Bob belongs to: The Fishermen's Mission
Bob was born in North Shields. He has worked in the Royal Navy, merchant navy and steam trawlers. Bob is retired and spends his time painting.
Bob was interviewed by Kylea Little on 8 November 2005. The interview took place at North Shields Fishermen's Mission and lasted 52 minutes and 23 seconds.
The merchant navy and St. Elmo's Fire
"I joined a cargo tramp ship years and years later and I was well qualified as a seafarer"
I joined a cargo tramp ship years and years later and I was well qualified as a seafarer like by this time and the ship was coming down past the Solomon Islands after leaving Japan and we coming down and heading for Auckland in New Zealand and, no we hadnít been, weíd been to a place called the Gilbert and Ellis Islands for phosphates which is really, just looks like custard powder- itís birdís poo from way back and they have to dig it out with a pickaxe and it comes out- youíre covered in it, itís in the air and everything from this little island called Meru and we loaded this for the Farmersí Union in New Zealand.
And on our way down, we got caught in a typhoon and the streaks of lightning that were coming out of the sky as we were coming down, it was raining, you know, sleeting it down but there were little balls of electric light that ran along the shipís aerials and down the stays. Ships have stays and shrouds, you know, thatís why they say, if you say that, you always say a ship is a Ďsheí, itís because she wears stairs and ends up being tied up to a buoy! So, itís just a little thing, like, like that, but these balls of light are actually static electricity and when you see those, itís called St Elmosís Fire and someone in the ship was going to die, thatís what they say, you know.
And that particular trip, a fellow did die. But he should have never been passed fit for sea because he was in a bad state when he joined the ship so it was a foregone conclusion, so it had nothing to do with St Elmoís Fire, I donít think.
Bob has 15 memories in the memorynet:
Bob's memories with a Superstitions theme:
- The merchant navy and St. Elmo's Fire
Bob's other memories:
- Joining the Royal Navy
- Manning the guns
- Life after the Royal Navy
- Joining the trawlers as a cook
- Landing the catch on North Shields Fish Quay
- Swimming under the ice store
- The smell of the smoke houses
- Taking a break on the Suez Canal
- Continuous Certificate of Discharge 2
- Bob Cawley at San Domingo
- Continuous Certificate of Discharge 1
- Individual Certificate
- Continuous Certificate of Discharge 3
- Painting of Trawler and North Shields Fish Quay