Bill belongs to: The Doxford Engine Friends Association
Bill was born in Sunderland in 1927. He served his apprenticeship at the Doxford Engine Works, starting fifth January 1942. After five years at sea he returned to Doxford's where he worked until its closure in March 1987. Bill was the last person to leave Doxford's and was given the task of switching off the power to the works.
Bill was interviewed by Carl Greenwood on 26 January 2006. The interview took place at Sunderland Museum and lasted 40 minutes and 53 seconds.
First trip to sea
"My first trip to sea was in a coble"
My first trip to sea was in a coble, as one of our friends at Doxfordís, Gordon Firtle and I went out in his coble one night and we went across what you call the Bar, thatís between the two piers, you know the piers circle round- youíve got a pier there, North Pier and a South Pier and to cross the bar meant to go across the entrance to those piers, so thatís crossing the bar.
And when I got across there in the coble, of course there you encounter very choppy water and Iíve never been so sick in all my life. I was really, really ill, and Gordon said, ďabout time we go back,Ē and I said, ďplease!Ē And I could have died there, you know. But anyway, we got back into the North Dock and we tied the coble up.
And you know Carl, the trams were running in those days and they were going up what you call Roker Avenue. So we got at the bottom of Roker Avenue and we took a tram car to go right the way around through Sunderland and Iím going up this Roker Avenue and of course the trams in them days had a bit of a sway on them- I had to get off! I was feeling sick again! And I had to get off, honest, until I got myself pulled together and then got a later, I donít know, a tram, maybe a bus. But, honest, I went through that experience- what an experience!
But when I went to sea, didnít get seasick once. So I was initiated into that feeling of seasickness and what it does to your system, but when I went to sea, I was never seasick once, and I saw plenty of them.
Bill has 13 memories in the memorynet:
Bill's memories with a Environment theme:
Bill's other memories:
- First day at Doxfordís
- Packing in the sea
- Returning to Doxford's after the merchant navy
- Staying until the closure of Doxford's
- The Doxford Apprentices football team
- Industrial action at Doxford's
- The Doxford Engine Friends Association
- What does the sea mean to you?
- First trip to sea
- 50th birthday card
- Workers at Doxford's
- Last day at Doxford's