Photograph of Harry Chamberlain

Harry Chamberlain

Harry belongs to: The Coble and Keelboat Society

Harry grew up on the Lawe Top in South Shields. He served an apprenticeship on the tugboats and worked on the Titan Crane. Harry is a member of the Coble and Keelboat Society.

Harry was interviewed by Carl Greenwood on 31 January 2006. The interview took place at South Shields Museum and lasted 1 hour, 20 minutes and 15 seconds.

Photograph of Harry Chamberlain
Photograph of Harry Chamberlain

Working on the Titan Crane

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"Totally different from the tugs, like"

Totally different from the tugs, like. The tugs, you would go and tow a ship, you know, it was basically the same thing, basic tow a ship to sea, bring it in from sea, put it in a dock, you know. Apart from bad weather, it was more or less the same repetitious, you know. But the Titan was totally different, you were doing, you could be lifting buoys, laying moorings in the river, lifting wrecks, anything that sunk. One of the jobs- a crane on the North Pier had to be lifted off, down there, pick that up, a tug sunk, turned over in Jarrow, go out and lift that, put the straps under, cranes that fell in the river.

The funniest job we’ve done was the Ark Royal was finished and they were doing a, like something for the Rolls Royce engine, what do they call it when they, advertising or something like that, you know. So they got the idea that were going to, they got a plane, what was it, you know them planes that attacked the Bismarck? Was it a sea fire or something like that? With the double wings, you know?

Interviewer: the biplane?

Aye, well, they brought one of them down, the Royal Navy brought it, we were alongside Palmers on a lovely summer’s day, and they came alongside the quay with a big wagon and they out this, we had to lift it on to the deck, this plane they brought out from some museum; there were only three of them left, one flying and two in museums. But this one came onto the deck and its wings. We said, “what are we doing with this?” they said, “we’re going to take it up to Ark Royal,” and on the Ark Royal they had one of the jet engines, because they’re jet engines, the Ark Royal, you know, they’re Olympus engines, and they had one of the engines on the deck, on the flight deck, and they had a Rolls Royce car and they had this plane, and we took it up and put it on the deck. And I think what they did the next day, they waited until sort of, it was just breaking daylight and that, you know and they took photographs of the different, aye.

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This memory has these themes:
Roles and Routines | Work

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