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.
The Seaman's Mess
"Well, the lads come in and they greet each other, you know and we have a ceremony to open the mess"
Well, the lads come in and they greet each other, you know and we have a ceremony to open the mess, which- have you seen- have you heard the ceremony? Well, they speak about the, “we will remember them” at the end. I can’t remember- “they will not grow old as we grow old”- they always say that, in all the Messes from the Merchant Navy mess and the Fellowship, the Navy, Air Force, when they go in, they open the mess by saying these words to remember the lads in 1914-1918, whenever it was. And they open the mess.
And then we have a little game of bingo, and of course the pints are flying left, right and centre, and we’ll have a little bit of something to eat. And then some of the lads get up and sing songs- they’re really good, you know, because we’re all getting on in time, they all get up and sing, do their turn. There are regulars who like to get up and some that don’t like to get up. If you’re called, if they call you, you do your best, you get up and do your best and they’ll have another little game of bingo and a raffle. It’s just like a social night, and the lads will talk about,“hey, what ship were you on?” and,“I was on this ship," and, “what ship were you on?”, “have I sailed with you?” you know and, “oh, I remember you from that ship,” and your mind goes back to that ship and you think, “I wonder what he was on and what he was on.” But you get to know them after a while, everybody, everybody, you know, they speak to you- everybody speaks and it’s quite a sociable night.
But it’s like that in all the messes, all the fellowship messes. They’ve got messes all over the place- they go to little pubs and they might have 30 men go. They go regularly, every week, fortnight, they go to their mess meetings and then they have an annual general meeting at the end where everybody has to go. So, really it’s good, it’s good. It gets you a night out, you have a few pints, you have your game of bingo, you have your raffle, you have your arguments of course, people saying different things and you’ll, you know, go against them, but it’s good comradeship, all the lads. And I’m please I’m in with them, because I’ve enjoyed it the three years I’ve been in. I’ve been in about three years, I think.
Fred has 14 memories in the memorynet:
Fred's memories with a Work theme:
- The catering boy's wages
- Homesickness and adjusting to life at sea
- Training and learning the ropes
- The Hudson Bay
- Keeping clean
- Leisure time in the merchant navy
- Making music on the ship
- Lifeboat drill
- Icebergs and dangers
- Fred's accordion
Fred's other memories:
- The Seaman's Mess
- Mess night
- Seaman's Mess
- South Shields Royal British Legion Seaman's Mess tie