David belongs to: The Doxford Engine Friends Association
David was born in Sunderland. He served his apprenticeship at North East Marine shipyards as a fitter. After working at sea David became an Assistant Manager at Doxford's ship yard overseeing the installation and testing of Doxford engines.
David was interviewed by Carl Greenwood on 8 November 2005. The interview took place at the Interviewee's living room and lasted 1 hour, 36 minutes and 40 seconds.
Returning to the North East and Doxford's
"Well, in 1957 I’d got my First Class Board of Trade Certificates that we’ve talked about and Caltex took me off the ships"
Well, in 1957 I’d got my First Class Board of Trade Certificates that we’ve talked about and Caltex took me off the ships and brought me into their London office as an assistant superintendent engineer, which didn’t particularly please me because I was happy to stay at sea kind of indefinitely but that’s what they wanted so I was temporarily working in the London office. Unfortunately, round about that time, my father, I learnt my father was terminally ill in Sunderland and my mother was having a hard time looking after, nursing him, and my brother moved away- he was somewhere else. And I wasn’t married so I didn’t have responsibilities in that respect so I decided to take a leave of absence from the company and go back help at home, and probably rejoin the company. But of course in the meantime, while I was helping at home, I had to have an employment, I had to have an income.
So I came back to Sunderland and the first job I got, which I only did for about six months, I got a job as an assistant manager in the dry dock, there was a dry dock in Sunderland called Greenwell’s, TW Greenwell’s, so I was assistant manager there, helping to repair ships and dry dock ships and, well, doing general ship repair work. And in Sunderland at that time, that was the only dry dock. And every ship that was built, whether it was Doxford’s, or Thompson’s or Laing’s or Bartram’s- all; ships go into dry dock when they’re completed immediately before they go into sea trials.
So from time to time I would be allocated a Doxford ship that had come down the river, put her into dry dock, tidy up the painting and cut any pieces of steel off the outside like the launching cleats and things, and there was always one or two odd jobs left to be done, like bits of piping in the engine- little bits and pieces to finish the ship off. And that was done for a man called George Dunn. George Dunn was the fitting out manager at Doxford’s so he would come to me and say, “can you do this and can you do that?” and these jobs would be done. So I got to know George Dunn.
And at that time, Doxford’s was enjoying a boom in work and they just could hardly cope with the amount of orders for ships and engines, and George Dunn eventually got in touch with me and asked me if whether I would come up, leave Greenwell’s and come up the river and work under him as an assistant manager. He had four assistant managers because Doxford’s was at that time, there were two companies Doxford’s Shipbuilders and Doxford’s Engineers, they were same company but they operated as separate businesses but they were on the same premises, and Doxford’s ship yard would built something like seven ships per annum- cargo ships, nice cargo ships, or tankers, but Doxford’s engines would produce far, far more than seven seta of machinery. So we used to put Doxford’s engines into every Doxford’s ship, but we also used to put Doxford’s engines into every other shipyard on the rover and indeed on the Tyne and indeed as far away as Burntisland in Scotland and Hartlepool. And so there were four assistants all working under George Dunn.
David has 17 memories in the memorynet:
David's memories with a Change theme:
David's other memories:
- Father’s time at sea
- Apprenticeship at North East Marine
- Swimming in ballast tanks on the tankers
- Safety and dangers at sea
- Industrial action at Doxford's
- Going on sea trials
- Accident on sea trials
- Workers at Doxford's
- Engineer's Certificate
- Continuous Certificate of Discharge
- Swimming pool
- North East Marine Guide for Apprentices
- Sea Trials