a ship and fly a plane, he never had a driving licence. Sympathy goes to his daughter, two sons and grandchildren.

Our thoughts are with all his family.


October 2016


Captain Peter Cullen, Honorary Treasurer our Association, sadly passed away at his home in the early hours of Monday 24th October 2016. We send our sincere condolences to Kath and his family.


July 2016


We are sorry to hear that Colin passed away in the early hours of Wednesday 13th July 2016 after a short illness. He was eighty years of age and leaves two daughters, Susan and Joanne to whom we send our condolences.


July 2016


Sadly we have been told by Dorothy Wright from John Rushworth's daughter Jane that her mother Barbara, widow of the late Captain John Rushworth has died.


May 2016

Passed Away 27th May 2016


We have been told that Dennis died on the 27th May 2016. He served as second mate and then port relief officer. He was also involved in the early days of containerisation visiting businesses to show them how to load containers and latterly in the Manchester Liners office with the Flying Fish containers service.

Dennis was not a member of our Association, but many of you will have known him.


April 2016

Passed Away 23rd April


We have been told by his family that L.T. (Terry) Finegan died April 23, 2016.  He served on the Manchester Faith starting in 1961 when he was just 16 years old.  He began as a cook and later became a ships steward.  While in Chicago he met and married his wife Connie.  He immigrated to the United States at that time.  After a few years in America became the Manchester Liners Ships Agent in Chicago and he stayed in the shipping industry until his retirement.  Terry and Connie were married 50 years and  have 3 children and 5 grandchildren.  He remained a loyal subject of the Queen to his end.

Terry was not amember of our Association, but many of you will have known him.


April 2016

Passed Away 3rd April 2016


It is with sadness that we have learned that Harold passed away on the morning of the 3rd April 2016 in Canada. He had been admitted to hospital in Verdun, Montréal a couple of days before.

He would have been 92 years old this October and was Chief Steward, having served with Manchester Liners from 1943 on the Progress, and many more of the fleet to the Challenge and Concorde, through to 1982 on the Oropesa.

Known to many as "Big H" there were always many anecdotes, involving Harold, being told at Reunions, always with admiration, respect and affection along with much humour.

Sadly last June he lost his son Stephen who was also a MLOSA member. We offer our deepest sympathy to his widow Helen and all his family.


December 2015

Passed Away 23rd December 2015


Harry was an apprentice at the same time as Captain Peter Cullen, and had been a member of MLOSA for many years. Sadly he suffered a recurrence of the cancer which he thought he had beaten and died on the 23rd December 2015 at the age of 84. He and Christine had only just moved to a new home when he was taken ill. Our thoughts and sympathies go to his wife Christine and his family. .


December 2015

Passed Away 15th December 2015


We were sorry to hear from Captain John McKenna that his wife Claire had died, she collapsed at home. She did not suffer and it was quick. At the time of notification John did not know what the cause of death was. We send condolences to John and his family.


October 2015

Passed Away 17th October 2015


I regret I have more sad news to pass to you all. Dorothy, widow of Bryan Whitby, passed away early Saturday morning, the 17th October. 

Many of you will remember Bryan Whitby who was Manager of Morrell Mills for many years.   Bryan passed away last April (2014) after a very short illness. Dorothy  remained in touch with the Old Shipmates and was at the May Reunion at St Annes, so it was with great sadness that I received this news.

They leave a son Ian and a granddaughter Emma


August 2015

Passed Away 4th August 2015


I am very sad to report that Liners has lost a widow member who was a strong supporter of the Association.

June, widow of Captain Blake Nelson, has been coming across from Canada to the UK every summer since she scattered Blake's ashes in the Lake District after his death in 2010. This year during the last week of her holiday and on her way to the Lake District she was taken ill and sent to Lancaster Hospital for tests.

It transpired that June had cancer, and sadly within 10 days on the 4th August, she passed away in the Hospice unable to return to her home and her family in St Bruno, Quebec.

Our thoughts are with her two children and with her brothers and their families.

June was always a great supporter of the Association, and had always promised when she retired she would come across to the Reunions.  Now it will be in spirit only.


June 2015


Passed away on 25th June 2015

Stephen, aged 63, member of the Old Shipmates since 2009, passed away very suddenly while on holiday in Spain in June.

Stephen was the son of Harold Appleyard, Chief Steward with Manchester Liners 1943 to 1982, and it was after coming to the St Annes Reunion one year with father Harold that decided he would join the Association as a fully paid member and keep the contact on behalf of his father.

Since then he has attended most of the St Annes Reunions, and many of the Didsbury lunches when he was able within the constraints of his work.

Stephen retired a few years ago and he and Eileen (Lou) have been enjoying time together travelling, not only to Montréal to see Harold, but to many other places in the world.

It was while he and Eileen were on holiday in Spain that Stephen suffered a heart attack and died.

Our deep sympathies go to Harold (Big H), to Eileen, and to all his family - his children and his grandchildren.


February 2015


Passed Away February 2015

We have received the sad news that Max Kipling's wife Judith has passed away and send him our condolences.


February 2015


Passed away on 24th September 2014

Peter's sister Lynn has informed us that sadly they lost Peter (Mick) last September. He died very suddenly at home from a heart attack on the evening of 24th September 2014. The family were told it would have been quick and pain-free although totally unexpected. He was only 64 years old and in otherwise good health.

Peter's wife died some years ago but he leaves his sister Lynn and his brother Robert, and a daughter Joanne and her husband Terry.

Peter was in the offices of Manchester Liners and it was his responsibility to pay the wages to the crew.  Lynn says Peter always spoke of his time with Liners as very happy days for him.

Our thoughts are with Lynn, Robert, Joanne and their families.


December 2014

Passed away on 14th December 2014


Today we received the sad news that Peggy Illingworth, wife of Captain Jim Illingworth, passed away on Sunday 14th December.  Capt Jim and Peggy celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary in October, but sadly Mrs Illingworth was not strong enough to make it Christmas. 

Our thoughts are with Captain Jim and his family - sons Stephen and John, daughter Susan, and grandsons, David, Andrew, Rob and Jamie.


May 2014


Passed away on 21st May 2014

June, wife of Bryan Redfearn, passed away peacefully. We send our condolences to Bryan and family.


May 2014


Passed away on 8th May 2014.

Bryan served his apprenticeship with Manchester Ship Canal at the Runcorn Tug Workshops. This was interrupted by his call-up to the RN in 1944. By the time he was demobbed he was 'Chief Petty Officer on a LST (Tank landing Craft). After completing his apprenticeship he joined Manchester Liners as a Junior Engineer, his first ship being the Manchester Division, the last coal burner. His next ship was the Manchester Merchant, which must have seemed like another world after the 'Divi'. 

When he came ashore around 1954/5 he became a Ships Manager with Morrell Mills. When Morrell Mills merged with Manchester Dry Docks he became General Manager of Morrell Mills.

Bryan and Dorothy celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary (60th) last September 2013.

He will be sadly missed.


January 2014


Passed away January 17th 2014. It is with great sadness that we learn that Terry, who was 64 years of age, has passed away after a short illness. We send our sincere condolences to his family.


October 2013


Passed away on 9th Oct 2013.  He retired in 1988 and had a long and active retirement until this recent ill-health.  Tony was 86 years old.  He leaves a wife Ann, a daughter, a son, and three grandsons.


October 2013


Passed away on 5th October. Pat was in submarines during the war years.  After the war he joined Manchester Liners where he remained until he retired. Captain Humphrey had celebrated his 90th birthday in June this year.  He leaves a wife Marian, two sons and a daughter, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.



JOHN FLETCHER – Engineer with Liners, only joined MLOSA in January 2012. We have heard from his wife Christine, that he has passed away.


December 2012


It is with great regret that I need to inform you of Mr. John Edward (Ted) Boden's death on 16th December 2012. Ted took great pride in being a member of the Manchester Liners Old Shipmates' Association and that he thoroughly enjoyed the events and annual dinners.


October 2012


I am sorry to report that Captain Jim Kirkham passed away on 20th October 2012. Although he had been ill for a long time, apparently he died quite unexpectedly at the end.

His association with Manchester Liners went further than sailing with the Line. His wife Jo is the daughter of the late Capt John Whitby (Marine Superintendent, serving with Liners from 1922 to retirement). He and his family therefore have many years of connection with Manchester Liners.

Captain Kirkham sailed with Manchester Liners in the 1960's as 3rd Mate through to the end of 1965, and has been a member of the Old Shipmates for the past 5 years.

Our sincere condolences have been sent to Mrs Kirkham.


November 2010


We have just learned that Bill Grady, who was a Donkeyman, sadly passed away in November 2010. Bill joined Manchester Liners in 1941 and served through to the end of the World War II, firstly in the Manchester Exporter under Capt. Downing and then the Manchester Merchant under Capt. Struss until she was lost in 1943, after which he was in the Manchester Shipper through to the end of war.


September 2010


Anthony Frier has sadly informed us that his father Peter passed away in Macclesfield Hospital on Tuesday 28th September.

Peter was a Deck Officer with Manchester Liners and later came ashore and was in charge of the Shore Gang.  He was one of the early long standing members of the Old Shipmates.

He is survived by his wife Lilian and his sons Anthony and Robert.

There is to a private service at the Crematorium followed by a service at the Methodist Church, Plumley Moor Road, Plumley at 1500 hrs (3pm) on Thursday 7th October.

Our thoughts are with his wife and family.


August 2010


It was announced last week of the death of Brian, a true gentleman.   He had an heroic fight with cancer which sadly got the better of him.   Funeral details.  Tuesday 17th August, 11.00am at St. Michael’s Church, Townley Street, Middleton, Manchester, and afterwards at Middleton Crematorium, Boarshaw Road, Middleton, and afterwards at the Old Boar’s Head, Long Street, Middleton, Manchester.

Brian sailed as an engineer officer during the late ‘50s and early ‘60s on The Mariner, The Pioneer, and other of the steam ships.   Several of his former colleagues will attend and anyone will be most welcome at the funeral.

Yours sincerely,

George Bettridge


May 2010


Peter Cullen has today received a card from the family of Bob Bowen:

"We write to pass on the news our father Robert, who you knew better as Bob, sadly died last Friday night 28th May 2010."

Bob was in hospital at the time and died peacefully just before midnight.  He was 86 years old, and looked so well when we last saw him at Didsbury last year.

Our condolences have been sent to the family to the family on behalf of all members.


May 2010


Sadly, we have been informed by June Nelson that Eric Salisbury, who was the Terminal Manager at Manchester Liners in Montreal, passed away two weeks ago after a very courageous battle with cancer.  Eric passed away peacefully.  He leaves behind his devoted wife and family, and many friends and relatives in the UK.  After a private cremation a garden celebration of Eric’s life will be held at a later date.

Eric fought his illness with great perseverance and determination, supported by Hillary to the very end.  He has earned his sleep. I shall always remember his warm smile and friendship.

We send our condolences to Hillary and family.


April 2010


It is with regret that I have to notify members of the passing of Captain Len Taylor on the 10th April 2010.  Captain Taylor and his wife Jean were married for 66 years and only last year moved from Anglesey to Devon.  Our condolences go out to Jean and family.


March 2010


We have been advised by Donald McDermott (Minty Mac) that his old friend and shipmate Edward Frank (Bob) Wardle passed away on the 1st March 2010. He was a Bo'swain and worked in the shore gang and will be sadly missed.

His funeral was on the 9th of March 2010 at Macclesfield crematorium.


Sadly we have only recently heard of the loss of the following members:

KEN BARTON died 18 months ago followed 3 months later by his wife.

ERIC MORTON died two years ago. Eric’s wife Margaret would like to hear news of any past ML friends and associates.


August 2009


St Bruno, Quebec - died August 18, 2009 aged 65

It is with much sadness and a very heavy heart that I inform you of the passing of Capt. Blake Nelson, succumbing from lung cancer and associated complications.  He slipped quietly into the calm waters of a safe harbour in the early hours of the morning of August 18, 2009 as I lay along side. At all times in command.

He is also survived by his two children, Peter and Kathleen, of whom he is very proud, as well as his brothers and sisters and their families in the UK and brothers and sisters in law and their families in Canada.  He leaves many friends and colleagues throughout the marine industry and around the world.

We will miss him deeply.

Kindly pass on this message to your friends/colleagues as I may have missed some.

June Nelson

Blake joined Manchester Liners in 1967 and obtained his Master's Certificate in 1970 and was promoted Master in 1975 -- one of the youngest permanent masters in the Company, an achievement of which he was very proud.
Blake immigrated to Canada in early 1981 with his wife, June, whom he met while his ship was undergoing an unscheduled stop for repairs in Canadian Vickers' shipyard in Montreal. Together they travelled on-board ship to various distant countries before finally settling in St-Bruno.

Blake started Bancan Maritime Management, Inc., and became renowned for his investigative work into marine casualties and legal cases, as well as his on-board ship attendances for his clients around the world. He was particularly proud of his long-time association with Quebec Stevedoring Co. becoming their preferred consultant in marine matters.

Blake was also an avid gardener and was also well-known in St-Bruno as the Whistler-in-the-Woods
Andrew Digby

Blake’s wishes were for his ashes to be scattered next to the Bridge Inn at Buttermere, England at a date yet to be determined. 


June 2009


We have recently been advised by Tina Cotton of the sad passing of her father Norman Cotton in June 2009. He sailed with Manchester Liners between 1956 – 1963 as AB in the SS Manchester Merchant, Manchester Spinner, Manchester Shipper, Manchester Trader, Manchester Mariner and Manchester Fame. From the late 1960’s up to the early 1990’s he spent most of his time at sea on the New Zealand coast, Australia and the Pacific Islands retiring as Bosun in 1992.  Originally from Oldham, Manchester, he lived in New Zealand for forty years and spent his last years happily on Australia’s Gold Coast.

We are always sorry to hear of past shipmates crossing the bar, and are sorry to hear of your recent loss. Please accept our condolences to you and all your family.


May 2009


I received a letter from Russ Eis to inform us that his wife Elizabeth (Beth) Entered Into Rest on May 27th 2009 in Sun City Arizona. A Memorial Service was held on June 2nd 2009 at Bethany Presbyterian Church, Phoenix Arizona at 11-00 A.M.

Beth, and her husband Russ, was an Honorary Member of our Association following their rescue in the Pacific Ocean, and also of their yacht "Desert Princess" by the the Seatrain Trenton (Manchester Vanguard) on 21st August 1978.

Sincere condolences are offered to Russ and all his family at this time of loss.

Capt. Peter Cullen


March 2009


We have recently been advised by Dorothy Laurens of the sad passing of her husband Anthony (Tony) Laurens on 12th June 2008.

He will be sadly missed.


February 2009


Geoff Rushton, who was a distant relative, has told us of the sad passing of William (Bill) Rushton whose funeral took place on February 16th. Bill worked in the pay and finance office at both the old ML Dock Office and at Furness House and was known by many of the Old Shipmates.


January 2009


Died 17 January 2009
Stewart's son Andrew phoned me to inform me of the sad news of the passing of his father on 17th January 2009.  I understand from Andrew that Stewart had not enjoyed good health for a number of years.

Stewart was an engineer on many of the Manchester Liners ships and was a very active correspondent of our Association.

I first met Stewart in Montreal when I was called to the “Topsail Star” to arrange some electrical repairs.  The ship was built as “MV London”, in Scotland I believe, and was a joint venture with Capt. Lloyd Bugden of Topsail Newfoundland.

Later I would see Stewart in Montreal when he was Chief Engineer on the container ships.  In recent years we have enjoyed motor cycle rides in South Lakeland with Stewart on his pride and joy, a pre-war Triumph Tiger 80 and me on my Norton.

It was always a pleasure to meet up with Stewart and Betty and their immaculate Triumph TR4A sports car at the local country shows.  Finally with a friend of mine we would meet up to appreciate the music of the Slaidburn Silver Band at the “Hark to Bounty” in Slaidburn, ending with a Last Night of the Proms evening concert at the bandstand in Clitheroe Castle grounds where, as if by magic, Stewart would produce a bottle of wine and four glasses.

Farewell, Stewart. Our thoughts are with Betty and the family.  

Brian Wylie

17th January 2009.


January 2009


I received a phone call last week to say Mrs Dorothy Carr had passed away 21st September 2008. She worked on Manchester Liners switchboard along with myself and Audrey Malpas.

Rita Wilkinson


November 2008


Sadly, we have been told by Alan Gunshon of the passing of Moreland on Thursday 20th November 2008, in hospital after a short illness. Our condolences go out to Norrie and all his family. He sailed on many of the Manchester Liners ships and was an active member of our Association, and was at Didsbury only four weeks ago for the Reunion. He was well-known and will be missed many of the Old Shipmates.

His funeral takes place at 1100h on Wednesday 26th November at the Sacred Heart RC Church, Floatshall Road, Baguley, Manchester.


Dear Steve

Thank you so much for placing the tribute to Moreland on the MLOSA on the web site.

I wish to thank also on behalf of our two sons Mark and Andrew all his old shipmates who attended the Service, for their cards, letters, telephone messages, and donations to Francis House Childrens Hospice. To date the total is £450.00. and counting, which we are most appreciative of.

Moreland loved his life at sea, and especially the years he spent with Manchester Iiners.

There will be an Acknowledgement on Tuesday 2nd December in the Manchester Evening News.

Thank you all once again.
Kindest regards

Norrie Smith.



September 2008


It was with great sadness that I learnt of the passing of Derrick. He crossed the bar at 1600h on the 18th of September. Derrick served on the M.V. Manchester Faith and M.V. Manchester Fame as Chief Cook - he could have served on other Manchester Liners but I am not sure. He leaves his partner of 20 years Glenda, his brother Peter and an only son Andrew and family.

Derrick was also a personal friend of mine and a member of the National Sea Training School/College Gravesend Association of which I am now the Vice President and General Secretary. We crossed paths at the school in 1951/2 but didn't know it at the time.

Both Derrick and I started our M.N. Service in 1952. Derrick just ahead of me. We even crossed paths with Tom Hicks better known as Tommy Steel. However many years later I got involved with the Gravesend Association and Derrick again beat me to it - he was founder member No 92 and I was 109.

Joyce and I travelled up to Middleton on Thursday 25th September to attend his commital at 1345h. I arranged for the coffin to have the red duster placed on it, and I led in front of the cortege from the gate of the cemetary to the altar with the M.N. National Standard.

I offered our condolences from both M.L.O.S.A. and the N.S.T.S/C. Gravesend Association. We were both involved in giving him a good and worthy send off. I know that Glenda and the remaining family were very pleased and thankful for our efforts.

He will be sadly missed.

John D Meadowcroft


March 2008


Ray regretfully crossed the Bar on the evening of Tuesday the 26th March in hospital. I was advised of his passing by Barbara Gunshon, she and her husband Alan were close friends of Ray and Joyce.

His thanks giving service will be at 1045 on Thursday 3rd of April at St Joseph's Church, Salford, followed by Commital at Agecroft Cemetary at 1140.

Ray was with M.L. for many years starting as a Galley Boy in the old coal burners and rising through the ranks to Catering Officer. Ray will be missed by many who have sailed with him, they will miss his comradeship and sense of humour. Ray was a Grand Shipmate.

Capt. Peter Cullen


March 2008


It is with regret I have to inform you that Derek passed away peacefully in hospital on Sunday 9th March 2008. He will be sadly missed by his many friends in Liners Old Shipmates, with his ready humour and his wonderful approach to life.

Our thoughts go out to his wife Jean, and to their daughter Wendy who lives in Canada.


December 2007


I am sorry to tell you that Capt Eric Askew's wife  Dorothy  passed away peacefully in the early hours of Sunday 30th Dec 2007. She and Eric had been married for 58 years.

Together they had chosen the venue at the Lindum Hotel for the first weekend reunion way back in 1982, and up until Dorothy had a stroke in 1995 she was with Eric at all the Old Shipmates reunions.

Many who sailed with Eric will also remember Dorothy from the times she accompanied Eric on voyages .

Capt & Mrs Cullen and Capt & Mrs Worthington attended the funeral which was held at St Georges Church New Mills.


November 2007


On a sadder note I had a card and letter from Elisabeth Cain to say that Bill had passed away on November 2nd. in hospital in Torquay Devon. Apparently they had moved down there in July to be near their son David. Elizabeth is hoping to move into a bungalow in Totnes in the New Year and their house in Blackrod is up for sale.

Elisabeth did ask that I inform you ( i.e. Old Shipmates ) of Bill’s death though unfortunately she did not give any address for a reply.

Alan Wilde


October 2007


After the newsletter was circulated last October an email was received from the person now living at Gerry Patchett’s former address, informing us that Gerry had passed away.


October 2007


Sadly, on Wed., September 26 we learned of the passing of Robin, who will be well-known to many of the Old Shipmates.

He was very well known on the Montreal waterfront as a ship chandler for 40 years and was a frequent visitor to the ML ships when they were in port.

He passed away in Perth Hospital, Ontario on Monday, Sept. 23 at the age of 85.  A Memorial Service celebrating the life of Robin will be held in the O’Dacre Family Funeral Home Chapel, Friday, Sept. 28 at 2pm.  Private burial to be held at a later date. On-line condolences will be accepted at

 We sent the following message on behalf of MLOSA.

On behalf of Robin’s many friends and colleagues of the Manchester Liners Old Shipmate’s Association, sincere condolences are offered to his wife and all his family at this time of loss.

Robin was a founding member of the Association which this year celebrated its 25th Reunion in UK.  Having attended that function one can vouch for the many fond memories of lunches past aboard and ashore which we shared with Robin.

One can be sure that many former captains and chief engineers who “crossed the bar” before him have already welcomed Robin and are now swapping yarns of bygone days together.  Bon Voyage and smooth sailing, Robin.

Capt. Blake A. Nelson


July 2007

YVONNE WILDE, wife of Alan Wilde.
It was very sad to hear that Yvonne passed away in Spain in June of this year after a very long and brave fight to overcome what turned out to be a terminal illness.

Alan and Yvonne moved to Spain with great plans for the future but alas this was not to be.  On behalf of the membership we offer Alan and his family our sincere condolences.


April 2007


News has been received news via the Social Services and the East Lincs Council that Frank Priest passed away on the 8th April 2007.

Frank was a member for only a short time but was regularly in contact by phone, and enjoyed hearing news of former shipmates.


February 2007

With great sadness we have to report the passing of the following:

MARGARET COCKSHOOT , wife of the late Captain N.W. Cockshoot, passed away in Malta in October 2006

CAPTAIN ALAN COOKSON passed away in Dorset in late October 2006

BILL ALLEN died Thursday 25th January 2007



William H (Bill) Allen "crossed the Bar" - Friday, 26th January 2007.

Bill Allen joined Liners in August 1950 from the C.W.S. Export Department. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School, and had six years War service, half of them in the Royal Navy in Destroyers and half with the Fleet Air Arm.

In March 1953 it was decided to open a Liners Branch Office in India Building's, Liverpool, in order to maintain close and friendly relationships with all our supporters in that area and Bill was appointed Manager for the opening. He proved to be a very successful representative for ML being well thought of both by Shippers and Agents in Liverpool and by those of us in Manchester. He was to remain in that position for almost 30 years, travelling each day from his home in Stretford to Liverpool.

I first became friendly with him when in 1957 I was asked to undertake a six month tour of duty in Liverpool due to Bill's assistant, George Bibby, contracting a serious illness. For the next six months I travelled with him each day as well as working with him, returning back to Manchester only when George fortunately was returned to full health.

Bill was a joy to both travel and work with and he taught me, a then very inexperienced Junior Clerk, a great deal about the business which stood me in good stead in later years in the Company.

We kept in touch over the years, although not seeing much of him after I left the Company, so it was a joy to me when he joined the MLOSA and we met again.
After the Tung takeover it was decided to combine the ML office in Liverpool with that of PSNC but Bill opted to take retirement at that point.
He leaves a wife, Margaret.

Derek Porter



I am sorry to announce the death of Captain Alan Cookson in Dorset in late October.

Capt Cookson was born in 1922 in Withington, Manchester, his Father serving in the Royal Navy in both World Wars until his untimely death from cancer prior to 1945.

Alan left school at 16 years of age and approached Manchester Liners Ltd for a trial trip as an Apprentice Deck Officer prior to being offered Indentures, he did not like this experience as he was put on one of the Company's Cattle Carriers, he was assigned as a rookie, to the job of looking after the cattle and was violently sea sick and therefore at the end of the voyage declined a life at sea.

Shortly after coming ashore he had second thoughts and again applied to Manchester Liners and for second chance at a trial trip, and this was granted, things went better and he signed his indentures just as World War II was getting under way and as a Junior Apprentice spent the early years serving with the "Dems" Gunners on the Ship, manning anti-aircraft guns etc.

By the end of the War he had his 2nd Mates Certificate and some time later served on "Park Boats" (Managed by Manchester Liners), out in Canadian Waters, both as 3rd and 2nd Mate, before rejoining the Manchester Liners Fleet.

During peace time he continued his career and while serving on the Manchester Regiment in Dry Dock in Glasgow was taken ill, and fell for the nurse in hospital, a Scots Lassie, Anne, who was looking after him and they eventually married. Anne survives him with a son and a daughter.

By 1950 he was sailing as Chief Officer on the Manchester City, moving through the Fleet at this rank until being promoted to Master and eventually assuming permanent Command in the small Great Lake Ships in the mid 1950's and later moved on to the larger ships.

He was eventually given command of the Manchester Progress, a modern and larger Great Lake Ship in which he was very happy, staying with this ship until the start of containerisation, when after moving through the container ship fleet he was given command of the Manchester Crusade, also becoming Fleet Commodore.

He took the Manchester Crusade out to the Far East on Charter under the name of "Asian Reward", thoroughly enjoying the experience.

On the demise of Company to C.Y.Tung he retired, and later moved down south to Dorset to be nearer his family.

From: Michael Robson
Subject: Captain Cookson

Thank you so much for the sad information on Captain Alan Cookson's passing. I have often wondered how he was faring in recent years.

He was my first Captain when I joined the "Manchester Progress" for a so-called "trial trip" at Hamilton, Ontario in July 1969. I was a tender-faced seventeen year-old at the time! Captain Cookson was such a fine gentlemen and, I would hasten to add, very much a father figure in the eyes of the young deck cadets. He was never afraid to muck-in with all and sundry if there was a big job on!

One incident I recall was a deep tank leaking liquid lard into the cargo space of an adjoining 'tween deck (I believe we had yellow corn there ) and he was down there in full uniform blues assisting with a cement box construction ! You can imagine the state of his uniform after this job was completed !!

I cannot remember how many times I sailed with Capt.Cookson but it was on several occasions in 1969/1970 and perhaps even 1971.

I also recall he had a son ( Ian, I believe ) who went to sea as a deck cadet with New Zealand Shipping Company ( I think ) and I met him aboard the "Progress" one time. I often wonder what became of him.

Thanks very much for letting me know.

Michael Robson


September 2006


We were sad to hear JOHN died on the 20th March 2006.


February 2006


Blake Nelson in Canada has informed us that William (Bill) died Dec. 27, aged 82

Senior members, especially masters and catering officers can probably recall Bill, otherwise known as "The Best Salesman in North America" (ex VP Sales Montreal). As such, Bill attended the many "specials" held on the Challenge class at Section 70 and afterwards often "pushing the boat out" uptown. Bill was also one of the very few who could match Commodore Denis one for one and live to tell the tale!

John Vandenengel and I attended the visitation on behalf of all ML staff. As Terminal Manager, John (also 82) was also well known to us all and remains in excellent health, with his remarkable sense of humour still intact!


February 2006


It is with regret I report the passing of Shirley. Shirley was married to Pete Johnson who was a Radio Officer with Manchester Liners. Although Peter predeceased Shirley a numbers of years ago. Shirley continued as a member until her passing.


January 2005


It is with regret that I have to inform the membership of the passing of ROBERT BURDON STOKER MBE, who was often affectionately referred to as 'Mr Manchester Liners'. We all owe him a debt of thanks for the way he steered the company through some very difficult times, especially towards the latter days of the company's existence.
I am sure the whole of the membership join together to express our sympathy and condolences to Mrs Mildred Stoker and her family.

The notification of the passing of R.B. STOKER MBE in the Daily Telegraph read as follows :-


"ROBERT BURDON, M.B.E. M.A. Died peacefully in hospital in the Wirral on the 14th January 2005, aged 90 years. Beloved husband of Mildred, much loved father of Ann, David and Francis and dear grandpa of nine grandchildren. Family Cremation, followed by a Service of Thanksgiving at St Bartholomews Church, Wilmslow at 3pm on Friday, 4th February 2005. Family flowers only, donations if desired to The Arthritis Research Campaign or The Mission to Seafarers, may be sent c/o J.A.Whiston, King Street, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6DW, 01565 632644 "

A donation has been made on behalf of the members to The Mission to Seafarers endorsed
"In Memory of Robert Burdon Stoker"


January 2005


It is with regret I also have to report the passing of Dennis who had reached his 92nd year. Dennis was Chief Cook with Liners for many years and sailed with Capt Peter Cullen in various ships, the last one being the Seatrain Trenton. Ray Camilleri was Chief Steward on the Trenton when Dennis was the Chef.

Peter recalls - “in 1975 when I was asked to do a 6 month tour of duty (on the Trenton) trading between the States & Japan I asked if I could have Dennis, the reason being “Good Chef = Happy Ship”, and it worked.”

I am sure everyone extends best wishes and condolences to Dennis’s wife June and family.


January 2005


Mike Taylor phoned to say that Harry one of our recently-joined members had just crossed the bar. Harry used to work with Tom Moss and Frank Stafford on the dockside. I think many may well remember those 9 dock and 8 dock days. Harry was often seconded to the Pacific Boats.

September 2002

It is with regret I have to report that some of our members have passed away.


Captain John Mann was first assigned as Third Officer on the Manchester Merchant. He was aboard the Merchant when it was torpedoed and sank on February 25th, 1943. He then joined the Manchester Progress as Second Officer, and later the Manchester Port. He joined the Toronto Harbour Commission in 1953 and held the position of Harbour Master from 1964 to 1984. Captain John Mann died peacefully on January 13, 2002, in his 83rd year. He is sadly missed by his wife, Bernadette, and his six daughters and families.

CAPTAIN GEOFFREY SHADBOLT earlier in the year died in Fleetwood.

JOHN ARMSTRONG CLAY died at the Dartmouth hospital aged 81.

MRS JULIE MOORWOOD died on the 11th August this year.

I am sure the whole membership would want me, on their behalf, to extend our best wishes and condolences to families concerned.