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Photograph of Bill Wold

Bill Wold

Bill belongs to: Royal British Legion Seaman's Mess

Bill was born in South Shields. He left school at 14. After working in a hotel down south Bill joined the merchant navy. During World War Two Bill was in the Arctic convoys and at the D-Day landings dropping off armaments.

Bill was interviewed by Kylea Little on 8 November 2005. The interview took place at South Shields Royal British Legion and lasted 16 minutes and 21 seconds.

Photograph of Bill Wold
Photograph of Bill Wold

Training in the merchant navy

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"My training? It’s complicated this"

My training? It’s complicated this, you know. Because when I first went to sea I was what you call a peggy boy, a deck boy. You were like a servant for the AB’s, all the sailors and that, plus the captain then the bosun.

I had to get up in the morning and get the AB’s breakfast, and start pumping water off for their baths. And then the seven bell lot had to have breakfast, you would start getting everything ready for the rest of the people getting up, you know, for the eight o’clock breakfast. And then at about nine o’clock, you had to clear everything away, and went on deck from nine o’clock until 11 to start learning your trade as a seaman. And at 11 o’clock, a repetition to get all the muesli and all that started again until about one o’clock. And then you had one o’clock til three or four learning your training on deck and then you had to start doing the tea for the fo’castle, and then later on their dinner for the bosun and captain. And you had to get up at about half past six in the morning and you didn’t get back to your bunk until half past nine – 10 o’clock at night.

And that was for a shilling a day, 30 shillings a month- 30 days a month. You had a 31 day month- you didn’t get paid for the extra day, I'll never forget it like.

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This memory has these themes:
Living Conditions | Skills | Training | Work

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