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.
Going on sea trials
"You’d go out on sea trials, you’d go out in the early morning"
You’d go out on sea trials, you’d go out in the early morning, and I would go and one of my assistants would go, there would be two, there’d be maybe a foreman fitter and then there’d be a few boiler makers- there’d be men- the ship, the owners played no part in it. The ship’s engineers would be there but it wasn’t their ship, it was still our ship, so our own men would run the generators and air compressors and the boilers, our fitters and what have you.
The first thing you do, you go out through the river, and then a compass, you go round, steam round in circles while a man did the compass, the magnetic compass. Then you’d go up to the measured mile which is up past Whitley Bay- there’s lights on the side on the land, and when you pass the lights, it’s a mile apart, exactly a measured mile and you would, normally out practice would be you do three double runs on a measured mile. When you do a measured mile you don’t just go that way, you go that and you have to come back, because the tide may be affected, so you do a double run, you do a certain pattern like that.
And we’d, a Doxford’s engine would probably run at about 122 rpm normally, so we do, they should be able to tell us what they want and they would say, “right, we’ll do a double run at 118, we’ll do a double run at 120 and we’ll do a double run at 122,” and they would, up on the bridge, they would measure the time and then you got the speed of the ship, you know. And my orders to my people in the engine room, if the shipyard want 118, on the tachometer engine, whoever’s on the controls, give them 119- I always used to give them one rev more, then you were, if you give them 119, you were sure to get 118, you see. So we always went a wee bit over the mark and nine times, well, I think every time, the ship always got the speed that was wanted.
But then all the other things were tested. You’d stop and they would lower the anchors and time the anchors back up again. And you’d have to have, these big diesel engines, you started them with compressed air and you have great big tanks full of compressed air and Lloyds, there would be a Lloyds surveyor there as well to see that everything was right. If it was Lloyds, it usually was, it might have been Norse Veritas, but it was usually Lloyds, and you’d have to stop and start the engine I think it was 22 times from one bottle, without putting any more air into it. You put the bottle, fill the bottle right up to pressure and stop the air compressors and you had to start it ahead, astern, ahead, astern, I think it was 22 times was required. Either I would do it or one of the assistant managers would do it.
If it was an oil tanker, sea trials were also much longer because on of the tests was cargo pumping, and so the ship would go out and she would lie off the coast somewhere and she would pump water into the all tanks, and then timed the pumps for filling the tanks then pump then down again. Ant that takes quite a long time so an oil tanker was always a longer sea trial. And a cargo ship, having said that, we didn’t, we built far more cargo ships than oil tankers.
David has 17 memories in the memorynet:
David's memories with a Training theme:
- Apprenticeship at North East Marine
- Going to sea
- Engineer's Certificate
- North East Marine Guide for Apprentices
David's other memories:
- Father’s time at sea
- Swimming in ballast tanks on the tankers
- Safety and dangers at sea
- Returning to the North East and Doxford's
- Role at Doxford’s
- Industrial action at Doxford's
- Going on sea trials
- Accident on sea trials
- Leaving Doxford’s
- Workers at Doxford's
- Continuous Certificate of Discharge
- Swimming pool
- Sea Trials