Fred belongs to: Royal British Legion Seaman's Mess
Fred was born in South Shields and went to Ocean Road School. He worked on the tug boats before going to sea in the merchant navy when he was 17.
Fred was interviewed by Carl Greenwood on 5 December 2005. The interview took place at the Interviewee's living room and lasted 1 hour, 1 minute and 3 seconds.
"Every week we had a lifeboat drill"
Every week we had a lifeboat drill. And at first it was a bit awkward because you’ve got to find your lifeboat, you see. And once you found your lifeboat, and you knew where you were going, as soon as that bell rang you had to drop whatever you were doing- if you were washing the floor, if you were mixing a cake, if you were up on the bridge steering the ship-now the man on the bridge and the helmsman and the enginemen, they were, they were allowed, you know a pass not to go on the lifeboat drill, but everybody else used to go. And then they used to make sure that these lads did it after, after the whole ship was lifeboat.
Now what we used to do, we used to, derricks and you used to have to turn the handle and the ships were inset into the, the boats were inset into the ship and as you turned the handle, they dropped out clear of the ship’s side. Well, we went as far as that. We never used to release them, because we were full, you know, we were doing about 12 knots but it was to get that out, get that out was.
One thing was the safety of the crew, the second thing was making sure that those handles and ratchets worked because if you worked them every week, they went out, they’d come back, and the boats would come back in, then you knew that they worked and it’s no good just letting them lie for six months. “Hey, Fire, fire, abandon ship,” and go and find that you cannot get the lifeboats out. You know, so the safety factor was the bell rang, the fire bell rang, everybody went to their lifeboat. If you had six men, three men would go to one lifeboat, three men would go to another lifeboat, and they were designated which lifeboat you went to, so everything was spot on for safety.
Fred has 14 memories in the memorynet:
Fred's memories with a Living Conditions theme:
Fred's other memories:
- The catering boy's wages
- Homesickness and adjusting to life at sea
- Training and learning the ropes
- The Hudson Bay
- Leisure time in the merchant navy
- Making music on the ship
- Lifeboat drill
- Icebergs and dangers
- The Seaman's Mess
- Fred's accordion
- Mess night
- Seaman's Mess
- South Shields Royal British Legion Seaman's Mess tie